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5 More Successful Businesses That Started With a Simple Idea

5 More Successful Businesses That Started With a Simple Idea

Starting a business may appear daunting, but it’s really not difficult. Many people believe that most new businesses fail within three years. While most will fail, the truth is that you can start one with a simple idea.

There are a lot of success stories out there from entrepreneurs who have made it. It all begins with an idea, some paperwork, and a storefront and/or website. Here are five more successful businesses that started with a simple idea:

1. Mente Cacao

Eduardo Villers became interested in chocolate during his travels throughout Mexico. Eduardo enjoyed traveling through the jungles, where he came in contact with the cacao tree. Inspired by his deep love for cacao, Eduardo decided to introduce it to the Mexican people, who only knew about Hershey’s chocolate.

He started Mente Cacao in Mexico City by offering cacao drinks to the local people. During his time there, he also studied with his uncle, who was a farmer and taught him a lot about cacao and chocolate. He remained in Mexico City for two years before moving his business to San Miguel De Allende in central Mexico.

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Mente Cacao now has two locations in San Miguel De Allende. Most expats and locals say that it is the best chocolate in town. Eduardo Villers is currently working on getting Mente Cacao distributed in the United States and Japan.

2. BloomNation

Gregg Weisstein started out working as a business consultant, primarily helping rescue companies that were on the verge of bankruptcy.  His friend and eventual co-founder came up with an idea to offer a floral marketplace based on the Amazon model. They didn’t want to become another 1-800-FLOWERS service.

They were advised by many people to drop the idea because many of them could not foresee the potential in a dying flower industry. However, Gregg and the team were not dismayed by the ridicule.  They wanted to offer a service that was more personalized, interactive, and transparent. With BloomNation, they connect people with local florists and show their reviews to customers so that they can make an informed decision.

BloomNation now works with over 3,000 florists nationwide and has been named the “Top Silicon Beach Startup to Watch” by Entrepreneur magazine and Business Insider.

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3. Billy

Toke Kruse had a problem common among millions of new business owners. As an entrepreneur, he always thought that accounting was a hassle. He went from one accounting application to another with no success. While some of them were better than others, they ultimately still gave him headaches. It didn’t take him long to realize that these software programs were built for accountants.

Toke wanted to create a solution for the business owner who knew little or no accounting at all. Most people could simply hire an accountant for their needs, but most accountants are expensive, especially for new business owners who don’t have a lot of money to begin with.

Toke decided to create an accounting application that was very simple for business owners with little or no accounting experience. Toke and his partner launched Billy four years ago in Denmark. The software application was well-received not only in Denmark, but also in the United States. The company now grosses over $1 million in revenue annually.

4. Professor Egghead

Shaun Tuch decided to start an after-school program with his brother eight years ago. They began with one sports class in Los Angeles. They both had a sports background, so the idea was a no-brainer. The initial plan for them was to make some extra income. However, after receiving some great feedback and seeing the popularity of the program, Professor Egghead started to offer science classes too.

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Shaun hated science when he was a kid. So, he wanted to make a science class that was fun for kids. Because he enjoyed making slime and building LEGOS, he wanted to incorporate those activities into his classes while also giving children an educational and engaging experience.

They now run multiple programs in 50+ locations throughout Los Angeles. Recently, they franchised the concept and are now offering Professor Egghead as a franchise in the United States.

5. Toronto Vaporizer

Nima Noori was just an international student struggling to pay his tuition. He soon realized that a minimum wage job was not going to be enough and needed to do something else. He thought about selling electronic accessories and computer parts on Kijiji (an online service similar to Craigslist). However, after researching the market, he realized that it wouldn’t be worthwhile.

Nevertheless, he became aware that there was some online interest in vaporizers, a device used for smoking. As a result, he put some test ads on Kijiji to test the market. After getting dozens of inquiries from interested customers, he saw that he could fill a need in the marketplace. He used his personal credit card to buy some units and started selling vaporizers on Kijiji.

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Nima was motivated and wanted to beat his competition. So, he offered same day drop-offs within the Toronto metropolitan area. The success of Toronto Vaporizer exploded as a result of his same day service. Toronto Vaporizer is now a multi-million dollar business and Canada’s largest online retailer of vaporizers and vaporizer accessories.

*This article is the sequel to the initial LifeHack article: 5 Successful Businesses That Started With a Simple Idea.

Featured photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg via imcreator.com

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Kallen Diggs

Bestselling Author / Magazine Editor / Syndicated Radio Show Host

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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