Category "Business"

Get in on the app boom with this beginner-friendly training.

2 min read

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Apple grew its mobile presence on the strength of the slogan, “There’s an app for that.” Almost a decade later, there are two million apps in the App Store and what was once a cheeky, figurative slogan has become practically literal. There are apps for everything, and more and more companies are prioritizing developing apps to better serve their users. As such, app developers are highly in-demand. If you want to take advantage of the app boom and make a hefty paycheck, check out The 2020 Mobile App Developers Bundle.

This 20-hour bundle offers training for everyone, including absolute beginners, so regardless of your familiarity with app development, you can get on career track. You’ll get introductions to iOS development and Android development using Java and Kotlin. You’ll learn how to integrate SQL databases and Firebase into apps to retrieve and manage data more efficiently. By the end of the bundle, you’ll put your skills into practice by building a Contacts app and a weather forecasting app by using RESTful APIs.

There are seven apps included in total, and they’re all taught by the programming experts at Zenva Academy. Zenva has a great track record in the online learning space, including over 16k reviews on Udemy and 4.8 out of 5 stars on Facebook. They’ve taught over 400k students in total, so you could say they’ve done this before (and then some).

If you’re looking for the kind of comprehensive education that will have you building your own apps in no time, get The 2020 Mobile App Developers Bundle for just $29.99 today.

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Both offline and online companies can grow and gain competitive advantages in the market.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As businesses grow, there are important considerations to be made around costs and how to grow the company. At the corporate level, the software industry has consistently grown over the past two decades. In fact, the enterprise-software industry is expected to grow to $457 billion by 2020. Common applications of enterprise software include accounting, cloud services, business intelligence, human resources and CRM solutions. 

When deciding what kind of software to implement, it is helpful to work backwards and identify what problems or challenges you currently face. Once these are identified, you can find software solutions that help solve specific problems. This process is part of a business-growth roadmap and is critical to scaling. 

It is important to note that too much reliance on software or choosing the wrong enterprise software can be problematic. These risks can be mitigated by researching the specs of a particular software to make sure it offers the customization and flexibility to work well within your business. Below are five ways software implementation commonly helps businesses, regardless of the industry or core services being provided. 

Related: The Best Software Tools to Run a Startup

1. Prioritize safety and security

Safety and security are two necessities that any and all companies need, especially when having or working in a digital setting. From password managers and VPNs to DDoS and malware protection, software can help eliminate many risks from your business operation.

For example, companies can have everything backed up with a secure cloud-storage provider, eliminating the risks around physical documents. Additionally, many Software as a Service (SaaS) security products are affordable enough to be used by startups and lean companies. There is no reason not to have basic security measures in place nowadays with the available software on the market. 

2. Produce new revenue streams

While integrating software may not be an automatic money maker, in theory, good software should help free up valuable time and resources for you to focus on your core competencies. In some cases, software can help a business create a completely new revenue stream or save cash by helping you lower taxable income.

For example, an offline business looking to start social media growth can find software that will schedule posts, create content and optimize them for various channels. This eliminates most of the human learning curve that would traditionally be needed. It is important to note that a human element often adds an additional safeguard and a spark of creativity in conjunction with running specific software. 

3. Eliminate Inefficiencies

Every organization faces operational inefficiencies, which can be disastrous the bottom line. It is estimated that 70 percent of wasted efficiency is spent fixing the same problem that has already happened before. Chances are whatever problem your business or customer is facing, there is a software that can at least solve a large portion of that problem. 

For example, BabelBark created a software called BizBark that connects pet owners with businesses in their local area. The company has found success by digitizing everything for pet owners, eliminating most inefficiencies seen in the past. 

4. Embrace automation

Riding off of the last example, there are a ton of options for executives looking to automate tasks within an organization. SaaS products are built off of simplicity and allow organizations to get the benefits of software, without needing to install anything. You can simply select a plan, pay monthly and work around a hosted software platform to get the results you need. This has helped SaaS products to be some of the most popular solutions for companies of all sizes and grown it into a $600 billion industry.

As Julius Cerniauskas, CEO of Oxylabs, explains, “Automation holds immense value for any business big and small alike. We incorporate ease of use into our value proposition of providing real-time web intelligence on demand, helping automate what was once a painful process.”

5. Create competitive advantages

Many businesses seek an edge over the competition. Generally, they find that advantage in industry tools, methodology or internal processes. Implementing software that expedites a process or aspect of their operations can make a significant difference in the level of competitiveness.

Vendors such as Mindbreeze provide just that by drastically reducing the time and effort spent on data management and internal search. Daniel Fallmann, CEO of Mindbreeze testifies that, “Navigating internal databases is a vital aspect of almost every operation in a sizeable enterprise. Every department relies heavily on actionable data, more often than not for a time-critical purpose. Our ability to make this easy for companies is our competitive advantage.”

Related: 10 Software Founders Share the 5 Things You Need to Know

Whatever business you are in, taking time to analyze software options is a strategic move that can help generate increased efficiencies for your company. Even with the upfront costs of certain software and SaaS solutions, the long-term benefits can include an increased bottom line and potential for growth. The key is identifying your needs and finding the right software that helps provide related solutions.

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Here’s how to shake the shackles of debt.

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Your 20s are a pivotal age. It’s a time to enjoy the greatest freedom you’ll ever know until retirement. It’s also the ideal age to begin investing because you have so much time on your side and can enjoy the magic of compound interest. 

Over the years, I have built 7-figure businesses for myself and made strong investments with significant returns. But making the right moves in my 20s saved me years of pain, heartache, and frustration —and it can for you, too. 

There’s a saying: “The more you risk, the more you can earn.” Here are eight financial principles you can start practicing in your 20s that will help set you up for long-term success

Related: Mark Cuban Says the Best Investment Is Paying Off Your Debt

1. Understand compound interest and valuation

One concept that usually gets overlooked when people are making long-term financial decisions is the impact and concept of inflation. My parents always told me to put at least 10 percent of earnings into a savings account and another 10 percent into a retirement account. Saving small today can add up to real wealth in the future thanks to compound interest. But be warned: Compound interest is a double-edged sword: A small debt today can add up to a large debt tomorrow.

In addition, try to make financial decisions based on valuations. Buying a home is not always a bad decision. In fact, one study from Harvard University found that homeowners have a higher net worth than renters. In contrast, investing in stocks at higher valuations is not a good decision. You should aim to invest in assets that are available at an attractive valuation.

2.  Generate passive income 

The quicker you can get your money working for you and generating revenue while you sleep, the quicker you’ll be able to live the life of your dreams, reduce your stress, and likely live longer too. This one is hard to grasp especially for high earners. Every dollar that you earn passively is worth $10 that you earned by trading your time. When you generate passive income, you create the ultimate form of freedom. Your time on this planet is limited, and it’s important to find ways to ensure you can maximize earnings while minimizing your time spent on working. 

3. Avoid bad debt

Whether it is credit cards or student loans, make smart decisions when borrowing money. Borrowing money using credit cards, payday loans, and short term loans from a bank have the potential to lock you into a cycle of debt that seems impossible to overcome. This type of debt comes with a high-interest rate and should be avoided except in emergencies, and this type of debt should never be used to finance conspicuous spending.

4. Make friends with good debt

Not all debt is bad debt. Take, for example, a mortgage on a home. The median home price in the U.S. is around $310,000. If you take out a 30-year mortgage on a home at this price with a 20 percent down payment at 4 percent interest, you’ll end up paying a total of $532,795.47 (including interest). However, the inflation-adjusted value of the home after 30 years is expected to be $613,240.33 — so you actually earn a 15.1 percent profit on your debt. In contrast, had you spent that money on rent over the same 30-year period, you would own nothing.

5. Save to invest

Some young people, especially millennials who came of age during the 2008 financial crisis, are understandably wary of stocks, mutual funds, and other financial instruments. They would rather hold their money as cash instead of risking it in the market. But history has shown that, over long periods of time, giving yourself exposure to the market is the best way to ensure your money grows faster than inflation.

Sure, markets fluctuate over time. But on average, the S&P 500 has earned an average annual return of 4.2 percent since 2000, while average annual inflation over this period was 2.3 percent. One dollar invested in 2000 would have turned into $2.10 today. This is despite the recession following the dot-com bust and the Great Recession in 2008. If that same $1 was held as cash, it would only have 66.4 percent of its buying power today.

I would also recommend investing in assets that have these three benefits:

  1. Increase in value over time which can later be sold for a profit

  2. Pay you positive cash flow monthly/quarterly

  3. Have tax benefits like a 1031 exchange on real estate proper

While making investments, you should always think about the worst-case scenario and be ready for it. People generally expect handsome returns considering the best-case scenario but have no strategy in place when things go wrong. Diversification is also key —remember to never to put all your eggs in one basket.

Related: 5 Strategies for Entrepreneurs to Steer Clear of the Debt Trap

6. Only borrow what you need

While having the right degree opens up opportunities for earning more over your lifetime, no one educated me on the debt I would accumulate in the process. Student loans can be a form of good debt, but only if your future income can support it. The debt you take on to finance higher education should never exceed your expected future income.

7. Avoid conspicuous consumption

The simplest principle that will help you gain immediate control over your financial destiny is to embrace minimalism and shun consumerism. Truly wealthy people don’t flaunt their wealth. They save and invest their money instead of spending it on trinkets to make themselves appear wealthy. You might have to forgo that new pair of Nikes or eat in more often, but at least you won’t be stuck eating cat food at age 70. This study from Integer Group reveals that 64 percent of consumers don’t necessarily think that brand-named products are better than more affordable options. Truly wealthy people are not concerned about what others think of them and have no desire to impress others around them. 

The way that I define minimalism is simple: Only spend money on the things that you need or that bring real value to your life.

8. Be patient

When I was younger, I wanted success and I wanted it now — and I was willing to go into debt to get it. If you watch a lot of television, you might have the impression that people become financially independent and amass the trappings of an upper-middle-class lifestyle overnight. Later, I realized that wealth accumulates over a period of time. I had to learn to be patient and disciplined with my investing and spending.

Your health and mental peace are your biggest assets. Never compromise your health for money—even though you think you can when you’re 22. We all have potential. We’re unique, but we’re not so different from one another. We all can be someone, but how much we want to become that person is what shapes your actions from today. And there’s no better time than your 20s to dream big, think big and, most importantly, act big. 

Related: The Keys to Cannabis Retail in an Internet-Driven World

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According to chef Radhika Khandelwal, seasonal produce is more than half the work done to make a delicious dish

4 min read

When did the culinary world become such a glamour space in India? Was it because of Vikas Khanna bringing Indian cuisine to the centre stage, Garima Arora becoming the first Indian women to win a Michelin star or veteran Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khaana Khazaana cook shows?

“The situation is 100 per cent better. At least we have upgraded from just being bawarchis,” said Radhika Khandelwal in an interview. The executive chef and owner of Fig and Maple, Khandelwal still cannot define the cuisine of the restaurant as she keeps experimenting with seasonal ingredients. At times, her restaurant menu changes on a monthly basis. “In a professional kitchen (a fine dining restaurant or a luxury hotel chain kitchen), the menu changes probably once in six months. I have this freedom to experiment only because I own my restaurants,” she said.

Khandelwal moved out of her home to Melbourne, Australia, when she was almost 18, to pursue a course in hairdressing. “While living in Australia, I started working at a restaurant, as a server, to support myself. One day there was a staff issue in the kitchen and I started working there,” she said. The kitchen was short staffed for cooks and within two-three days of assisting the team, Khandelwal bid goodbye to hairdressing forever and entered the culinary world. 

After practicing for more than five years in Melbourne, Khandelwal opened a Deli before moving back to India in 2013. Deli, or Delicatessen, is a retail establishment selling foreign prepared food or a fine selection of high-quality products

She founded Radish Hospitality, an umbrella company for restaurants including Ivy & Bean, and Fig and Maple. Located in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat, Ivy & Bean, an Australian-styled restaurant, was founded in 2013 followed by her second restaurant. “It was a conscious call to work with local produce directly sourced from farmers. You know the farm-to-folk concept,” she said. Cooking with local produce, ironically, is an expensive affair. The cost per dish shoots up almost by 30 per cent, which makes the day-to-day operations and restaurant’s food expensive.

Along with using native ingredients, Khandelwal regularly incorporates zero-waste food in her menu. She has replaced all the spreads and a few chutneys, at Fig & Maple, with Jackfruit seed hummus, and Watermelon Rind Relish, a dip made from watermelon skin, among others. “Root to shoot” is another concept, which has a different menu altogether, including Skinny Chippin, chips made from skin of root vegetables. 

Preparing food by using the entire ingredient, for instance, not just using bananas but also its skin, is a zero-waste concept gaining momentum. As food waste management is one of the major issues, in fight against climate change, this concept has gained much traction in the culinary world. Cooking reality television show MasterChef Australia, among other television shows, built one of the season’s eleventh episode around this concept, challenging its contestants to create a dish from food waste.   

“Even though it is a noble cause, you have to know one thing that people are only going to eat your food if it is tasty. Such campaigns only becomes relevant when people like your product,” Khandewal said. “Cooking with seasonal produce is more than half of the work done to create a delicious food,” she added.

Apart from Khandelwal, chefs including Anahita Dhondy, who runs Soda Bottle Openerwala restaurants, Amnider Sandhu, the only Indian contestant featured on Netflix’s cooking show The Final Table, and owner of India’s only gas-free fine dining restaurant Arth, and Michelin Star-winner Garima Arora, among others, have turned tides in the culinary world. But the space is still highly dominated by men. “On a busy service day, we have very long working hours and girls, especially in India, are unable to stay back. Many companies do not provide pick up and drop services, which makes parents very paranoid,” said Khandelwal.

Describing herself as one who is extremely sensitive towards misconduct at workplace, Khandewal regularly trains her male staff to behave professionally with the female staff.

She considers herself privileged as she learned driving at 18 and lives only five minutes away from her Shahpur Jat restaurant. “It is great to see so many young girls being enthusiastic about this profession but we need a very strong support system from family as well as their employers,” she added.

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It’s important to keep yourself anchored to people and communities outside of work.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

“Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.” — Ben Stein

I was on my way to one of the largest tech networking events of the season. Senior executives and entrepreneurs at different stages of their careers would gather and talk shop. It was more than a little exciting. I was in the process of growing my startup and I hoped to connect with other like-minded people in the industry.

But it didn’t turn out quite how I planned. Instead of meeting lots of fasinating new people and having long, insightful conversations over the latest developments in tech, I ended up in the emergency room. It turned out that pushing myself for days, nights, and weekends to fast-track my business had landed me on the brink of burnout.

I realized then and there that I couldn’t go on that way. I’d spent months putting out fires, dealing with customers, and doing all the busy work trying to run my company. But not only was it not sustainable for my business— it was damaging my health and personal relationships.

The importance of relationships

“No road is long with good company.” — Turkish Proverb

Researcher on leadership development, Rob Cross, noted in an illuminating article for Harvard Business Review that “Making time for nonwork commitments is not just fulfilling; it also helps sustain your mental and physical energy.”

In his research, Cross and his colleagues found that being successful in one’s career depends on our relationships in and out of our work — as much as it does on our job itself. He writes:

“Many of us strive for a meaningful job, an impressive title, or a sizable salary at the ideal company. In doing so, we drastically undervalue the importance of relationships, even though extensive research shows that it’s people, not the perfect job, that lead to fulfillment.”

These findings are true to my experience. Some of the best times of my life have been spent traveling through Europe with my wife or picking olives alongside my family in my hometown. These connections are the core of my existence. They are the foundation and reward for all my striving and hard work.

Cross agrees: “Relationships outside work broaden our perspective and tap into aspects of our identity that don’t rise and fall with how well things are going in the office.”

As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to glorify the 24/7 hustle. And even easier to forget why we do anything to begin with. Yes, we want to build a business that makes a dent in the universe. We want to make a name for ourselves, and provide for our families. But at the end of the day, it’s the people who cheer us on and lend us their ear in both good times and bad that give us a true sense of accomplishment.

Author Michelle Tillis Lederman puts it this way:

“Whether they stem from business or personal situations, our relationships are what support us, connect us, and allow us to progress in all aspects of our lives.” 

Be clear about your purpose

After the emergency room incident, it became apparent that I had to make some adjustments and reprioritize my personal and professional relationships.

This meant making sure my schedule aligned with my overall purpose. The first step I took was establishing a day each week where I looked over upcoming activities and evaluated how they impacted my life outside of work. Was that extra meeting going to keep me from dinner with my wife? Would I have to postpone my trip to visit my family over the summer?

By understanding that each choice I made came with a personal consequence, I was able to be more intentional with my time and get clarity on what matters most. For me, strengthening my ties with family, friends and communities outside of my professional life is a way of grounding myself.

But you don’t have to wait for a crisis to hit in order to clarify your highest objectives. Below are some ways to help you reach this sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Four strategies for nurturing key relationships

1. Identify key relationships to foster

Think about the people who anchor you and share your values. Who do you confide in? Who motivates you? Similarly, consider who you learn the most from. Which experts in your network help you fill in knowledge gaps? These are the relationships you want to be proactive in nurturing. 

2. Invest in community

Take stock of your professional and personal schedule for this next month and then pick an activity you would like to invest more time in as part of a group. Cross’s research found that anchoring ourselves in one or two nonwork communities is essential for us to thrive. Instead of grabbing the occasional lunch with a friend, sign up for a class together where you’ll both be immersed in a learning environment.

3. Guard your time

It’s vital we create buffers against draining interactions. You can do this by setting up rules for how you’ll shift your focus from your professional to personal life. For instance, I make it a point to turn off all devices as soon as I get home. I’ve also taken Slack off my phone, and made sure to not review work emails on weekends. This has allowed me to take back control and redirect my time to more meaningful relationships.

4. Re-focus on others

Michelle Tillis Lederman said it best: “Building fruitful and lasting relationships starts with abandoning the conventional ‘’me’ based thoughts that are so prevalent in the business world and so easy to slip into in our personal lives.”

The greatest strategy of all is to leave all thoughts of work behind — and give the people in our lives who give us a sense of fulfillment — our genuine, undivided attention.

We do this by listening intently. We do this by making them feel seen and heard.

Sculpting our lives this way won’t only give us more balance, it will help us forge a path toward what really matters.

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Learn how to transform pressure into productivity.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” — William James

In the early days of building my company, the pressure from every direction felt suffocating, and unrelenting. I struggled to stay calm while getting all my work done, and making myself available to my team.

It was a juggling act, and I was perpetually on the verge of dropping the ball. Everything seemed to require my immediate attention, and there just weren’t enough hours in the day. I worried constantly, asking myself, Was I present enough for my staff today? Were last week’s decisions the right ones? Should I be doing even more?

Unsurprisingly, this endless loop of anxiety gave way to moments of panic that hurt my daily performance. Feeling like I wasn’t capable of managing it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy — the more I fretted, the less I accomplished, and so on.

You might assume it’s just tough at the beginning, when you’re starting out. But I can tell you that throughout the years — as we’ve grown from a small startup to a business with over 140 employees and millions of global users —the pressure hasn’t eased up. What has changed is how I react to these demands. I’ve learned that pressure will always be a part of our daily lives, but it doesn’t have to paralyze us. And by harnessing it for good, we can make it work to our advantage.

Related: It’s Called ‘Stress Management’ for a Reason

Pressure is not stress

“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.” — Stephen R. Covey

We often use stress and pressure interchangeably. But as Nicholas Petrie illustrates perfectly in a story for Harvard Business Review, it’s our perception of stress that matters. “Pressure is not stress,” Petrie writes. “But the former is converted to the latter when you add one ingredient: rumination, the tendency to keep rethinking past or future events, while attaching negative emotion to those thoughts.”In other words, our tendency to overthink is a habit that can easily lead to feelings of overwhelm. When we feel we have too much on our plate, it affects our cognitive abilities because our stress response is always dialed up. It also makes us more prone to getting sick.

But if we can demote our stress to productive pressure, we can find more opportunities to come up with creative ideas, improve our performance, and to adjust our plans in innovative ways. To harness its potential, however, we need to train ourselves to view challenges from a new angle.

Here are some techniques I’ve used over the years to stop the worry cycle.

Adjust your perspective

Many leaders often catastrophize minor setbacks, but it’s important to keep in mind that most of the problems you face today may not matter in three years time, or even next week. When you feel yourself spiraling into negativity, remind yourself of all the ways you’ve resolved difficulties in the past. Even better: Write them down. Listing out your track record of how you’ve overcome challenges can give you the confidence to take action.

Stop living on autopilot

According to Petrie: “Since all rumination happens during this state, the first step is to break out of it.” Taking time to clear out the mental chatter by engaging your senses can help redirect your attention back to “now”and make you feel more in control. Move your body by taking a brisk walk, clap your hands, or concentrate on what you can hear, touch, and smell in the present. The point is to stay mindful of your surroundings.

Decide what’s most important

If you make mountains out of molehills, as the saying goes, you’re classifying small inconveniences as super-important and depleting your emotional resources. Clarity can help us be more productive, and when we can focus our attention on a single task, our mind isn’t racing and can conserve more energy for coming up with solutions. 

Give yourself permission to disconnect

American author Anne Lamott wisely noted, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… Including you.” Any kind of pressure can quickly snowball into stress when you’re bombarded by interruptions. Whether you take time off to go olive-picking in Turkey, as I have — or just switch off all your devices for a few hours each day — taking time to disconnect is vital for your mental wellbeing and overall productivity.

Related: How a Digital Detox Saved My Career

Peace of mind should be your highest goal

Indiegogo founder, Slava Rubin, told The Observer, “To me, my equivalent of meditation is freeing your mind from the overthinking of everyday.”

“If I get turned down by a VC, I shouldn’t let that bother me. It wasn’t a big deal. None of that really matters. You just keep moving forward and look to be a good person and try to improve the world.”

Like Rubin, over two decades of entrepreneurship have taught me many lessons, but one of the most important ones is this: Riding the rollercoaster of worries and demands won’t lead to success. All it will lead to is burnout. 

Instead, build your life and your business around doing good, spending time with loved ones, and living free of fear. Let the rest take care of itself. Or as Sonia Ricotte puts it: “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.”

Related: How to Manage Stress and Anxiety as an Entrepreneur

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Get more done with help from these great products.

3 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

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Entrepreneur and #CYBERBYTE founder Andrew Rossow on combating this societal epidemic.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Online toxicity has become a rising global concern, with cyberbullying thriving on social media and gaming platforms and researchers finding a direct correlation with rising suicide rates. Thanks to these findings and the efforts of high-profile activists like Monica Lewinsky, the world has started to take a closer look at this epidemic. But one social-media movement, #CYBERBYTE, has taken anti-bullying awareness to the next level and onto the red carpet.

The campaign was established four years ago by millennial internet and technology attorney Andrew Rossow, and it aims to bring Hollywood and Silicon Valley closer to its fanbase and consumer network, creating an opportunity for the public to really listen, absorb insights and collectively help combat cyberbullying.

“We idolize these individuals so much that we often don’t know why we look up to them,” says Rossow, who sat down with me recently to discuss the motivation and aspirations underpinning #CYBERBYTE. “Ironically, we don’t even know what our favorite actresses, actors, musicians or entrepreneurs really stand for. That’s what makes messages from them that much more impactful.”

Related: This 19-Year-Old Aims to Stop Bullying With an Anonymous Smartphone App

Rossow decided to start inviting public figures to join his #CYBERBYTE Movement, beginning with EDM DJ Gareth Emery and Misha Collins of The CW’s Supernatural. They recorded quick videos in which they introduced themselves, announced that they were accepting the #CYBERBYTE Challenge and shared their own personalized PSA detailing either a personal experience they had with online trolling or offering tips on how to stand up against bullies.

“Imagine the power each of these Hollywood stars and tech entrepreneurs hold just through the power of idolization,” Rossow explains. “If each of these individuals could share just 30 seconds of wisdom, maybe that’s just enough to save one more life out there.”

Gaining All-Star Traction 

In 2016, inspired by #MeToo and other grassroots calls for societal change, Rossow started the #CYBERBYTE movement through the sole use of the hashtag “#CYBERBYTE” on Instagram and Twitter. (It is currently hosted through KNEKT TV and syndicated to YouTube and other platforms.) The campaign made its official public debut at FanX Salt Lake Comic-Con in Utah, with the help of husband-and-wife Gorilla Mafia Media filmographers Christopher and Gwendolyn Newhart. The movement hit a new stride when it found its way onto the showroom floor at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and again this year at the 2020 show with Entrepreneur Weekly’s Alan Taylor. 

Some of notable public figures who have joined #CYBERBYTE include: 

Personal Significance 

Rossow has attested to his own victimization at the hands of cyberbullies when he was 13. Seventeen years have passed since then, and in overcoming the trauma and turmoil, he found a new path towards forgiveness and rehabilitation: education. 

“People can change; I truly believe that,” he says. “But they need to understand the harm bullying causes others. And in today’s digital age, there has to be another mechanism to connect to these individuals. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I say that a video is worth 60,000 words a second, which is why the #CYBERBYTE Movement is video-centric.”

Related: Planet Fitness Takes a Stand Against Bullying

In Rossow’s view, having someone to look up who’s willing to speak about their own experiences with bullying could help create a ripple effect that plays a role in saving the lives of others. Rossow has received countless letters of gratitude, and he understands and regularly reinforces that when it comes to combating online bullying, violence and hatred are not the solution.

Pressed to offer a piece of wisdom for entrepreneurs looking to make a similar difference, Rossow’s advice is passionate but direct: “Identify a problem that has yet to be solved, and find a way to solve it in your own way, but make sure it is in a way that gives back to the community. There is always a niche or opening looking to be explored. You just have to find it.”

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Take the next big step in launching or scaling your consulting business.

9 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In my previous article How to Start a Consulting Business: Get Ready to Launch I detailed the need to get clear on who you want to help, and exactly how you’ll do so. Soon, we’ll answer the (hopefully) million-dollar questions: “How much should I charge?” When I first started my consulting business in 2015, nearly every prospect I talked to signed on to work with me. Why? Because I wasn’t charging enough. One client literally said, “I’ll gladly pay that rate”. Now, people shouldn’t hate paying you, but that was certainly a red flag on my end. 

But before determining your consulting rate, you need to establish your business model. In his book, The New, New Thing, financial journalist Michael Lewis eloquently describes what a business model is: “All it really meant was how you planned to make money.” I remember a few more details picked up while attending business school at the University at Buffalo, but that sounds about right. 

As a consultant, you have a number of options. I’ll explain these while also discussing the pros and cons of each. Take your time with this. We’ll get to pricing soon, but you need to establish a solid business strategy first. 

Related: Writing Flexibility Into Your Business Model Can Save Your Company

The time-based model

This one is pretty common and straightforward. Your rate and scope of work are determined at the outset. You can choose to have an hourly rate or a day rate, which is often referred to as a per diem. 


You get paid for each hour of actual work. In the other models we’ll discuss, a fixed rate is established, no matter how long it takes you. It can sometimes be challenging to predict the amount of time it will take to address your client’s needs, so this model protects you from underbidding. 


However, this also requires detailed record-keeping. At my previous job, I had to detail my work in 15-minute increments. This was tedious and time-consuming since I had to write it in a way that my clients would understand. Beyond that, clients may ask why something took so long. You may end up explaining why you had to research one thing or another before coming to a conclusion, which eats up even more of your time. Lastly, you may feel like you always need to be doing something. Otherwise, you’re not making money. This can easily make you feel anxious while also causing you to neglect your health and personal interests. 

Another drawback is the challenges associated with projecting revenue. When doing hourly work your revenue is more likely to fluctuate since you don’t have locked-in agreements. This can result in you constantly feeling like you need to attract more business. 

For example, let’s say you want to make $100k/yr before taxes. If you charge $100/hr, you need to book 1,000 per year, or roughly 20 billable hours per week. That doesn’t leave much time for prospecting, administrative work, eating lunch or taking care of yourself in general. 

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not a fan of hourly work. However, I do suggest offering this as an option for people who want your services on a one-off basis. I just wouldn’t plan on having the bulk of my revenue come from this model. If you choose to offer remote consulting at an hourly rate, consider using a platform like Yondo, which allows clients to book and pay for your time. This is the platform used for Entrepreneur’s Ask an Expert platform. 

Related: Business Transformation: Here’s How Remote Working is Transforming the Work Environment

The project-based model

With a project-based model, you agree to perform a specific type of work for a predetermined amount of money. Before starting, the details of all deliverables will be agreed upon by both parties. 


An advantage of this approach is that you can focus on providing value as opposed to watching the clock. You’ll also have more predictable income since this revenue is more or less locked in once the contract is signed. Let’s say your average project brings in $5,000. If you wanted to make $100,000 per year before taxes, you only need to obtain 20 clients per year or five per quarter. 


One of the drawbacks is underestimating the amount of time it will take to complete a project. Years ago, a project I worked on took way longer than expected because the client couldn’t remember the password to one of their accounts, and the recovery email was associated with an intern who was no longer with the company. Apparently the intern was turned down for a job at this company so things got really awkward, really quick. 

Another drawback is “scope creep”. This is when a client keeps adding more tasks that weren’t outlined in the original contract. This often happens unintentionally. As clients learn more about you and your work, they may discover add-ons that didn’t come to mind during the original scoping conversation. Over time, you’ll get better at protecting yourself from this by creating more detailed contracts. When scope creep does come up, just inform your client this would be an extra line item which comes with additional charges. 

Related: 4 Product Management Mistakes That Will Drive You Crazy

The retainer-based model

This involves providing ongoing or as-needed service over a set period of time. Unlike the project model, this approach doesn’t necessarily involve a specific deliverable. 

I often work on a retainer model for clients who want to have access to me in case anything comes up. For example, a particularly challenging business opportunity, or a second set of eyes on a proposal. I’ve also received calls and texts that need an immediate answer. I’m happy to be that go-to resource but it would be challenging to individually charge for a text that took me 30 seconds to send. 


For the client, a retainer model is almost like a safety net. At any given moment, they know there’s a knowledgeable resource available who already has background information on their company. For consultants, retainers provide a predictable source of income, which may be passive during slower periods. This allows you to focus more on business development and other areas of impact. 


One drawback is not being able to charge as much as you would for a defined project. You may also feel awkward getting paid when you clearly haven’t done much that month. When this happens, resist the urge to manually adjust your fees based on how much work you’ve done during that time period. You may quickly end up charging hourly rates instead. Inversely, you’ll still have to keep an eye out for scope creep and make adjustments as needed. For example, determining what days/times you’re available to respond.  

Related: This Payment Model Will Keep Clients Satisfied and Bank Accounts Full

The consulting firm model

Another option is to go with a consulting firm model. In this situation, you hire freelancers or employees to complete work on your behalf. You still own the relationship with the client, but you have a team that handles some or all of the work. 

Anna Vatuone, a personal branding strategist, helps entrepreneurs and executives build their brands. To properly achieve this goal, many of her clients need a website built for them. Anna initially provided this service as well before hiring and training an employee to complete this process. Although she still drives the strategy and content creation, she can leave the nuts and bolts work to a trusted professional. This allows her to spend more one on one time with her clients, while still meeting their needs.  


The consulting firm model gives you a great deal of leverage. You can charge a client $2,000 for a project, then pay a team member $1,000 to complete a large portion of it. This model also allows you to expand the scope of your offering.


The downside, you need to make sure you’re still profitable after paying your employees. Imagine an unexpected hiccup occurs and the team member you were going to pay $1,000 to complete that task now needs $1,500? You’ll need to be highly skilled at project management to avoid these fiascos. Beyond that, your reputation is on the line so you want to make anyone representing you delivers on your promises. It can be challenging not to micromanage, which can have a negative impact on morale. 

If you became an independent consultant to avoid the challenges associated with managing others, this may not be the right option for you. 

Related: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business

Next steps

Determine your business model. Research other professionals who are offering the same or similar service. This will also help you get a head start on determining your fee, which we’ll cover next week. Also, consider the model most aligned with your personal preferences and lifestyle. While a consulting firm model allows you to scale, you’ll also need to spend more time with management and administrative-related duties. Take advantage of this opportunity to build your business around your life, as opposed to the other way around. 

If you need any help, I’m available for remote consulting on Entrepreneur’s Ask an Expert platform. Be sure to follow along on Instagram as well. 

While making important decision of your business, Don’t take a chance. Trust only expert.

Choose from our variety of services, Connect with the right expert.

No one else knows what’s best for you, so pave your own path.

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Markus Hetzenegger, founder and CEO of NYBA Media GmbH, a digital marketing agency. It was condensed by The Oracles.

Who are you?
Markus Hetzenegger: I’ve never been someone who does what other people tell me. I’ve always made my own path because I know what’s best for me more than anyone else. When I was 18, I knew it was time to make a change, so I quit a “safe,” esteemed dual program at BMW to fulfill my dreams.

This risk didn’t work out right away. I didn’t know anything about self-employment, and I didn’t have entrepreneurial parents to give me advice. I became who I am today only through willpower, trial and error, continuous learning, and optimization. Now I’m a 23-year-old CEO whose company, NYBA Media, generates nine-figure returns for our customers.

What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Markus Hetzenegger: I understand marketing and how to convince people to buy a product and become lifelong fans. I’ve always been fascinated why some companies can sell T-shirts for $300 while others can’t sell theirs for $20.

Over time, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t by continually optimizing, improving our processes, and passing on that knowledge to our customers. Speed and results are what matter most.

What excites you the most about your business right now?
Markus Hetzenegger: I love creating things and being part of our customers’ success. I’m always excited to see the results of our work, especially now that we can choose our clients. When it comes to selecting projects, we prefer quality over quantity. We prioritize scalable projects with a great deal of potential and the opportunity to think outside the box.

We always start by understanding our partners and their goals so we can take responsibility for their overall success. I like the challenge of marketing, optimizing, and scaling for companies from a wide range of industries. It’s never boring, and there are always new things to learn, even if you think you’ve reached the top. In the end, we get to create more than great business partnerships — we’re also building friendships.

What book changed your mindset or life?
Markus Hetzenegger: I read a great deal, but “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz has inspired me like no other book. It opened my eyes to the importance of your mind. You are the product of your imagination — using your imagination and beliefs, you can change that “product” step by step. You can change your entire life by changing your self-image because you will start thinking and acting like the person you want to become. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Markus Hetzenegger: Stick to one thing and become the best at it. I used to impatiently jump from one project to another, usually right when it was time to reap the rewards of my work. I always wanted more and was never satisfied, even when everything was going well. I was always looking for a “better” way to succeed faster. Even when my podcast became one of the top three German business podcasts a few years ago, I still wasn’t satisfied.

When you work on something long enough, it can only succeed. There is no other option. So, focus on one thing you genuinely stand behind. Endurance and consistency are essential. 

How do you define great leadership?
Markus Hetzenegger: Great leadership is a management style that doesn’t feel like leadership. “Loving strictness” describes it best. Employees are given maximum responsibility, and the relationship is based on honesty and loyalty.

I expect absolute transparency from my team, in exchange for a great culture and above-average pay. I let everyone come up with new ideas and think outside the box, not just execute on a plan. Individual responsibilities vary according to their strengths and interests, instead of education.  

I’m creating an atmosphere where everyone can grow and learn. Our hierarchy values good ideas more than your position or tenure in the company. The product doesn’t make a company — the people and culture do.

How do you hire top talent?
Markus Hetzenegger: Mindset is more important than skill set. It’s easier to learn a new skill than to change your mindset.

Talented employees are no longer just attracted by money — they want to be part of something bigger. The best want to work with the best. So, it’s important that your company is already at a high level or at least has a bold vision. Your culture, mission, and vision are vital, so take your time investing in them. Don’t just hang them on the wall. Model your workflow after them.

Which single habit gives you 80 percent of your results?
Markus Hetzenegger: I continuously reflect and optimize everything I do while focusing on my goals. I ask myself often whether what I’m doing today will bring me further tomorrow. If not, I make a change.

I try to improve a little every day. In the end, any goal is attainable if you do that. By simply learning more about something, the better your decisions will be, which will impact your outcomes.

I’m an optimistic person and believe everything that happens to you, happens for you. Trust that life is on your side, even if you can’t see the positive side of a situation.

If you ever start a charity, what would it be called and what would it do?
Markus Hetzenegger: I grew up next to the ocean in a small village in the south of Spain. I spent nearly every minute by the sea, which has always been close to my heart. When I swam with a wild shark in the Bahamas a few years ago, my heart expanded to a completely different level.

Sharks have survived four of the five mass extinctions, which means they are older than humanity. But the sad fact is that they are now in danger because of us. Humans kill 100 million sharks every year to sell their fins. Sharks are the lungs of our oceans and the most important animals to our marine ecosystems. Without them, we would face a natural disaster. Something has to change. How that happens is secondary; the “why” is what matters.

What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Markus Hetzenegger: Meaningful work and relationships are most important to me. I want to build something big that will positively impact millions of lives. Success is only a side effect when you do what you stand for. To me, life is like a game where you can lose or win — and I like to win.

Connect with Markus Hetzenegger on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, or visit his website.

The words and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee alone. What worked for them may not work for everyone. Any claims in this article have not been independently verified.

While making important decision of your business, Don’t take a chance. Trust only expert.

Choose from our variety of services, Connect with the right expert.

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