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Zak Kann
Business and technology writer • Let me give you a role in your customer’s story • https://zakkann.com

My 31-year journey to an answer

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash
1-minute summary and behind-the-scenes look for “I Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up”

It all started when I was a child. As most peoples’ stories do.

At 5, I wanted to be a Pastor. By the time I turned 8, that dream was long gone, but it took me years to admit it out loud.

I was going to be a writer until photography caught my eye.

What about farming? That could be fun.

Science had so many facets that it had to be the answer.

I was all over the place. …


I failed more times in a year than I had in my entire adult life. But I learned from those failures.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

I went into my first startup thinking exactly what every other founder thinks:

“This is the best idea anyone has ever had. There’s no way we can fail.”

After less than a year working full-time with my co-founder on the business, it seems that I was wrong. We did fail. We failed so fast that some of my friends may not yet know that I ran a startup. Maybe I’ll tell them eventually.

People inevitably ask why we failed. I tell them the truth because there is no point in doing otherwise. I have nothing to hide. We could blame…


5 tips that took me from constant rejection to a steady income

A woman writing on her laptop computer
A woman writing on her laptop computer
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Upwork is a great way to make some extra money as a writer. Unlike some other writing platforms, there is no cost or waiting period for offering your services on Upwork.

They also take care of everything to do with payments, so you don’t need to create invoices, chase down clients that are slow with payments, or handle online payment processing.

The downside to Upwork being so easy is that everyone seems to have created an account. It’s typical for 20+ people to submit proposals for a job. Because of this, many of the jobs end up paying a mockingly…


By setting rules for myself, I learned to live with one of my greatest fears

Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

Want to know how bad my social anxiety is?

I used to have a process for sending an IM to a friend. You read that right — I didn’t say a stranger. I needed a process to reach out to a friend.

  1. Triple-check the message for potential alternate meanings
  2. Worry about it constantly until I receive a reply. Check back several times an hour to see if I’d just missed the reply coming in.
  3. Don’t look at the reply immediately. That would make it real. I needed to take several minutes before I was ready for that.

That is no…


How they differ and which is best for your company

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Does it often seem that these two terms — startup vs. small business — are used interchangeably?

As an entrepreneur, knowing how they differ helps you decide what type of company you really want to be running.

In this article, I’ll discuss the differences between startups and small businesses in terms of growth, goals, profit motive, exit options, funding, and risk.

After all, it would be a shame to get all those business cards printed with Startup Founder only to find that you are actually a small business owner.

1. Startups Intend to Grow

Are you content being the sole employee of your company?

Maybe…


Including email marketing best practices and step-by-step setup instructions

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Have you spent as many hours as I have trying to figure out how to set up your email newsletter?

I got so fed up with dealing with incomplete or out-of-date information that I decided to just write my own guide.

If you’ve ever wanted to know why you need an email newsletter, whether Mailchimp is the right service for you, or how to get started with Mailchimp, this is the guide for you!

Why Should You Use Email Marketing?

You need to build a relationship with your customers and potential customers.

This is true whether you call yourself a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or a business…


Learn about the different environments, levels of risk, and potential upsides

Does the thrill of entrepreneurship mixed with the safety of a corporate job sound like the perfect combo?

Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike drive innovation, but they do it in very different environments.

In this article, I’ll break down the similarities and differences between these paths and help you determine which path best fits your personality and your career goals.

What Is an Entrepreneur?

In general, an entrepreneur is anyone who organizes and operates a business.

Steve Jobs, Oprah, and Walt Disney all started businesses that went on to become gigantic corporations.

Right now, some kid is programming on an indie video game in his…


An in-depth guide covering everything from defining a niche to finding clients

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Why Should You Freelance?

Freelancing is becoming more and more popular. According to Upwork’s 2019 Freelancing in America Survey, 35% of the US workforce freelances at least part-time. And it’s not just part-timers either. The full-time freelancing crowd has increased from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019. Freelance data scientists are only a small part of this crowd, but they are also a growing trend.

But popularity is hardly a good reason to change your working style. Here are some better ones:

  • Make some supplemental income — When you are salaried, a 40-hour workweek and a 50-hour workweek generally pay the same. If…


A proven and detailed 5-step process.

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LinkedIn exists somewhere between the worlds of social media and job boards.

So where does the headline fit into this picture — what is the goal of your headline?

The Linkedin headline is your 120-character elevator pitch. Aside from your name, it is the most prominent piece of real estate in your profile and in your LinkedIn search result snippet.

If your headline is generic or uninformative, people have no reason to click through to your profile. Nothing else in your profile matters if you don’t get that initial click.

Your headline is your first and best chance to get…


Proving your impact when changing careers, industries, or fields

Image by Coffee Bean from Pixabay

Do You Need Transferrable Skills for Your Resume?

There was a time when I shied away from giving resume advice. It felt like those ideas should come from an HR professional or someone with decades of experience. I still think you should seek out advice from such sources.

However, my experience has given me a chance to read through several hundred resumes, largely for people looking either for their first job or to transfer either industry or job title. These are the cases where you must rely more heavily on transferable skills.

If you are a computer programmer going from one Python job to the next, transferable skills…

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