Today I just post a post I’ve written but I think people can profit from it. Enjoy.
You can advance the liberty in the world. How? Provide better alternatives. If you want to live on the frontier you must have the guts to do it. It’s nice to sit back and complain about all things in your home. Even better is getting out and doing something. I’m not talking about political action. I’m talking about entrepreneurial action.
I started my first business when I was about 15. Super simple, people had problems with their computers, I knew a bit about computers, they came to me with their problems and I fixed it. Made about $50 to $100 per customer.
A few years later I sold books, DVDs and CDs on amazon. Started with my own stuff, later family and friends of my family asked if I can sell theirs too. I just took a margin of the price when the product was sold and handled shipping and complaints. Easy money.
I don’t have any money
This is bullshit. You don’t need 500k to start a business, you don’t need investors, no VCs, no angels. There are pretty awesome methods out there to start businesses on a shoestring budget. Even easier I give you a few business ideas which you can start with under $100.
- Teach older people how to use the internet / pc / write e-mails: They want to, but they don’t want to bug their children or grandchildren all the time. Make an easy package to decrease the risk, print some flyers (you can design them yourself at first and they will be pretty good if you consider a few principles) and put them into mailboxes. If you are successful enough and get the marketing figured out, you can easily employ students who do the teaching for you.
- Flip stuff The basic idea is that you buy low and sell high. /r/flipping has lots of information about this. One technique I heard that works quite fine is to buy stuff in bulk (e.g. a CD collection of 60 CDs) and sell them individually. You can start with cheap stuff and work your way up.
- Selling snacks I don’t know the US so take this with a grant of salt. One class mate did this and I thought it was pretty good. The students wanted snacks, the vending machine however was in the basement. People are lazy. He bought candy bars for about $0.30 each and sold them in class for $1. He started first with our class, then he expanded to other classes. He made about $50 – $100 a day while in school.
I can understand that these businesses sound boring but you will learn how businesses work. Secondly, they just work and make you money. There’s a lot less risk involved. If you have a great idea for a tech startup, start small. Build a great website – you can do this easily for under $100 bucks – and start testing your idea first. Get it on the market and let the market decide. You don’t need any programming skills up to this point. Build a mailing list for prospects. If you think you get enough (do some realistic projections) – start building your app. Again, start small. Solve the biggest problem first. I worked with a ton of different startups and mostly do it wrong. I worked with one startup who had superb PR, had about 12-20k visits per month and made about $200 per month. How? Their product was terrible, nobody wanted it. They invested over $250k in the company and three years later they were bankrupt. If they changed their product, but stayed in the same niche, they could easily have made $20k+ per month in sales.
Provide better alternatives. This doesn’t have to be your first business. Rather start accumulating resources first (knowledge, connections, money) and then advance your cause. If you can do both in this step, great. This step won’t be easy but there’s a lot less resistance than you think at first. A lot of self-employed people (not the super rich) don’t really like the gov or the “establishment”. You basically have two routes:
- Replace an existing service
- Provide a better interface
Let’s start with the latter because it’s shorter. Easy example for a better interface is a tax adviser. He’s a middle-man but his services are so valuable that you decide to hire him. This sector is pretty big and includes lawyers, labels, publishers, etc.
The former option is more interesting, however more risky. Some great examples are crowd funding instead of running to angels or VCs. Publishing platforms like Amazon instead of negotiating with publisher. Video platforms like Youtube instead of begging for a TV time slot.
Look around and list all the big corporations or government functions:
- (G) Education
- (G) Social security
- (G) Security
- (C) Energy (Oil & Gas)
- (C) Transportation (Automotive)
- (C) Financial services (Banks)
- (C) Drugs (Pharmaceutical companies)
Take a deeper look at each one and understand the bigger problem they are trying to solve. Find ways to solve it with modern technology. For example, bank giving out loans? Why can’t people give out loans directly? P2P lending platforms.
You are going to start small, even if it isn’t that small but the forces from the gov can be pretty harsh – see P2P lending platforms or prediction markets. A great way around is using crypto currencies. You won’t destroy the gov but you can replace each part of it.