I recently had the pleasure to interview the Founder and CEO of Ignite Mind and Body Supplements, University of Massachusetts Amherst college senior (yes, you read that right), Jake Bernstein, who hails from Long Island, NY.

Ignite Power Packs are tasty chocolate powder supplements that provide a constant flow of steady energy, aid with focus and memory, improve our mood, and give long-lasting, all-day stamina for whatever it is we need to tackle.

His entrepreneurial spirit, determination to create a unique product, and overall business savvy make this young man one to watch. Here we discuss his personal journey, the inspiration behind Ignite, and what's next for this soon-to-be-graduate. What were you doing at 22-years-old?

Jake teaching college students his own age about business.

Q: When did you first want to be an entrepreneur and what was your first endeavor?

A: I've always been my most productive and motivated when working towards my own goals and on my own schedule. I started to realize this in high school while running a freelance development business where I built websites and web applications for clients. It was really rewarding to see the results that a little hard work and discipline could get me. From there, it seemed like a natural path to do more of that until it eventually took over all my free time.

Q: How did the idea for Ignite Power Packs come about?

A: The idea for Ignite Power Packs came to me early last summer (2016). I would wake up at 5:00am every other day to work out before going to work. By the time I got to work, I was exhausted, and no amount of coffee I chugged would help me focus on the software I had to program. Not to mention, my workout would be worthless if I didn't eat enough food to give my body the nutrition it needed. After enough frustration, the idea finally came to me. Why not combine things that solve my problems separately into a delicious and convenient solution? Our Power Packs are just that. A tasty chocolate drink mix that combines the energy of caffeine and B vitamins, the nutrition of a protein shake, and the focus and clarity that are derived from commonly used plants known as nootropics.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge with the product/company thus far?

A: Our biggest challenge so far has been deciding which areas are the best to spend our capital most effectively. A big part of running our startup is bootstrapping and being smart with the funding that we do have. If we can keep doing this, it'll be a lot easier to make sure Ignite stays around and that we can keep growing and providing people with products that help them get more done and get more enjoyment out of their day.

Q: What has been the most rewarding experience throughout the process of bringing Ignite Power Packs to the market?

A: The most rewarding experience is hearing positive reviews from happy customers. The supplement industry is one that isn't the most regulated, and because of that, can be seen as shady. At Ignite Mind and Body, we aim to be on the opposite side of the spectrum, and be fully transparent with our customers. It's nice to hear from them and know that we're giving them the results they want and maintain the trust and honesty the customers deserve.

Q: What is different about Ignite Power Packs compared to other products in its category?

A: For us, the health of our customers is important - not just the effects they feel. Because of this, we only use nootropics that are completely plant-based. We want our customers to stay healthy and be able to use our Power Packs whenever they need to without having to worry about what's inside. Not to mention, our formula doesn't just give you a mental edge, it also helps you out physically, which many of our competitors' products don't do.

Q: Where can people purchase Ignite Power Packs?

A: People can get Ignite Power Packs right on our website, https://subscription.ignitemindandbody.com. We want you to experience the results for yourself, so there's even an option to get 3 FREE Power Packs on us. If you've ever felt like there's not enough time in the day or that you know you can get more done but just can't seem to reach your full potential, take us up on our free power packs and feel the difference we can bring.

Q: Where do you see the brand going in the future?

A: At the end of the day, Ignite Mind and Body is more than just a supplement company. We want to work together with our customers to help them become the best versions of themselves that they know they can be. Ignite Mind and Body is about reaching your full potential, and that means we'll be providing you with the right content, the right products, and the right community to help you do just that. 10 years down the road, we hope for Ignite Mind and Body to be a household name that's associated with growth, success, and honesty.

Q: What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur seeking to launch a new product or service?

A: Start today. No matter how small a step you take, any step will help you build momentum and get you on the right path. A lot of us have this inner fear that our work won't be good enough - myself included. But the truth is, you have to start sucking at something today if you want to be awesome at it a few years from now. Force yourself to start today. You won't regret it.

Q: How many people work for the company at this time?

A: Currently just two people work for Ignite. Staying small until it's necessary to grow helps us move fast, be efficient with our capital, and make decisions more easily. More people will join the team down the road, but we're holding off until we find it's the right time.

Q: Sum up Ignite Mind and Body in 3 words:

A: Productivity boosting supplements.

Q: What about your personality makes you a successful entrepreneur?

A: I wouldn't same I'm a successful entrepreneur just yet when there's people like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk out there changing the world. But I think one thing that helps me succeed is the willingness to fail and look foolish. If you want to get things done quickly, you're going to fail along the way. The important thing is to be OK with this and to focus on learning from your mistakes instead of wasting time worrying about what other people think.

Q: How were you able to finance the development and launch of the brand?

A: There's a lot of great resources out there if people just take the time to look for them. We've found a lot of local entrepreneurship and pitch competitions that are literally handing out money for people who put in enough effort. We've also found mentorship programs and accelerators that you can apply to which provide funding if you're accepted. We've actually just been accepted to one and we're excited to see it help us grow. We also invest the money from our day jobs and savings into the business. It's nice to have a side stream of income to help us grow, and this helps take out some of the risk and worry about where our money will come from. On top of this, there's been a lot of bootstrapping and being smart with our money. Luckily, we have a very straightforward business model. We trade useful products for money. So unlike some software companies that might have to rely strictly on funding and can't profit right away, we're able to make money up front and reinvest it in the business.

Q: Anything else you'd like to share?

A: If you're even just the slightest bit curious about starting a business, you should go for it. You can only read so much about a topic. Actually going for it will teach you ten times more. Between the wealth of information online and being able to crowdfund your projects through sites like Kickstarter, there's really no reason you can't start your business today.

Give Ignite a try. It may just give you the boost you need to launch your own business!

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Home garden and porch

As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.

Extensive Plants and Greenery

A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.

Lawn Care

As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.

Paved Pathways

There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.

Usable Outdoor Furniture

Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.

A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.

Unfortunately, giving back can sometimes go haywire. If you're ready to make a donation, first consider common mistakes made when giving back.

Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.

Acting Quickly Out of Emotion

Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.

Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.

Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation

Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.

If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.

Donating Unusable Materials

Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.

Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.

Strictly Giving at Year's End

As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.

With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.

Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.

The Age of Your House

Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.

The One-Percent Rule

An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.

The Square-Foot Rule

Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.

The Mix and Match Method

Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.

Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.