In Transport Wars, it’s Hyperloop vs Hyperloop

The Hyperloop is becoming a modern day gold rush, with 2 technology companies battling to capitalize on the transportation mode’s promise of interstate travel at breakneck speed.

The innovation, with its science fiction-like description, is the brainchild of entrepreneur and Tesla Motors (TSLA)founder Elon Musk. The technology looks to challenge existing transportation methods by offering cheaper, faster and safer travel through a low-pressure system that move pods just under sonic levels, at about 760 mph. As the the idea gradually moves from concept to reality, a number of startups aim to plant their flags in the emerging sector.

“We are the first ones that took the Elon Musk project in 2013 and transformed it into something real,” Bibop Gresta, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) COO told CNBC in a recent interview. “We are the only company who are actually building a real full-scale Hyperloop.”

Yet a company with a similar name, Hyperloop technologies, is also jumping into the fray. The company has raised $100 million in funding to track test Hyperloop technology in Nevada, and is also trying to stake a claim on the emerging technology.

Recently, Gresta’s company announced the construction of a Hyperloop prototype in Quay Valley, California, which is halfway between L.A. and San Francisco. The company also signed a deal with Slovakia, a hub for technology development in Europe, which HTT expects will be a beneficial catalyst for Hyperloop’s expansion quest.

Gresta told CNBC that the difference between Hyperloop Technologies and HTT is that his company researched its scheme aside 520 scientist from 42 countries before building a “full-scale” Hyperloop. He contends that Hyperloop Technologies has taken a different approach, and that employees of Space X and NASA are working actively with HTT.

“There’s an old model where you raise a bunch of money and then you have to spend it as fast as you can to demonstrate to your investor that you’re doing something,” he told CNBC, before adding that the corporation is “very happy to create an industry together because it means that the concept is valid.”

Separately, Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop Technologies told CNBC that his company is “clearly leading” the development of the Hyperloop concept, as itsboard members have been leaders in major companies before the startup. Hyperloop Technologies is looking to reap nearly $10 million in various incentives from the state of Nevada for its rail, which will carry passengers at 600 miles per hour.

“Our company is leading; we are not the only company, I don’t expect us to be the only company, but we are the company that’s leading.” Lloyd said in a recent interview. He added that positions in Hyperloop Technology are in high demand, with 130 full-time employees and hundreds of applicants per open positions.

Lloyd is a tech veteran, having worked for Cisco Systems (CSCO) for more than 20 years before joining Hyperloop Tech. Co-founder Shervin Pishevar, who is also managing director of Sherpa Ventures, a venture capital firm that’s invested in startups such as AirBnB, Uber and Munchery, co-leads the tech start-up.

Regardless, the idea of rapid transportation is gathering momentum, and may get a boost from the federal government. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said recently that Hyperloop tech could be eligible for funding via the University Transportation Centers program, which doles out more than $70 million per year.

Lloyd said that the difference between his company and others is that Hyperloop Tech focuses on both freight and people. Gresta also mentioned the idea of transported goods in a recent interview.

“The movement of freight is something that has tremendous impact on reducing traffic, moving to a more sustainable electric only and even shipping containers,” Lloyd said. “Our company believes this will be truly transformational.”

Written by Denise Garcia of CNBC

(Source: MSN)

This Teenage Entrepreneur Created the First $500 Dialysis Machine

 

Illustration by James Taylor

It all started as a science fair project, inspired by her time working at a local hospital’s dialysis unit. Since then, Anya Pogharian’s $500 dialysis machine,Dialysave, has captured the attention of President Bill Clinton and the Cleveland Clinic.

Pogharian, 18, was shocked at the $30,000 cost of conventional dialysis machines–a price she felt was far too high for a lifesaving treatment.

Pogharian developed a prototype that’s able to filter 4 liters of blood in 25 minutes, much faster than the expected four hours that standard dialysis machines require. She’s now working on a third prototype as well as establishing a business framework for her invention–all while preparing for her first year of college.

She talked with Fortune about her invention, its ongoing development, and the leadership advice she’s been taking to heart. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you go about creating the machine?

Basically, most of the research was done online. I read owner manuals of existing dialysis machines, which are not simple at all. They are really meant for engineers. That gave me enough background to build the first prototype, but it’s taken a lot more to improve each new version. The first prototype was to see if it was possible to design an affordable dialysis machine and to design a machine that’s much simpler to produce and use.

The second version was much more sophisticated and higher quality. That’s the one I used to test in a lab with real human blood. That was incredible. It filtered about four liters, equal to the blood volume of a child, in 25 minutes. It proved that it could work and helped me understand how to further develop my third prototype.

How has the invention been received so far?

Back in January last year there was an interview in Montreal which led to a nationwide interview that went viral. It was all around the world. I found articles in Russian, Armenian, German, even a dialect of Chinese. It was shocking from one day to the next there were about 100 different articles.

At that point, I was approached by many different people, including a Harvard University professor who has offered to help with the business side and EU scientists who are into affordable medical devices and the social benefit. The opportunities and offers for mentorship have been incredible.

I also had the opportunity to attend the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Summit in January where I was on a panel moderated by President Clinton, alongside the U.S. Surgeon General and [IBM’s Chief Health Officer] Kyu Rhee. That was one of the most incredible opportunities for me in terms of networking. It was so encouraging. People all over the States were willing to help with various aspects of it.

What are the next steps for the Dialysave machine?

The goal is to get it on the market eventually, which is a really long-term goal. It’s a third class medical device, which isn’t easy to get approved. I’m really focused on the science of it right now and getting that to the point of perfection, but I also need to build a good team of scientists and business partners. Right now, I’m managing it all on my own. Balancing it all is practically impossible, but it’s my passion.

What’s the best advice you’ve received so far about taking it to market?

Potential investors have said to, yes, focus on the science but really think of the business aspect at the same time because if you keep building prototypes it won’t lead to anything and won’t make an impact. You have to go through both steps at the same time.

Have you received any helpful leadership advice as a young entrepreneur?

It’s been mostly about knowing what you want to do. You have to have really solid goals, so that if something happens to stump you up or turn you around from your goals, you still push ahead. You can’t be a leader if you don’t have a solid path. If you want to lead the way and bring others with you, everyone needs to be on the same wavelength and know exactly where you’re going.

Written by Laura Lorenzetti of Fortune 

(Source: MSN)

Why 2016 Is the Year of the Entrepreneur

starting a business
Provided by GoBankingRates

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to start planning your New Year’s resolutions, where you vow to get better with your finances, save more money and find a more fulfilling career. For some, saving more comes down to learning how to say no to small purchases. And for would-be entrepreneurs, sometimes the hardest part about starting a business is taking that first step. We asked best-selling author, entrepreneur and career coach Josh Felber for his top money tips for 2016. Felber offered two core pieces of advice:

“To create real wealth, you must quit spending your future wealth on goods and services that you want today but deprive you of wealth long term.”

“2016 is the year to break free from mediocrity and society’s ‘norms.’ Now is time to quit your 9-to-5 job and become an entrepreneur. Start becoming the true you and creating the lifestyle you are destined for.”

Felber is a finalist in GOBankingRates’ “Best Money Expert”competition held this month in collaboration with Ally Bank. He also won the title of “Best Expert” in the 2014 contest. See why 2016 is the year for you to save more and break out your inner entrepreneur.

Cut Spending to Create Long-Term Wealth

Felber’s first money tip is easy for anyone to accomplish in 2016. He asks you to reconsider your immediate wants and weigh them against long-term goals. You oftentimes might explain away the cost of a cup of coffee or night out, but spending money frivolously every day or every other day weighs down your monthly budget. Poor spending habits can also leak into your business when you ultimately pursue becoming an entrepreneur.

Concentrate spending on your needs so the money you might otherwise have spent can be put toward a new business or retirement fund. Real wealth is built and cultivated over time after all.

If saving is a hurdle for you, start small: Cut one small purchase you make every day or week. Once you have adapted to living without that one small purchase, cut out another expense. By focusing on one cost-cutting tactic at a time, you can slowly build up how much you save every month without completely changing your lifestyle come January.

For small business owners and to-be entrepreneurs, start picking up skills that can save you money down the road. Practicing your writing skills, making cold calls and even learning how to maintain a website can help you curb the costs associated with hiring additional personnel to handle smaller tasks.

Why Start Your Business in 2016?

Felber suggested quitting your job because, too often, people fall into the routine of working full-time making other people rich. But if you’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, you won’t ever find a good time to start your own business so long as you’re complacent at work. If you’re scratching your head over how to get started, make a list of the things you’re passionate about and your unique skills. You might discover that your flair for photography, SEO skills or knack for artisan baked goods might be in demand and lend themselves to starting a business.

For budding entrepreneurs, banks have your back. Small business loans are seeing higher rates of approval at major banks, according to a report by Biz2Credit, an online marketplace for small business loans. In fact, the approval for these types of loans hit their highest level since 2011, when Biz2Credit first began tracking them.

Between January 2014 and March 2015, Wells Fargo lent more than $22.6 billion to small businesses as part of a five-year initiative to support businesses. And while approvals at small banks and credit unions have remained relatively flat, 80 percent of small-business owners will do preliminary research on loans online, and that amount is expect to rise in 2016.

Alternative lending and crowdfunding sources are on the rise, too. In an industry report conducted by Massolution, a crowdfunding research firm, the total global capital raised through crowdfunding is expected to hit $34.4 billion this year, up from $16.2 billion in 2014 and $6.1 billion in 2013.

Entrepreneurs Are Happier Flying Solo

Work satisfaction — or rather, dissatisfaction — shows how pursuing entrepreneurship can increase overall happiness. Only 48.3 percent of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs, according to a 2015 The Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs who make their own rules and set their own hours appear to be happier, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 Global Report prepared by Babson College. The report surveyed more than 197,000 people. Even entrepreneurs with startups were more satisfied than typical U.S. workers; entrepreneurs with established businesses were even happier.

Consumers Prefer Small Businesses

Consumers are also more likely to take their money to small businesses, according to a 2014 report by AYTM Market Research. The report found that consumers like working with small businesses because it allows them to support the local economy and receive more personal service. Roughly six out of 10 consumers also said they would be willing to pay higher prices to support small businesses.

Ultimately, Felber’s biggest takeaway is that you need to be in control of your lifestyle. Take chances and pursue your passions. When it comes to building wealth, learn to reel in your spending and focus on long-term goals over short-term wants.

Written by Paul Sisolak of GoBankingRates

(Source: GoBankingRates)

These Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs Once Were Homeless

Rags-to-riches stories have been popular throughout history, proving that you don’t have to be privileged or have things handed to you to be a success. These Fortune 500 success stories encapsulate the idea that hard work, determination, and a positive spirit are the necessary ingredients to bootstrap your way out of poverty, off the streets and into the realm of millionaire and even billionaire.

Chris Gardner

© Provided by Entrepreneur Media, Inc

Before he became known as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, CEO and author, Chris Gardner and his son were living on the street after his wife left him and he was trying to subsist on very little money. His background was not much prettier, having grown up in the midst of domestic violence, poverty, alcoholism and more barriers.

While he could have given into these barriers and followed that same path, Gardner wanted something completely different for himself and son. Now, he runs Gardner Rich LLC with offices around the country, is a multi-millionaire and even had a movie made from one of his books that starred Will Smith called “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

Linda Singh

© Provided by Entrepreneur Media, Inc

Although she is a high-school dropout and runaway who spent time as a homeless youth and experienced poverty and sexual abuse, Linda Singh completely transformed her life. Even when she was struggling to stay off the streets, she still attended high school as long as she could and pulled good grades before having to give it up. She has become a model of female leadership in careers that often don’t see women in these roles.

She has previously served as a managing director at Accenture and as a Major General in the U.S. Army. Now, she is a Major General, leading Maryland’s National Guard through some very tough situations, including the Baltimore riots after the funeral of Freddie Gray. Her time on the streets and in Afghanistan have served as the proving ground for a woman who is not afraid to take on dangerous situations and high-pressure conflicts. Like many other leaders, Singh has proven that a successful leader often has come from tough roots and overcome significant adversity. She may not be valued in the millions, but her success story is priceless and has garnered her recognition and high-powered positions.

Manny Khoshbin

© Provided by Entrepreneur Media, Inc

Iranian-born Manny Khoshbin overcome hard times to become wildly successful. His family arrived in America when he was a teenager and he quickly saw the opportunities to work hard and create wealth.

However, it took many failed ventures and sleeping in his car for a time while out of work before he found the venture that aligned with his skill set. Khoshbin got his real estate license and became a loan officer, then started a realty and mortgage company focused on distressed and bank-owned properties. Now, he oversees multiple companies that focus on commercial real estate. He continues to seek new opportunities for his entrepreneurial spirit. Once having nothing, Khoshbin is now valued in the multi-millions.

Dani Johnson

© Provided by Entrepreneur Media, Inc

Being successful doesn’t come from college degrees. Destiny Global CEO Dani Johnson proves a great idea and hard work is enough to go from a broke, homeless cocktail waitress to a millionaire in just a couple of years.

Since her initial foray into entrepreneurship with a weight loss company, Johnson has expanded her empire to include other services related to helping people improve their relationships, finances. and lives. She has authored multiple bestselling books and offered her expertise on numerous television shows and media outlets. Becoming a millionaire many times over, she now gives away over a million dollars each month to help children in need around the world to remind herself where she has come from and what more she can accomplish.

The Graduates of TechShop

© Provided by Entrepreneur Media, Inc

While there are many profiles to be shared, one of the most interesting is the idea of a company that is speaking directly to currently homeless individuals with talents and big ideas but lacking the opportunity to prove themselves. Many success stories have come from TechShop, a company that offers all the equipment, tools, mentoring and even financing to help all types of individuals reach their goals.

For some, this assistance has led to getting off the streets, receiving funding and starting companies that are on their way to growth. As chairman and founder Jim Newton noted, “Everybody has creative abilities but people just don’t express them. I mean, I see people come in here that are afraid to try anything. We give them some classes and some encouragement. And they have some success with their projects. And you see them just change. You see them light up. You see them say, ‘Wow, I really can do this.’ This is stunning. They’re stunned.”

A VentureBeat article showcased some of the homeless who have capitalized on this opportunity to turn their ideas into viable businesses. Now, they are off the streets and leading their own companies, generating wealth and creating jobs for others. Many are finding ways to return the favor by opening the door to opportunity for those that have simply hit hard times.

In addition to these turnaround stories, many other famous faces have been homeless early on in their lives, including Jim Carrey, Daniel Craig, Dr. Phil, Suze Orman and more. Others had hard times but surpassed these to become wildly successful, such as Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and J.K. Rowling just to name a few.

It just goes to show that no barrier is insurmountable to those who work toward success without becoming discouraged by setbacks or initial failures. The lesson here is you can’t focus on being down but must, in the face of any and all adversity, look forward and never give up.

Written by John Rampton of Entrepreneur

(Source: Entrepreneur)

10 Small Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $1,000

© Patrick Brassat/shutterstock
© Patrick Brassat/shutterstock

Starting a small business doesn’t have to cost a fortune, even if it can potentially earn thousands in revenue. Here are 10 businesses, online and traditional, that require less than $1,000 to start and even less to run.

TUTOR

  • Start-up costs: $0 to $700
  • Tools and equipment: laptop, high-speed Internet, word processor

Private tutors are in demand through all education levels, subjects, and ages. Students preparing for college entrance exams, second-language learners, and children struggling with reading comprehension are just a few of the types of clients private tutors work with, and parents, adult learners, and college students are willing to pay upward of $50 an hour for the help. Luckily, most of the equipment needed to begin a tutoring business includes regular household items, such as a working computer and high-speed Internet. Private tutors also need reference books, such as a dictionary, thesaurus, or style guide. All of the necessary materials, including a computer, can be bought for less than $1,000. There are no special credentials or licenses required to begin tutoring services; a thorough knowledge of a field and basic tutoring skills are all that’s needed.

IN-HOME COMPANION

  • Start-up costs: depends on the state and existing credentials
  • Tools and equipment: reliable transportation, website, working cellphone

Most anyone with solid, reliable transportation and experience caring for people with disabilities or the elderly could start a lucrative in-home companionship business. In-home companions provide nonmedical services and care to those needing help with daily activities. An in-home care business can be started with $1,000 or less, with initial costs potentially earned back in a month or two. Depending on the location and credentials, in-home companions can earn $9 to $30 an hour. CPR, First Aid, or defibrillator certification provides clients and their primary caretakers with a sense of security and can boost an in-home companion’s marketability. The American Red Cross, community colleges, and other training centers offer these courses, which can cost less than $100. In addition to the suggested certifications, licensure may be required, depending on the state. All in all, certifications, licensure, and marketing efforts can total less than $1,000.

PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER

  • Start-up costs: $0 to $700
  • Tools and equipment: fitness apparel, transportation, certification, liability insurance

Personal fitness trainers work with a wide range of clients, from people battling obesity to prospective brides and grooms getting ready for their wedding. Personal trainers are in high demand, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this field will continue to grow through at least 2022. Technically speaking, there are no major requirements to start a personal fitness business, although having a certification, such as an ACE Personal Trainer Certification from the American Council on Exercise, could increase a noncertified trainer’s client base and hourly rate. The ACE’s standard personal fitness trainer course starts at $599, which includes materials. With some personal trainers charging up to $100 an hour, they could earn in one day what they spend on start-up costs. Other than a certification, personal trainers will need appropriate fitness apparel and reliable transportation. Some trainers opt to have liability insurance, which covers some or all of the costs of at-fault injuries.

SPECIALTY PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Start-up costs: $0 to $1,000
  • Tools and equipment: computer, camera, website/online portfolio, business license, tax license

Thankfully, expert photographers attest that a good picture is the result of skill, not an expensive camera. Several photographers have won awards for photos taken with a smartphone. But a basic DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex, camera is the type of camera that will most likely be needed to capture money-making moments, and eBay carries top-brand DSLR cameras for less than $500.

A used camera will be even cheaper and still get the job done, leaving money for the necessary lenses to fit the camera body as well as for photography courses. Many photographers take advantage of free social media websites to showcase their work, including Facebook and Instagram, or make their own sites with free services such as WordPress.

Specialty photographers sell their pictures online, at art fairs, or at flea markets. Stock photographs are gaining popularity as online businesses and ecommerce continues to expand. The website Stock Photo Secrets lists the latest photography trends in stock photography. Depending on the home state, a professional photographer may be required to have a sales tax license and a business license.

TRANSLATION SERVICES

  • Start-up costs: $0 to $700
  • Tools and equipment: laptop, recording device, translation software

Initial costs for independent translator businesses are low, especially for those fluent in two or more languages and who don’t need additional training. The basic equipment to start professional translation services are just a computer and word processor to type documents, a recording device (these days, that’s often a smartphone), and software that speeds up the most repetitive parts of the job. With an increase in competition from software, it helps for translators to have a specialty, such as in the health fields, and certification. Several agencies offer certification, including the American Translators Association. That might cost $300, but in 2012, the average translator earned nearly $48,000 a year.

ONLINE JEWELRY BOUTIQUE

  • Start-up costs: $20 to $100
  • Tools and equipment: high-speed Internet access, laptop, jewelry kit, online store

Unique or custom jewelry is a top-trending and top-selling item online. Etsy, an online marketplace for unconventional products, lists jewelry as one of its most sold items, and it is just one of several, along with Shopify, Storenvy, and Bigcartel, where people can capitalize on their creativity. Artisans should research which ecommerce system will work best for their needs; for instance, at Etsy, probably the best-known name for starting an online boutique, there are no start-up costs, but the site charges to post an item, collects a percentage of the final sale, and has limitations on the number and styles of listings.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING EXPERT

  • Start-up costs: $0 to $500
  • Tools and equipment: computer, marketing experience, writing skills, search engine optimization knowledge

Social media marketing strategists use their knowledge of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, to increase companies’ presence and revenue. With the proper knowledge and technical savvy, social media experts can build a client base and make money without having to spend too much. In fact, web-savvy people can start a social media marketing consultancy with minimal equipment. With a computer and reliable Internet access, the only other thing needed is skill: marketing experience, writing skills, search engine optimization knowledge, and a knack for social media.

Once equipped, an entrepreneur can begin reaching out to potential clients, including family, friends, and businesses with a low social media or Internet presence.

PROFESSIONAL PROOFREADER

  • Start-up costs: cost of software, website, cost to print fliers
  • Tools and equipment: a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, additional proofreading software

Becoming a professional proofreader doesn’t require a lot in equipment or start-up costs. For people with an eye for detail, knowledge of one or more style guides, and the ability to withstand looking at the same document for long periods, professional proofreading can be rewarding and profitable. There are, however, more people seeking proofreading gigs than there are gigs. To gain an advantage over the competition, a proofreader should likely spend most of their start-up costs on marketing efforts, including, if free options aren’t robust enough, paying a designer to create a website showcasing a professional portfolio. Print and display fliers may also be necessary — and even ad space in a newspaper.

FURNITURE UPCYCLING

  • Start up costs: $20 to $1,000
  • Tools and equipment: varies according to the project, but can include a drill, saw, tape, paint, levels, measuring tape

The great thing about starting a small furniture repurposing business is the relatively cheap initial costs. Most of the furniture, including chairs, end tables, and dressers, can be found near trash bins, on side streets, or in thrift stores. Family and friends are also good suppliers, as they may have unwanted furniture they are willing to sell cheap or give away.Home improvement and arts and crafts stores sell most of the tools needed to give old, dilapidated furniture a new look. A drill, tape, paint, paint brushes, sanding sheets, and other resources won’t total more than $1,000 for a first repurposing job. Hosting a weekly yard sale, creating an online shop, or setting up at a local flea market can help make hundreds or thousands of dollars off repurposed furniture.

TAILORING SERVICE

  • Start-up costs: $500 to $1,000
  • Tools and equipment: varies according to the project, but can include a sewing machine, serger, measuring tape, ruler, and professional scissors.

Small-scale tailors don’t need a large space to mend or design clothes, and new tailors can create a small, functional office space within their own homes. What tailors don’t spend in retail space, they will spend on equipment, as professional-grade tools are required for quality work. High-quality sewing machines range in price from $200 to upward of $1,000. For basic sewing projects, a machine in the $200 to $500 range will suffice. If a market is saturated with tailors, newcomers need additional skills that set them apart. Specializing in wedding dresses, children’s clothes, or costumes can keep a new tailor ahead of the game in clients and revenue. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Michaels, Creativebug and several other craft stores offer free or cheap courses on arts, crafts, and sewing.

Written by Tahirah Blanding of Cheapism

(Source: Cheapism)

3 Tips to Make Big Money in Your Business

I know I’m not the only one seeing the constant Facebook ads and group posts:

“I made $45K in my first month of business and you can too!”

“I got five high end clients this week. Let me show you how.”

Am I crazy, or is this stuff everywhere right now?

Obviously, making big money in business isn’t a bad thing and if it’s something you want, you should aspire to making it happen.

But here’s my thing. I’m feeling like the notion of big overnight paydays are screwing with the mindset of most entrepreneurs that are still just trying to get things up and running and that this 5- and 6-figure month chasing is keeping far too many people stuck. They’re trying to make a lot of money, before they’ve made any at all.

I’m a firm believer that, especially in business, you’ve gotta crawl before you walk. I certainly had to have $2K months before I had $10K months and had to sell less expensive, short term coaching packages before I booked six-month clients or high-end intensives. Do some people do it quicker? Sure, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

If you’re at the stage I was as a freelancer, hustling to get your business off the ground, but struggling to get those first few clients or sales, here are my three big tips for getting things moving in the right direction:

There is no shortage of specific problems and issues out there that you can solve.

© Cultura/REX There is no shortage of specific problems and issues out there that you can solve.

1. Start Bite Sized

Here’s something I find kinda funny. We all feel like our business is one among a sea of competitors, and that might be true in a lot of cases, but here’s one thing I can promise you: there is no shortage of specific problems and issues out there that you can solve.

Get out there and start solving those problems, even if it’s one specific issue at a time.

Think about it this way: if you’re just starting out or not making money quite yet, wouldn’t you rather sell ten super specific offerings at $149 a piece, than struggle to sell a $1,490 package?

Don’t forget those ten initial clients will result in ten glowing testimonials, not to mention ten people who most likely loved working with you and want to move further to a bigger service.

I’m all for you valuing yourself and I would never advocate low priced services over the longer term, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, even if that somewhere is small, because it will lead you to bigger things.

You have to do what you love, deliver content that you care about and be of service to the people you want to help.

© Monkey Business Images/REX You have to do what you love, deliver content that you care about and be of service to the people you want to help.

2. Focus on Inspired Action

For many of us, we’re so stuck on wanting to get in those sales and clients, that we’re constantly in push mode, meaning every action we take in our business is something that we want to see result in sales. We’re stressing and trying to force it, and forcing things to happen is almost never a good idea.

When you’re struggling to make the money you need, I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s crucial that you operate from an inspired place. Meaning, you have to do what you love, deliver content that you care about and be of service to the people you want to help. Doing that will lead to loyal followers and fans and therefore paying clients who want and need what you offer.

3. Get Scientific in Your Approach

When doctors or scientists start a new study or experiment, they don’t try once, fail, and then declare it a dead project, right?

I see so many entrepreneurs spend hours and hours putting together amazing packages or programs, try and promote it, end up with less than desirable results, and then say “it didn’t work” and feel like a failure.

Truly, there have been more failures in my business than I’d like to admit, but honestly, I’ve come to love and embrace the failures, because I learn something big every single time, and the next thing I promote goes over well because I failed previously. My successes wouldn’t have happened without learning from what didn’t work

If a product or service doesn’t sell right away, tweak, fix and adjust until you make it work. Trying once and quitting isn’t enough.

BONUS TIP: Instead of guessing if your offering is going to sell, get out there and do market research so you know that what you’re releasing is truly wanted by your ideal client.

Written by Sara Dann of The Huffington Post

(Source: The Huffington Post)

Self-Employed? Top Ways to Save for Retirement

© Provided by CNBC
© Provided by CNBC

At the end of a long career, most corporate employees can expect some sort of sendoff—perhaps a Costco sheet cake in the conference room as their colleagues gather around for several rounds of “For (S)He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

When you call yourself boss, though, retiring is a lonelier affair, as is saving for retirement.

Of the almost 15 million Americans who are self-employed, 28 percent don’t save for retirement at all, compared to just 10 percent of people who are working in traditional jobs, according to a TDAmeritrade survey.

“It’s the nature of entrepreneurs to think they’ll never retire or they’ll sell their business and that will be their retirement plan,” said CPA Lisa Featherngill, a certified financial planner and managing director with Abbot Downing.

You might need less lofty retirement-planning expectations.

The good news is that there are lots of options. The bad news is that none of them offer an employer match or even a glossy brochure explaining it all to you.

Everything is up to you.

“You have to do all the work of an employee and an employer,” said Andrew Meadows, consumer and brand ambassador of Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, an Internet-based flat-fee-for-service retirement plan provider for small-business owners.

The challenge is wading through all the retirement plan options and deciding which one is right for you.

“Actually, self-employed individuals have a lot of choices around retirement and can often save more than employed people,” Featherngill said.

If you’re just starting out on your self-employed journey and still not earning much, don’t overlook an individual retirement account. IRAs are available in traditional and Roth versions.

The traditional, tax-deductible version allows you to deduct all your contributions from your current year’s income, possibly lowering your tax bracket. You will owe income taxes on withdrawals after age 59½. Withdrawals prior to that age incur income tax plus a 10 percent penalty.

Roth IRAs allow you to contribute the same amount, but with after-tax money. No tax is owed on withdrawals. You can withdraw any of your contribution tax-free since you’ve already paid the tax prior to 59½, but not earnings.

In 2015 the maximum you can contribute is $5,500 (those 50 and older can kick in an additional $1,000).

You can make your contributions for the previous year as late as October of this year if you file for an extension of your taxes.

While IRAs are a good start, you’ll need something more powerful if you hope to have a sizable retirement kitty. Financial experts recommend contributions of 10 percent to 15 percent of your salary, and in many cases the small contribution limits of an IRA won’t get you there.

If your company has fewer than 100 employees, you can set up a Savings Investment Match Plan for Employees. The contribution limits are higher than an IRA—$12,500, plus an additional $3,000 if you’re over 50.

“It’s basically an IRA that’s turbo-charged,” Featherngill said. “And it’s really easy to set up.”

Because it’s an employer plan, if you take this route for yourself, you’re obligated to contribute for any employees, too. SIMPLE IRAs require an employer to make contributions of 3 percent of salary on behalf of employees, regardless of whether the employee makes a contribution.

Like other IRAs, you pay a penalty of 10 percent for taking your money out before age 59½. The SIMPLE IRA takes it up a notch. Any distributions from the account within two years of setting it up incur a 25 percent penalty.

Like other IRAs, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs are easy to set up and fund. They have more generous contribution limits, up to $53,000 or 25 percent of your profit, whichever is less. (If you are unincorporated, only 20 percent is allowable.) You can even contribute to a SEP if you have a traditional job and are covered by a workplace plan but still have self-employed income.

“It’s very low cost to maintain, and you can scale it up depending on how much profit you have,” said CPA Armando Roman, a financial planner and wealth manager with Axiom Financial Advisory Group.

Like an IRA, you may fund the plan up to Oct. 15 for the previous year if you file an extension for your taxes.

If you have employees, however, you must fund their retirement accounts at the same percentage as your own contribution—so no giving yourself a bigger cut.

The individual or solo 401(k) plan lets you sock away much greater amounts for retirement at a smaller salary base. It has two parts: One is the employee salary deferral. The other is an employer profit-sharing contribution. Since self-employed people are both employer and employee, they’re eligible for both parts.

In 2015 you can park up to $18,000 (plus $6,000 if you’re 50 and older) in addition to 20 percent of your compensation, up to a total limit of $53,000 (or $59,000 if you’re over 50).

Let’s say you earn $150,000 and are over 50. You can contribute $24,000 through the salary deferral portion. Then you can set aside 20 percent (or 25 percent if you are incorporated) of your salary minus your 401(k) contributions and self-employment tax, which amounts to about $8,900. In this example, you would be able to contribute a total of about $47,000.

“If you’re self-employed and have no employees, I really like the solo [IRA] because it’s flexible,” said Alex Mojica, a wealth management strategist with Zions Bancorporation.

What’s more, solo 401(k) plans have loan provisions if your plan provider allows them. “It’s never advised to take a loan from your 401(k), because it can hamper the growth [of your money,]” Mojica said. “But it might provide someone with peace of mind that they can access their money if they need it.”

Like other 401(k) plans, the solo versions are governed by the Department of Labor, so there’s more paperwork in setting them up and more oversight, said Meadows of Ubiquity.

“All that compliance is your responsibility,” he said.

Written by Ilana Polyak of CNBC

(Source: CNBC)

11 Tips for Starting a Business in Retirement

The baby boomer generation is redefining retirement. While their parents may have looked forward to golf in their golden years, many people heading toward retirement today are thinking about work instead.

Some of that focus on punching the clock is necessity, and some is desire. Most baby boomers don’t have a pension, many have not saved enough for retirement and few can live on what they expect to collect in Social Security. But many also enjoy work and want to continue to use their skills.

“They’ve been forced to re-examine this whole concept of retirement,” says Jeff Williams, who owns Bizstarters.com, which provides training and consulting to entrepreneurs.

The desire to work on their own terms, and perhaps use that work to make a difference in the world, has led to an explosion of entrepreneurship among older Americans. People age 55 to 64 accounted for 25.8 percent of the businesses started in the last year, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 Kauffman Index: Startup Activity. A 2014 survey by Encore.org, which helps older Americans find ways to use their skills for the greater good, found that 39 percent of the​ respondents were interested in starting a business or a nonprofit organization.

“It’s an opportunity to maybe do something that you’ve really wanted to do for a long time,” says Nancy Collamer, author of “Second-Act Careers.” Many retirees want to work on their own terms, follow their passions and set their own schedules. And, of course, many older people have been forced out of their jobs sooner than they had planned.

While it can be fairly easy to start a business, particularly one that requires no office space or retail location, it isn’t for everyone. To make it work, you need to have the right idea at the right time, plus the skill to get your product in front of buyers.

“You need to really think about why you’re doing it,” Collamer says. “Most boomers pursue entrepreneurship for lifestyle reasons. … At the end of the day, it is a business, and you need to be solving some problem in the marketplace.”

Some may discover that pursuing their passion doesn’t fit into the traditional for-profit model. For those people, starting or joining a nonprofit, or using their talents either as a volunteer and paid contributor in the nonprofit world may be a better fit.

“There’s a huge amount of consulting that happens in the nonprofit sector,” says Marci Alboher, author of “The Encore Career Handbook” and vice president of Encore.org. You could use your talents in retirement to start a consulting business that serves nonprofits or consult as a volunteer.

“You can start a business that has both a revenue-generating value as well as a social value,” Alboher says. Launching a business that doesn’t require a brick-and-mortar location can often cost less than $10,000. But your work doesn’t end there. Building that business into an enterprise that returns a significant profit takes time and skill. Experts see opportunities in consulting, services that cater to baby boomers and older people, caretaking and businesses that provide services to other small businesses.

“It takes a while until you lay the groundwork, you get your customers and you hit your groove,” Collamer says.

Here are 11 tips for starting your own business in or near retirement:

1. Determine whether your idea is really a good business plan.

© Image Broker/Rex Features

What problem does it solve? “Be very honest with yourself in the business idea you come up with,” Williams says. If your passion doesn’t translate into a viable business, maybe you’re better off pursuing it as a hobby or volunteer. “Don’t worry about finding the next hot business idea,” Collamer says. “Just take a look around you and see where’s the need.”

2. Evaluate your skills. 

Do you have an ability to do all the tasks necessary to make your business a success? “Make sure you’re really good at it,” Williams says. “You have to have the passion, but you have to have the capability, too.”

3. Consider the time involved. 

Most people don’t want to work 80 hours a week, or even 40 hours a week, once they’ve reached retirement. “It’s important to figure out a way to do it in a way that’s not all-consuming,” Collamer says. She advises people to stay away from starting brick-and-mortar businesses that require your constant presence, such as restaurants and stores.

4. Get good advice.

© Hero Images/Corbis

Most cities have lots of free and low-cost resources to help beginning entrepreneurs. Some also provide good networking opportunities. You should also look for conferences and trade associations in your field.

5. Figure out how to finance your startup.

Many businesses, especially those with no physical location, can be started for a minimal investment. If you need six figures to get your dream business off the ground, you may need funding or investors, which create additional layers of complication. Don’t invest money you can’t afford to lose.

6. Know if you want to manage others or can handle the isolation of working alone. 

Many people who start businesses in retirement don’t want the burden of managing employees. On the other hand, if you’re running a one-person business, you’ll end up spending a lot of time by yourself, and not everyone likes that either. Decide which setup is the best fit for you before getting too far in the process.

7. Have an exit strategy. 

© Monkey Business Images/REX

If you start a business when you’re 65, you may be ready to stop running it when you’re 75. Have a plan, whether it is to leave the business to your children, sell it or just shut it down. You should consider writing down your plan and even sharing it with your spouse and children.

8. Use your professional connections.

People who have been in the workforce for a long time know a lot of people. That gives you immediate access to potential customers as well as consultants who can help you get your business off the ground.

9. Embrace technology. 

© Monkey Business Images/REX

If you’re going to run a business, you may need to learn social media, online commerce, website management and other technical skills. “Many of these things are just plug and play,” Collamer says. “It really enables you on a shoestring budget to have the look of a high-end business.”

10. Protect your assets.

Make sure your business structure protects your assets. The best way to do that will vary by state and by the size of the business. If your business goes down the tubes, you don’t want to lose your savings as well.

11. Don’t expect overnight success.

You may need to try several things and radically change your initial business plan before you find a formula that works. “Understand that this whole journey to an encore career is not going to be a linear thing,” Alboher says. “Let yourself take some rides and try stuff.”

Written by Teresa Mears of U.S. News & World Report

(Source: U.S. News & World Report)

America’s Next Tech Hubs

© Marvin Manabat/Getty Images
© Marvin Manabat/Getty Images

Over the past couple of decades, the San Francisco Bay Area has been the tech mecca of the country. It’s the shiny, silicon haven where the nerds are the cool kids and where artisanal coffee is a main food group; where there are more startups than gyms and everyone seems to be looking far into the future.

But this flood of entrepreneurial hopefuls has brought with it a surge of sky-high housing costs and a lack of space. Those looking to start a company are already using all of their resources to make sure their venture is a success. But how can they take such a risk if they’re paying upwards of $4,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment?

As it turns out, there are other areas of the country—including some in California—where more tech companies and venture capital firms are popping up every year. These dark horses may be poised to become the next silicon superpowers.

To determine the next tech hot spots in the country, FindTheHome created a Tech Rating. This formula factors in total tech companies and employees per capita, as well as the area’s “tech ecosystem”—the variety of those employees and companies.

For example, a county with a broad range (an “ecosystem”) of tech industries—from computer programming services to venture capital firms to application development—received a higher score than counties with companies from just one or two tech industries. The data is provided by Dun & Bradstreet and FindTheCompany .

The counties with the highest Tech Ratings are San Francisco County (96.4) and Santa Clara County (96.4) , which is no surprise. Two other counties in Silicon Valley made the list as well, but we decided not to include those in Northern California as to highlight the “techie” counties across the country that are coming out of the woodwork.

22. WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TENN.

Notable City: Georgetown 

Industry Density Score: 10.1

Tech Employees Per Capita: 84.9

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85

Williamson County has a Tech Rating of 87.6

21. WASHTENAW COUNTY, MICH.

Notable City: Ann Arbor 

Industry Density Score: 11.2

Tech Employees Per Capita: 83.5

Tech Ecosystem Score: 84.9

Washtenaw County has a Tech Rating of 87.7

20. DENVER COUNTY, COLO.

Notable City: Denver 

Industry Density Score: 11.3

Tech Employees Per Capita: 82.8

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.5

Denver County has a Tech Rating of 87.7

19. FORSYTH COUNTY, GA.

Notable City: Cumming 

Industry Density Score: 12.5

Tech Employees Per Capita: 81.5

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.2

Forsyth County has a Tech Rating of 87.7

18. WAKE COUNTY, NC

Notable City: Raleigh 

Industry Density Score: 11.4

Tech Employees Per Capita: 83.2

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.2

Wake County has a Tech Rating of 87.8

17. HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, NH

Notable City: Manchester 

Industry Density Score: 11.8

Tech Employees Per Capita: 82.6

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.3

Hillsborough County has a Tech Rating of 87.8

16. MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ

Notable City: New Brunswick 

Industry Density Score: 12

Tech Employees Per Capita: 84.8

Tech Ecosystem Score: 84.6

Middlesex County has a Tech Rating of 88.1

15. SUFFOLK COUNTY, MASS.

Notable City: Boston 

Industry Density Score: 9.2

Tech Employees Per Capita: 88.6

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.8

Suffolk County has a Tech Rating of 88.2

14. COLLIN COUNTY, TEXAS

Notable City: McKinney 

Industry Density Score: 12.8

Tech Employees Per Capita: 83.2

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.6

Collin County has a Tech Rating of 88.3

13. SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ

Notable City: Somerville 

Industry Density Score: 12.7

Tech Employees Per Capita: 85

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.7

Somerset County has a Tech Rating of 88.6

12. DOUGLAS COUNTY, COLO

Notable City: Castle Rock 

Industry Density Score: 14.3

Tech Employees Per Capita: 82.2

Tech Ecosystem Score: 86.5

Douglas County has a Tech Rating of 88.7

11. MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD

Notable City: Rockville 

Industry Density Score: 14.9

Tech Employees Per Capita: 85.6

Tech Ecosystem Score: 85.7

Montgomery County has a Tech Rating of 89.4

10. TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS

Notable City: Austin 

Industry Density Score: 15.2

Tech Employees Per Capita: 85.7

Tech Ecosystem Score: 87.5

Travis County has a Tech Rating of 89.9

9. KING COUNTY, WASH.

Notable City: Seattle 

Industry Density Score: 15.7

Tech Employees Per Capita: 90.1

Tech Ecosystem Score: 87.8

King County has a Tech Rating of 91

8. MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASS,

Notable Cities: Lowell, Cambridge 

Industry Density Score: 17

Tech Employees Per Capita: 89.8

Tech Ecosystem Score: 89.2

Middlesex County has a Tech Rating of 91.6

7. HOWARD COUNTY, MD.

Notable City: Ellicott City 

Industry Density Score: 20.

Tech Employees Per Capita: 86.6

Tech Ecosystem Score: 88.3

Howard County has a Tech Rating of 91.7

6. ARLINGTON COUNTY, VA.

Notable City: Arlington 

Industry Density Score: 22.1

Tech Employees Per Capita: 85.6

Tech Ecosystem Score: 89.6

Arlington County has a Tech Rating of 92.4

5. FULTON COUNTY, GA.

Notable City: Atlanta 

Industry Density Score: 15.9

Tech Employees Per Capita: 97.6

Tech Ecosystem Score: 87.7

Fulton County has a Tech Rating of 92.5

4. NEW YORK COUNTY, NY

Notable City: New York City 

Industry Density Score: 18.7

Tech Employees Per Capita: 90.3

Tech Ecosystem Score: 92.2

New York County has a Tech Rating of 92.8

3. BOULDER COUNTY, COLO.

Notable City: Boulder 

Industry Density Score: 23.4

Tech Employees Per Capita: 84.3

Tech Ecosystem Score: 93.3

Boulder County has a Tech Rating of 93.3

2. LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA.

Notable City: Leesburg 

Industry Density Score: 27

Tech Employees Per Capita: 85.8

Tech Ecosystem Score: 90.4

Loudoun County has a Tech Rating of 94.2

1. FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA.

Notable City: Fairfax 

Industry Density Score: 27.6

Tech Employees Per Capita: 91.3

Tech Ecosystem Score: 91.7

Fairfax County has a Tech Rating of 95.7

Written by Natalie Morin of FindTheHome

(Source: FindTheHome)

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