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Do you think about starting your own business?

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There is no secret that one of the most sound way to become a “billionaire” or a wealthy person is to start your own business. Most millionaires and billionaires that are “self made” have earned their money by running successful businesses.

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I’m not saying that you should run a business to become “rich”, but if you want financial freedom then you should try to use your skills and spare time to investigate whether or not starting a business is a viable option for you. 

If you are a student, then you have a golden opportunity of becoming an entrepreneur. Students often have little to no financial dependencies holding them back. You don’t need to earn X-thousands of dollars in order to survive. However, if you are more experienced and have worked in corporations for a longer period of time, you might have a better success rate even though your burn rate is much higher.

I have been an entrepreneur my entire life, I know how it is to live on next to nothing. But I was able to do that by:

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  1. Minimizing monthly living expenses
    • Lived in a small flat.
    • Spent very little on clothes, accessories and food.
  2. Worked a part time job
    • I worked as a customer service representative in a VoIP company for two years, the worst job I ever had..
  3. Asking for help
    • When I ran out of cash, I turned to family to help me out. Even though this isn’t a long term solution, it can be a solution in some dire situations.

If you already have a 9 to 5 job, that’s no excuse to not start and experiment with startup ideas. You do not have to “go all in” a new startup.

My best advice that I can ever give you if you are looking to start a business is to:

START WITH EARNING MONEY.

If you have little or zero startup capital, you have to focus on something that will generate income right away. Never launch a startup that needs heavy investments to create a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) – if you do not have cash to “throw away”. Startups that need a lot of investments to be able to get a sellable product or service could easily fail and will run out of cash faster than you would think. Some startups are in constant need of new investments and you really do not want that pressure on yourself as a founder (believe me, I’ve been there).

Good business ideas where you could immediately earn money is to start consulting private persons or businesses in a field where you are a specialist. Maybe it’s in accounting, financial services, art, music, photography, design, or HR.

You should try and find one simple business case that only need one sentence to be able to explain what you are doing. 

Consultants can bill by the hour. If you do not have any clients in mind, you could start offering your services for free or at a low rate to start building up your client base. Happy clients are the best marketing of your business.

Do i need a team?

Everyone tells you that you need a talented team to make a successful business. That is both tru and untrue. If you start small, you should focus on your own qualities and what you can do to earn money without including other founders. The more founders you have, the more money you have to make to ensure profitability.

In the lecture below about “How to Start a Startup” by Sam Altman and Dustin Moskovitz, they focus mostly on doing a “software startup” like Facebook. That is not necessary what you should do, and most of their ideas and thoughts are for creating the next “unicorn“. Still they have some really good suggestions that you should be aware of:

If you haven’t done a startup before, I would suggest to do something really small but with high quality. If you are able to generate a secondary income you can gradually shift your focus towards your startup and hopefully within 6 or 12 months be able to be fully invested. At that time you might be able to include other people and start building your own team (and even start other ventures with the cashflow you are generating from your first startup).

Be passionate about your startup

This part is so important. You have to be passionate about your startup and what your startup is trying to solve for your clients or customers. If you are not passionate, you won’t be able to create a quality product or service. I strongly advice you to go for your passion, and not leap into a business idea that might generate cash faster. You need passion to be able to stick to your plan and to be able to thrive in your own business. If it’s boring, then you will have a boring life. 

I started CryptoCoinsNews.com because I have a strong passion about the decentralized currency. I started it on my own and wrote daily articles for 6 months without any income. On the 6th month I was able to get my first advertiser and could add a few freelance journalists to the project. Then the traffic started to increase gradually and we got more advertisers and I had enough cashflow to increase the team. Now CCN is the 2nd largest Bitcoin news source in the world with a great team of 21 journalists and one editor.

I will write more about entrepreneurship in the coming weeks and months. Please contact me or leave a comment below if you are wondering about doing your own startup and need some advice.

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Fidelity Investments is Mining Cryptocurrency

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Fidelity Investments is a multi-billion dollar brokerage  that just so happens to be mining cryptocurrency. In fact, it has been at it for three years, using its own computers to harvest bitcoin and Ethereum.

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Profitable Experiment

CEO Abby Johnson recently told Fortune that its U.S.-based mining operation is “making a lot of money.” This comes despite running a relatively modest operation.

Hadley Stern, Senior VP of Fidelity Labs, described his company’s venture as an “experiment.”

The real reason we began mining, and still do, is to learn how the network works, how consensus works, how difficulty levels work,” he said in reference to the mining process.

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The key to profitability has been the dramatic rise in cryptocurrency over the past year. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the world’s No. 1 and 2 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, and no-one else comes close.

Well Ahead of the Pack

The fact that Fidelity has been at this for three years speaks volumes about the company. Other, much bigger players are still dipping their toes in the market, but are unsure about how to proceed. Goldman Sachs is reportedly on the fence about starting a cryptocurrency trading operation, while J.P. Morgan has already begun handling customer orders for bitcoin-based instruments.

Fidelity is doing a lot more than just mining tokens. Earlier this year, it reached an agreement with Coinbase to let customers view cryptocurrency prices alongside other assets on their Fidelity homepage.

Coinbase is the world’s most funded cryptocurrency exchange with more than 7.4 million users.

Cryptocurrency Prices

The cryptocurrency market ended the week on a firm note, with bitcoin (BTC/USD) reaching a session high of $4,425.00. At press time, the index was up 1.6% at $4,368.

Ether is also trading higher against the dollar, with the ETH/USD rallying more than 3% to $305.

Ripple (XRP) lost momentum on Friday, but still managed a weekly gain of 21%.

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Chinese Government Eyeing Fresh Bitcoin Legislation?

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The Chinese government could roll out fresh cryptocurrency regulation in the coming months permitting licensed brokers to operate, based on recent information from Xinhua.

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The state-owned news publication recently revealed that the government is mostly concerned with stamping out illegal activity involving bitcoin and other cryptos. Government authorities could be planning to regulate the market by creating a licensing program with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems.

The Case for AML

The need for KYC/AML protocols has long been raised by cryptocurrency proponents, especially in reference to initial coin offerings (ICOs). In response, the blockchain community has come together to create the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT). The SAFT is both an instrument and open-source framework for token sales that vets accredited investors.

SAFT activity is quickly gaining traction, with the likes of Gizer recently issuing a presale of its ICO through SAFTLaunch.

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SAFT was officially created by Protocol Labs in close collaboration with AngelList and Cooley.

China’s Stance Looms Large for Cryptocurrency Market

Although digital assets have recovered from the China-induced flash crash of September, favorable regulations on the mainland could mean big business for bitcoin exchanges. Prior to the ban on ICOs and bitcoin brokers, Chinese investors were responsible for a quarter of all BTC trades.

According to Xinhua, China is likely to pursue a licensing program similar to Japan, a country that recently approved 11 cryptocurrency exchanges. CnLedger, a leading source of cryptocurrency news in China, recently had this to say:

“Xinhua News, official press agency of CN: Virtual currencies have become the top choices of underground economies. We shall adopt ‘0-tolerance policies’ towards crimes hidden underneath and take measures such as record-keeping, licensing, AML processes, real-name, limiting large transactions.”

Is China’s cryptocurrency ban temporary? It certainly looks that way. Regulators must already know that the ban hasn’t stopped mainland investors from buying cryptocurrencies next door in Hong Kong or Singapore. A saner approach to an all-out blanket ban is a tighter regulatory framework that will stamp out money laundering and other underground activities.

«Featured image from Shutterstock.»

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Tim Draper Has Made Over $110 Million Since 2014 With his Bitcoin Investment

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Tim Draper, the billionaire technology investor and prominent venture capitalist who has invested in some of the most successful technology startups in the likes of Coinbase, Patreon, SpaceX, Tesla, Box, FourSquare, has profited over $110 million from his investment in bitcoin less than three years ago.

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In 2014, Draper participated in the auction of 144,336 bitcoins by the US government and the US Justice Department, which were seized during the investigation into Silk Road, a dark web marketplace. Draper was granted the permission to purchase a batch of 30,000 at around $600 from the US government.

Upon securing 30,000 bitcoins, Draper told Fox Business:

“[I’m] very excited about bitcoin and what it can do for the world. Bitcoin is as big a transformation to the finance and commerce industry as the internet was for information and communications. If bitcoin were here in 2008, it would be a stability source for our world economy. Everybody should go out there and buy a bitcoin. Every investor who’s a fiduciary should at least be partially involved in bitcoin because it’s a hedge against all the other currencies. There’s a whole ecosystem being built that’s going to make commerce much easier with much less friction and safer.”

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Today, Draper’s 30,000 bitcoins are worth $129.9 million. Considering that Draper had spent $19 million purchasing the batch of 30,000 bitcoins in 2014, Draper has recorded a profit of over $110 million in less than three years.

While Draper held onto his investment in bitcoin, the US Justice Department was quick all of the 144,336 bitcoins seized during the Silk Road operation. According to various sources, the US government sold the majority of its 144,336 bitcoins at a price of $336, at $48 million. If the US government had sold its bitcoins in 2017, it would have generated an additional profit of around $573 million, as 144,336 bitcoins at today’s bitcoin price of $4,330 are worth $624.9 million.

Bitcoin price was below $350 in 2014. Today, it is over $4,330.

Since 2014, in addition to purchasing tens of thousands of bitcoins, Draper has funded some of the most successful bitcoin companies in the cryptocurrency market including Coinbase and Korbit. Earlier this year, Coinbase secured a $100 million investment at a $1.6 billion valuation, while Korbit was acquired by the parent company of a $10 billion gaming company in Nexon at a $140 million valuation.

Furthermore, Draper has not sold his stake in Coinbase and earlier this year, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, revealed that Coinbase is still at an early stage in terms of developing and scaling. Armstrong noted that it will evolve into the safest and most trusted exchange in the global market.

“Digital currencies are having their ‘Netscape’ moment. The pace of innovation has been accelerating and we are now seeing exciting projects and companies being built on top of digital currencies. We’re beginning to transition into phase three of our secret master plan. Our goal is to be the safest, most trusted and compliant, and easiest to use. Not the first to market with new assets. Especially at scale, it takes time to ensure any new asset we add is well tested and secure,” said Armstrong.

Coinbase is also one of the two exchanges in the US market apart from Gemini that is targeting institutional and retail investors by providing sufficient liquidity. As Coinbase and its flagship cryptocurrency trading platform GDAX continue evolve, Draper will position himself at the forefront of cryptocurrency innovation and disruption.

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