Category Archives: Leadership

How To Show The World You’re A Class-Act

Barry Davret
Dec 14, 2019

They control their impulses

A class-act never loses her cool. Like everyone else, she feels the initial impulse to lash out when attacked or engaged in emotionally charged situations. But she allows that impulse to pass, and somehow, in the aftermath, always comes a winner.Take a pause, consider the circumstances, and craft a response that de-escalates the situation. Sacrifice that burst of euphoria you experience from settling a score. Instead, aim for the longterm satisfaction of acting in a way that serves as model behavior for others to follow.

They act with integrity when it’s challenging to do so

Most of us act according to a set of morals and principles, even if we can’t articulate them. Do you live by those principles when it’s more convenient to make an exception?It’s easy to tell yourself, just this once, I don’t want to make enemies, or I need the money. The class act puts principle over personal gain. His peers will admire his decision and envy his ability to sacrifice reward, convenience, or acceptance to live by his values.

They show sportsmanship

Win or lose, act with graciousness towards your competitors. Don’t throw temper tantrums or belittle others when outcomes defy your expectations. And making excuses? Yeah, that’s poor sportsmanship too.It’s okay to recognize that someone performed better than you on a particular day or a particular project. Smile, compliment their effort and get on with your life.Like many other of these behaviors, the secret to good sportsmanship lies in the first rule. Ignore your initial impulse, take a deep breath, and think about what action will serve you best.

They stay above the fray

See yourself as a mediator rather than a combatant. A class-act never involves themselves in petty squabbles or even big ones. Instead, they play the role of peacemaker. They bring calm and clarity to tense situations.When you’re the one to get both sides to agree on a mutually acceptable outcome, your reputation soars. You win respect and admiration for acting in a way others wish they could in a similar situation.

They do classy things

I once received a handwritten note from a coach I had hired to help improve my sales skills. He wrote that he was honored to serve me. Also enclosed was a bar of my favorite dark chocolate. It cost him a few bucks and a few minutes of his time. It was one of the classiest things I’ve ever experienced.You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Pay attention to the little things that brighten the day of your friends and the people you serve. Take a few minutes of your time to add a personal touch to your interactions. That’s class.

They make people feel welcome

Have you ever felt tolerated but not welcomed? It sucks, doesn’t it? A class-act goes out of her way to make sure everyone feels like they’re the most important person at the table.Sure, it takes some charisma to pull this off. But a little bit of effort will get you 90% of the way there. Be gracious. Show genuine interest in others. Avoid playing favorites. Act as though you’re lucky they granted you an audience.

They defend the innocent

Years ago, I witnessed a situation at work that exemplified the kind of person I wanted to emulate. A Vice President, also a known bully, was berating one of his peers over something petty. Another Vice President stood up to defend the victim.Instead of engaging in a street fight, he praised the victim for his efforts, refuting the bully’s arguments without saying one disparaging word about him. He deprived the confrontation of fuel, making it difficult for the victimizer to reload their canons of vitriol.

They do kind things when nobody is looking

Why do rich folks donate obscene money to get their names on university buildings? It’s a sign of status. Is it a generous thing to do? Sure, but how many of them would give money if their donations were anonymous?A class-act never flaunts their good deeds. They do it as a matter of course. Compliment others not to get something, but to brighten their day. Go ahead and pick up a piece of trash on the floor, even if you’re alone.There’s nothing wrong with desiring recognition for your kind actions but think of it as a side-effect of a life dedicated to this principle. Do it enough, and others will notice.

Use The 1–50 Rule to Make Money Within the Next 24 Hours


Danny Forest, VNP in Entrepreneur’s Handbook

A fast and profitable way to launch new projects

I stopped counting how many products and services I’ve built that have made money from day one.I’m not talking huge money, but money nonetheless. What I’ve learned will change your mindset forever on how to approach new projects to test their viability.Here’s the method:

The 1–50 Rule

For any new project you’re thinking about starting, ask yourself:How can I build and launch this in ONE day and still deliver 50% of the results?We all have big ideas. Ideas that would take weeks, months, or even years to build. I have those at least once a week and, obviously, I can’t build them all.For example, I know a few people who want to start coaching other people but take months before they release their services. I did that in an hour or two using takes only a few minutes and you can start coaching others right way. You set the price per minute. People can call you during your available hours or can book online appointments with you.What’s important in a coaching business? Bringing results for your clients. That’s it. That’s more than 50% of the results in less than a day’s work.You can charge any amount of money you want per minute. I was charging $5/minute, which amounts to $300/hour if fully booked for the hour.I’ll mention other examples below.

What makes the 1–50 Rule work?

1. It forces you to think outside the box

Are you scared of starting a project because it’s too ambitious?We’ve all been there.Maybe you decided to start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) but you really couldn’t figure out where to cut the development costs. If you’re thinking “development,” you’re already thinking too far.Start thinking about how can you cut the development of the product to one day. Stop saying it’s impossible and get ready to think differently.

2. You can actually fit the 1–50 Rule into your schedule

I hear so many people say that they don’t have the time to implement their big ideas. Well, it’s likely true. Their ideas are too big to be accomplished by traditional methods.When you figure out a way to build your idea in one day and yield 50% of the results, suddenly the schedule doesn’t seem so tight anymore.

3. You can bring immense value to people with just 50% of the results

I’m a software engineer by trade. I do appreciate a well-crafted, bug-free software. But you know what I appreciate more? Helping as many people as efficiently as possible, and sometimes that comes at the cost of imperfection.

4. You can be profitable much faster than you think

When you launch a product in one day, you save a tremendous amount on development cost and can start generating money right away.Most of my 1–50 products have been profitable from day 1 without much marketing effort. In the coaching app mentioned above,, they feature your profile in the categories you should be in. People who use the app are already looking for coaching, like people search for books on Amazon.

How you can apply the 1–50 Rule for your projects

Here’s a 5-step process for using the rule for your next ambitious project.

Step 1: Define what 100% of the results mean for your project

Be as clear as possible on that. Use quantifiable metrics:I want my users to make at least $100/month writing one hour a day five times a week.I want my users to learn one new skill every month.I want my users to achieve 80% of the goals they set for themselves every month.I want my users to get 50% more views on their articles.Try to limit it to one or two quantifiable metrics at most. What is the real value you bring to your users with the product or service?

Step 2: Define what tasks and actions need to be done to get to 100% of the results

How is the product or service going to get built? Is it a course, a website, a spreadsheet template, a custom-built software, a physical product, a service, something else?What are its components? How many web pages? What are they? How many worksheets? What are they? What material do you need to build the product? Do I need a community?What action steps do you need to take? Can you do this alone? Do you need freelancers? Do you need to go to the store and buy material? Do you need to contact anyone?

Step 3: Rate how critical each task and action is to the intended result using a percentage

For each of the components from step 2, figure out how much each contributes to reaching the desired results. Spend a good amount of time on this.If we use the coaching example, 100 percent of the results means helping your customers reach the goals you set together.Here’s how one might break it down (there’s no right or wrong):1%: Create a home page for a website1%: Create a contact page for a website1%: Integrate a payment system on the website1%: Set up an email provider1%: Set up a customer database1%: Set up a calendar1%: Sign up for a video call software (or use phone if operating within the same country)5%: Strategic planning60%: Do the calls27%: Follow up with your clientI’m greatly simplifying everything here, but looking at this, you can understand how overwhelming it may seem at first until you realize that most of the tasks don’t bring you closer to the results.Find solutions that take care of the barriers to entry, which typically don’t bring results. In that example, takes care of all of the above except for the last three. That’s your job! 🙂

Step 4: Combine the tasks and actions leading to about 50% of the results

To use another example, if I want my users to get 50% more views on their articles, what components deliver roughly 50% of the results?The headline is always the number one thing to focus on to get more views. The product, therefore, needs a good way to craft better headlines.

Step 5: Figure out which existing tools you can use for each task and action, and how to combine them to achieve 50% of the results.

This is very important. Don’t re-invent the wheel if you don’t need to! There are so many great tools out there to make products and services really quick.By combining the above tools, you can create many different types of products and services in less than a day.

Step 6: Use your mailing list, friends, local events, and social networks to promote the new product or service.

Most products or services you’ll create in a single day won’t have a very high price tag. A mailing list, however small, should bring you some sales. On your next newsletter, casually mention your new offering after you add value to them for free.You can also show it to your friends. They may not buy but they can spread the word for you and give you testimonials. Word of mouth is still incredibly powerful. Try to show people one-on-one for a more personal interaction.You can promote on social media but always remember that people buy from people. Anything that looks like an ad will not work. Make it a story.An overlooked way to sell is the join local events and mastermind groups. Inevitably, you’ll talk about yourself and what you do. Many times people will be curious and ask for more. Many are genuinely helpful and will either buy your product or help spread the word.

More examples to get you started

Create an email course

A few people I know created a course that was distributed solely by using email. It consisted of sending one important lesson every day for 30 days. This can easily be done using Mailerlite, Mailchimp or any mailing list product. If you have the content already, putting the product together should take no time at all. If you don’t have the content already, well, you’ve got a day between each email!Depending on your “renown,” you can charge anywhere from $30 to $300 for such a course. If you make a single sale that day, you’ll already make $30. But what’s nice about an email course is that you’ll continue making money after its release, constantly increasing its value.

Create a paid newsletter

Niklas Göke started a paid newsletter called Empty Your Cup using Substack. Within an hour, you can get it running , start building a list, and send emails. You can use Patreon in a similar way also, like Shannon Ashley did here.Nik charges $5/month for it and signed up many people. This takes much less than 24 hours to get running and can bring you good recurring revenues.Similarly, Shannon charges $5 or up to $20 per month for it.

Create an eBook from content you’ve already written

My first three books were put together in less than a day because the content was already written. I used Scrivener to take the best content from some of my most popular articles and I created books out of it. I published on Amazon Kindle and each book was approved within 24 hours.Using Amazon Kindle, you can promote your book for free for a short period of time so you can gather invaluable reviews. Once you have a few reviews, the sales can pick up decently enough. If you do things right, selling 100 copies within a month is certainly doable, and the more reviews you gather, the easier it becomes to sell.

Create spreadsheet templates

My productivity tools are Airtable templates. They are worth something because they are organized in ways that save people time. And many people are not creative or knowledgeable enough to get them started from scratch.I was charging $100 for the whole package and sold over 10 of them within the first week. Implementing these templates took me about 7 hours in total, so that’s worth more than $100/hour and they keep making me more for months after.


The 1–50 Rule is about releasing a product built in one day that provides 50% of the value to the user, then scaling from there.This approach accomplishes two amazing things:You receive early feedback from your users; andSome money to help you bring it to the next level.With baby steps, you can reach 100% results while getting both money and valuable feedback from your early adopters.So, next time you think of another big and ambitious project, think about the 1–50 Rule. Think outside the box and figure out what tools you can combine in creative ways to build your product or service. Using the 1–50 Rule, you can start making profits within less than 24 hours.It’s time to outpace your competition and try the 1–50 Rule out for your next project!You can do this!

This Is What It Takes to Go from $0 to $1 Million in Less Than One Year

I came across an individual who figured out how to start a successful business from zero multiple times.No resources, no capital, no investors.His name is Michael Sherman, a Long Island native. He launched his latest business LetterDash in July 2018. One year later, he says his business is on track to pull in over $100,000 in revenue in July 2019.Previously, he started a handful of other businesses, including Qualified Impressions, which reached $2M per year before decline, Penalty Be Gone, $500,000 before decline, and Great Agencies, $100,000 per year.I was intrigued to know what his process looks like: what, exactly, does he do to build these companies?So I reached out, and picked his brain over a chat. Here’s what he said.

Michael Sherman’s Story

Stephen Moore
 in Entrepreneur’s Handbook

Michael Sherman, CEO of LetterDashWhen I ask Michael to define what he does, he says that he’s not sure what to call his “profession.”Before becoming what he is today, he gave the 9–5 a shot — about 10 times.His résumé of jobs is varied. In no particular order, he has done door-to-door sales selling vacuums, worked at Home Depot and McDonalds, became a licensed investment banker, tried his hand at computer tech, and even became a licensed bartender.His education is no different. Michael transferred in and out of a total of five different universities before finally graduating, and that was all after dropping out of high school.Nothing gave him the excitement or passion he craved. So he took a different path — entrepreneurship — and never looked back.Each business Michael built achieved a healthy profit — and he did that with nothing more than his brain, a laptop, and a couple of Google Ads coupons.His latest company, LetterDash, an on-demand legal letter sending service, just turned one year old. Michael shared some of the financial figures from the year so far —July 7, 2018 — spent $18; generated a single lead; generated $4,000 during month 1.August — about $11,000.January — about $56,000.May 2019 — about $79,000.June 2019 — about $105,000.July 2019 — Over $100,000 (final numbers aren’t in yet).But Michael has gained far more than just money from LetterDash. The experience has been full of learning, and below he shares the lessons you can learn from his journey.

1. Don’t Rush to Raise Capital

When he started LetterDash, he didn’t need or want to raise capital. He explained that raising capital only adds layers of complications and pressure.“These pressures come in many forms — pressure to grow fast, pressure to hire, pressure to put up numbers.”And this pressure can lead to bad decisions, he warns.In the end, he started the business with a bank account of zero, no framework, and no plan.There was nothing but an idea. He says that all you need in the early days is the commitment to grow from there.

2. Don’t Rush Into Development

Michael learned this lesson the hard way. He invested heavily in building software applications for previous companies and all of the businesses failed miserably.He had learned that the software produced was never the problem. The problem was that he had focused solely on his vision and on how it would be executed, before figuring out who the software was for.In the case of LetterDash, he says that the software they would have developed would have automated the interactions between the client, LetterDash, and the attorney.But now that the company is up and running, he sees that it would have been completely useless, and was able to dedicate resources elsewhere.His advice?“Get customers first, build your software later. It’s cool to say you have software, it’s much cooler to say you have revenue from paying customers.”

3. Start Small …and Boring

Getting to a million is never easy. It might be easy for the Elon Musks of the world, those with deep connections and vast resources, who can spend millions in advertising and infrastructure.For all the Michael Shermans out there, it’s easier said than done.He said his approach to building LetterDash was boring and straightforward.“We spent about 15 minutes of keyword research using the Google Ads Keyword Tool. There was enough search volume being reported to warrant the green light and test the idea. We came up with a business name, found a cheap .co domain and threw up a very basic, yet credible looking website.”This is a point worth emphasizing. The purpose of the website is to generate leads and validate demand. If both of these are ticked, there is scope to build bigger down the line.“We spent about $100 on web development. We found a Google Ads coupon, I believe it was $100 free for spending $25, we put together a barebones ad campaign and started sending traffic to the site. Twenty-four hours later, we received our first client request. A week later, we had a dozen requests.”This was the indicator he was looking for, and he was now ready to hire some attorneys and begin scaling.

4. You Need to Obsessively Tweak

“There wasn’t a single action or moment that led to success or the $1M in revenue. I’d say there might have literally been a million little tweaks and ideas tested along the way.”Michael says that as they received customer feedback, they began to analyze the success of the letters being sent out by one attorney to another. As they went through responses to the attorneys’ letters, they continuously tested newideas.“We’re constantly tweaking and optimizing the letterheads, the shipping method, the packaging, the presentation, even the language used by the attorneys in the letters.”That same customer feedback led to the formulation of new products and ancillary services that significantly boosted company revenue, without having to worry about new user acquisition costs.“Listening to the customers, what they want and what they need after the primary service was delivered has been key.”

5. Invest in Customer Success

Customers are everything. Their feedback and word of mouth are critical to expanding your client base, and in being able to improve and expand your service.With LetterDash, customer service has played a major role in the growth of the company.“The many 18 hour workdays and time we spent focusing on each tiny thing to make sure the customer was blown away by the service have all been a major factor in our explosive growth and ability to reach that $1M milestone,” says Michael.The biggest lesson here is to focus on customers’ feedback and to use it to improve your service. You must always be focused on making sure every customer is a satisfied one, even when in reality that likely cannot be achieved.

“My Advice Is Nothing Unique”

You might have noticed that the advice Michael offers is nothing unique. You’ve likely seen a lot of it before. And that’s exactly the point. As he said himself, it’s boring and straightforward.But this means it’s replicable. It’s a process that anyone can follow to achieve similar successes.The key takeaway here for entrepreneurs is this: Don’t focus or obsess on anything other than validating demand for your product or solution. In the end, nothing else matters if you don’t have a market.

6 hostage negotiation techniques that will get you what you want

July 1, 2019

Eric Barker

This article originally appeared at Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

These are the techniques that FBI hostage negotiation professionals use to get information and achieve results. Photo: Fort Bragg via FlickrHow does hostage negotiation get people to change their minds? The Behavioral Change Stairway Model was developed by the FBI’s hostage negotiation unit, and it shows the 5 steps to getting someone else to see your point of view and change what they’re doing. It’s not something that only works with barricaded criminals wielding assault rifles — it applies to most any form of disagreement.

There are five steps:

  1. Active Listening: Listen to their side and make them aware you’re listening.
  2. Empathy: You get an understanding of where they’re coming from and how they feel.
  3. Rapport: Empathy is what you feel. Rapport is when they feel it back. They start to trust you.
  4. Influence: Now that they trust you, you’ve earned the right to work on problem-solving with them and recommend a course of action.
  5. Behavioral Change: They act. (And maybe come out with their hands up.)

The problem is, you’re probably screwing it up.

What you’re doing wrong

In all likelihood you usually skip the first three steps. You start at 4 (Influence) and expect the other person to immediately go to 5 (Behavioral Change).And that never works.Saying “Here’s why I’m right and you’re wrong” might be effective if people were fundamentally rational.But they’re not.From my interview with former head of FBI international hostage negotiation, Chris Voss:…business negotiations try to pretend that emotions don’t exist. What’s your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or ‘BATNA’?  That’s to try to be completely unemotional and rational, which is a fiction about negotiation. Human beings are incapable of being rational, regardless… So instead of pretending emotions don’t exist in negotiations, hostage negotiators have actually designed an approach that takes emotions fully into account and uses them to influence situations, which is the reality of the way all negotiations go…The most critical step in the Behavioral Change Staircase is actually the first part: active listening. The other steps all follow from it. But most people are terrible at listening. Here’s Chris again: If while you’re making your argument, the only time the other side is silent is because they’re thinking about their own argument, they’ve got a voice in their head that’s talking to them. They’re not listening to you. When they’re making their argument to you, you’re thinking about your argument, that’s the voice in your head that’s talking to you. So it’s very much like dealing with a schizophrenic. If your first objective in the negotiation, instead of making your argument, is to hear the other side out, that’s the only way you can quiet the voice in the other guy’s mind. But most people don’t do that. They don’t walk into a negotiation wanting to hear what the other side has to say. They walk into a negotiation wanting to make an argument. They don’t pay attention to emotions and they don’t listen. The basics of active listening are pretty straightforward:

  1. Listen to what they say. Don’t interrupt, disagree or “evaluate.”
  2. Nod your head, and make brief acknowledging comments like “yes” and “uh-huh.”
  3. Without being awkward, repeat back the gist of what they just said, from their frame of reference.
  4. Inquire. Ask questions that show you’ve been paying attention and that move the discussion forward.

So what six techniques do FBI hostage negotiation professionals use to take it to the next level?

1. Ask open-ended questions

You don’t want yes/no answers, you want them to open up. Via Crisis Negotiations, Fourth Edition: Managing Critical Incidents and Hostage Situations in Law Enforcement and Corrections: A good open-ended question would be “Sounds like a tough deal. Tell me how it all happened.” It is non-judgmental, shows interest, and is likely to lead to more information about the man’s situation. A poor response would be “Do you have a gun? What kind? How many bullets do you have?” because it forces the man into one-word answers, gives the impression that the negotiator is more interested in the gun than the man, and communicates a sense of urgency that will build rather than defuse tension.

2. Effective pauses

Pausing is powerful. Use it for emphasis, to encourage someone to keep talking or to defuse things when people get emotional. Gary Noesner, author of Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator has said: Eventually, even the most emotionally overwrought subjects will find it difficult to sustain a one-sided argument, and they again will return to meaningful dialogue with negotiators. Thus, by remaining silent at the right times, negotiators actually can move the overall negotiation process forward.

3. Minimal Encouragers

Brief statements to let the person know you’re listening and to keep them talking. Gary Noesner: Even relatively simple phrases, such as “yes,” “O.K.,” or “I see,” effectively convey that a negotiator is paying attention to the subject. These responses will encourage the subject to continue talking and gradually relinquish more control of the situation to the negotiator.

4. Mirroring

Repeating the last word or phrase the person said to show you’re listening and engaged. Yes, it’s that simple — just repeat the last word or two: Gary Noesner: For example, a subject may declare, “I’m sick and tired of being pushed around,” to which the negotiator can respond, “Feel pushed, huh?”

5. Paraphrasing

Repeating what the other person is saying back to them in your own words. This powerfully shows you really do understand and aren’t merely parroting. From my interview with the former head of FBI international hostage negotiation, Chris Voss: The idea is to really listen to what the other side is saying and feed it back to them. It’s kind of a discovery process for both sides. First of all, you’re trying to discover what’s important to them, and secondly, you’re trying to help them hear what they’re saying to find out if what they are saying makes sense to them.

6. Emotional Labeling

Give their feelings a name. It shows you’re identifying with how they feel. Don’t comment on the validity of the feelings — they could be totally crazy — but show them you understand. Via Crisis Negotiations, Fourth Edition: Managing Critical Incidents and Hostage Situations in Law Enforcement and Corrections: A good use of emotional labeling would be “You sound pretty hurt about being left. It doesn’t seem fair.” because it recognizes the feelings without judging them. It is a good Additive Empathetic response because it identifies the hurt that underlies the anger the woman feels and adds the idea of justice to the actor’s message, an idea that can lead to other ways of getting justice. A poor response would be “You don’t need to feel that way. If he was messing around on you, he was not worth the energy.” It is judgmental. It tells the subject how not to feel. It minimizes the subject’s feelings, which are a major part of who she is. It is Subtractive Empathy. Curious to learn more? To get my exclusive full interview with the former head of FBI hostage negotiation Chris Voss (where he explains the two words that tell you a negotiation is going very badly) join my free weekly newsletter. Click here. Join over 140,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Planning Your Exit Should Begin When You Launch

Greg Shepard


Entrepreneurs may not want to think of their companies as “products,” but the truth is, the vast majority of successful startups end in acquisitions. In 2017, mergers and acquisitions accounted for 93 percent of the 809 venture capital-backed exits, yielding a total of $45.6 billion in disclosed exit value, according to the National Venture Capitalists Association’s 2018 NVCA Yearbook.
A recent Silicon Valley Bank survey revealed that more than half of today’s health and tech startups are “hoping for an acquisition.” But hope isn’t enough to make it happen. From the beginning, entrepreneurs need to think about the profiles of companies that might potentially acquire them, and align their strategies, team hires and products with these companies to build the right foundation for mutually beneficial acquisitions later on.
To achieve this alignment, entrepreneurs should start by creating the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), Ideal Employee Profile (IEP) and the Ideal Buyer Profile (IBP). As operations develop, the next step is to develop partnerships with some of those potential acquirers — ideally, innovative companies likely to perceive the emerging startup’s worth and that might eventually consider buying the company. When it’s time to exit, those longer-term partners will rate the startup’s value higher than if the relationship just began at the bargaining table.

Establish your target audience.

At fast-paced startups, standard operating procedure for entrepreneurs is to take a “ready, fire, aim” approach instead of practicing “ready, aim, fire.” It might surprise many entrepreneurs to know that, according to research by Crunchbase, many exit opportunities come early — the overwhelming majority before a company’s series B funding.
The profile for your ideal customer is the person or entity that needs your product or service the most; your job is to determine what that prospect is not getting from your competitors, or the marketplace in general, and how you can best fill that void.
When thinking about employees, it’s important to determine — before you start the hiring process — what kind of training, experience and expertise your team will need to build and market your product most effectively. Hiring the right talent can be a huge draw for potential buyers, some of which purchase companies in order to acquire teams, a process commonly referred to as “acqui-hires.” According to the Huffington Post, Mark Zuckerberg told an audience in 2010 that “Facebook has not once bought a company for the company itself. We buy companies to get excellent people.”
Once you’ve nailed down the attributes of your ideal customers and employees, you will be better equipped to develop prospects for your optimal buyer pool. The key is to find companies that serve similar markets, so you can design your product and business model to address unmet needs within that customer base. If a company perceives the importance of that need but, for one reason or another, does not serve it, it could be much more likely to consider an acquisition in the future.

Partner with the right people.

Your company may offer an essential product or service that a potential buyer is missing, but it is also crucial for the two of you to be on the same page strategically, culturally and philosophically. Nearly 45 percent of respondents to a survey of corporations and startups by MassChallenge and Imaginatik cited “strategic fit” as the most important factor in success or failure of a startup relationship.
Disruptors should seek out companies that are truly driven by innovation — perhaps those that have already established or partnered with innovation labs or accelerators. Those types of organizational environments typically feel much less “corporate,” and leaders are often more receptive and open to collaboration with startups.
Entrepreneurs should also look outside of their own industries. Approximately 70 percent of all tech deals in 2016 involved buyers from outside the tech sector, according to management consulting firm BCG.
Before defining a shortlist of potential corporate partners, entrepreneurs need to ask themselves several questions: Where could my company fit in the larger organization? Will the company’s existing team be able to sell and service my product? Will its customer base see (and pay for) the added value of the product I’m offering? Aligning your startup to a partner based on these attributes will improve the likelihood of a potential acquisition — and, ultimately, your startup’s value — if that company moves forward with a purchase.

Reap what you sow.

Once you’ve found potential corporate partners and have raised your initial funding, spend the time really getting to know them. What is a given company’s standard of excellence? What exactly will it pay for, and how much will it pay? And, perhaps most importantly, what do you offer that your partner company can’t produce itself?
Although most interactions between startups and corporations traditionally begin at the negotiation table, corporate players increasingly recognize the benefits of earlier interactions. The MassChallenge and Imaginatik survey found that 67 percent of companies prefer working with startups in earlier stages, mainly “to explore new technologies and business models.” And it found that a full 82 percent of corporations view interactions with startups as “somewhat important” to “very important,” with 23 percent indicating that these interactions are “mission critical.” Innovation efforts are no longer on the fringe of most corporations.
Corporate partnerships are essential for forward-thinking young startups. During the most critical phase of development, startups can derive significant benefit from their partner’s resources, mentorship and insights. Building strong professional relationships between these organizations can also set the stage for a smooth transition if a merger or acquisition ultimately takes place.

11 self-care strategies for freelancers

Andrew Carter

Freelancers Union

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
As freelancers and entrepreneurs, we’ve all heard the standard self-care strategies like take a break, eat well, exercise… yadda yadda. But there are a lot of things that many people don’t talk much about that you can do in your personal life as well as your business to help prioritize your health and well-being. I’d like to run you through a few little-known self-care strategies that you might not have considered thus far to help keep you focused on what’s really important in your business: You.

Know how you spend your time

Do you know how you spend your time? Where do you use your energy throughout the day? To start, do you know how many hours are in a week without Googling it?
FYI, there are 168 hours in a week.
So, let’s break it down, how do you spend a normal week?
  • 8 hours sleeping/day (56/week)
  • 8 hours working/day (40/week)
  • 6 hours cooking/week
  • 11 hours eating/week
  • Everything else
All together that’s 113 hours of things you “must” do. So, what’re you doing with the other 55 hours? TV, Netflix, social media? If you don’t really know, then it’s time to find out.
If you go to a nutritionist, what’s the first thing they’ll tell you? Keep a food log. If you go to a personal trainer what will they pull out? A workout log. Financial planner? A payment log. For these people to do their jobs, they have to know where you are right now to identify the areas of improvement.
It’s easy to keep a time log. Grab a piece of paper, or you can do it in a Word Doc. Create a table with 7 columns, one for each day, and 16 rows, one for each hour that you’re awake. Every hour, write down what you’ve done. At the end of the week you’ll have a very good idea as to where all your time goes.

Turn off non-essential notifications

Notifications were invented for one thing and one thing only: to distract you. I know it feels great that someone commented on your LinkedIn post or shared your newest Pinterest recipe. But, do you really have to know the second it happens? Waiting a few hours until you take a break or a little time to yourself will not change the fact that someone has interacted with your post.
Now, I understand that for social marketing the faster you respond to comments the better the algorithm places your post, so using them for your business in that way is understandable. For your personal accounts though, no way!
Do you need notifications that your Aunt Jannete has sent you an email on Gmail? Probably not. If you have a professional email for clients, then you can set up notifications for time-sensitive emails only if you must, but everything else is just a distraction.
Personally, when I used to get notifications, I would look at every single one, no matter what I was doing. It breaks your rhythm and concentration and it’s been shown to lower productivity and effectiveness. Not being productive and looming deadlines are a huge stress factor in most freelancer’s lives. Just try to avoid as many distractions as you can.
According to a study by Deloitte, if you’re like most people you’re checking your phone on average 47 times per day. But let’s be honest, we freelancers like our technology more than that!
Now, obviously, the numbers are different for different generations but even you’re reaching half those numbers, that’s still 15 hours of social media a week. How can you have any focused work time if you check your phone, on average, about 10 times an hour?

Vision/mission statement

Do you know why people are indecisive, make poor decisions, and waste time? It’s because they lack a vision or a goal. If you don’t know where you’re headed, then every small decision has to be weighed and considered. That takes a lot of willpower and concentration that most freelancers can’t afford to part with.
Creating a mission/vision statement for your company puts up filters that easily allow you to decide if something will help you fulfil those statements or not. If it will help you and you can fit it into your schedule, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Easy as that.
You need to have a direction and an endgame, or you’ll end up saying yes to every little project, poorly paying offer, and nightmare client out there. Set your boundaries and stick to them.

Pay yourself first

This is a very part of a financial plan, because if you don’t automatically transfer money out of your account right after getting paid it’s very unlikely that there will be any left at the end of the month. When you pay yourself first, it doesn’t “hurt” as much, and you’re setting yourself up for future success.
Now as self-care strategies go, it’s fairly similar but paying yourself first in this regard means doing non-urgent priorities before you do anything else. What are non-urgent priorities?
Those would be things like exercising, preparing a weekly food menu, meditating, journaling and doing the things that make you happy before you do the time-sensitive things. (Hint: you may have to overhaul your mornings, but most freelancers don’t have a specific time they need to be at the office, so it’s not that important).
If you plan self-care first thing in the morning, you’re much more likely to follow through. If you wait until 6 pm when you finish work, that glass of wine and the couch will beat out any health goals you had established. Pay yourself first, and you won’t have to worry about saving extra energy at the end of the day or money in your bank account. Both are good strategies.

Play a game you can win

When it comes to to-do lists, many freelancers and entrepreneurs are playing a game they can’t win. Our lists have 150 items that seem to just get longer throughout the day. We go to bed defeated because we think “we didn’t do much” and wake up overwhelmed because “we have so much to do”. There isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done on that list. So how do we make this freelance game winnable?
Change it.
I’ve borrowed a few self-care strategies from Michael Hyatt, but I must say, his Big 3 have actually changed my life. In essence, the Big 3 are the three tasks that you need to get done today to make your day a success.
Ask yourself, “What are the 3 most important tasks that will most help me reach my goals today?” Everyone can do three things today. The rest of the to-do list is just bonus points.
I like this strategy for many different reasons, but unlike a few of the common self-care strategies of “make a to-do-list” and “write things down”, the Big 3 prioritizes exactly what will help you the most today. This builds on the idea that “success is a series of small wins” and it’s oh so true!

Set time blocks

If you’ve been freelancing for a while you probably have a normal daily routine already, but you may not have let everyone else in your life know. Setting boundaries on your time is one of the most effective things you can do as someone who works from home. Say for example you work from 10AM-12PM on your biggest task of the day. Phone off, door closed, social media blocked (check out the anti-social app) and get to work.
Can you imagine how much you could get done with zero distractions? You need to be very firm with these time blocks. Although you’re working from home, you’re still at work. No being bothered by the kids, your spouse, the dog, the mailman, nothing. 98% of things can wait an hour or two without the world catching on fire.
Block out your timeslots and make sure everyone in your life knows that during those times you can’t be contacted (besides emergencies of course).

Make your bed

I can hear you now, “really? A list of self-care strategies including make my bed? Great advice buddy…” Now just give me a second. There are certain habits out there like exercising, daily goal setting, family dinners, keeping a food log, and yes, making your bed, which have been linked to improvements in completely unrelated areas. It follows the idea that “success begets success” and there’s hard data to prove it.
One small win like making your bed every morning makes going to the gym, waking up without hitting the snooze button, eating better, and being more productive not seem so hard.

Unsubscribe from everything that isn’t helpful

Let me tell you a little story. I’ve been living in Spain for almost 6 years now, and as of about a year ago, I was subscribed to over 20 newsletters from US-based retailers that I hadn’t used or read in over 5 years. I got daily emails from Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and a lot more. Every day I would go into my email, and I would have to delete them manually. Every. Single. Day.
Why was I doing that to myself? Laziness probably. It may not seem like much to delete a few emails each day, but there’s a theory called Decision Fatigue. It’s based on the idea that the more decisions you make throughout the day, the more difficult each decision becomes, and so you start making worse choices as the day goes on.
So now back to my long list of subscriptions. I was wasting my precious decision-making muscle on whether I should read or delete emails from things I hadn’t used in over 5 years. That’s insane.
So, head into your Gmail and unsubscribe from every newsletter that is not helping you achieve your goals or improving your life (except mine, of course :-D).

Quit multitasking

Multitasking is “merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time”, as Steve Uzzel says in his book, The ONE Thing. Basex, an information-tech research firm, found that interruptions consume an average of 2.1 hours per day or 28% of the workday.
The numbers are probably a bit different than for freelancers–but maybe not all that different if you think about it. Office workers have to deal with their bosses, co-workers, emails, phone calls and everything else that comes with working a 9-5. As freelancers, we have to deal with a lot more distractions that they haven’t thought of.
At home, you have your couch 50 feet away, Netflix is just a few clicks away, your kitchen on the other side of the wall, the dog needs to go out. Maybe I should fold some laundry, I haven’t dusted for a while, how about I just take out the garbage… and on and on and on.
If we don’t firmly separate our personal and professional lives, they start to blend together, and multitasking becomes a part of our reality.
(I’m ashamed to say that I have a load of laundry in the washing machine right now. Hey, I never said I was perfect, but I’m working on it.)

Prepare weekly food menus

A lot of these self-care strategies involve planning, and this one is no different. Setting goals allows you to prioritize decisions. Paying yourself first is planning your morning around different self-care strategies. Setting aside 10 minutes every Sunday night to plan out your weekly meals will not only save you from reaching for the snack drawer but also the decision fatigue when you get to the store.
Tell me this, have you ever gotten to the store around 6 pm and you weren’t sure what you were going to get when you went? What’d you end up buying? I’m sure it wasn’t fish and vegetables.
We’ve all heard the standard self-care strategies of taking a break, exercising, eat well, drink water. Don’t get me wrong though! These are incredibly important self-care strategies, but I believe these don’t happen overnight, and they need to be planned.
Take care of yourselves out there. Freelancers are the future. Happy freelancing!
Andrew Carter is the founder of Healthy Freelancers, where he aims to help freelancers prioritize their health by learning to put themselves first. He’s a full-time translator from the US but currently living in Barcelona.

14 Extreme Ways to Save (for Those Hungry for Money to Invest)

Craig Curelop |


This article is not for beginners. It’s not for those just thinking about purchasing their first property in pursuit of financial independence. It’s for those who are ready, willing, and able to take their life in their own hands. It’s for those ready to seriously start making serious strides towards saving ~$20,000 to get that down payment for a first property.
If you aren’t one of the lollygaggers, if there is absolutely nothing that is going to stand in between you and freedom, this article is for you.
In this post, I am going to describe some extreme budgeting techniques that some of my friends and I have used to save a significant amount of money, allowing us to quickly jump into this real estate game!
Full disclosure: Some of these are extremely affective, while others may seem completely outlandish. I suggest giving them a shot before shutting them down.
Here it goes.

Living: The Rent Hack

The rent hack is house hacking before you have the means to house hack. What you do here is you find a 2-5 bedroom apartment or house that you can rent. You rent the entire thing from the landlord and turn around and rent it by the room (or Airbnb it) to other people such that they are covering your full rent payment.
For example, you find a 3-bedroom house for $1,200 on Craigslist. You rent out the entire place from the landlord for $1,200 and then rent out each of the other two bedrooms for $600 each. That way, you are collecting a total of $1,200 from your roommates, paying your landlord $1,200, and effectively living for free. The more bedrooms you rent out, the higher likelihood that you will bring in money from your living situation.
Note: You need to let your landlord know that you are doing this! This is a new idea so most will likely say no, but it only takes one yes to get started. I would hope that a couple of rejections are worth $600+ per month.

Transportation: Bike to Work & Turo

Ideally, the house or apartment that you find is within walking or biking distance to work. That way you eliminate your need for a car. If you don’t have a car, that’s great! Let’s keep it that way.
If you do have a car and don’t want to get rid of it, then you can rent it out on this site called Turo. People coming into town will borrow your car for a few days and will pay you to use it while you go about your day normally.
This is a very good way to transition your car from a “liability” that takes money out of your pocket to an “asset” that puts money in your pocket.

Food: Grocery Shop & Grocery Shop Cheap

Food is another large expense for many Americans. One of the reasons this is the case is because we so frequently go out to eat where the meals are three times as much. No thanks!
If you want to save in the food department, you need to start making the grocery store a place you frequent. However, grocery stores can be dangerous too! There are a lot of things that are tempting but that you don’t need. Stay strong!
A BiggerPockets user recommended the Mealime app to me. I started using it and it’s great! You can pick what you want to eat, and the app automatically populates the ingredients for you. When you go into the grocery store, ONLY get what is on the list. Once you start to stray from your list, your money starts to stray from your bank account.
I know, I know. That’s really not all that extreme, but I really like it so I wanted to give it a shoutout. Here are some of the extreme tips:

Buy in bulk.

Costco is one of the greatest places in the world to buy in bulk. You don’t need to buy your meat or produce at Costco if you don’t like eating the same thing for a week (though I do it). I’m talking about all non-perishable items: toilet paper, toothpaste, oatmeal, canned goods, etc. Buy these items in bulk ,and you’ll save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars over the course of the year.

Go meatless for lunch.

If you’re vegetarian, this won’t be too hard for you. However, if meat is the staple of your every meal, there is likely some slimming down you can do (pun intended). Meat is 30%-40% of the average person’s grocery bill. Only eat meat for one meal each day, and you’ll be saving 15%-20% of your total grocery bill AND you won’t get that mid-afternoon groggy feeling. Win-win!

Frequent the “dented can” aisle.

This is something I hadn’t heard of until about 20 minutes before writing this article. Apparently, in almost every grocery store there is an aisle where all of the damaged cans and boxes go. Here, you can pick up cans and boxes for a fraction of the price of the ones that are in “new” condition. The contents on the inside are exactly the same—they just may not look as nice in your cabinets. Unless you’re going to be on MTV Cribs (is that show still on?), I would suggest making a habit of perusing this aisle. I know I’m going to!

Gym Memberships: Convict Conditioning

Hopefully, you have taken my advice and are (or will be) biking to work. There is a good portion of your exercise right there. If that’s not enough (it’s not for me), I would suggest Convict Conditioning.
Convict Conditioning is a program designed by an ex-convict named Paul Wade. While he was in jail, he would help his inmates get into the best shape of their lives through this body weight exercise program, which involves minimal equipment and minimal space. They needed to be able to do this in their jail cells.
Look up the program. I believe there is a PDF version for free online. If not, there are a bunch of YouTube videos around it.

Fun Extreme Budgeting Tips

This is the area that might get the most push back. These are extreme, fun—albeit less impactful—ways to save money, but they do work!
Let’s talk about saving on utilities:

Take military showers.

This is when you only use the water in your shower for functional purposes, to get yourself wet before you lather up and right after to rinse yourself off. For 90 percent of the time, your water is off and you are just washing yourself.
In this same category is making sure you shut your water off while you are brushing your teeth, shaving, and performing all other idle sink-side activities.

Put a two-liter bottle in toilet tank.

Get a two-liter bottle, put a few rocks in it, fill it with water, and place it in the back of your toilet tank. By doing this, your toilet will need less water to fill the tank, and therefore less water will be flushed. If a two-liter bottle is too big, try a one-liter bottle.

Hang clothes to dry.

This is self-explanatory. It’s no secret that your dryer uses a whole lot of utilities. I’d recommend getting a clothes rack, and if it’s a nice day, hang dry your clothes. Depending on where you live, it may only take two or three hours to complete.

Unplug electronics when not in use.

When your electronics lie idly but are plugged in, they are still using electricity. If you aren’t using your TV, appliances, and other electronic devices, unplug them! You’ll save quite a bit of electricity this way.

Cut sponges in half.

Look at the size of most of the things that you wash. I would bet that in most cases you do not need the ENTIRE sponge. Why not cut them in half or even thirds to make them last two or three times as long?

Put a soap bowl next to the sink.

Now that your sponges are cut in half, I would bet that they can fit in a small bowl beside your sink. Fill that bowl with soap and water, and put the sponge in there. That way, you are saving water and saving soap all at the same time!
There it is—some extreme ways you can save to expedite the time towards your next investment. Again, some of these are silly and some are affective, but I do, have done, or know people who do all of these ideas. If it works for us, it can certainly work for you.

There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Idea

“Any idea can be a great idea if you think differently, dream big, and commit to seeing it realized.”
-Richard Branson, CEO and Founder, Virgin Group
You have a great idea and you want to turn it into a viable product or business. What do you do? Here are some tips from one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, from a guest column he wrote for Entrepreneur magazine.

Step 1. Take It to the Hammock

Don’t be in a rush to start building a spreadsheet of projections and ordering inventory. Start out by relaxing in a comfortable place. Branson prefers using a hammock at his home on Necker Island. This is where he can relax, settle in, and envision the development of his idea.
There are two things Branson believes are crucial to the success of a new venture: frustration and enthusiasm. His first business was selling records in the late 1960s, selling them for less than the major retail outlets. He was successful because he combined his passion for music with his aggravation at prices the big stores were charging customers for it.
But the key is to love what you do. “Are you enthusiastic about how this business will make a difference in people’s lives?” Branson asks. If you are, he goes on to say, you’re more likely to persevere in the face of struggles you will inevitably encounter.
A mind map is a very effective way to brainstorm new ideas.

Step 2. Give It the Mom Test

Sometimes the people closest to you can be your best intitial sounding board. Tell them about your project and if they don’t get it, other people might not either.
Branson says “Ask your mother for her honest thoughts on your plans. If she glazes over when you describe the new venture, return to your hammock and start over. If she gets excited, you could be onto a winner.”

Step 3. Take a Risk

This is the part where most people hesitate, because it’s risky. It’s easier to hold back and wait for the perfect time to move forward. But this is a mistake, Branson says. “Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for the perfect moment—they create it.”

Step 4. Test it Out

It’s said that entrepreneurs are willing to take risks. This is true, but successful entrepreneurs are the ones who mitigate the risks they take. This means developing, testing, and and getting market feedback on your product or service, then refining and improving upon it, as you move forward.
Branson’s advice: “Develop some samples of what you intend to sell, and when you’re happy with your product or service, begin the best and cheapest form of market research you can—ask your friends, family members, neighbors, and social media followers to try it out.”
Don’t get down about adverse feedback. This is a process, and you need to be prepared to be flexible, willing to make adjustments to your product or your plan. (Without saying so, Branson is applying the lean startup philosophy of the MVP—minimum viable product.)

Step 5. The Ultimate Test

Once the product or service has been tested and refined to your satisfaction, it’s time for the final test: Will it sell?
Once you’ve made those changes, try selling small batches of your product or offer initial introductions to the service wherever you can — online, door to door, at street fairs, and so on. Continue asking for feedback, and keep in touch with those customers. Make sure you get the branding right: Does it stand out? Do your brand values attract eager customers? Will they also attract talented employees?
When this happens, you’ll encounter new, practical problems. Such as how to distribute your product, how to manage cash flow, and whether to raise capital from investors.
The kinds of problems we hope you will have.

This Is Why You Need to Build a 7-Figure Business

Scott Oldford
Guest Writer,Entrepreneur

I often meet entrepreneurs who say something along the lines of “Once I get to six figures, I’ll be happy.”

But then they get there, and guess what? They’re as stressed and burnt out as ever.

I call this getting stuck in the “six-figure hamster wheel,” and it’s a vicious cycle I’ve lost myself in before. It’s hard to escape, and most people try to overcome it with even more hustle. After all, it was “hustle mode” that got them to six figures, so more will get you to seven figures … right?


Hustling to seven figures is not the answer.

And this is why I believe every single entrepreneur needs to build a seven-figure business if they are ever to fulfill their potential and live a life of freedom, abundance and happiness.

It’s not about the money!

Most people don’t want to take the hard route. They’re driven by security and comfort, and they are afraid to take the necessary risk to achieve what they really want. Yet, the riskiest thing you can ever do is to not live up to your fullest potential!

Every entrepreneur should strive to have a profitable seven-figure business, and no, it’s not about the money. It’s not about the bragging rights. It’s not about the fame or status. It’s not even about the lifestyle that comes with it.

Related: 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

The reason you need a seven-figure business is simple: freedom.

With freedom, you can truly escape “hustle mode” forever. That isn’t to say you won’t have to work hard and put in the hours, but never again will you find yourself caught in the hamster wheel where every time you scale to a new level, it’s at the expense of your health and sanity.

A seven-figure business gives you the freedom to build a world-class team, invest in yourself (mindset, therapy, health), regain control of your time (so you have more time to do what you do best) and work “on” your business, rather than get stuck inside it.

At six figures, you cannot do any of this. I’ve tried it, and I’ve seen plenty of other people try, too. But it doesn’t happen. You can live a happy life at six figures, sure. But a life of true freedom? Nope!

The biggest obstacle between you and a seven-figure business is …

You. Because although you may fear failure, chances are you fear success even more.

Freedom, for most, is scary. It forces you to tap into your fullest potential and live it, because you no longer have the excuse of hustling, a lack of money or not enough time. So, you ask yourself, Who will I become when I can truly be myself?

I remember the anxiety I felt when I asked this question on a random Thursday night. I almost had a panic attack, because I realized I didn’t know the answer. What happens now that I’m out of debt? I asked. Who will I become? What will I create? Will people care? How can I make an impact? What impact do I even want to make?

Well, I’m here to tell you not to panic like I did. Because you’ll become the exact person you need to be in order to live out your vision and purpose.

Related: 9 Steps to Increase the Value of Your Business

“But, hold on, Scott,” I hear you say. “What if I don’t know my purpose?”

This is the exact reason why you need to build a seven-figure business. Because once you reach this level, you remove all the excuses standing between you and your true potential, and gain the freedom you need to make this happen. When you have true freedom, you finally understand what you’re most passionate about and what impact you want to make in this world.

It’s impossible to truly know yourself when you’re stressing over the day-to-day, caught in “hustle mode.” How are you going to pay your bills? How is your business actually going to work? Is there enough money coming in? Are you charging enough?

It’s impossible to fulfill your potential if these questions consume you each day. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how talented you may be; you cannot be your best self with this sort of stress. You must elevate to a higher level of understanding and thinking, and the best way to do this is to have a near-limitless level of freedom.

Having a profitable, seven-figure business gives you this!

So, no matter who you are and what impact you wish to have, the key to unlocking this is to scale to seven figures so you can escape the “six-figure hamster wheel,” say goodbye to “hustle mode” and welcome true freedom, true abundance and true success.

How Blockchain Is Poised to Disrupt the Gig Economy

Guest Writer, Entrepreneur

Co-founder & General Partner at Revel Partners
July 17

There is much debate these days as to whether the gig economy is growing or shrinking, but most agree it’s still massive and, importantly, ripe for disruption. Distributed ledger-based technologies — commonly known as blockchain — is one of the forces with the most potential to affect the gig economy over the next several years. This potential is of particular interest to enterprises, which has recently shown an increased reliance on alternative work arrangements.

Corporations like FedEx, P&G and Verizon now outsource between 20-50 percent of their jobs. They embrace this independent workforce to increase efficiency and remain nimble. This is big news for the gig economy and the platforms that drive it. But those on both sides of the hire/hired coin can recite chapter and verse the problems they encounter in this new labor bazaar. Whether it’s low-pay, increased income inequality, lack of benefits, unpredictable performance, broken contracts, scope creep or any of the other issues that come with gigging and/or using an independent workforce, it’s clear there are areas that need improvement if the gig economy is going to continue to be a reliable source of alternative work arrangements for enterprises.

Enter blockchain and the ongoing innovations that are shaping that technology today. A transparent, trusted and verifiable tech stack that drives gig work could raise pay, cut overhead, drive scalability and fair labor practices for both workers and employers. These capabilities are of major importance to corporations as technical innovation and fair play are needed to sustain an independent workforce model they’ve come to rely on.

One of the dilemmas for enterprises is that a crucial part of the gig economy’s growth to date has been centralized platforms such as Uber, MTurk or Fiverr. They do a great job of connecting work with workers, providing a framework for compensation and a system for tracking work processes. Yet, most of these platforms are tolerated, not celebrated — particularly when they pocket a large percentage of a job’s value without offering many of the benefits workers find in more traditional work arrangements.

Fiverr, for example, is a centralized two-sided platform for people to buy and sell a variety of digital services typically offered by freelance contractors. Fiverr also takes a 20 percent cut of all transactions to the detriment of both worker and enterprise by introducing inefficiencies and pain points that threaten the long-term viability of the gig arrangement. Blockchain could eliminate that.

Ethlance is a blockchain-based project launched by District0x. It offers a platform that combines smart contracts, a file exchange protocol and a web interface to allow people to sell their goods and services on the ethereum blockchain. Ethlance is totally free because it’s 100 percent open source and runs at no cost — unlike Fiverr, which requires a centralized database and online hosting. Chronobank is another blockchain-based company attempting to disrupt the centralized platform model. It launched its LaborX platform to connect gig workers with jobs anywhere in the world for just 1 percent of the job’s pay. For both companies, it’s still early days as far as adoption rates go, but with so much at stake, smart businesses will need to consider these sorts of solutions to help the gig economy continue to attract and maintain a large workforce pool without alienating it or burning it out.