Saturday, November 16, 2013

Doing Business in Italy? How Would You Like to Stay There for Free?

If you are planning on traveling to Italy next week, for business or for pleasure, you may be able to stay for free, in such cities as Rome, Florence, Sardinia, Sicily, and Tuscany. Here's the deal.

It is Barter Week in Italy next week from November 18 to November 24. Do you know how to do construction, gardening, or painting? How about translating to English, teaching English, or teaching a musical instrument? You may be able to trade your services for stays in a Bed and Breakfast.

Bartering with tangible items is also available. A couple B&Bs are looking for books and comic books, and one wants a used Mac book. Others want PC computers. All in exchange for free night's stays.

By the way, some of these places accept barter proposals all year long. When I last checked the website, there were 84 places in Rome. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One and Two Letter Dot Asia Domain Names for Sale

Do you have an Asian oriented website? Or maybe you do a lot of business with Asia? Or you just want to appeal to the Asian market? What better than to have a one letter or two letter dot Asia domain.

Here are a few examples of what's up for sale:

More information is available through Sedo.com. Registration must be done through a .Asia accredited registrar.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Risks to Friends, Family, and Angel Investors in Start-Ups

If you happen to be in New York City on November 8, you may want to check out the Lunch and Learn Series luncheon at the Museum of American Finance. The speaker is Pascal Levensohn with a lecture called 'Blinded by the Light: Risks to Friends, Family, and Angel Investors in Start-Ups'.

The lunch and lecture will be held from 12:30pm to 1:30 pm. The cost is $5 and includes admission to the Museum. The Museum is located at 48 Wall Street in Manhattan. For more information, go to moaf.org.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Famous Quotations of Startup King Timothy Ferriss

The following are famous quotes of Timothy Ferriss, author of 4 Hour Workweek, 4 Hour Body, and 4 Hour Chef, and founder and investor in many startups:

“The fishing is best where the fewest go.”

"Blaming idiots for interruptions is like blaming clowns for scaring children - they can't help it. It's their nature."

"Life doesn't have to be so damn hard."

"Different is better when it is more effective or more fun."

"The collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone is aiming for base hits.”

"For all the most important things, the timing always sucks."

"Eliminate before you delegate."

"I never watch the news."

"It isn't enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box."

"Recapturing the excitement of childhood isn't impossible. In fact, it's required."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Build-A-Business Competition Starts October 1, 2013 with $50,000 Cash Prizes

The Build-A-Business Competition was started four years ago by 4 Hour Workweek's Timothy Ferriss and Shopify's Tobias Lutke, for would-be entrepreneurs interested in starting their own business.

If you are thinking of starting a business selling products, tangible or intangible, this Competition is for you. First prize if $50,000. In addition to the prize, many of the entrepreneurial winners ended up generating sales in the millions.

Here is a list of the mentors:

  • Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post)
  • Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks, Shark Tank)
  • Daymond John (FUBU, Shark Tank)
  • Chase Jarvis (Photographer, Director)
  • Tina Eisenberg (Swissmiss, CreativeMornings)
  • Gary Vaynerchuk (Wine Library, Vaynermedia)
  • Selita Ebanks (Victoria’s Secret Angel, Cause Marketer)
  • Lil’ Jon (DJ & Producer)
  • Amber Mac (TV Host, Author)
  • Tim Ferriss (Angel Investor, Bearclaw Eater, Author: The 4-Hour Workweek)

    For more info, go here.

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    Exclusive Interview with Jim Wang - Founder of the Bargaineering.com Blog

    Readers who are interested in starting up their own blog should pay attention. The following interview was graciously provided by Jim Wang, founder of Bargaineering.com which he started initially to keep track of financial information for himself and eventually ended up selling the blog for millions, according to SEC filings. He now shows others how to be successful bloggers through his latest blog, Microblogger.com.

    1. What made you decide to write your Bargaineering blog in the first place and when was your first post?

    I just started working my first job after graduating college and I felt like I needed a better understanding of personal finance. It was about the time Wordpress was getting popular and so I felt like I could use it to keep an online journal of everything I learned. My first post was in January of 2005 and my goals with the site were to write down the things that I learned as I was learning them - a riff on the idea that you truly understand a subject if you're able to teach it.

    2. How was your Bargaineering blog '"hosted"? Blogger? Wordpress? How did you make that decision?

    It was a self-hosted Wordpress installation, I think that's the best option that gives you the most flexibility. Blogger and hosted platforms are convenient but I prefer having complete control, even if it means a little more work. Also, there are some sexy plugins that really provide a lot of extra functionality.

    3. How many articles did you write each month and how much time did you spend writing each article?

    At the peak I was writing three a day on every weekday with just one "Your Take" type of community conversation post on Friday. I probably spent an hour or so on each post. I type quickly. :)

    4. Did you ever use "ghostwriters" for your articles? If so, how did you find them and how costly were they?

    I never used ghostwriters. Around the time I sold the site, I hired a few freelancers who write articles but never hired ghostwriters. I wanted the freelancers to provide a different voice, give the site more breadth, but I feel like my name should only go on my own writing.

    5. In the last couple years, I noticed that there have been several other writers for your blog. When and how did that begin?

    I sought them out for a different voice. Interestingly enough they have all been women, which was inadvertent, but it makes sense - it's a different voice and perspective.

    6. Would you say that Bargaineering has a target audience, and did you have a target audience in mind when you first started blogging? I never set out with a target market in mind but I always wrote about subjects that interested me. So by default my target demographic was young professional and slowly morphed to not as young and starting a family, buying a house, etc.

    7. As a follow-up to that question, how did you decide what to write about for each new article?

    It matched what I was interested in so it's hard to distill how I decided what I'd write about. Sometimes I would do some research on why subjects were popular but with 3 articles a day, I relied on my gut.

    8. When did you start having ads on your blog and how did you determine what type of ads you should run?

    I started putting them on early, probably earlier than I needed to, but I was just learning the space and trying everything at least once. I used Adsense.

    9. Talk about the logo. Did you design it, or did you have someone else create it, and how important do you think a unique logo is?

    The cartoon logo didn't appear for several years and I hired a cartoonist to make it, with my vision in mind. I think a logo is important for branding purposes but the site was successful before we had a logo (before the logo it was just text that said Bargaineering).

    10. How about pictures? Do you think they are necessary for every blog post? Did you buy them, get free ones, or take your own?

    I like pictures because they catch the eye. Walls of text are difficult for me to read and just having a picture at the top can really make a post stand out. I used Flickr and images that are allowed on commercial sites.

    11. Now, a couple of questions about blog management. Are you concerned about losing viewers by having several outbound links in your articles that direct readers to other websites?

    Not at all, I link to resources that add value to the article and I'm not stingy about linking out. Readers aren't prisoners, they can always leave by closing the browser.

    12. How do you deal with spam comments, such as the ones that say "You have such a wonderful blog and check out my website at ….com"?

    Mark as spam and move on, usually Akismet catches those value-less comments so I rarely have to deal with it.

    13. Can you give us an idea of your growth of visitors over the years?

    At the site's peak it was serving 600,000+ unique visitors a month and that was approximately 5 years into the site's existence.

    14. In regards to the sale of your blog, did you approach them or did they approach you?

    I worked with an investment bank to seek out potential buyers but there were a lot of companies poking around in the space. Before Bargaineering, several blogs had been acquired by several businesses.

    15. Is there anything else you are allowed to say or feel comfortable about saying about the sale of Bargaineering.com, other than what readers can see in SEC filings?

    I'm afraid I can't go into those details.

    16. Tell us a little about your latest blog, Microblogger.com, what it covers and what your goals are for it.

    I spent 8.5 years building Bargaineering and in that time I've learned a lot. I've also met a ton of great people and I often answer the same questions about blogging, how to grow a site, how to generate income, how to this, that, and the other thing. I thought it would be fun to build a resource for bloggers that would answer those questions, and more, while still being a creative outlet for me. More importantly, I think there's value in another blog about blogging, especially when it's written by someone who has had a successful exit. My goal is to have fun, help people, and earn some income if that's in the cards.

    Thank you Jim for your time and your willingness to provide this enlightening information to potential and current bloggers.

    No investment recommendation nor any investment promotion is expressed or implied by either the publisher, the interviewer, the interviewee, or any of the above mentioned websites.

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Former CEO of Citigroup Vikram S. Pandit Invests in Start-Up CommonBond

    The startup CommonBond, takes money from investors and loans it out to MBA students, at lower rates than the student loans of the government. The company also refinances existing loans. The company just raised $100 million, with equity financing headed by equity financing was led by Tribeca Venture Partners.

    One of the major backers of the start-up is Vikram S. Pandit, former chief executive officer of Citigroup.

    MBA graduates can get a fixed rate of 5.99 percent on their loans when they consolidate their debt.

    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    The Company that Prints Eyeglasses

    If you are a wearer of glasses, have you ever noticed that they never fit perfectly at first, they are either too tight or to lose, and they always need adjustments. And even if adjustments are made, the eyeglasses may still not fit perfectly.

    Well now, a San Francisco based company has come up with a solution. The company, called Protos, will actually print your eyeglasses, based on your face, your head, your nose, and your eyes. The glasses are created using 3D technology.

    The company is is currently going through crowdfunding to raise money. Several of the crowdfulding levels include various choices of custom fit frames and lenses. You don't have to wear prescription lenses to utilize the company's services, you could get a custom fit set of sunglasses.

    Check out the video below for more information on the company.

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Another Contest for Small Businesses

    This prize for this contest isn't as big as the $250,000 contest, but it might be worth looking into. It is the Land's End Small Business VIP contest.

    The grand prize includes all of the following:

  • 4 round trip tickets and hotel accommodations in Madison, WI.
  • A visit to Lands’ End headquarters
  • A Badger Football game.
  • 4 tickets to the Inc. 500|5000 Conference in Washington, DC.
  • 1 year subscription to Inc. Magazine

    You can check it out here.

  • Friday, July 19, 2013

    How to Get $250,000 for Your New Business that You Don't Have to Pay Back

    Miller Lite is sponsoring the Miller Lite Tap the Future contest for entrepreneurs, that will award a $250,000 grant to the winning small business. You will need to submit your business idea and be prepared to present your business to Daymond John from ABC’s Shark Tank and other experts.

    There are also several second and third prizes. Here are the eligibility restrictions:

  • All members of the Team are 21 years or older as of the application date.
  • All members of the Team are legal U.S. residents of the United States.
  • The business/business plan cannot be a franchise.
  • The business/business plan cannot be a 501-c3 non-profit organization.
  • The business must be a U.S. entity located within the United States or Washington D.C.
  • A business/Team is not eligible if the business/Team or any owner/member of the business/Team was awarded a business grant from certain other contests.

    Deadline is August 1st to get your application in, so get it in now, and may the best business win.

  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Crowdfunding for Movies ~ Become an Armchair Motion Picture Producer

    There's No Business Like Show Business

    Here is a new one I haven't seen before. A company called The Movie Fund has a site that allows investors to invest in movies and allows filmmakers to get their production funded through crowdfunding.

    According to the company:

    The Movie Fund works with the leading producers, directors, agents,actors, film companies & distributors in Hollywood and our founding partners have produced films such as Die Hard 2, Lara Croft, Demolition Man and Predator.

    A Different Type of Crowdfunding

    The business operates similar to Kickstarter in that filmmakers can publisize their upcoming movie projects, and offer incentives to investors. Invesors may even get a speaking role in a movie, along with invitations to premiers and parties.

    Potential for Return on Investment

    The difference between The Movie Fund and Indie Go-Go or Kickstarter is that the funds become immediately available to the filmmaker in order to keep their motion picture on track. In addition, the investors can actually make a return on their investment.

    Friday, July 12, 2013

    SEC Now Allows Startups to Advertise their Fundraising

    On July 10, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to allow the general solicitation of investments by companies. This means that startups can now advertise their investment fundraising program.


    There are some additional restrictions in place. The SEC stated that "the submission of written general solicitation materials to the Commission no later than the date of first use of such materials."

    This decision follows the SEC’s adoption of rule amendments to implement Section 201 of the JOBS Act by removing the prohibition on general solicitation in certain exempt offerings.


    However, the SEC was quick to point out that "the General Solicitation Rule adopted today fails to address the risks to investors arising from the faulty process followed in implementing Section 201 of the JOBS Act."

    Positive Effects

    These changes could do two things for startups. The rulings could spawn the growth of existing startups, and even bail out some startups that are short o cash. In addition, more startups may be created, knowing that the ease of obtaining capital will be greater. This should create more jobs, and might even bail out the economy.

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    Los Angeles Shutting Down Startups Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar

    According to a recent article at curbed.com, the City of Los Angeles is going after the unregulated taxi type startups in the area. These include Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.

    The majority of the people who drive the vehicles are bit part actors or aspiring actors, or people trying to break into show business.

    The Winklevoss Twins Latest Startup

    First, the Winklevoss brothers started Facebook (according to them). Now the famous twins, who have been heavily involved in bitcoins, are having their own IPO.

    The brothers recently filed what is called an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the most commonly used form for a company that wants to go public. They have created the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, which will issue Winklevoss Bitcoin Shares, which represent units of fractional undivided beneficial interest in and ownership of the Trust.

    Proceeds received by the Trust from the issuance and sale of Baskets, including the Seed Baskets and the Shares, will consist of Bitcoin deposits. Pursuant to the Trust Agreement, during the life of the Trust such proceeds will only be (1) held by the Trust, (2) distributed to Authorized Participants in connection with the redemption of Baskets, or (3) disbursed to pay the Sponsor’s Fee or sold as needed to pay the Trust’s expenses not assumed by the Sponsor.

    There are almost 60 risks listed in the Risk section.

    The registration statement makes fascinating reading.

    Friday, June 28, 2013

    Free Book: Choose Yourself! by James Altucher

    James Altucher, in case you didn't know, was the founder of Stockpickr.com, which he started for almost no money and sold around a year later for about $10,000,000. He also has an extremely popular blog, JamesAltucher.com. His latest book, Choose Yourself!, was recently published, and is unlike any other success-oriented book you have read. The subtitle says it all: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream.

    Altucher has very radical ideas about college (a waste of money and time), employment (it's all over unless you have your own business), retirement (forget about it), and government (read the book). It is very informative and an enjoyable read. He describes how to choose yourself from a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual standpoint. These are his own opinions of course, and what has worked for him.

    However, if his book doesn't help you (or even if it does), you can't beat the price ... free. Here is how it works. You can buy the book, either the paperback edition or the Kindle edition. Then you get a copy of the receipt along with secondary verification that you read the book (such as taking a picture of yourself reading the book), and email it to him at the email address on page iv of the book (that's the page number on the printed edition, the Kindle will have it in the very first section). Then he refunds your money.

    Basically he is paying you to read his book. A very innovative way of getting your book distributed.

    Thursday, June 27, 2013

    Startup Quote of the Week: 'Running a startup is like being punched in the face'

    Running a startup is like being punched in the face repeatedly, but working for a large company is like being waterboarded.

    - Paul Graham, co-founder Y Combinator

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Startup Quote for the Week

    "Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once."

    - Drew Houston, Dropbox

    How to Bypass Long Security Lines at the Airport

    Here is an interesting start-up (actually a company bought out of bankruptcy recently) that provides a great service for start-up founders who do a lot of traveling, and a great service for anyone who travels, for that matter.

    The company is called CLEAR, which gives flyers the ability to just swipe their finger and CLEARcard to bypass the long lines at airport security. What a great idea!

    You do need to register in person after you sign up with your passport, but once that is done, you are all set to go.

    Would you like to get two months of service for free? Click on this special link:


    The following is a video from the company's website:

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    Need a Free Non-Disclosure Agreement?

    Many start-up businesses have information they want to remain confidential. But from time to time, information must be shared with outsiders; for example if you hire an independent contractor or enter into a joint venture with another business. In these cases, businesses use a non-disclosure agreement to protect their information.

    A non-disclosure agreement is a legal contract between several parties that establishes the confidentiality of shared knowledge or materials and restricts third party access. In lay terms, business associates use non-disclosure agreements to make sure neither party is allowed to speak about or divulge covered aspects of the agreement to anyone else.

    Non-disclosure agreements are generally used when two or more businesses or individuals chose to conduct some sort of business together or must share confidential information. In these cases it's important to make sure all privilege information is only shared with the appropriate people.

    Need access to a free non-disclosure agreement? A blank sample is available from Harvard Business School here in the form of a pdf file.

    Saturday, April 6, 2013

    How Alley NYC and Rackspace Are Helping Startups

    Check out this video of Alley NYC CEO Jason Saltzman and Rackspace CTO John Engates talking about how they are helping startups in New York City.

    Micro Interview with James Altucher

    James Altucher is an American hedge fund manager, author and blogger. He has founded or cofounded several companies, including Reset Inc. and StockPickr. His writing has been frequently published by a number of media outlets, including The Financial Times, TheStreet.com, TechCrunch and The Huffington Post. He has also published several books on investing. He maintains a blog at JamesAltucher.com where he discusses his experiences as an entrepreneur and his theories for success and happiness.

    James Altucher is an advocate of the idea that Americans shouldn't send their kids to college and that they should never own a home. He believes that if one keeps physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy, then all success can be found. Currently, he serves as Managing Director of Formula Capital. He has investments in Buddy Media, bit.ly, Ticketfly, CTera, Cancer Genetics, and several other companies.

    This micro interview was conducted through Twitter.

    Question: Top three industries to start a small business?

    Altucher: internet marketing, social media marketing, shared economy search engine

    Question: What is "shared economy search engine" in this response?

    Altucher: i'd like to find a house and car and ping pong table in Miami in August. BAM! One site and i get all.

    Altucher has several books worth reading that would be useful for entrepreneurs and those involved in or considering startups, including I Was Blind But Now I See: Time to Be Happy, How to Be the Luckiest Person Alive!, and Faq Me.

    A micro interview is a very short concise to-the-point interview with no more than two or three questions and answers.

    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    Free Money for Developing Apps

    Have an idea for an app, but not sure if it will be profitable? Or maybe you need additional funding for developing the app? Or you've funded your app development by borrowing against a credit card and you want to make sure you can pay it off?

    Well, now you don't have to worry. According to a recent article at T3KD, Microsoft is offering up to $2,000 for developing apps for Windows 8 or for Windows Phone 8 platforms.

    There are some restrictions. You need to live in the US and must be over 18 years old. Other conditions apply. The offer ends June 30, 2013. This offer is called “Keep the Cash“.

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    The MeCam Nanocopter

    Have you heard of the MeCam? It is a tiny camera mounted on to a nanocopter. It is controlled by voice and has a recommended MSRP of $49. This invention was developed by a San Francisco company, Always Innovating.

    According to the company website:

    We have introduced hardware to Social Networking and the result is the MeCam: a self video nano copter to point-and-shoot yourself. "MeCam" videos can be uploaded to Social platforms such as Youtube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter. Today people capture and share their photos and videos using archaic methods and with mixed results. The MeCam launches from the palm of a hand and hovers instantly. The MeCam streams video to an Android or iOS phone or tablet. Videos can then be easily shared on social media platforms. The MeCam doesn't need any remote control: the user can control the device with voice commands or uses the follow-me feature.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Company Raising $31 Million through Kickstarter

    Here is a startup with lofty goals. A British company called GNUT is offering a project called Open Source Death Star with a gold of $31 million. A pledge of £10 will entitle you to have your name etched onto the underneath of one of the MSE-6-series repair droids used on the finished station.

    They already have 859 backers at the time this article was written raising £157,881 so far. The stretch goal is $850,000,000,000,000,000.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Top 50 Crowdfunding Web Sites

    The following are websites from around the world involved in crowdfunding, listed in alphabetical order.














































    If you are aware of any other crowdfunding sites, please post in comments.

    Regulators are Going After Crowdfunding Websites

    According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, regulators are taking a close look at the crowdfunding web sites at are popping up in anticipation of the more lenient rules regarding the raising of investments from average investors, which would be permitted under the new JOBS Act bill, also known as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.

    Based on the research by the North American Securities Administrators Association, there are over 9,000 domain names with the word 'crowdfunding' in the name. “Investors soon can expect to be inundated with crowdfunding pitches, legitimate or otherwise,” said Heath Abshure, NASAA President and Arkansas Securities Commissioner.

    The web sites they are referring to are not the Kickstarter or Indiegogo sites, which provides some sort of benefits to donors, such as early products or invitations to contributor parties. These are sites that are being set up in anticipation of the investing side of crowdfunding.

    According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Title III of the JOBS Act amends Section 4 of the Securities Act to create a new exemption for offerings of “crowdfunded” securities. Specifically, the JOBS Act amends Section 4 of the Securities Act to exempt issuers from the requirements of Section 5 of that Act when they offer and sell up to $1 million in securities, provided that individual investments do not exceed certain thresholds and the issuer satisfies other conditions in the JOBS Act, some of which will require rulemaking by the SEC.

    One of these conditions is that issuers use the services of an intermediary that is either a broker registered with the SEC or a “funding portal” registered with the SEC.

    Funding portals. Title III of the JOBS Act adds new Section 3(h) to the Exchange Act which requires the SEC to exempt, conditionally or unconditionally, an intermediary operating a funding portal from the requirement to register with the SEC as a broker. The intermediary, though, would need to register with the SEC as a funding portal and would be subject to the SEC’s examination, enforcement, and rulemaking authority. The funding portal also must become a member of a national securities association that is registered under Section 15A of the Exchange Act.

    A funding portal is defined as a crowdfunding intermediary that does not: (i) offer investment advice or recommendations; (ii) solicit purchases, sales, or offers to buy securities offered or displayed on its website or portal; (iii) compensate employees, agents, or others persons for such solicitation or based on the sale of securities displayed or referenced on its website or portal; (iv) hold, manage, possess, or otherwise handle investor funds or securities; or (v) engage in such other activities as the SEC, by rule, determines appropriate.

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    £30 Million Being Given to Young People for Start-ups

    The British government is providing loans to people under the ago of 30 to startup their own business. £30 million will be distributed over the next three years. The program has proved extremely popular since it was implemented in September of last year.

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    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    Brooklyn is the New Hip Start-up Center

    According to a recent BBC article, Brooklyn is the new hotbed of New York's startups. The New York borough is transitioning from big business to new entrepreneurial companies.

    One of the biggest reasons for this growth is the low lease rates for commercial and office space. The Brooklyn Flea has also been a great source of entrepreneurial startups.