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Amazon Gets Rid of Jobs, Workers Not Getting Raises + How to Get Your Feet Wet as an Entrepreneur

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The unemployment rate is down but who knows how long that will last! Amazon is experimenting with cashierless checkout technology designed for bigger stores, reports The Wall Street Journal. The technology — which tracks what customers pick up off shelves and charges them automatically upon exit — is being tested in a space formatted like a big store in Seattle, as although it works well in smaller Amazon Go convenience stores, it may not work in spaces with higher ceilings and many products. If the technology can work in a bigger space, Amazon will likely roll it out in Whole Foods stores, per the report. This is good news from a convenience standpoint but what about the workers that are being displaced?

Add to the fact that workers are not seeing their wages increase it may be time to start a side-hustle or become an entrepreneur. According to the Washington Post, about 14% of American workers were paid the exact same amount this year to the dollar as they were last year. In spite of a wave of buoyant economic metrics, including an unemployment rate of just 3.7%, U.S. wage growth has remained persistently lukewarm. The difficulties encountered by the 1 in 7 workers who’ve had their earnings stall over the past year are significant because the cost of living rises each year, effectively turning zero-wage increases into declines.

With job uncertainty looming it is time to sharpen up our skills, but it’s always a good idea to get your feet wet first before you fully jump in. As always, we are here to help. Here are some ways to get you started as an entrepreneur:

1. Sell your good-quality, unwanted items.

Since one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, consider selling unwanted items on eBay, Craigslist or other similar sites—it is a great way to begin learning about entrepreneurship. You simply have to take all the stuff that you have laying around the house that you don’t need, and sell it. You’ll learn how to price your items, ship them, and many times how to negotiate.

2. Sell freebies from Craigslist.

Continuing in that same vein…what if you want to keep everything you have? Or what if you just don’t have anything to sell? Well, selling freebies from Craigslist is a great alternative. Just look for free stuff on Craigslist. Some items are in great shape. But if they’re not, spruce them up and resell them either on Craigslist, at a flea market or a garage sale.

3. Sell yourself (not that way).

Fiverr, Elance, Craigslist give you a platform to sell your skills. Have a beautiful voice? Create personalized phone greetings. Are you a wiz at editing videos? Do it for others. Are you knowledgeable about design? Create a logo for someone. The list is endless.

4. Teach classes online.

Teaching classes online is actually a very lucrative business if you can find your voice and audience. How lucrative? It’s a 100 billion dollar industry! If you are particularly good at something, you can create online courses on Udemy or start your own online school using teachable.com or thinkific.com. Though top experts use this as a worthwhile way to earn residual income, everyday Joes and Janes use this as a way to sell anything from how to knit to their mobile app development expertise. Don’t know where to start? As you can see, there’s a class for that.

5. Offer to watch children.

Another way to start your journey as an entrepreneur is to hit up mom and dad. No, not your mom and dad. I mean parents who are busy professionals with small children. They may have to strain to remember the last time they were able to go to a restaurant or spend some quiet time with their significant other. Offering to watch their children can give you a head start on creating your own business as well as a valuable lesson in patience.

6. Become a brand ambassador.

Lastly, becoming a brand ambassador is a great way to not only get your feet wet in business but your knees and thighs too. Whether you have a small or large social media presence, you can use your influence to promote brands and get paid for it. (Make sure you’re only aligning yourself with brands you believe in). Doing this will give you an inside look into how established businesses (and even start-ups) want to portray themselves to the public.

While there are many other ways, those mentioned above are just some to get you started. What are some ideas that you may have? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know how you believe that you can start your journey as a business owner/side-hustler.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

Is the Job Market Booming or Are People Seeking Entrepreneurship Instead?

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Job openings in the U.S. continue to exceed the number of unemployed people, with 1 million more positions available in October than those Americans actively seeking work, per the Labor Department. The information, real estate, and education industries were seeking the most help. Until March of this year, job openings never exceeded the number of those looking for work in the 17 years since record-keeping began. This leads to the question: Is the Job Market Booming or Are People Seeking Entrepreneurship Instead?

The truth of the matter is that a 9-5 can be taxing on anyone especially those trying to raise a family.  There are a lot of people who believe that it is far better to be an entrepreneur than to work under someone, as an employee. This is mainly because of the flexibility as well as the ability to create your own schedule. Being an entrepreneur allows you to plan your work around your life’s needs, so you can have your cake and eat it.

In the past, it was much more difficult to run a business and have a good quality of life, but because of technological advances, it has become easier to manage both. And this isn’t only small local ventures; the internet has made the world a smaller place, so many entrepreneurs are running global businesses.

Women are also starting to lead the charge; they comprise of about 10.6 million women all over the world and produce 2.5 trillion dollars in sales annually! It takes a lot of patience being an entrepreneur because it is a tough job to take care of other responsibilities while running a business at the same time. You must learn how to keep your cool during stressful times and be able to put out fires simultaneously. Overall, entrepreneurship is a great option in today’s day and age but always remember… Quality of life first!

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Amazon Battling Against Scammers + Why Do Scammers Exist in the First Place

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Amazon is battling a torrent of seller scams on its website and has sacked a handful of employees it alleges took bribes and fed inside information to independent merchants, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company has fired some workers from the U.S. and India as well as purging several thousand dubious customer reviews. It’s also curtailed seller access to internal data and worked to curb techniques allowing sellers to game the site’s search results to their benefit.

 These dishonest sellers and employees make things difficult for those who are trying to do the right thing. But why do scammers exist in the first place? The truth of the matter is that money is an important aspect of life and many believe that cheating the system is the way they know how to get ahead. Money started as a simple concept then it became complicated.

Bartering became was a system of economics for centuries. A fisherman would exchange his catch with the carpenter for a table. Cattle, clothes and other necessities were traded without cash tender. The introduction of money changed that system making it of greater influence in our lives. So, why is money so darn important?

Global Exchange. Money is important mainly because it’s a tool for global exchange. Simply put, it’s important because we have made it important. Giving up other systems to heavily depend on cash and its many forms. You may not provide a product or service needed by a person who creates a need of yours. You’d use money as a medium of exchange used to obtain wants and needs.

Time. Money in some ways buys time. The key is making money work for you by creating passive income – monies earned which a person is not actively involved. Examples of passive income are royalties from intellectual properties, rental properties, or a business you don’t have to physically operate to earn a profit. Passive income equals more time to other things you love such as traveling with family, volunteering, or working for fun (not out of necessity).

Allows You to Make a Larger Difference. More money can multiply you. Volunteering at the local Girls and Boys Club requires your presence. Being able to donate financially to multiple local Boys & Girls Clubs makes an even bigger difference. Your reach increases with the amount of money you possess.

While money isn’t the most important thing in the world, it does effect the things that are. Using your money strategically will afford you more time, expand your reach, and pay for some pretty cool experiences.  And ultimately managing our money responsibly will assure that we don’t fail. Face it we are too important!

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NYC Introduces Minimum Wage for Drivers + How to Slowly Crawl Your Way into Wealth

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Living in a big city may not be what it’s cracked up to be.  The cost of living seems to be going up while wages are going down. Well thankfully for cab drivers they may be getting some relief. New York City is introducing a minimum pay rate for drivers working for app-based services such as Uber and Lyft. Drivers must now be paid a minimum of $27.86 per hour, or $17.22 after expenses, which city officials say translates to a yearly increase of roughly $10,000. The new pay rates, which will be implemented in 20 days, were criticized by the ride-sharing services. The changes will likely lead to fare hikes for riders, said Uber but drivers are at least happy. But what about another worker?

According to a 2017 CareerBuilder report, 78% of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck. And while the cost of living continues to climb there are ways to get out of this slow crawl to wealth. Here are four tips on getting out of living paycheck to paycheck and live life more abundantly. 

Live below your means. The more we earn, the more we seem to spend. Think about it when you made less than what you make now, you survived. And then when a raise came along or some random lump sum of money like your tax refund you either made a purchase that increased your long-term expenses or wasted it on things that didn’t shift your lifestyle in a financially positive way. Start living below your means. This may look like downsizing your phone plan or apartment. Pretend you have $100 to 500 dollars less than what you make on a monthly basis.

Set Financial Goals. If your money doesn’t have an aim, it will land anywhere. When you have a financial vision, you are more likely to end up where you’d like to be. You are careful enough to put aside tax money, mortgage payments, and other necessities; take the same approach to build wealth.

Aggressively Save. Think of a number that you don’t want to go below when it comes to your savings account. Let’s say you want to have no less than 10,000 dollars in your account. Save until you get there without spending unnecessarily. Remember put aside an amount that you feel comfortable with but an amount that will also get you to your goal in a comfortable amount of time. Once you have arrived, don’t go below it.

Change your words. Words are powerful. Chances are if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you aren’t able to do things you like. And that can cause stress and discomfort. And you may have the tendency to complain. STOP. Your words have the ability to build up and tear down. Choose to build up with money affirmations such as “I have an endless supply of cash,” “money is flowing to me,” and “I place no limits on the amount of money I can make.” (IG: @paradigmmoney). Before you know it, you’ll be financially free and loving it.

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