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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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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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