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Entrepreneur Helps The Environment With Aqwastream™

Startup Tips from Founder, Mare Van Dyke

Recently, I went scuba diving in Redondo Beach, California and was looking forward to seeing fish, crabs, lobsters, and some interesting sea snails. But that wasn’t the case. This time, I dropped down into the ocean, and there was a sea of garbage.

I can’t say I was that surprised. ABC News reported that, “approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die per year by ingesting plastic bags” and an article at The Mother Nature Network states that, “80 percent of plMare Van Dyke of Aqwastreamastic bottles are simply thrown away.”

I was sharing this story with an associate and discovered that she is actually doing something about it. Meet Mare Van Dyke, founding partner of Aqwastream and what she had to say during our interview…

Tell us about Aqwastream and why you started the company.

In a nutshell, we are developing a system of personal, water-bottle refill and digital media-stations that dispense free, filtered water on college and corporate campuses. The program for universities will be funded by corporate sponsors and provided to them at no cost.

Aqwastream™ stations include a micro-broadcast network where videos play to promote sponsor sustainability efforts to a targeted audience. Our goal is to partner with sponsors, schools and corporations to attack the issue of plastic-bottle waste one refill at a time.

I’ve worked continuously in various education and marketing related positions for over 40 years. During that time, I had the privilege to learn many facets of business, both B2B and B2C and felt strongly about becoming involved in something that could make a difference in our world – some small action with an educational twist that had a long-term benefit. I’ve been carrying a refillable water bottle for more years than I can remember, so the opportunity to create Aqwastream was a perfect fit.

What makes Aqwastream unique and why do you think it will be successful?www.aqwastream.com

Aqwastream™ is unique because of the total system solution technology we’ve incorporated in our network of stations to educate and engage users. We are taking the idea of the prehistoric “watering hole” or more contemporary “water cooler” concept where users quench their thirst, and get caught up on the important news of the day.

Our broadcast network is designed to display content directly related to issues around sustainability – produced by corporate sponsors or creatively designed by students – and shown in an environment where education and company loyalty can increase engagement and action.

We’re also utilizing M2M (machine to machine) technology to manage all mechanical and technology systems on the station. Sponsors and hosts (corporations and schools) won’t have to worry about maintenance or service calls. We handle it all, having developed a proprietary remote monitoring system.

What has been the most difficult part about starting a new company and becoming an entrepreneur?

From a personal perspective, there’s a lot of buzz around young entrepreneurs taking their great idea to market. You see them on TV, in social media and on magazine covers. The excitement of their risk is buffered by the time they have in life to re-group if they lose all their money or that of their investors.

We don’t hear much about professionals who later in their careers, take their beliefs, experience and savings and combine them to start something new in what’s supposed to be a winding-down time. With everyone “working toward retirement,” you only hear warnings that you’ll end up as Wal-Mart greeters if you fail. In actuality, according to a December 2012 article in Inc. magazine, “Older Entrepreneurs Get a Bum Rap,” those starting businesses later in life have a pretty good shot at success.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far starting Aqwastream?

The most important lesson I’ve learned is to get outside of your current network. Fresh opinions and perspectives open your mind to possibilities and new connections. One particular new contact gave me advice that proved to be most valuable. She advised me to take advantage of my years of experience and connect only with those at the top level in each organization. She stressed the importance of “owning the start-up space” and adding value in every category by working top level players.

As a marketing expert, how are you marketing and promoting your new business?

Since becoming a founding partner of Aqwastream LLC, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and green movement professionals are communicating to their constituents. There is a tight network of those who already “get it.” Expanding our concept to broad and targeted audiences will happen through expansive efforts of social media. It’s where we all look to learn.

What tips do you have for other entrepreneurs just starting out?

My tip to new entrepreneurs is to create value right from the beginning by acquiring assets for your business. File for trademarks, create systems with technology, apply for patents, establish your brand standards, set up a solid accounting system, and add equity partners to your team. Put your ego on the sideline and skip the fancy office, address and business expenses that do not add value to the business you are building.

That’s great advice Mare. Is there anything else you would like to add?

One of the most poignant statements that I heard about building a new business or even running an existing company goes like this. “Everything a company does should be done to make it more successful. Everything else is just a waste of time and resources.” For entrepreneurs like me, this is timely advice.

Thanks for your insights Mare, and we wish you all the best with your new business. If you’d like to contact Mare, visit www.aqwastream.com.

Do you have comments or a good, startup story to tell? Please write to us below.

And if you need help with your PR and SEO content strategy to boost sales, please write to me at www.rembrandtwrites.com.

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Startup Tips from Founder, Mare Van Dyke Recently, I went scuba diving in Redondo Beach, California and was looking forward to seeing fish, crabs, lobsters, and some interesting sea snails. But that wasn’t the case. This time, I dropped down into the ocean, and there was a sea of garbage. I can’t say I was [...]

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So What is SEO Anyway?

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What is Content Marketing?

Does your business need content marketing?

There is a lot of buzz out there about “content marketing” and how it can make your business successful.

But what is content marketing, anyway?

It’s just a fancy name for using content to market to customers. And as I’ve said many times before, by providing value to your customers with good copy, or content, you create a more credible reputation. Plus, if you offer good content, people will want to tell their friends about your products and services.

Why use content marketing?

Ragan Communications offered a great article on why content marketing is important here. In the article, they list “24 stats about the importance of content marketing.”

For example:

“According to Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.”

And per an article on “Engage the Blog,” research conducted by the Custom Content Council indicates that, “90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% of people believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.”

These are just a few of the many statistics out there about the importance of marketing with content and why copy is still king.

How do you use content marketing?

If you want to increase online sales and awareness fast, start writing some valuable content. Here is a good process to help you get started:

  1. Figure out what your audience wants and what you want to accomplish with your content.
  2. Write an article or blog about that information providing valuable tips and information. (If you are not a copywriter, hire one to do the work for you. They will help save you time and money and provide better results.)
  3. Include your search engine optimization, or SEO, keywords in the headline and throughout the copy a few times.
  4. Add a link at the end of your blog or article to a landing page on your site or a page where site visitors can get more information.
  5. Track the results with Google Analytics or another program.
  6. Repeat!

Content Marketing Works!

If you see this process is working (and it does when done correctly), create an editorial calendar for the year which spells out what topics you’ll be discussing and the kind of content you’ll be distributing (blogs, articles, tip sheets, videos, social media events, etc.).

By creating valuable content (especially with SEO) specifically for your target market, you will bring in new customers and stand out from the competition. For the best results, plan your content in advance and test different topics and methods for sharing your content.

It’s a lot of work to provide good copy on a regular basis. But if you hire experienced, SEO copywriters to help you with the entire process, you will see sales and customer loyalty increase.

What are you waiting for? Start providing great, SEO content marketing and see what happens!

For more information on SEO content marketing, please contact me at www.rembrandtwrites.com.

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Does your business need content marketing? There is a lot of buzz out there about “content marketing” and how it can make your business successful. But what is content marketing, anyway? It’s just a fancy name for using content to market to customers. And as I’ve said many times before, by providing value to your [...]

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Exclusive Interview with Rich Dad’s Robert Kiyosaki

Insights on “Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students—and ‘B’ Students Work for the Government”
Rich Dad's Robert Kiyosaki, www.richdad.com
In an exclusive for StartupNation, Robert Kiyosaki, successful entrepreneur, investor and author of the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” offered his insights related to his new book, “Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students—and ‘B’ Students Work for the Government.”

In regard to this financial education guide for parents, here’s what Robert had to say:

Why did you write this book?

I wrote “Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students” for parents because parents are a child’s first and most important teachers—and they have an important job to do. They can truly influence the future of their children, because if they don’t teach their kids about money, they can’t on the school system to do it. Schools teach kids what the school system believes they need to get a good job… which, from my point of view, sets them up to be slaves to a job and a paycheck all of their lives. My poor dad was a well-educated school teacher with a Ph.D., but I struggled in school. I didn’t get good grades and flunked out of high school—twice. In fact: I hated school. But I love to learn. Today, I (the “C” student) hire “A” students, like accountants and attorneys, to work for me.

The financial crisis has just started and as more countries and baby boomers go broke, who do you think will foot the bill for life-support? Your kids, that’s who. And it’ll take the form of higher taxes. That’s why I wrote this book. I want to encourage and support parents who want to give their child a financial head start in life. And it starts with understanding money.

Since the school system is not giving children a financial education, are they teaching our kids to be poor?

I think schools are teaching kids to be poor, but worse than that they’ve teaching them to be slaves to a paycheck. That could be one of the reasons why the dropout rate is so high in schools today. As a young kid back in the ‘50s and the ‘60s, I kept asking my teacher, “Why don’t you teach me anything about money?” I never got an answer to that question.

And today, most schools still don’t teach kids about money. Whether we’re smart or stupid, rich or poor; we all use money in our everyday lives. It’s an important life skill and it’s up to parents to fill the void.

We’ve got to teach our kids about money because the United States is broke. We’ve spent billions on public education, and poverty keeps increasing. The rich get richer, the middle class is getting squeezed harder and harder… and the poor are getting poorer and poorer. What’s wrong with this picture?

Then, do you think parents should train their children to be entrepreneurs?

Only a child can decide that. I wouldn’t decide that for them. I don’t think there’s anything more pathetic than some kid who does what his parents want him or her to do. Instead, give your kids some financial education and then they can make their own choices later on in life.

If your children do not have a financial education, then they will probably end up being an employee or a self-employed specialist. And today, employees pay at least 40% of their money in taxes and the self-employed pay about 60%. Meanwhile, people who own large businesses pay only about 20%, and investors with a high level of financial education and well-structured investments can often pay nothing—0%—in taxes. Very often the people who end up paying the most in taxes are the ‘A’ students who get out of school and become doctors, lawyers and attorneys.

Kids who have a financial education will have more choices in life and not be stuck working for someone else or living off government hand-outs.

What can a parent do to start giving their child a financial education?

I outline some specific activities—Action Steps for Parents—at the end of each chapter of the book, but the most important thing is to make your home an active and fun learning environment. And it doesn’t need to be difficult. You can play games like Monopoly® and CASHFLOW®, discuss the day’s news and learn new, financial vocabulary words each day.

Every day we make real-life decisions about money so start sharing this information with your children. For example, show them what happens when you don’t pay your bills, how tax payments are taken from your paycheck or how you plan for unexpected expenses. You can also help them set up their own small business to learn about money and investing firsthand.

The point is to teach your kids about money at home because they are not going to get a financial education in school.

Thanks so much for your time Robert!

For more information about Robert Kiyosaki’s new book, “Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students—and ‘B’ Students Work for the Government,” visit www.richdad.com.

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Insights on “Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students—and ‘B’ Students Work for the Government” In an exclusive for StartupNation, Robert Kiyosaki, successful entrepreneur, investor and author of the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” offered his insights related to his new book, “Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students—and [...]

Continue Reading

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