Log of what of Hikaru Higaki has learned at Techie Youth

Fri. Jul. 22, 2022

Techie Youth: Minimum Viable Products

Starting a business can be risky. Time, effort, and money are invested into businesses, often times at the cost of the entrepreneur.

Therefore, it is important to establish a minimum viable product, or MVP. A minimum viable product serves the purpose of being a sort of prototype. MVP's are meant to diminish risk. The founders of Airbnb established an MVP by renting out their own apartment to see if people would use their service. The MVP is a product that is close to what the business hopes to sell, but without the full commitment.

The MVP provides a snippet into the consumer market. It allows the business to see how consumers react to the product's release and any thoughts they may have about it. It also helps draw customers to the brand and build publicity. The reaction in response to an MVP is used to improve upon the product to make it more marketable or even eliminate it all together.

It is important that entrepreneurs be open and adaptable when listening to feedback. Some entrepreneurs choose to pivot after releasing an MVP. Pivoting is changing the direction of a business by changing the product drastically. Pivoting can lead to immense success, especially after tailoring the product to consumer reviews.

One of the greatest assets an entrepreneur can have is being flexible. In a world full of innovation and competing products, listening and implementing feedback can be the leading steps to success.

Thu. Jul. 21, 2022

Techie Youth: Company Branding -- Logos

When thinking of creating a brand, designing a logo is typically at the top of the list.

A logo is often the initial visual interaction a consumer has, so it needs to accurately represent the company. Looking at the company's values and story to incorporate into the logo is a good idea. If the company uses heirloom methods to create their product, the logo can reflect that hand-made and vintage feel. Taking into consideration color theory and color psychology can be useful as well. Red is a powerful and eye-catching color, and is said to evoke a sense of hunger. Red logos can be seen representing many food and drink companies.

There are different ways one can generate a logo. There are websites, such as Wix, that can create logos with the option to customize them later. These logos are often simplistic, but easy to create and free. Another route is to seek the help of a graphic designer. A good graphic designer will have an extensive process of creating a logo. This includes researching the company and their customers, discussing a theme/mood with the client, and sending the correct digital file that will not blur if manipulated. It is necessary to check their portfolio and confirm with companies that used their services of their legitimacy.

Another important aspect to remember is how the logo will fit in different mediums. Merchandise, websites, social media profiles, and business cards are places where logos are used. Being sure that the digital file will look right in all these forms is crucial.

A logo can be complex or simple, but must accomplish the job as the face of a company. As the company grows, it can become an iconic image that is recognizable in an instant.

Wed. Jul. 20, 2022

Techie Youth: Making a Business

The first step to creating a business is having an idea. This idea can be a solution to everyday annoyances or a provider of enjoyment. Once a business idea is established, it is important to share your idea with others. There is often the concern that people will steal the idea and create their own business, but the opportunity for constructive criticism is much more valuable than this possibility.

Consulting with people who would be potential customers and those with business experience are important to find. They can provide insight on ways to improve the idea and make it more profitable, competitive, or long-term. Not asking for the opinions of others can lead to the business failing after lots of money and time spent.

Next, creating a business plan to flesh out the idea and think about all aspects going into it is crucial. A business plan usually consists of proof of the idea's demand and competitiveness, story behind the business, and financials.

Remembering that sharing your idea with others and tweaking it regularly is a necessary step is imperative to success.

Tue. Jul. 19, 2022

Techie Youth: Entreprenurial lifestyles

The lifestyles of entrepreneurs can vastly differ depending on the individual.

Some entrepreneurs have a 9 to 5 job while balancing their business. They make time before and after work -- waking up early and sleeping late -- to invest in their business. Eventually, if the business gets successful enough, they may quit their day job and work on their business full-time. This can look like the idealized lifestyle of an entrepreneur -- being a "digital nomad" just a laptop and internet connection.

Other entrepreneurs' work life may look like a typical 9 to 5. They go to the office everyday and answer emails, make phone calls, and conduct meetings. Having a physical office and team to interact with is where many entrepreneurs thrive.

Entrepreneurs can also manage their business remotely from their home office. They can still have some freedom in their schedule , like waking up later than usual, but are often as busy as any other entrepreneur with answering emails, providing feedback, and participating in meetings.

However an entrepreneur's lifestyle may look, they all usually share the important traits of being a passionate and hard worker.

Mon. Jul. 18, 2022

Techie Youth: Entrepreneurship

An entrepreneur can be defined as someone who takes an idea and makes it into a business. There are many myths and preconceptions about entrepreneurs, such that they are born not made, must be highly intelligent, and exclusively work by themselves. However, many successful entrepreneurs do not check any of these boxes.

For most entrepreneurs, working with other people is more helpful than not. Finding people who are invested in your idea is important. Intelligence, integrity, shared goals, and determination are other things to look for in business partners. Constructive criticism -- whether that be from mentors, friends, or customers is also extremely valuable to entrepreneurs and in business. Surrounding yourself with people who can provide this can make the difference between a business succeeding and not.

Other than people who can offer feedback, entrepreneurs need funding and knowledge about the field to proceed. Identifying how exactly the product will solve a problem and being able to make the solution a reality is the foundation to a successful business.

Many entrepreneurs do not start as one. They may be working gig jobs -- driving, delivering food, etc. -- or balancing a 9-5 career as well. Although there is often a financial risk in starting a business, a successful one will bring more money than a typical job. There may even be a period when the company is losing more money than they gain, but exponentially increase gains after some time.

Entrepreneurship is an attractive path for many, but an intimidating one. Nonetheless, having the passion and willingness to make sacrifices is one of the most common themes behind successful entrepreneurs.

Wed. Jul. 13, 2022

Techie Youth: Becoming a Remote Customer Service Representative

Considering becoming a customer service representative opens many opportunities. Often, with only a laptop and high-speed internet, one can earn money without leaving the house. Customer service jobs can range from live chat agent to virtual assistant.

Customer service requires strong communication skills. Agents must be able to solve customers' problems effectively while representing the brand in a positive light.

Agents use different strategies to build connections with customers. They may use customers' names often while speaking or ask out their day. Having customers see representatives as personable people is important. Some recommend having a profile picture and name shown to increase relatability.

Customers often come to representatives angry and frustrated. Experienced workers recommend to address their worries off the bat and steadily work with them to solve the problem. Communicating concisely but in an easy-to-follow way is key.

Some customer service jobs have a greater barrier to entry than others. Call agent jobs require a landline and others require a special training program to get familiar with their products. There are many resources to find customer service work, including big companies like Apple.

Customer service jobs are a good remote option for those who have great communication skills and enjoy helping others.

Tue. Jul. 12, 2022

Techie youth: Book publishing -- Traditional vs Self

Authors must make the decision to publish their book traditionally or by themselves.

Traditional publishing offers perks such as copies of the book be sold in physical stores, help with designing the book cover, and the validation of being with a prestigious house. However, traditional publishing can also take a lot of time and money. Authors must query for opportunities, usually with the help of agents. This can mean many rejections and waiting. The process of getting a book published can take several years.

Another option is self publishing. Self publishing has a much lower barrier to entry, and authors can start as soon as they finish their books. Nonetheless, it can require a lot of work, such as finding an editor, a graphic designer, and text formater. Even so, self-published authors sometimes find that they can earn more through this option. Authors typically receive around 70% of the revenue generated by sales, while traditionally published authors receive 10%.

There are different obstacles to consider when choosing between traditional and self publishing. Still, one piece of advice that writers have for beginning authors is to not compare yourself to others and be unfazed by rejection.

Mon. Jul. 11, 2022

Techie Youth: Becoming a Digital Nomad with Limited Expenses

Becoming a digital nomad - someone who can travel without the confines of a set workplace - entails freedom, excitement, and new experiences.

There are many jobs that allow for the digital nomad lifestyle, such as writing online, transcribing, and using social media. Websites like Upwork are available that allow users to find freelance jobs. When choosing this path, it is important to remember to have a device, charger and strong internet connection. Another option is working locally. Restaurants and hostels typically hire without a rigorous application process. Becoming a tour guide and busking are other alternatives.

When thinking of expenses, there are many opportunities to reduce them. Hitchhiking and walking instead of paying lowers transportation costs. Using websites such as Couchsurfing to find a place to stay eliminates housing costs. Even asking hostels if they can accommodate you for free is a practice that digital nomads do. Some social media content creators can travel, all expenses paid, in exchange for promoting the services that they use.

After following these methods, many people find that traveling costs less than their typical living expenses.

Being a digital nomad is a rewarding lifestyle that can be more attainable than people may think.

Fri. Jul. 8, 2022

Techie Youth: Mentoring

One of the most important and sought-after starter goals in a business journey is having a mentor.

When thinking of getting a mentor, it can be tempting to reach out to role models and ask for their help hastily. However, there are differences between role models and mentors. Role models are often times idealized and do not have a personal connection to the person that admires them. Getting a famous role model to become a mentor is not realistic for many people. Mentors, on the other hand, are people with experience in a specific subject that have the ability to work directly with a mentee and guide them to achieve their goals.

Before finding a mentor, it is recommended that one gets started in the field first. Having basic background information and a basic understanding of the field can make communication between mentor and mentee more effective. The best advice a mentor can give is usually experience and opinion-based, not purely factual.

Additionally, potential mentors will see the effort you have made and passion that you have. Mentors can be very generous and helpful, but a mentee must have potential to offer in return.

To build stronger relationships between mentor and mentee, mentees should keep in touch regularly. At the same time, they should be conscious of their mentors' busy schedules and try to keep to the point when possible.

It is important to remember that both mentors and mentees should both benefit from a relationship. Mentors should be helpful, while mentees should use their information and make effort to build upon it.

Thu. Jul. 7, 2022

Techie Youth: Remote Working

Working remotely offers many great perks, such as limiting commuting time and staying in the comfort of your house.

Nonetheless, remote work also poses challenges. It can be hard to keep track of what is going on, especially if communication takes places through several different channels. Having a single mode of communication that can be looked back upon can be helpful for workers, especially if they need to catch up quickly. However, there are still times when emailing can be a hassle, such as when deciding a time for a meeting. In these cases, companies can use programs such as "Doodle" that allow workers to select a few times they are available and send that to participants to compare. This system allows for meeting times to be decided upon efficiently.

Remote work can also pose a barrier to creating relationships. In this case, it is recommended that co-workers have regular video meetings to socialize and connect. Including ice-breakers and scheduling time to talk outside of work can help build relationships. Many companies that have remote workers also utilize a buddy-system, or an assigned co-worker to check up on once in a while. Taking the initiative to be friendly and approachable, whether through video or text, is important in remote settings.

Working remotely may be difficult, but being mindful of any potential negatives and working with them can make the positives outshine.

Wed. Jul. 6, 2022

Techie Youth: Job Interviewing

Interviewing can a complicated and daunting process.

However, there are many ways to make a good impression on recruiters. Candidates can start by practicing. This can mean using school resources, recruiting family members and friends, or taking a video of yourself. Researching the most common interview questions (Tell me about yourself, What are your greatest strengths, etc) and having answers prepared can make you feel less nervous.

When interviewing with video call, it is necessary to pay attention to the environment. Is it quiet enough? Does the background look presentable? Is the lighting and camera angle flattering? Is the internet connection working smoothly? A few tips when interviewing on video call include: muting yourself when not talking, looking into the camera, and remembering to smile.

What material to bring and appearance are also important factors to consider. Usually, candidates should dress into an interview with a business casual or formal clothing. This may change according to each company. Being at least 15 minutes early and being friendly with any staff you encounter -- whether the recruiter themselves or not -- is essential to remember. Also, carrying a notebook to take notes, copies of your resume, and references to your work may also be a good idea. Candidates should communicate to recruiters that they are agreeable, competent, and prepared.

With these steps, candidates can start the interviewing process feeling confident. Interviews are not just opportunities for recruiters to observe candidates, but for candidates to observe the company as well.

Tue. Jul. 5, 2022

Techie Youth: Learning to Earn

In this age, remote work seems increasingly attractive. It can give the freedom to set your own hours, work from anywhere you choose, and eliminate commuting costs. There are many resources that allow people to find exactly what they are looking for.

However, the process of becoming employed can be a difficult one. First, one must set up a system to get paid. Researching different bank account to find one that works best for your needs is essential.

There are many different types of systems to manage finances in business. Some include: checking and savings accounts, payment service providers, and cash. Payment service providers allow businesses to receive money from credit cards, either online or in-person.

When applying for a job, there are many factors one must consider. This includes setting up a LinkedIn profile, and creating a resume and cover letter. These are often the first interaction recruiters have with candidates, so must be updated constantly to best reflect a candidate.

Applying for a job also means cleaning up any social media presence recruiters may have access to. Having unprofessional content may count against a candidate's application.

Once a candidate has passed through the initial application process, they are typically interviewed. Being prepared and professional is essential in this step. Remembering to wear the correct attire, bring the right materials, and sending a thank-you note after all contribute to a recruiter's impression.

Lastly, getting hired at a specific position may be an end goal for a while, but feeling satisfied with your job and knowing your worth are key to a better quality life. Being unafraid to stand up for what you want is one of the most important skills someone can have, either in professional or personal life.