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NFT Marketplaces: Places To Discover, Buy, and Sell NFTs

NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens, ranging from single-edition digital artworks and memes to all other kinds of digital content. But where do people trade them online? 

Particular websites specialize in NFTs. Some platforms are just there to facilitate basic transactions of these digital collectibles, while others are trying to make their platforms more social for buyers and sellers.  

Best Marketplaces of 2021

There are a lot of places to participate in the NFT market, but some places are more reputable than others and have robust platforms that foster growth and creativity in digital art

OpenSea

OpenSea is a peer-to-peer marketplace where people can trade, buy, and sell NFT ownership. The company markets itself as the biggest and most popular place for all things NFT and has compared its platform to Amazon.com. 

OpenSea was founded in January of 2018 and was the first-ever NFT online marketplace established. Since their opening, the company has gained a lot of popularity, and big names in the financial industry, like Mark Cuban, have expressed interest in the company and financial space as a whole. 

As of July of 2021, OpenSea raised 100 million dollars in a Series B round of funding, and they hit a 1.5 billion dollar valuation. At present, they have the most cumulative sales of any NFT marketplace.  

SuperRare

SuperRare is a marketplace for NFTs similar to OpenSea but with a social twist, almost like Instagram. Collectors and artists use SuperRare not just as a way to buy and sell NFTs but also to socialize and connect with each other. 

The platform allows artists to create smart contracts that allow them to collect a fee every time one of their NFTs is sold. The fee can range anywhere between 1% to 10%. It’s tricky to become one of their artists, but you can submit an artist profile to try and catch their attention. SuperRare also has features that enable more robust tracking features of NFTs for authentication purposes.

Some of the Biggest NFT Deals So Far

NFTs can be had for as little as a fraction of a cent, but they can also go up into the millions. These pieces of code are no longer a niche fad; they are becoming high-end investments. 

The First Tweet

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, Twitter has become a media giant that is changing the way society communicates. The site was designed in 2006 by two ex-Google employees, Biz Stone and Evan Williams. 

Engineer Jack Dorsey would later join the management and help launch an early version of the app in 2007 at a music conference. Twitter was a microblogging novelty in the later 2000s and didn’t start to become the media and news conglomerate until about 2013 to 2014. 

By then, Twitter was making a little over $200 million quarterly, and the company went public. Their IPO gave the company’s market value of $31 billion. By 2019, the company hit the $1 billion quarterly revenue mark. As of October this year, the company’s net worth reached over $49 billion.

In March of this year, Jack Dorsey sold the first-ever Tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million. The auction took place on a marketplace called Valuables, and Dorsey didn’t actually keep the money. He converted the value to Bitcoin and then into cash and donated the funds to the African charity GiveDirectly. 

The sale of this NFT and the donation that was created from it showed that NFTs could be taken seriously and could be used for good. Although this NFT isn’t exactly a piece of art, it is still a piece of internet history, and it’s apparent that some people find value in that.

Save Thousands of Lives

Covid-19 has devastated India, and one non-profit company needed a way to raise charitable donations quickly. Noora Health is a non-profit company that specializes in training family members of medical patients who have been discharged but still need care at home. 

Noora Health was hit particularly hard during the pandemic because most of their work resides in India and only a handful of people in America. A supporter of the organization suggested selling an NFT to raise funds.

Almost 18,000 people viewed the NFT during the bidding window. The NFT went to a supporter of the organization by the name of Paul Graham, who spent over $4.5 million on the image. In an essay written by him, he detailed how the spending of the funds would be used by the organization.

World Wide Web Source Code

An English computer scientist by the name of Tim Berners-Lee created a little thing called the world wide web in 1989 and revolutionized the world. He’s kind of a big deal, and he’ll likely show up in more history classes in the coming years. 

He has also played a key role in net neutrality advocacy and has been extremely critical of ISPs and their policies. It’s almost impossible to understate how important his work has been and how influential it still is today. 

Without his work, the internet would still likely be a niche way for companies, government agencies, and scientists to store and transfer data. The world wide web was the beginning of the democratization of information. It could be compared to something like the printing press. 

Earlier this year, Tim himself minted a copy of the source code of the world wide web in the form of an image as an NFT for sale. The bidding started at $1000 and eventually sold for $5.4 million. 

The reason it achieved such a high price was the fact that the founder minted the NFT himself. The digital artifact was sold by an art collection company called Sotheby’s. 

CryptoPunk #7523

There are only 10,000 CryptoPunk art pieces in circulation, and they were all made in 2017 by Larva Labs. The little blue alien NFT called CryptoPunk #7523 sold for a whopping $11.8 million at the Sotheby’s auction house earlier this year. 

CryptoPunks are digital collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain, so transactions are done with Ether (or ETH). Once they are bought, they’ll appear on that person’s Ethereum wallet. The creators at Larva Labs actually previously worked on the popular cell phone, the Sidekick. 

Gary Vaynerchuk, a popular business guru and entrepreneur, recently just bought a CryptoPunk NFT for $3.7 million. This is currently the fifth-highest price anyone has paid for one of these crypto collectibles. 

The lowest price you can pay right now for a CryptoPunk NFT is about $415,000. Talk among industry leaders suggests that fractions of NFTs will be able to be for sale in the same fashion that a fraction of a Bitcoin can be bought and sold. 

Everydays: The First 5000 Days

In March of this year, a record was set for the highest price paid for an NFT. Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, has been at the forefront of the NFT craze, and the value of his work has only been going up. 

The price for The First 5000 Days? $69 million for a digital file and some rights to display the collage. The reason for the sheer projected value of this piece is threefold. Beeple has attracted a large fanbase and has millions of online followers on social channels. 

Christie’s art auction house has recognized the value that NFT technology is bringing to the art world. And finally, Beeple’s art is just really good. These high prices for art and other things have legitimized NFTs as a way to trade digital items.  

Hottest NFTs to Collect

CryptoPunks are, of course, super collectible and interesting. However, it’s not exactly casual crypto purchases if you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a “cheap” one. 

CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties are… weird. They are based in Ethereum and are digital pictures of cats, and all have unique visual attributes. You can breed them to create new CryptoKitties and advance further through the game by performing tasks like solving puzzles. Dapper Labs is behind this particular NFT. 

As far as collectibles go, CryptoKitties seem strikingly similar to Beanie Babies but act a little more like a trading card game like Pokemon. Unfortunately, CryptoKitties has seen a slight decline in popularity thanks to the influx of new Kitties and breeding. 

One of the main selling points to a digital asset like cryptocurrency or NFT is scarcity, and CryptoKitties seems to be struggling with that aspect of the market. Breeding and making new cats is baked into the core of the idea, but it looks like it’s going to be its downfall. 

Bored Ape Yacht Club

The current king of the NFT world is still CryptoPunk, but a new contender is quickly rising and looking to dethrone CryptoPunk; Bored Apes. These NFTs depict apes with varying expressions and have shifted over $400 million in volume so far. 

Just like CryptoPunks, there are only 10,000 collectibles that went through official minting, and they are going for crazy money right now. The owners of these NFTs often make the Apes their Twitter profile pictures as a status symbol. 

The perks are what make the Ape NFTs unique. A Bored Ape owner gets access to the private Ape owner discord to chat with the Bored Ape owner community. Owners also get complimentary NFTs like Mutant Apes and others.

The most interesting perk is exclusive access to merchandise drops specifically restricted to owners only. Buying a Bored Ape NFT acts almost like a membership card and goes beyond just bragging rights about owning a piece of code. These NFTs have real-world effects on their owners.

Rookie Numbers

Should you look into one of these platforms and invest in NFTs? Maybe. 

It’s impossible to tell if these fragments of cryptocurrency will go up in value or not. So, a good strategy might be to buy cheap NFTs with the kind of money you can afford to lose or make NFTs as a digital artist and try to make some money off of them

And the NFT marketplaces mentioned above aren’t the only ones out there. In fact, Dapper Labs announced in September 2021 that they’ll be creating their own, as well as MekaVerse and Coinbase.  

 

 

Sources:

Twitter Revenue and Usage Statistics | Business of Apps

How 1 non-profit raised over $4.5 million with an NFT | Sidecar

Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million | The Verge

Art Trends of 2021

Every generation is marked by specific fashion, styling, and art movements. These trends seem to arrive quickly and disappear before anyone has a chance to notice that they’re already hopelessly outdated.

However, trends like fashion and art have a tendency to be circular: Young millennials mocked their mothers’ high-waisted pants. But the next thing you know, everyone was filing into their local mall in search of “mom jeans” or the “dad hat,” which was briefly a faux pax when flat bill snapbacks were the rage (The coolest kids knew to leave the sticker on the underside of the hat brim).

Just like fashion, art goes through trends as well. Pop art, impressionism, surrealism, and more all resurface now and again. Each time they change and evolve as artists react to the world around them. Even when art nods to the past, it is still something new to behold. Interestingly, these trends are morphing faster than ever before, thanks to internet culture.

Read on to learn more about the top art trends of 2021.

Street Art

Street art and graffiti have come a long way. Its origins are clearly inspired and rooted in prehistoric cave paintings and went from illegal tagging to the high art form it is today. Modern street art is a direct descendant of graffiti and is now often commissioned and completely legal.

Early History of Street Art

The medium of street art has changed and evolved quite a bit. It’s no longer considered just spray painting a wall in an alley. Street art now includes sculptures, performance art, and much more. One of the main qualifiers to be considered within the medium is that the piece or performance should be in public. 

However, even that “requirement” has started to change as art galleries display spray-painted murals, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. Graffiti artists have gotten a bad rap over the years because they often create their work in legal grey areas. 

Recently, cities have adapted to this particular art form by providing blank concrete walls for people to freely spray on, which has largely worked. Instead of random buildings and alleys getting tagged, these parks provide a cultural space of free expression.

The Art District in Los Angeles has multiple building owners that offer their walls for artists to create stunning and impressive murals. It’s been nothing short of a success with reports of increased business thanks to sightseers who spread the word through social media and viral photos.

Street Art in 2021

The style and techniques of street art, specifically graffiti-style murals, have heavily advanced. New artists are making a name for themselves with some unbelievable work in 2021. 

Some of the best work in the world can be found in Bushwick, New York. Much of the street art scene in Queens was destroyed by a real estate project, so Bushwick became the new street art epicenter. 

There are even walking tours you can take through certain areas to see the best work. A great place to visit is the Graffiti Hall of Fame that not only features famous pieces by famous artists but also pieces by lesser-known artists. The Hall is consistently updated with new work. 

Art Inspired By Nature 

Trends in art change regularly, but these artists are being inspired by the natural world around them and the problems that they see in it. 

Banksy

You’ve seen their work even if you don’t know their name. Banksy is an anonymous artist who is known for their paintings, sculptures, and stenciled graffiti art found around the world. As an artist, Banksy and their works are critical of politics and capitalism. 

Most of Banksy’s street art is completely unannounced and has to be randomly discovered by passersby. It’s likely they create their work in the middle of the night to avoid detection. In the earlier years of their career, Banksy’s street art was not viewed kindly by the British government. 

However, Banksy’s work brought in significant sums from gawking art collectors and tourists traveling to the United Kingdom to witness these unique creations. The local government is now encouraging street artists to hopefully uncover the next Banksy and the next great piece of art.

Earlier this year, a possible Banksy mural was found on a wall in an English coastal town. The piece features three small boys playing as sailors in a piece of scrap metal with the words “We’re all in the same boat” above them. 

Two of the boys are looking ahead while one is taking a bucket and trying to stop the boat from sinking. This piece is believed to be a message about environmentalism and the importance of a unified approach to fighting climate change. 

Qi Lei

Born in 1986, Qi Lei is a contemporary artist who has earned a lot of praise in the abstract and nature-oriented space. He combines vibrant colors with traditional methods of Chinese landscape paintings. 

His oil paintings, like The Swimming Pool in Summer, feature striking compositions and have a liveliness that is rarely seen in concert with the two styles. Lei’s work is world-renowned. His exhibits have been displayed all over China, and he maintains a popular online presence. 

Qi Lei’s latest solo exhibition, “Stalker,” was revealed in 2019, but he continues to create in 2021.

Making Social Statements

There’s also a running trend today of using art to comment on social problems. 

Mark Jenkins

Art has amazing superpowers. It can instill a variety of emotions in the viewers. Not everyone has the same experience when seeing the Mona Lisa that the other tourists in the Louvre do. However, there is a general reaction with one street artist: and it’s not the warm and fuzzy feelings that Norman Rockwell’s 50-year career engenders.

Mark Jenkins, a Virginia native, creates statues and 3-D public art that shocks, awes, and hopes to inspire change. In a recent interview, Jenkins told Insider that his intention isn’t to scare viewers. His public sculptures ranged from a figure tied to several balloons, appearing to drown in a Swedish river, or a figure of a man leaning into a Washington D.C. wall, with his head disappearing into the bricks.

Much of his recent art is intended to bring light and resources to suicide prevention, especially in male demographics underserved by traditional mental health services.

Ai Wei Wei

Another artist that has shown themselves to be an activist is Ai Wei Wei. Part of the Excessivism movement, he focuses on human rights issues, often making use of multiple mediums like video, porcelain, and sculpture. 

Ai grew up in China, in a remote corner of the north-west after his father was exiled. His art isn’t the only way that he demonstrates his activism—he also investigates government corruption, and is openly critical of the government. 

One of his most famous pieces is called Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, and it’s a collection of three images of him allowing an ancient urn fall and break. While this is one of the more well-known pieces, he’s a fairly prolific artist.  

Virtual Exhibits

Not all artists get a popular reception when they first burst on the scene. However, decades or hundreds of years later, a more modern audience sits up and takes notice. 

Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this is Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. Famous for (as one prevalent theory states) selling only one painting (Red Vineyard at Arles) during his lifetime, Van Gogh is now one of the most revered and celebrated artists ever. 

In case viewers can’t see an authentic Van Gogh in a museum, now the museum is coming to them. No, there isn’t an armored car carrying dozens of priceless paintings; one would only need to walk into the Van Gogh Exhibition: An Immersive Showcase. Traveling to over 20 temporary locations, with this exhibit, viewers can walk right into a painting.

The combination of 15,000 screens, 500,000 cubic feet of projections, 60,600 frames of video, and 90,000,000 pixels create a 360-degree virtual reality experience where patrons can scroll through Van Gogh’s greatest works. Aided by music and shifting images, patrons experience everything from Starry Night and the Sunflowers.

Art in the Digital Age: How It’s Changing Things

With the rise of social media, the way we have consumed art has radically changed. If you go to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, you would be lucky to see past the barricades of cell phones and cameras. 

The advent of the internet created some of the best ways to stay up to date with new and changing trends. Museums can use social media to promote new artists and exhibits, drawing in record audiences to experience the beauty their fellow humans can create. During the Covid-19 pandemic, with virtual museums, people at home during lockdowns could visit any museum in the world with a simple click.

On the other hand, social media has created the need for proof of experience. People snap pictures of art to post on their own Instagram or Facebook to prove they were there. This trend of photographing and the capacity of others to reproduce public art might have far-reaching implications for street artists. 

For example, over the past several years, Bansky has tried to trademark his works to no avail. The courts of the European Union have decreed that since his art was created in public spaces (coupled with his anonymous identity), he cannot claim a trademark over his iconic images. This poses a potential risk for all street artists. 

Changing Art Trends

Art has long since adapted alongside our changing technological landscape. From different ways of creating paints to the use of technology in graphic design, technology and art coexist in a delicate balance. 

Art trends come and go. With the technology of the future, who can truly say what is going to happen next?

 

Sources:

A Brief History of Graffiti: A Look at 5 Modern Graffiti Artists – 2021 | MasterClass

An Artist Is Leaving Faceless Sculptures in Cities Around the World | Insider

Did Van Gogh Sell Only One Painting During His Life? | ThoughtCo

The ‘Immersive Van Gogh’ exhibition is coming to L.A. to devour your social feed | Time Out

Banksy trademark ‘at risk’ after street artist loses legal battle | The Guardian 

Entrepreneurship vs. Intrapreneurship: What’s the Difference?

Two similar words with very distinct meanings—intrapreneur and entrepreneur. 

An entrepreneur is a person who starts and owns a business. An intrapreneur is an employee in a company who uses entrepreneurial skills to innovate and improve the company. Just because you work for a company doesn’t mean you’re considered an intrapreneur. 

Risk vs. Reward

Entrepreneurs have different risks compared to intrapreneurs. They are also compensated differently. As a business owner, your income is entirely dependent on your work ethic and forces out of your control. 

Intrapreneurs can earn a lot of money via performance bonuses and raises but are somewhat at the mercy of their employer. 

The Advantages and Risks of Entrepreneurship

Opening a new business is challenging. The vast majority of new companies and businesses in America do not last. Only 25% of new businesses make it past the 15-year mark.

Entrepreneurs need financial skills involving marketing, research, and business knowledge, and financial capital to get it all started. Luckily, there are more options to finance a business venture than ever. 

Being an entrepreneur means that you will either be doing everything on your own or hiring people to help you, like managers and consultants. Sometimes, people who own and run businesses completely on their own are called “Solopreneurs.”

The benefit of running a business entirely on your own is that you get to keep all the revenue minus expenses. Not having to worry about hiring staff can keep you more nimble and allow for more control, but this method has its costs.

Formal education can certainly help in the pursuit of starting a successful business, but surveys show that most entrepreneurs do not have a college degree. What seems to be a key factor to success is experience.

Advantages of Intrapreneurship

One of the biggest upsides to working within a pre-existing company or organization is the lack of risk. The worst that can happen financially is getting fired. Business owners have a lot more skin in the game if things go south. 

By not owning the business or its assets, you are free from the financial fallout of a company that fails. People who start businesses that fail usually end up in financial ruin and have to go through difficult processes like bankruptcy. 

Another bonus to intrapreneurship is a steady paycheck. Regular income and benefits is a staple in stability. As an intrapreneur, your job is not just to provide labor to your employer. You also need to actively add value to the company with new ideas and products that will make the company more profitable and sustainable. 

Another advantage for intrapreneurs is the number of resources immediately available when you get hired. There are managers, staff, and other resources at your disposal to help you through your career. 

The Risks of Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship is inherently lower risk than standard entrepreneurship, and it’s a lot more financially stable. Business owners are on the hook for not just their own labor but everything else involving the company. 

Regular business owners have startup costs and few financial safeguards. When working your way up and advancing through an existing company, there’s the risk of being fired, and that’s about it. 

An abstract risk to intrapreneurship is that you’ll have less control over your career, and it may take you places you did not intend. 

The Rewards

Entrepreneurship is a chance to have complete control over how a business runs. Owning your business means keeping the profits. And if you end up selling your company, you keep all of the money from that sale. 

As a business owner, there are innumerable perks like making your own hours, prices, and business approach. A good example of an entrepreneur you’re probably familiar with is J.K. Rowling. Today, she is considered a household name but had humble beginnings. 

Now famous for her award-winning Harry Potter novels, Rowling was living on welfare as a single mother before her rise. Her books are credited by many for the popularization of young teen novels, and the film adaptations and merchandise rights only added to their value. Today, she is estimated to be worth about $1 billion. 

A Case Study of Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs

Tim Cook of Apple Inc. replaced Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011. These two men are perfect examples of an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur working together. 

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is a classic example of an entrepreneur. He found a gap in the computer market and filled it with a company he co-founded: Apple Computer Company. 

Before the Macintosh, computers were not user-friendly, and they were primarily used by tech companies, scientists, and government agencies like NASA. Job’s recognized this and believed that computers could be a consumer product in the home. 

For the most basic of tasks, computers require that you learn their language and input unintuitive codes to achieve things. The Macintosh changed this with an easy-to-use interface that is widely considered the precursor to Windows 95. 

In 2007, Jobs revealed the iPhone to the public at the Macworld convention in San Francisco, and the world was never the same. Entrepreneurs don’t just start businesses. They come up with new ideas and change the world. 

Jobs was an entrepreneur in the truest sense in that he created a company and products that upset the natural order. 

Tim’s Early Career

Cook earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Auburn University of Alabama. After graduating, he worked for IBM from 1982 to 1994 and became a director within the company. 

While working, he earned his Master’s degree in business administration from Duke University. After that, Cook had a couple more high-ranking jobs at different companies. In 1998, he met Steve Jobs, who offered Cook a position at Apple.

At this time in Apple’s history, it was not the tech giant we know today. It was actually nearing bankruptcy, and Cook went into the position understanding that things weren’t going well. 

Cook’s role at the time largely involved supply chain operations. He completely revamped the supplier operations by shutting down pre-existing manufacturers and signed new contracts with more efficient manufacturers. 

Within just a year of Cook’s hiring, Apple began to see profits for the first time in years. Other decisions he made early on, like investing in new flash memory technology, were crucial to Apple’s future success. 

These decisions had direct impacts on how Apple would produce products like iPods and iPads. While Jobs was battling pancreatic cancer, Cook would go on to take over more and more of the executive work and went higher up the ranks. 

Cook truly is the pinnacle of intrapreneurship. He entered into a company on the verge of bankruptcy and helped turn it into the most valuable company in the world in the span of thirteen years. 

Intrapreneurs and Entrepreneurs

Intrapreneurs are a necessary support for most traditional entrepreneurs. They play a key role in the vast majority of business venture’s success and adaptability. A lot of credit is given to entrepreneurs for leading the way in things like environmental protection and workers’ rights.

However, more credit needs to be given to those who innovate and create change from within existing businesses and organizations. It might technically be an easier path to success, but it still requires intelligence, talent, and experience. 

 

Sources:

Top 6 Reasons New Businesses Fail | Investopedia

Tim Cook tells climate change skeptics to ditch Apple shares | The Guardian

What is Intrapreneurship? | Elmhurst University 

What Is Social Entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurship is an economic idea that plays off of the best elements of a few economic theories. 

The overall goal is to use capitalist business practices and socialist humanitarianism and environmentalism together, all mixed with a healthy dose of innovation. Generally, the aim is to work towards social change or solving social problems, especially as they extend to the status quo.  

What Is Social Entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurs are somewhere near the middle of the economic spectrum by striving for a profit while also contributing to the community for the good of the whole. They use capitalist mechanisms for social benefit on a more systemic level than regular philanthropy and donations. 

Characteristics of social entrepreneurs often include creativity, determination, a strong sense of ethics and empathy, and much more. They’re looking to implement solutions with their social business ventures, not to gain political clout or make a load of money. 

Where Social Entrepreneurs Fit In

With the economic system we have, where does social entrepreneurship fit? The goal is to simply start a profitable company and then invest those profits into the employees and community, often while being ecologically sustainable. 

Instead of taking the profits from your business and buying yourself a second house, you invest those funds into things that actively improve your community as a whole. It’s more than just simple philanthropy.  

Social entrepreneurs and their ventures self-regulate by taking profits and lifting others up. The definition of a social entrepreneur is so broad because there is a wide spectrum of them and their practices. For example, some may recruit investors and donors and raise money for a new venture, while others attempt to build from the ground up on their own. 

Some of them reinvest into their own employees by creating programs that use company profits to pay for college tuition and healthcare. Others may create low-cost clinics for impoverished communities that financially break even. These types of business owners are not driven by excess but by social, economic, and ecological advancement. The social entrepreneur aims to make a positive impact. 

They are basically philanthropists that use their business skills to create positive change with an intelligent and thoughtful approach. These social activists focus on social innovation and social ventures that target problems they see in the world around them. 

Where Do Non-Profit Companies Fit?

Non-profit organizations and companies are on the other end of the spectrum, opposite to standard entrepreneurs. They exist solely to benefit communities through charitable donations, memberships, and other forms of income like branded merchandise. 

These organizations are not out to profit from anyone. They make just enough revenue to break even. The owners receive nothing extra on top of normal fixed income. Amnesty International is a non-profit based in the UK. 

Their goals heavily revolve around human rights and generating campaigns for its advocacy around the world. The goals of these social enterprises are strikingly similar to a social entrepreneur’s goals. 

The key difference is that one strives for a profit by producing a product and or service that isn’t necessarily related to their social and environmental goals, while the other solely exists to serve social and environmental goals and only uses profits for expenses and not bonuses. 

Societal Changes Needed Today

America has some serious, deep-seated problems with its social fabric. Things like the environment and the ripples of past discrimination of people of color are major issues, and many social entrepreneurs are trying to solve these issues. Each has its own specific social mission.

That said, the United States isn’t the only country where social entrepreneurs work to add social value. For example, Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, helps women in Bangladesh break out of poverty through microloans. TOMs shoes are another example of social entrepreneurship in recent years, donating a pair of shoes to children in need across the world, often in developing countries. 

Marginalized Groups

Marginalized groups, like African Americans, have been left behind socially and economically. Not only have they been denied access to housing and adequate policing, but they have also had difficulties starting and maintaining businesses. 

Recently, Target has been actively practicing a form of social entrepreneurship by stocking and promoting black-owned brands like Mented Cosmetics, a makeup brand co-founded and owned by Amanda Johnson. 

This is a clever but simple symbiotic relationship between Target and Mented Cosmetics. Target gets to profit from a brand while economically promoting a brand owned by someone from a marginalized group. Everybody wins. 

Mo’s Burgers is a food cart located in Harlem, New York, and is owned and operated by Mo Robinson Jr. The founder sells fruity drinks, burgers, and hotdogs. Mo only sells the burgers for $2 and the hotdogs for $1.50. He specifically states that he keeps his prices down so that the young black kids can afford it. 

Mo probably doesn’t even realize that he is partaking in social entrepreneurial practices, but he is aware of the social benefits of his business model. Hotdogs usually go up to $3 in the city, so it’s important that lesser-advantaged youth have access to affordable food vendors.

You may be thinking that $1.50 isn’t a significant price difference, but that could mean the difference between a kid eating lunch twice a week and four times a week. 

Systemic Healthcare Problems

You know there is a systemic problem when a third of GoFundMes are for medical care costs. Based on 2015-2017 data, over 39% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, out-of-pocket costs for newly diagnosed patients frequently represent 23% to 63% of their household incomes. 

And that’s just cancer. These numbers don’t include the flurry of other medical challenges Americans face on a daily basis. Two-thirds of Americans filing for bankruptcy cite medical debt as a key element as to why they file. 

One of the biggest criticisms of health insurance in America is that it is often attached to our employers. The original concept and intentions behind this were well-meaning but unfortunately had unintended consequences.  

Because people’s insurance companies are tied to their employers, there is basically no competition, thus allowing for unregulated price hikes. 

Some companies, like Boston Consulting Group, are attempting to remedy this issue by covering employee health insurance completely. 

Health insurance is expensive—really expensive. By completely covering these costs, they are bolstering their employees’ financial positions. 

The Environment

The field of social entrepreneurship is usually very conscientious of the environment and sustainability. Companies like Allbirds concentrate heavily on sustainability and dampening the environmental issues caused by the fashion industry

Fast fashion is responsible for dumping billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Allbirds and other such organizations rely on sustainable materials like wool, trees that rely on natural rainfall as a water source, and even sugar. 

Leaving a positive impact on the world is a key component of the concept of social entrepreneurship. Economically speaking, being environmentally friendly isn’t just good for nature and marketing; it’s good for the business. Companies that rely on finite resources typically have a hard time surviving in the long run. 

Oil companies constantly have to find new locations and underground reservoirs to get oil out from. Once their wells are dry, that particular operation is over. This results in entire operations, including equipment and employees, completely uprooting the worksite. 

Operations like these are not sustainable. They end up costing the oil companies millions and billions of dollars just to grab a resource that will not replenish for literally millions of years. Solar panel technology has seen some huge strides in just the last few years. 

Future generations will likely rely on natural resources like solar, wind, and other renewables for energy because the oil will eventually disappear. It’s going to take characters like Elon Musk, who are driving us towards socially beneficial things like satellite internet available to everyone from almost anywhere. 

You may not think of Musk as a social entrepreneur because he definitely strives for personal gain but you can’t deny the positive societal impacts his company’s products and services produce. 

Social Entrepreneurs and Business

What is the point of high profits if the world and its people are set on fire anyway? 

After all, you need people with disposable income and a healthy planet to maintain any business model. If you’re going to make a profit, you might as well invest in the future of our world. 

Social entrepreneurs can look to places like Bill Drayton’s Ashoka, The Skoll Foundation, and The Schwab Foundation for help getting started, too, so they don’t have to do the whole business venture all on their own.

 

Sources:

New data on Americans crowdfunding medical expenses | Yahoo

Cancer Statistics | National Cancer Institute

This is the real reason most Americans file for bankruptcy | CNBC

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW | David Bornstein and Susan Davis | Asokau 

Your Guide on How To Create NFT Art

NFTs are extremely hot in the online market right now in both a creative and financial capacity. This relatively new technology has changed the art world and is flooding it with money and opportunities. 

What Is an NFT?

NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token.” It operates very similarly to cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Many of them are part of the Ethereum blockchain, although not all. It basically allows for creators to have “originals” of their digital artwork. Of course, NFTs don’t stop at art—at some point, there might even be concert ticket NFTs. 

NFTs aren’t just short sports clips or pixelated cat gifs; almost anything in the form of a digital file can be one. In fact, Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of Twitter, sold his first tweet as an NFT.

A Brief History

In 2008, a person under the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” created the idea for a decentralized digital currency that didn’t rely on any government or bank. They called it Bitcoin, and the concept cut out the middleman. 

In January of 2009, the blockchain was launched, and the first transaction was made. However, it was just a test, and Bitcoin didn’t have any real value yet. The first real transaction that established Bitcoin’s real-world value was done by negotiating for two pizzas. 

The two pizzas cost $25 in real money, and the two parties agreed on 10,000 Bitcoins. This translated to Bitcoin being valued at $0.0025. That’s 4 Bitcoins per cent. The value of the cryptocurrency was completely arbitrary and negotiated on online forums. 

In 2010, Bitcoin became available on exchanges and was now more accessible to the public. By 2011, the price had finally reached the perceived and agreed-upon value of $1.00. Today, Bitcoin’s price stands at over $54,000 per coin—but this fluctuates constantly. 

Between 2012 and 2013, the very first NFTs came about in the form of “Colored Coins.” They were essentially smaller denominations of Bitcoins and were used to represent many different kinds of digital assets like digital collectibles and other types of property like shares in companies.

The NFT Today

NFTs really gained serious momentum in January this year thanks to companies like NBA Top Shot and CryptoPunks. It’s all thanks to perceived value and hype. Technically, these tokens don’t have any inherent value, but they do because we say they do. 

NBA Top Shot became wildly successful recently and has sold over $230 million in professional basketball highlights as of February 2021. Basically, these digital collectibles are the new trading cards. 

Earlier this year, a new record was set for the highest sale price of an NBA Top Shot NFT; it was a clip of LeBron James emulating a dunk Kobe Bryant was famous for in his honor. It sold for over $387,000. 

CryptoPunk NFTs are pixelated digital art pieces, and one just sold for nearly $12 million. The piece in question, CryptoPunk 7523, is a pixelated blue alien wearing a red hat, a facemask, and gold earrings. Believe it or not, the top ten CryptoPunks ever sold were all valued in the millions. 

In March of 2021, NFT history was made when Mike Winkelmann, aka digital artist Beeple, sold a piece of NFT artwork called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for over $69 million. 

The future of NFTs is relatively uncertain. Tech bubbles have been created and popped before due to excessive speculation, and it would be foolish to think that NFTs are somehow immune to that possibility. 

Most of us probably didn’t predict how valuable Pokemon trading cards would become. Those cards we traded for candy bars in the schoolyard are now valued in the thousands. For all we know, NFTs may have the same fate as Beanie Babies. 

The thing that makes NFTs fairly unique in the space of collectibles is that almost anyone can make them and sell them. This makes the value of these digital items more difficult to understand. 

How To Create an NFT

Luckily, creating your first NFT is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to design your piece and then decide what blockchain to have your work issued on. Then, there is the process of marketing and selling your NFT.

Blockchains

When you go out for a cup of coffee and pay for it with your debit card, there are multiple parties involved with the transaction process: your account, one or two different banks, and the shop’s account. 

With decentralized currency like Bitcoin, there are no banks or governments involved. Transactions are peer to peer and logged on a public record permanently. It’s sort of like each Bitcoin has a serial number that is logged and tracked through many computers connected to the internet that constantly cross-reference each other for discrepancies. 

NFT Marketplaces

NFTs are sold on a wide range of sites. In the high-stakes world of purchasing NFTS, most people are flocking to platforms like Flow, Ethereum, Axie Infinity, and World Asset eXchance (WAX).

While digital wallets are all the rage, this isn’t exactly an Apple or Google Pay situation. Instead, buyers must use cryptocurrency. This highly volatile type of digital currency is complex and difficult to predict. Each site can have its own rules. You may have to buy dollars to use from a particular site (like Axie) or use a digital wallet like MetaMask or Bitski. 

How To Sell and Buy NFT Artwork

It’s easy to assume that iconic artwork like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Edvard Munch’s The Scream has staggering monetary value (after all, these and similar paintings were targets of famous art heists). 

It’s a little harder to comprehend how a distorted drawing of The Simpsons is one of the highest-selling NFTs of all time

Basics of Selling

If you have an iconic internet moment or an interesting piece of art, you might just be sitting on the next multi-million dollar NFT. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, you have to “mint” your NFT. This happens through the website of your choice, and the site requires you to pay certain fees for this service.
  2. Make sure to load up funds on your digital wallet (also called a crypto wallet).
  3. Upload the media file to the site of your choice (OpenSea, AtomicMarket, or Mintable).
  4. Set the price — this price is set in cryptocurrency (Bitcoin or Ethereum are popular).
  5. Wait for the crypto market to soar and price accordingly. 
  6. Profit (hopefully).

Basics of Buying

If you’ve got cash to burn and are in the market for the best fun fact you can share at a future party, here is how to buy an NFT:

  1. Join a market dedicated to buying and selling NFTs.
  2. Acquire a digital wallet (also called a crypto wallet). Every market basically uses a different digital wallet, and, like gift cards, these wallets don’t work at competing sites. 
  3. Go to the site of your choice. You have to decide if you want to buy at an auction or do a buy-now transaction. 
  4. Keep in mind that crypto is always in a state of flux, so watch the market to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. When ETH goes down, sellers are more likely to try to sell in case the market takes an even deeper dive.
  5. Pick a piece: either keep an eye on the auction or buy immediately.

Notable NFTs

Perhaps the new version of the art collector and aficionado is the NFT collector that delves into the world of digital artists. If you’re interested in ownership of one of the following NFTs, we’re sorry to say these particular ones are off the table (at least at the moment). 

The Nostaglia NFT

It’s no secret that nostalgia is pretty powerful. If you can remember back to the internet days of 2007, you might recall a viral YouTube video called “Charlie Bit My Finger” (sometimes called “Charlie Bit Me”). This 55-second video made the rounds on everyone’s Facebook. In fact, way back when, this iconic and hilarious clip was the most-watched video on all of YouTube.

“Charlie Bit My Finger” starred Harry, age three, complaining that his younger brother, Charlie, age one, bit him on the finger. As of July 2021, this video is pushing at upwards of 900 million views.

In an auction in May of 2021, Charlie and Harry’s parents sold the NFT of this clip for £538,000. That translates to $728,807.32 in US dollars. The boys have stated that they intend to use these funds to attend university. 

The Ironic NFT

In the world of street art, no name is as prominent as Bansky. Known for iconic pieces like “Girl With Balloon” and “Flower Thrower,” this artist is no stranger to controversy and drama. 

To this date, two Bansky NFTs have hit the open market, although it should be noted that the artist themselves was not involved in either of these big-ticket transactions. In what many deemed a tasteless stunt, Injective Protocol (a Blockchain company) and the owners of the Bansky piece burned Bansky’s 2006 screenprint called “Morons (White).” 

Injective Protocol forked over $95,000 for the work to burn it and then sold the NFT of this piece. The NFT of this piece taken before it was set aflame brought in a huge sum of $380,000. 

The seller noted that they chose this piece due to Bansky’s inscription on the original screenprint. It reads, “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit.” Some appreciated the irony, while many others found the whole debacle to be rather unfortunate.  

The Art Heist NFT

In August 2021, a Bansky work was once again involved in the NFT market, but this one was certainly less than savory. A hacker gained access to Banksy’s website, and the hacker then auctioned off a Bansky NFT on OpenSea. However, this NFT wasn’t an actual NFT: it was a total fake. 

The hacker was able to sell this fake NFT for 100 Ethereum, which equates to $336,000 in real-life dollars. In a surprisingly wholesome turn of events, the scammer returned all the money to his victim.  

Art in the Age of the Internet

The first computers were basically as powerful as the calculator you used in Geometry class. When the internet took off, some people barely noticed its presence and called it a fad. 

Now, pictures on the internet are selling for similar prices to oil paintings that take years to produce. If one thing is for sure, the internet is astounding. It constantly finds new ways to surprise, entertain, and educate us.

 

Sources:

15 Most Expensive NFTs Sold (So Far) | ScreenRant

How to make, buy and sell NFTs | CNBC

NBA Top Shot, CryptoPunks And More: What You Need To Know About NFTs | Yahoo Finance 

Banksy art burned, destroyed and sold as token in ‘money-making stunt’ | BBC

Fake Banksy NFT sells for more than $300,000 | CNBC

NFT Games: Popular Games To Play in 2021

2021 is the year of the NFT video game. NFTs, including digital art, GIFs, and even music, have been popular in the marketplace for a little while now. However, NFT video games are slowly proving themselves to be the next evolutionary step in how we consume content. 

What Is an NFT?

An NFT is a digital good that cannot be copied, and ownership of it can be verified. On a coding and monetary level, these digital items are a unique addition to video games in that they give more control of game items to the user.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin was the beginning of what we know as cryptocurrency today. The point of cryptocurrency is that it’s decentralized and is not tied to any particular bank or country. So, what does this actually mean? 

Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, is basically digital coins with serial numbers and can only be attained by either buying and trading or mining them. Crypto mining requires powerful computers that solve complex mathematical equations to get the coins. 

There are a limited number of Bitcoins available right now and in the future. A little over 83% of all Bitcoins have been mined so far. So, how does Bitcoin have any value? Regular currency is either backed by a government or by a precious material like gold. 

Cryptocurrency is a little more complicated. In short, it’s valuable because people believe it’s valuable. Its scarcity is entirely artificial, but it’s impossible to fake and is admittedly useful. This isn’t the first time something has been hyped up to be valuable in the future, though. 

Collectables, like Beanie Babies, have complicated histories with rises and falls in perceived value. The key difference is that silly consumer products don’t have the same type of utility as cryptocurrency. 

Blockchains

Cryptocurrency can’t really be messed with, thanks to something called a blockchain. A blockchain is a kind of digital ledger that cross-references information to ensure the right people have the right number of Bitcoins.

The ledgers are available to the public, so all transactions and accounts are public knowledge. The ledger cannot be altered or erased. This is why cryptocurrency works and why some people trust it. It’s an interesting concept that has gained a lot of steam over the last ten years. 

Non-Fungible Tokens

So, if Bitcoins and other types of cryptocurrency are essentially digital coins with artificial value and serial numbers that are constantly checked and confirmed by an internet-based ledger, what are NFTs?

NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token.” Non-fungible means that there is only and cannot be replaced. NFTs come in all kinds of forms like pictures, GIFs, and even music. Some of the most popular NFTs right now are in the form of sports highlights and art, and NFT collections are becoming ever more popular. 

An NFT’s unique code is a fraction or piece of an individual denomination of cryptocurrency. The reason people are currently really excited and buying lots of NFTs for crazy amounts of money is that they believe these digital products will gain in value.

Artists are finding the NFT craze overall very beneficial to the industry. NFTs are a way for artists to create and sell digital “originals.” It’s a very new and strange concept because anyone can copy and paste these digital collectibles, but only one person actually “owns” them. The value of the NFT collection of an owner can become quite high. 

What Are NFT Games?

NFT games are video games that allow for NFTs to be integrated into the game design. How does this work? Video games are walled gardens where things like weapons, armor, and in-game collectibles are earned or traded for in those particular games and cannot transfer to other games. They’re usually based in either Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain (BSC). 

In-game items usually have depreciating values considering how player bases move onto other titles and can’t freely transfer that item like a real-world asset. NFT technology changes this rule. 

NFT items that are compatible with certain games can enable players to take their NFT items across games and developers, and it has to be built into the infrastructure. Say you played an MMO for months and earned a rare, magical sword. 

In a traditional videogame, you can’t take that sword and play with it in another game like your favorite FPS (aka First Person Shooter game). If that same MMO and FPS are both NFT compatible, you can take that sword to the FPS, and it will manifest itself in a way that is unique to each game it’s compatible with. 

The developers of the NFT compatible games choose how your magical sword is manifested. That FPS you play may interpret your sword NFT as an emblem you can apply to your character. A developer that makes a digital trading card game might interpret your sword as a really powerful card by the same image and name.

Another interesting byproduct of this concept is that your valuable, unique NFTs and items that you earn, trade, or buy don’t disappear if your account on any particular game is deleted or banned. Your NFTs remain in your wallet no matter what game you take them to, and they maintain their scarcity. 

NFT Games of 2021

Although NFT games have been around for a few years, they have really made a lasting impression and bolstered their user bases in just this past year. Most can be played by mobile users on both Android and iOS.

Gods Unchained

Have you ever played online card games like HearthStone that play similar to physical card games like Magic the Gathering? What if there was an online trading card game that allowed you more ownership of the cards you collect like real cards?

That game is Gods Unchained, lead by Chris Clay. Because the cards in the game are verifiably attached to your digital wallet, they aren’t trapped in that game’s ecosystem. The gaming experience is very smooth and polished compared to other NFT card game offerings. 

This game allows you to not only buy and sell cards but also earn them through gameplay and expansion packs. Fans of Yugioh and Pokemon will feel right at home with the game’s style and use of strategies. 

The goal of Gods Unchained is to make your digital cards feel just as real as physical trading cards by promoting true ownership of your cards and decks. Because each card is minted into a blockchain, game developers cannot alter the value or attributes of the card, unlike HearthStone. 

It seems like the company tried really hard to make sure that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make competitive decks. It’s technically free-to-play, but working your way up without buying powerful cards will be challenging. 

The game has a pay-to-earn model that allows players to win real NFT cards that they can sell for real-world money. There’s a lot of buzz going around that it could be the next big esport.  

The Sandbox

The game is based in the Ethereum blockchain, where players create a virtual world filled with real estate, characters, in-game assets, etc. The game is essentially user-generated. The assets players create are actually owned by them and not the developer. 

The Sandbox uses “sand” as a native cryptocurrency. It can be used for all kinds of things in-game. Lands are pieces of real estate that you can actually own and modify, and there is a limited amount of it. 

You can charge players to visit your land in “sand” and sell your property for a profit. Pieces of land are like tickets that allow you to make a world of your own. You can actually earn passive income by charging players rent on virtual land. 

This is for real. And if you think this stuff is super niche or underground, the game’s website is currently advertising a party at Snoop Dogg’s in-game mansion. This is not a joke. He has recently talked about his interest in the NFT world, and this is one of his projects. 

These seemingly simple and pixelated games like Minecraft, Roblox, and The Sandbox are so popular because of how accessible they are. Not everyone has the latest console or a souped-up gaming PC. Almost anyone with a phone or cheap laptop can participate in these worlds.

Axie Infinity

This game has a lot in common with Gods Unchained in that it’s a trading card battle game with a very healthy user base, particularly in the Philippines. Players can earn rewards, including Axie Infinity Shards (AXS). Breed NFT “Axies” using Smooth Love Potion (SLP) to make new ones and use NFT potions for power. Before you can play the game, you need at least three Axies. 

Many believe that this aspect is what is holding this game back from exploding with popularity as each Axie is fairly expensive. As of August this year, an Axie will cost you anywhere between $300 and $400. This is a very high bar for entry into the game and can have a legitimate effect on economics for players. 

At least it’s an in-game asset that can be liquidated for real money. Unlike Yugioh or Pokemon cards, you can actually breed these freaky little creatures and make entirely new Axies that are actual NFTs. 

There’s a lot of speculation on the longevity of this game, which was created by Sky Mavis. The developers of the game have spoken about simplifying the experience and making it more accessible to new players, but the details are unknown. 

Let the Financial Games Begin

The movie Ready Player One showed us a world where a video game was intrinsically woven into the economy and that in-game items were valued highly with real money. NFT games are showing us that reality is often stranger than fiction. 

 

 

Sources:

Snoop Dogg Enters the Metaverse | The Sandbox

Before you buy NFTs, here’s how to think about their price | Vox

How NFT Play-to-Earn crypto games are storming the gaming industry | Pragmatic Coders

Daily Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Starting a business or multiple businesses requires discipline, commitment, and productive habits. Many of these daily rituals and routines revolve around health and others around mental preparation. 

Living a life of consistency and healthy choices gives entrepreneurs the edge they need to grow into the future. 

How Do Entrepreneurs Live?

A lot of online pseudo-business gurus will tell you that one of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is that you get to be your own boss and set your own hours. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Successful entrepreneurs are often working or on call for their business every waking minute of every day. Sometimes, the business controls them and not the other way around. There are some habits that entrepreneurs add and subtract from their daily lives to keep themselves sharp and ready to go. 

Morning Routines

If you’re going to start a business, you better get used to seeing sunrises. A common trend with successful entrepreneurs is waking up way before the crack of dawn. Reason being that there are only so many hours in the day, and they can’t afford to waste any of them. 

Another commonality is physical exercise in the early morning, but not for the reasons you’re probably thinking of. Working out is, of course, good for you and can prolong your life and the quality of it. As far as health goes, it doesn’t really matter when you work out as long as you do it. 

Entrepreneurs pump iron and go on runs before the sun rises because exercise wakes the brain up and makes you become more alert. Exercise is an entrepreneur’s pre-game. Business owners can’t be dragging their feet to the office half awake. 

Reading and responding to emails is commonly the first work-related thing entrepreneurs do in the wee hours. They need to be sharp and have their minds focused in order to convey messages and absorb information crucial to their business goals. 

Most of us have had one of those days where you walk into the office still yawning and hazy.  However, that isn’t an option when you’re trying to keep a company afloat and ensure that other people keep their jobs. 

Eating Habits

Entrepreneurs go beyond just eating healthy. There are a few tips and tricks on how to eat right for the entrepreneur lifestyle. One of the key reasons some types of food are avoided by entrepreneurs is inflammation. 

Inflammation can cause mental sluggishness and affects your ability to concentrate. Here is a list of common foods that can cause inflammation:

  1. Anything with processed sugar
  2. Vegetable and seed oils 
  3. Alcohol
  4. Processed meats
  5. Artificial trans fats

Some foods can help reduce inflammation, like berries and leafy greens. Basically, eating healthy is a necessity to keep the mind agile and energized. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to feel sluggish and bloated.

Another common thread between many business owners is skipping breakfast. Studies have shown mixed results on this idea. “The most important meal of the day” may not be quite as important as our culture has convinced us to be. 

Water and Coffee

Water is life, and entrepreneurs crave it. Believe it or not, water is pretty important. If you’re the type to get your hydration from energy drinks, sodas, and flavored waters, you’re actively hurting your ability to be your best. 

Not properly hydrating throughout the day can result in a slew of side effects like nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Successful entrepreneurs don’t have time for that stuff. Coffee, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. 

Caffeine isn’t actually giving you energy; It allows you to borrow it in a way. Adenosine is a chemical that builds up naturally throughout the day that makes you sleepy. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in your brain.

Basically, your coffee is giving you the illusion that you’re not tired. You aren’t getting energy from it. Typically, entrepreneurs don’t drink coffee with added sugar or cream. Black coffee does have some health benefits, but those benefits are negated with additives. 

Some studies suggest that coffee has a number of health benefits, like lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and containing vital nutrients. However, there are some negatives depending on the individual and their sensitivity to caffeine. 

Too much coffee, usually more than two cups per day, can cause sleep problems and increase your risk for anxiety issues. The key is moderation and paying attention to how your body reacts to the coffee you drink. A good rule of thumb is to not drink anything caffeinated after noon. 

Water and coffee are probably the only beverages entrepreneurs drink on a daily basis. Other stuff, like juices and alcohol, don’t add anything but sugar and bloating. Stay hydrated and moderate your caffeine carefully. It might be best to only drink black coffee and limit yourself to two cups per day, maximum. 

Personal Philosophies

Hustle culture has convinced us that entrepreneurs have all the right answers and ingredients for success. The people we usually don’t hear from are the entrepreneurs that have failed. 

The thing is that both the successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs have common habits they stick to for optimal outcomes. 

It Followed Me Home…

People who work typical nine to five jobs may not own their own businesses, but at least they get to leave work at work (usually). Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, bring work wherever they go on their phones and laptops. 

So, how do they get a break? Recently, meditation has become a popular trend among entrepreneurs. It’s used as a focus tool and a way to alleviate stress. Most of the time, they have a quick morning and evening meditation session that lasts anywhere between ten and twenty minutes. 

Meditation can also boost creativity. In the age of constant momentum and perpetual change, entrepreneurs need to keep up with the latest trends and news on a daily basis. This can take a serious toll on people and can be mentally exhausting. 

Entrepreneurs are not superheroes; they need rest just as much as anyone else. Meditation is like a nap but more productive. You might be thinking that not working or thinking about something is the opposite of productivity. 

However, our brains are like computers, and we have limited RAM. Meditation is a way to free up memory and allow for more focus on important tasks. This isn’t just a fad with entrepreneurs that will eventually just fade away; it’s a quintessential tool in the arsenal. 

You probably meditate daily without even realizing it. Most people picture someone wearing yoga pants on a mat, burning incense when they’re thinking of meditation. None of that stuff is necessary. 

Going outside without your phone and just staring at the trees blowing in the breeze for a few minutes is a great way to clear the mind and refocus. The key is to find a place either in the home or outside to be alone for ten to twenty minutes. 

Note Taking and Calendars

Building a business requires good organizational skills, and there is no way around it. Entrepreneurs are usually good note-takers and have detailed calendars. These tools are essential to making ideas become concrete instead of stagnating in your imagination. 

The whole point of keeping track of ideas and events on paper or on your phone is to lighten your mental load. Entrepreneurs can’t keep everything in their heads. They put ideas on paper and go back to them when they can apply real time to them. 

By having a detailed calendar, entrepreneurs can more easily accomplish their goals. They don’t just keep track of things like meetings, deadlines, and dental appointments. They schedule time for creativity and personal pursuits. 

Keeping a calendar is your accountability chart, and if your calendar on your phone is empty, it might be time to make a change. Having a notebook on you is also a great way to keep track of your business ideas and thoughts.

Clocking Out

Daily routines can have extraordinary benefits to an entrepreneur’s drive and success, and non-entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from their daily habits. However, things like eating healthy and regular exercise are merely the foundation they build on. 

It’s a support structure, not the structure itself. That comes with the drive to push further into an industry and to innovate. Daily habits build up to better focus and health in the long run, thus supporting a business. 

Without structure, an entrepreneur is just a person with aspirations and no plan of action.  

 

 

Sources: 

10 Proven Habits Of Successful Entrepreneurs | Forbes 

12 Habits of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs | Entrepreneur 

How to Meditate | Mindful 

What Is Bootstrapping?

Bootstrapping is the process of getting yourself out of a situation or into one with only the resources you already have. The meaning of the term has evolved over generations, but it’s generally associated with self-made entrepreneurs today.

While this term is also used in other contexts, like programming language, machine learning, and statistics, we’ll be looking at the business side of things. 

The History of the American Dream

In the 19th century, bootstrapping was a kind of mocking term or phrase, like “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.” It referenced an impossible task, considering no matter how long you pull at the leather loop on the side of your boot, there’s no way you’d be able to lift yourself off the ground by the top of a boot. It took on a newer definition and use later on. 

Early American Origins of Bootstrapping

Early settlers of the Americas had to be fiercely independent and resilient to survive. They really didn’t have any other choice. They came with the little supplies and tools they had and needed to live off the land. 

This initial thrust into unknown territory and being cut off from the rest of Europe fostered the origins of America’s bootstrapping culture. In 1803, the great Westward expansion began after Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory for $15 million dollars. 

Overnight, America essentially doubled in size, and the federal government encouraged people to expand into the newly acquired land. After all, it’s pretty difficult to defend land that you’re not occupying. 

The only resources people took with them into the west were what they could carry. Infrastructure that facilitated goods and services, like railroads and towns, wouldn’t come until later. Everything from cultivation to construction was up to the individual to achieve. 

These were the original bootstrappers of America, who built their new lives on self-reliance. Life on these trails was unforgiving and exceedingly dangerous. 

Original Self-Made Men and Women

While his fellow aristocrats gained wealth through the slave trade, Benjamin Franklin made his own fortune through a very successful printing business. 

At the age of 17, he ran away from home to Philadelphia to pursue a career in the printing business. In the 1730s, Franklin found success as an author. Many of his works were published under pseudonyms like “Mrs. Silence Dogood.” 

Today, Franklin is probably best known for his work with electricity and inventions, like the bifocals. He filled his life with scientific studies, experiments, publications, and political work. He is arguably one of the most influential human beings of all time. 

C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker was the first black woman millionaire in America. She was born just a few years after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1867. Her parents were originally slaves but were later freed. Walker was, however, orphaned at just six years old. 

She moved to St. Louis with her child, where she worked and attended night school. She was also active in the National Association of Colored Women. 

She met and married her second husband, Charles J. Walker. The name would then inspire the name of her future empire. Walker began having hair loss problems, so she started working on her own hair growth routine and products. 

She quickly found local success and eventually grew a following. In 1905, with just $1.05 in her pocket, she moved to Colorado. Afterwards, she and Mr. Walker expanded the business with new products, advertising, and mail orders. 

Over the course of twenty years, her business expanded and included salons with branches across the country. At the height of her business, Walker employed over 3,000 people and promoted black female talent. She was also heavily involved in philanthropy. 

In 1919, she died in her home and is remembered for being a pioneer in the world of black entrepreneurship. 

Is Modern Bootstrapping a Myth?

Bootstrapping as a term is now often used sarcastically and has really taken back on the original meaning by younger generations. Upward socioeconomic mobility is becoming increasingly more difficult. Even people who are seen as “self-made” are claiming that it’s largely a myth—that mere hard work is not a replacement for having the resources you need. 

However, one example of modern-day bootstrapping is Spanx, created by Sarah Blakely. She still owns 100% of her own company. 

Today’s Successful Bootstrappers

Even today, there are tons of successful companies that got their start by bootstrapping. It may be uncommon, but it’s nowhere near impossible. 

Mailchimp

If you’ve ever tried to email a large group of people, there’s a good chance you’ve utilized Mailchimp’s services. Stemming from Atlanta, Georgia, this company provides email and marketing services for small businesses, and it just sold for $12 billion. 

What started as a side project for its two founders has now made them billions. 

GoPro

This company makes small, personal cameras—you’ve likely seen videos taken with GoPros of people barreling down mountains on skis or racing over white water rapids. Believe it or not, the owner initially funded the company by selling homemade belts made from beads and shells out of his van. 

Since then, GoPro has become remarkably successful and basically cornered the market.

Patagonia

A favorite of wilderness lovers everywhere, Patagonia actually started out of a store that founder Yvon Chouinard built in his parent’s backyard. He would sell climbing gear from there and the trunk of his car. 

Flash forward to today, and Chouinard’s worth has reached over a billion, and Patagonia is a household name. Throughout all this, he’s maintained his commitment to doing what’s best for the environment. 

How to Bootstrap Successfully

Upward mobility has become increasingly difficult in America over the last 50 years. College has become exponentially more expensive, and the idea of owning a home is becoming more like a fantasy than a reality. 

That said, there are some things that you can do that will give you an advantage in life. There’s a reason that so many startups are considered prime examples of bootstrapping and why investors and employees alike will believe in them enough to go all in. 

Upgrading Yourself

There are alternatives to a traditional college education that are much more affordable. Community colleges can provide quality education at a fraction of the cost and usually have more flexible class times for those that work. 

If you’re dead set on going to a university for a Bachelor’s degree, community college will provide you the prerequisites necessary for a fraction of the cost. One of the biggest advantages to starting with junior college is the lower risk.

Failing or dropping out of a single class at a traditional university can cost thousands. Community college is far more forgiving to your wallet, and it allows you to experiment more with what you’d like to study. 

Trade schools are another underrated alternative. Vocations like electrical work, plumbing, and welding are far more lucrative than many would imagine. And the work in those types of fields is very reliable. There will always be a need for those skills. 

Other skills can be learned in your free time with free resources online. There are all kinds of tutorials and instructional videos on computer programs that many modern jobs require that you know, like Microsoft Office. 

Start a Business From Scratch

Starting a self-sustaining business from nothing is possible. There are certainly challenges, but you can overcome them. One way to get funding is crowdfunding on sites like Kickstarter. And in the age of the internet, advertising is basically free with strategic use of social media platforms. 

You can start an entire online business from the comfort of your home with skills in content creation and editing—or even by working with tools like Python. Big things have small beginnings. Your future business or employment plans are entirely based on your foundational experience and knowledge. 

Starting small and building on smaller successes is how every self-made person has achieved success—it’s the most important component. It all starts with that first sale or first internship, and it’s important to ask for help along the way. 

In terms of business, all of the financial risk of starting a business is on the founder when bootstrapping. A bootstrapped company will likely use the entrepreneur’s personal savings, which can be one of the advantages and disadvantages of bootstrapping. 

While there’s more risk involved with the bootstrap method, the founder also maintains equity and full control over their company—which is obviously one of the advantages of bootstrapping. You can also funnel future investments back into the business. At a later stage, you might reach out for other resources like venture capital, but at the moment, it’s all on you, the bootstrap entrepreneur. 

The Final Pull

Bootstrapping has had a checkered history between generations. It was first a joke, then an admirable pursuit. Some have used the resources available to them to achieve monumental success, and some claim that the very idea of bootstrapping is fictional. 

No matter what, there are always ways to improve your situation regardless of how some may feel about the concept—a bootstrap operation may be well within your reach. 

 

 

Sources:

Opinion |Pull Yourself Up by Bootstraps? Go Ahead, Try It | New York Times

Benjamin Franklin | Britannica

Madam CJ Walker | History.com

What Is a Workation?

Workation simply means working and vacationing at the same time. It can also be interpreted as adding leisurely elements to your work. This idea is usually with either people who work remotely or managers and senior staff that have the privilege of being able to take work on the go.  

Top Five Places to Visit for a Workation

Wouldn’t you rather be writing reports on a warm, sandy beach than your office or room? Work doesn’t always have to be underneath fluorescent lights and a cubicle. With the rise in popularity of remote work, traveling while still fulfilling your job’s duties has never been easier.  

Cabin in the Woods

The idea of sipping on a fresh cup of coffee while overlooking a lush forest is no longer reserved exclusively for writers. As long as you check to make sure the place you rent has a secure internet connection ahead of time, you’re golden. 

Cabins in relatively remote places with trees and rivers promote tranquility and focus. There won’t be any cars or people to distract you from your work. All you’ll hear is the rushing of the river and birds chirping. 

Imagine tending to a fire and roasting marshmallows while checking your email. Fresh air will do you good and allow you to concentrate more easily. It’s in our nature to feel good and have better blood flow when we hear the sound of water. Being near a river will help with that immensely. 

While working remotely in a cabin, it’s important to have a designated space for working. Having a separate room or patio altogether would be ideal. However, don’t be afraid to migrate around the property if you’re feeling stuck. 

Being in a cabin has an unexpected benefit; exercise. You’re probably going to be in for a workout in more ways than one. Keeping active is a great way to keep your energy up. Every hour or so, go out for a quick walk. Maybe chop up some firewood for later that night.

Tropical Resorts

Perhaps it’s time to get away from the cities and suburbs. Reading reports while sending emails at a resort in Mexico or Hawaii might be just the thing you need. Getting sun isn’t just fun and relaxing. We need natural sunlight on a regular basis to stay healthy physically and mentally. 

Getting into a bathing suit and taking the laptop to the beach or pool will help you feel less lethargic or isolated. Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of fun at the bar. Order yourself a virgin drink, like a margarita or pina colada. 

If you stay at a hotel, try to get a room that’s high and has a great view. You might as well enjoy the view of a beach and boats passing by if you’re going to work in the room. If you don’t already live in a tropical climate, these areas of the world will be a good change of pace. 

Bed and Breakfasts

There are small towns with so much to offer sprinkled throughout the country. If you’re looking to escape the bustling of big city life but don’t want to travel very far, a bed and breakfast is right up your alley. 

Bed and breakfasts are great for stimulating local economies and historic preservation. Most B&Bs are older buildings that are typically decorated and preserved in older styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

They are focused on coziness and comfort first and foremost. In contrast to normal hotels, bed and breakfasts pay special attention to your experience and accommodations. Usually, each room in a B&B is unique. Part of the fun is choosing your room beforehand. 

Most hotels have typical meals available, but some don’t serve food at all. B&Bs take pride in their homestyle food, especially the breakfast. And it better be good, considering it’s in the name of the business. 

Lots of these B&Bs are located in towns with great boutique shops and mom-and-pop restaurants. Some of these towns are better at keeping big food chains out with local regulations than others. 

Big Cities

You may already live and work in a small town or more isolated areas of the country, so a workation in a busy city could be fun. New York City is a real treat in so many ways. The city is known for some of the most amazing food, sights, and sheer density. 

Currently, there are over 26,000 sit-down restaurants in the city and even more street food vendors. A fun idea, if the weather permits, is to work outside in Central Park. Grabbing a New York hotdog from a street cart or a classic slice of pizza is the perfect complement to your workflow. 

Another great place that can be fun to work in is one of the thousands of independent cafes. Be prepared for high prices, though. New York City has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

Try to find cafes that have rooftop views of the city. Imagine how jealous your coworkers will be at video conferences when they see the Empire State building behind you. Other cities, like San Francisco, can definitely offer views and amazing restaurants. 

However, San Francisco has other benefits that New York City can’t claim to have. Take your laptop to the Redwoods just outside the city. Cell phone and internet services may be spotty or even not available at all here, though. 

It can get a little overwhelming being in a big, loud city like San Francisco. Taking a walk in a beautiful forest and finding a spot to sit down and get some work done can help you refocus. You might end up finding out the city’s too distracting. 

Home, Sweet Home

Sometimes all you need for a workation is to simply add elements of a vacation while at home. There’s no packing involved, no traveling, and a lot fewer expenses. There are some things that sound like a good idea, but you should probably avoid them. 

Do not work in bed. While working from home, it’s incredibly tempting to wake up, roll over, grab the laptop off the nightstand, and start working. This practice can turn into a bad habit with potentially serious consequences. 

When you work in bed, it’s extremely comfortable, but you may end up messing with your sleep quality and patterns. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary that protects you from stimuli and stress to promote good sleep. 

Adding something potentially stressful, like your work, to that environment will start to make you associate where you sleep with stress and activity. This can have effects like not being able to get to sleep and staying asleep. 

If you have an outdoor patio that you want to work on, add some things to make it more comfortable. Add decorative lighting and footrests to keep your feet up on. Play atmospheric and relaxing music at a low volume. 

Mobile Workstation Essentials

There are a handful of accessories you can add to your workstation that will make you wonder how you were able to work without them. Ergonomics tend to suffer when you travel away from a designated office space with all of your favorite accouterments. Here are some things to help you on your workation.  

Headphones

One of the most important tools in a mobile workstation is something you probably already own; a set of headphones. Wireless buds are crucial to be able to somewhat privately conduct video calls and listen to music while working

If you don’t have a pair of quality, noise-canceling headphones, you’re missing out. Not only are they great for blocking out annoying noises an airplane makes, but they also help your focus when at your workation destination. 

If you can’t escape big city noises, a pair of these kinds of headphones will almost completely block out those distractions. If you’re taking a workation at home and have kids around, throw these headphones on, and you’ll be teleported to another dimension of tranquility. 

You’re probably going to be wearing these headsets for many hours at a time, so the lighter the headphones, the better. Your neck will thank you in the long run. Heavier headphones usually squeeze harder to your head to stay up, and that can cause discomfort and headaches.

Ergonomic Assistance

If you’re taking your laptop on the go, a fantastic addition to it would be an angled laptop stand. These products fold flat and hardly take up any room in a bag. They not only raise your screen higher but also provide a more ergonomic angle for your wrists. 

Having a raised screen will encourage more comfortable sitting positions for long work periods. The last thing you want flaring up on a workation is carpal tunnel syndrome. Angled laptop stands reduce the odds of that happening significantly. 

Casual Work Life

Balancing your work life with pleasure is a difficult task, especially when traveling. Take the time to think about how you work and what kinds of things can distract you too easily. This will inform the type of workation that will be best for you. 

 

 

Sources:

Why Trees Can Make You Happier | Greater Good Magazine

Muir Woods National Monument | US National Park Service

The best laptop stands in 2021 | NBC News

How To Start Wholesaling Real Estate: A Step By Step Guide

Wholesaling property is an exciting way to make a lot of money very quickly. There are certainly risks, but this guide will help you figure out how to make sales and get business connections that land you good deals. 

What Is Wholesaling Real Estate?

Wholesaling real estate is a strategy that some investors use to make money in the relative short term. It’s important to note that it doesn’t follow the same principles as retail wholesaling, either. 

Basically, an investor will find a property, often a distressed one, that’s for sale, and make a contract with the seller to purchase it. However, instead of taking on the property themselves or making renovations, the way that someone flipping property would, they simply find another buyer, and charge them more than what they contracted with the seller. The wholesaler keeps the difference in sale prices and thus makes a profit. 

Finding a Property to Wholesale

Finding houses and other types of property is particularly difficult right now, based on market trends. Right now, the housing market is appreciating at a rapid pace. There are more buyers than there are sellers, so finding property is more difficult than ever.  

Strategy

Properties that are in desperate need of repairs are the most desirable when it comes to wholesaling. There are two types of agents; buying agents and listing agents. Listing agents are the people who put the house up for sale and publicize it on sites like Zillow. 

Buying agents are the people who help those who are looking to actually buy the property. Typically, both of these types of agents would collect about 3% commission when working together in helping two parties sell and buy a property. 

When looking for a distressed property for sale, it’s best to contact the seller directly without using a buying agent. This is called dual agency. Under this circumstance, the selling agent will get twice the commission if your offer is accepted. 

The selling agent is now much more inclined to give you a better deal on the property because that agent’s commission just got doubled no matter what. The selling agent is, in a sense, working for your interests now. 

This strategy will facilitate a foundation for future relationships with selling agents. They will eventually start to reach out to you with property listings because they want the double commission. Sometimes, listing agents will even let you know of future listings ahead of when they will be officially listed.   

Sellers Who Are Motivated

One of the types of sellers to look for are estate heirs. These are people who inherited a property but don’t actually want to keep it. These people likely already have homes themselves, or they can’t afford the taxes on the newly inherited home. 

Absentee owners are people who own properties but don’t actually maintain or even occupy the property. These types of owners are distinguished from active owners by being very hands-off and are much more likely to be motivated to sell. 

Properties that have liens attached to them have owners that are likely trying to get out from under debt. They see selling the property as a quick way of getting the funds necessary to pay off their debts. 

Foreclosures are public record, and many areas even offer lists of them. The reason they can be bought for so cheap is that they are being sold by the lender, and they only make a profit from any sale. Their goal is to simply recuperate the costs of the failed loan and then some.  

Making an Offer

It’s important to understand the local market of the property you are looking to acquire. It’s not all about paperwork and negotiations. You also need to strengthen your relationship with potential sellers.

Transparency

If you attempt to go about negotiations and offers with sellers in a way that seems dishonest, you’ll likely have your offer declined and damage your reputation. Selling agents are people just like you, and it’s best to be as transparent as possible with them. 

Take care in explaining exactly what your intentions are and discuss what your process will look like. If done right, you will foster a lucrative business relationship with many selling agents that love working with you because it will benefit both of you. 

Teamwork

There are three other parties that you need to have involved in the process; an appraiser, a contractor, and a title company. These parties will help assist you in making the process not only easier but much more lucrative. 

Appraiser

An appraiser determines the value of a home by examining the quality of the property and making sure that everything is up to code and safe. Appraisers know where and what to look for on properties. They can point out things you might not know to think about. 

They will perform a room-by-room walkthrough of the home and inspect for damage, quality of construction, and possible local code violations that need to be amended. The appraiser’s assessment can be used to leverage a better deal when negotiating a price. 

Depending on the state you live in, an appraisal can cost anywhere between $200 and $400. It might be tempting to skip out on this part of the process altogether, but it’s not a good idea. Without a professional appraisal, you’re basically going into the sale blind. 

Homes can look great on the surface, but who knows how many problems could be lying just underneath? Appraisers can point out things that may end up making the value of the property much less than what you were looking to sell it for. 

Contractor

A contractor can also inspect the property and assess what repairs or changes are necessary. The contractor will also be able to generate an estimate for the needed work. This estimate will inform your selling price later. 

Always check your contractor’s history and follow up on previous work that they have done. The internet makes it earlier than ever to find reviews to ensure you’re getting a realistic estimate. 

Title Company

Title companies analyze the title of the property for liens, defects in the title, and claims of encumbrances. They mostly examine public records. This process can be complicated, though, so it’s best to leave it to a professional. 

These companies ensure you’re actually buying a house legally and in full. If you don’t hire a title company, you could end up buying a property from someone who didn’t fully own it. It’s kind of like scam insurance. 

Finding a Buyer

You can’t sell a property if you can’t find someone willing to buy it. Luckily, there are a number of ways to attract buyers and investors, and most of them will either cost little or no money at all. 

Networking

Go to trade events that promote making business connections to possible investors. Social media is another great tool in your arsenal for connecting with other professionals in a quick, free way.

Starting your own website can also be a great way to attract higher-end buyers as long as it’s done well and is advertised. If you go to trade shows and events, be sure to have the website on your business cards. 

This is also an opportunity to utilize your new connections with selling agents. If you’ve gained their trust, they can provide you with leads and potential investors. They have access to connections that you can possibly tap into.

Closing the Deal

Before discussing a final number on a deal, you need to agree on a finder’s fee for the property sale. Most wholesalers charge anywhere between 5% and 10%. There are two ways to finalize a sale; an assignment of contract and a double close.

Assignment of Contract

These types of contracts are fairly straightforward. You’re basically signing a contract that says you have the right to sell the contract to the buyer for a fee. This is a simple transfer of the rights of contract. 

Double Close

A double close is where you essentially have two separate transactions; one between the wholesaler and the seller and one right after between the wholesaler and the buyer. This method allows you to keep your capital gains secret from the two other parties.  

Closeout

Real estate is a risky market but also lucrative if done properly. The great thing about wholesaling real estate is that you really don’t need a realtor license. You also don’t need a lot of capital to get started. 

Wholesaling has the potential of huge profits in a very short period of time. After you become more established and have the proper connections, you can do this practice many times over very quickly. It may take a few times before you get the hang of it, though. 

There are certainly risks to wholesaling, namely, not being able to find a buyer. Greed is often the biggest killer of deals. If the prices you set are too high, you will struggle to not only find a buyer but also struggle to stay in good standing with selling agents. 

Wholesaling real estate is not a consistent occupation, and there is no guaranteed paycheck. Income and profits are wildly unpredictable, so this type of work is probably best done on the side next to your full-time job.  

 

 

Sources:

Dual Agency In Real Estate | Forbes

Absentee ownership | Britannica

Appraisal Definition | Investopedia