Nine Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Have you ever thought about striking out on your own? After all, being your own boss can be an exciting prospect. However, owning a business isn’t for everyone. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must have — or develop — certain personality traits. Here are nine characteristics you should ideally possess to start and run your own business:

1. Motivation

Entrepreneurs are enthusiastic, optimistic and future-oriented. They believe they’ll be successful and are willing to risk their resources in pursuit of profit. They have high energy levels and are sometimes impatient. They are always thinking about their business and how to increase their market share. Are you self-motivated enough to do this, and can you stay motivated for extended periods of time? Can you bounce back in the face of challenges?

2. Creativity and Persuasiveness

Successful entrepreneurs have the creative capacity to recognize and pursue opportunities. They possess strong selling skills and are both persuasive and persistent. Are you willing to promote your business tirelessly and look for new ways to get the word out about your product or service?

3. Versatility 

Company workers can usually rely on a staff or colleagues to provide service or support. As an entrepreneur, you’ll typically start out as a “solopreneur,” meaning you will be on your own for a while. You may not have the luxury of hiring a support staff initially. Therefore, you will end up wearing several different hats, including secretary, bookkeeper and so on. You need to be mentally prepared to take on all these tasks at the beginning. Can you do that?

4. Superb Business Skills 

Entrepreneurs are naturally capable of setting up the internal systems, procedures and processes necessary to operate a business. They are focused on cash flow, sales and revenue at all times. Successful entrepreneurs rely on their business skills, know-how and contacts. Evaluate your current talents and professional network. Will your skills, contacts and experience readily transfer to the business idea you want to pursue?

5. Risk Tolerance

Launching any entrepreneurial venture is risky. Are you willing to assume that risk? You can reduce your risk by thoroughly researching your business concept, industry and market. You can also test your concept on a small scale. Can you get a letter of intent from prospective customers to purchase? If so, do you think customers would actually go through with their transaction?

6. Drive 

As an entrepreneur, you are in the driver’s seat, so you must be proactive in your approaches to everything. Are you a doer — someone willing to take the reins — or would you rather someone else do things for you?

7. Vision

One of your responsibilities as founder and head of your company is deciding where your business should go. That requires vision. Without it, your boat will be lost at sea. Are you the type of person who looks ahead and can see the big picture?

8. Flexibility and Open-Mindedness

While entrepreneurs need a steadfast vision and direction, they will face a lot of unknowns. You will need to be ready to tweak any initial plans and strategies. New and better ways of doing things may come along as well. Can you be open-minded and flexible in the face of change?

9. Decisiveness

As an entrepreneur, you won’t have room for procrastination or indecision. Not only will these traits stall progress, but they can also cause you to miss crucial opportunities that could move you toward success. Can you make decisions quickly and seize the moment?

 

 

 

Written By: Ruchira Agrawal
Source: Monster

Why So Many Millionaires are Down on the Stock Market

Wealthy investor
Getty Images

These days, there are a few canaries in the coal mine of the U.S. stock market sending retirees a specific message: Get out now, while you still can.

That’s especially true among the millionaire class. According to a new survey of affluent investors from the Chicago-based Spectrem Group, investor confidence in the stock market is plummeting. The firm’s Millionaire Investor Confidence Index fell 14 points to a 38-month low.

Spectrem notes that its data roll out at a time when economic conditions look like they’re deteriorating. “This month’s survey was fielded between Jan. 15-21 amidst a backdrop of concerns about China’s economy, falling oil prices, escalating tensions in the Middle East and claims by North Korea that it had tested a hydrogen bomb,” Spectrem said.

“Global markets are continuing to experience high volatility tied to poor macroeconomic conditions and rising geopolitical uncertainty,” added George H. Walper Jr., the president of Spectrem Group. “Affluent investors tell us that stock market conditions are the factor most affecting their current investment plans, followed by retirement needs and the overall economic environment.”

Should U.S. workers saving for retirement take heed? It’s a fair question, as investors are routinely reminded by Wall Street professionals to keep their money in the financial markets all the times. A “buy and hold” strategy, after all, supposedly guarantees you won’t miss any market upticks, which happen more frequently than market downticks on a historical basis.

Whether or not that’s an ironclad truth or not, some financial experts advise investors to consider the source when given anonymous investment advice and instead stick to your own long-term savings plan.

“U.S. millionaires who may be down on the stock market are no different than average everyday Americans — all are genuinely and understandably concerned about their financial well-being and how best to navigate the challenges of the current marketplace,” said Kevin Smith, the executive vice president and a founding partner of Smith, Mayer & Liddle, a wealth advisory group in York, Pa.

Although there’s a perception that millionaires are more knowledgeable about financial markets than the typical investor, such a perception is generally not rooted in reality, Smith adds. “Wealthy investors are still subject to similar behavioral and emotional biases as other investors,” he said. “Thus, a study showing that U.S. millionaires are down on the stock market should not be given any undue weight or credibility since, based upon recent market events, a study of any investor demographic would likely reveal that they are down on the market too.”

As for any specific moves retirement savers should make, Smith reminds savers they’re on a different financial path than the millionaire class and should act accordingly. “The affluent typically have a luxury that regular Main Street retirement investors don’t have — they’ve already accumulated a sizable retirement nest egg and might prefer the safety and security of high-quality bonds to preserve and protect the level of wealth they’ve attained,” he explained. “They generally are less concerned about growth and more concerned about capital preservation.”

If periodic bouts of market volatility cause undue angst and concern, millionaires can easily reduce exposure to the stock market and transition to bonds without any serious long-term consequences to their retirement lifestyle, according to Smith. “A typical Main Street retirement investor, however, cannot generally achieve their desired retirement lifestyle without earning a long-term return well above that provided by a low-risk bond portfolio,” he said.

Some Wall Street experts say regular investors just don’t have a good feel for the financial markets right now, but long-term, their best interest may be in staying put.

“We don’t really know what the playing field is right now,” said Ilene Davis, a certified financial planner located in Cocoa, Fla. “However, I still believe that five years from now, the stock market will do better than a low-return certificate of deposit. Frankly, if the stock market collapses, so will all retirement plans, so anyone depending on investment income will be unable to pay their bills.”

“I’m advising my clients to hold their nose, don’t look at statements, and stick it out,” says Davis.

As for retirement savers themselves, the operating mode is anxiety — leaving some to take the canary’s cue and head for the exits.

“I am largely done with the stock market,” said Kenyon Meadows, a real estate investor located in Saint Simons Island, Ga. “After seeing several hundred thousands of dollars evaporate in a matter of days, both in 2008 and most recently at the beginning of this year, I’m focusing my investing efforts more into real estate.”

“I’ve put together a portfolio of modestly priced single-family rental homes, and the amount of control and consistent returns will make me do much more in that arena, as opposed to the stock market,” he adds.

In the end, who knows if the millionaires surveyed by Spectrem know what they’re talking about. It’s really what actual retirement savers like Meadows think and do, anyway.

Your best bet on that front is to consult an investment professional and weigh your own long-term savings needs and act on those needs directly.

Yes, it’s a boring plan, but it’s an effective, too, if any history is any guide. Any millionaire will tell you that.

Written by Brian O’Connell of TheStreet

(Source: TheStreet)

These Millionaires Get Obamacare Subsidies

 
Adam Berry/Getty Images

This one weird trick can help even rich people buy Obamacare at sharply reduced prices. Really.

A number of wealthy individuals, some of whom were “disgusted” with Obamacare when it first went into effect, nonetheless are now taking advantage of federal financial aid available under that health-care law to help significantly reduce their monthly insurance premiums.

Carolyn McClanahan, a Jacksonville, Fla., financial advisor and medical doctor, told CNBC that she’s steered at least five such clients, whose individual net worths range between $1 million and $3 million, toward buying Obamacare health plans because of the federal subsidies available due to their taxable income levels.

Those clients are saving between $4,600 and $8,800 in annual premium payments as a result of subsidies. On top of that, McClanahan said, those customers are getting extra financial help to pay their out-of-pocket health expenses — the copayments, coinsurance and deductibles that aren’t covered by their insurance plan.

The idea of giving rich people discounted Obamacare plans raises the eyebrows of even McClanahan’s clients, who were initially skeptical when she described the option.

“Everybody was like, ‘Are you sure this is going to work?'” McClanahan said of her clients’ reaction.

“And I’m like, ‘Yes, I’m sure it’s going to work.'”

And it’s legal as well, because of the way the Affordable Care Act focuses on income rather than net worth to establish eligibility for Obamacare aid.

“The law was set up that way, so I’m going to help them take advantage of it.”

The ACA was enacted primarily to help uninsured people get health coverage at a price they could afford. To help do that, the ACA authorized the federal government to issue tax credits, or subsidies, to people with low or moderate incomes who buy health plans sold on government-run Obamacare exchanges.

For 2016, individuals with annual taxable income between $11,770 and $47,070 qualify for such aid.

McClanahan’s Obamacare customer clients were all retirees who stopped working before they were 65 years old. They no longer had the option of getting health insurance through their jobs, and were too young to qualify for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for senior citizens.

Those people, while having relatively high net worths due to investments and real estate, also were in a position to have taxable income that was low enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies.

But that income could still be high enough to keep them above 100 percent of the poverty level. If their incomes fell below that, they would not qualify for the subsidies to help buy private plans, and also would not qualify for government-run Medicaid because Florida rejected expanding that program to cover more low-income people.

McClanahan said she helped the clients structure their income stream — and the taxable component of it — “just right.”

“The first thing you’ve got to figure out is how much money do they need to live on,” she said.

The clients, all of whom had paid off their homes, needed “anywhere between $5,000 and $7,000 a month” to live on, she said.

Helping that strategy was the clients’ use of bond ladders, which gave them steady income as the bonds matured over time, and also spun off interest payments from the bonds’ coupons. While the interest payment is taxable, the initial investment in the bonds is not, McClanahan noted.

“For most people, we’re aiming for like $18,000, $19,000 in income” that is taxable, she said.

That level of income also was low enough that all of the clients qualified for the added Obamacare aid of “cost-sharing reductions,” which are available to people with taxable incomes below about $29,000 who enroll in so-called silver plans. Without cost-sharing reductions, silver plans cover about 70 percent of customers’ medical expenses, with the balance owed out-of-pocket by the customer.

Angie Koury Lieb, a Jacksonville insurance broker, helped McClanahan’s clients get into those plans, which in Florida are sold on the federally run Obamacare exchange HealthCare.gov.

Lieb said that some clients initially “were pretty disgusted about the subsidies and how it all works” when Obamacare first began taking effect.

“I think a lot of it was very politically motivated, that they didn’t necessarily agree with the Affordable Care Act itself,” she said.

“Then they said, ‘Well, shoot, I’m going to try to qualify myself,'” Lieb said. “I think they were more, ‘If I can’t beat them, join them.'”

Lieb said that when she helped McClanahan’s clients sign up on HealthCare.gov and pick their plans, “they were usually pretty pleased and excited” when they saw how much subsidies they would be getting to lower their premiums.

On the lower end of the prices, one client qualified for a $423-per-month subsidy, which reduced the price of their plan from $663 per month down to $240 per month, she said. On the high end, another client qualified for a $737 subsidy, reducing their premium from $1,172 per month to $435.

And “with the cost-sharing reduction, I think people were extremely happy,” Lieb said. “It reminds people of what health insurance looked like 25 years ago, when they had a $10 copay and no deductible.”

Lieb and McClanahan both noted the fact that their clients, due to their financial position, came under scrutiny from the government when they applied for their subsidies. To obtain those subsidies, customers have to indicate how much income they expect to earn in the coming year.

Every client, McClanahan said, was flagged for review of their subsidy eligibility when they applied because tax forms revealed they previously had high incomes.

“We had to provide a lot of supporting documentation,” McClanahan said.

Clients also must be conscientious about reporting income changes during the course of the year. If people end up earning more than they had estimated when they applied for their subsidies, they could end up owing some or all of the subsidy back when they file their tax returns the following year.

Written by Dan Mangan of CNBC

(Source: CNBC)

Why China’s Millionaires are Leaving China

  
© Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

The jury may be out permanently on the old question of whether money can buy happiness, but that hasn’t stopped wealthy Chinese families from trying.

There is a growing trend among China’s richest to use their wealth to move themselves and their families abroad. This is done primarily in the form of investment visas.

On the flip side, a number of countries are opening the doors to the estimated 1 million Chinese millionaire — provided they bring their money with them. It’s something of a bidding war in reverse, for which Australia wins the prize. All it takes is AU$5 million (US$3.6 million) of investment to apply for permanent residency.

Other countries are not nearly so greedy, although the different terms on offer make the price of a visa difficult to compare.

The U.S., for example, will take just $1 million for a green card, offering residence. That’s for an investment that generates 10 jobs for at least two years, although under the so-called EB-5 program, investment in a public development project can be a less-risky substitute. This figure halves if the investment is in a rural area or in an industry suffering from high employment.

Terms from other countries vary:

  • Investing 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) in the U.K. will buy up to five years of residency.
  • Purchasing 500,000 euros ($569,000) worth of Spanish property grants foreigners residency for as long as the property is retained.

None of these visas are restricted to Chinese nationals. However, China’s the place to find nouveau riche these days, and since being introduced, the programs have all been dominated by potential investors from the Middle Kingdom who want out. Chinese citizens made up eight of 10 investor visas issued by the U.S. State Department last year. George Osborne, the British chancellor of the exchequer, declared that the U.K. would focus on making it easier for Chinese investors to enter the country.

Canada is going in the opposite direction. It canceled its investment visa earlier this year after the process became overrun by Chinese applicants. It was one of the cheapest routes out of China. The Canadian government said the program significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residency. It also provoked local resentment, as wealthy immigrants bid up property prices in places like Vancouver.

What’s in it for Chinese? Foreign markets rebounding from recession can sometimes provide profitable opportunities. They boast an investment environment free from corruption, patronage and government control, at least relative to China.

But realistically, economic opportunities do not top the list for many émigrés. China’s not an easy place to live. Wealthy Chinese parents are becoming increasingly concerned about raising kids in an environment with filthy air, not to mention a critical lack of clean water and constant food and beverage safety scandals.

Calculating prospective parents can also use the visas as a means to obtain foreign nationality for their children, if they’re born abroad. Later, if those children return to China with a foreign passport, they’ll be able to attend international schools, which are off-limits to Chinese nationals. It’s also easier for them to travel and attend university abroad. Unscrupulous businessmen may be looking to escape China with their wealth intact before the government’s current anti-corruption campaign catches up with them.

It all sounds a bit mercantile. But if it’s not happiness they’re buying, sounds like they’re still getting a lot for their money.

Written by Ben Halder of Ozy

(Source: Ozy)

Pope Francis to Congress and Millionaires: Spread the Wealth

Provided by Yahoo! Finance
Provided by Yahoo! Finance

New Yorkers embraced Pope Francis on his first ever visit to the Big Apple. Across the city thousands of supporters gathered along barricaded streets to get a glimpse of “The People’s Pope”.

“It’s a daunting schedule and he seems to be handling it quite well. The crowds here are quite adoring,” says Father Michael Russo of St. Mary’s College, who is travelling with the pope during his visit to America.

Friday morning began with a speech at the United Nations where Francis became the fifth pope to address the UN General Assembly. He once again championed the environment and the downtrodden, saying the poor suffer most from the misuse of natural resources.

He also did not shy away from criticizing capitalism, saying that it contributes to society’s ills and that the consequences of “irresponsible mismanagement of the global economy must be cause for reflection.”

Father Russo tells Yahoo Finance that the pope’s message on the economy has been received well. “

He says the takeaway for lawmakers and the business world is to “get more engaged with the larger community.”

For those who say he’s out of touch with the economy, Father Russo says that the Pope isn’t telling individuals who wish to succeed not to. “Obviously he’s a pope who wants to make sure that those people who have the opportunities are also giving back.”

On his first full day in New York, the pope also led a prayer service at the September 11th memorial, met with schoolchildren in Harlem, greeted 80,000 people in Central Park and will celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden in front of thousands.

Written by Yahoo! Finance

(Source: Yahoo! Finance)

8 Startups That Turned These Millennials Into Millionaires

© Provided by GoBankingRates
© Provided by GoBankingRates

Only 13 percent of millennials report career ambitions of climbing the corporate ladder to become a president or CEO, according to a Bentley University-commissioned survey. By contrast, some two-thirds (66 percent) cite starting their own business as a top goal. Still young and largely free from major lifestyle obligations, millennials are in prime position to pursue new, innovative and self-driven career endeavors.

In spite of dreary jobs forecasts hanging over this youngest generation of workers, the success stories of millennials-turned-millionaires can inspire peers and future generations alike to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Having already carved their own paths to fiscal and entrepreneurial success, these eight millennial millionaires exemplify the enormous value and opportunity of self-driven startups.

1. IPSY

YouTube sensation Michelle Phan leveraged her popularity to co-found Ipsy, a make-up subscription company with $120 million in annual sales, according to Entrepreneur. With more than 100,000 new subscribers joining every month, the publication points out that Ipsy is giving rival Birchbox a run for its money.

But Phan isn’t stopping there. As an entrepreneur with a passion for creative content and her loyal community of followers, she continues to use her success and entrepreneurial skill set to dive into new ventures, including the new premium lifestyle network ICON and music publishing company Shift Music Group.

Featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30, 28-year-old Michelle Phan’s net worth is an estimated $3 million, reports CelebrityNetWorth.

2. SUMMLY

Nineteen-year-old Nick D’Aloisio founded the mobile news summarization app, Summly, selling it to Yahoo for $30 million at the age of 17. As one of the youngest self-made millionaires of all time, D’Aloisio is now studying at Oxford while building out the former Summly into today’s Yahoo News Digest.

D’Aloisio’s interest in mobile technology was sparked after downloading apps on the iPhone. Wanting to build apps of his own, he taught himself to code. Today, D’Aloisio is at the forefront of app development, receiving the prestigious Apple Design Award for his work on Yahoo News Digest in 2014 and optimizing the platform for the new Apple Watch.

Nick D’Aloisio’s net worth is about $30 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth. He was able to raise $1.23 million from A-listers such as Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono and Rupert Murdoch.

3. TUMBLR

Founder and CEO of the popular blogging platform Tumblr, David Karp, recently turned 29.

David Karp’s net worth reached $200 million after selling Tumblr to Yahoo for a whopping $1.1 billion in 2013. The high school dropout and minimalistic reportedly used the payday to splurge on a $1.6 million loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

4. MASHABLE

Pete Cashmore founded Mashable in 2005 at age 19. A global news site, Mashable now boasts millions of social media followers and reportedly 40 million unique visitors each month.

Despite rumors that Cashmore might sell to CNN in 2012, the millennial founder has held onto the company, continuing to serve as CEO. In January, it was announced that Mashable raised $17 million in capital to help fuel its future growth and development plans.

Cashmore was named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in 2012. That year, The New York Times estimated Pete Cashmore’s net worth at $95 million — today those estimates climb closer to $120 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.

5. DOTLOOP

At 18 years old, Austin Allison became a licensed real estate agent. Not long after, he revolutionized the industry.

By age 24, Allison had developed dotloop, a comprehensive software built to handle real-estate transactions from offer to close. The platform allows all parties to collaborate on paperwork and contracts in a shared virtual work space or “loop.”

Launched in 2009 with $2.7 million in funding from angel investors, the company became profitable in just 18 months, reports Entrepreneur. As of 2012, dotloop’s total funding was $10 million. And The New York Times reported in 2014 that dotloop’s annual revenue was $10 million to $15 million.

6. EVERLANE

After leaving a job in private equity, Michael Preysman founded online retailer Everlane to provide high quality, low-cost clothing and accessories to shoppers. The unique combination of luxury, value and transparency in pricing and manufacturing practices proved a stand out from other bargain retail competitors, like Gilt and Amazon.

In August, Entrepreneur referred to Preysman as a young (29 years old) millionaire who was able to generate $12 million in revenue for 2013. Preysman has since raised at least $5 million in venture and angel funding for Everlane and saw the company through a 200 percent growth in 2014, reports Inc.

7. SNAPCHAT

According to Forbes, Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy have a net worth of $1.5 billion — each. Fortune reports the social media app, which lets users share photos and chat through their smart devices, is worth $19 billion or more. Recently, Fortune also reported that Snapchat has raised more than $1 billion in funding.

The 25 and 26 year old met when they were undergraduates at Stanford University in 2009 and created the company in July 2011. Since then, Snapchat has increased in popularity. There are reportedly more than 100 million daily active users utilizing the app.

8. THERANOS

Elizabeth Holmes, 31, surpassed millionaire status, reaching the ranks of billionaire before age 30 with her company Theranos.

Holmes launched Theranos in 2003, dropping out of Stanford University her sophomore year to run the company, which specializes in a painless way to draw and test blood. With faster, cheaper and less painful blood testing, Theranos has the potential to transform the healthcare industry. In 2013, Walgreens announced plans to introduce Theranos wellness centers in its stores.

According to CBS News, Theranos is now valued near $10 billion. As for Elizabeth Holmes, her net worth is so high that Forbes tracks it in real time; at time of writing, her net worth was $4.7 billion. Forbes has also declared Holmes the world’s youngest female billionaire.

Written by Stefanie O’Connell of GoBankingRates

(Source: GoBankingRates)