The Trials of Being an Entrepreneur

The release of the most recent Star Wars film brings to mind the idea of the hero’s journey. The original Star Wars was predicated on Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces, a work that explores the universal journey every human makes, be they Jedi’s, warriors, or even entrepreneurs. In the spirit of the hero’s journey, here’s a look at the trials and tribulations found in the journey of being an entrepreneur.

Doubt

Becoming an entrepreneur can be a daunting prospect. Self-doubt is one of the first and biggest barriers to overcome. It’s very easy to not believe in your capabilities, to say “this is impossible,” “I can’t do this,” and “I’m doing this wrong.” It’s not uncommon for self-doubt to linger even into the later stage of business of ownership. Trust that this is just a phase. As you gain more experience and confidence you will find that doubt, like a rainy day, will eventually pass.

Setting Forth

When you first start planning for your company, you may find yourself possessed by a new-found sense of purpose. Everything you put on paper may seem possible. You may feel yourself buoyed by an overwhelming sense of positive energy. This is good and, if harnessed, it will carry you far. But often this newfound sense of optimism flees at the first sign of trouble. If that does happen, don’t worry. Just keep pushing onward.

Tests

When it rains, it pours. Entrepreneurship is a very demanding pursuit, and the challenges of it should not be underestimated. You will find yourself short on cash, needing to fill positions, missing projected goals and seeing the rise of major competition. During this time, it is completely natural to feel concerned, but you must try to channel this frustration into overcoming the obstacles that you face.

Confidence

Rest assured, after spending several months of slogging through your first venture or after moving on to your third, you’ll eventually get the swing of things. You’ll be better able to take on any challenges that come your way, more smoothly negotiate with employees and investors, and crunch the numbers to get you where you need to be.

Defeat

Even the most successful entrepreneurs face defeat at some point, whether it’s with an individual project or a whole venture. Failure is something to be embraced. Failure means that you are experimenting, that you’re taking risks, that you’re growing. As painful as it may be to experience failure, try to look at it as a growing pain.

Rebirth

After facing defeat, it is only a matter of time before you’re at it again. This is an exciting time. Not only are you getting back into the game, but you’re doing so with lessons learned from your previous experiences. With this new stage you may even find yourself going from Doubt to Confidence, skipping the stages of development in between. Even if your company fails several times, the total amount of experience gained will make a better, wiser entrepreneur out of you.

Wisdom

After years of Setting Forth and Defeat and Rebirth, you’ll eventually reach a state of equilibrium. The things that once rattled you no longer do so (well, maybe one thing will). Good decisions will become second-nature. You’ll have perspective on what failure means and how it can be converted to progress. At this point, you’ll be asset to any business you involve yourself with.

The article that inspired this piece can be found on entrepreneur.com.

 

Boost Your Conversion Rate with these Online Payment Insights

Firoz Patel

When you are just starting out the process of building a company, the ever-expanding number of items on your to-do list may seem somewhat daunting. However, the payments solution process on your website should not be one of them. Your company website – its design, messaging and functionality are critical in terms of developing a positive brand provides a positive user experience when the user attempts to purchase your product. That being said, it’s important to incorporate best practices in the shopping experience, and to consider the following factors when evaluating your site and ways to increase the conversion rate from users who are browsing vs those who are clicking “buy”.

Security

With large scale data breaches making headlines with an uncomfortable frequency, it’s no surprise that individuals place a lot of value on the security provided by online vendors. Consumers demand that their online buying experience is as protected as possible. From the vendor’s perspective this means that it’s important that you procure any certifications that show the users that you are trustworthy. So go ahead and display your SSL badge proudly!

Multiple Payment Options

It’s critical that online stores – particularly when it comes to small businesses who are still building a name for themselves provide multiple forms of payment. This addresses the consumer’s twin priorities of security and convenience when it comes to their online shopping needs.

Reflect Inventory in Real Time

In addition to providing multiple payment options for the consumer, it’s important that the shopping process is as easy as possible. If you operate both an online store as well as a brick and mortar location, make sure that the availability of inventory is as accurate and up to date as possible. You don’t want to lose potential customers because an item that they saw (either in person or on the site) isn’t actually available. Ensure that the inventory control system that you have in place helps you provide transparency about product availability both online and in your physical store location.

Guest Buyers

It’s a fact, businesses want to maintain as much information about their customers as possible. From analyzing data about buying habits, to sending targeting sales messaging to specific segments of the consumers, data is invaluable to a business at every stage of development. However, if you are interested in enhancing your conversion rate, make sure that the value of data doesn’t come at the cost of a sale. Offer consumers the chance to purchase your products without being required to create an account. Many potential buyers may reconsider whether or not they will make a purchase if they have to suffer the inconvenience of creating a shopping account with your store.

Increasing your conversion rate of casual browsers to paying customers will likely be an important step at every step of your company’s development. That being said, make sure to regularly evaluate what kind of user experience you are offering when it comes to purchasing goods from your site. To learn more about payment solutions news visit my Twitter Account.

Bitcoin At University…Is It A Good Fit?

Firoz PatelIn May of this year, Simon Fraser University became the first Canadian post-secondary institution to install automated Bitcoin vending machines. SFU installed these AVMs at bookstores on each of the school’s three campuses.

For some, the idea that you can use Bitcoin to buy your Psych 101 textbook is merely a fun novelty. But the reason behind SFU’s decision to invest in these AVMs is rather telling.

By purchasing these AVMs, it’s likely that SFU is stating their belief in the current and growing use of this cryptocurrency. Instead of fearing the decentralized, completely digital currency, this university is willing to participate with and provide access to the currency.

The university’s Executive Director of Ancillary Services, Mark McLaughlin, claims that “The plan is to eventually roll it out to our dining hall.”

He goes on to state that the school didn’t incorporate AVMs into its landscape because of financial incentives. However, there were two purported goals in utilizing this new currency at bookstores at each of the three campuses.

While some may argue that there are certainly financial perks that the school’s book sellers receive owing to accepting this type of currency (ie. no transaction fees for the retailer), the school maintains that the objectives were a bit more heady.

First of all, incorporating Bitcoin into the bookstores’ forms of accepted currencies, it started a dialogue on campus about disruptive technologies. Additionally, students and staff members alike had the opportunity to learn about Bitcoin.

Although the school does not disclose the number of Bitcoin transactions that have come through these AVMs, they do remain optimistic about the future of the currency at the school, and pleased with the number of people currently taking advantage of the fact that it is being treated as an alternative to other payment methods at the school’s bookstores.

While only time will tell where and when this trend will catch on, Simon Fraser University will certainly offer an interesting testing ground for how young people choose to interact with this currency when it is presented as a payment option IRL.

Countries Other Than China Set their Sights on Singles Day

Firoz PatelSingles Day started as a holiday in the 1990s in China that essentially served as an opportunity for single people to treat themselves to something nice. With the advent of e-commerce, however, the holiday has become one of the country’s highest traffic shopping days. Part of this is due to significant promotions from e-commerce titan Alibaba. Last year Alibaba earned three quarters of sales from that day. That is to say a reported $9.3 billion USD in sales. A Nielsen survey reports that the average expected amount to spend per person for the holiday is $277.76 USD. This number is based on a sample size of over one thousand internet users based in China.

While Singles Day not only rivals, but exceeds the numbers from Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in the US, another interesting trend of note is the changing demographics in terms of who the buyers are. In China, Singles Day captures the rising middle class and a younger generation that is flush with disposable income and developing a growing desire to spend.

Although Singles Day stems from a holiday first celebrated on Nanjing Campus back in the ‘90s, Alibaba is responsible for not only helping to spread the popularity of the holiday, but to brand it in a way that directly links the celebration to online shopping.

In many ways, Alibaba owns the holiday – and not just in a theoretical way. The Alibaba Group puts a lot of money into creating the advertising and content leading up to the holiday, and has built an infrastructure and system that caters directly to the demands of this day. But in an even more practical sense, in 2012, the Alibaba Group trademarked the term “双十一” (or “Double 11”). Although that is different from the term “Singles Day”, it is associated very intimately with the holiday. And in the fall of 2014, Alibaba threatened legal action against any media outlets that would enter into advertising deals from competitors that used this term.

Alibaba Although Singles Day has continued to grow rapidly over the past few years, this year international markets are clearly taking notice of the potential for this holiday, and Alibaba will celebrate Singles Day by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Although this is not a new holiday, this particular gesture suggests that other countries have really begun to take notice and that expansion of celebrating the holiday globally is likely on the horizon.  

6 New FinTech Cities To Watch

Firoz PatelWhile payment loans and emerging payment solutions tend to be the focus of this site, it’s important to take a step back every now and again to consider the broader industry. Today payment solutions are intrinsically linked with emerging technologies.

And when it comes to fintech, there have been three major players that have been dominating the industry: New York, London, and Silicon Valley. But as the market grows rapidly, other cities are coming up to make their mark. Here are 6 cities to keep your eyes on:

1. Vancouver

Known for valuing privacy and security, Vancouver has acquired an “organic” talent pool of engineers and innovators with their lack of government influence and sponsorship. Within one year, they have already tripled their value from $4 billion in 2013 to a little over $12 billion in 2014.

2. Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been a constant pest to the top fintech cities for awhile now though some experts have argued that it have been dropping off the map compared to other cities. But it’s showing successful numbers similar to Vancouver. The country’s roughly $3 billion market jumped to around $12 billion in 2014. It also repositioning itself towards a leading position with its ever-thriving Cyberport.

3. Dublin

Dublin is ready to challenge London for its leading position by taking a crash course into the European markets. Being an outsourcing location for many companies, It’s the hub for Accenture (a fintech dedicated to the ecosystem worldwide) and the U.S. bank Citi.

4. Singapore

Singapore has become a major player across the board in the industry. Both in global services and in Asia. Over a span of the next five years, the country has pledged $166 million for fintech investments.

5. Sydney

With its thriving deep-rooted professional, creative and digital industries, Sydney has come out of the woodwork and started to utilize its fintech potential. Sydney’s hub has been estimated to be worth over AUS$2 million and continuing to go strong with support from the government and the private companies.

6. Berlin

Known as the startup capital, Berlin has mastered growing tech startups and has become the second largest hub with fintech funding in Europe, bringing in a whopping $300 million in 2014. It’s second to only the U.K.

 

Info courtesy of Procurement Leaders and Tech Crunch.

 

Navigating the World of Bitcoin and Digital Currencies

bitcoins pile firoz patelTo some, it may seem like Bitcoin is a currency cloaked in mystery. Analysts everywhere can’t stop talking about Bitcoin and its meteoric rise. Though fraught with early glitches, Bitcoin is considered to be a success by most. As the first digital currency, bought, sold and traded throughout the world, it’s no surprise that Bitcoin is a major point of discussion whenever one considers the current landscape of cryptocurrency. Payza showed a vote of confidence in the potential for this new currency when we announced a new feature that allowed users to withdraw funds from their Payza accounts and deposit right into their Bitcoin wallet.

 

But many ask today, what the future holds for this brave new currency. And many want to know of any risks that may accompany buying into this digital gold rush.

 

For the uninitiated, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency free from countries or borders. A decentralized monetary system that retains its value no matter where in the world it’s used. Designed by programmers with incredible foresight and code savvy, this new internet currency is the hotly discussed center of current economic debates. Most recently, Bitcoin made headlines for the disagreement among Bitcoin developers in terms of deciding how the core software should change. There are two vocal camps. The heart of the disagreement has to do with establishing how to manage Bitcoin’s block size.

 

Known only as Satoshi Nakamoto (an alias), the creator of Bitcoin vanished by the end of 2010, leaving a massive power vacuum in his wake. Stepping into the void were very real programmers, each acting as a figurehead for the currency and its growth. Ironically, this has proven to be a problem for those who came to Bitcoin for its lack of “human involvement.” For many, Bitcoin represents a massive investment in an emerging currency, and their potential loss of would be catastrophic. Hard currency relies on dozens of factors to dictate its worth, but Bitcoin being entirely virtual means that the strength of its value lies in the hands of these few programmers.

Though the power to manipulate the value of the currency is ever-present, Bitcoin programmers limit themselves to action when only absolutely necessary. As analysts have stated, Bitcoin cannot afford to alter its programming too much at this point. Doing so could fracture the entire ecosystem, and bring what has been so carefully constructed crashing down. With precision and the utmost care, Bitcoin’s masters have adhered to the strictest of codes to keep their cryptocurrency as financially stable as possible.

Though not as widely popularized as Bitcoin, smaller companies have been testing their own forms of cryptocurrency dubbed Altcoins. Though these attempts to cash in on the success of Bitcoin have never measured up, the reality of cryptocurrencies are very real. While still in its infancy, Bitcoin has shown promise in its widespread acceptance with the digital community. Though still in need of the occasional helping hand, we may live to see the day where an autonomous cryptocurrency becomes equally accepted as paper money. A bold experiment now worth over $4 billion, Bitcoin is putting the money where its mouth is.

Money Running Tight? A Payday Loan Can Solve The Problem

 

Sometimes paychecks can just fall short of crucial bill due dates. One option to get money quickly is a payday loan, but these should be approached carefully. Here you will find advice on how to use a payday loan to your benefit.

If you’re considering applying for a payday loan, it’s important that you know when the loan term ends. The interest rate associated with a payday loan is high which can result in significant costs if not paid back promptly.

Be aware of the fees that come with a payday loan. While the money may be great in hand, avoiding dealing with the fees can result in a substantial burden. You need to have in writing what you will be paying. Make sure you find out that information before you sign anything.

Payday lenders utilize a number of techniques to evade usury regulations meant to protect the consumer. They tack on hidden fees which are perfectly legal. You might pay up to ten times the amount of a traditional interest rate.

Make sure to consider every option. Compare payday loans to personal loans so you can get the best rates. Your credit rating and the amount you need will affect your rate. You can save money by doing your research.

Payday loans are only for emergency situations. When you take out a loan, you may never get back on your feet. Interest costs and late fee penalties will increase dramatically if your loan isn’t paid back on time.

Do not get into debt that you cannot afford. Make sure you are not taking out a payday loan in order to pay another one off. It is essential to break free of the routine, even if doing so requires sacrifices. You will find that you can easily get stuck in this cycle if you do not do something to put a stop to it. A cycle like that can rack up a huge debt in just a little time.

When you get a payday loan, do not borrow more money than you are able to afford. They’ll provide you offers of larger sums, but don’t give in to temptation.

Beware of marketers that are paid a commission to bring in borrowers to lenders. Businesses that operate in foreign countries are not subject to the same laws and penalties for taking advantage of customers. You may get into a contract that you can’t get out of.

Developing a good history with a payday lender can be to your advantage. Doing so lets you get the money you need when you have to take out another loan. Be certain to choose a good payday lender and stay loyal to that lender.

Try to find out what state the lender is based in. There are lending caps, but they vary from state to state. Avoid doing business with lenders that are out of the country and are not required to operate under the same standards as a company based within the country. When you find out what state they are based in, find out the laws there.

People shouldn’t depend on payday advance loans in order to make it, but they are helpful when urgent bills are due. Use a payday loan only occasionally and wisely so you don’t run into any kind of problems. Keep these concepts in mind whenever money gets tight.

Simple Tricks To Help You Find The Best Payday Loans

 

A financial emergency can have you looking at any option for cash to solve the problem. You have no doubt seen advertisements suggesting you get a payday loan. You need to determine if this option is the best choice for you. These loan companies may be able to help you, but you need to be very cautious. The following advice will help you understand payday loans and use them effectively.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need a payday loan, know that interest for these kinds of loans is very high. It might be more than 2 times what the loan was worth. These lenders use holes in usury laws in order to bypass the limits that are placed.

When getting a payday loan, keep in mind that you can’t count on your next paycheck being available to you. The money that you borrow from a payday loan will have to be enough until your second paycheck because the first one you receive will be used to pay back your payday loan. Not realizing this can start a recurring cycle of debt that could last a long while.

When times are tough, sometimes the only option is a payday loan. It’s important to make sure that you have no other options before taking out a loan, though. Try asking a close friend or family member before taking out a payday loan.

Do some research about payday loan companies. Avoid making a choice based of a television or radio commercial. Take the time to research them as much as you can online. Look for testimonials of each company before allowing the companies access to your personal information. Going through the payday loan process will be a lot easier whenever you’re dealing with a honest and dependable company.

There are many fees that you should be aware of before taking a payday loan. It is important to know the full cost of the loan before taking it out. Lots of laws exist to protect individuals from predatory interest rates. Excessive fess may be charged to get around the legislation that is in place. This ends up increasing the overall cost of the loan. This should help you figure out if getting a loan is an absolute necessity.

Explore all your choices. Don’t discount a small personal loan, as these can often be obtained at a much better interest rate than those offered by a payday loan. This will depend on your credit history and how much money you want to borrow. You can save money by doing your research.

How much you’ll get from any payday loan is influenced by many factors. This will be determined by your income. Lenders usually calculate how much you earn and then set a max amount that you can qualify for. Before getting a payday loan, you have to understand this fact.

Your financial emergency might end sooner with a payday loan. However, before taking out a payday loan you must understand all of the details that are involved. The insights here can go a long way toward helping you see things clearly and make decisions that affect your life in a positive way.

The Pros And Cons Of Payday Loans

 

Everyone needs some help at sometime in their lives. If you’re feeling constricted financially, and that you’re in need of extra money, try to consider getting payday loans. Surprisingly, payday loans can be a great thing to invest in. You can learn more about the ins and outs of payday loans by reading on.

Checking with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) is smart step to take before you commit to a payday loan or cash advance. You will find out information about the company, including any history of customer complaints.

Never lie on your payday loan application. Although you may be tempted to do this so that you can be approved for a large amount, putting knowingly false information on your application is fraud, which can result in a criminal prosecution.

If you live an area where no payday loan companies operate locally, look online for reputable companies that will work with you long distance. Sometimes, you can actually cross into another state where payday loans are legal and get a bridge loan there. Since funds are electronically recovered, you should not need to make more than one trip.

If you need to take out a payday loan, get the smallest amount you can. A lot of people experience emergencies in which they need extra money, but interests associated to payday loans could be a lot higher than if you got a loan from a bank. Keep your costs down by borrowing less.

One tip that you should keep in mind when thinking of getting a loan is to locate a lender that’s willing to work things out with you if there is some kind of problem that arises for you financially. Some lenders will give you an added extension if you are unable to pay back the loan on time.

Take the lessons offered by payday loans. If you’ve experienced the high interest and fees of a payday loan, you’re probably angry and feel ripped off. You can use these feelings to motivate yourself to start an emergency savings account, and borrow from yourself next time!

Always look at a payday loan as your last option. Even if you are getting cash advances with a credit card, you will save money over a payday loan. Speak with your loved ones and ask for assistance.

If you are thinking about a payday loan, do as much comparison shopping as you can. There are plenty of payday loan agents out there that have varying costs. You’ll find that some sites offer better deals than others. You should not move forward without investing some research time.

Look into any payday lender before taking another step. Never sign on to a loan until you understand all of the terms to which you are agreeing. Get as much information about the lender so that you do not have an unpleasant surprise.

Now that you know what is involved with getting payday loans, you will now be more confident when getting one. Many people think payday loans are scary and want to avoid them at all costs. With proper planning and usage, payday loans may be helpful and take away any fears related to hurting your credit.

Things You Should Know Before You Get A Payday Loan

 

If you are stuck in a jam and need money quickly, taking out a payday loan could be the answer to your problems. Even though payday loans are useful, if you don’t know enough about them, they could put you in a bad situation. The advice in this article will protect you from making any mistakes when you take out a payday loan.

When you take out a payday loan, you might as well kiss your next paycheck good-bye. The money you received from the loan will have to be enough until the following paycheck since your first check should go to repaying your loan. If you’re not able to figure this out then you may be forced to continually get loans which could last for a while.

There are a lot of payday loan agencies in existence. If you are considering a payday loan, do some research first, and look for a company with a good reputation. In particular, look through customer reviews. Just check the Internet to find out about each firm.

Always research first. This will help you to compare different lenders, different rates, and other important aspects of the process. The more lenders you look at, the more likely you are to find a legitimate lender with a fair rate. Although this could be time consuming, you will probably end up saving tons of money. It may be possible to find an online resource that will compile information on several companies for easy comparison.

Question everything about the agreement and conditions. Lots of these companies can rightly be called predatory. These companies make money by providing terrible borrowers with loans that they know won’t be paid back. Although these companies make promises, they usually have loop holes to get around them.

Only work with a payday lender that has the ability to do an instant loan approval. In the current world of technology, they should be able to approve you quickly. If not, their business may be behind the times, and you may want to find an alternative choice.

Before you resort to taking out a payday loan, you should make sure that there are no other places where you can get the money that you need. Credit card cash advances carry lower interest rates than payday loans. Talk to your family and friends and ask them if you could get help from them as well.

Make sure you are aware of any automatic rollover type payment setups on your account. Some lenders who provide payday loans will arrange to renew your loan and take fees and penalties out of your account entirely automically. Many of these require no action from you other than the initial set up. If you fall for one of these scams, you could end up spending thousands of dollars on fees. Be aware of the process you are getting involved with.

Payday loans can be great for getting you quick cash in an emergency situation. The downside to payday loans is that the terms of the loan are often not ideal. Use the advice and information in the article below to get a payday loan with as little pain as possible.

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