Jeff Becker and Helmut Wyzisk were friends throughout college and beyond. Like many friends, they always tossed around the idea of starting a business together. They stumbled on the perfect concept inspired by a shared frustration: their earbuds kept falling out during workouts. They decided they would invent an affordable attachment to make standard earbuds fit better. But could their idea become a reality? With the right tools, it was bound to be a success.

From Humble Beginnings

The friends started to raise capital in the same way a lot of entrepreneurs do: the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. They called their product, Earhoox. Within one month, they raised $10,000, and found they'd hit on a mass-market demand. In 2013, they then set their initial run at 1,000 Earhoox and sold them from Wyzisk's apartment. Their next step was to start an ecommerce site and modernize their outdated payment processing system. Knowing that PayPal has a strong reputation as a service that provides flexible payment options, simple setup, and seamless payment, they knew that it would be essential to get their business off the ground.

Love at First Payment

Their first PayPal payment was to the CAD designer who turned their sketch into a usable design file. The entrepreneurs found that PayPal was just what they needed to make all of their vendor transactions. Wyzisk says, "It was a trustworthy way to get them funds that both we and they felt comfortable with." Trustworthy indeed, as PayPal is used by more than 197 million active accounts. 1 The power of brand recognition makes business owners and customers rely on PayPal for protection against fraud. Becker and Wyzisk even benefited from PayPal's streamlined invoicing system: "When we started we didn't even have an invoicing system," Becker says. "It was really convenient to be able to send money via PayPal." PayPal sends customers an online invoice that they can pay directly via PayPal, credit card or debit card. In 2016, there were 1.8 billion PayPal transactions made.

Building Customers and Online Presence

Becker and Wyzisk then used PayPal Payments Standard to process their company's online card and PayPal payments. It was much simpler than their past system, which had so many forms, circuitous agreements, and credit checks. Wyzisk says, "It was by far the fastest choice for our business—our payments system was up and running in a day." PayPal is fast: You can add the PayPal button to your website and start accepting payments online in about 15 minutes. Their next goal was to maximize their online sales and increase their online presence. "A good payment processor helps you target people online," Becker says, "and the e-commerce channel was really where we wanted to put our focus." That targeting helps explain why up to 5.3% more customers are attracted to businesses that use PayPal than that those who do not. 2 Customers are looking for payment flexibility, and research shows that these new buyers will spend more and help contribute to your business's growth. PayPal has mobile app integration, too, which caters to the traveling entrepreneur. Becker says, "I do so much business from my phone, and PayPal is one of the apps I use most frequently." So far, they've sold over 70k online and in more than 1,000 stores around the world.

New Goals and Exceeded Expectations

When Wyzisk and Becker first started their business, they never considered it would go international. Now, they get orders from 84 countries. Wyzisk says that PayPal "gives us the confidence to ship large orders internationally because we know payment is imminent." PayPal lets you accept many different currencies securely from more than 200 markets without any wiring fees or wait time. The business trajectory of Earhoox was much more than its founders expected. And thanks in part to PayPal, they continue to grow today.

Simple friendships can grow into rewarding business partnerships. But the most critical member of that partnership is PayPal. If you're thinking about starting a lifelong dream of yours, consider PayPal for its transparent fee structure, payment method flexibility, and trusted reputation by entrepreneurs worldwide.

PayPal can be a trusted business partner, starting at $0 a month, and signup takes as little as 15 minutes! Follow this link to start accelerating your business with PayPal today.

1An active customer account is a registered account that successfully sent or received at least one payment or payment reversal through our Payments Platform, excluding transactions processed through our gateway and Paydiant products, in the past 12 months. 2As reported in Nielsen's Online Buyer Insights, which measured online & mobile purchasing behavior 52 weeks pre-/post-PayPal integration to calculate lift in net new customers who completed a purchase using PayPal. Weighted average results across a group of 15 small- and medium-sized merchants; findings are based on actual transactions, measured among ~39MM US Zip11 Households. Study completed January 2016. Advertisement

PayPath
Follow Us on

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.