The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau

If you’re a working professional with a 9 to 5 job and are aching to be your own boss, ‘The $100 Startup’ is your book.

Written by Chris Guillebeau, the book is the essential guide to starting and scaling up a low cost business. The book is divided into 3 sections. The first section focuses on finding business ideas and coming up with a business plan. The second one discusses the various low cost promotion strategies one can use to gather customers and publicity. The third section explains how to scale the business up to a large scale corporation. That is it about the structure of the book. Now lets come to essence.

In my opinion, the book is a must have for working professionals looking to start their own business. It is very informative and insightful, but more than that, it is inciting. Reading the book makes you want to quit your job and make a living out of your passion. I started reading it only last week. And since then, I’ve come up with a dozen business ideas I can really see becoming successful. This is the effect it has had on me – now I can’t wait to have a business of my own.

But I wouldn’t ask you to trust my opinion blindly. So go ahead, read the book and tell me what you thought about it. If you don’t have it already, you can buy it from the link below:

Amazon store – The $100 Startup

Tax fraud is robbery.

Tax evasion :  the illegal evasion of taxes by individuals, corporations, and trusts. (According to Wikipedia)

The government provides its citizens with land, security, basic infrastructure and amenities. In return, the government asks for 10-30% of your income so that it can continue providing these services in the future. In simple terms, paying tax is like paying for a commodity. If you want something, you have to pay for it.

If you take something on sale without paying for it, you are robbing it. You are obviously a thief. And socially, robbing is very frowned upon. Educated individuals usually don’t tend to engage in robbery. It is dishonorable for them.

But it pains me to say, a huge chunk of the educated population is indeed involved in robbery.  Despite tax evasion being the plainest form of robbery, many taxpayers cheat on their taxes without an ounce of shame. What this leads to is huge gap in what the government is spending and what it is getting back. After all, a country is primarily an economic establishments. And if it’s incomes are being siphoned off by tax evasion, the country cannot run properly. So tax evasion is a crime against the whole country, and by extension, it is treason.

Despite this plain fact, educated individuals and people from the higher classes of society have developed a habit of tax evasion. It never even occurs to them that what they’re committing is somewhere between robbery and treason.  This bull-headedness angers me, and that is why I am writing this post. Share it to those people who you know are tax evaders. They’re mentally sick and they need your help. And if you are a tax evader yourself, this is what I have to say to you :

You are a petty thief, and the most despicable citizen of the country. You don’t deserve the security, the amenities,the land and the identity that your government provides to you. And congrats on saving some money here some money here and there. It must be a great feeling to perform this kind of economic terrorism. Yes that is what you are, a terrorist. You have stooped down to the lowest level of human cheapness. Congrats again.

How many cooks spoil a broth?

‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ is an adage as old as language itself. But this generalization is too vague for practical purpose. Yes, for some tasks, too many is a definitely a crowd. But for the others, the more the merrier. What we need here is a general principle that can predict the maximum number of people employed for one task without sacrificing efficiency.

So let’s begin by dividing tasks into two categories

  1. Creative tasks – tasks that need original thinking and innovation
  2. Laborious tasks – tasks that need nothing but physical power

These two categories have different requirements and hence need to be addressed differently. After discussing specific cases for each of these categories, we’ll arrive at a general principle in conclusion of this article.

Creative tasks

Creative tasks require brain power. And the brain of an individual is usually more focused than that of a group of people. If you’re able to find the right person to do the job, you won’t need another person to help him.

Small Scale

But this is only if the job at hand is small in scale – such as designing a car engine. One will usually be enough for such tasks but at times, a team will be needed to free him from menial tasks and enable him to focus on thinking out the solution. The team can be kept at a minimum of 5 or 6 people who are also a bit proficient in the required field.

One will usually be enough for such tasks but at times, a team will be needed to free him from menial tasks and enable him to focus on thinking out the solution. The team can be kept at a minimum of 5 or 6 people who are also a bit proficient in the required field.

Large Scale

But for tasks of large scale – such as planning a city – a more populated workforce will be needed. Search as you may, you’ll never find one person equipped with all the knowledge that is needed for every aspect of the project. So every major division of the project will need to be overseen by one individual – the head of that department. A project with 5 major aspects will have 5 head of departments (HODs) working under a chief officer. The Chief Officers will be to co-ordinate between the 5 HODs and ensure a smooth workflow.

So every major division of the project will need to be overseen by one individual – the head of that department. A project with 5 major aspects will have 5 head of departments (HODs) working under a chief officer. The Chief Officer’s prime duty will be to co-ordinate between the 5 HODs and ensure a smooth workflow.

The Chief Officer will be the most experienced and knowledgeable and will specifically have experience in managing large scale projects. The HODs will be experts in their field.  The HODs will decide their staff keeping in mind not to exceed beyond 5 members – out of which 1 will be the personal assistant, 2 will be persons with qualifications in the desired field and the remaining 2 will handle all field work.

Laborious tasks

Tasks that require physical power will need strong and fit individuals. Again in these tasks, numbers are decided by the scale of the task. Small scale tasks such as renovation work of a house will need around 2-4 people for a specific task such as painting or tiling.( if the painting /tiling are to be done for an entire house. If the house is big, several groups of 2-4 people might be needed to be employed depending upon renovation size.

Small Scale

Small scale tasks such as renovation work of a house will need around 2-4 people for a specific task such as painting or tiling.( if the painting /tiling are to be done for an entire house. If the house is big, several groups of 2-4 people might be needed to be employed depending upon renovation size.

And if it is a task that requires small-scale heavy lifting,  a group of 10 people will suffice for all the possible lifting work.

Large Scale

Large scale tasks such as renovating a warship will need several teams to handle each detail. The number of people employed for such scale might range from 100 to 500 depending upon the size of the ship.

Conclusion

The cases I’ve mentioned here are just examples. They’re not to be applied to every similar problem. And while I hope that the numbers in this articles keep inefficiencies at bay, I can be wrong. The answer to ‘How many cooks spoil a broth?’ is not as simple as I thought when I first started writing this article. Now that I think of it, I might need to expand my knowledge a bit more in this direction and then

As of now, it might suffice to say that creative tasks are done efficiently with fewer employed and laborious tasks are better done with more employed.

I might need to expand my knowledge a bit more in this direction and then may be give this article another go.

But why wait? While I do that, let me know anything I missed or tell me what you think is the answer. Write to me at aniketchaughule1@gmail.com or get in touch through my social profiles – links are on the right.

Money: means to an end

History has seen lives go to vain in pursuit of extravagant wealth. Man never ceases to want and the world never ceases to offer. This leads to man’s life spiraling out of control. The question you might want to ask yourself: Is money worth spending my whole life on?

The day your first paycheque comes in hand, you start analyzing yourself economically – How much do I get as opposed to how much time I put in? Then you begin comparing your personal answer to this question with others. But you never stop to really think about what money really is?

It is just a tool to fulfill your wishes. And hence, money shouldn’t be a motive in itself. When one gets enough money to buy something he wished to have, the transaction ough to stop. But it doesn’t. After getting what you want, you start wanting something better. And for something better, you have to earn better. This process repeats endlessly until death, unless stopped. And in the end, on your deathbed, you realize that your passions and your aspirations have been left far behind. All you now have is the exhaustion from running behind the money.

The key principle to understand here is that money is a tool, a means to an end. That is all money should ever be to you. You earn some money, you buy something using that money and you get your happiness from what you bought – not from the money. Although money was a requirement for your happiness, it isn’t the source of your happiness. The things we buy with money are the source of happiness.

So stop running behind money for life and start using it for a change. Don’t keep earning until you die – in-fact retire at an early age and use the money to travel, garner experience from the world. Because the value of your money is only as much as you’ve used it. A billionaire who earns another billion every year is still a beggar if he doesn’t take out time to use that money.

A rich man less travelled is a beggar,

a beggar roamed the world is a king.

Start investing at 20

If we assume that you retire at 50 and you have started investing a percentage of your savings from the age of 20, how will this affect the wealth that you accommodate until retirement?  Let’s go over a scenario wherein you don’t invest your savings and they don’t grow. Let’s call this scenario A.

Scenario A:

Assume savings to be 1,000 $ per year. In a career spanning 30 years, you will accommodate 30,000 $ worth of savings.

Now let’s go over Scenario B wherein you invest your savings in an investment option that offers 10% interest per annum. ( compound interest – as offered by stocks, provident funds etc.)

Scenario B:

If you invest 1000$ every year in stocks at 10 % interest per annum, at the end of 30 years you will have accommodated 198,392.83$  ie. almost 7 times the total amount you invested and also 7 times greater than if you didn’t invest at all (Scenario A). And even if you made just a one-time investment of 1000$, in 30 years you would still end up with 17,449$ ie. 17 times the amount you invested.

With these kinds of results, it would be a crime not to start investing as early as possible. And remember, the more number of years you invest – the more and faster your money grows.

 

 

The Art of CHEAP Buying

We all love a cheaper deal. Getting a product a lower cost than usual increases it’s apparent value. And that is why bargaining came into existence. But negotiating for a lower cost isn’t always necessary to get something at a cheaper rate.

A basic principle of economics says that where the supply is comparatively higher than the demand, services or products are cheaper than normal. For example, if you are thinking of buying crude oil – and you are confused where to buy it from?  You can buy it from the US but it costs 50$ per barrel in the states. That isn’t the best deal. And you’ll probably find a similar rate everywhere else in the world. Except for Saudi Arabia, where the oil is available in plenty. Hence, oil sellers are comparatively higher than those in the US. In the US you would have to compete with other buyers to get a lower price. But in Saudi Arabia, the oil sellers would have to compete with other sellers and hence the prices would be lower. And this is the reason why the rate per oil barrel in Saudi Arabia is 49$ – a complete dollar less than the rate in the US.

This was an example, but this phenomenon can be used for any product, service or commodity you want. If you want cheaper art, buy it from where there are plenty of artists. If you want to buy cheaper electronics, buy them from a country where there are a lot of large-scale electronics factories eg. Taiwan.

Recently, I’ve been looking for musicians for a short film I’m doing. I looked in India and found that the going rate for a 5-minute score was about 100$. That amounts to about 20$ per minute. Then I started looking abroad. I got offers from musicians in the US that were willing to do a score at 5$ per minute. That’s 4 times less than in India. The reason for this is that while there are excellent established musicians in India, there are comparatively few struggling musicians than there are in the US. Hence new musicians in the US are willing to do music at a comparatively lower price so that they can stay ahead of their Indian competition.

If you want to know more about this principle, ask me in the comments or write to me at aniketchaugule1@gmail.com. You can also get in touch on my social profiles. The links are on the right side.

Patience is Profitable ( for all )

The stock markets work on a fairly simple concept. When a stock is bought, its price rises. When it is sold, the price falls *. This is why when you look at the stock price graph of a company, it is never smooth. It rises and falls unpredictably.

This abrupt unpredictability of a stock is a result of people selling their stocks. It is a common tendency in the stock market to buy stocks at a lower price and sell them at a higher one. This transaction causes a profit to the individual investor. But the sold stocks lower the price of the stock causing a decrease in profits for those who are still invested in the stock.  So if the previous seller had never sold his stock for individual profit, everyone including himself would have a potential for higher profits. New investors buying the same stock would increase the stock price further. There would be theoretically no chance of the stock price decreasing. So if everyone bought the same stock without selling it, everyone would maximise their individual profit. No one would incur losses at the hands of unpredictability.

If no one sold any stock or sold it after a long time, the stock market would be the safest bet to park your savings. In reality,  The stock market is actually the riskiest investment exactly because of its unpredictability. Most investors, in reality, do not think of maximising their profit. They think of quickly cashing in as much as they can. In a bid to get very rich very quickly, they lose patience. They sell their stock as soon as they make sizeable profits and hence put a foot on profits of others. This brings us to a lose-lose situation. Those who profit lose out on the bigger profits and those who incur losses, lose out because of the impatience of those who profited.

In conclusion, my point is that if we all are patient together, the more we’ll reap from the stock market. Patience is profitable ( for all )

  • * – This is an over simplification but works well within the scope of this article.