More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
3 months ago
How Will You Generate $100 Million in Revenue? The Startup Business Plan
A top-down company plan facilitates decision-making and impresses investors.
A startup business plan starts with the product, the target customers, how to reach them, and how to grow the business.
Bottom-up is terrific unless venture investors fund it.
If it can prove how it can exceed $100M in sales, investors will invest. If not, the business may be wonderful, but it's not venture capital-investable.
As a rule, venture investors only fund firms that expect to reach $100M within 5 years.
Investors get nothing until an acquisition or IPO. To make up for 90% of failed investments and still generate 20% annual returns, portfolio successes must exit with a 25x return. A $20M-valued company must be acquired for $500M or more.
This requires $100M in sales (or being on a nearly vertical trajectory to get there). The company has 5 years to attain that milestone and create the requisite ROI.
This motivates venture investors (venture funds and angel investors) to hunt for $100M firms within 5 years. When you pitch investors, you outline how you'll achieve that aim.
I'm wary of pitches after seeing a million hockey sticks predicting $5M to $100M in year 5 that never materialized. Doubtful.
Startups fail because they don't have enough clients, not because they don't produce a great product. That jump from $5M to $100M never happens. The company reaches $5M or $10M, growing at 10% or 20% per year. That's great, but not enough for a $500 million deal.
Once it becomes clear the company won’t reach orbit, investors write it off as a loss. When a corporation runs out of money, it's shut down or sold in a fire sale. The company can survive if expenses are trimmed to match revenues, but investors lose everything.
When I hear a pitch, I'm not looking for bright income projections but a viable plan to achieve them. Answer these questions in your pitch.
Is the market size sufficient to generate $100 million in revenue?
Will the initial beachhead market serve as a springboard to the larger market or as quicksand that hinders progress?
What marketing plan will bring in $100 million in revenue? Is the market diffuse and will cost millions of dollars in advertising, or is it one, focused market that can be tackled with a team of salespeople?
Will the business be able to bridge the gap from a small but fervent set of early adopters to a larger user base and avoid lock-in with their current solution?
Will the team be able to manage a $100 million company with hundreds of people, or will hypergrowth force the organization to collapse into chaos?
Once the company starts stealing market share from the industry giants, how will it deter copycats?
The requirement to reach $100M may be onerous, but it provides a context for difficult decisions: What should the product be? Where should we concentrate? who should we hire? Every strategic choice must consider how to reach $100M in 5 years.
Focusing on $100M streamlines investor pitches. Instead of explaining everything, focus on how you'll attain $100M.
As an investor, I know I'll lose my money if the startup doesn't reach this milestone, so the revenue prediction is the first thing I look at in a pitch deck.
Reaching the $100M goal needs to be the first thing the entrepreneur thinks about when putting together the business plan, the central story of the pitch, and the criteria for every important decision the company makes.
6 months ago
What TikTok Paid Me in 2021 with 100,000 Followers
I thought it would be interesting to share how much TikTok paid me in 2021.
Oh, you get paid by TikTok?
They compensate thousands of creators. My Tik Tok account
I launched my account in March 2020 and generally post about money, finance, and side hustles.
TikTok creators are paid in several ways.
Fund for TikTok creators
Sponsorships (aka brand deals)
My own creations
Only one, the TikTok Creator Fund, pays me.
The TikTok Creator Fund: What Is It?
TikTok's initiative pays creators.
YouTube's Shorts Fund, Snapchat Spotlight, and other platforms have similar programs.
Creator Fund doesn't pay everyone. Some prerequisites are:
age requirement of at least 18 years
In the past 30 days, there must have been 100,000 views.
a minimum of 10,000 followers
If you qualify, you can apply using your TikTok account, and once accepted, your videos can earn money.
My earnings from the TikTok Creator Fund
Since 2020, I've made $273.65. My 2021 payment is $77.36.
I made between $4.91 to around $13 payout each time I got paid.
TikTok reportedly pays 3 to 5 cents per thousand views.
To live off the Creator Fund, you'd need billions of monthly views.
Top personal finance creator Sara Finance has millions (if not billions) of views and over 700,000 followers yet only received $3,000 from the TikTok Creator Fund.
Goals for 2022
TikTok pays me in different ways, as listed above.
My largest TikTok account isn't my only one.
In 2022, I'll revamp my channel.
It's been a tumultuous year on TikTok for my account, from getting shadow-banned to being banned from the Creator Fund to being accepted back (not at my wish).
What I've experienced isn't rare. I've read about other creators' experiences.
So, some quick goals for this account…
200,000 fans by the year 2023
Consistent monthly income of $5,000
two brand deals each month
For now, that's all.
2 months ago
The survival and demise of Y Combinator startups
I've written a lot about Y Combinator's success, but as any startup founder or investor knows, many startups fail.
Rebel Fund invests in the top 5-10% of new Y Combinator startups each year, so we focus on identifying and supporting the most promising technology startups in our ecosystem. Given the power law dynamic and asymmetric risk/return profile of venture capital, we worry more about our successes than our failures. Since the latter still counts, this essay will focus on the proportion of YC startups that fail.
Since YC's launch in 2005, the figure below shows the percentage of active, inactive, and public/acquired YC startups by batch.
As more startups finish, the blue bars (active) decrease significantly. By 12 years, 88% of startups have closed or exited. Only 7% of startups reach resolution each year.
YC startups by status after 12 years:
Half the startups have failed, over one-third have exited, and the rest are still operating.
In venture investing, it's said that failed investments show up before successful ones. This is true for YC startups, but only in their early years.
Below, we only present resolved companies from the first chart. Some companies fail soon after establishment, but after a few years, the inactive vs. public/acquired ratio stabilizes around 55:45. After a few years, a YC firm is roughly as likely to quit as fail, which is better than I imagined.
I prepared this post because Rebel investors regularly question me about YC startup failure rates and how long it takes for them to exit or shut down.
Early-stage venture investors can overlook it because 100x investments matter more than 0x investments.
YC founders can ignore it because it shouldn't matter if many of their peers succeed or fail ;)
You might also like
2 months ago
Don't Fall Behind: 7 Subjects You Must Understand to Keep Up with Technology
As technology develops, you should stay up to date
You don't want to fall behind, do you? This post covers 7 tech-related things you should know.
You'll learn how to operate your computer (and other electronic devices) like an expert and how to leverage the Internet and social media to create your brand and business. Read on to stay relevant in today's tech-driven environment.
You must learn how to code.
Future-language is coding. It's how we and computers talk. Learn coding to keep ahead.
Try Codecademy or Code School. There are also numerous free courses like Coursera or Udacity, but they take a long time and aren't necessarily self-paced, so it can be challenging to find the time.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform all jobs.
Our skillsets must adapt with technology. AI is a must-know topic. AI will revolutionize every employment due to advances in machine learning.
Here are seven AI subjects you must know.
What is artificial intelligence?
How does artificial intelligence work?
What are some examples of AI applications?
How can I use artificial intelligence in my day-to-day life?
What jobs have a high chance of being replaced by artificial intelligence and how can I prepare for this?
Can machines replace humans? What would happen if they did?
How can we manage the social impact of artificial intelligence and automation on human society and individual people?
Blockchain Is Changing the Future
Few of us know how Bitcoin and blockchain technology function or what impact they will have on our lives. Blockchain offers safe, transparent, tamper-proof transactions.
It may alter everything from business to voting. Seven must-know blockchain topics:
How does the blockchain function?
What advantages does blockchain offer?
What possible uses for blockchain are there?
What are the dangers of blockchain technology?
What are my options for using blockchain technology?
What does blockchain technology's future hold?
Cryptocurrencies are here to stay
Cryptocurrencies employ cryptography to safeguard transactions and manage unit creation. Decentralized cryptocurrencies aren't controlled by governments or financial institutions.
Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was launched in 2009. Cryptocurrencies can be bought and sold on decentralized exchanges.
Bitcoin is here to stay.
Bitcoin isn't a fad, despite what some say. Since 2009, Bitcoin's popularity has grown. Bitcoin is worth learning about now. Since 2009, Bitcoin has developed steadily.
With other cryptocurrencies emerging, many people are wondering if Bitcoin still has a bright future. Curiosity is natural. Millions of individuals hope their Bitcoin investments will pay off since they're popular now.
Thankfully, they will. Bitcoin is still running strong a decade after its birth. Here's why.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer just a trendy term.
IoT consists of internet-connected physical items. These items can share data. IoT is young but developing fast.
20 billion IoT-connected devices are expected by 2023. So much data! All IT teams must keep up with quickly expanding technologies. Four must-know IoT topics:
Recognize the fundamentals: Priorities first! Before diving into more technical lingo, you should have a fundamental understanding of what an IoT system is. Before exploring how something works, it's crucial to understand what you're working with.
Recognize Security: Security does not stand still, even as technology advances at a dizzying pace. As IT professionals, it is our duty to be aware of the ways in which our systems are susceptible to intrusion and to ensure that the necessary precautions are taken to protect them.
Be able to discuss cloud computing: The cloud has seen various modifications over the past several years once again. The use of cloud computing is also continually changing. Knowing what kind of cloud computing your firm or clients utilize will enable you to make the appropriate recommendations.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)/Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a topic worth discussing (MDM). The ability of BYOD and MDM rules to lower expenses while boosting productivity among employees who use these services responsibly is a major factor in their continued growth in popularity.
IoT Security is key
As more gadgets connect, they must be secure. IoT security includes securing devices and encrypting data. Seven IoT security must-knows:
fundamental security ideas
Authorization and identification
Private key encryption
Public key encryption
With so much going on in the globe, it can be hard to stay up with technology. We've produced a list of seven tech must-knows.
6 months ago
How I Stay Fit Despite Eating Fast Food and Drinking Alcohol
Here's me. Perfectionism is unnecessary.
This post isn't for people who gag at the prospect of eating french fries. I've been ridiculed for stating you can lose weight eating carbs and six-pack abs aren't good.
My family eats frozen processed meals and quick food most weeks (sometimes more). Clean eaters may think I'm unqualified to give fitness advice. I get it.
Hear me out, though. I’m a 44-year-old raising two busy kids with a weekly-traveling husband. Tutoring, dance, and guitar classes fill weeknights. I'm also juggling my job and freelancing.
I'm as worried and tired as my clients. I wish I ate only kale smoothies and salads. I can’t. Despite my mistakes, I'm fit. I won't promise you something just because it worked for me. But here’s a look at how I manage.
What I largely get right about eating
I have a flexible diet and track my daily intake. I count protein, fat, and carbs. Only on vacation or exceptional occasions do I not track.
My protein goal is 1 g per lb. I consume a lot of chicken breasts, eggs, turkey, and lean ground beef. I also occasionally drink protein shakes.
I eat 220–240 grams of carbs daily. My carb count depends on training volume and goals. I'm trying to lose weight slowly. If I want to lose weight faster, I cut carbs to 150-180.
My carbs include white rice, Daves Killer Bread, fruit, pasta, and veggies. I don't eat enough vegetables, so I take Athletic Greens. Also, V8.
Fat grams over 50 help me control my hormones. Recently, I've reached 70-80 grams. Cooking with olive oil. I eat daily dark chocolate. Eggs, butter, milk, and cheese contribute to the rest.
Those frozen meals? What can I say? Stouffer’s lasagna is sometimes needed. I order the healthiest fast food I can find (although I can never bring myself to order the salad). That's a chicken sandwich or a kid's hamburger. I rarely order fries. I eat slowly and savor each bite to feel full.
Potato chips and sugary cereals are in the pantry, but I'm not tempted. My kids eat them because I'd rather teach them moderation than total avoidance. If I eat them, I only eat one portion.
If you're not hungry and eating enough protein and fat, you won't want to eat everything in sight.
I drink once or twice a week. As a result, I rarely overdo it.
Food tracking is tedious and frustrating for many. Taking breaks and using estimates when eating out help. Not perfect, but realistic.
I practice a prolonged fast to enhance metabolic adaptability
Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch between fuel sources (fat and carbs) based on activity intensity and time since eating. At rest or during low to moderate exertion, your body burns fat. Your body burns carbs after eating and during intense exercise.
Our metabolic flexibility can be hampered by lack of exercise, overeating, and stress. Our bodies become lousy fat burners, making weight loss difficult.
Once a week, I skip dinner (usually around 24 hours). Long-term fasting teaches my body to burn fat. It provides me one low-calorie day a week (I break the fast with a normal-sized dinner).
Fasting day helps me maintain my weight on weekends, when I typically overeat and drink.
Try an extended fast slowly. Delay breakfast by two hours. Next week, add two hours, etc. It takes practice to go that long without biting off your arm. I also suggest consulting your doctor.
I stay active.
I've always been active. As a child, I danced many nights a week, was on the high school dance team, and ran marathons in my 20s.
Often, I feel driven by an internal engine. Working from home makes it easy to exercise. If that’s not you, I get it. Everyone can benefit from raising their baseline.
After taking the kids to school, I walk two miles around the neighborhood. When I need to think, I switch off podcasts. First thing in the morning, I go for a walk.
I lift weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 45 minutes is typical. I run 45-90 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm slow but reliable. On Saturdays and Sundays, I walk and add a short spin class if I'm not too tired.
I almost never forgo sleep.
I rarely stay up past 10 p.m., much to my night-owl husband's dismay. My 7-8-hour nights help me recover from workouts and handle stress. Without it, I'm grumpy.
I suppose sleep duration matters more than bedtime. Some people just can't fall asleep early. Internal clock and genetics determine sleep and wake hours.
Fitness and diet advice is often useless. Some of the advice is inaccurate, dangerous, or difficult to follow if you have a life. I want to throw a shoe at my screen when I see headlines promising to speed up my metabolism or help me lose fat.
I studied exercise physiology for years. No shortcuts exist. No medications or cleanses reset metabolism. I play the hand I'm dealt. I realize that just because something works for me, it won't for you.
If I wanted 15% body fat and ripped abs, I'd have to be stricter. I occasionally think I’d like to get there. But then I remember I’m happy with my life. I like fast food and beer. Pizza and margaritas are favorites (not every day).
You can get it mostly right and live a healthy life.
2 months ago
The current inflation is unique.
New Stiglitz just dropped.
Here's the inflation story everyone believes (warning: it's false): America gave the poor too much money during the recession, and now the economy is awash with free money, which made them so rich they're refusing to work, meaning the economy isn't making anything. Prices are soaring due to increased cash and missing labor.
Lawrence Summers says there's only one answer. We must impoverish the poor: raise interest rates, cause a recession, and eliminate millions of jobs, until the poor are stripped of their underserved fortunes and return to work.
This is nonsense. Countries around the world suffered inflation during and after lockdowns, whether they gave out humanitarian money to keep people from starvation. America has slightly greater inflation than other OECD countries, but it's not due to big relief packages.
The Causes of and Responses to Today's Inflation, a Roosevelt Institute report by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and macroeconomist Regmi Ira, debunks this bogus inflation story and offers a more credible explanation for inflation.
https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/RI CausesofandResponsestoTodaysInflation Report 202212.pdf
Sharp interest rate hikes exacerbate the slump and increase inflation, the authors argue. They compare monetary policy inflation cures to medieval bloodletting, where doctors repeated the same treatment until the patient recovered (for which they received credit) or died (which was more likely).
Let's discuss bloodletting. Inflation hawks warn of the wage price spiral, when inflation rises and powerful workers bargain for higher pay, driving up expenses, prices, and wages. This is the fairy-tale narrative of the 1970s, and it's true except that OPEC's embargo drove up oil prices, which produced inflation. Oh well.
Let's be generous to seventies-haunted inflation hawks and say we're worried about a wage-price spiral. Fantastic! No. Real wages are 2.3% lower than they were in Oct 2021 after peaking in June at 4.8%.
Why did America's powerful workers take a paycut rather than demand inflation-based pay? Weak unions, globalization, economic developments.
Workers don't expect inflation to rise, so they're not requesting inflationary hikes. Inflationary expectations have remained moderate, consistent with our data interpretation.
Neither are workers. Working people see surplus savings as wealth and spend it gradually over their lives, despite rising demand. People may have saved money by staying in during the lockdown, but they don't eat out every night to make up for it. Instead, they keep those savings as precautionary balances. This is why the economy is lagging.
People don't buy non-traded goods with pandemic savings (basically, imports). Imports don't multiply like domestic purchases. If you buy a loaf of bread from the corner baker for $1 and they spend it at the tavern across the street, that dollar generates $3 in economic activity. Spending a dollar on foreign goods leaves the country and any multiplier effect happens there, not in the US.
Only marginally higher wages. The ECI is up 1.6% from 2019. Almost all gains went to the 25% lowest-paid Americans. Contrary to the inflation worry about too much savings, these workers don't make enough to save, even post-pandemic.
Recreation and transit spending are at or below pre-pandemic levels. Higher food and hotel prices (which doesn’t mean we’re buying more food than we were in 2019, just that it costs more).
What causes inflation if not greedy workers, free money, and high demand? The most expensive domestic goods produce the biggest revenues for their manufacturers. They charge you more without paying their workers or suppliers more.
The largest price-gougers are funneling their earnings to rich people who store it offshore through stock buybacks and dividends. A $1 billion stock buyback doesn't buy $1 billion in bread.
Five factors influence US inflation today:
I. Price rises for energy and food
II. shifts in consumer tastes
III. supply interruptions (mainly autos);
IV. increased rents (due to telecommuting);
V. monopoly (AKA price-gouging).
None can be remedied by raising interest rates or laying off workers.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine, omicron, and China's Zero Covid policy all disrupted the flow of food, energy, and production inputs. The price went higher because we made less.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, oil prices spiked, and sanctions made it worse. But that was February. By October, oil prices had returned to pre-pandemic, 2015 levels attributable to global economic adjustments, including a shift to renewables. Every new renewable installation reduces oil consumption and affects oil prices.
High food prices have a simple solution. The US and EU have bribed farmers not to produce for 50 years. If the war continues, this program may end, and food prices may decline.
Demand changes. We want different things than in 2019, not more. During the lockdown, people substituted goods. Half of the US toilet-paper supply in 2019 was on commercial-sized rolls. This is created from different mills and stock than our toilet paper.
Lockdown pushed toilet paper demand to residential rolls, causing shortages (the TP hoarding story was just another pandemic urban legend). Because supermarket stores don't have accounts with commercial paper distributors, ordering from languishing stores was difficult. Kleenex and paper towel substitutions caused greater shortages.
All that drove increased costs in numerous product categories, and there were more cases. These increases are transient, caused by supply chain inefficiencies that are resolving.
Demand for frontline staff saw a one-time repricing of pay, which is being recouped as we speak.
Illnesses. Brittle, hollowed-out global supply chains aggravated this. The constant pursuit of cheap labor and minimal regulation by monopolies that dominate most sectors means things are manufactured in far-flung locations. Financialization means any surplus capital assets were sold off years ago, leaving firms with little production slack. After the epidemic, several of these systems took years to restart.
Automobiles are to blame. Financialization and monopolization consolidated microchip and auto production in Taiwan and China. When the lockdowns came, these worldwide corporations cancelled their chip orders, and when they placed fresh orders, they were at the back of the line.
That drove up car prices, which is why the US has slightly higher inflation than other wealthy countries: the economy is car-centric. Automobile prices account for 9% of the CPI. France: 3.6%
Rent shocks and telecommuting. After the epidemic, many professionals moved to exurbs, small towns, and the countryside to work from home. As commercial properties were vacated, it was impractical to adapt them for residential use due to planning restrictions. Addressing these restrictions will cut rent prices more than raising inflation rates, which halts housing construction.
Statistical mirages cause some rent inflation. The CPI estimates what homeowners would pay to rent their properties. When rents rise in your neighborhood, the CPI believes you're spending more on rent even if you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Market dominance. Almost every area of the US economy is dominated by monopolies, whose CEOs disclose on investor calls that they use inflation scares to jack up prices and make record profits.
Long-term profit margins are rising. Markups averaged 26% from 1960-1980. 2021: 72%. Market concentration explains 81% of markup increases (e.g. monopolization). Profit margins reach a 70-year high in 2022. These elements interact. Monopolies thin out their sectors, making them brittle and sensitive to shocks.
If we're worried about a shrinking workforce, there are more humanitarian and sensible solutions than causing a recession and mass unemployment. Instead, we may boost US production capacity by easing workers' entry into the workforce.
US female workforce participation ranks towards the bottom of developed countries. Many women can't afford to work due to America's lack of daycare, low earnings, and bad working conditions in female-dominated fields. If America doesn't have enough workers, childcare subsidies and minimum wages can help.
By contrast, driving the country into recession with interest-rate hikes will reduce employment, and the last recruited (women, minorities) are the first fired and the last to be rehired. Forcing America into recession won't enhance its capacity to create what its people want; it will degrade it permanently.
Nothing the Fed does can stop price hikes from international markets, lack of supply chain investment, COVID-19 disruptions, climate change, the Ukraine war, or market power. They can worsen it. When supply problems generate inflation, raising interest rates decreases investments that can remedy shortages.
Increasing interest rates won't cut rents since landlords pass on the expenses and high rates restrict investment in new dwellings where tenants could escape the costs.
Fixing the supply fixes supply-side inflation. Increase renewables investment (as the Inflation Reduction Act does). Monopolies can be busted (as the IRA does). Reshore key goods (as the CHIPS Act does). Better pay and child care attract employees.
Windfall taxes can claw back price-gouging corporations' monopoly earnings.
In 2008, we ruled out fiscal solutions (bailouts for debtors) and turned to monetary policy (bank bailouts). This preserved the economy but increased inequality and eroded public trust.
Monetary policy won't help. Even monetary policy enthusiasts recognize an 18-month lag between action and result. That suggests monetary tightening is unnecessary. Like the medieval bloodletter, central bankers whose interest rate hikes don't work swiftly may do more of the same, bringing the economy to its knees.
Interest rates must rise. Zero-percent interest fueled foolish speculation and financialization. Increasing rates will stop this. Increasing interest rates will destroy the economy and dampen inflation.
Then what? All recent evidence indicate to inflation decreasing on its own, as the authors argue. Supply side difficulties are finally being overcome, evidence shows. Energy and food prices are showing considerable mean reversion, which is disinflationary.
The authors don't recommend doing nothing. Best case scenario, they argue, is that the Fed won't keep raising interest rates until morale improves.