A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

Posts published in the Something To Do category:

My Experience at YC Hacks (Y Combinator’s First Hackathon)

YC Hacks I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. At 33 years old, I knew I’d probably be older than the vast majority of the 400+ people attending Y Combinator’s first YC Hacks hackathon. But other than that, I didn’t have many expectations.

YC Hacks was my first real hackathon. Many years ago, I went to the first SuperHappyDevHouse (and then 19 out of the first 20 of them), but I never had built and launched a web app in a weekend. Even though I’ve held down full-time jobs as a developer, I still have trouble telling people “I’m a developer.” I’m not a whiz-kid 19-year-old who grew up programming games in his bedroom, nor do I have a Computer Science degree from a prestigious university (I’m a dropout.) I program because that’s how I get to see my ideas come to life–and because it’s fun and addictive for me. And that’s why I signed up for YC Hacks.

With my startup having been acquired a few months ago, YC Hacks seemed like the perfect opportunity to meet new people and get exposed to the latest Silicon Valley trends.

Team? Team? Will You Join My Team?

My first exposure to the other attendees came through the YC Hacks Facebook group, where people seemed to be in desperate need of other people for their teams. At this point, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to build, and despite a torrent of private messages and emails from people asking me to be on their team, I didn’t commit to anything prior to the hackathon.

“Are you a designer or a developer?” was a popular refrain on the Facebook group, as well as “What’s your stack?” My response was basically along the lines of “I build shit that makes money” and “Whatever works to get the job done, but probably Javascript.” (Ironically, I would end up building a product at YC Hacks that doesn’t have a monetization strategy. More on that in a bit.) (more…)

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How to Be the Most Memorable Person in the Room

Be memorable “I came to South by Southwest. In a kayak.”

Tyler Tervooren and I were walking along the street toward my rental car to head out and grab the best chicken wings in town for lunch at South by Southwest.

Tyler decided to stay in a hostel directly across the river from the Austin Convention Center. And although he took the bus from the hostel to the convention center every day, he told me he envisioned renting a kayak and simply kayaking across the river. “It’s a straight shot,” he said.

While Tyler saw kayaking across the river as an interesting story, I saw it as an example of something else: something I’ve recently been completely fascinated by. I call it the 100% verbal opt-in, and I’ve lately become obsessed with documenting this phenomenon. (more…)

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Minimalism, Maximalism, and Traveling Around the Country in an RV

My RV
My new RV!
The blogosphere is on fire lately with regards to minimalism.

In case you haven’t heard of minimalism, it’s a movement whereby you live with fewer material possessions in favor of spending your income on experiences. I’ve Tweeted often lately about downsizing the house that I live in and getting rid of much of my stuff, and I’ve been asked several times if I consider myself a minimalist. This blog post is where I answer that question once and for all. (more…)

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How to Make Potential Customers Fall In Love With You in 30 Seconds

Elevator pitch. If I hear someone say “I am a life coach!” in their elevator pitch one more time, I swear I’m going to go all Homer Simpson and throttle them around the neck.

Let me explain. You see, I go to a lot of networking events…and I meet a whole lot of people. Unfortunately, 99% of those people are completely forgettable. That’s a problem, because when you go to a networking event, you really want it to be profitable for you. But how can it be profitable when no one remembers who you are and what you do? (more…)

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Five Steps to Freedom: How to Outsource Your Repetitive Tasks

How to outsource
Don’t enjoy cleaning your house, cooking,
or mowing your lawn? How to outsource
boring jobs in five easy steps.
If you haven’t outsourced something like cooking or cleaning yet, and you’re still doing boring drudge work in your everyday life, read on. In one week or less, you will free up 10+ hours of your time every week to do what you love! (more…)

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I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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