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  • Need a Business Loan? Compare the Top Online Lenders

    Wednesday, September 7, 2016 by

    Need a Business Loan

    If you’re a small business owner and you need an infusion of capital to grow your company, an online lender option could be the best fit.

    Unlike traditional banks, online lenders don’t use extensive applications requiring years of tax returns. By answering a few basic questions and linking your business accounts, you can get access to thousands of dollars in cash in just a few days, or in some cases, just a few minutes.

    There are lots of online lenders out there, and each has its own way of doing business. Some online lenders may be better suited to your needs than others.



    Kabbage offers qualified businesses access to lines of credit up to $100,000.Through their quick application process, Kabbage reviews your business accounts (business checking, PayPal, Square, QuickBooks) to get a full picture of your business.

    Rather than repeatedly applying for a loan every time you need extra capital, you withdraw from a line of credit as needed. For instance, you might be approved for up to $50,000, but only draw $5,000 to cover the payroll of two new part-time employees for a month. A few months later, you could borrow another $2,000 to do an emergency inventory restock.

    The funds are always available, and they're accessible online or right from your phone using Kabbage’s mobile app. 

    Each time you borrow against that line of credit, you get between six months and one year to pay it back. Rather than charging interest, Kabbage assesses a monthly fee, between 1 and 12% of your total principal, when you qualify.

    While there are no prepayment penalties, a borrower doesn’t save much by paying the loan off early, since the highest fees are paid in the first two months.

    Pros: Ease of use; generous borrowing standards even for businesses without an extensive credit history, plus you can find out if you qualify in just a few minutes. For a limited time, HostGator is giving away a $100 Amazon* gift card to those who qualify.

    Cons: High fees in the first couple of months; shorter loan terms.


    PayPal Working Capital

    PayPal Working Capital is ideal for businesses that already process their sales through PayPal. Once you confirm your data with PayPal, it uses your sales history to determine your creditworthiness and the total loan amount you qualify for. Like Kabbage, it takes only a few minutes, and applicants get a decision quickly.

    PayPal Working Capital differs from Kabbage in several ways:

    • They offer set loans, rather than access to a line of credit. Total loan amounts vary, but are capped at a percentage (usually 15%) of a business’s yearly sales, with a maximum of $85,000.
    • Instead of paying the loan back on a monthly basis, PayPal takes a certain percentage of your sales each day. If you have no sales, then no fees are deducted.
    • You can only apply for another loan once a previous loan is paid off. With Kabbage, you have access to a line of credit, and each withdrawal is considered a separate loan in terms of its repayment schedule.
    • Rather than assessing a monthly fee, PayPal Working Capital charges a set fee for the entire loan, calculated based on the loan amount, your repayment percentage, and your PayPal sales history. The higher your repayment percentage (i.e., the amount of your daily sales PPWC takes), the lower your fee.
    • While repayment is based on daily sales, every 90 days a minimum payment is due. If their cut of your sales over that 90-day period doesn’t equal at least 10% of your total loan amount (the loan itself plus the fixed loan fee), then you’ll have to pay the difference.

    PayPal Working Capital is great for someone who’s already using PayPal to process their payments, and who needs a bit more flexibility when it comes to repayment.

    Pros: Repayment based on sales, rather than on time. Seamless integration with existing PayPal sales data.

    Cons: Only available to businesses that use PayPal to process transactions; borrowers must reapply for each additional loan, and can’t take out another loan until the previous one has been repaid.



    LendingTree is a peer-to-peer lender, though many of its so-called “peers” are really institutional lenders — like banks or mortgage companies. It acts as a marketplace where prospective borrowers enter some basic information, and lenders then compete for their loan. LendingTree isn’t solely in the small business space, and it offers personal loans, mortgages, and auto loans, among others.

    It also offers four different types of business loans: long-term loans, short-term loans, business lines of credit, and alternative financing (including cash advances and startup financing). All of these loan types have different requirements, different repayment periods, and different interest rates. Unlike many other online lenders, some LendingTree loans require a credit score, and even collateral. They do, however, offer much bigger loans than either Kabbage or PayPal Working Capital, and are thus more suitable for businesses looking to fund serious capital projects. These larger loans also have longer terms.

    Since LendingTree acts primarily as a marketplace, a sort of matchmaker between borrowers and lenders, there’s less uniformity and more complexity. The application process has been streamlined, and borrowers should hear back within a few days’ time. But LendingTree lacks the simplicity of either Kabbage or PayPal Working Capital.

    Pros: Lots of options, large loan amounts, and competitive rates from different lenders.

    Cons: Some major loans require collateral and use your personal credit score to determine your level of risk, which can eliminate businesses whose owners have a checkered credit history, even if their business is doing well. Many LendingTree loans require a personal guarantee, which makes the business owner personally liable for the loan should the business go under.


    Every small business is unique and has different financing needs. Before committing to an online lender, be sure to consider what’s most important to you, whether that be flexible repayment plans or easy access to funds.

    We hope this overview helped you decide on a lender for your small business loan. Remember, for a limited time, HostGator is giving away a $100 Amazon* gift card to those who qualify for Kabbage.

    *Customer will receive a $100 Amazon gift card upon submitting a qualified application to Kabbage by 11:59pm EST September 29, 2016 through the link provided in this post. The gift card promotion is being run by Endurance International Group. Gift cards will be delivered to qualified customers electronically October 29, 2016. Amazon is a trademark of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Amazon is in no way affiliated with or a sponsor of this promotion.
  • 5 College Entrepreneurs Whose Online Businesses Paid For Their Education

    Wednesday, August 24, 2016 by
    College Entrepreneurs

    Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become household names in recent years, as they’ve enabled the launch of such products as the Pebble Watch and the Veronica Mars movie. According to Business Insider, now university students are cashing in on the trend, with “the number of GoFundMe campaigns specifically mentioning ‘tuition’ having risen 4,547% from 2011 to 2014.”

    With the increasing cost of university tuition, it should come as no surprise that students are unearthing whatever revenue streams they can.

    While some students turn to crowdfunding to help with tuition costs, others question why they should have to wait until graduation to start their own business. Five of these enterprising students shared with HostGator how their online businesses grew from ideas to cash cows.

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    1. Pandy Apparel

    Founded by Kate Delossantos, University of Maryland at College Park

    Pandy Apparel

    Kate hopped on the crowdfunding trend to test the viability of her business idea. “Back in the summer of 2015, I held a successful Kickstarter to print my very own line of clothing. After I sent out the clothing to my backers, I was really happy and excited that people liked the clothes I made. That's when I decided to start my own online clothing store, which I named pandy apparel.”

    In addition to designing the clothing, Kate creates all the graphics and photography for the site and codes the layout. She credits this experience for helping her decide her college major. “After putting so much work into it, I realized that this was the kind of thing I was really passionate about, and I changed from a computer science major to an art major.”


    2. Board Blazers

    Founded by Greg Rudolph, Arizona State University

    Board Blazers

    They say all it takes is one good idea, and in Greg’s case, that idea was based on something as simple as duct tape. Greg is now a graduate student pursuing his MBA, and he still marvels at how one innocuous observation grew into a worldwide business:

    “After I spotted a student who had duct-taped Christmas lights to his skateboard riding around the Arizona State University campus one night in 2011, I was inspired with the idea for Board Blazers LED Underglow Skateboard Lights. I risked most of my personal savings and started the company while an undergrad at ASU at age 20 in March 2012. Since then, the company has grown surprisingly to sales in all 50 states and 35 countries around the world. Our lights have been featured at SXSW, by celebrity Casey Niestat, and by pro skater Tech Na$ty.”


    3. MOVE

    Founded by Ashley Olafsen, University of Massachusetts Amherst

    MOVE Official

    When they were just teenagers, Ashley and her best friend Lexie Phipps founded MOVE, which stands for Motivate. Overcome. Value. Empower. The duo is “dedicated to working with middle and high school aged girls on body image, media, self esteem, mental health, and more.”

    Not only do they host workshops and summer programs, but Ashley has already achieved one of her life goals, giving a TED Talk. You can shop MOVE’s products or sign up for a workshop at their website.


    4. Ace Work Gear

    Founded by Max Robinson, Imperial College London

    Ace Work Gear

    Max had made a hobby out of building websites for fun, but it wasn’t until a friend introduced him to e-commerce that he considered doing something similar.

    Based in Fife, Scotland, Ace Work Gear sells and ships hardware tools and workwear to construction businesses worldwide. “It took me quite a while to build the site properly and I had to find a company that was willing to rent the website from me, but I'm very happy with how it turned out and continue to make updates and adjustments on a weekly basis. I've even been able to use the website as part of my college portfolio!”


    5. Game Learners

    Founded by Ravel Charles, Northeastern University

    Game Learners

    Game Learners serves as an online resource to help gamers and parents tap into the educational power and health benefits of video games. Not only did Ravel start Game Learners as a student, but he was also inspired by one of his classes.

    “I realized how similar one of my favorite video games was to the concepts I learned that day in my Project Management class. That day I learned about the project management life cycle and managing a project. As I was learning about it I realized that the concepts came easier to me because it was very similar to how I play Franchise Mode (Called MyGM Mode) in NBA 2K16 and manage my own sports team. In the video game, the owner of the team will give directions and I will have to make sure to complete them in a timely fashion, with goals that needed to be achieved along the way. This is similar to managing a project in real life. From there, I thought, how can other children benefit from this type of learning?”

    Ravel keeps the website open-source and free for members, making money off of advertising.

    Bonus Entrepreneur: HostGator


    HostGator was originally founded in a dorm room in Florida Atlantic University. We've since grown to be a global provider of web hosting and related services with over 500 employees working out of offices all over the world!

    Are you inspired by these student entrepreneurs? Start your online business today with your very own website from HostGator.

    Get Started With HostGator!

  • Airbnb, Uber — Now: The Rise of Online Lending

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016 by

    Online Lending

    Cash flow. It’s the #1 priority for any business owner.

    We can (and should) talk about passion, leadership, and full-stack/content/social marketing, but at the end of the day (and Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful would concur), cash is king.

    In the past, if you needed a loan for your business, you had to go to a bank. You had to dress up in your best suit, provide a ton of records, and go through an arduous application process.

    And after all that, there was no guarantee you'd be approved. It was stressful, tedious, and frustrating. Now there’s a faster, easier way to get the funding your small business needs. In a sense, it's an Uber for lending.


    Wait, There’s an Uber for Borrowing Funds?

    With online lending, you not only don’t have to go to a bank to get a loan, you don’t even need to leave your house! Instead of putting on your best suit, you can apply for a loan in your footie pajamas. (We don’t judge.) And your chances of approval are based on the health of your business rather than just your personal credit score.


    How Does Online Lending Work?

    Online lending lets you apply for a small business loan in just a few minutes with a few keystrokes (or taps on your phone). You’ll be spared the long wait to see if you’ve been approved, as most applicants hear back within minutes to just a couple of days. You could have access to the money your business needs as soon as the same day.

    Online lending has exploded in the last decade as nimble upstarts, armed with the insights of data and unburdened by the capital requirements of traditional banks, aim to disrupt lending the same way Uber has disrupted transportation and Airbnb has given hotels a run for their money.


    But What’s Wrong with Traditional Banks?

    Following the financial crisis, many risk-shy banks seriously cut back on their small business loans. Regulations designed to rein in the excesses of the subprime mortgage bubble further contributed to the crunch. According to Biz2Credit, only about 17% of small business loan applications are approved by big banks.

    That’s less than a one-in-five shot for any business owner needing an infusion of cash.


    Online Lenders Save Small Businesses

    Enter online lending, which, as an industry, has doubled in size every year since 2010. By 2014, it accounted for more than $12 billion in loans. While that’s just a growing slice of the lending pie, these new lenders are eager to expand to serve increasing numbers of customers.

    The loans (and lines of credit) given out by these companies can range from as little as $2,000 to as much as $100,000 and beyond. The terms of the loans can range from six months to several years. Interest rates vary, and some companies, like Kabbage, don’t charge interest in the traditional sense; rather, they assess a monthly fee, usually a small percentage of your principal, when you qualify.

    The application and approval process is also different for online lenders. Rather than require stacks of financial records, they review your business accounts, like PayPal QuickBooks, or a business checking account. They use technology to analyze your cash flow and give you a decision in just minutes. 

    Like with any source of funding, there are risks to online lending: Any business should be careful to invest funds in things that will provide a return and should only borrow what they can pay back. But used wisely, they can be an indispensable tool as you build your business from the ground up.

    Find out how much working capital you qualify for at Kabbage. HostGator is currently giving away $100 Amazon* gift cards to those with approved applications.


    *Customer will receive a $100 Amazon gift card upon submitting a qualified application to Kabbage by 11:59pm EST September 6, 2016 through the link provided in this post. The gift card promotion is being run by Endurance International Group. Gift cards will be delivered to qualified customers electronically October 6, 2016. Amazon is a trademark of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Amazon is in no way affiliated with or a sponsor of this promotion.

  • 10 Lessons From Top Athletes For Entrepreneurs

    Wednesday, August 10, 2016 by
    Top Athletes

    You may spend a lot of your time behind a desk devoting more of your efforts to exercising your brain than your body, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your work is incredibly dissimilar from that of top athletes. Many of the skills that make entrepreneurs successful have a lot in common with those that enable athletes to get the gold (or silver or bronze).

    You don’t need to get to a gym and start doing hours of physical training every day, but for entrepreneurial success, you should pay attention to these key takeaways from how the top athletes train and win.


    1. Set goals.

    Define what you want to achieve. To keep herself and her training on track every day, gold medalist Natalie Coughlin sets both short-term and long-term goals and commits to consistently achieving them.

    Setting goals turns ideas into something tangible and achievable, particularly when you have a mix of high-level, long-term goals that you break down into the smaller goals you need to achieve in order to get there. By sitting down to really work out what you want and what you need to accomplish to get to what you want, you create a clear path to success.

    The path may veer into different directions here and there, but as long as you create clearly defined goals and hold yourself to them, your chances of success greatly increase.


    2. Seek out help.

    Like entrepreneurs, superstar athletes are often independent and driven, but the most successful amongst them have the smarts to see that they need others to succeed. No athlete gets to the games entirely on their own.

    [bctt tweet="Just like professional athletes, entrepreneurs need a team for business success." username="hostgator"]

    Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin talks openly about how important her relationship with her coach is to her success. For Olympic runner Bob Schul, one of the most influential factors to his success was his coach and mentor Mihály Iglói.

    Between the coaches, doctors, and the loved ones that all support and encourage athletes, winning a medal even in an individual sport is something of a team effort.

    Running a business is no different. Finding mentors who know more than you and hiring people who specialize in all the things you don’t can make all the difference in going from being someone who just has a good idea to someone who runs a successful business.


    3. You have to be all in.

    Nobody makes it onto a professional team that just kind of sort of wants to be there. Everyone who gets picked decided a long time ago that this one thing was his or her number one goal and priority.

    Four-time gold medal winner Jesse Owens has been widely quoted as saying “we all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

    [bctt tweet="Want to be an entrepreneur? Don't just fit in your dream around your day job; make it your day job." username="hostgator"]

    If you want to get a business off the ground and keep it successful in the long term, the odds are against you. To beat those odds, you have to make your business a top priority and commit fully to making it work.


    4. But also, learn how to pace yourself.

    Olympic training regimens are time consuming and brutal, for sure. What they also are though is carefully crafted to push the limits of what the human body can accomplish without ever going past what’s safe or healthy for the athlete. That’s a delicate balance.

    Too much training counter intuitively leads to a worse performance, if not injuries that take athletes out of the running entirely.

    Just as overtraining can lead to failure for athletes, overworking can cause burnout for entrepreneurs. Stress can have some pretty serious effects on our health. You have to work hard to succeed, but not too hard.


    5. Be willing to take risks.

    In response to critics who said he stayed in the ring for too long, Olympic gold medalist Muhammed Ali famously said, "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

    Many sports are dangerous and all of them come with the constant risk of losing – and if you get far enough, losing in a very public way. There’s a lot that’s scary about being a professional athlete, but the rewards are great.

    Anyone who’s pursued entrepreneurship knows the same applies. Whether it’s quitting your stable job to see if your business idea will work or taking out a big loan to finance your company, the risks are significant. But the end goal of being a successful business owner makes all those risks worth it.


    6. Focus on the long game.

    Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones recently announced that she wouldn’t be heading to Rio for this year’s Olympics due a recent hip injury, but added “See you in 2020 homies.”

    Knowing she couldn’t make her best showing this year without the potential of harming herself further for future competition, she made the smart move to hold off on going for a medal today to increase her chances of getting one later.

    Success in most things comes from playing the long game. Most Olympic athletes train for years in order to make the Olympic team. During that time, the rewards are virtually nonexistent. All the work is going toward a potential, future award (that not all will achieve). But the possibility of that gold medal makes the long years worth it.

    [bctt tweet="Just like pro athletes, entrepreneurs typically undergo years of planning to reach ultimate success." username="hostgator"]

    In most cases, running a business works the same way. Unless you’re abnormally lucky, your first few years will be demanding, difficult, and far more full of risk than reward. But only those who play the long game and stick it out make it to the finish line.


    7. Diversify your skill set.

    Every athlete has one sport they focus on. The runners are focused on improving their run times, the swimmers devote most of their training to swimming, and the gymnasts give their attention to perfecting gymnastics.

    Nonetheless, many of them benefit from mixing things up a bit. If you look at the exercise regimens of different Olympic athletes, you’ll see it’s not all one thing all the time. Skier Julia Mancuso does squats and free-diving, as well as keeping up with her ski practice. Luger Erin Hamlin does weight training, pull-ups, and yoga.

    Every Olympian focuses on one thing, but all of them do a mix of exercises in order to excel at their one specialty.

    Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats as well. You can’t just be an idea guy, you have to figure out how to make plans, execute a variety of tasks, hire and manage the right people, and attend to a wide number of other needs that will come up in the course of running your business.

    Be willing to hire and delegate when needed, but also make an effort to learn at least a little bit about most of the skills and knowledge areas needed to keep your business going.


    8. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

    Comfort is nice. We all like being comfortable, but it’s not where the people who find the most success in life live.

    Many athletes train at high altitudes to push their bodies further while doing the same amount of exercise. Since high altitudes have less oxygen, the body compensates with extra red blood cells and the athlete can return to lower altitudes better prepared to take on their sport.

    Many Olympians who compete in outdoor events make a point of training on difficult terrain, so they’re that much more prepared for whatever challenges the Olympics courses throw their way.

    The lesson is clear, there’s a benefit to pushing yourself beyond what’s comfortable. That’s true in business as well. The most obvious, comfortable route is not always the one that will lead to the most reward. Try things that fall outside of your typical wheelhouse and consider routes that wouldn’t be your first choice.


    9. Be persistent.

    It’s easy to come up with excuses not to do something. What’s harder is facing down those excuses – even good, persuasive ones – and continuing in your efforts in spite of them.

    Olympic kayaker Carrie Johnson had a great excuse to stop kayaking competitively in 2003 when she learned she had Crohn’s disease. Battling a disease and competing in the Olympics is a lot for one person to deal with. But as you can guess, based on the fact that we’re writing about her here, she not only went on to compete in the 2004 Olympics, but then again in 2008 and 2012.

    Not every athlete deals with a health issue like Crohn’s disease, but almost every athlete will deal with an injury at some point. An injury’s a perfectly good reason to stop training and focus your efforts on something that doesn’t push your body so hard. But at some point, every athlete has faced that easy excuse to stop and made a choice to keep going.

    When you run a business you will face difficulties and challenges. It’s not a question of if, but of when. You can easily turn those challenges into excuses to stop, or you can take the more difficult path and keep going. Persistence is a necessary ingredient in every entrepreneurial success, just as it is for every medal an athlete wins.

    [bctt tweet="Persistence is a necessary ingredient for entrepreneurial success, just as it is for top athlete." username="hostgator"]


    10. Take care of yourself.

    Athletic training is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. Most of the lessons on the list drive that idea home. Success in both arenas takes a lot of work, a lot of risk, and some falls along the way.

    But one of the things most successful athletes and entrepreneurs do that people don’t talk about as much is find little indulgences that help balance out the work.

    Most Olympic athletes have a routine, a particular hobby, or a number of non-sports interests that help them take a break and relax in between bouts of training. Speed skater J.R. Celski takes trips to the sauna after his workouts. Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler meditates every day. And skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender likes to go fishing.

    Make sure that, somewhere in your to-do list, you make sure to fit in whatever your version of fishing or meditation is. The culture of entrepreneurship is so focused on hard work, there’s a risk of feeling guilty anytime you set aside a night for watching Netflix or take a week off to go on a well-earned vacation, but we all need that time.

    You might be a persistent, risk-taking, hard-working entrepreneur, but you’re still a human being. If Olympic athletes can make room in their schedule to relax, then you can too. 

    A key part of entrepreneurial success is having a great website. Enjoy gold medal web hosting with HostGator!

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  • Happy Friendship Day! 7 Reasons Why Going Into Business With Your Friend Can Be Truly Great

    Tuesday, August 2, 2016 by
    Friendship Day

    Jobs and Wozniak, Hewlett and Packard, Procter and Gamble, Ben & Jerry… there’s a reason these famous business partnerships resonate with us. These companies (and many more) were founded by friends.

    And it makes sense. We hear of the inventor who single-handedly had the bright idea to do x or y and change the world, but when it comes to business, we often hear stories of friends experiencing something together, or waxing philosophically, when one of them says something along the lines of, “Hey, what if we did this?”

    With Friendship Day coming up this Sunday, we at HostGator reached out to entrepreneurs who had started businesses with their friends. We wanted to know: What’s unique about having a friend as a business partner? What are the pros and cons to running a business with your friend?

    Overwhelmingly, the entrepreneurs responded positively, eager to share the advantages that make co-founding a business with your friend an unparalleled experience.


    1. Your friendship defines the office culture

    When you’re working with friends, work simply becomes more fun. Shared laughter and inside jokes are invaluable as you’re working on the monumental task of building a business.

    [caption id="attachment_11716" align="alignright" width="240"]Mallory Musante and Anna Osgoodby Mallory Musante and Anna Osgoodby[/caption]

    Mallory Musante, co-founder of Bold & Pop with Anna Osgoodby, says it’s the best of both worlds. “Not only does having a friend/business partner make running a business easier with the support they provide but it also makes it fun! We may get stressed but we’re there to pull each other up and then celebrate with each other later!”

    Granted, there are those who tout the importance of having a work/life balance, but many co-founding friends embrace bringing their life to work.

    “[As] an entrepreneur, it is hard to balance work with a healthy social life as I am constantly trying to promote and develop my business. Having a friend as my business partner helps make the balance much easier,” shares Ravel Charles, who started Game Learners with friend and college classmate Samantha Gignac. “It makes for a fun working environment. The ‘office-culture’ is dictated directly by our friendship.”


    2. You have each other’s backs

    It’s not rocket science - of course it’s easier to trust your new business partner when it’s someone you’ve been friends with for years. This foundation of trust allows you to focus on the task at hand of building and growing your business.

    BonAppetour is a startup founded by Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo, who met at university and came up with their business idea when they were backpacking around Europe and couldn’t find a restaurant that was open. Having that trust established allowed them to move forward towards growing their business, rather than getting bogged down in some of the legal particulars of founding a company.

    “It’s easy to trust each other, and not doubt the other person, especially in the early stages of the business when the most important thing is the growth, rather than things like getting equity papers sorted out, and the shareholding structure… Of course, that is important, but when there is a comfortable friendship already, setting up those structures takes a backseat in the face of growth.”

    [caption id="attachment_11715" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo Rinita Vanjre and Inez Wihardjo[/caption]    

    3. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses

    Part of what makes friendship great is that we are aware of our friends’ faults, but we love them anyway. Lifelong friends also know what their friends can do better than they can.

    Successful business partnerships often involve founders who complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You have this with Walt and Roy Disney. Walt was the unbridled creative, and Roy was the sensible financier.

    Aron Ezra and Keith Michel are childhood friends and have co-founded two businesses together, the most recent of which is OfferCraft, a software startup in the hospitality industry. Having worked together for nearly a decade, they can provide a unique perspective.

    Their advice for new entrepreneurs? Find a co-founder who loves doing the things you hate doing.

    [caption id="attachment_11714" align="alignleft" width="250"]Dan Grech Dan Grech[/caption]

    Dan Grech, VP of Marketing and Public Relations for OfferCraft, says this is why they work so well together. “Aron loves talking about the business to new people, whether it's reporters, sales prospects or recruits; Keith prefers working intensely with members of his team. Aron enjoys coming up with new ideas; Keith loves figuring out ways to turn those ideas into elegant pieces of code. When you are friends, you understand each other -- both your similar values and your different preferences. By understanding your differences, you never step on your co-founders' toes. In fact, Aron and Keith are always incredibly relieved (and a little incredulous) when the second person happily steps up to tackle the tasks that the first person is dreading.”


    4. You’re more accountable

    Going into business with a friend has a tendency to raise the stakes.

    When their best friendship turned long-distance, Michael Noker and Jessica Cadena launched the Get Two Fit fitness blog to stay in touch. Michael shared, “The emotional attachment you have to your business doubles, triples, explodes through the roof. It's not just your baby - it's the product of your relationship. The stakes are high because failure could mean fallout. We have to compartmentalize pretty much constantly, because it needs to be clear when we're talking business or friendship, work or play.”

    [caption id="attachment_11713" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Jessica Cadena and Michael Noker Jessica Cadena and Michael Noker[/caption]

    Michael attributes their productivity to their devotion to their friendship. “As an entrepreneur, you're married to your passion. You invest all your time, money, and energy - everything you need for a social life, health, and sanity. When you're going into business with a friend, you're married to your passion and to another person. You have someone to bounce ideas off of. You can cheer each other on. You're accountable to somebody. You each have strengths and weaknesses, so you can split the workload. You can't fail because you don't know what it would mean for the friendship, so you work that much harder. It's scary, it's precarious, and it's not for everybody, but when it works, it works perfectly.”


    5. You know how to support each other

    The saccharine phrase “that’s what friends are for” holds true in business, too. Friends can tell when you’re feeling down, and they know how to give you a boost when you need it most.

    [caption id="attachment_11711" align="alignright" width="210"]Dave and Olly Olly Mooney and Dave Hartshorne[/caption]

    Dave Hartshorne and Olly Mooney were friends for over a decade before they started the digital agency Dijitul. “We know when the other one is having a bad day, when to try and cheer them up, and when to stay well clear and let them have their moment! Basically, we know what makes each other tick,” they shared. “This has meant we've managed to work together for over ten years now and stay really good friends despite all the stresses that having a business brings.”

    [caption id="attachment_11712" align="alignleft" width="150"]Yuri Khlystov Yuri Khlystov[/caption]

    Yuri Khlystov, co-founder of Laowai Career job board, says the dynamic between business partners is more like a friendship than people may think. “Businesses run for years and require stable and trustworthy people to work side by side, just like a good friendship. To be an entrepreneur, you have to love what you do. Having a friend through thick and thin who is going through what you are going through provides stability (and is fun!).”


    6. You already have experience solving problems together.

    If you’ve been friends for some time, chances are you’ve already solved problems together, whether it’s as simple of a decision as deciding where to go out to eat, or assigning chores as roommates. When Felicia Schneiderhan founded 30SecondstoFly, she recruited her best friend and roommate of nearly five years to lead the marketing team. 

    [caption id="attachment_11710" align="alignright" width="280"]Felicia Schneiderhan Felicia Schneiderhan[/caption]

    “Now we are dividing our time between New York, Bangkok, and Berlin, and are balancing the friendship and roommate situation with a work relationship,” Schneiderhan shares. “I think it is important to consciously work on maintaining a healthy relationship, both in business and personally. In our case, we even entered into a hierarchical asymmetry, which complicates it further. Against all odds, I think this setup works so well for us, because we learned to develop a bulletproof conflict-solving mechanism early on as roommates, even before we started working together. Whenever we face a situation in which we disagree or misunderstand each other, we care a lot about understanding the other’s perspective. We then look for a way to avoid similar conflict in the future.”


    7. Your friendship will survive, even if the business doesn’t.

    It’s sad, but true: eighty percent of new businesses fail within the first eighteen months. With the deck seemingly stacked against new businesses, having a friend as a co-owner can help tip the scale a bit back in your favor, as the six points above demonstrate. You know how to work with your co-founder, you trust them, and best yet, you’ve solved problems together before. Unfortunately, though, sometimes businesses just don’t work out.

    The silver lining here is that if your business fails, you’ll have a friend to lean on who knows exactly what you’re going through.

    Ryan RobinsonRyan Robinson has written extensively about starting a business with a friend, having done it himself a few years ago. He now advises entrepreneurs on starting their own side business. Robinson and his best friend experienced rapid growth after starting their business, but eventually the revenue “began to flatten out at a level that would only provide either two people with a mediocre income or one person with the type of lifestyle we both aspired to obtain. Despite experimenting with new growth levers, it was becoming apparent that our business was really best-suited to be ran by one person, which created some tension around whether one of us should continue with the company or if it should be shuttered to avoid damaging our friendship,” Robinson shares.

    After much late-night discussions, he decided to sell his half to his friend. They’ve remained best friends through it all, Robinson notes, but it did take a few months for them to be able to move on and return to being just friends. Based on his experience, Robinson recommends that new entrepreneurs “have very candid conversations about what your course of action will be in the event the business fails, one of you needs to be bought out or in the event of other negative outcomes that you'll want to plan for ahead of time.”

    Are you thinking of starting a business with a friend? We hope these entrepreneurial insights have inspired you!

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