Best Online Businesses.

With all the doom and gloom news about the economy, there’s never been a better time to make an extra paycheck online with a minimal amount of time and effort.  A perfect part-time business would have to be very easy to start, require little time and money and no technical expertise, be easy to maintain with just a few hours a week and have a proven track record with a high probability of success.

1. Information marketing: We’re in the information age, and the internet provides you with the ideal medium to exchange know-how for money. Do you know the best fishing holes? How to play guitar? The secrets to a successful marriage? A recipe for moist and delicious brownies? A trick for saving gas?

 

2. eBay: One of the largest online marketplaces makes it a piece of cake to get your own business going. You can open an account and start making money within hours on eBay!  Take a look at some of the largest eBay PowerSellers and notice how they specialize in very specific products (iPods, cell phones, dog grooming kits, etc.). This allows them to leverage their efforts. A listing is created once, and money is collected over and over again.

3. Affiliate marketing: This may possibly be the absolute laziest way to make money because it doesn’t require you to have a product, make a sale or ever have any interaction with customers. This is essentially a “referral” business, or as one of my book contributors likes to call it, “passionate recommendations.” Basically, you can get paid a referral commission just for sending people to sites (or vendors) that are set up to pay affiliate fees once a sale is made. The vendor does all the selling, fulfills the purchase and handles any customer service issues–and you just collect your check..not bad!

 

4. Blogging: This business is best suited for folks who enjoy communicating about a particular subject. Think of blogs as journals of sorts. Although you can have a personal blog, writing about a particular topic will have a higher chance for financial success. The range of topics is virtually endless–photography, sports cars, parenting, dieting, star gazing, the latest gadgets, Hollywood gossip–you name it, as there are blogs on just about everything you can imagine. Don’t worry about competition. Folks who read one blog are apt to read others on a topic they’re passionate about, as long as you have something interesting to say.

5. Yahoo! Store: This business is very similar to eBay in the sense that it’s a monster-sized marketplace but more similar to a store in the true sense of the word. Think having your own retail outlet but without the hassles of rent, employees, utilities and all the other expenses of a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

Courtesy of Distribute! blog = http://blog.distribute!.ca/best-online-businesses/

About Generation Z, True Entrepreneurs.

Listen to the podcast:  David and Jonah Stillman discuss their book about managing Generation Z.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/knowledge-wharton/id120724941  The following are three key points from the conversation.

  1. Generation Z is ambitious and hardworking. Compared to the millennial generation, Gen Z is more competitive and independent. Millennials were raised to believe in collaboration and inclusion, which are positive traits that extend to their work ethic. However, the view that everyone wins if everyone works together isn’t necessarily realistic.

“I was told that there’s winners and losers, and if I’m not willing to work my butt off there are 70 million other Gen Zers that are going to come right up behind you and take your job,” Jonah Stillman says. “We are a very competitive and driven generation.”

It’s important for millennial managers to realize they need a different approach with their youngest charges.

“Now we’ve got a generation that’s going to be much more independent and very competitive,” David Stillman says. “I think we run the risk that millennials will dismiss this generation as not loyal, not team players, and it’s just not true. They’re coming and looking through a completely different lens. I think step one is that we need to train those who are going to be on the frontlines just how different Gen Z will be from millennials.”

  1. Generation Z babies are digital natives. Employees who belong to Generation Z have never known life without the internet or social media, and they are comfortable with rapidly changing technology. It’s a trait that the Stillmans identify as phygital.

“Phygital has sort of blurred the lines between physical and digital,” David Stillman says. “They see no line at all. This generation has only known a world where their phones are smart.”

Because Zers are digital natives, they can serve as authority figures on the technology that is so imperative to the modern workplace. They are quick to streamline processes, and they have less hesitation or fear to try something new.

“One thing we heard again and again in researching for the book was Gen Z felt the other generations over-thought a lot of things and took too long,” David Stillman says. “So, they are going to be good to say, ‘Let’s just try it, let’s get out there, let’s do it and maybe cut out a lot of the deep, long processes.’

“At the same time, we have to be careful because this generation can act too quickly. You don’t want them having a company spend all these resources to move something that is only just a quick fad that came and went.”

  1. Generation Z is looking for alternatives. Economic and political events — including Sept. 11th and the Great Recession — have critically  shaped the worldview of Gen Zers. While millennials are often seen as having an undeserved sense of entitlement, Zers have an attitude more in line with their Generation X parents. David Stillman describes it as the difference between, “Wow, this job is lucky to have me,” and “Wow, I’m so lucky to have this job.”

“That switch up, because of the Recession as well as Gen X parents with some tough love, 76% of Gen Z said they are willing to start at the bottom and work their way up,” he says. “I think it’s going to be great.”

Jonah Stillman describes his peers as the do-it-yourself generation, partly because the internet provides unprecedented opportunities for self-education.

“If I wanted to learn how to re-tile my bathroom floor or speak Russian, I could do all of that and anything in between by logging onto YouTube,” he says.

His generation is more willing to think beyond the traditional path to that first job. Like Harvard-bound Malia Obama, more Zers are weighing the idea of a “gap year” between high school and college to travel, intern, learn a skill or simply hone in on what they want to be when they grow up.

The reason for the change lies partly with the increasing burden of college debt. The younger set is hyper-aware of the debt that millennials have, and they don’t want to be saddled with the same load. They want to find a deeper connection between an expensive education and what they will do with it.

“We know that 75% of Gen Zs believe that there are other ways of getting a good education than by going to college,” Jonah Stillman said.

From Knowledge at Wharton May 24, 2017

The Definitive Guide to Affiliate Marketing.

The ubiquitous rise of the internet has had a profound effect on mankind, dramatically altering both how we live and work. Yet, in our on-demand society replete with endless conveniences, one of the single most resonating benefits has been the ability to live, work and earn from anywhere on this planet. It’s an allure that attracts droves of individuals who are frustrated with the throes of 9-to-5 life, seeking ways they can untether the cord of corporate responsibility.

Clearly, the temptation of becoming a digital nomad and traveling the world, or simply working from home on your own schedule, was born well before Tim Ferris’s iconic, 4-Hour Work Week. However, for most who are drawn into this life replete with the potential for unapologetic income and wealth, coupled with the ability to call their own shots and build a business around an intended lifestyle, affiliate marketing offers a cliched pathway to riches beyond measure.

For Dan Henry, the salient dream of living life and succeeding by marketing products or services as an affiliate wasn’t just alive, it was lucid. Still, dream as he might, in 2011 Henry was still just a college dropout delivering pizzas door-to-door just to make a living. However, compelled by a nascent desire to live according to own terms, he knew that there was more to life than existing paycheck-to-paycheck.

Yet, like any other young adult, Henry struggled in life, unsure of where to go or what to do, embattled by bad habits that included a chronic addiction to cigarettes. He was the product of circumstances, but that didn’t make him a victim. Like any other person looking to succeed, he knew some serious changes to his life were in order. And one of those changes was the necessity to quit smoking cigarettes, a habit he had come to abhor.

Although he had tried countless times in the past, he had failed to quit. But this time was different. His frame-of-mind had changed. And something inside of him clicked when he realized he could use electronic cigarettes to actually ween himself off the “real thing.” He implemented a system where he used a low-quality gas station brand, and went from strong to medium then mild over a multi-week period.T (more…)

More Than 50% Self-Employed by 2020.

Small businesses (SMBs) are the heart of the American economy. In fact, studies show a new business is started in the U.S. every minute. It’s even been said that more than 50 percent of all workers will be self-employed by 2020.

And now as we chart a course into 2017, under the governance of a new commander-in-chief, there are potential new concerns for SMBs on top of normal day-to-day business affairs. Where do you see your business going in the coming year?  Have you attempted anything new to grow revenue and profits? What is your confidence level in the economy? Those are just a few of the questions we were curious about in the poll.

This year’s survey results represented data from 1127 different small businesses, the highest participation to date.  Small business leaders and executives weighed in on important topics, including:

  • Support of government for small businesses
  • Impact of the election and a new presidency
  • Top business challenges
  • Anticipated growth
  • Growth strategies
  • Social media use
  • IT spending and use

After we took time to hone in on the most important topics, administer the surveys, collect data, and analyze the responses, some of the results were surprising and changed our assumptions about the state of small business. It’s also very interesting to compare the stats year-over-year.  The following are some key findings from the report:

  • 50 percent of SMBs plan to hire new employees in the coming year, even though over half of companies find it to be their biggest challenge.
  • 49 percent of respondents believe a new president will have a positive effect on their company’s growth.
  • 28 percent of businesses polled sell goods or services on their respective websites, four percent less than in 2016.

Further, confidence in the U.S. economy has remained unchanged, with either no change or a slight rise in optimism. That being said, 69 percent anticipate an increase in revenue over 2016. You can find even more data on marketing, social media, IT, and when you read the report.

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Mapping the Diversity of the Creative Class.

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Racial and ethnic diversity spurs economic progress; sameness spells economic segregation.

The interplay between race, ethnicity, and economic progress in the U.S. has long been a complex and politically loaded one, even before the election of Donald Trump. As president, Trump’s embrace of white supremacists and controversial immigration policies have only brought America’s divisions further to the fore. But ethnic and racial diversity is a key factor in America’s economic growth. My own work has looked at the role of factors like openness to immigrants and gays and lesbians in the innovative quality and economic development of cities and metro areas.

I have previously covered the black and white racial divide in the creative class. Today, I want to turn more broadly to the racial and ethnic diversity of the creative class—the nearly 50 million American workers, who make up roughly a third of the United States workforce, spanning science and tech; business and management workers; and arts, design, and cultural creativity. Economist Todd Gabe of the University of Maine ran the numbers for all 350-plus U.S. metros based on data from the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census.

The Hispanic creative class

The first map shows the Hispanic share of the creative class across metros. This includes all Hispanic residents, regardless of skin color. On the map, dark purple indicates a high level of diversity, and lighter blue indicates low levels of it. Hispanics make up the greatest share of the creative class along the southern border areas of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, as one might expect, but also in parts of the Rockies, Florida, around Chicago in the Midwest, and along the Boston-New York-Washington Corridor.

There are two metros where Hispanic residents make up more than a third of the creative class: San Antonio and Miami. There are two more—Riverside and Los Angeles—where Hispanics make up a fifth to a quarter of the creative class. All of these are in the South and West. Older industrial metros tell the other side of this story: Hispanics make up just 1 and 2.5 percent of the creative class in these places, with Pittsburgh topping the least-diverse list.

The Asian creative class

A map of the Asian share of the creative class across metros looks much the same: Again, there are large concentrations on the East and West Coasts, plus Texas. But now there are pockets in the South, Midwest, and Mountain states as well.

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An Idea in Search of an Audience.

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Jason McCarthy describes his life immediately after leaving the military in 2008 as having hit “rock bottom.”  The former 10th Special Forces staff sergeant was nearly broke, out of work, recently divorced, and struggling to adjust back into civilian life. The only thing that kept him going, he said, was his chocolate labrador, Java. “I was like a guy living a country song,” he jokes. “All he’s got is himself and his dog.”

McCarthy did have one other asset, although it didn’t seem very valuable at the time. Drawing inspiration from the heavy-duty survival packs he and his fellow soldiers carried around Iraq—an exercise known as “rucking”—he considered designing a backpack that would have the rugged functionality of military gear, but be designed for civilian use.

An Idea in Search of an Audience

McCarthy played around with the idea, but admits that he didn’t know the first thing about sewing, manufacturing, marketing, or distributing a product. Yet believing in the strength of his idea, he founded GORUCK.  “People were like ‘what’s the hardest thing [about starting a company]?’ and I’d say, ‘everything.’ Everything was my biggest challenge, because I didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

Though the idea was little more than a hobby at the time, McCarthy wanted to protect it, despite not having the money to file patents and trademarks with a traditional law firm. That’s when he discovered LegalZoom.  “I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars wasting money on that, and I had heard of LegalZoom and thought it couldn’t be that hard, and I was right.” he said. “I still have the napkin sketches that I drew while I was filling out the application.”

The military culture that McCarthy had been entrenched in since 2001 discourages many of the attributes that are vital to entrepreneurial success, like creativity and self-promotion. There was one attribute, however, that McCarthy pulled straight from his military training, and it ultimately helped him get his company off the ground.

“I learned in the military that you can solve any problem if you build a team and just keep after it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a prerequisite to have been in the military, but in my case it’s the reason why I am where I am.”  Those problem-solving skills, along with some help from the fellow former Green Berets McCarthy employed, helped the company adjust its strategy when it became obvious that, in his words, “nobody wanted to buy the bag.”

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With no marketing experience and his every last penny invested in inventory, McCarthy had to find a unique way to sell the bags that were collecting dust in his basement. That’s when he created the GORUCK Challenge.  The team-based endurance event takes a group of participants, packs their GORUCK bags with weights, and puts them through a series of challenges led by former Special Forces. During these military-like missions, participants can help carry some of the weight on their teammates’ backs, or ask for help when needed.

The events soon took off, and the bag sales eventually followed. “People don’t want to buy a thing, they want to believe in something, they want to have an experience,” said McCarthy. “The GORUCK Challenge is a real experience.”  Last year, live events and equipment sales helped GORUCK pull in total revenues of $15 million: 80% from gear sales and 20% from events. Now McCarthy is able to give back to the military community that helped inspire the idea, both through hiring veterans and through the company’s nonprofit, Java Forever, created in memory of his first chocolate lab and registered using LegalZoom.

Today, McCarthy has a chocolate lab named Monster, who serves as the company’s unofficial mascot and president of GORUCK nation, but it’s no longer just one man and his dog. He and his wife Emily have three kids: Jack, Ryan, and Natalie.

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Buffett: AI Will Be ‘Enormously Disruptive’.

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OMAHA — Nearly two decades ago, a 10-year-old shareholder stood in front of a microphone here and asked Warren Buffett how the Internet would reshape companies.

It was 2000. Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said fairly little. He saw a threat in the Internet, but said he was unsure how it would ultimately affect his investments, according to a report at the time.

On Saturday, that same shareholder, Thomas Kamei, now a 27-year-old investor based in New York, submitted an updated version of his question at Berkshire’s annual meeting. This time, Kamei focused on artificial intelligence, a technology that threatens to upend the economy just as the Internet did years before. What did Buffett make of it?

Buffett said that AI could be “enormously disruptive,” yet beneficial in making the economy more efficient.

“I would certainly think [AI] would result in significantly less employment in certain areas,” he said. “It would be a good thing that would require enormous transformation in how people relate to each other, what they expect of government, all kinds of things.”

The comments came during a more than six-hour Q&A session in which Buffett and his investing partner, Charlie Munger, repeatedly praised efforts to make businesses more productive, despite job losses. They pointed to past advancements in farming and auto manufacturing, industries able to do more with fewer workers.

The duo also defended their work with 3G Capital, the controversial Brazilian private equity firm known for aggressive cost cutting and layoffs. Kraft Heinz, backed by Berkshire and 3G, laid off 1,000 workers in 2016 and plans to cut thousands of additional positions, a strategy seen at odds with Berkshire’s folksy image.

The fear, though, is that AI may cause even more losses. A recent study by PwC found that about 40 percent of jobs could be automated with current technology by 2030.

Buffett laid out a theoretical scenario at one of Berkshire’s best-known companies, Geico. The insurer employs about 36,000 people, yet the financial services industry is seen as vulnerable to automation. Buffett asked: What if all of Geico’s current functions, aided by AI, could be done by 10,000 people, or a third of the staff?

“I don’t think we’ve ever experienced anything quite like that,” he said. Munger, known for his brevity, told Buffett not to worry. “It’s not going to come that quickly,” he responded.

When a shareholder later asked Buffett if he would push back on a Berkshire subsidiary that wanted to move a factory overseas, Buffett gave examples of previous Berkshire companies like Dexter Shoes that had already been forced to do so.

Global trade, he said, benefited the U.S. by providing consumers with lower prices and more places to sell goods. But he also said that it could create “roadkill” of people, one reason he wants more government programs for displaced workers. He did not outline specific proposals, but said the U.S. needed an “educator-in-chief” who could explain the benefits of trade and come up with solutions.

Unemployment insurance already existed and provided help to those in need, Munger said. “I’m afraid a capitalist system is going to hurt some people as it modifies and improves,” Munger said. “There’s no way to avoid it.”

From LinkedIn by Chip Cutter, Managing Editor