Categories
Small Business

7 Opportunities for Entrepreneurs Right Now

With change comes opportunity. Look, I’m not making light of the tragic situation. Over 96,000 Americans are dead because of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Many more will die.

However, we still need to make a living. And now is a good time to consider the opportunities opening up due to the massive upheaval the world has just experienced.

Before I continue, in no way do I suggest taking advantage of shortages or vulnerable people. Quite the opposite – I think there is opportunity for entrepreneurs to genuinely help people and businesses impacted by the changed world.

Consider this a brainstorm session. I won’t get deep into the pros, cons, feasibility of each idea. But I hope to kick start some ideas that you can run with and make your own.

If you have any of your own stories, please share them. I’d love to learn more about what you’re doing.

Here are some quick ideas. I’m just dumping them on the page as I enjoy an adult beverage. No editing. No second-guessing. (So please excuse the mess…hopefully a string of words below sparks something in you.)

1) Masks

I’m not talking about hoarding or flipping medical n95 masks. Those need to go directly to medical staff.

Instead, I think there is a big opportunity to create and sell cloth-based masks for the general public. Suddenly, a new product category exists and is ripe for innovation.

What can be done to add value to the mask, which is generally viewed as a commodity? We’ve already seen the plain black masks, but where are the designs? Where is the branding? The differentiation? Hmmm…

2) Virtual events, entertainment, tourism

Large jam-packed events – like conferences and concerts – aren’t coming back anytime soon. Even smaller in-person events are likely to decline in frequency, as business travel wanes and people remain hesitant to meet in person any more than necessary.

There are many existing companies that got into the virtual events business almost overnight. These companies probably could use help.

There is also an opportunity to build and promote your own virtual events. Because overhead costs (e.g. space rental) have been slashed, virtual events require fewer attendees and can be profitable with smaller audience sizes and fewer sponsorships. This creates the opportunity for smaller highly targeted events. At the same time, the potential audience for a single event has suddenly gone global – anyone with a good internet connection is now a potential attendee.

Finally, the total cost to attend conferences (beyond event tickets) has dramatically fallen, opening up the option to audiences that were previously out of reach.

3) Servicing remote workers

A huge segment of the workforce is now working from home. Many of those people will never return to a normal office again.

After a while, sitting at the kitchen table in your pajamas gets real old. People need a proper physical space with proper ergonomic equipment. But what else will people need when working from home? What are the new problems these folks will need help with? Possibly, time management, segmenting work from home, new home distractions, social isolation, new methods for staying relevant, etc.

Businesses that manage a remote workforce will also need help working through the implications. What are the best practices? Will any intermediaries be needed? What tools are needed? What business challenges arise?

Essentially, new situations create new problems that require new solutions.

4) Retail

Retail?!? Yes…and that’s not the gin talking.

Some big retailers with a lot of cash and access to credit will stay afloat during the Covid-19 economic disaster. Unfortunately, many other retailers will die – either voluntarily or via bankruptcy. As this happens, the bigger, stronger retailers are salivating at the market share they will get to absorb.

The CEO of Macy’s recently said that $10 billion of retail sales will be up for grabs. Why should Amazon and Wal-Mart be the only beneficiaries?

Customers will be in transition. Brands will disappear. Regional competition will fall in areas. Surviving small retailers will need help. Commercial real estate rents might decline in areas. More retailers will need an online presence and delivery options.

You’d think there’d be a few opportunities for new ideas. Amirite?

5) Virtual everything

Every brick-and-mortar business has started providing online services in some way. While most people are familiar with online shopping, until now few would have ever considered online fitness classes, therapy sessions or doctor visits. Yet, that’s what we’ve all been doing for months now.

I think many will continue to use virtual services in the future for the convenience. Who wants to waste 2 hours going to the doctor’s office (and paying for parking) just to get a prescription refill?

So businesses that previously required an expensive physical presence can now be created in a basement. Suddenly, the barriers to starting many types of small businesses have fallen.

6) Online learning

This one’s simple. Do you have something to teach? Then build a brand and teach it using the multiple avenues available online. Videos, subscriptions, online teaching platforms, etc.

People have been warming up to online learning for a while, but I think the lock-downs have only accelerated this trend. The entire public school and college system has gone online, legitimizing what was once considered ‘alternative’.

While traditional brick-and-mortar institutions have the brand value, they also come with an enormous price tag. People have increasingly questioned the ROI of college education. Now, with the realization that most of the glitzy peripherals isn’t core to the college education, the door is open to new 100% virtual educational providers.

7) Homesteading

Previously, people that bought skids of T.P. and canned soup were called preppers. Today, we’re all preppers, aren’t we?

This all started with the Great Toilet Paper Panic back in March. Now we’re all baking sour dough and starting vegetable gardens. I think people have discovered the comfort in having a few life skills, and many will become lifelong closet homesteaders.

What can you offer those who want to make their own wine or repair a broken fence? How can you help them achieve their objectives? What would you need if you were starting a new hobby?

***

OK guys. Brainstorm’s over. Take what you want and discard the rest. Ideas are connected, so think about the second and third order effects of some of the problems and opportunities described above.

Perhaps more importantly, start fast and start small. Learn whether you can make $1. Because if you can make $1 you might be able to make $10, $1000, $100,000 and so on. Better to fail fast and find out early.

Categories
Wealth

39 Wealth Building Hacks by Naval Ravikant

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, corporate manager or a student, if you want to build wealth you need to read this. Honestly, I have never seen such a dense compilation of wealth-building hacks in a single list.

This is gold.

The following list of 39 wealth building hacks was created by tech entrepreneur and investor investor Naval Ravikant.

Naval is an Indian American entrepreneur and investor. Naval is the co-founder, chairman and former CEO of AngelList. He has invested in over 100 companies including Uber, FourSquare, Twitter, SnapLogic, Yammer, and Clearview AI. Ravikant is also a Fellow of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship. He was listed as 4th on CoinDesk’s “Most Influential in Blockchain” 2017 list.

How to Get Rich (without getting lucky):

  • Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy.
  • Understand that ethical wealth creation is possible. If you secretly despise wealth, it will elude you.
  • Ignore people playing status games. They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.
  • You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity – a piece of a business – to gain your financial freedom.
  • You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.
  • Pick an industry where you can play long term games with long term people.
  • The Internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet.
  • Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.
  • Pick business partners with high intelligence, energy, and, above all, integrity.
  • Don’t partner with cynics and pessimists. Their beliefs are self-fulfilling.
  • Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.
  • Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage.
  • Specific knowledge is knowledge that you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else, and replace you.
  • Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.
  • Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look like work to others.
  • When specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools.
  • Specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative. It cannot be outsourced or automated.
  • Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.
  • The most accountable people have singular, public, and risky brands: Oprah, Trump, Kanye, Elon.
  • “Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I will move the earth.” – Archimedes
  • Fortunes require leverage. Business leverage comes from capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication (code and media).
  • Capital means money. To raise money, apply your specific knowledge, with accountability, and show resulting good judgment.
  • Labor means people working for you. It’s the oldest and most fought-over form of leverage. Labor leverage will impress your parents, but don’t waste your life chasing it.
  • Capital and labor are permissioned leverage. Everyone is chasing capital, but someone has to give it to you. Everyone is trying to lead, but someone has to follow you.
  • Code and media are permissionless leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep.
  • An army of robots is freely available – it’s just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it.
  • If you can’t code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts.
  • Leverage is a force multiplier for your judgement.
  • Judgement requires experience, but can be built faster by learning foundational skills.
  • There is no skill called “business.” Avoid business magazines and business classes.
  • Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers.
  • Reading is faster than listening. Doing is faster than watching.
  • You should be too busy to “do coffee,” while still keeping an uncluttered calendar.
  • Set and enforce an aspirational personal hourly rate. If fixing a problem will save less than your hourly rate, ignore it. If outsourcing a task will cost less than your hourly rate, outsource it.
  • Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.
  • Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.
  • There are no get rich quick schemes. That’s just someone else getting rich off you.
  • Apply specific knowledge, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
  • When you’re finally wealthy, you’ll realize that it wasn’t what you were seeking in the first place. But that’s for another day.

After the above list went viral, Naval created a follow-up video (1hr) to explain his thoughts:

In the video, Naval recommends the following book: Influence by Robert Cialdini