More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
5 months ago
Here's How I Built A Business Offering Unlimited Design Services in Just One Weekend.
Weekend project: limitless design service. It was fun to see whether I could start a business quickly.
I use no-code apps to save time and resources.
TL;DR I started a business utilizing EditorX for my website, Notion for client project management, and a few favors to finish my portfolio.
First step: research (Day 1)
I got this concept from a Kimp Instagram ad. The Minimalist Hustler Daily newsletter mentioned a similar and cheaper service (Graphically).
I Googled other unlimited design companies. Many provide different costs and services. Some supplied solely graphic design, web development, or copywriting.
Step 2: Brainstorming (Day 1)
I did something simple.
What benefits and services to provide
Price to charge
Since it's a one-person performance (for now), I'm focusing on graphic design. I can charge less.
So I don't overwhelm myself and can accommodate budget-conscious clientele.
Step 3: Construction (Day 1 & 2)
This project includes a management tool, a website, and a team procedure.
I built a project management tool and flow first. Once I had the flow and a Notion board, I tested it with design volunteers. They fake-designed while I built the website.
Tool for Project Management
I modified a Notion template. My goal is to keep clients and designers happy.
My sister, my partner, and I kept this business lean. I tweaked the Notion board to make the process smooth. By the end of Sunday, I’d say it’s perfect!
I created the website after they finished the fake design demands. EditorX's drag-and-drop builder attracted me. I didn't need to learn code, and there are templates.
I used a template wireframe.
This project's hardest aspect is developing the site. It's my first time using EditorX and I'm no developer.
People answer all your inquiries in a large community forum.
As a first-time user developing a site in two days, I think I performed OK. Here's the site for feedback.
4th step: testing (Day 2)
Testing is frustrating because it works or doesn't. My testing day was split in two.
testing the workflow from payment to onboarding to the website
the demand being tested
It's working so far. If someone gets the trial, they can request design work.
I've gotten a couple of inquiries about demand. I’ll be working with them as a start.
Finally! I built my side project in one weekend. It's too early to tell if this is successful. I liked that I didn't squander months of resources testing out an idea.
3 months ago
Generalists Create Startups; Specialists Scale Them
There’s a funny part of ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson where Jobs says that Bill Gates was more a copier than an innovator:
“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas….He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”
Gates lacked flavor. Nobody ever got excited about a Microsoft launch, despite their good products. Jobs had the world's best product taste. Apple vs. Microsoft.
A CEO's core job functions are all driven by taste: recruiting, vision, and company culture all require good taste. Depending on the type of company you want to build, know where you stand between Microsoft and Apple.
How can you improve your product judgment? How to acquire taste?
Test and refine
Product development follows two parallel paths: the ‘customer obsession’ path and the ‘taste and iterate’ path.
The customer obsession path involves solving customer problems. Lean Startup frameworks show you what to build at each step.
Taste-and-iterate doesn't involve the customer. You iterate internally and rely on product leaders' taste and judgment.
Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda explains this method. In Creative Selection, demos are iterated and presented to product leaders. Your boss presents to their boss, and so on up to Steve Jobs. If you have good product taste, you can be a panelist.
The iPhone follows this path. Before seeing an iPhone, consumers couldn't want one. Customer obsession wouldn't have gotten you far because iPhone buyers didn't know they wanted one.
In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz writes:
“It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about — figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job. The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, but often must go against what she knows to be true. As a result, innovation requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and courage.“
One path solves a problem the customer knows they have, and the other doesn't. Instead of asking a person what they want, observe them and give them something they didn't know they needed.
It's much harder. Apple is the world's most valuable company because it's more valuable. It changes industries permanently.
If you want to build superior products, use the iPhone of your industry.
How to Improve Your Taste
I. Work for a company that has taste.
People with the best taste in products, markets, and people are rewarded for building great companies. Tasteful people know quality even when they can't describe it. Taste isn't writable. It's feel-based.
Moving into a community that's already doing what you want to do may be the best way to develop entrepreneurial taste. Most company-building knowledge is tacit.
Joining a company you want to emulate allows you to learn its inner workings. It reveals internal patterns intuitively. Many successful founders come from successful companies.
Consumption determines taste. Excellence will refine you. This is why restauranteurs visit the world's best restaurants and serious painters visit Paris or New York. Joining a company with good taste is beneficial.
2. Possess a wide range of interests
“Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place… The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves.” — Steve Jobs
I recently discovered Edwin Land. Jobs modeled much of his career after Land's. It makes sense that Apple was inspired by Land.
A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War notes:
“Land was introverted in person, but supremely confident when he came to his ideas… Alongside his scientific passions, lay knowledge of art, music, and literature. He was a cultured person growing even more so as he got older, and his interests filtered into the ethos of Polaroid.”
Founders' philosophies shape companies. Jobs and Land were invested. It showed in the products their companies made. Different. His obsession was spreading Microsoft software worldwide. Microsoft's success is why their products are bland and boring.
Experience is important. It's probably why startups are built by generalists and scaled by specialists.
Jobs combined design, typography, storytelling, and product taste at Apple. Some of the best original Mac developers were poets and musicians. Edwin Land liked broad-minded people, according to his biography. Physicist-musicians or physicist-photographers.
Da Vinci was a master of art, engineering, architecture, anatomy, and more. He wrote and drew at the same desk. His genius is remembered centuries after his death. Da Vinci's statue would stand at the intersection of humanities and science.
We find incredibly creative people here. Superhumans. Designers, creators, and world-improvers. These are the people we need to navigate technology and lead world-changing companies. Generalists lead.
6 months ago
I created a faceless TikTok account. Six months later.
Follower count, earnings, and more
I created my 7th TikTok account six months ago. TikTok's great. I've developed accounts for Amazon products, content creators/brand deals education, website flipping, and more.
Introverted or shy people use faceless TikTok accounts.
Maybe they don't want millions of people to see their face online, or they want to remain anonymous so relatives and friends can't locate them.
Going faceless on TikTok can help you grow a following, communicate your message, and make money online.
Here are 6 steps I took to turn my Tik Tok account into a $60,000/year side gig.
From nothing to $60K in 6 months
It's clickbait, but it’s true. Here’s what I did to get here.
I've used social media before. I've spent years as a social creator and brand.
I've built Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube accounts to nearly 100K.
How I did it
First, select a niche.
If you can focus on one genre on TikTok, you'll have a better chance of success, however lifestyle creators do well too.
Niching down is easier, in my opinion.
You can narrow these niches if you like.
During the pandemic, a travel blogger focused on Texas-only tourism and gained 1 million subscribers.
Couponing might be a finance specialization.
One of my finance TikTok accounts gives credit tips and grants and has 23K followers.
Tons of ways you can get more specific.
Consider how you'll monetize your TikTok account. I saw many enormous TikTok accounts that lose money.
They can't monetize their niche. Not impossible to commercialize, but tough enough to inhibit action.
First, determine your goal.
In this first step, consider what your end goal is.
Are you trying to promote your digital products or social media management services?
You want brand deals or e-commerce sales.
This will affect your TikTok specialty.
This is the first step to a TikTok side gig.
Step 2: Pick a content style
Next, you want to decide on your content style.
Do you do voiceover and screenshots?
You'll demonstrate a product?
Will you faceless vlog?
Step 3: Look at the competition
Find anonymous accounts and analyze what content works, where they thrive, what their audience wants, etc.
This can help you make better content.
Like the skyscraper method for TikTok.
Step 4: Create a content strategy.
Your content plan is where you sit down and decide:
How many videos will you produce each day or each week?
Which links will you highlight in your biography?
What amount of time can you commit to this project?
You may schedule when to post videos on a calendar. Make videos.
5. Create videos.
No video gear needed.
Using a phone is OK, and I think it's preferable than posting drafts from a computer or phone.
TikTok prefers genuine material.
Use their app, tools, filters, and music to make videos.
And imperfection is preferable. Tik okers like to see videos made in a bedroom, not a film studio.
When making videos, remember this.
I personally use my phone and tablet.
Step 6: Monetize
Lastly, it’s time to monetize How will you make money? You decided this in step 1.
Time to act!
For brand agreements
Include your email in the bio.
Share several sites and use a beacons link in your bio.
Make cold calls to your favorite companies to get them to join you in a TikTok campaign.
Include a link to your store's or a product's page in your bio.
For client work
Include your email in the bio.
Use a beacons link to showcase your personal website, portfolio, and other resources.
For affiliate marketing
Include affiliate product links in your bio.
Join the Amazon Influencer program and provide a link to your storefront in your bio.
$60,000 per year from Tik Tok?
Yes, and some creators make much more.
Tori Dunlap (herfirst100K) makes $100,000/month on TikTok.
My TikTok adventure took 6 months, but by month 2 I was making $1,000/month (or $12K/year).
By year's end, I want this account to earn $100K/year.
Imagine if my 7 TikTok accounts made $100K/year.
7 Tik Tok accounts X $100K/yr = $700,000/year
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20 days ago
CES 2023: A Third Look At Upcoming Trends
Las Vegas hosted CES 2023. This third and last look at CES 2023 previews upcoming consumer electronics trends that will be crucial for market share.
Definitely start with ICT. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon spoke to CNBC from Las Vegas on China's crackdown and the company's automated driving systems for electric vehicles (EV). The business showed a concept car and its latest Snapdragon processor designs, which offer expanded digital interactions through SalesForce-partnered CRM platforms.
Qualcomm CEO Meets SK Hynix Vice Chairman at CES 2023 On Jan. 6, SK hynix Inc.'s vice chairman and co-CEO Park Jung-ho discussed strengthening www.businesskorea.co.kr.
Electrification is reviving Michigan's automobile industry. Michigan Local News reports that $14 billion in EV and battery manufacturing investments will benefit the state. The report also revealed that the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund had generated roughly $1 billion for the state's automotive sector.
Michigan to "dominate" EV battery manufacturing after $2B investment. Michigan spent $2 billion to safeguard www.mlive.com.
Ars Technica is great for technology, society, and the future. After CES 2023, Jonathan M. Gitlin published How many electric car chargers are enough? Read about EV charging network issues and infrastructure spending. Politics aside, rapid technological advances enable EV charging network expansion in American cities and abroad.
New research says US needs 8x more EV chargers by 2030. Electric vehicle skepticism—which is widespread—is fundamentally about infrastructure. arstechnica.com
Finally, the UNEP's The Future of Electric Vehicles and Material Resources: A Foresight Brief. Understanding how lithium-ion batteries will affect EV sales is crucial. Climate change affects EVs in various ways, but electrification and mining trends stand out because more EVs demand more energy-intensive metals and rare earths. Areas & Producers has been publishing my electrification and mining trends articles. Follow me if you wish to write for the publication.
Producers This magazine analyzes medium.com-related corporate, legal, and international news to examine a paradigm shift.
The Weekend Brief (TWB) will routinely cover tech, industrials, and global commodities in global markets, including stock markets. Read more about the future of key areas and critical producers of the global economy in Areas & Producers.
TotalEnergies, Stellantis Form Automotive Cells Company (ACC) A joint-venture to design and build electric vehicles (EVs) was formed in 2020.
8 months ago
After 240 articles and 2.5M views on Medium, 9 Raw Writing Tips
Late in 2018, I published my first Medium article, but I didn't start writing seriously until 2019. Since then, I've written more than 240 articles, earned over $50,000 through Medium's Partner Program, and had over 2.5 million page views.
Write A Lot
Most people don't have the patience and persistence for this simple writing secret:
Write + Write + Write = possible success
Writing more improves your skills.
The more articles you publish, the more likely one will go viral.
If you only publish once a month, you have no views. If you publish 10 or 20 articles a month, your success odds increase 10- or 20-fold.
Tim Denning, Ayodeji Awosika, Megan Holstein, and Zulie Rane. Medium is their jam. How are these authors alike? They're productive and consistent. They're prolific.
80% is publishable
Many writers battle perfectionism.
To succeed as a writer, you must publish often. You'll never publish if you aim for perfection.
Adopt the 80 percent-is-good-enough mindset to publish more. It sounds terrible, but it'll boost your writing success.
Your work won't be perfect. Always improve. Waiting for perfection before publishing will take a long time.
Second, readers are your true critics, not you. What you consider "not perfect" may be life-changing for the reader. Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader.
Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader. ou don't want to publish mediocre articles. When the article is 80% done, publish it. Don't spend hours editing. Realize it. Get feedback. Only this will work.
Make Your Headline Irresistible
We all judge books by their covers, despite the saying. And headlines. Readers, including yourself, judge articles by their titles. We use it to decide if an article is worth reading.
Make your headlines irresistible. Want more article views? Then, whether you like it or not, write an attractive article title.
Many high-quality articles are collecting dust because of dull, vague headlines. It didn't make the reader click.
As a writer, you must do more than produce quality content. You must also make people click on your article. This is a writer's job. How to create irresistible headlines:
Curiosity makes readers click. Here's a tempting example...
Example: What Women Actually Look For in a Guy, According to a Huge Study by Luba Sigaud
Use Numbers: Click-bait lists. I mean, which article would you click first? ‘Some ways to improve your productivity’ or ’17 ways to improve your productivity.’ Which would I click?
Example: 9 Uncomfortable Truths You Should Accept Early in Life by Sinem Günel
Most headlines are dull. If you want clicks, get 'sexy'. Buzzword-ify. Invoke emotion. Trendy words.
Example: 20 Realistic Micro-Habits To Live Better Every Day by Amardeep Parmar
Our culture lacks focus. If your headline gets a click, keep paragraphs short to keep readers' attention.
Some writers use 6–8 lines per paragraph, but I prefer 3–4. Longer paragraphs lose readers' interest.
A writer should help the reader finish an article, in my opinion. I consider it a job requirement. You can't force readers to finish an article, but you can make it 'snackable'
Help readers finish an article with concise paragraphs, interesting subheadings, exciting images, clever formatting, or bold attention grabbers.
Work And Move On
I've learned over the years not to get too attached to my articles. Many writers report a strange phenomenon:
The articles you're most excited about usually bomb, while the ones you're not tend to do well.
This isn't always true, but I've noticed it in my own writing. My hopes for an article usually make it worse. The more objective I am, the better an article does.
Let go of a finished article. 40 or 40,000 views, whatever. Now let the article do its job. Onward. Next story. Start another project.
Online content creators will encounter haters, whether on YouTube, Instagram, or Medium. More views equal more haters. Fun, right?
As a web content creator, I learned:
Don't debate haters. Never.
It's a mistake I've made several times. It's tempting to prove haters wrong, but they'll always find a way to be 'right'. Your response is their fuel.
I smile and ignore hateful comments. I'm indifferent. I won't enter a negative environment. I have goals, money, and a life to build. "I'm not paid to argue," Drake once said.
Grammarly saves me as a non-native English speaker. You know Grammarly. It shows writing errors and makes article suggestions.
As a writer, you need Grammarly. I have a paid plan, but their free version works. It improved my writing greatly.
Put The Reader First, Not Yourself
Many writers write for themselves. They focus on themselves rather than the reader.
This article teaches what? How can they be entertained or educated?
Personal examples and experiences improve writing quality. Don't focus on yourself.
It's not about you, the content creator. Reader-focused. Putting the reader first will change things.
Extreme ownership: Stop blaming others
I remember writing a lot on Medium but not getting many views. I blamed Medium first. Poor algorithm. Poor publishing. All sucked.
Instead of looking at what I could do better, I blamed others.
When you blame others, you lose power. Owning your results gives you power.
As a content creator, you must take full responsibility. Extreme ownership means 100% responsibility for work and results.
You don’t blame others. You don't blame the economy, president, platform, founders, or audience. Instead, you look for ways to improve. Few people can do this.
Blaming is useless. Zero. Taking ownership of your work and results will help you progress. It makes you smarter, better, and stronger.
Instead of blaming others, you'll learn writing, marketing, copywriting, content creation, productivity, and other skills. Game-changer.
7 months ago
Bear market duration and how to invest during one
Bear markets don't last forever, but that's hard to remember. Jamie Cullen's illustration
A bear market is a 20% decline from peak to trough in stock prices.
The S&P 500 was down 24% from its January highs at its low point this year. Bear market.
The U.S. stock market has had 13 bear markets since WWII (including the current one). Previous 12 bear markets averaged –32.7% losses. From peak to trough, the stock market averaged 12 months. The average time from bottom to peak was 21 months.
In the past seven decades, a bear market roundtrip to breakeven has averaged less than three years.
Long-term averages can vary widely, as with all historical market data. Investors can learn from past market crashes.
Historical bear markets offer lessons.
Bear market duration
A bear market can cost investors money and time. Most of the pain comes from stock market declines, but bear markets can be long.
Here are the longest U.S. stock bear markets since World war 2:
Stock market crashes can make it difficult to break even. After the 2008 financial crisis, the stock market took 4.5 years to recover. After the dotcom bubble burst, it took seven years to break even.
The longer you're underwater in the market, the more suffering you'll experience, according to research. Suffering can lead to selling at the wrong time.
Bear markets require patience because stocks can take a long time to recover.
Stock crash recovery
Bear markets can end quickly. The Corona Crash in early 2020 is an example.
The S&P 500 fell 34% in 23 trading sessions, the fastest bear market from a high in 90 years. The entire crash lasted one month. Stocks broke even six months after bottoming. Stocks rose 100% from those lows in 15 months.
Seven bear markets have lasted two years or less since 1945.
The 2020 recovery was an outlier, but four other bear markets have made investors whole within 18 months.
During a bear market, you don't know if it will end quickly or feel like death by a thousand cuts.
Recessions vs. bear markets
Many people believe the U.S. economy is in or heading for a recession.
I agree. Four-decade high inflation. Since 1945, inflation has exceeded 5% nine times. Each inflationary spike caused a recession. Only slowing economic demand seems to stop price spikes.
This could happen again. Stocks seem to be pricing in a recession.
Recessions almost always cause a bear market, but a bear market doesn't always equal a recession. In 1946, the stock market fell 27% without a recession in sight. Without an economic slowdown, the stock market fell 22% in 1966. Black Monday in 1987 was the most famous stock market crash without a recession. Stocks fell 30% in less than a week. Many believed the stock market signaled a depression. The crash caused no slowdown.
Economic cycles are hard to predict. Even Wall Street makes mistakes.
Bears vs. bulls
Bear markets for U.S. stocks always end. Every stock market crash in U.S. history has been followed by new all-time highs.
How should investors view the recession? Investing risk is subjective.
You don't have as long to wait out a bear market if you're retired or nearing retirement. Diversification and liquidity help investors with limited time or income. Cash and short-term bonds drag down long-term returns but can ensure short-term spending.
Young people with years or decades ahead of them should view this bear market as an opportunity. Stock market crashes are good for net savers in the future. They let you buy cheap stocks with high dividend yields.
You need discipline, patience, and planning to buy stocks when it doesn't feel right.
Bear markets aren't fun because no one likes seeing their portfolio fall. But stock market downturns are a feature, not a bug. If stocks never crashed, they wouldn't offer such great long-term returns.