Rise of the Innerpreneur
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Who Owns Your Website? Likely, Not You.

I was just asked this by a client of mine. They wanted to know if they had the rights to the HTML code on their site.

HTML code is the computer language your website is written in. It looks like this:

HTML

I’m not a lawyer, and this question falls under internet law, so I had to do a little digging to give her a correct answer. I did find a great article on what you own (or don’t own) on your website.

It turns out, unless you clearly specify in a contract that you own the rights to x item created for you site, you don’t own them. This includes such things as:

  • The design
  • The software (HTML) code
  • The domain name
  • The graphics
  • The content (words)
  • The terms of use and privacy policies

It turns out intellectual property laws are designed to protect the creator, not the purchaser. The laws were created to encourage the creator to create.

If you hire someone to create anything for your site, what you are actually purchasing is a “license” to use the creation for the use intended by you and the creator.

So make sure you get it in writing if you want to have any ownership over your site.

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

Being a Green Business and What That Means

I want to run a green business

I am an environmentalist, a tree hugger, a dirty hippie and every day I do my best to lessen my impact on the earth.

My issue with calling Elastic Mind a ‘green business’ was that I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I used recycled paper and a waterless printer. I employ renewable energy to power my office and buy recycled furniture to fill it. I compost, reuse everything I can (including shipping envelopes and twist ties), go to meetings using public transportation and really try and do my best every day.

Is That Enough?

That may sound great but is it enough to be able to call Elastic Mind a green business? I wasn’t so sure since there is always more that I could do. For example, I sometimes run an air conditioner (which I borrowed, not bought) on super hot days so my Mac doesn’t overheat and explode. Is that really necessary? Could I live without it? Of course. So maybe my business practices aren’t good enough?

What Makes a Business Green

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing would argue they are. Here are his ideas for what makes a business green. They are reasonable, attainable and fair and prevent crazies like me from calling themselves hypocrites just because they have an air conditioner.

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

Business Plan? Don’t Be Bothered.

My Shameful Secret

I have something to admit. I never wrote a business plan for Elastic Mind. I never really saw the value in it for me. I started writing something resembling a business plan a few months back but it was only to appease the banks. I haven’t needed their money yet so the business plan sits in a folder, scribbled on, looking sad, in my filing cabinet.

I really wanted to write one. But only because I thought I ‘should’ as I was told over and over in business school (Wilfrid Laurier University) that business plans mattered. Plus, every entrepreneurial website (and I have been to a few) encourages you to write one and banks won’t talk to you if you don’t have one.

Business Plans, Are They Your Friend?

But putting the need for a loan or line of credit aside, is there value in them? I’d say no, at least in the traditional sense. I never understood the point of spending countless hours planning something out that will only change and shift and likely never resemble the original plan in the first place. What I do understand is having a vision and goal for your company and following it.

Create a Non-Traditional Business Plan

Since I usually feel alone in a lot of my views, I get happy when I find a like-minded individual. Wise Bread argues that you can create the non-traditional business plan you need by answering 4 questions.

They are:

  1. What is your product or service?
  2. Who are your customers?
  3. When will things get done?
  4. When are bills due and when do you get paid?

If you can answer those questions, you’ve got all the ‘business plan’ you need. At least until you start knocking at the bank’s door. And even then, they should have a business plan template that you can fill out. No need to spend money on business plan software or a business plan writer.

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

Buy a Car That Actually Appreciates in Value

Brandon Walsh's '65 Mustang

I didn’t know it was possible. I thought cars were the ultimate money sucker and certainly not an investment, unless you were the owner of a historic car. I’ve always dream of a ’65 Mustang for myself. I was inspired by Brandon Walsh back in the day and the dream stuck.

Wired reported today that there is more demand for Prius cars than there are cars being made. As a result, people will pay more. Just like Adam Smith said, goods are only worth what people will pay for them.

Supply and Demand, Prius Style, Wired.com Blog

I hope all this excitement about the Prius shows that North Americans are beginning to embrace a more sustainable way of living. Unfortunately, I am skeptical. I argue that most people buying the car are not truly informed of the benefits and drawbacks of owning hybrid car but are instead driven by their knee-jerk reaction to try and save money (even though in reality, they might not be).

For instance, did you know that while hybrids are the most gasoline efficient of all cars – they typically get 48 to 60 mpg. Which sounds good but that is only about 20% to 35% better than a fuel efficient gasoline powered vehicles – like the Honda Civic or Toyota Yaris, which get, on average, 36 mpg. When you compare the purchase prices – hybrids cost from $19,000 to $25,000 and gas saver cars cost $14,000 to $17,000 – the justification to buy becomes less clear.

Things are never as simple as they seem. Or more specifically, you need to educate yourself before you make any major decision. If I said biodiesel hybrids were the answer to all our car woes, I hope you would read up on it before you agreed.

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

You Don’t Have to Have a Great Vision

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t think you have the greatest new business idea. Most people don’t. – The Vision Myth

Think about what would make you happy and what you are truly good at before you decide to start your business. Follow those ideas. It’s all about exploring core values. – What are you core values?

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.