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  • Service Business? How Free Items Can Prove Your Value to Clients

    Friday, April 21, 2017 by
    Free Items Prove Value to Customers One of the most common (and best) pieces of advice given to new freelancers and B2B consultants is to market your services based on value rather than price. Maybe the second-most common advice is to offer your prospects something free. These recommendations aren’t as contradictory as they may seem. In this post, we’ll look at some effective methods for marketing with free content, and we’ll cover the “freebie” you should avoid. HostGator WordPress Hosting

    Prove your value, build your list

    Smart prospective clients will want to know why they should hire you, and giving them useful information is an easy way to demonstrate your knowledge, technical skills, and understanding of what they need. In exchange for the free reports, webinars, email learning series, or other content you develop for your marketing program, you get prospects’ email addresses to help grow your list and establish a base of warm leads. With these two goals in mind, let’s look at ways your business can offer compelling freebies to your audience, with the understanding that all marketing roads should lead to your inbox or your email list. The actual content you create will depend on your business, industry, and clientele, as we’ll see in the examples ahead.  

    Blog, vlog and podcast content

    You don’t have to have a written blog, video blog, and audio podcast, but choosing one and posting regularly on an industry topic can give your audience a taste of your expertise. For marketing writers, Copyblogger’s blog is the online bible, covering both the details and the high-level view of copywriting for business. Obviously, the blog’s content is free and it can inspire readers to pay for Copyblogger’s marketing tools. In the blog sidebar is a “get free training” signup form that collects users’ email addresses in exchange for more than a dozen e-books and an email course, which can also lead to service purchases. That’s an unusually large cache of free material, but Copyblogger has been around for a long time and has a vast library of content.  

    Side-by-side paid and free content on your site

    Nielsen Norman Group does user experience research and consulting for enterprise, and they produce detailed reports on UX topics, from accessibility to designing sites for school kids. Their reports typically cost a few hundred dollars, but NNG offers some as free downloads, no email address required. They’re listed alongside reports for sale on the same topic, so UX managers can see the level of detail and the type of insights they can expect if they buy a report. For example, maybe I’m wondering whether to spend a few hundred dollars on their Tablet Website and Application UX report for my hypothetical team. Before I make that commitment, I can download the company’s 116-page iPad usability report to see if it inspires trust and seems like something my team can use. For B2B consultants and firms, offering hassle-free proof of expertise can lead directly to sales of other content. This free content approach is also a good way to repurpose information products that are no longer up to date but represent your work well. If you don’t have content old enough to repurpose this way, you can always write something just to use as a freebie – as long as it’s high quality and a good example of your paid products.

    Exclusive content for email list members

    As with Copyblogger’s multi-email training program, you can develop an email course on a topic your audience wants to know more about, whether it’s marketing their business, hiring the right people, or designing a website. You don’t have to produce a series, either. If you run a shipping business, you might send a pre-holiday shopping season checklist to the retailer segment of your list, or short guides on customs rules in different countries. Whatever you send, make it something they can use right away, and make sure they know it’s a benefit of being on your list.  

    How-to videos and webinars

    If you’re comfortable walking viewers through a particular topic on camera or running a webinar with a slideshow and Q&A, you can establish a rapport with your audience and reach people who don’t have time to read reports and blogs or who simply learn better through watching and listening. The AV approach is especially effective if you sell design services, and it works well for B2B and B2C training services, from rooftop solar installations to clicker-training service dogs.  

    The freebie of doom: working for “exposure”

    In contrast to selectively sharing free content that demonstrates your value and expertise to prospective clients, working for exposure or on spec communicates that you don’t actually know the value of your work. There are (at least) four problems with working for exposure.
    • You don’t get paid.
    • Clients who ask you to work for free usually don’t actually have the money to become paying clients.
    • Any word of mouth referrals you get may include a mention that you worked for free, so these new prospects will expect you to be free or cheap.
    • If the client is finicky or makes lots of change requests—and you might be surprised by how demanding these nonpaying clients can be--you’ll sink a lot of time into a project that stresses you out and doesn’t pay the bills.
    The only times it might benefit you to work for free are
    • When you’re doing pro bono work for a cause you love.
    • When you’re starting out and need a portfolio. In that case, offer to work for clients of your choosing, rather than agreeing to work “for exposure” with unknown prospects who approach you.
    But back to giveaway content. Every free item you share should provide a real benefit to your prospects, show why you’re the right person to provide paid services to them in the future, and give them a reason (and a way) to contact you for further expertise. In other words, by giving your audience a free preview of your value, you’re showing them why you’re worth more than someone who charges less.
  • Marketing 101: How to Get Better Results From Your Calls to Action

    Thursday, April 20, 2017 by
    Better Calls To Action You’ve launched your website. You avoided the most common website design mistakes and you keep your blog content fresh and interesting. You built and segmented your email list with care, and your social media is on point. So why aren’t you making more sales? It could be that you’re not asking for them, or not asking clearly and in a way that prompts a response. If you're like most, your website lacks what marketers call a “call to action” on its main page. You may not have calls to action anywhere else, either, and that’s a problem. HostGator Website Builder  

    What is a call to action?

    “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” Human psychology being what it is, people are more likely to do what you want them to do if you let them know what you want them to do. Maybe you’d like them to join your email list, listen to your latest podcast, share your social media posts to build your audience, or buy something from you. In each case, you’ll need to guide your visitors’ behavior by asking them to do something. This act of asking for the sale is the call to action (CTA). CTAs are important because most of us encounter so much information each day that it can all run together. The experience of visiting a site or following a blog can be like walking into a big grocery store and forgetting what you came to buy—especially if the website is cluttered with information or hard to navigate. Even though you may think it’s pretty clear that you’d like visitors to your customized kids’ clothing site to place some orders, or that you’d like visitors to your email signup landing page to sign up, you’ll get better results if you ask. Before you can do that, you need to know what you want to accomplish with each piece of content you create.  

    What’s the goal of your content?

    Whenever you create content for your business, whether it’s a page on your website, a blog post, a video, a social media post, or something else, it should include a call to action that lets the reader or viewer know what you’d like them to do next. Your calls to action will depend on your goals, your business, and your audience. For example, let’s say Snappy’s getting into the vintage jewelry business and selling exclusively online. Here’s how he might use calls to action in his content.  

    CTAs on your website

    Snappy’s goal is to have visitors starting browsing products in his online shop. The landing page may have some information about where he finds his jewelry and how he researches its history and prepares it for sale. There will definitely be high-quality close up images of some of the best pieces. There will also be a button that stands out: Explore the Collection. That’s the call to action to go to the online items – the next step that the history and the gorgeous pictures are leading up to.  

    CTAs in blog posts, videos, podcasts

    This is where the calls to action can be highly focused. Let’s say Snappy’s building a loyal YouTube audience that eagerly awaits his latest videos on styling prom and date-night outfits with vintage jewelry. The call to action at the end of each video could be Visit the Prom Shop Now and a link to the shop page that features a selection of pieces that will appeal to—and be priced for--teens and young adults. shopping cart ctaMaybe experienced collectors are another segment of Snappy’s business. The blog might cater to these customers with individual posts about unusual or valuable finds, a little backstory on those pieces, and highly detailed photography of each piece. Here, the call to action could be Shop Our Collectibles Now, linking to a shop page with rare, higher-priced pieces for vintage jewelry connoisseurs.  

    CTAs in other content

    On those shop pages, a “buy now” or “add to cart” button is the call to action. Make it bigger than the other text so it’s impossible to miss. Email newsletters can include seasonal calls to action, such as Shop the Halloween Collection Now or limited-time calls to action like Get These Deals Before They’re Gone. Snappy’s social media posts could be as simple as individual photos of new pieces with a link to their sales pages to Snap It Up Now. Or maybe he’s using social media to get more people to Join the Email List or Read the Vintage Jewelry Blog. Whatever he wants his audience to do, he’s asking clearly.  

    What are some CTA best practices?

    Remember, the call to action is a deceptively simple piece of copy that moves your visitors to take action, and fast. The ‘fast’ part matters, because typical site visitors spend a whopping 10-20 seconds on the site and read no more than 25% of your copy. Your CTA must catch visitors’ attention immediately and get them to do something that allows you to stay connected – usually joining your email list or subscribing to your blog—so you can build a relationship with them. Here are four simple ways to improve your site’s CTAs for more conversions.  

    1.    Add a call to action to your site’s homepage

    Just by having a call to action on your homepage, you’ll be ahead of most websites. In 2013, a survey of 200 B2B companies with fewer than 100 employees found that 70% had no call to action on their homepage. Calls to action are what help businesses (and blogs) establish relationships and trust with potential customers—and one simple way to do that is by asking for further contact. For many businesses, the goal is to add subscribers to the company email newsletter. For bloggers, the goal is typically getting folks to subscribe to the blog. In both cases, you’re collecting email addresses you can use to reach potential customers later on with giveaways, surveys, and promotions. For some businesses, the goal is to get visitors to call or email so you can answer their questions and discuss what they need. This is especially true for consultants, designers, and writers who sell customized solutions, rather than service packages or physical goods. In these cases, the call to action can be a simple “Contact Me” (or a more compelling variation – see below) plus a phone number and email address above the fold on the homepage. According to that same B2B survey, though, 68% of sites don’t have the company email address on the homepage. This lack of easy-to-see contact information is madness, and now that I’ve mentioned it, you’ll probably notice it all the time as you navigate the web. Unless your business is already wildly profitable and your brand is ultra-exclusive in-the-know-only cachet, make it easy for potential clients to contact you.  

    2.    Create calls to action that serve you and your audience

    Seth Godin, the entrepreneur, author and blogger, has a call to action on his blog that offers a benefit for readers: “Don’t Miss a Thing.” Subscribers get Godin’s new posts in their inbox and avoid the fear of missing out (FOMO). They’re happy to keep up with his ideas, and Godin’s email list keeps growing. Meanwhile, over at Copyblogger, the goal of the blog is to get visitors to try out their free marketing training, so that’s the call to action you’ll see in the sidebar next to each post. As with Seth Godin, they’re gathering email addresses and offering something in return, although in this case it’s a freebie rather than blog updates. Copyblogger CTA post  

    3.    Make your call to action fresh and compelling

    Bland "Sign Up!" and "Join Now!" CTAs are better than nothing, but there’s a lot more you can do to motivate visitors to take action. Productivity expert Carson Tate has an email opt-in on her homepage with the CTA, “Step One: Enter your info to get expert tools and coaching.” Taking “step one” makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something already, and I would much rather get expert tools and coaching than sign up for a general newsletter. Carson Tate CTA The pop-up CTA on the Knitpicks yarn and fiber arts website takes a different but equally creative approach. For crafters, it’s hard to go wrong with “Why, hello there! Be the first to know about special offers, new yarns and inspiration galore!” This one hits a lot of the right notes in 16 words. There’s a friendly greeting, a cure for FOMO (fear of missing out), the promise of deals, and creative ideas -- much better than “join our list.” KnitPicks CTA

    4.    Make your call to action easy to see

    You don’t need to make your CTA huge or tacky. The simplest approach is to eliminate visual clutter that distracts visitors from your CTA and make sure the CTA is “above the fold,” an old-school newspaper term that now means an item is at the top of a web page so visitors can see it without having to scroll down. Be selective about what occupies your above-the-fold space. When I launched my professional website, it had icons for all my social media channels displayed above the fold, next to my email and phone number. During a site critique, the reviewer asked me what the point of my page was. Did I want prospects to contact me or to follow me on Twitter? As someone with bills to pay, I decided to move the social media icons below the fold so they didn’t distract from my call to action, which was for clients to call or email with their project requirements. It’s not only freelancers who indulge in CTA overload. A promotional-product retail site I shop at has, as of this writing, two online chat tabs, one giant phone number, one coupon code link, a Shop Now button, and a field to enter a promo code all above the fold – plus a blinking light GIF. It’s hard to know where to look or what to do first. A competitor’s site, by contrast, is promoting a seasonal sale with one large button. There’s nothing pulling the viewer’s eye away from that big sale button above the fold. By making your CTAs easy to see, interesting to read, and appealing to potential customers, you should see better results from your marketing efforts. For more insights on creating compelling offers and tracking your marketing efforts, check out our post on boosting site traffic. [bctt tweet="A good CTA uses simple wording to encourage readers or viewers to take immediate action that will benefit them." username="hostgator"]  

    Parting thoughts

    Respect your audience’s time and make the call-to-action process easy for them. Keep it simple, think about what you want each piece of your business content to do, and you should start seeing better results from your marketing efforts. It wouldn't be right if we didn't end this post with our own CTA, so here goes...

    Strong CTAs are key to having a successful business. So is having a great website. You can have both with HostGator.

    Learn more about our award-winning web hosting. We offer free site transfers!

  • Digital Resumes: 3 Ways Your Website Can Get You A Job

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by

    Digital Resumes

    “Looking for a new job is SO FUN!”

    - No One Ever

    We get it, but as digital experts we’re here to help you discover a few clever ways to make the process easier and dare we say... fun?!

    Your end goal, we presume, is to land an awesome job with great benefits and a kickass salary. While there are no guarantees, we can certainly help you on your journey.

    Resumes are essential for the majority of job candidates. Why not stand out even more with a website resume?

     

    Your Website = Your Digital Resume

    A website or digital resume is a great way to share more of your personality and to show what you have to offer far more than a humdrum piece of resume paper and Times New Roman font.

    In the online realm, you have access to color, video, GIFs, and so much more to help you stand out from the crowd of candidates. Most potential employers Google search prospective employees anyway. You may as well give them something to find that shows off your best qualities.

    First, get a website. Consider locking down a domain name that is the same as or similar to your name. For example:

    www.YourFirstAndLastName.com or

    www.YourInitials.com or

    www.YourFirstNameAndYourIndustry.com

    Keep it simple and straightforward so that your site is easy to find.

    Once you’ve got your site ready to go, here are some ways to put it to work for you as you hunt for a new career.

    Domain Name

     

    1. Let the people know.

    Don’t keep your job-hunting a secret. Let your audience of website-viewers know that you’re searching for a job. Write up a quick blurb or blog post tell your story. Build a resume with your skills and experience, but use the visual perks of site-building. You now have access to fancy colors and fonts, videos, images, and logos -- all things that wouldn’t go (or would look weird) on a resume.

     

    2. Make it interactive.

    Freelance designer Robby Leonardi’s design portfolio and interactive resume went viral earlier this year. Robby takes his online viewers through a video game scenario in which users scroll their way through his designs, skills, and experience while witnessing first-hand his commitment to his craft.

    Digital Resume

     

    3. Show and tell.

    Resumes traditionally adhere to a very specific fancy paper format, but keep in mind that technology has updated quite significantly. Most hiring managers first view your resume on a screen, so sharing links to your email address, digital portfolio, and website is the right thing to do. Tell them with your resume, but show them (and show off) your capabilities with a website. Here are some general things to include regardless of your industry:

    • A professional image of yourself on your site helps to humanize your application.
    • Screenshots or icons of work-related or educational awards you’ve received.
    • Images or videos of you at work, giving a presentation, leading a meeting.
    • Pictures from work-related events you’ve attended or helped to organize.
    • Testimonials from colleagues or clients that speak to your stellar work ethic and creativity.
    • Published papers, articles, or press releases that you wrote or that mention you.
    • A bio of your accomplishments.
    • Professional alumni groups to which you belong.
    • Clients you’ve helped -- you can include their logos and website as long as you have their permission.
    • Contact information -- always make it easy for an employer to get in touch with you.

    We do suggest that you tailor your site to your particular industry. If you’re an artist, show your art. If you’re a product developer, show your product.

    Do you have a website resume or have you hired anyone who used a website resume? Let us know what’s worked best for you!

    Build your digital resume today with your very own website.

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • What are Touchpoints and Why Does Each One Count?

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by
    What are touchpoints As you look into marketing tips for your new business, you’ll probably see references to “touchpoints.” What are they, and what role do they play in a successful small business marketing strategy? Consider this blog your personal Touchpoints 101 class. We'll cover the basics of how to identify touchpoints, create positive ones, and use them to build your business.   HostGator Website Builder  

    What are touchpoints, anyway?

    Generally speaking, a touchpoint is any point of contact between a business and its audience of customers and potential customers. Every time your audience interacts with your brand, there’s an opportunity to strengthen (or undermine) your relationship. For example... Let’s say Snappy’s Crawfish Pies buys a booth space at a community fair and co-sponsors the event.Snappy Grilling Every event flier and social media post that goes out with Snappy’s listed as a co-sponsor is a touchpoint. Local folks see the message and see that Snappy’s is contributing to the event. That’s a positive touchpoint because it shows support for the community—and it lets potential fairgoers know that they can enjoy a hot crawfish pie while they’re at the event. At the fair, the experience of buying a pie from Snappy’s booth is a touchpoint that informs their view of the brand. Social media posts, visits to Snappy’s website, and contacts with customer service are all touchpoints, too. [bctt tweet="#marketing definition: A touchpoint is any point of contact between a business and its audience." username="hostgator"]  

    Why are touchpoints so important?

    Taken together, your company’s touchpoints define your audience’s experience with your brand. The more positive each touchpoint is, the better the overall customer experience. Using our hypothetical crawfish pie company, Snappy’s will want to make sure customers get a friendly greeting and fast service when they order in person, clear ordering information and easy checkout when they order online, and satisfying responses to any questions they ask of Snappy’s customer service department. [bctt tweet="The more positive each touchpoint is, the better the overall customer experience for your customers." username="hostgator"]  

    Who creates your company’s customer touchpoints?

    It might seem like touchpoint creation is entirely up to you as the business owner, but that’s not always the case. When a customer reaches out to your business, they’re creating a touchpoint. Maybe they check your website to see your business hours, or they call your customer service line to see about returning a purchase. Consumers set these touchpoints in motion, and your business needs to be ready to make them positive and productive. Third parties can create touchpoints, too. Say one of your customers sees a review of your business in their social media feed that reinforces their view of your business as awesome. That’s a touchpoint. If your business gets media coverage – good, bad, or indifferent – that’s a touchpoint for the customers and members of your audience who see it. Even bank and credit card statements can serve as touchpoints for your brand, when your customers see your business name in their transaction list. (If they see an unfamiliar charge with a confusing description and have to call their bank to find out it’s your business, that’s a touchpoint you’d rather not have. Choose your descriptor lines carefully!)  

    Where do touchpoints appear?

    For most small, home-based businesses, touchpoints mainly appear on your company’s website, in email, on social media, and on your product packaging. If your business is brand new and you’re just getting started, these are the areas to focus on first. If your business has a physical location or has booths at local events, in-person interactions with customers are touchpoints too. That includes everything from signage and employee greetings to product display and ease of checkout. As mentioned above, touchpoints can also take the form of media coverage and sponsorship of community events as well as direct mail, print and digital advertising, and post-sale customer surveys. Any time a customer or potential shopper contacts your business, that’s a touchpoint.  

    When do touchpoints matter most?

    customer touchpointsMcKinsey recommends thinking about the entire customer journey and the touchpoints they’ll encounter along the way. In particular, think about what customers will want to know before they buy from you, how they’ll buy, and what follow-up information they’ll need before they buy again. Based on that recommendation, Snappy’s Crawfish Pies might outline its customer journey and touchpoints like this:
    • Pre-purchase: Customers may want to know if the recipe is authentic, what the ingredients are, what to serve as sides, and where to buy.
    • Purchase: Can they order online for home delivery? If so, does someone need to be home when it arrives? Can they pick up in store? Where does Snappy’s ship?
    • Post-purchase: Can we freeze the leftovers? How long will a Snappy’s pie stay fresh in the fridge? Can we schedule regular deliveries?
    Touchpoints are also important for reaching audience members who aren’t ready to buy just yet. The trick with these folks (and with your current customers, too) is to pace your social media, email, and advertising touchpoints so your audience doesn’t forget who you are but don’t feel stalked across the internet by your brand. As with email campaigns, you’ll have to monitor the responses to your touchpoints to learn how to pace them.  

    How can you use touchpoints to build your small business brand?

    Regardless of the platform you’re using to interact with your audience, following these three simple guidelines can help you get the most value from each touchpoint you create. Be consistent in your messaging. Choose a logo, a tagline, and a color scheme and stick with them. Many small businesses overlook the importance of visual branding and a simple written message. They end up turning out a jumble of touchpoints that indirectly portray the business as disorganized and unprofessional. Be positive, and strive to turn any neutral or negative touchpoints into positives. This is especially important on social media, where a post by your business may generate questions or customer service inquiries in a public forum. Remember that these situations are touchpoints not only for the customer involved but for everyone who’s following along, so show your customer satisfaction and communication skills in their best light. Track your touchpoints to see what generates clicks, sales, and referrals and do more of that. Refine or eliminate touchpoints that don’t yield positive results so you’re not wasting time and money on low-return processes. Marketing touchpoints can be a big part of small business success.

    Another large part of success is having a web host you can count on. That's where HostGator comes in.

    Explore our web hosting plans.

  • Why Entrepreneurship Matters

    Monday, April 17, 2017 by
    Why Entrepreneuriship Matters Entrepreneurs, we’re often told, are the economy’s heroes. Policymakers view startups and small businesses from Main Street to Silicon Valley as engines of innovation, economic growth, and overall prosperity. If you’re wondering whether to invest time and effort into starting your own business—or if you’re starting out and finding the learning curve steeper than you expected—you may wonder if the praise for entrepreneurs is valid or hype. Here are some reasons we think entrepreneurs and their work are so valuable, whether the businesses they run are large or small. HostGator WordPress Hosting

    Entrepreneurship lets business owners build they life they want or need

    entrepreneur lifeZhena Muzyka was a single mother with $6 to her name, no health insurance, and a child with life-threating health problems when she started her tea business. Muzyka told Entrepreneur magazine one of her goals was to grow her company to five employees so she could offer an employer-sponsored health plan for herself and her workers – the only way around the pre-ACA pre-existing condition exclusions that left her son uninsured. She told the magazine, “There’s nothing more powerful than a mother’s will to protect and care for her children and that translated into a new drive to succeed for me.” Today Muzyka is the author of Life by the Cup and has her own multimedia business at Zhena.TV, an outgrowth of her success turning $6 and a tea cart into a $6 million premium tea business. [bctt tweet="Entrepreneurship lets business owners build they life they want or need. " username="hostgator"]  

    Entrepreneurship offers new solutions to customer problems

    Sara Blakely wasn’t the first woman to struggle with ill-fitting undergarments but she was the first to make a billion dollars solving the problem. Blakely, founder and owner of the Spanx line of shapewear, wanted what most women who own a pair of white pants want – underwear that didn’t make her butt look awful in those pants. Making cut-off control top pantyhose for her own use was a start, but she didn’t stop there. After working hard to find mills that would create her products and stores that would stock them, Blakely leads a worldwide brand with a presence in dozens of countries and its own line of US retail stores—all because she found a problem and persisted in solving it for herself and her customers.  

    Entrepreneurship helps communities thrive

    Kentucky farmer Kenny Mattingly, whom I interviewed earlier this year for Out Here magazine, saved his family’s small dairy farm by learning to make artisanal cheese. Mattingly’s cheese-making venture pulled his parents’ farm out of the red, and his grown son is now in the business, which means the farm will stay in the family for another generation. Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese sells to farm visitors as well as to restaurants, grocers and individual customers across the US. The company catalog offers preserves, sauces, sausage, mustard, salsa, and wooden cutting boards made by other local entrepreneurs to create a more robust and stable local economy.  

    Entrepreneurship can create new jobs and strengthen the economy

    entrepreneurship good for economyKenny’s shows that even a small business can create jobs when it’s successful. When it comes to job creation, though, it’s hard to beat tech entrepreneurs. Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates, employs more than 100,000 people. Apple, started by the late Steve Jobs, isn’t far behind, with some 76,000 employees. However, those are just the numbers within the companies. Each enterprise has also created supplier, retail, shipping, marketing and other jobs related to its company’s products and services. On its website, Apple takes credit for creating 1.9 million jobs overall, including 1.4 million related to iOS and its many applications. Microsoft was responsible for creating 14.7 million jobs as of 2007, according to a company-sponsored economic impact study by IDC. Even a small entrepreneur-led business will generate some local economic growth. As your business grows, you may need to work with a CPA, an attorney to help you incorporate, and an assistant to take care of daily office tasks. That’s just for a solo-run operation. Product designers and small retailers can add even more strength to their local economies as they hire production help, sales clerks, customer service reps, and shipping staff. [bctt tweet="Entrepreneurship can create new jobs and strengthen the economy. " username="hostgator"]  

    Entrepreneurship can drive society-wide improvements

    Because entrepreneurs are driven to create the life they want and solve the problems they deem important, and because they tend to have strong community and economy-building skills, it’s not surprising that successful entrepreneurs are often the driving force behind major social initiatives. From Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, which donates goods to people in need for each shoe and eyewear purchase, to the Gates Foundation’s push to get cellphones into the hands of women in developing nations, entrepreneurs are naturals at thinking up solutions to problems we face. When Warren Buffett was a 13-year old paperboy and horse race tipsheet publisher, he was solving the problems at hand. Today, the investment guru is one of the wealthiest people in the world and a co-founder (along with Bill and Melinda Gates) of The Giving Pledge, a program that invites other billionaires to solve big problems by pledging half or more of their wealth to philanthropy. Among those who’ve taken the pledge are international royalty and nobility, donors from old-money families like Hilton and Rockefeller, and a substantial number of self-made billionaires.  

    More reasons entrepreneurship matters

    In my experience as a solopreneur with a writing business, I’ve found that being my own boss forces me to focus on what’s important and leave the rest aside. My kids are learning, by watching me and other entrepreneurs in the family, that setbacks are part of the process and that it’s possible to build something good if you work at it, set goals, and build strong connections with others. Even without a billion-dollar business model, there’s a lot of satisfaction in being able to decide which projects to say yes to and which to decline. There’s also a sense of pride that comes from earning enough money from my own business to contribute to causes that matter to me. If you’re just starting your entrepreneurial journey or wondering how to start, follow the HostGator blog for step-by-step guides to starting your own online store, surveying your customers, and launching your home business. Is there anything we missed? Tell us why you think entrepreneurship is important in the comments below.