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8 U.S. Presidents Who Started as Entrepreneurs

8 U.S. Presidents Who Started as Entrepreneurs

U.S. presidents sure like talking about the importance of small business to the country’s overall health. For instance, Barack Obama said, “I think Ronald Reagan tapped into [the fact that people wanted] a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

But, how many U.S. presidents have actually been in the trenches, running their own enterprises? Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made business experience the principal reason for his election in 2012, recently saying, “I’d like to have a provision in the Constitution, to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he could become president of the United States.”

While the jury’s still out on whether business know-how makes for a better president, here’s a look at eight U.S. leaders who were hard-working entrepreneurs.

3 Companies That Are Making Politics Cool Again

3 Companies That Are Making Politics Cool Again

On occasion, we are reminded that politics can be cool–take, for example, MTV’s Rock the Vote campaign. But these days, cool is about more than the youth vote–it’s about technology. At this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, Al Gore and Sean Parker took to the stage to discuss how the internet is at long last having a quantifiable impact on the political process. Parker even referred to this year’s web-driven mass protests of the controversial SOPA and PIPA internet piracy acts as the “Nerd Spring.”

“Politics has lagged because it was all about door-knocking and handshaking, but lawn signs and bumper stickers won’t do it anymore,” says Lou Aronson, founder and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based mobile polling and social networking company Votifi. “And the sooner we start recognizing the power of data, the faster we can unlock our potential as a nation.” Here’s a look at what he and some fellow high-tech political junkies are up to.

 

Votifi
Digital Media
In the fall of 2008, presidential campaigns–and the accompanying robo-dials to land lines–were in full swing. Aronson, a lawyer and longtime political activist, realized that many mobile-savvy voters were avoiding those calls. Last year he launched Votifi, which uses a peer-to-peer network and surveys delivered via e-mail to raise political awareness by uniting people through issues they care about.

Problem: Believe it or not, nearly as many people cast votes for the American Idol finals in May as voted in the 2008 presidential election. How can social media and polling be used to get disenfranchised citizens–especially Millennials, Hispanics and African-Americans–engaged in politics?

Solution: Make it personal, and make it digital. Votifi users create online profiles by answering multiple-choice questions on issues ranging from food to foreign politics. They can then build out a network to discuss issues with like-minded voters–or debate those with opposing viewpoints. For campaigns and organizations, Votifi surveys offer a glimpse into users’ political identities over time, offering far greater detail than a simple split down party lines. The surveys can be answered through a browser or mobile app, which appeals to groups difficult to reach on land lines.

Early success: Votifi has sent out roughly 1.8 million e-mail surveys and gotten a 65 percent completion rate. (Old-school robo-dials had an average 3 percent response rate.) The company, which has 5,600 members, claimed a finalist spot at the 2012 SXSW accelerator competition and completed major research campaigns for organizations like the 2012 Charlotte Democratic Convention.

MindMixer
Community Forum
Tired of planning public local-government meetings attended solely by NIMBY windbags, Nick Bowden parlayed his experience as an urban-planning consultant into MindMixer, an incentivized online platform that aims to increase engagement in local and city politics.

Problem: Civic leaders do not engage effectively with young voters, who demonstrate little interest in local issues. Community-minded citizens face bureaucracy and delays when attempting to deal with local governments.

 

Solution: Focus on the people. MindMixer is a convenient forum for citizens to contribute ideas about what they want and need in their communities. Users sign up–crucially, with their real names–pick personal interests and locations, then can raise issues on the forum or respond to posts by elected officials, city departments and school districts. The best ideas earn points when they are “seconded”; these can be redeemed for prizes like lunch with the mayor of San Francisco or a birthday party at the local fire station. Civic leaders and organizations, meanwhile, get inside information to make more informed decisions. Everybody wins.

In a typical scenario, an Omaha, Neb., citizen noticed that a crosswalk needed repainting. Rather than having to research which city department was responsible, submitting a request and hoping to get a response, he raised the issue on MindMixer. The post was pushed directly to the public works department, an employee followed up, and within two weeks the job was done.

Early success: In just 15 months, the 17-person company has landed $2.2 million in funding and more than 200 clients, including the city of Los Angeles and the Republican National Committee.

Making Apps for Political Junkies

Making Apps for Political Junkies

The 2012 Presidential election is the first one where people are tethered to their smartphones, and this fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by scores of app makers.

A quick search of Google Play for the word “politics” brings up at least 1,000 apps — most related to political news, election commentary and state-specific politics. The candidates themselves even have their own: Romney for President and Obama for America. Both apps, presumably, were developed by in-house engineers, though neither campaign returned requests for comments. (Romney also used an app to announce Paul Ryan as his running mate, though the rollout didn’t go quite as promised.)

Some entrepreneurs are developing “disposable” apps that are germane for the 2012 election season but may have little relevance later on. Others have more broad-based political apps, not tied exclusively to the presidential race, and hope the upcoming season will boost sales, recognition or user counts.

To be sure, political-app-building is still somewhat of a new market, and business models vary. Some entrepreneurs are creating free apps, hoping to make money from ad revenue down the road. Others are charging fees to download their app or levying ongoing subscription fees to some users. And still other small businesses are profiting by helping politically minded, but less tech-savvy individuals build and publish their own apps for cheaper than they could on their own. (The expense of doing it solo can be prohibitive, with costs ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 or more.)

Here’s a sampling of some political apps on the market, all made by independent shops. Some are so new they have few ratings on either iTunes or Google Play.

Politix — One of the newer apps, it was created as a forum for political chatter. It allows users to take a stand on issues and candidates central to the 2012 election, and then share those thoughts with their social networks, virtual and physical communities, and fellow voters. The free app was launched in early May for iPhones and certain iPads and iPods. Chris Tolles, chief executive of Topix, the Palo Alto, Calif., company that developed the app, hopes to eventually make money through advertising. He says the app was developed to meet user demand for a political forum. “There seemed to be a huge hole in the market,” he says.

Filibustr — This free app, available on Apple devices since May, allows users to find congressional lawmakers across the U.S. and view information about their voting records and positions on important issues. Users can also debate issues and throw a virtual tomato, tip their hat, wag a finger or give a bouquet of flowers in response to candidates’ actions. Reneldy Senat, who volunteered for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, came up with the idea after an interaction with then-candidate Obama. He declined to disclose the number of current users or plans for making money, but said the app attracted thousands of users in its first few weeks.

Parity Politics — This app, available for Android devices since July 2011, displays real-time election polls and graphs related to the race for president and Congress, as well as approval ratings for certain officeholders. It’s also got data, news, editorials, and articles from across the political spectrum, including original content. It costs 99 cents and has a 3.3 star rating on Google Play. “I wanted [poll] information daily and no app could do that, so I built it for myself,” says developer Erhan Kartaltepe. There’s also a free, watered-down version of the app. But that one only has a rating of 2.1 on Google Play.

7 Situations When You Need a Financial Advisor Most

7 Situations When You Need a Financial Advisor Most

Do you know enough about financial management to take care of all of your investing on your own? Or do you need help from a seasoned expert?

That question comes up for millions of Americans each year.

If any of these describe you, you could benefit from professional financial advice:

1. You’re retiring soon – Maximizing retirement income requires smart decisions around complex topics such as Social Security, 401(k) and IRA withdrawals.

2. You manage your own investments – Individual investors should check their strategies with unbiased third parties. You may be overlooking opportunities in your portfolio.

3. You have children – Whether you’re saving for college or planning their inheritance, there are several ways to ensure your children are taken care of.

4. You inherited money – Have you noticed lottery winners often declare bankruptcy? It can be difficult to manage sudden increases in wealth.

5. You have a financial advisor – Depending on how you chose your advisor, there may be a better one for you. Family referrals are convenient but don’t always produce results.

6. You’re divorcing – Untangling finances in a divorce can be messy. Impartial advice is key.

7. You want to build wealth – If you’re still decades from retirement, good decisions today can add thousands to your retirement accounts.

See Your 3 Financial Advisor Matches

Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with top fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is legally bound to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

9 ‘Mindsets’ You Need to Switch From Employee to Entrepreneur

9 ‘Mindsets’ You Need to Switch From Employee to Entrepreneur

Mindset is probably the major determinant of success in pretty much every walk of life. In other words, the thinking patterns you habitually adopt largely govern the results you achieve.

But different circumstances and situations require different mindsets, something that anyone looking to leave paid employment and strike out on their own, must be aware of. Unfortunately, not all would-be entrepreneurs understand the dramatic mindset shifts required, without which business success is unlikely.

So how, as a one-time employee, will you have to think differently to succeed?

1. You’re responsible for all decisions – good and bad. Entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity to create something from nothing, in a way that’s not possible working for someone else. But this means making big decisions about what must be done, when and how. You can’t wait for things to happen, or for someone to tell you what to do, you must make them happen. Successful entrepreneurs also understand that opportunities may be short-lived, and so develop a sense of urgency that helps them achieve their goals.

2. You need to hold both short and long-term visions simultaneously. Work for others and you are mainly responsible for ensuring that what needs to be done now, is done. As an entrepreneur, you have to project your mind forward, thinking about the potential pitfalls and opportunities that lie around the corner, and making decisions based on uncertainty. This requires you to come to terms with the fact that what you do, or don’t do, today, will have an impact on your business three months, even five years down the line.

3. Feeling uncomfortable is your new ‘comfort zone.’ As an employee, you’re used to thinking ‘inside the box’ rather than outside it. As an entrepreneur, there is no box. You see what others don’t, test new ideas, seize new territory, take risks. This requires courage, a thick skin and the ability to keep going despite rejection and skepticism.

4. Learning is a continuous journey. As an employee, you have a job description, requiring a specific skill-set. Being an entrepreneur involves learning many new skills, unless you have the funds to outsource what you’re not good at or don’t want to do. That could be learning to set up a spreadsheet, getting investors on board, marketing your ideas, crafting your perfect pitch, or using unfamiliar technology. What needs to be done, has to be done – there is no room for excuses.

5. Numbers don’t lie. Where numbers are concerned, it’s enough for most employees to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. As an entrepreneur, you’d better learn to love numbers fast, because your cash flow is what will keep you in – or out of – business. Ultimately, it’s your sales, costs, profit and loss that will either give you sleepless nights or an enviable lifestyle. But without the guiding light of numbers, your business will be continually heading for the rocks.

6. Love your business, but be objective. As an employee, you can go on doing something you dislike just for the salary. As an entrepreneur, you will need to love your business because of the effort and long hours required. But you mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking and acting like an employee in your own company, working ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ the business, a ‘technician’ rather than the person who steers it forward.

7. Enjoy breaking rules. As an employee, breaking the rules could mean dismissal. Entrepreneurs on the other hand, aren’t interested in the status quo – they’re always looking for ways to do things differently. That means acquiring a global perspective, always peering over the horizon, or at least towards it, to where the next big thing is waiting.

8. Time isn’t linear. As an employee, you have a timetable to work to. As an entrepreneur, while you might not be tied to a desk or computer 24/7, you will always be thinking about your business, what it’s doing well and what it could be doing better. There will be no respite – you will live and breathe it.

9. Start now. Most people under-estimate the time it takes to make the transition to entrepreneur, so it’s sensible to start shifting your mindset while you’re still employed, perhaps even setting up a business to run alongside. This could give you the opportunity to develop skills and build experience while still enjoying the safety-net of a salary, something that at some point you will almost certainly need to give up if you want to grow your business.

So, employee or entrepreneur? Is it time to switch? The choice is yours.

Customer Privacy: What You Need to Know About Social Media, Passwords and Transparency

Customer Privacy: What You Need to Know About Social Media, Passwords and Transparency

Credit card information. Bank account numbers. Personal information, including ages, phone numbers and shopping habits. These are all pieces of data that businesses collect from customers every day. How they handle this information, and how they protect customer privacy, are serious issues for entrepreneurs.

The debate surrounding privacy resurfaced most recently with CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), a proposed law that calls for the sharing of certain online information between tech companies and the U.S. government. Fearing that CISPA ignores a consumer’s right to privacy, privacy advocates and technology leaders including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, launched campaigns against the bill. While it passed a House of Representatives vote, it has been effectively shut down in the Senate, where policy makers cited insufficient privacy protections.

We spoke recently with Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington D.C.-based think tank that aims to advance responsible data-use practices, on what business owners need to know about customer privacy and managing sensitive information.

What follows is an edited version of our exchange:

Entrepreneur: What’s the most important issue to consider when it comes to customer privacy?
Polonetsky: Transparency. Most consumers will be OK with how their data is used if they feel that it is being used for their benefit. When consumers think that their information is being used against them, they push back.

Millennial Managers Seen as ‘Entitled’

Millennial Managers Seen as ‘Entitled’

Like your new, young, manager?

If you said no, you’ve got lots of company.

Generation Y managers are widely perceived as entitled, and score significantly lower as hard-working team players in newly released research from EY, the global firm that includes Ernst & Young LLP.

That’s especially striking since members of Gen Y, or the millennial generation, which EY defines as people aged 18 to 32, are moving into management at a rapid pace. Some 87 percent of Gen Y managers in the EY survey took on a new management role, between 2008 and 2013, compared with 38 percent of Gen X managers and just 19 percent of those aging baby boomer managers.

Gen Y workers, including managers, now make up about a third of the U.S. workforce, according to Karyn Twaronite, EY’s Americas inclusiveness officer. And at EY itself, which hires thousands of young recruits every year, Twaronite says the workforce is almost two-thirds Gen Y.

So if 68 percent of that age cohort is perceived as “entitled and concerned primarily about individual promotion,” as the EY survey found, that’s an issue.

Entitled workers, those who feel they are owed things from their organization and that their excellence is a given, are less likely to lead teams effectively and advocate for subordinates.

A 2010 study by Paul Harvey, then an assistant professor of management at the University of New Hampshire, found that entitled employees are more likely to feel frustrated on the job and to lash out at colleagues.

“The frustration experienced by entitled workers appears to stem from perceived inequities in the rewards received by co-workers to whom psychologically entitled employees feel superior,” Harvey said.

Part of Gen Y’s management problem may just be inexperience. The next older cohort, Gen X, ages 33 to 48, were perceived as the strongest managers by 70 percent of survey respondents, Twaronite said.

“That’s even more than boomers,” Twaronite said. “Only 5 percent said Gen Y was prepared to lead.”

But if managers think this is something that will simply fix itself, they are mistaken, she said.

“I would caution companies from thinking this is generational gibberish,” Twaronite said. “There is a real shift.”

She thinks companies need to be helping their Gen Y managers develop more positive management qualities.

Fewer than half of Gen Y members expect to be working standard office hours five to 10 years from now.

The good news is that Gen Y members are perceived as tech savvy, and smart about ways to leverage social media. They are also seen as inclusive leaders who display what EY calls “‘diversity” skills, or the ability to build culturally competent teams.”

And they come across as enthusiastic and adaptable, qualities that may help them shift gears so that in a future survey, fewer than the current 36 percent of respondents may say they are hard to work with.
Gen Y members are also quite ambitious. Twaronite points out that they view promotions as a perk more highly than their older counterparts—and Gen Y women value them more than Gen Y men.

“It really demonstrates that the next generation of women leaders are really serious about their careers,” she said.

Looking further ahead, there may be even more good news. “I have read in the research that the generation coming up behind Gen Y will tend to be much more conservative,” Twaronite said. They appear to be less likely to change jobs as often, for example.

If they can get that entitlement thing under control, that will really be something to anticipate.

What Is a Sales Funnel? The Guide to Building an Automated Selling Machine.

What Is a Sales Funnel? The Guide to Building an Automated Selling Machine.

One of the core concepts in the digital marketing industry is the sales funnel. While odd sounding at first, this single core concept can take a business from virtually non-existent and unknown to multi-million-dollar marketing machine with mass saturation, seemingly overnight. In fact, there are skilled practitioners who have built a career around implementing this single concept in business.

If you’re wondering what a sales funnel is, simply imagine a real-world funnel. At the top of that funnel, some substance is poured in, which filters down towards one finite destination. In sales, something similar occurs. At the top, lots of visitors arrive who may enter your funnel. However, unlike the real-world funnel, not all who enter the sales funnel will reemerge out from the other end.

In marketing automation, Ryan Deiss, co-founder of Digital Marketer, often describes the sales funnel as a multi-step, multi-modality process that moves prospective browsers into buyers. It’s multi-stepped because lots must occur between the time that a prospect is aware enough to enter your funnel, to the time when they take action and successfully complete a purchase.

There are email warming sequences that include things like personalized value-driven stories, tutorials and even soft pushes to webinars, and of course product suggestions that happen over days or even weeks. The truth is that most prospects won’t buy from your website at first glance, especially if they’re only just becoming aware of you today. It takes time. Thus, the funnel is a multi-modality process, as there are a variety of relationship-building experiences and “touches” that occur through several stages.

Much of this is steeped in buyer psychology. The best marketers in the world know that there is a psychological process that must occur for prospects to whip out those credit cards and turn into buyers or even hyper-active buyers. One such person whose perfected this process is Russell Brunson, an “underground entrepreneur” who founded a company called ClickFunnels, a sales funnel SaaS business that empowers marketers from around the world to build marketing automation without all the hassle.

As a software engineer myself, I can tell you that building funnels from an application standpoint takes massive amounts of work. There’s a great deal of coding and integration that’s required here. From email systems to landing page implementations to credit card processing APIs, and everything in between, so many platforms need to “talk,” that it takes the bar too high for the average marketer.

However, what Brunson cleverly conceived with ClickFunnels is to create a SaaS that can integrate with the world’s most popular platforms and virtually anyone can quietly launch a funnel in hours as opposed to weeks of hefty coding and programming. As a fervent user of ClickFunnels myself, I can tell you that the system is impressive beyond measure.

 

Understanding sales funnels

To better understand the concept of a sales funnel and just how you can implement it in your own business, let’s look at the following image from Shutterstock. On the left side of the image, you see a magnet. That magnet is attracting customers, which happens a number of ways. From blogging to social media to paid ads and everything in between, how the visitors arrive to your website has some impact on the success of your funnel.

What are sales funnels?

Stage 1: Awareness

What’s more important about the sales funnel is what happens when those visitors (we can call them prospects) actually do arrive. Through a variety of means, many of which you’ve already seen, such as email newsletter signups, ebook downloads, online quizzes and more, those prospects enter into your sales funnel through an enticing offer.

The goal of your entire sale funnel and platform is to solve your customer’s problem. When you know the problem, and you build content to draw them in, then offer them a product or service to solve their problem, that’s when the real magic happens. However, getting to that stage takes work and you have to garner their awareness first.

Once the prospect is in the proverbial funnel, you’ve peaked their awareness. That’s the first stage of the funnel. However, getting a prospect aware of you is no simple feat. Depending upon how they’ve arrived to your website (organically or through a paid ad), those customers might view your funnel differently and your opt-in rates will vary significantly.

For example, when a customer finds you organically through a Google search for example, that means you have some element of authority. When you have authority, prospects are more likely to enter into your funnel because they know that if they found you relevantly, that whatever it is that you’re providing must be of a great value. That’s just the nature of SEO and organic search.

Of course, regardless of how they enter into your funnel, your goal as a marketer is to move them through the multiple stages that will take them from prospect to buyer. And once they’re aware of you, you need to build their interest. To do this, you need to establish a relationship with the customer. You might have enticed them with a great offer (lead magnet) to grab their email address, but actually moving them through the funnel is a far greater challenge.

The truth? People are smart. They’re not simply going to buy anything from anyone unless they feel there’s an immense amount of value to be had there. Thus, your funnel needs to built that value and bake it in through a variety of means. But most importantly, you have to create a strong bond with your prospect, and that happens by being relatable, honest and transparent in your email warming sequence.

 

Stage 2: Interest

You gain the prospects interest through an email sequence. You begin to relate stories to them that tie into who you are and how you’ve arrived to this point in your life. Brunson, in his book, Expert Secrets, calls this the Attractive Character. Are you the reluctant hero whose journey happened almost by mistake, but you feel like you owe it to yourself and the world to convey something of great value?

Or, are you a leader, an adventurer or an evangelist? How you position yourself is entirely up to you, but your message must be consistent throughout your entire “pitch” and it needs to be steeped in the truth. Your backstory, and just how you convey that through parables, character flaws and polarity, has much to do with just how well you can “hook” in your prospects to create a mass movement.

Of course, implementing this isn’t easy. You need to first develop your stories, then decide on how you’re going to convey those stories and at what drip-rate. For example, your first email or two might go out on the day they first signup, then one email per day might go out afterwards. How much of that will be story-based and how much will be pitches?

In a recent conversation I had with Perry Belcher, co-founder of Native Commerce Media, he told me that you also need to train your prospects to click on links. For example, you could have them click on a link of what interests them or link them to a blog post or eventually to a product or service that you’re selling, but you need to train them to build a habit of clicking on those links from the very beginning.

Stage 3: Decision

The next stage is the decision. Getting prospects to make a decision isn’t easy. The best way to get them there? Beyond the art of story telling, copywriting and building the habit of link-clicking, you need to have lots and lots of customer reviews and testimonials. This is one of the most powerful ways that you can get people to take action.

Of course, if you’re going the paid ad route, you could also use Facebook and Google re-targeting to keep that awareness and interest level high. For example, if you’ve ever noticed after leaving a particular website, that you begin to see their ad everywhere, there’s a particular reason for that. Especially if they’ve already entered your sales funnel, this is a very powerful way to get them to act.

For example, you could show them re-targeting ads that have video testimonials or reviews by other customers. If you have media publications that have written about you, you could take that opportunity to highlight those. When they see this in your sales funnel and you follow them around with re-targeting, it’s simply an added element of exposure.

But however you get them to decide to act, flipping that switch isn’t simple. You need to present them with a great opportunity and use Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles, outlined in his 1984 book, Influence, in one way or another to move them through this stage:

  • Principle of reciprocity — This is achieved by delivering lots of value, either through whatever it is that you provided them as a free offer (lead magnet) in the very beginning, or in an ongoing exchange through your emails.
  • Principle of commitment & consistency — When people commit to something, they’re far more likely to purchase from you. That’s why getting them to agree to something like a free + shipping offer or by agreeing with something you’ve said in some way. This is a powerful principle in sales and if you pay attention to some of the best marketers in the world, you’ll notice that they work fervently to get your commitment to something, even if it’s very small in the beginning.
  • Principle of liking — When people like you (i.e. they relate to your stories) they are more likely to purchase something from you. How well you craft your story and convey that to your prospects is going to play a big role in whether they decide to act or not.
  • Principle of authority — How much authority do your products or services have? Are their respected people in your community that have endorsed it? Scientific studies that are backing it? Are you yourself an authority? All these elements come into play in this process.
  • Principle of social proof — Do you have social proof? Are people on social media raving or talking about how great your products or services are? Do you have some other type of social proof? Best-selling books? Something else? It’s importnat that you present this to prospects if you do have them.
  • Principle of scarcity — How much scarcity have you baked into your email sequence? Again, people are smart, but when you apply the principle of scarcity, as in there are only a limited amount of some offer or time left before a discount expires or slots available for an online class, it entices people to take action.

Stage 4: Action

The final stage of the sales funnel is the action that you’re intending them to perform. In most cases this is the purchase. Again, how well you move them through the various stages is going to set you up with a specific conversion for this action. For example, if 100 people click on your offer and 10 people enter your sales funnel but only purchase people purchase, then you have a 2 percent conversion.

However, the best part about this, and the most powerful route that entrepreneurs take to scale their businesses, is that if you know that sending 100 people to your site costs you $200, for example, but you get two people to convert at $300 each, then you have a $600 return on $200 invested (300 percent). When you know that, that’s when the entire game changes and you can infinitely scale your offers.

This how the world’s smartest marketers scale out their businesses. They know the conversion value and they’ve tweaked and perfected their sales funnels, so they go after this with a vengeance by simply scaling out their offers. If you know that, by investing $1 you’re going to get $3 back, you will infinitely invest $1 repeatedly. Get the point?

However, getting to this stage is no simple feat. It takes an enormous amount of work and effort plus tracking. By implementing sales funnel software, such as the platform built by Brunson, you can definitely cut down the headache, but there’s still lots of work to be done. Copy needs to be written, tracking pixels need to be installed and email sequences need to be created. But that’s what it takes to succeed.

Think about that the next time you’re building out a sales funnel. This complex and intricate concept in business can literally take you from a complete unknown to a global powerhouse quickly through the art of scaling out a highly-converting offer. Don’t try to take shortcuts or implement hacks, and put in the time if you’re looking to eventually reap the benefits and results.

5 Quick Money Making Ideas (That Take Less Than 1 Hour)

5 Quick Money Making Ideas (That Take Less Than 1 Hour)

Want to make some extra money on the side without taking on a part time job or being tied down to a client? Do you want o be able to make that extra money quickly?

You’ve heard of money making ideas like starting a blog or starting a business, but those ideas take time. While they have great long term potential to earn extra money, sometimes you need to earn that extra money fast. And it can be hard to find ideas where you can actually do that.

Maybe you have a bill coming due, or you’re looking for some extra cash pretty quick to do a fun activity. No matter what the reason, you need to remember that there are ways to make money quickly. And if you like quick money, make sure that you check out our guide to How To Get Free Money (yes, potentially $1000s).

However, when it comes to quick money, you should know that it’s not great money. These ideas are real, they work, but they won’t make you a millionaire by any means. They will help you close a small gap in your budget or earn a little extra when you need it.

1. Fill Out Online Surveys

If you have just a few minutes, you could spend it filling out online surveys. There are multiple sites that will pay you to do so and it’s very easy. All you have to do is register, and start filling answering questions. Typically these are online market research surveys for big brands. Some companies even pay you just for installing an app or playing a game!

Some of the most popular online survey sites include:

2. Test Websites              

Website testing, in my opinion, is one of the more fun ways to make decent money fast.

Website owners often want unbiased critiques of their website usability which is where website testers come in. Website testers will browse a website and record their thoughts of the usability and design. As the tester you get paid pretty well for your opinion!

With UserTesting.com you can earn $10 for testing one website which only takes about twenty minutes. Payments are made daily via PayPal beginning seven days after you complete your first assignment.

3. Dog Sit Or Baby Sit

Notice the order of operations there? Hahah. Anyway, if you have some time (like less than an hour), you can sign up to dog sit or baby sit for people near you.

If you’re a pet lover, check out Rover! It’s an app that connects you with people looking for dog sitters, house sitters, and even dog walkers. It’s super simple to sign up and get booked for gigs in your area!

If watching children is more your thing, check out Sittercity. You can sign up in minutes to be a baby sitter in your area. You do have to clear a background check, but that’s quick – and then you can start getting gigs nearby. One of the best things to do is be available for last minute needs – they pay well and can likely work around your schedule.

To get started, check out these services:

4. Start Delivering Food

If you have a car, you should start considering food and grocery delivery services. You’ve probably heard of Uber and Lyft already, but maybe driving passengers around isn’t your thing.

The cool thing is that delivering food and groceries is a service that’s continuing to grow, and you can earn some quick money without having to drive people around.

Another growing one is doing grocery shopping for people via Instacart!

While it usually takes longer than an hour to get cleared for delivering or diving with Uber or these other services, once you’re cleared, you can start at an hour or less each day.

Even if you don’t have a car, you can potentially deliver food and groceries using a bike or scooter depending on your city.

To get started, you can sign up with one of these major services:

5. Sell Your Unused Gift Cards

It seems like the older I get the more gift cards I get – a lot of them are for places I never even go to! While I appreciate the gesture I also don’t want to let those gift cards go unused. Luckily there are tons of places where you can cash in unwanted gift cards.

If you need money on the spot you can now sell your unwanted gift cards at Coinstar machines. Just look for the special kiosks, scan your gift card, and you’ll instantly get a cash offer.

We recommend you check out CardPool to sell your giftcards. They have the best prices, and they typically offer a bonus if you select an Amazon giftcard in exchange.

Bonus: Look for Odd Jobs on Craigslist

Need money today? Don’t forget to check your local Craigslist “gig” section for odd jobs. You can snag jobs that range from cleaning, help with moving, lawn care, and so much more.

The cool thing about Craigslist gigs is that they are typically small jobs that you can easily do in a few hours or a day and earn some extra cash.

All of these types of jobs should be paid upon completion and some will pay very well.

Conclusion

Earning a little money on the side doesn’t mean you have to take on a part time job. Instead, be creative. There are literally hundreds of ways for you to make money fast without selling your soul or chaining yourself to a desk.

6 BEST INVESTMENT PLANS FOR 1 YEAR- ONE YEAR INVESTMENT PLANS

6 BEST INVESTMENT PLANS FOR 1 YEAR- ONE YEAR INVESTMENT PLANS

Investing for a period of one-year can yield stable returns, but it can be less as compared to the long-term investment plans. Read further to know what mutual fund options are available when it comes to the short-term investment horizon.

Getting started with Mutual Fund Investment plan:

In the mutual fund industry, you will find two types of individuals – those who prefer short-term investment and others who prefer a long-term investment cycle. Mutual fund experts and advisors recommend one-year investment plans for conservative investors who do not want to take any risk and want to achieve short-term goals – paying your child’s fees or buying a gift, etc. Mutual fund investments that have a one-year investment period mostly comprise of debt fund options; however, the maturity varies from fund to fund.

Why it is best to invest in short-term mutual funds

Here’s why it is best to invest in short-term mutual funds, rather than keeping your money idle:

  • You can earn decent and steady returns
  • You will face low or zero risk as an investor, when there is no drop in investment value due to market fluctuations
  • The money is safe, even if you achieve low returns
  • A great liquidity option during emergencies

Best Investment Plans for 1 Year

If you count yourself as a risk-averse individual and want to invest in the best mutual fund plan for only a year, check out the listed investment plans:

  • Debt fund:

    These are short-term investment plans that invest in fixed-income securities consisting of corporate bonds, money market instruments, treasury bills, and other debt securities. As compared to equity mutual funds, these are less risky. You can choose to invest in debt funds if you’re looking for a high amount of liquidity, earn a regular income and tax benefits.

  • Arbitrage Funds:

    This type of mutual fund leverages the difference between derivatives and cash to generate profit. The returns are dependent on the volatility of the market. If you have surplus cash, a low-risk appetite and want to enjoy tax deductions, you can park your money in Arbitrage Funds. For taxes, these funds are treated as equity mutual funds. For funds sold within a year, you need to pay 30% of the tax for short-term capital gains, while 10% tax charges are applicable for long-term capital gains on arbitrage funds sold after a year.

  • Fixed maturity plans or FMPs:

    Also known as close-ended debt funds, fixed maturity plans invest in corporate bonds, certificate of deposits commercial papers, money market instruments, government securities and high-rates non-convertible debentures. Most common tenures for this type of plan ranges from thirty days to 180 days, 370 days and 395 days. FMPs can be either a dividend or a growth mutual fund option. If it is fixed maturity dividend plan then, the fund house levies Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT); however, if it is FMP growth option, then capital gains tax is applicable with the benefit of indexation.

  • Treasury bills or T-bills:

    These are money-market instruments which the Central government issues, having the maturity of up to a year. T-bills have three-maturities – 91 days, 182 days and 364 days. They are issued at a discount and redeemed at face value. For instance, a Treasury Bills of Rs.100 can be availed at Rs. 95. On the date of maturity, buyers get paid Rs.100. Treasury bills have a zero-risk and a high degree of tradability.

  • Short-term and Ultra-short Debt Funds:

    Short-term debt mutual funds refer to a scheme where the plan has a maturity varying from 1 year to 3 years. These are low-risk funds offering moderate returns to the investors. Short-term debt funds are often compared with fixed deposits (FDs) due to their similar investment terms. Unlike FDs, these debt funds do not attract any penalty if redeemed before maturity.

    Ultra-short debt funds are mutual fund schemes wherein the maturity ranges from 3 to 6 months. It has zero risks if you’re looking to invest for a few months. As compared to FDs, this type of fund offers slightly high returns.

  • Liquid Funds:

    An open-ended debt fund invests in money market instruments like T-bills, commercial papers (CP), and term deposits. Liquid Funds have a maturity of 3 to 6 months. It is a low-risk mutual fund scheme which offers high returns than your FDs or savings account in the bank. If you are looking for a short-term investment period, liquid funds are ideal investment instruments that offer returns in the range of 7-9%. The liquidity aspect of the mutual fund scheme is what makes this an attractive option among investors.

    If you have surplus cash and want to invest for a short amount of time, then you can choose any of the investment plans. You can easily attain stable returns by taking low risks, keeping in mind your short-term financial goals.

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