5 Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking Funding for Your Startup

You have your product, you’ve tested it with your target market, and maybe you even have a customer...what’s next? The next bridge you may need to cross is the good ol’ capital raise. Every startup has its own unique needs, and funding goals, but raising money isn’t as easy as walking up to a VC and asking for a blank check. If you plan on raising funding for your startup, you should also plan on avoiding some common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when seeking funding.

 

 

1. Making the ask before you’re ready

Every early stage startup wants to raise money, but not all startups are ready for it. Getting in front of a potential investor before your pitch deck is polished is a sure-fire way to not make it to the second meeting.

 

2. Throwing a business plan together

Yes, it’s true that during the early stages of a startup, your business plan will go through the ringer several times - with alterations and adjustments made along the way. However, nothing wastes an investor’s time quite like having them sit down to hear about a business plan that was just thought through the day of. Having your business plan together doesn’t mean having a twelve-page report of approximate financial projections for the next five years. What it does mean, though, is knowing enough about your target customer, product, business model, and go-to-market strategy to prove that your venture has real potential. Investors’ time is valuable. If you are lucky enough to make it to a meeting with a VC, nothing makes a worse first impression than wasting their time.

 

3. Talking the talk without walking the walk

Another - and possibly worse - way to waste any investor's time, is to convince them that you are further along than you are. VCs are looking for promising entrepreneurs who can prove that they have what it takes to launch and grow their startup - they aren’t looking for startups who spend all of their time talking about the great things they are going to do in the future, without showing proof. The best way to prove this is to show validated traction of some sort.  Whether this is that you’ve tested your product with your market, or...even better, already have paying customers (the freaking holy grail!).

 

4. Not knowing how much money you need

When investors say that they want to see the numbers, they aren’t talking about the billion dollars that you hope to make – they expect to see the actual numbers  – the thought-out, crunched-down numbers. VCs and angel investors have money to spend, or else they wouldn’t be there, but their money is as valuable as their time. Not knowing how much money you need tells investors that you don’t know enough about your company. If you don’t know how much money you need and specifically HOW you are going to use it, you may ask for too little money and fail early, or ask for too much money, and spend it on the wrong things. So, yes, when you ask for money you should know how much you actually need...who would’ve thought!

 

5. Asking the wrong people

With every new startup stepping up to bat, there is a new VC or angel investor in the stands. When you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to afford rent next month - above all other expenses your startup is about to incur - it’s easy to feel as though any money is good money, but making this mistake comes with a long term tradeoff that any committed startup can’t afford. Short term earnings may mean long term losses if your equity-owning investors are not a good fit for your team on a personal and business level. Investors don’t just give you their money in hope that you succeed, most investors give you their money in return for equity in your company and the relationship does not just end there. They want your startup to be as successful as possible and the higher the stake they have in the outcome, the higher involvement they’ll want to have in the decision making. Taking an investor’s money means taking them on as an owner in your company. Choosing the right investors in your company is just as important as choosing the right team, since, well...they ARE your team!

 

VR and Education: A $700M Introduction

When most people think of VR and AR users, they imagine a group of gamers. What they may not imagine is a group of students--but that is about to change. When the original Game Boys came out in the early 1990’s, they had no place in the classroom, but it’s quite the opposite story with VR and AR. EdTech startups are popping up by the dozen, and VR/AR startups are making their way into the mix. For a classroom, this means that students can now have their class anywhere in the world--and for an early-stage startup or an investor, this means that there is a new market opportunity, a $700M one at that (According to Goldman Sachs).

A recent Consumer Electronics Show survey, sponsored by IEEE, asked respondents which market they thought would see the greatest impact from VR/AR. The response was a whopping 36% indicating that education would reap the greatest benefit! (WOW, WHAT?!)

The EdTech VR/AR market segment is mainly comprised of devices and digital content. Despite this being a new market, several forecasts have already been made. A recent market report published by The Goldman Sachs Group made a prediction that this segment will be worth $700M in the next five years. Additionally, Farm51, a video game company, predicts that by 2018 the AR device market will be worth $3.6B, with education being a primary user.

Forerunners like Google know that this is just the beginning for VR and AR in education, which is why they launched their Pioneer Expeditions Kit in 2015. The kit allow classrooms to go on a VR tour to anywhere in the world, including Mars. The kit includes everything from ASUS smartphones to Google Cardboard Headsets. To date, 500,000 classrooms have used the kit. Not only has this program encouraged more classrooms to adopt VR/AR into their lessons, but also, Google Cardboard can make it even less expensive to afford this type of experience (albeit maybe not the best quality...but we all need to start somewhere!).

So, what does this mean for startups and investors looking to profit from this opportunity? This means that with more classrooms incorporating VR and AR into their lessons, there will be a higher demand for both content and equipment in the coming quarters.  

Startups like Immersive VR Education, and zSpace (who’ve raised $56.61M to date) are already profiting from creating classroom content, which ranges from underwater lesson plans to AR anatomy classes. With views on technology in the classroom changing--supported by a higher demand for experiential learning--it is no longer a question of if VR/AR and Education will meet, it is now a question of who is going to make the best introduction.

 

 

 

7 Totally Unique Things To Do on The Big Island of Hawaii

 

 

  1. Catch your dinner at the southernmost part of US

 

A particularly unique thing to do on the Big Island in Hawaii is visit Ka Lae, which marks the southernmost part of the big island and the US!  This is not a place where you’ll find restaurants and villagers, but you will find some of the best fishing areas on the island. A fun way to enjoy this part of the island is to rent out a vacation rental near the area, take a family fishing trip to the cliffs of Ka Lae and then enjoy a fresh, home-cooked meal while watching the sunset! The exciting part about this experience is the adrenaline rush that comes from looking out over one of the most dangerous currents, the current here extends all the way to antarctica. For dessert, you can check out the green-sand beach nearby, or even go cliff-jumping off of the western shore of the coast!

 

  1. Curtain of Fire: Erupting wall of magma

 

Inside of the famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you’ll find the curtain of fire. A 100 foot high, 1,500 foot long wall-like river of magma that runs along the side of the largest active volcano in the world, Mauna Loa. This is a hidden gem inside of the National Park; this exciting experience can be supplemented with other adventures within the park such as walking on lava beds and hiking up the volcano. If you want to take this adventure to the next level, you can even rent a helicopter and see the wall of magma from birds-eye view!

 

  1. Go geocaching on the Big Island

 

An exciting and untraditional way to explore the nature on the Big Island is to go Geocaching through the beautiful parks and forests! Geocaching is a recreational activity that sends participants on a scavenger hunt to find hidden and buried items via GPS coordinates. There are currently dozens of hidden treasures located on the Big Island! This is a great, free activity that allows you to see the island and have a fun time with a group of friends of family.

 

4. Escape the crowd and watch the sunset at The Old Kona Airport Beach

Located on the west side of the island is the Old Kona Airport Beach. The old Kona Airport was built in the 1940s until it was replaced by the newer international airport in the ‘70s. This is a less-touristy location perfect for enjoying a quiet night on the beach with your family and friends. The beach offers the site of the old runways that have also been used for drag racing. A great way to feel at home here is by renting out a beach house in the area and enjoying time with the locals in this serene, less-populated area.

 

5. Relax with a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage:

 

A more luxurious and unique thing to do on the Big Island of Hawaii is to try the Lomi Lomi massage, which based on the Hawaiian concept of Huna which originates from the terms “mana” and “H’oo”, meaning “life force” and “to make.” The ancient polynesians and hawaiian healers created this spiritual massage. The massage is performed based on the ancient cultural practice of channeling, controlling, and making this life force energy. Whether a girls trip, a family event, or a treat-yo-self day, trying a Lomi Lomi massage is a relaxing experience that you can only try in Hawaii.

 

6. Go off the beaten (and clean) path to Kamilo trash Beach:

 

This won’t be the most luxurious experience you’ll have in Hawaii, but it will sure be a unique thing to do on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Kamilo trash beach got it’s name from the liters of trash that washes up on its shores every day from as far as Japan. You can tag along with a local cleaning crew to give back to the beautiful Big Island, or just take a look at the almost 90% plastic beach. People have even taken to collecting the items that wash up on the shores. This isn’t exactly the beach to have a relaxing lounge on, but it will definitely be an experience you won’t forget!

 

7. Take a star-seeing adventure to Mauna Kea Observatory:

At a 13,000 feet altitude, the Mauna Kea Observatory offers a site unlike any other. This is a world-renowned observatory due to it’s location in the middle of the pacific ocean. It is currently the largest astronomy observatory in the world. There are several research facilities located at the summit of the observatory, and given the importance of the observatory and the trek to the summit, it is not open to visitors at all times. However, it is open for free star-gazing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. If you want to venture off for your own star-gazing evening, you can also head to the lava fields for a beautiful clear view of the night sky. Just be sure to wear the right shoes and bring a flashlight...yes, the lava is real!

 

 

Where to Stay in Kona

 

 

Family vacation? Honeymoon? Girls getaway? Whatever your reason for planning a trip to Kona, Hawaii, it’s definitely the right one! And lucky for you, Kona has a place to stay for all occasions. From tree houses to beach houses, the list below will help you decide where to stay in Kona.

 

 

 

Hale Hoku

Cozy Guesthouse | $$ | Couples and small families

 

If you still can’t decide on where to stay in Kona, check out this cozy, family guesthouse. Enjoy a local feel at this ocean-inspired guesthouse on the outskirts of the city. Away from the business of the tourist-filled city, but close enough to the local produce market and beach. Enjoy a nice sunset accompanied barbeque on the beach with your family or relax on the patio for your honeymoon, either way you won’t have a worry in the world at this private, cozy beach house!

 

Kona Seaside Hotel

Hotel | $$$ | Couples and families

Kona Seaside Hotel offers a local yet luxurious experience on the shore of Kona Bay. Kona Seaside Hotel was founded 60 years ago by a hawaiian native who came back from world war II with the dream of building hotels that embody the spirit of Hawaii. Today, people come from all over the world to stay in the family-owned, locally-run Kona Seaside Hotel. Enjoy room service and ocean views from your room or spend the day exploring the local restaurants and coffee farms or snorkeling in the bay.

 

 

Kealakekua Bay Bali Cottage

Cabin | $$ | Couples and solo travelers

Enjoy a nestled getaway in this one bedroom cabin on the bay. This was rated as one of the best places to stay in Kona through airbnb. Enjoy a private kitchen and bath with a two minute walk to the bay. The experience is made enjoyable through the airbnb hosts and their knowledge of the local area. Enjoy a peaceful trip to hawaii in this beach-front cabin.

 

O’oma Plantation

Guesthouse, mansion | $$$ | Friends, Group getaways

This 4-bedroom, 7-bathroom mansion is located right in the middle of paradise in Kona Hills. With an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and a hot tub to enjoy in the evening, this guesthouse offers the perfect escape for a family or group of friends. Enjoy laying on the beach, hiking the mountains, or relaxing in the entertainment room!

 

Hawaii Volcano House

Luxury Resort | $$$$ | Business travelers, couples

If you’re looking for an exotic, exciting place to stay, your search for where to stay in Kona is over. Nestled in the mountains, the Hawaii Volcano House is just as exciting as it sounds. Built in 1846, the Hawaii Volcano House and property offer a cultural visiting experience for families, couples, and solo travelers. Located right in the middle of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the area offers direct access to hiking trails on active volcanoes and historic tours on the rich land that makes up the park and island! This is a great adventure for anyone looking to dive into the Hawaiian culture! If you are craving a more nature-filled experience, the site also offers camping!

 

Alii Point

Private guesthouse | $$$$ | Couples

If you aren’t sold on the hot tub sunset view, maybe the outdoor bar, private beach, and tennis court will convince you! Enjoy a girls weekend or family getaway in this 3 bedroom oceanfront house in a private community by the bay. The master bath includes a king bed, private bath, and balcony. Kayaking, scuba diving, and dolphin watching is all a short walk away when staying at this private paradise.

 

 

Pineapple Park Kona

Hostel | $ | Great for travelers on a budget

Traveling with a friend? Traveling solo? Just want to hang out and meet people on your visit in Hawaii? Pineapple Park Kona is the best-rated hostel in Kona located right on Kealakekua Bay. In addition to enjoying a drink and conversation with fellow travelers, pineapple park also offers kayaking, manta ray snorkeling, and most importantly, free coffee every morning! They even offer access to car rentals and airport pickups. The area is surrounded by the pristine bay waters and miles of hiking trails.

 

Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa

Resort | $$ | Couples

Experience a champagne-filled glass of paradise at the world-renowned Sheraton Kona Resort. Most rooms comes with a mountain or beach view and a private balcony. The Kona Sheraton is located nicely between the ocean and the city. Guests enjoy the hot tub, poolside bar, and local activities like golf and tennis. With 24-hour room service and airport pick-up and drop off, the Sheraton offers a relaxing, hassle free, luxurious way to explore the big island.

 

Kona Coast Vacations

 

There is so much to do on the big island of Hawaii that it can be hard to choose where to start.

From mountain hiking to scuba diving, Kona offers adventures for all kinds of travelers.

No matter what the occasion, below are 4 vacation ideas for your Kona Coast Vacation.

 

  1. For the romantic getaway

 

Looking to relax on the beach? Seafood and wine at sunset? From honeymoons to anniversaries, Kona offers the perfect place for couples to unwind and enjoy the beautiful hawaiian land and lifestyle. Get cozy in an oceanfront cottage, central enough to swim with the sea turtles on the bay or enjoy a local dinner at the pier. From visiting a seahorse farm to watching for shooting stars at world renowned Mauna Kea Summit, Kona promises a memorable trip for all kinds of couples.

 

2. For the family beach trip

 

So what about the couples with kids you ask? Families of all kinds and sizes can lose track of time enjoying the beaches, restaurants and activities in Kona. Shack up in one of Kona’s many beautiful beach houses and live like a local for a week! Enjoy the privacy and quiet of renting a beach house on the water and ravish in the family barbeques, pool-jumping contests and bonfires while still being central enough to go for ice cream downtown or hike in one of the national parks.

 

3. For the adventurers and extreme vacationers:


For those of you who come to vacation prepared with to-do lists, cameras, and brochures, Kona is sure to offer a full-schedule for those looking for an adventurous kona coast vacation. Stay in a central loft and be in walking distance to the local coffee shops in the mornings and local breweries at night. Grab your bikes and trek over to the local market or make it a day trip and hike through one of the national volcano parks. Kona offers waterfalls, restaurants, and museums for all types of adventurers! Locals love to explore Kona’s Volcano park in the day and enjoy local wine from the volcano winery at night!

 

4. For the girls-weekend and reunions:


Just as excited for the bachelorette party as you are for the big day? Escaping the 9-5 for a reunion with your closest friends? Pitch in on a pent house, take off your heels, and enjoy your girls-getaway kona coast vacation. You won’t be bored with the local botanic gardens, art shops, and wineries. Enjoy a morning at the spa, afternoon at the beach, and evening drinking local wine in town. Kona offers a great mix between fun and relaxation for groups of all sizes!

 

 

The Best Free Sites for Finding Remote Work

So you want to be a nomad? Work from anywhere, travel, and control your schedule. Sounds like the life, right? Well, the life it is; but finding these gigs isn’t always as easy to do. Here are 5 of the best sites for finding remote work

  1. Indeed.com

For marketers, designers, developers, and all nomads alike.

As you may well know, Indeed is one of the most well-known job searching sites...and for good reason. Indeed is a hub of jobs from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Not everyone realizes that you can find remote gigs on Indeed because they don’t have a search filter for it; but indeed...you can. By adding the keyword “Remote” into your search results, you will find pages of remote work gigs. Even better, you can filter for entry level, salary, and job type (such as part-time / full-time.) Whether you’re looking for a virtual assistance or design job, Indeeds got you covered.

 

2. Angel list.

 

Techies, marketers, engineers, and startup lovers

If you’re a startup junkie, then you’ve definitely dabbled with angel list before. Angellist is designed for ease of communication between founders, investors, and everyone in between. By simply selecting “Romate Ok” from the location options, you have free access to hundreds of remote work for some pretty rad startups. You can even specify the industry, equity, and compensation in the remote gigs you’re searching for! Beyond being one of the best websites to find remote work, Angel List is also a fantastic way to build your network; hopefully you love startups!

 

3. Remote.co

 

Marketing, Design, Engineering, Sales and everything else!

Did the name give it away? You guessed it, Remote.co is a website for strictly finding remote work. Skip the filter and dive right into tons of remote job listings across industries and job types. You can search by industry, position title, or any other keyword! If you’re a developer who wants to work in education on a contract in Italy...Remote.co will hook you up!

 

4. We Work Remotely.

 

Sales, Design, Engineering, Marketing, and customer support!

WeWorkRemotely is a no-BS website that helps you find remote jobs across dozens of industries and a handful of fields. The website has one homepage with all jobs listed on it--allowing users to search through more jobs quicker. The is one of the best sites for finding remote work, due to the ease of use and diversity in positions. You can search by field or keyword.

 

5. The Muse

 

Marketing, Design, Sales, Engineering, and even career advice!

The muse is another well-known, but underrated sites for finding remote work. The site itself is for general job searches, not just remote, but through the Muse you can find marketing, web design, and other field specific gigs. You can even specify the sector of a job field, such as digital marketing or UI. To hunt down the remote gigs, all you have to do is type the keyword remote in the location box! Does it get any easier? Yes, well, it does...the Muse also offers real-time career advice and premium coaching!

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Steps to the Nomad Hustle: How to Find Remote Work

 

 

So...what’s this whole nomad thing anyway? How is everyone finding remote work online when you can’t seem to find anything. Well, don’t give up on your virtual victory just yet. Finding remote work isn’t as easy at is seems starting out, but once you find your gig...you’ll be glad you did! Here are 5 simple steps for finding remote jobs.

 

Step 1: Lay out your skillset

Not sure how to turn your day-to-day job into an online vocation? This is where most people get lost before they even start! The truth about remote work is that it takes a certain skillset, but not any far-out, unreachable skillset; nope, just the ability to manage your own time and projects while keeping a hustler mentality! On top of that, you’ve probably already picked up organizational skills from your desk job...so you’re in a good place! Whether you’re great at talking to people from working in nursing or you’re killer at Excel from being a secretary. Either way, if you want to show off your skills to someone else...the first step is to make sure you know your own skillset!

 

Step 2: Define or Create your niche

Whether you’ve decided that organization is your strong-suit or you’re great with numbers, now it’s time to apply these skills to an industry. Design, Development, and Marketing are some of the top job fields for remote work, and luckily there are a ton of niches in these fields and even more industries for these niches! For instance, if you want to get into web design after working in retail, the niche of logo design may be your new forte. Entering a niche takes some research, but choose something you're passionate about & the effort will come naturally! If you already know your niche, and your just not sure how to get started, it’s time to get your pens in a line and dot your i’s!

 

Step 3: Organize & Prepare

When working as a nomad, more than often you are an independent contractor or freelancer. These flexible, creative roles come with the fun responsibilities of keeping things organized for taxes, business filings, and general client/employer-facing relations. Before you jump into the application pool, take the time to brush up your LinkedIn, read up on your independent agreement forms and 1099s, and maybe even bust out a website to add to your applications.

 

Step 4: Begin the Hunt!

Once you’ve cleared your desk, opened your laptop, and prepared for your first gig...it’s time to find it! It’s not always easy finding remote gigs, but there are a bunch of sites that make it easier such as Angelist.co and Remote.co. If you followed the previous steps, all you have to do now is find the site and type the search keywords that match your niche! If you’re not sure where to start with finding the right website for remote work, check out this article on which sites are best for finding remote work!

 

Step 5: Win the gig with a killer online presence.

Once you’ve found some remote gigs and sent away the applications, don’t let your hustle stop there! When working online, you have to own the space you work in. The internet is your workspace and social media is your cubicle, so make it stand out by stepping into your own personal brand on social media. Through this you will, not only, up your chances of getting noticed for remote work gigs, but you may also build a killer network in the process!


With these 5 simple steps, the headache of finding remote work doesn’t have to be so bad. It may take some consistency, patience, and dedication, but if you can put the effort in, you’ll see how simple it really is once you find a remote job! After all...you’re a nomad now!