Question from a recent Entrepreneur:

I have a few questions I was hoping you could help me with. So I started this slap a stick campaign where I am willing to send people a free sticker if they take a picture with it somewhere and send us back that picture so we can post it to our site. Over the past 48 hours we have received over 5,000 sticker requests and they are still coming in. People are genuinly interested in stickers.
Looking into the future, I want to be able to monetize this and create a large viewership. The problem is I have to pay for the shipping which is not very much, but adds up when I am sending over 10,000 stickers. What advice could you give me going forward? How to monetize? How to cover costs of shipping? How to retain these customers and keep them coming back to the site?

My answer:

1. Definitely have them fill out all their info and use a system like aWeber or MailChimp to build a marketing database.
2. Partner with a relevant brand to send a sticker of theres out too. For example, Cabela’s (or a smaller local shop) agrees to cover the cost of shipping and printing for using your list to send out Cabela stickers in addition to yours. The customer wins by getting a freebie and Cabela’s gets thousands of eyeballs for pennies on the dollar.
3. Have them fill out an offer or survey to unlock their free sticker using https://www.trialpay.com/ or http://www.imgrind.com/monetizing-with-offer-walls/
4. Definitely use something like this for social media growth: http://kingsumo.com/apps/giveaways/

 

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5 Simple Ways to Invest Your Money Online

by josh on November 18, 2013

I was recently asked about my personal investment strategies. I will start this by saying that I am not a financial expert or in anyway advising you what to do. I am only sharing what has worked for me and how you can do it too. My best investments have been in myself and in my own businesses. Focus on your health and your education, but with that said, I would like to share some passive ways of investing online to at least beat the 5 pennies your bank sends you from your savings account. Your bank is making money off your accounts and sending you practically nothing.

I feel like most of the “experts” end up wanting to charge a bunch of money or don’t perform like they say.

1. Always research and start small with whatever you choose to invest in. Avoid too good to be true “opportunities”, be careful with schemes that require upfront investment or harassing your friends, and anyone or anything that is charging you for advice, unless you are seeking out an accredited financial advisor with great reviews.

2. I spent a few weeks researching a way to replace my savings account and earn at least more than the bank. I found Betterment, which acts like a savings account because it is so easy to deposit and withdraw money 24/7, but it offers 3-7% returns per year on average. Betterment now manages over $130 million dollars and is backed by investors, which is reassuring.

They let you choose how much risk you want to take at any time. To be as safe as possible, I started with 100% bonds, 0% stocks. They have a minimum deposit of $500, which is very low for this type of service and they only charge about $1 per month to do everything for you (it’s all software based and the more people that invest, the smarter it gets). I have been with them for almost 2 years now and I am very happy with how hands-off it is. It doesn’t make a ton of money for me but it is WAY better than the savings account at any bank.

Here’s an invite link for you to sign up (with this link, you get $25 and I get $10. Everyone wins. Nice.): https://www.betterment.com/invite/joshuaelizetxe

3. It’s never wise to put all your eggs into one basket, so I went on the look again for an investment vehicle that was still hands-off like Betterment, because I don’t have time or the knowledge to be trading stocks all day. I found Vanguard. Vanguard is one of the biggest investment companies in the world and is very highly rated.

It is also online based, but they have an amazing corporate headquarters in N. Scottsdale I visited last year. They are very secure and you can make more money with them than Betterment, but most of their good options have a minimum of $1,000 – $5,000. After about 1 month of researching which mutual fund (mutual funds are always better than buying individual stocks, Betterment only uses mutual funds). Read this: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-smarter-mutual-fund-investor/2010/12/07/why-mutual-funds-are-the-best-investment

I decided to go with 3 mutual funds, but after about 5 months, I switched them all to the top performing one, which is VTSMX Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares. I have about 10.2% of return so far, so on $10k, you’d net $1k per year, which is really good. I expect it to level out over the next 10-15 years for an average of 7-8% returns. Be careful with looking for funds with high returns. It’s all relative to time, so I would rather invest long-term in a fund that will perform strong over several years, rather than short a bunch of other funds. If you’re looking to take a little more risk and to potentially make fast money, than you can try the latter method.

You can sign up for Vanguard online (https://personal.vanguard.com/us/home) and you can even speak with their very helpful experts for free over the phone. They don’t push you to buy, which is nice, but instead help you and actually answer your questions.

Vanguard has “expense ratios”, which is how they charge for their service. The fund I mentioned above not only does really well, but is one of the cheapest in fees. The expense ratio as of November 2013 is 0.17. Learn more about expense ratios here: http://www.fool.com/school/mutualfunds/costs/ratios.htm

4. This one requires a little more studying for, but can earn you the best returns. It’s less liquid, because you are loaning money as a part of a crowd, and earning the interest on that loan month-by-month. Read more about it here: https://www.lendingclub.com

 5. As for Bitcoin, that is a bit of a short-term strategy, but I have made almost 250% returns in 3 months. Which means I more than doubled what I put in. I will continue to buy and wait until it passes $700/BTC to withdraw it all. You can buy Bitcoins safely and easily online at http://coinbase.com – don’t’ lose your username and password and make sure to add your cell phone for extra verification security. Read more about the Bitcoin’s success here: http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-price-hits-500-50x-increase-12-months/

 

BONUS: I am currently testing out crowd-funded real estate investments. Learn more about them here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2013/04/19/crowdfundings-latest-invasion-real-estate/

 

Share your tips and questions in the comments below and I will jump in and see if I can answer them.

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I created an online product or service…now what?

August 26, 2013

So, you’ve spent time creating an awesome online product or service, but you aren’t sure on how to lasso in your first batch of customers. Well, there are plenty of websites that can help you out based on what type of product/service you are pitching. Obviously, I am a huge fan of PPC advertising and […]

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Six Figure Blogging: Books That Will Help Get You There

July 1, 2013

How To Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day-Job With My Blog http://goo.gl/vMKRO WordPress For Dummies http://goo.gl/ADP5x HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites http://goo.gl/poBAV Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community http://goo.gl/RxcBG Blogging For Dummies http://goo.gl/ILCLM WordPress To Go: How To Build A WordPress Website On Your Own Domain, From […]

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Having Trouble Coming Up With A Company or Brand Name?

April 6, 2013

Some say that you shouldn’t spend too much time coming up with a name and some say to spend months on this task. I say that if you’re having a hard time, why not crowdsource some ideas? Here are some great websites to crowdsource your company or brand name: http://www.squadhelp.com/ http://www.namingforce.com/ http://www.namestation.com/   Have others? […]

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Must Read Business Books List for Entrepreneurs & Beyond

April 6, 2013
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How to Accept Payments (Credit Cards) Online

October 20, 2012

There are a few ways to accept money online. 1. PayPal.com (free) PayPal is the most accepted form of online payment. I am not the biggest fan, especially if you’re going to be selling at high volume. Make sure you create a business account and notify them about what you are selling and what volume […]

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You will never “find” time for anything – you must make it.

September 4, 2012

So, you say that you never have time to {work, play, cook, sleep, insert here}?  Well, I’d like you to prove yourself wrong. I’ve created a personal time tracking sheet spaced in 30-minute intervals for you to track your day. Print it out and start tracking yourself tomorrow. I suggest doing this for 7 days […]

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Digg.com Sells for $5,000

July 14, 2012

no.. not really $5,000, but practically (the total paid by buyers ended up around $16 million). Digg was picked to parts and sold off that way. LinkedIn bought most of what was for sale. I remember the good ol’ days when Digg was worth $200 million. That was just a few years ago. SMDH – […]

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Management Tip #101

June 23, 2012

“When an employee knows–truly knows–that you care about them, then they care about you. And when they know you care, they will listen to you… and they will do anything for you.”

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