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Were these 8 viral TikTok products worth the hype in 2023?

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Were these 8 viral TikTok products worth the hype in 2023?

TikTok is many things: a music discovery platform, an entertaining way to waste an hour (or two), a search engine, and, most recently, an e-commerce app. With the global rollout of TikTok Shop, it’s never been easier to buy the products you see on your FYP without ever leaving the app. That means that there’s been an increase in the number of products — and affiliate marketing — shared on the platform. It has become an impulse buyer’s best-worst enabler.

“TikTok made me buy it” is simply a way of life now. For every TikTok aesthetic proliferated across the app or viral #CleanTok video, another product gets added to our carts. It’s a bad influence on our wallets.

Mashable is saving you the hassle of deciding which TikTok-hyped product is actually worth the money by giving you a peak at the things the app influenced us to buy this year. So what’s a Skip and what’s a Buy? Read below to find out.

Labigo electric spin scrubber

I hate cleaning the bathtub. Somehow I always end up bent over, scrubbing on my hands and knees, soaking wet, with a headache from breathing in Clorox spray. My TikTok FYP is full of intense cleaning videos, and every fourth or fifth video for a while was of the Labigo electric spin scrubber. I bought it to test for this story, and was honestly impressed by how well it worked. It comes with four different cleaning heads for corners, flat surfaces, bathtubs, and grout, and is pretty powerful. I was able to put a good amount of pressure on it to clean some soap scum off the sides of my bathtub, and the corner brush worked wonders for cleaning where the bathtub meets the wall. The best part is that this brush cleaned my tub way faster than I could have with a rag myself, and I didn’t even have to bend down, thanks to the extendable handle. I could see the Labigo being a great tool for older folks or people with mobility issues who need to clean but have trouble bending down to scrub things.

The only reason I regret buying this is because it ruined my TikTok algorithm. Since I added it to my TikTok Shop cart, nearly every video on my FYP is now of a cleaning brush. — Jae Thomas, Deputy Shopping Editor

The Croptuck

I have to admit, the French tuck has never worked for me. Nothing about grabbing the bottom of my shirt and shoving it down the front of my jeans ever felt comfortable, and it certainly never stayed in place. Not even Queer Eye’s Tan France could help me perfect the technique. So when I saw the Croptuck on my For You Page, styled by women of all different sizes, I added it to my cart.

The Croptuck is almost stupidly simple: It’s an adjustable elastic band that you pop over your head and fit around your hips or waist. Tuck your top up under the band and enjoy an effortlessly cropped look all day. 

The little band has totally changed how I dress for winter and has blessedly banished shirt-shoving from my life. If I’m layering a chunky sweater over a dress, the Croptuck takes the look from bulky to chic. I usually forget I’m even wearing it: My tops don’t budge and there’s no uncomfortable bunching. Plus, if I eat a lot at dinner, I just loosen the band to accommodate the extra inches around my stomach. The only downside I’ve found to wearing the band is that, if you overheat and need to remove a layer of clothing, you have to take the Croptuck off with it. — Elizabeth de Luna, Culture Reporter

Bissell Little Green Machine

Having the world’s best and most adorable dog — this is fact, not opinion — is a blessing and a curse. The blessing? I get to play with a 75-pound pittie, shar-pei mix that makes me believe there are good and pure things in this world. The curse? The little dude sheds like there is no tomorrow. 

So, when the Bissell Little Green carpet cleaner started going viral on TikTok it was not a hard sell. Scores of TikToks showed the little machine performing small miracles: getting out stains, sucking up pet hair, removing years of grime from car upholstery.  When I saw it go on clearance sale via Amazon-tracker Fat Kid Deals, I jumped at the chance. 

And I have to say, it works. It’s not for everyday cleaning — it will get surfaces wet and it does take time and effort. But it works. I’ve used it to remove stains, to clean dirt from a rug, and to suck-up mounds of hair deposited on our couch by the world’s best dog. Every couple of weeks, I’ll deep clean appropriate surfaces in our small NYC apartment with the little green machine and it makes a noticeable difference. There’s far less dust, less pet dander, and everything smells lovely. 

Also, you get to see the brownish results in the tank of the machine, and it’s SO satisfying. I highly recommend it, especially if you have a dog. Even if it’s not the best dog in the world — it isn’t, I’m sorry — the machine will still work for you. — Tim Marcin, Culture Reporter

Glossier Ultra Lip

I love a blurred matte lipstick, but my chronically dry lips do not. After seeing approximately 1,200 TikToks praising the Glossier Ultra Lip, I figured I could attempt to be kinder to my lips in the colder months, so I gave in and bought it in Pony (the closest shade to my beloved Gen G in Fuzz). I do think it’s ever so slightly on the sticky side — at the end of the day I am through and through a satin to matte formula girly — but it’s perfect for those drier days, and for this, I am grateful to my algorithm. — Bethany Allard, Shopping Reporter

The AIRstik

I can’t get away from the AIRstik, the little plastic device that claims to attach to any glass surface and hold your phone there so you can take hands-free photos. It’s been almost two months since I bought it, and it’s still all over my For You Page. It’s been lauded on the app as a must-have tool for creators who want to make content on the go, and I think it’s hanging around my algorithm because, well, it actually works.

The AIRstik uses what it calls “nano suction” technology to adhere to glass surfaces and hold up to two pounds. It’s endlessly reusable, and doesn’t leave any sticky residue behind. Mine clings to my bathroom mirror like a dream and detaches with a swift tug. The product packaging warns to “use on glass surfaces only!” but TikTokkers have managed to attach it to their shower tiles, fridges, and even a rusted pipe at the beach. Stick at your own risk, but know the AIRstik is a pretty good deal at the end of the day. — EDL

Amika Blowout Babe Thermal Brush

Technically, I did not buy the Amika Blowout Babe Brush myself, but I’m certainly not complaining that I got to call one in and test it out as part of of my job after seeing the hype for it online (review incoming btw). Prior to testing out as many Airwrap dupes as I could get my hands on (and the actual tool itself), I did not consider myself someone who was “good” at hair. While I’m still solidly mediocre, the Amika Blowout Brush is maybe the easiest possible way to get a sleek and polished blowout style that makes me look like I possess a much higher skill set. Plus, I love that I don’t need to wet my hair when I want to use it. — BA

Mini ice cube trays

I somehow got onto IceTok in 2023. My FYP became saturated with videos of people aesthetically restocking their freezers with ice trays of different shapes and fillings. Something about it hit that sweet spot of ASMR and aesthetic home organization that had me absolutely mesmerized. I was influenced to buy a set of ice trays that make mini, spherical ice, and I don’t think I can ever go back to using standard ice cube trays. These are trickier to refill than your average mold, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not that bad. The set I bought came with a storage tub, so I can stock up on deliciously round ice and just scoop it out as needed. I stick to plain tap water ice, but drinking out of my Simple Modern tumbler filled with tiny frozen spheres still makes me feel like a TikTok girlie. — Miller Kern, Deputy Reviews Editor

Baggu Medium Nylon Crescent Bag

Believe the TikTok hype. Baggu’s Medium Nylon Crescent Bag is, in fact, magic. And by magic, I mean spacious. I can fit my entire S’well water bottle in there alongside my makeup back, Hello Kitty pill case, sun glasses, wallet, and a book or two. I even shoved my raincoat in there on a cloudy day. It’s become my go-to concert bag, as it’s still small enough for most venues but also big enough to fit merch and a camera — and because it’s nylon and washable, I don’t mind putting it on the floor at risk of being trampled over or spilled on. (Just don’t put your Baggu in the dryer, it’s air dry only!) Did I mention this bag comes in practically every color? I recently copped the Sandy Liang x Baggu Medium Nylon Crescent Bag in the flower market plaid print, and it does make me feel better than everyone else when I wear it.

Anyway, I’m convinced Baggu is a cult because in the span of 365 days I went from having one Baggu to eight Baggus. Do I need eight Baggus? No. But I am easily influenced, and something tells me I’m not alone if the 246.1 million views and counting on TikTok are anything to go by. — Crystal Bell, Culture Editor



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The 7-Step ChatGPT Formula for Peak Productivity and Profit

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The 7-Step ChatGPT Formula for Peak Productivity and Profit

Tackle AI’s toughest questions with Ben Angel, mapping the business terrain for 20 years. Master the AI landscape and reach peak productivity and profits with insights from his latest work, “The Wolf is at The Door — How to Survive and Thrive in an AI-Driven World.” Click here to download your ‘Free AI Success Kit‘ and get your free chapter from his latest book today.

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How I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue By Being More Transparent

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How I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue By Being More Transparent

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s a common nightmare — you’re walking through a busy hallway or giving a presentation only to look down and find yourself completely naked.

We’re inherently fearful of revealing too much about ourselves, and as an entrepreneur, this likely extends to your business as well.

But based on growing my own business from nothing to over $100 million in annual revenue, I can tell you less is not more when it comes to business transparency — more is more. Being open builds trust, and trust fosters customers and relationships in droves. The only exception is not giving away your trade secrets to competitors.

Here are three effective ways to build trust with clients and prospects by being more transparent (without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed).

Related: How Transparency In Business Leads to Customer Growth and Loyalty

1. Increase sales by 18% or more by increasing your Google reviews

Nearly everyone reads reviews before purchasing. One study found a whopping 93% of people read reviews before making a purchase, and on average, reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales. In today’s online landscape, people put almost as much weight on a Google review as they do on a personal recommendation.

The best way to increase your reviews is to simply ask! According to research, 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked.

About four years ago, we had 486 reviews after servicing more than 90,000 clients. We started using Podium to send out texts or emails — based on customer preference — asking to leave a review on Google, the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

By May 2024, we’d accumulated 2,312 five-star reviews, an increase of 375%. Keep in mind that our account managers have been very diligent about sending review requests to clients and only ask the clients most likely to give positive responses.

Another good way to increase reviews is to automate postcards at the close of an order thanking someone for their business and encouraging them to leave a review. A physical mailer is likely more effective than an email — one study that surveyed 1,200 consumers found that 76% trusted direct mail the most as opposed to online methods.

You might be wondering, “What about the negative reviews?” You’re always going to have a handful of bad reviews, but people look at the ratio of good vs. bad. If you have far more five-star reviews than one-star reviews, they’ll disregard the negative ones and assume it’s not the norm.

2. Improve lead generation by 105% by sharing your clients’ success stories

Sharing real marketing results has always been a priority for my business, PostcardMania. We currently have 944 marketing case studies and 139 video case studies that document real people sharing campaign specifics that led to more leads, revenue and new customers for their businesses.

We share these case studies far and wide with prospects via email and postcards in the mail to increase trust. But more recently, we began incorporating these stories into video social media ads. During a recent earnings call by Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said 50% of all people’s time on Facebook and Instagram is spent watching videos, so naturally, we went that direction to gain more eyes on our services.

We put our 139 video case studies — real business owners talking about their successful campaigns — to work for us on Facebook and Instagram.

As a result, our social media leads doubled. In 2022, our average number of social media leads per week was 174, and then in 2023, the average lead count increased to 356 a week! That’s a 105% increase.

Of course, our use of social media in this case is part of a larger multi-channel marketing strategy that ties direct mail and digital ads together, so I suggest a similar approach if you want to see the same results (we’ve actually packaged our successful approach into a single affordable marketing bundle called Everywhere Small Business due to high demand from our clients to replicate this method). Campaigns that uniquely combine print and digital advertising using hyper-targeted mailing lists and lookalike audiences have been proven to work time and time again, so I highly recommend them.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, your customers’ success stories can be compiled and incorporated into your marketing plan to grow your customer base.

Related: How Problem-Solving Case Studies Help You Market Your Business

3. Convert prospects faster by dropping the velvet rope and inviting them in

Being transparent online will help build a positive image of your brand and bring in more customers — but you can also take this one step further and let prospects visit your business and interact with your products or services in person. One report revealed that 79% of customers want brands to go above and beyond what they are required to reveal and give more information, with two-thirds of them saying they would switch brands for more in-depth data.

At PostcardMania, we welcome clients to visit us and take a tour of our in-house printing facility. We also have a marketing conference twice a year where clients can meet their marketing consultants face-to-face and learn more about our business behind the scenes. These clients often end up being some of our best and longest-lasting relationships! You can do the same by hosting an event and opening your doors to the public. It doesn’t have to be a conference — you can start small with something as simple as a night of snacks and entertainment.

Related: 3 Ways to Personalize Your Marketing for Higher Engagement

Free samples are also a great way to show customers exactly what they are getting before they make a commitment. This doesn’t always apply to every business, but you can try to find a way to allow prospects to interact with your product or service on a deeper, more physical level.

Incorporate any of these tactics, and you’ll show prospects the most authentic side of you and your business. Believe me when I say trading in your fears about being super transparent for bold authenticity will reap real rewards in long-term growth and customer loyalty.

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The 10 Best and Worst States to Start a Small Business

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The 10 Best and Worst States to Start a Small Business

There are many important things to consider when launching your own business or side hustle, and location is at the top of the list. Local and state laws can mean different taxes, zoning regulations and licensing requirements, so it pays to be strategic about your choice of state, city and even neighborhood, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Related: 5 Things Not to Do When You’re Running a Small Business

After all, some 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years of being open, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also found that 45% of businesses fail within the first five years. That number jumps to 65% after 10 years.

Capital on Tap, a company that offers a credit card and spending management platform for small business owners, analyzed BLS data to determine the percentage of startups that are still active after three years — and broke down the U.S. states with the highest and lowest chance of survival in three- and five-year time frames.

“There are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., making up an enormous percentage of the economy, and as this number continues to grow, so will innovation and commercial drive,” says Damian Brychcy, chief executive officer at Capital on Tap. “This research should serve as a positive sign to entrepreneurs in the top ten states who are thinking about starting a business.”

Image Credit: John Coletti | Getty Images. Boston, Massachusetts.

Qualities of business-friendly states

Before diving into the data, it’s important to consider what factors make a state attractive for new business owners. And it’s about more than just starting a business. The following factors can help keep small companies afloat and lead to ongoing success:

Taxes

Perhaps the most important factor of all, a business-friendly tax environment can keep costs down and put more money in your pockets. There are payroll, employment, income and corporate taxes to worry about, all of which can affect decisions around hiring and expansion. Some states also offer tax incentives for small businesses, which can remove expensive hurdles. Reviewing a self-employed tax schedule in your area can help.

Workforce

If you want to run a healthy, growing business, you’ll almost certainly be hiring employees. The best states for small businesses will have a plethora of available talent and a workforce with high levels of college education. Starting a business near a college or university can also attract interest from recent graduates. This is especially prominent in the technology industry.

Regulations

State policies regarding small businesses involve more than just taxes and deductions. Government programs can offer business owners grants and loans and incentivize investment from larger funders. Compliance is another factor. States can lower the costs of business by removing regulatory red tape, such as required government approvals or clearances.

Growth potential

You want to start your business somewhere it can thrive in both the short- and long-term. A number of factors can support this — for example, funding, investment in infrastructure and livability. A close proximity to sources of financing can help your company grow, as long as the area can support your workers and their families. States and cities with a low cost of living, good schools and solid infrastructure will not only attract talent but keep it.

U.S. states/territories with the highest rate of small business survival, per Capital on Tap 

State

1year average (%)

3year average (%)

5year average (%)

Massachusetts

81.91

64.96

54.38

Wisconsin

81.13

64.93

54.97

South Dakota

80.44

64.03

54.88

Minnesota

80.96

63.97

53.51

Iowa

80.85

63.71

53.65

North Dakota

79.55

63.63

53.98

Pennsylvania

80.69

63.51

53.18

Montana

79.60

62.79

53.03

Hawaii

79.37

62.22

52.21

North Carolina

79.85

61.91

51.25

Massachusetts

With elite universities, a thriving tech hub, a strong economy and a highly educated workforce, Massachusetts tops the list. Nearly 82% of small businesses survive their first year. Boston is also a growing hub for STEM jobs and is home to many investors and potential employees. The state also boasts a strong Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) that provides tax and property incentives for job creators.

Wisconsin

Not only does Wisconsin have a relatively low cost of living, but the state has one of the nation’s best public university systems (read: highly educated workforce) and a business-friendly government that offers tax credits, low-interest loans and grants to small companies. Wisconsin also runs a public-private capital initiative through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which recently announced a $100 million investment in the state’s startups.

South Dakota

Taxes are the big selling point for starting a business in South Dakota. With no corporate income, personal income, property or business inventory taxes, the state makes running a small company affordable for owners. The state is highly affordable and has very few regulations, both of which lower overall business costs.

Minnesota

Almost 81% of small businesses survive their first year in Minnesota, a feat that can be credited to the state’s supportive business environment, educated workforce and relative affordability for a high quality of life. Minnesota also has nine small business development centers throughout the state, which offer consulting, mentoring, networking opportunities and access to capital.

Iowa

With a high quality of life and low cost of living, Iowa is an attractive place to start and expand a small company. One of the biggest factors is extremely low energy and utility costs, which is especially important for manufacturing. Iowa cities also offer property tax incentives for small businesses and some of the nation’s lowest workers’ compensation costs.

U.S. states/territories with the lowest rate of small business survival, per Capital on Tap 

State

1year average (%)

3year average (%)

5year average (%)

Washington

75.12

54.60

42.75

District of Columbia

76.04

54.73

43.73

New Mexico

76.64

56.58

45.58

Florida

77.00

56.82

44.95

Nevada

77.18

57.38

46.79

New Hampshire

76.65

57.52

46.63

Arizona

77.34

58.00

46.74

Tennessee

78.46

58.21

46.81

Arkansas

77.64

58.24

47.25

Rhode Island

76.76

58.30

47.75

Washington

Less than 43% of new businesses in Washington are still running after five years, thanks to expensive real estate, complex regulations and the nation’s highest statewide minimum wage ($16.28/hour). The state’s business and occupation tax is also calculated based on gross receipts, not overall profits, so businesses with slim margins will especially struggle.

District of Columbia

Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive metro areas in the country, both in terms of real estate and overall cost of living. That means high salaries and high rents for offices or storefronts. The city’s business income tax and regulatory requirements are also relatively high, both of which can cut into profit margins.

New Mexico

High unemployment rates and limited access to capital make New Mexico a challenging state to open a small business. Skilled workers are lacking compared to surrounding states, and complex regulations can be a burden for business owners. More than 23% of small businesses fail within their first year.

Florida

Although Florida claims to be a thriving hub for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the data tells a different story: More than 55% of small businesses fail within five years. One of the biggest factors is the increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes, which has led to rising insurance costs. This affects both the available workforce and a company’s bottom line as premiums skyrocket.

Nevada

Almost 23% of new businesses fail within their first year in Nevada, and that’s despite no corporate or individual income taxes. Part of the challenge is local governments: regulations vary widely depending on your city of choice, with different requirements for specific licenses and fees. A heavy reliance on tourism can also backfire when travel to the state falls off, such as during the pandemic.

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