Poochie Trends: The Best Baked Biscuits for Your Favorite Poochie

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Everyone knows that many dogs in America live a life of plush beds, organic treats, and cashmere sweaters.  Okay, maybe not cashmere but, they are wearing anything from sweaters to life jackets.  The point is, there are plenty of dog lovers out there who care about their pet as if they were a human because face it, they are like children.  Being an avid dog lover myself, I like to do anything that will make my poochie happy.  Including buying homemade, organic doggy treats.

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Poochie Trends Pet Boutique and Bakery is a local business that bakes fresh dog treats daily.  This mother-daughter duo creates treats that your dog couldn’t have ever dreamed of!  They have everything from Wheat Free Apple Bacon Bites to Peanut Butter and Carrot Treats.  In addition, they have a Yappy Hour and even host Paw Parties, just in case you wanted to throw an official birthday party for your special pooch.

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Recently Poochie Trends participated in the retirement of a special officer who served his country and the Austin Police Department for over 12 years.  His name is Rocky and he is a black retriever mix who was born in the U.S in 2002, shortly after he received extensive training in the U.S Air Force.  After that he trained with military K9 Handlers and then was adopted by the Austin Police Department.  He spent his time with APD working in narcotics detection and was very active in the community.  APD held a retirement party for him where Poochie Trends made homemade treat bags and pup cakes.

Read the article here

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One of the great things about local businesses is that they really care about what is going on around the community.  Rocky served his country and Austin working to protect the citizens of this great nation and couldn’t have asked for better party favors than those of the flavorful organic, treats.  Poochie Trends really made his retirement party a success and has shown their appreciation for what he has done for our community.  Local businesses tend to help local initiatives and Poochie Trends is no exception.

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Here at BiGAUSTIN we are proud to say that we support these local entrepreneurs and that Poochie Trends is a loyal client of ours.

#8 Best New Restaurant by Bon Appetit

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Thai-Kun is a new food truck that has been hitting the Austin scene hard since opening day on March 1, 2014.  The iconic food truck is a spicier version of one of Austin’s favorite food trucks, East Side Kings.  Not only is it spicier but, it’s owned by the same guy who created those mouth watering dishes from ESK filled with jalapenos, cilantro, and juicy chicken (or beef tongue).  Austinites love their spicy food so it’s no wonder that this creative, funky trailer is rising to the top of the charts quickly and was named #8 Best New Restaurant 2014 by Bon Appetit.

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WARNING!  If you are hungry right now, this will only make you want to leap from your desk and rush to Thai-Kun outside of the Wonderland bar (beware, they open late).  If you take the trek down to the East Side, go ahead and splurge.  Buy the whole menu, it will cost you a whopping $56 to try everything they’ve got to offer.  Try the Beef Panang Curry, it’s loaded with spicy “beef chuck simmered in homemade panang curry, Kaffir lime leaf, steamed jasmine rice, and holy basil” (tip: add the fried egg for an extra $1).  This dish packs a serious punch and is not for the faint of the heart.  I2i4z4H-Imgur

Vegetarians rejoice!  There are a couple of vegetarian options, even a few that are vegan and gluten-free.  Try the Grilled Bread with Peanut Curry Sauce, it’s a “grilled baguette from Easy Tiger served with Thai’s peanut curry sauce, and pickled salad”.  Or, go for the Cabbage Two Ways which is a vegan and gluten-free option.  If you are going to survive here in Austin it is essential that you offer vegetarian and gluten-free options.  

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So, why are we even talking about all this food?  Why is Thai-Kun important to Austin?  That’s easy, because they are a local business that is improving the economy around Austin.  Not only have Thai Changthong and Paul Qui (co-owners) been making delicious, mouth watering dishes but, they have been supporting other local business owners around the area.  By posting up a food truck outside of a local bar, they have successfully brought business to that particular bar and the area as a whole.  East Austin is an up and coming neighborhood that historically has been inhabited by low-income, struggling families.  With the new food truck scene booming in East Austin there have been new housing developments and a range of local restaurants and yoga studios popping up.  The sleepy, forgotten East Side is now a haven for hipsters and food lovers alike.  

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The moral of the story is this: Thai-Kun and East Side Kings are not only extremely successful at preparing authentic Thai food but, they have been spicing up the community with the money that is being poured back into the local economy.  If you live in Austin or are just visiting for a few days, Thai-Kun is a must.  Get there before they get too big, there are rumors that they are planning a franchise and want to go national.  

Check out the article by Bon Appetit!

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Client of the Month: Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More

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We are excited to announce our Client of the Month is Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More!  Dwight Miles opened their doors three years ago on August 9, 2011 and since then has continued to grow and add more services.  Not only do they have a hip and trendy store, they make sure they are having fun while providing outstanding customer service.  They offer 24 hour turnaround on in-stock items, volume discounts, free design and setup, and unlimited colors!  Seriously, how can you beat FREE design and setup?  If you are anything like me, designing a t-shirt does not come easily!

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Owner Dwight Miles found out about BiGAUSTIN from a friend of the family and after over 20 years working in the corporate world he decided to make the jump into entrepreneurship.  Dwight contacted us and came to BiGAUSTIN for technical assistance classes where we worked one-on-one with him to create a business plan that incorporated his experience in retail and large corporations like General Mills and Kraft.  Coming from these wildly successful corporations, Dwight knew he had the experience and knowledge to create a plan that would be prosperous.  It was the HOW that he wasn’t quite sure about.  That’s where BiGAUSTIN came in.

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After creating a business plan with our talented experts, Dwight applied and was given a loan to open the doors to a new future.  He said it was difficult at first because you are so used to spending other people’s money in the corporate world and now you are spending your own.  This has been a challenge for him but, he said they have fun and are continuing to grow and learn as they go.

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Dwight says, “I cam across BiGAUSTIN at the right time.  Being a small business owner is challenging to say the least.  One of the greatest challenges you will face is gearing up for growth.  BiGAUSTIN has incredible resources that have helped me to take my growth curve to a whole new level.”

He sure has reached a whole new level!  Sales are up, customers are pouring in, and the orders are coming in faster than they can blink their eyes!  Being busy at work can sometimes be a stressful time but, Dwight seems content with their progress and expects them to only become more busy.  Maybe he’ll open up a second location…?  You just never know with these entrepreneurs, they get an idea and off they go to take on a new adventure.  Wherever the future may lead them, there will be tons of fun and awesome t-shirts involved!

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Here at BiGAUSTIN we are excited to see Dwight succeed and hope that he’ll give us a good discount on some one of a kind t-shirts (haha, just kidding!)  But seriously, we are so delighted with their success.  When our clients are successful, so are we!  So, if you ever need a t-shirt made for your volleyball league, your kids soccer team, or for that 5K you’ve been training for, give Dwight a call over at Big Frog and he’ll hook you up with some great deals and styles.

Congratulations Dwight and Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More!

Check Them Out on Yelp!

Big Frog Website

Shop!

Social Media for Nonprofits

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Nonprofits notoriously don’t have any money to put towards their social media marketing strategies.  Recently I attended a Social Media for Nonprofits conference specifically talking about how to maximize your social media without breaking the bank.  Everyone knows that to survive on Facebook you have to pay to play, now it’s increasingly more difficult to get your posts seen and business noticed.  Facebook does let you do some pretty cool stuff though, for free even!  For example, you can import all your contacts into their Invite Email Contacts page and they will invite your contacts to Like your business page.  This is a really easy way to get existing people who support your cause to Like your page.  If you already have a relationship with them, they are more likely to Like your page however, if you never ask they won’t do it.  

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One thing that has been difficult for me is ASKING.  There is tons of research out there that show the power of asking, if you never ask someone to do something how will they know to do it?  It can be hard at times to ask, you don’t want to come off too strong pushing someone to do what you want.  We have all been in that position where you have a pushy salesperson who just won’t let you shop in peace!  Don’t be that person!!  

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It’s easy to step over that line between someone who is posting about their products and services all the time and someone who genuinely takes the time to come up with interesting, educational information.  We can only read so much about your sale for last minute Mary Kay items or what dodgy venue you’re band is playing at on Friday night.  After about the third post in three hours you will soon be unsubscribed to or simply unfriended.  Being unfriended is like the END of your Facebook reputation and all is lost after that.  But, what if there was a way to promote your products or services without being overly annoying and bombarding people?

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Fortunately, there is!  Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  80% of posts should be educational, informative, and engaging content that people can actually relate to.  20% of posts should be related to your products, services, and how you can solve a problem for them.  This way you can tell people about what you’re doing while keeping them reading and engaged on your page.  This is obviously not meant to be an exact science calculated down to the percentage of posts you should make one way or the other but, it is meant to be a rough guide to keep yourself in check and your readers still reading.  

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Just by making sure you are writing relevant content and posting about stuff your readers would be interested can go a long way.  Maybe you only have $20 a month to spend on Facebook Ads, that’s totally fine.  Keep your budget in mind and utilize some of the free advertising methods that Facebook offers (if you aren’t using hashtags it’s time to start.)  Also, remember that everyone struggles to come up with interesting, unique content.  You are not alone on that one!

What challenges does your nonprofit face in regards to social media?

Become a “Now-ist”

Ted Talks is a great way to learn about all sorts of different things, anything from web design to science to religion.  A particular video struck my eye called, “Want to Innovate? Become a ‘now-ist'” by the Director of the MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito.

Joi Ito is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist focused on internet and technology companies.  He has impressive credentials, being a board member for companies like Sony and The New York Times while writing editorials and starting businesses.  He was also an early investor in startups like Kickstarter and Twitter!  There’s no denying that Joi Ito knows what he’s talking about when it comes to entrepreneurship.  He also studied at two colleges at one time (who does that?!) but, never finished either of his degrees.  Check out his full bio here @ Joi Ito.

In his video he talks about how before the internet (what he calls B.I) it was very difficult to innovate and invent new things, you needed all sorts of capital, resources, and time.  Now, it’s a completely different story.  For those of you who want to start your own business, he has some advice for you.  “Become a now-ist”.

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Instead of trying to predict the future, as did many scientists before the internet, focus on the now.  Don’t worry so much about planning everything out, don’t feel like you need to map out how everything will go.  In real time, that’s not how it works.  You solve problems as they arise and invent new ways to prevent them from happening instead of spending hours working to prevent the problem in the first place and creating a new, different issue.  We don’t need to wait for large institutions to come out with new ideas, we can create them ourselves.

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He says, “So I think the good news is that even though the world is extremely complex, what you need to do is very simple. I think it’s about stopping this notion that you need to plan everything, you need to stock everything, and you need to be so prepared, and focus on being connected, always learning, fully aware, and super present.”

A Day With The Kids From Moolah U

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Today I had the pleasure of visiting our local Book People bookstore in downtown Austin to observe the children participating in the Moolah U summer camp.  Moolah U is a nonprofit organization that helps youth understand the way money works while “…inspiring them to establish habits that build a life of financial stability and independence.”

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There are a number of camps that have about 17 kids in each and they meet in different locations around town.  Each group has to plan their own business; one child is the CFO, another the CEO, about five kids for the marketing team, about another five for the production team, etc.  They work together to plan the different stages of starting their business and then present their plan to volunteer adult entrepreneurs.

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It truly is inspiring to see these children, ranging from ages 5-12, working together and problem solving how they can make this business work.  This particular group was working to sell bookmarks and book bags for the bookstore.  They looked at how much it would cost to make the items, how long, what they could sell them for, and how they could sell them.  They pitched their plan to the volunteers and asked for a loan!  Their plan got them $50 to go on over to Michael’s and get started.

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Each child participated, some were more shy than others, but in the end, they all worked together.  Not only were they excited about what they were doing but, they were learning valuable skills that can help them be successful in the future.  Each kid has something special to offer and it is our job to help them learn what that is.

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Is There a “Right Path”?

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As Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich gave the commencement speech to the class of 2014 at Clark University he talked to students about the path he chose and how it wasn’t necessarily the “right path”.  

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He asks the graduating class, “What really matters in creating a successful career and a successful life?”  If you were asked this question by a coworker, friend, or family member right now, do you know what you would say?  

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Ron Shaich goes on to tell three different stories about learning how to define what truly matters to reach your goals of success.  If you are able to define what it means to be successful and what that looks like, you have increased your odds for success.  We don’t always know where we are going or what will be on the other side of that hill but, if we know what our passion is then no matter what path we take, it’ll be right.  Read his entire speech Here.

So, how exactly do you figure out what brings you joy and ignites your passion?  Look around you, look to the people whom you love, look inside yourself and quietly listen to your heart beat.  Listen to your soul and your passion will come.  Don’t ask yourself, “What am I good at” instead, ask yourself what gets me fired up, what makes me feel better about myself, and how can I make a difference in the world? 

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Mr. Shaich suggests that instead of doing a post-mortem near the end of life where we analyze our decisions and try to make sense of the choices we’ve made, do a pre-mortem.  This is where we look into the future and imagine ourselves looking back on our lives, evaluating our decisions and what was most important to us.  In most cases, it won’t be money or objects.  

Ask yourself today, what can I do to be successful in life (personal and professional)?  I suspect you are already on the way there, more so than you would think.  

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