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Monthly Archives: February 2017

6 Business Ideas for Food Lovers

Jams & preserves maker

There are few foods that are easier to hand-make and package in large quantities than jam. With access to a steady supply of high-quality fruits and mason jars, you can go into the jam-making business in no time. First, build a repertoire of tried-and-true jam recipes. Then create branded labels and sell your goods at local fairs, farmers markets and events. You can even start an online business and ship directly to customers.

Catering

Have you ever hosted a dinner party or holiday meal and found yourself barely able to enjoy it because of all the preparation? If you’re a skilled home cook that can create delicious meals for a large group of people, you can help alleviate the stress of planning and preparing food for parties as a caterer. While bigger events like weddings and Sweet 16s might be hard to handle without a team, you could likely handle smaller home gatherings by yourself or with a business partner. Make sure you have enough kitchen space to prepare the meals and the means to transport the food to your clients. Go the extra mile and offer to help clean up after the party for great customer service (not to mention the fact that you’ll probably earn a nice tip).

Bartender-for-hire

Is liquid food more your speed? Consider launching a bartender-for-hire service. If you love mixing up cocktails and serving parched patrons the drinks of their choice, this just might be the gig for you. Offer to work events or parties to help bring that extra level of luxury and professionalism to your clients shindigs. With a low overhead and a slight learning curve — if you aren’t already a master mixologist — you can get your bartender business up and running in no time.

Food truck

Want to open a restaurant without paying for retail space and tons of kitchen equipment? With a decent set of wheels and a small-scale food prep station, you can. Decreased startup costs, competitive pricing and lower risk of failure are just a few of the reasons why food trucks are a great alternative to brick-and-mortar restaurants. Pick a specific type of food or cuisine you’re familiar with and work on perfecting recipes in that category to sell at your mobile eatery. Focusing on a particular specialty can help you stand out from the competition and aid in your branding efforts.

Restaurant franchise owner

Investing in a franchise is a great way to become a business owner without having to come up with a concept or marketing strategy. With restaurant franchises, the product, brand and audience are already in place. All you need is a good location and some startup money, which is relatively easy to come by: Because a franchise has a proven business model, you’re more likely to get a loan for this low-risk investment.

ersonal chef

Another way to tap into the “busy family” market is by offering personal chef services. This business requires you to plan and prepare weekly or daily meals for your clients, so strong cooking skills and a working knowledge of nutrition and special diets (if applicable) are a must. While you don’t necessarily need to have graduated from culinary school, taking a few cooking classes will boost your credibility. If you’ve ever fantasized about working for a celebrity, this might be your ticket in: A lot of high-profile individuals employ personal chefs to maintain a healthy diet with their round-the-clock work schedule.

7 Amazing 3D Printing Startups

XJet

XJet is an Israel-based 3D printing company focused on creating metal parts for manufacturing purposes by employing sealed cartridges of liquid material. Other metal printers rely on dust filings, which are loaded into the printer by hand, while XJet has pioneered the use of liquid metal as a more affordable alternative.

The company’s vision is to revolutionize the manufacturing industry by replacing the current methods of printing metal parts, bringing more cost-effective components to the market. XJet first released its “Nanoparticle Jetting” technology in May 2016.

Shapeways

Founded in 2007, Shapeways is a virtual 3D printing marketplace for making, buying and selling 3D-printed creations. Shop owners- or anyone else with a 3D-printable idea- can build a virtual model of their product and have it printed by Shapeways.

From sterling silver jewelry to the world’s tiniest Rubik’s cube, Shapeways has a host of beautiful- and weird- items for sale. When you order something from a shop, Shapeways prints it, ships it and compensates the shop owner.

This modern marketplace is popular with 3D enthusiasts all over the world and provides a great platform for designers that want to create innovative products or prototypes without spending all their money on manufacturing.

Spuni

No one has ever been accused of being born with a 3D-printed spoon in their mouth — until now. Spuni, the ergonomically designed baby spoon, was created by two MIT grads fed up with the mess that accompanies feeding a baby from a regular baby spoon.

In order to make their Spuni dreams come true, the product’s creators used 3D printing to design and perfect a prototype that they could test on hungry babies.

Clearly the prototype worked well, because Spuni has since raised over $35,000 with its Indiegogo campaign and its first products are being shipped to customers this month.

Pirate 3D

Another startup making waves in the 3D printing world is Pirate 3D, a Palo Alto-based company with dreams of bringing 3D printers into everyones’ home office.

The company’s Buccaneer desktop 3D printer, which has raised nearly $1 million on Kickstarter, can print wirelessly from Android and iOS devices and is allegedly very user-friendly.

The Buccaneer is also very wallet-friendly, with an anticipated sale price of about $350. That’s a sixth of the price of MakerBot’s most recent desktop model, the Replicator 2.

Tecnologia Humana 3D

Viewing their unborn child on an ultrasound screen for the first time is one of the most exciting moments for expectant parents.Tecnologia Humana 3D, a Brazilian company specializing in customizable 3D-printed orthotics, takes this one step further, and offers mothers and fathers-to-be a three dimensional look at their beloved fetus in utero.

That’s right — a 3D-printed ultrasound. The Japanese company Fasotec offers a similar product for expecting parents at a pregnancy clinic in Tokyo. For just over $1,000, customers can take home a 3D printed, key-chain sized fetus of their very own.

Freedom of Creation

Founded in 2000, Dutch design studio Freedom of Creation has long been a pioneer in the field of 3D printing. The company is best known for its innovative home furnishings and lighting fixtures, which have been featured everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art to Hilton hotels.

Freedom of Creation prides itself on being among the first wave of startups to use 3D printing as an affordable and highly customizable manufacturing option. The company already Nike, Nokia, Hyundai and L’Oreal among its clients.

rganovo

Based in San Diego, Organovo is a biotech startup focused on the development of 3D printed biological materials, particularly human tissues. Since the company’s founding in 2007, it has pioneered research in 3D bioprinting, creating synthetic tissues that function just like real human tissues.

Materials printed at Organovo help researchers study diseases and allow them to test the effects of drugs on human tissue without putting anyone at risk. The company is also working on printing materials — like liver tissue — that can be used for medical implants or replacements.

7 Things Every Freelancer Should Know

In the past several years, freelancing has skyrocketed in popularity as a work option. Talented professionals can work from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, taking on projects for a variety of different clients and companies. But landing freelance gigs isn’t always a simple task. Here are 10 things all potential and current freelancers should consider about the current marketplace and what it takes to get steady work.

Traditionally, startups and smaller businesses hire freelancers for short-term ad hoc projects that the owners and their staff don’t have time to do themselves. This trend has begun to change recently as companies are integrating freelancers into their core business strategy.

“Modern businesses are choosing to run in a very lean fashion,” said Nik Badminton, regional director of North America for Freelancer.com. “Sometimes there are solopreneurs that build everything they need using freelancers and they run the business on their own. It’s such a cost-efficient model. Even large businesses are using freelancers as part of their contingent workforce.”

Rich Pearson, senior vice president of marketing and categories at Upwork(formerly Elance-oDesk) has observed a similar pattern, noting that some freelance positions are for projects extending as long as six months. This is an important trend for freelancers to pay attention to if they are looking for steady, longer-term work.

While just about every industry and profession has the potential for freelance work, some job categories have more opportunities available. Badminton cited Freelancer.com’s Fast 50 report for the second quarter of 2015, which found that mobile development, content creation, e-commerce and data science-related jobs are all on the rise.

“The sophistication of jobs is increasing and we are moving towards employers asking freelancers to build out entries technology and content ecosystems for them,” he said. “Businesses have built a huge amount of trust in remote resources and it’s starting to pay off.”

College graduates and laid-off employees who have difficulty securing a full-time position near their homes frequently turn to freelancing as a means to support themselves. Because most freelance work can be done remotely, you don’t have to stick to jobs that are close by.

“From a business standpoint, companies hiring freelancers can get better talent by escaping the local economy,” Pearson said. “It helps freelancers, too, in areas where there’s not much local work.”

Though competing with a national pool of applicants might be intimidating, you may be more qualified for a job than someone who’s geographically closer to the company. Freelancing ensures that you won’t lose a job because of your location.

One of the most important things you can do as a freelancer is take the time to fully comprehend the project on which you’re applying to work. Can you successfully complete all aspects of the job? Is there something in the description that’s unclear? Don’t be afraid to contact the company and ask before you put your name in for consideration.

“Each job is unique and each employer expects something specific,” Nikki Parker, a former Freelancer.com representative, said in a 2013 interview with Business News Daily. “Before you contact an employer, it is important that you understand the project and that this comes across when you reach out to them.”

Just like applying to any other position, bidding for a freelance job requires a solid résumé and cover letter. Demonstrating your experience and desire to work with the company that’s hiring are surefire ways to get noticed by employers.

“When writing your cover letter for proposals, be excited about the job,” Pearson said. “Have something specific that will get the hiring manager excited, but be sure to stay professional.”

Pearson told Business News Daily that 70 percent of companies that hire freelancers use them to fill very specific skill gaps in their staff. If a job description lists a highly specialized combination of skills and you have them, make sure you focus on that when contacting the employer.

“Make sure you highlight your unique skill set, some success stories, and why you are the best freelancer for the employer’s job,” Badminton added.

Many freelancers create virtual portfolios of their work on websites like Tumblr or About.me for prospective employers to look at. If you don’t have a dedicated online freelancing profile, make sure you have a collection of clips, files and other past projects ready to go in case a hiring manager asks to see them.

“It’s essential for a freelancer to show a portfolio of their work,” Badminton said. “This is a huge opportunity to wow employers and seal the deal.”

Having a rich history of past work can put an employer at ease when considering you for a freelance job, but be careful when choosing which projects to share: Parker reminded prospective freelancers that the sample pieces they provide should be relevant to the task on which they’re bidding.

6 Great Home-Based Business Ideas

Freelance writer

Do you have a way with words? Freelance copywriting is a good way to make money working from home. Companies large and small will pay someone handsomely to take basic information and add a bit of flair. If a smooth turn of phrase has been known to come forth from your pen, freelance copywriting might just be for you. It takes networking, but once you have a portfolio to show your worth, you’ll be able to prove to clients that you’re exactly the writer they need. And, as a bonus, if you’re naturally inquisitive and love storytelling, you might be able to spin your copywriting gig into a career as a freelance journalist.

usiness plan service

If you’ve got business expertise already, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain their own businesses by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business roadmap. You can also help conduct market research for your clients, so they can determine how successful their businesses can really be, or if they need to make changes or go in another direction before wrapping up their business plans.

Massage therapist

Becoming a massage therapist requires proper training and licensing, but if you’re looking for a great career to pursue that you can also turn into a home-based business, massage therapy might be the right choice for you. And with a massage therapy business, you have options: You can either invite clients into your home for appointments, or make house calls for massages.

Interior designer

If you understand design and have a passion for décor, a career in interior design could be a great path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor’s degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. But if working for a design firm doesn’t feel right to you, try running your own interior design business from your home.

andmade seller

Do you have a knack for knitting, jewelry making or creating other small crafts? If you can produce a large quantity of items in a short amount of time, consider selling your goods to the public. In just minutes, you can set up anonline store and start promoting your business.

eb/graphic designer

Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout or logo? If you have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients.