Posts Tagged "Project Report"

Successfully navigate an early-stage start-up through its first couple years in business and your odds of survival are much greater. But how, exactly, can you do this?


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It’s a well-known fact that nine out of ten start-ups fail within the first five years. This doesn’t even account for the greater number of start-ups and start-up ideas that die before company registration. Successfully running a start-up is no mean feat; it takes grit, determination, smart planning and a healthy dose of luck.

The early stages in a start-up’s life cycle are arguably the most dangerous. Successfully navigate an early-stage start-up through its first couple years in business and your odds of survival are much greater. But how, exactly, can you do this? Let’s take a look at these survival tips to pull your start-up through its earliest, most difficult period

Ideas are great, but implementation is all that really matters

Remember that Eureka moment when you had that idea for disposable dog shoes? Great ideas aren’t as special as they seem to be. At some point of time or other, almost everyone will think up something that’s revolutionary. If all those ideas were accompanied by well-thought-out implementation plans, Bill Gates wouldn’t have bragging rights anymore. The single greatest cause of start-up failure is the lack of a realistic, viable implementation plan in the ideation phase.

 

How do you avoid this pitfall? The key is to slow down. When coming up with a great start-up idea, you need to ask yourself a number of critical questions. The idea itself answers only one of these: “What problem does this solve?” Here are the rest:

 

  • Who does this solve a problem for?
  • Is that problem worth solving?
  • Will the solution cost you a non-zero amount of money to develop?
  • How will you monetize this solution?

 

If your innovation is useful only to people who can’t afford to pay for a solution, or to people who are interested but not enough to pay for your solution, it simply does not matter. You will need to re-evaluate how your solution can address the needs of a sufficiently large paying audience. The other thing to keep in mind is how much the solution will cost you. Service and consultancy start-ups inherently carry a lower risk because of the lower capital requirements. If you have an idea for a mass-manufactured product, you might want to go back to the drawing board unless you’re an industrialist with a few million dollars to spend. Try your best to identify ways in which you can offer your product at zero or notional cost to yourself. This will ensure that cash flow always remains positive.

Be smart about financing

Start-ups invariably cost money. This means that you’ll need to have a clear picture of your financing strategy early on. Otherwise, failure is almost guaranteed, not to mention personal financial loss. The first step in start-up financing is seriously thinking about how to not secure financing. This might appear counterintuitive, but it is critical. A common thought fallacy is that “money in equals money out”. This is rarely the truth. The amount of capital you invest in a start-up is not guaranteed to correlate to the amount of profit (if any) that you’ll reap. What matters most is identifying where money can be invested effectively. Look to maximize your return on investment with every financial decision. Invest only as much as you need to and in the areas that you identify as being critical. Find ways to do more for less. Technology and the Internet make it possible to deliver many solutions remotely, drastically cutting costs. Only invest a significant amount of capital if you have a very clear plan about what you plan to do with it, rationalizing every cost. Look at your personal savings before considering debt financing. If your business idea requires you to take out a loan, sit down and rethink it; identify possibly way to rationalize costs and only move forward once you’ve settled on a minimum viable level of finance.

Keep a close eye on cash flow

You only accumulate reserves by saving. This means that even the most successful early-stage start-ups will have limited cash reserves to address sudden changes to cash flow. When your cash reserves are low (or non-existent) any disruption to your cash flow or any unforeseen expenditure has the potential to bring your entire business grinding to a halt: How do you buy supplies if a client delayed payment by a week? In order to mitigate risk, you need to organize expenses in such a way that your business is resilient to cash flow disruptions. This could mean being conservative with your orders, minimizing discretionary expenditure, or entering into credit agreements with suppliers. The aim is to monitor cash inflows and outflows to ensure that you never run out of liquid cash when you can’t afford to.

Compliance: always be a step ahead

Innovation has one critical problem inherent to it: newness. If your start-up focuses on cutting-edge technologies or emerging sectors, you need to have a keen awareness of the regulatory environment. Technology is accelerating at an exponential rate and lawmakers are struggling to keep pace. Sometimes, this results in poorly thought-out legislation that restricts opportunities. The government’s overzealous approach to commercial drones is one example: India’s tryst with drone delivery ended after just a few pizza drone deliveries. If your start-up operates in an emerging sector, it’s not enough to ensure that you’re in compliance with existing norms. Through careful research, you need to identify policymaking trends and adapt your solution accordingly so that it remains resilient in the face of changing legislation.

Conclusion

Every start-up currently in existence is a success story: it’s no easy task to build a business from nothing. Still, there are a few things prospective entrepreneurs can do to significantly increase their chances of survival: plan for every contingency. Always invest within your means, and be proactive about compliance. These tips aren’t a guarantee for success, but, with the right amount of grit and perseverance, they can take you far.

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The current crisis stresses our need for value-based physician care.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Americans are worried, and the financial markets are terrified. The number of detected individuals with coronavirus (COVID-19) is ticking upward, schools are closing, lawmakers are considering price-gouging legislation and waiving fees to encourage the poor and uninsured to get tested, and more and more people have converted from, “This coronavirus thing is overblown” to, “This is a grave concern.”

Coronavirus is, indeed, a very significant concern. The speed with which it spreads is alarming, especially when you consider how an underlying, often overlooked element of society is accelerating it. The element I’m alluding to is the status quo, employer-provided health benefits that insure nearly 160 million Americans. These “benefits,” usually unbeknownst to business leaders, are pointing a large proportion of American people to unsatisfactory care centers built on a fee-for-service system that fails them and their physicians.

It fails patients in numerous ways: long stretches of time between when an appointment is made and when it actually happens; too much time wasted in waiting rooms where the virus can be easily shared; and too little time spent with their physician, to name a few. All these are particularly true in primary care, where it can currently take anywhere from six-to-24 days (in some locales, it’s over a month) before a patient can be seen.

Related: How to Boost Your Immune System During the Coronavirus

This is problematic under normal public-health conditions. It’s potentially catastrophic in the face of an outbreak, where people who feel they may need medical advice delay or forgo it since seeing a primary care doctor is so difficult, and where those who do decide to preventatively visit spend ample time in germ-laden waiting rooms. They may not come in with coronavirus, but they may very well leave with it.

So, what is the solution? And what on earth do health benefits have to do with all this? The answer is reimagining primary care to support value-based physicians and employers redesigning their health-benefits plans to connect beneficiaries to these empowered medical professionals. Value-based physicians and the practices they work for are beholden to a
different standard of care. They are reimbursed according to how well they do their job (i.e. keeping or making people healthy) and are therefore given the freedom to do whatever it takes to make that happen. In a potential public-health crisis, that would more than likely mean utilizing 21st century capabilities to connect with patients while they’re still at home, reserving in-person appointments only for those that absolutely need it.

When you remove the distortion of requiring people to come in for what can be done electronically, we can have a more effective and timely response at a time when it matters most. We can also avoid overwhelming testing facilities. The problem of poorly performing fee-for-service primary care extends well beyond the coronavirus, but it highlights the need at a time when people are focused on one manifestation of the problem.

STAT News has reported on this trend of using next-generation primary care during the coronavirus outbreak. “We think we can really help direct people to the right care at the right time and give them quality information as it relates to this problem,” Dr. Brad Younggren, chief medical officer at 98point6, told the site. He added: “We can keep them from going into an environment to be tested when maybe testing isn’t necessary.”

Some are already doing this. They’re creating informative online guides and fielding phonecalls to answer patient questions and assess symptoms, and all the while, they’re keeping the patient’s unique medical needs and life circumstances in mind. Do they have comorbidities? Do they have access to transportation if it’s needed? Do they have young children or elderly adults at home, and to whom they could pass along the virus?

That latter part is why urgent care centers and telehealth can only go so far. Without being connected to a strong, value-based primary care foundation, they have a tendency to treat point-in-time problems rather than locate those within the patient’s broader health landscape. This can cause potentially life-threatening things to be overlooked or induced. (The opioid crisis is a perfect example of patients receiving addictive prescriptions for something — lower back
pain, most often — that could have been better addressed by taking into account the person’s lifestyle, suggesting modifications and walking them through drug-free treatment options.)

There’s a role for business leaders to play here. Every CEO states that employees are their most valuable asset, but unfortunately, old-line health plans designed to optimize Wall Street quarterly earnings appear to take precedence. Modern health-plan design avoids the many harms that come from unnecessary exposure to pathogens or unnecessary prescriptions to highly addictive drugs such as opioids and benzos. Both are getting over-prescribed at rates
unlike anywhere else in the world in our flawed, volume-centric, fee-for-service primary care clinics.

Related: First 45 U.S. Volunteers Get Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine

To really treat employees like they are their most value asset, employers should not hesitate to talk to their benefits advisor about how they can connect their employees to this type of superior care. They should cut ties with their old-line insurance carrier and not only go self-funded, but break free from old-line approaches. This enables them to regain the power to select the trusted partners to help steward their employees’s lives.

This revolution has already started. What’s happening right now with coronavirus is exactly why we must ramp up those efforts.

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If you feel like you’ve already seen everything, here are some under-the-radar TV options to tide you over as we weather coronavirus together.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Being informed about the spread of COVID-19 and its devastating effects on the global community is critical. But we can all acknowledge that staying attuned to the news every waking hour has only heightened our collective anxiety and sense of foreboding. One of the few salves for those fortunate enough to have reliable WiFi and access to cable and streaming services has been the chance to catch up with TV shows that had previously passed us by and might offer momentary respite from the coronavirus and its attendant confinement. 

But before one more website or well-meaning friend reads you the riot act for having never seen Breaking Bad or The Wire, or parrots the popular thinking that Fleabag is comedy manna (not that it isn’t), we thought we’d recommend a handful of superlative, binge-able series that have been relatively neglected by the culture at large. And while living through fictional characters’ everyday circumstances might seem like a counterintuitive way to cope with a very real period of isolation, the five shows below might actually offer some useful perspective. (Click through each show title for access to it via Netflix, Amazon or Hulu.)

This little-seen, under-marked Sundance TV gem from creator/writer Ray McKinnon has earned its share of critical praise and some cult appreciation thanks to Netflix but remains inexplicably sidelined from most popular conversation about great modern dramas. The premise — small-town Georgia man Daniel Holden (Aden Young) gets exonerated after years on death row for the murder of his high school girlfriend and attempts to reassimilate into normal life — might sound moribund. But Rectify abounds with soulful insights on guilt, innocence, love and loss. The cast (also including Abigail Spencer, Clayne Crawford and J. Smith-Cameron, etc.) are terrific in service of characters charting a hyper-realistic course toward solace and redemption against extraordinary odds. 

Related: 18 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

Kudos to Starz for giving creator/writer Mike O’Malley’s groundbreaking dramedy four seasons to spread its wings. Survivor’s Remorse is nominally about pro-basketball star Cam Calloway (Jesse Usher) and his adaptation to life as an A-list celebrity, but it’s ultimately a dysfunctional-family sitcom with the outlaw spirit of Curb Your Enthusiasm and heart of Schitt’s Creek. That it never benefited from the latter’s groundswell of support is a shame, but it’s not too late to make good and — if nothing else — bear witness to Tichina Arnold’s (MartinEverybody Hates Chris) career-best turn as the take-no-prisoners, wildly profane Calloway matriarch Cassie.

Nothing can prepare you for how weird this comedy/drama/mystery-thriller buddy series gets in a hurry. The broad strokes of Hap and Leonard are that it’s based on a series of novels by Joe R. Lansdale, set in the 1980s, features first-flight actors including Michael Kenneth Williams (speaking of The Wire), James Purefoy and Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks. Purefoy is Hap, a conscientious Vietnam objector and smart aleck who literally pulls no punches. Leonard is his best friend, still scarred from having fought in the war and dealing with day-to-day life as an openly gay black man in East Texas. Over the course of three seasons, they find themselves in the crosshairs of lovestruck sadists, child killers and politically embedded Klansmen. They’re kind of like the Dukes of Hazzard, just far more tender with one another and up against much graver life-or-death odds. It’s not hard to see how this one was a hard sell, but trust us that it’s worth buying in.

You’d be forgiven for being out of the loop about creepypastas, which are basically internet-user-generated campfire stories that seeped into mainstream consciousness via forums like Reddit. (The infamous Slender Man tale is a frequently cited pillar.) But they also served as a bedrock for the SyFy network’s Channe Zero anthology series. Each of the four installments — from 2016’s initial Candle Cove to ’18’s concluding Dream Door — creates a Twilight Zone of its own somewhere between lucid dreams and waking strange, searching for closure to open wounds. It’s eerie, artful and the closest thing to what Nightmare on Elm Street auteur Wes Craven might have concocted for the 21st-century disaffected set.

Related: Netflix Finally Adds Top 10 Lists for Its Most Popular Content

We know there’s a lot on TV at any one time. Still, how exactly has this Dave Holstein-created weekly half-hour (currently airing on Showtime) that’s executive produced (and often directed) by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind visionary Michel Gondry and stars his muse, Jim Carrey, not caught fire? Carrey plays Jeff, who also happens to play a Mr. Rogers-like character named Mr. Pickles on public television. He’s good and he’s decent, but he’s also burdened by a personal tragedy, pining for his ex-wife Jill (the terrific Judy Greer) and dealing with his tyrannical father/boss Seb (a never-better Frank Langella), the sum total of which culminates in what could be described as personal awakening by way of total breakdown. Kidding is, as the title teases, very funny, but without the cringy-ness and ironic distance typical of modern cable comedies. Carrey is excellent, but the show is an ensemble feat and has only grown more confident in its, and Mr. Pickles’s, mission of bringing joy and jarring candor to the masses. 

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The start-up has a bouquet of camel milk-based products including camel milk powder, chocolates and skincare range


2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Camel ride is passé, camel milk is the new craze in town. Founded by Hitesh Rathi in 2016 as a bootstrapped company with a capital of less than Rs 10 lakh, Aadvik Foods now has a bouquet of camel milk-based products including camel milk powder, chocolates and skincare range. With distribution channels in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Bathinda and Chandigarh, Aadvik Foods also exports its camel milk powder to distributors from the US, Malaysia and the Philippines. Sip in to know more about this new kind of dairy!

2015: Going by history, dates and camel milk were often the diet of people living in desert areas like the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa. Hailing from Rajasthan, Rathi conceived the idea to explore milk with higher nutritive and health values. He soon launched frozen camel milk for the Indian market as well as the webstore and fulfilled first order.

2016: Launched camel milk powder and established itself as the first Indian company to produce camel milk powder. Introduced a fresh catalogue with over dozen of camel milk products and collaborated with leading e-commerce channels to increase awareness about the health benefits of camel milk.

2017: Shipped its first order outside India.

2018: Launched first flavoured camel milk powder on the planet. Also launched A2 Cow Ghee.

2019: Launched goat milk and goat milk powder, cow colostrum and had grown to a team size of 25 compeers.

2020: Since its inception, Aadvik Foods has already sold 200,000 litres of camel milk. It also strengthened its product portfolio with handmade goat milk soaps and sugar-free camel milk chocolates.

(This article was first published in the February 2020 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

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Today’s women entrepreneurs do not come only from the time-honored business ménages but from all walks of life and from every part of the nation


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The Indian economy definitely has huge growth potential, however the story has left the women behind. While urbanization and increased rate of literacy has improved the social status of women in India, but economic inclusion remains low.

According to a recently published report titled Powering the Economy with Her-Women Entrepreneurship in India by Bain & Co. and Google, of the approximately 432 million working-age women in India, about 343 million are not in paid formal work. An estimated 324 million of these women are not in the labor force and another 19 million are in the labor force but not employed. Women’s participation in the labor forces has also been stagnating.

Similarly, a 2019 study by the Centre for Monitoring India Economy (CMIE) showed women graduates are more than 3.5 times likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts. The study showed that while overall unemployment in India is 7 per cent, unemployment rate among women is 18 per cent.

While women’s participation in the labor force has the lowest bar in the world, the situation is also grim in this thriving start-up and entrepreneurial space in India. India has been ranked 52nd among 58 countries surveyed for the MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs in 2019 report. 

The growing Indian start-up ecosystem has witnessed several women lead their firms and also invest in the ecosystem, however challenges for women in the ecosystem is more than their male counterparts.

Subconscious Biases Behind the Gap?

Speaking with Entrepreneur IndiaNaiyya Saggi, founder and CEO of BabyChakra said the underlying biases make entrepreneurial journey more challenging for women. She said that while she rarely faced any gender biases during early her stint with McKinsey & Co., or during her studies at the Harvard University, it cropped up when she was looking for angel investors for BabyChakra. 

Saggi said during one such meeting with a potential angel investor, she was asked who would be responsible for running the company once she becomes a mother. “I was shocked with the question as my level of ambition was being questioned, but I might not have been questioned if I am contemplating family at any point as a man.” 

Concerns about a woman’s career effected due to menstruation or motherhood is not new in India. Even though situations are moving towards better, women are still questioned about their passion and ambition if they choose to become a mother at some point. The reasons behind such biases are the patriarchal rules of the society.

Highlighting this point, Simpl co-founder and chief operating officer, Chaitra Chidanand, explained that many rules at workplaces are defined by the patriarchal system. Stating an example, she explained that office gatherings and parties often involve bonding over drinks and smoke. While the act is considered essential for employee bonding, it may not sit well with female employees. Due to this reason, many fail to participate in such gatherings. Thus Chidanand feels that gender neutral rules should be in place to make women comfortable.

Internal Challenges 

Chidanand also explained several challenges that women deal with are sometimes internal in nature. According to her, women tend to hold back and believe that they are not as good as they think thus doubting their own selves.

Speaking about entrepreneurial journey, Sneha Choudhry, co-founder and chief business officer of Zolo, said the initial years were tough for her especially as a woman entrepreneur leading the business team in the company. “It used to irk me when I was the only woman in a room of start-up founders but now it is heartening to see so many women break the glass ceiling and move ahead to consciously make their role in their own start-up more visible and speak up for the entire sisterhood,” Choudhry said.

Choudhry believes such discriminations are not always intentional but arises from underlying patriarchal rules which bind our society. While she herself hit the glass ceiling, Choudhry chose to fight back by not recognizing any prejudice based on gender and push her way forward till she infiltrated.   

While challenges subsist for women, it would be wide of the mark to deny that the society is in fact altering its outlook. With digitization, awareness, and development, things have started to change. Earlier while speaking with Entrepreneur India, Shailja Dutt, founder and chairperson of Stellar Search, a global executive search company, said that women entrepreneurship was difficult 20 years back and the situation is still the same. However, the ecosystem is growing and more dialogue around women entrepreneurs is now happening due to digitization. 

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Shave off a few strokes and get more business done on the links.


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.


It’s a fact: business is done on the links. Not playing golf won’t preclude you from business success, but being able to play a round with clients and prospective clients can only help your chances of closing more deals. Of course, nobody wants to play with someone who can’t finish a hole. Whether you’re a vet or completely new to golf, these products will help you hone your game to be more competitive — so you can worry less about your golf game, and more about networking.

Callaway Executive Putting Mat: $39.99 (Orig. $49.99)

Callaway Executive Putting Mat: $39.99 (Orig. $49.99)

Image credit:
Entrepreneur Store

Every entrepreneur dreams of putting in their office, right? Well, this gorgeous mat rolls out so you can do just that while emulating a freshly-mowed green. The hole is adjustable, allowing you to put from as close or as far as you’d like.

Callaway Pro Series Hitting Mat: $159.99 (Orig. $199.99)

Callaway Pro Series Hitting Mat: $159.99 (Orig. $199.99)

Image credit:
Entrepreneur Store

Set up a driving range anywhere there’s space with this pro series mat from Callaway. Made of the same stuff as you find at driving ranges, this mat is designed to emulate a fairway so you can work on your game. Plus, it rolls up easily for transportation. 

Callaway Golf Trunk Locker: $55.99 (Orig. $69.99)

Callaway Golf Trunk Locker: $55.99 (Orig. $69.99)

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Entrepreneur Store

Whether you want to leave all of your gear at the club or take it with you after a round, this locker has you covered. It has compartments for a shirt, hat, shoes, balls, a scorecard, and a towel so you can stay organized. Plus, it has a handle to carry with you on the go.

Callaway Chip Shot Chipping Net: $39.99 (Orig. $49.99)

Callaway Chip Shot Chipping Net: $39.99 (Orig. $49.99)

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Entrepreneur Store

The approach is one of the toughest shots in the game. Practice your skills with this easily assembled chip shot net that you can set up anywhere. It makes a great target for shots, with three different holes to catch balls.

Callaway 8-Ft Quad Hitting Net: $175.99 (Orig. $219.99)

Callaway 8-Ft Quad Hitting Net: $175.99 (Orig. $219.99)

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Entrepreneur Store

Practice your driving in the backyard with this massive net. With a painted target in the center and a mat to hit off of, you can work on any club and hone your swing. The net catches all of the balls so you can easily set back up.

Callaway Trek Push Cart: $159.99 (Orig. $199.99)

Callaway Trek Push Cart: $159.99 (Orig. $199.99)

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Entrepreneur Store

Sometimes, you don’t want to take a golf cart. If you’re walking the course, however, you’ll get exhausted carrying your bag. This push cart secures your bag so you can roll it without wearing down.

Callaway Cooler Set: $19.99 (Orig. $24.99)

Callaway Cooler Set: $19.99 (Orig. $24.99)

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Entrepreneur Store

No round of golf is complete without a couple of cold beverages. This cooler set fits nicely on your cart and gives you quick access to cold drinks. It’s perfect for celebrating when you close a deal!

Callaway Cart Cooler: $39.99 (Orig. $49.99)

Callaway Cart Cooler: $39.99 (Orig. $49.99)

Image credit:
Entrepreneur Store

This extra-large cooler can hold up to 12 cans. When it’s expanded, it fits nicely on the cart, but it also collapses after use so you can tuck it into your bag. Either way, it’s a must-have when you expect to do some business out on the links.

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The keto diet is hard. It’s harder when you’re traveling. These products can help.


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.


The keto diet has exploded in popularity recently as it has been shown to deliver great results while it doesn’t ask you to give up too many foods. However, reaching ketosis requires some attention to timing and detail, which can be extremely difficult when you’re on the road for business.

Thrive Market, however, simplifies keto. With a wide selection of keto-friendly food that you can easily pack with you on your travels, Thrive Market eliminates much of the hassle of reaching ketosis. While everyone else at the conference heads to Panera, you can stay on task with a snack from Thrive Market. Check out some of their best options below:

Original Grass-Fed Beef Snack Sticks

Original Grass-Fed Beef Snack Sticks

Image credit:
Thrive Market

These ketogenic snack sticks pack nine grams of protein and just 90 calories in every serving. Made from grass-fed beef jerky, these sticks have a slightly smoky and slightly spicy savory taste that will be supremely satisfying. Whether you’re about to get on a plane or enter a meeting, it’s a great snack to get you through.

Whisps Keto Snacks Variety Pack

Whisps Keto Snacks Variety Pack

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Thrive Market

These airy, crispy, crunchy snacks are made solely from cheese — a keto staple. Made from Cello’s award-winning baked Parmesan, Whisps pack calcium and protein into every serving. They’re a great gluten replacement and a high protein alternative to regular potato chips. Each pack has Parmesan, Asiago Pepperjack, and Bacon BBQ flavor.

Sea Salt Macadamias

Sea Salt Macadamias

Image credit:
Thrive Market

From Royal Hawaiian Orchards, these perfectly roasted macadamias are sprinkled with a dash of sea salt. Each serving has two grams of protein and there are five servings per bag so you can munch down a bag in transit to get a great dose of much-needed protein.

Unsweetened Toasted Coconut Chips, Lightly Salted

Unsweetened Toasted Coconut Chips, Lightly Salted

Image credit:
Thrive Market

These crunchy coconut chips received the highest flavor ratings ever tested by the Food Innovation Center in Portland, Oregon. Made from Thai coconuts and toasted to perfection using a proprietary method, these irresistible chips are crunchy, delicious, and a nutritional powerhouse. They’re a natural energy booster, making them a great choice for the afternoon at a conference before you jump into the evening networking.

Wild Pink Salmon

Wild Pink Salmon

Image credit:
Thrive Market

Wild Pink Salmon is sustainably caught in Alaska by small-scale fishing families and cooked right in the single-serving pouch to retain nutritional potency and incredible flavor. Just tear open this bag and you can enjoy delicious salmon on its own, on a sandwich, or on a salad. There’s no added liquid, making these pouches perfect for travel.

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

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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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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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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. 

Pros

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. 

Cons

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. 

Pros

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. 

Cons

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. 

Pros

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. 

Cons

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.  

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

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