Starting your own business may be your lifelong dream. Big believers in their product or service want to form their own name in the corporate world without being held back by big business or working for someone else.

While faith in one's self and a go-getter attitude is a positive start, there's much more that goes into launching a start-up or small business. A great portion of this comes down to personality type and what you've got to offer. Even the best ideas can fall flat without the perseverance and attitude that gets you past the finish line.

How can you be sure you're cut out for this venture and ready to roll? Ask yourself these "5 Ms" for a better idea if your goals are actionable, attainable, and as amazing as you think they are.

Motivation - Are You Passionate and Determined?

A drive to succeed is more important than you may think. Belief in yourself, your company, and your success is the first building block to your future castle. A positive attitude, strength of character, and a true love for what you plan to embark upon will give you the steam to push through every obstacle you'll no doubt encounter on your journey. Entrepreneur notes, while passion alone won't seal the deal, it's essential to be truly excited about starting. You'll need to be your own cheerleader before anyone else joins in. In this case, there is an "I" in "team."

Marketability - Is Your Business Idea New or Better than What's Out There?

A novel idea or a newer or better approach to an existing concept or business is part of what will make your potential start-up stand out from the pack. Do your homework and find out if you've got something the market is lacking. See if there are existing patents for a product or prototype, and search diligently online to the point of exhaustion. There's no reason to leap into something you won't be able to bring to fruition. If you think your idea is gold, then paired with your passion, bring it to life. People don't realize what they want or need until it's presented to them. We all got along just fine before cell phones, right?

Must-Have - Do Friends and Family (even strangers) Like the Concept?

While you may think you've got the brains and business sense to make your start-up soar, a little (or a lot) of validation is imperative. You're going to need clients, customers, and consumers, so get yourself a range of potential users or buyers to confirm that your concept is on point. Ask friends, neighbors, and even people on the street what they think of your idea. Would they buy it or utilize the service? What would they do differently or expand upon? A pre-launch, self-administered market research project will let you know if your idea is interesting to more folks than just yourself. As posted on Entrepreneur, sometimes the vision doesn't align with what customers want, so make sure there's a market.

Money - What's Your Budget Like?

You're likely going to blow through money like it's water while launching your start-up, and there's no guarantee you'll make it back (plus more) quickly. Talk to a financial advisor to plan intelligently and accordingly, and be realistic. It's important to do your research as to how much everything from parts, to space, to salaries, to advertising will really cost you. Plus, you'll need to be sure you've protected yourself from dipping into your retirement or other savings so you don't bleed yourself dry. As Money puts it, a good rule to follow if to limit your investment in a start-up to no more than 30% of your savings. Insurance is smart as well, and Money recommends a general liability policy for your business to protect yourself. With this in mind, make an appointment with your banker and work out a doable plan that will help you launch with enough gas to push through the start-up phase.

Management - How Are Your Time Execution Skills?

Before you're able to hire a part- or full-time staff, you're going to have to wear a lot of hats and juggle more balls than a circus clown. Are you the type of person who can multi-task, yet still get things completed? Are you versatile and knowledgeable about many, if not all facets of your business? Wall Street Journal warns that if you're not the type of person who can manage numerous roles, entrepreneurship may not be what you're cut out for. Self-discipline and strong decision-making skills are key as well. You're the boss now so the motivation comes from within. Entrepreneur suggests looking inside yourself and be honest if you've got the skills to do it all (at least at the get-go).

This is only the start, but with affirmative responses to these "5 Ms," you will better gauge whether or not you're ready to start up your start up!

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.