jinasphinx: (Sphinx)
Since I now have a 2+ hour commute, I've been listening to podcasts on business, especially bootstrapping an online business. I've been noticing some themes.

The first one is Who You Know:

  • Patrick McKenzie was a technical translator and then a developer; he got his first two business ideas from a mailing list he was on (teachers asking for software to make bingo cards) and his masseuse (she had a problem with no-shows).

  • Keith Perhac was a developer/designer/marketer at an advertising startup, and then with Patrick McKenzie's help he started contracting for Ramit Sethi doing split-testing and analytics. From there he started consulting (for multiple clients) doing UX/UI design, ad copy, optimizing sales funnels. And now he has a SaaS product, Summit Evergreen, which allows people to create online courses. (Mixergy interview) This one's Who You Know, with a bit of Sell Pickaxes in a Gold Rush.

  • This guy, whose blog post I randomly found, got a $5,000 consulting gig in a week by using his mom's network and knowledge in the insurance business.



The second category is Teach What You Know:

  • Amy Hoy's teaches classes on JavaScript (having been a developer for years) and how to start a product business (having run a couple of product businesses, the main one being a time-tracking SaaS, Freckle). (Mixergy interview)

  • Brennan Dunn was a developer, then a consultant, and now he has a project-management SaaS and teaches freelancers how to position themselves as high-priced consultants. (Blog post)

  • Nathan Barry was a UX designer who did some consulting and now sells a couple of ebooks about how to design software. (Blog post on Gumroad)

  • Ramit Sethi started trying to teach his college friends about personal finance, then created a blog, and then a series of online classes and a membership site (with the focus on professional/entrepreneurial success).



Then there's the combination of Who You Know and Teach What You Know:

  • Pat Flynn, of the Smart Passive Income podcast, lost his job as an architect and created an ebook on passing the LEED exam. Somewhat later, he created a niche site on security guard training because his mother is a security guard. (Forbes article)

  • Dane Maxwell got his first business idea from his uncle, who was in real estate. The uncle also agreed to finance the development of the SaaS product in exchange for getting a lifetime free account. Maxwell went on to start half a dozen SaaS products, I think all in real estate. Now he sells online training in how to start SaaS companies.



Last, we have the Flipper:

  • Rob Walling built his first SaaS himself (feedshot.com), then he switched to buying online businesses: ChitChat.net, floggs.com, and .NET Invoice. The last one turned out to be buggy as hell but he was able to fix it and raise the price. Sometime after that he started a drop-shipping business for beach towels. Then he bought another business, CMSthemer.com, and outsourced the development. He sold each one of those. Sometime after that, he wrote a book, started his online training/membership site (Micropreneur Academy), and started a conference for bootstrappers (Microconf). He continues to buy online businesses like ApprenticeLinemanTraining.com and HitTail. (Mixergy interview)

jinasphinx: (Sphinx)
From an article on PBS Making Sen$e by Nick Hanauer, Amazon.com billionaire and advocate of Seattle's higher minimum wage:

In the absence of a law requiring me to pay you overtime if you earn under a certain amount, you end up working harder—and the harder you work, the fewer employees I need. The fewer employees I need, the higher the unemployment rate. The higher the unemployment rate, the more leverage I have to “encourage” you to “do what it takes” to keep your job. And so you work even more hours, pushing unemployment up and wages down. And that, my friends, is one of the little tricks that keeps you poor and me rich.

This is why, in a recent Gallup poll, salaried Americans now report working an average of 47 hours a week, not the allegedly standard 40. And 18 percent of you report working more than 60 hours per week. Yet at the same time, you’re taking only about 77 percent of your paid time off. According to a survey commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. workers now use an average of only 16 vacation days a year out of the nearly 21 days they earn—the lowest in more than four decades. Why? Often because they’re terrified of working fewer hours and falling short of their employers’ demands for ever more productivity. And many of these unused vacation days are forfeited: an estimated $52.4 billion worth each year that goes to owners like me.

Now obviously, take away our license to force 10.4 million Americans to work extra hours for nothing, and smart capitalists like me would try to limit overtime as much as possible. I mean, time-and-a-half pay sure adds up fast! So many of you would be unlikely to see much of an immediate bump in take-home pay. Instead, we capitalists would be forced to hire millions more people to do the work you currently do for free. That would drive down unemployment. And a tighter labor market would drive up wages for the first time in 40 years.

August 2016

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