Diary of a Social Venture Start-up: Starting Your Business

Earlier this month, I shared some tips from my favorite business founders about what helps them run their businesses. After that post ran, I got a...

Earlier this month, I shared some tips from my favorite business founders about what helps them run their businesses. After that post ran, I got a few great emails asking one interesting question: What if you're not yet at the point where you're running a business? What if you're trying to get there? They wanted to know if there was survival kit for starting out. Here are some tips that might help you get moving.

Legal Assistance

If you're planning on running a business, you're going to need a business to run. This means incorporation (or filing for 501c3 status). These sorts of steps can be handled online through services like LegalZoom, but I wouldn't recommend doing it that way. Legal matters are too important for shortcuts, and by going online, you run the risk of missing out on important information. For example, you might want to officially incorporate your entity in Delaware, whose laws look favorably upon the small business owner. It's a small bit of information that could prove to be a major help. A lawyer would tell you that; I'm guessing an automated service wouldn't.

Matt Mireles, Founder of SpeakerText, offers an interesting take in this post, where he mentions that nearly all lawyers will give you an hour of their time for free (in the hopes of landing a client). If, say, you need 10 hours of legal help, Mireles's answer is simple: "Talk to 10 lawyers."


In case you hadn't heard, this interweb thing is going to be big. If you want people to take you seriously, you need a professional web presence. You'll need three things: a URL, hosting, and a design.

The rules for design are easy: Unless you're a designer, don't design your own site. Hire someone. Or, in a pinch, use a service like Squarespace.

You probably already know about URLs. Just go to GoDaddy (or any of the innumerable other domain providers) and find the one you want. Your dream URL might already be taken. It's common, it sucks, and domain-name pirates are evil, evil people who should be thrown in the sea-but don't sweat it. Just focus on creating something great. If your venture takes off, you'll likely be able to buy the URL you want from whomever owns it. (Foursquare, for instance, was only able to buy after they got venture funding.)

As for web hosting, you want the lowest amount of downtime for your price level and quality customer service for when things go wrong. I've had good luck with StartLogic, but I'm sure there are others who are just as solid.

Business Cards

Face it: You know a cheap business card when you see one. It might seem unimportant, but it's one of the first impressions you'll be able to make. Start handing out cards that look like you printed them at home and it'll be hard for anyone to think you're legit.

If you can, stay away from the super-cheap sites. If someone's offering you 12,000 cards for $10, you can expect low-grade paper and some sloppy printing. That said, you don't need to spend a ton. Don't feel like dealing with professional printers? Use a service like Moo. Just choose a template (or upload a design) and you're good to go. As for me, I like letterpress cards. I think they add an extra touch of professionalism. I got mine from the Mandate Press, who are just about the nicest folks you'll ever want to deal with. While I submitted a custom design, they've also got a nice assortment of templates you can use. Also, they have a mascot, which is adorable.

The Takeaway: Formally establishing your business, launching a website, and ordering business cards are only a few of the multitudinous things that go into starting a venture, but they're steps that can be taken care of quickly and, usually, affordably. So, investigate your options, get these done, then move on to becoming the Next Big Thing.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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