Entrepreneur

Helpful Websites for New Entrepreneurs in 2019

Have you recently embraced the entrepreneurial world? If so, you’re probably eager to learn as much as you can about it to grow your new career as quickly as possible.

Websites provide a lot of valuable information you can use as you create your business plan. With so many available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all (so overwhelmed that you might feel tempted to hire a temporary staffing agency to help you complete your tasks!)

Instead of digging to find the best sites to use as you build your entrepreneurial empire, use these to get you started.

#1: Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur website has a lot of information on the world of entrepreneurship. You can get inspiration, motivation, and information on how to build a new business or grow an existing one. It’s updated regularly, so you’ll want to bookmark this one to visit daily.

#2: The Startup – Medium

The Startup – Medium is a community of people who specialize in startups. They can help you with any questions or you can read the articles they have available to learn how you can get started or move forward with your startup.

#3: Inc.

Inc. has a lot of information for new business owners. Not only is it updated daily, but it includes expert tips, news, and practical information you can use today to move forward with your business. If you’re feeling stuck, Inc. can help you get unstuck.

#4: Business News Daily

Business News Daily isn’t just for business owners, but it’s for entrepreneurs who want to run multiple businesses at the same time. You can learn about financing businesses on this website, as well as how to grow and lead your team.

#5: Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur, has achieved unbelievable success with his motivational and informational speeches to entrepreneurs. You can read his books, but his website has a lot of information too. He also has a podcast (you can find it on his website) you may want to start listening to as well.

#6: Startup Grind

Startup Grind is in partnership with Google. It is a community made up of innovators, investors, and startups who share ideas. This is the place to be if you want to surround yourself with people who have been able to succeed at being entrepreneurs.

#7: Under 30 CEO

Those who are in their 20s will love the Under 30 CEO website. It’s geared towards this age group and helps young entrepreneurs with getting started with businesses and growing them despite not having the funds and experience some of the older entrepreneurs have these days.

#8: A Smart Bear

Jason Cohen is a successful entrepreneur that provides advice on his blog. You can learn how he’s made himself a success, and then take some of those tips and integrate them into your plan.

#9: Noobpreneur.com

As the domain name noobpreneur.com suggests, this is for newbie entrepreneurs. It’s a fun website with a lot of great articles on being a successful business owner. This is one of those websites to sit back with some coffee and enjoy.

#10: Freelance Union

Freelancers congregate over at the Freelance Union website. It provides resources, a community, and a blog with a lot of information. Head over to that site if you want to be a freelancer.

More Useful Websites for New Entrepreneurs

Do you have any websites you’d like to add to this list? Contact us via email at sidehustlebusinesshacks@gmail.com with your recommendations.

Real Estate

Achieving Real Estate Success on a Part-Time Basis

Anyone who embarks on the career path of a real estate agent knows the money doesn’t come easy. It takes hard work to become successful, and along with that work comes time.

Since you don’t make money until you sell a home, you’re probably wondering how you will juggle building a real estate business plus making money on the side.

First off, take a deep breath. You can do this, and you will succeed.

Steps to Building a Successful Real Estate Business

All you have to do is take these steps to make real estate a side hustle until it becomes a full-time career.

Step #1: Find Part or Full Time Work

Depending on how much money you need to survive, you’ll need to look for part- or full-time work. Try to seek out opportunities in which you can work during the day.

Most people who want to buy or sell a house want to meet with an agent after the work day. This way, you’re working while they are working and can be available during the evenings and weekends.

Step #2: Plan Each Day

You have to work your real estate business every single day to make it work. This may mean you have to wake up early or stay up late most week days. Your commitment will pay off when you sell your first home, which will then propel you to work harder.

For most people, maintaining a side hustle with real estate means coming home from a work day only to switch clothes and then show houses or meet with potential sellers.

The weekends will be filled with more showings and open houses.

When you’re just starting out, you may not have any showings or meetings. That’s okay because the time you would be doing showings and meetings can be spent marketing your business and reaching out to leads.

Step #3: Taking a Break

No, this is not a contradiction. Yes, you have to work hard. Yes, you have to work longer days and on weekends. However, you need to also take a break.

Decide to NOT do any work two evenings out of the week and one weekend out of the month. This will keep you from burning out.

The last thing you want to do is burn out because you’re always working. Fit in self-care during those breaks and time with friends and family.

Step #4: Keep the Ball Moving

Once you get into a habit of working your money job during the day, and your side-hustle (real estate) during the evenings and weekends, don’t stop.

There’s a great quote by Mary Kay Ash you should always remember:

“Never give up, because you never know if the next try is going to be the one that works.”

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t end up with a seller after the first, second, or even sixth month. Don’t give up after showing people houses over and over again only to have them decide they don’t want to buy after all.

Just keep moving forward with marketing, meetings, and showings. You never know when the perfect buyer or seller will come to you and you’ll make enough money to forget about all of the hard work.

When you do make your first sale, that will motivate you to make your second, and so on and so forth. Some of the most successful real estate agents say the first sale is the hardest and then it all just comes trickling down.

Go out there and make your real estate business a dream come true.

Real Estate

Insights From an Up-and-Coming Real Estate Agent in NYC

The real estate market is ever-changing. It’s precisely why we recommend the importance of keeping an ear to the ground at all times; it’s also why we encourage both young and old real estate agents to converse with young upstarts who are out there on the daily grind battling for turf.

Standing out from the competition in the NYC real estate market requires innovative thinking, strategizing, and fearlessness – in other words, are you going to do what it takes to be decisive during the good times as well as lows? Are you going to be creative in both your problem solving and in your marketing?

We sat down with Justin Neissani, one of New York’s most highly respected and energetic licensed real estate agents with Compass, and asked him about his journey and the inner workings of his daily grind.

SHBH: What state is the real estate market in from an agent’s perspective?

JN: The real estate market runs in cycles of a buyer’s and seller’s market. Right now it’s in the state of being a buyer’s market which means that if you’re looking to buy something for personal use or for investment there are higher levels of vacancies than in the past few years. Which allows you as the buyer to have more power on the negotiating front.

SHBH: What are the biggest challenges you face in your day to day?

JN: The biggest challenges I face are making sure I stay consistent with my daily habits and remembering to stay positive while keeping my long-term goal in mind.

SHBH: What are the best online tools or apps you use in your daily grind?

JN: One of the tools I use is ACRIS which is the online public database of who bought what and for how much.

SHBH: How do you manage your time and priorities? Any tips?

JN: The way I manage my time is through building a schedule by front loading my day with the hardest and most daunting tasks and saving the easiest for the afternoons. One way to help find out what activities to prioritize throughout your day is to make a list of everything you need to do on a daily basis and from there ask yourself which ones must I do and which ones can wait until tomorrow?

SHBH: What’s one thing you would change about the real estate market?

JN: The one thing I’d change has more to do with the industry than the market. I’d want to change the barrier to entry to be higher. Too many people have bad experiences with real estate agents/brokers because the person they dealt with was uneducated and was just focused on getting the money as opposed to providing a service to their client and tailoring the experience to their needs.

SHBH: Do you have any tips for new real estate agents?

JN: Go out and do things, don’t be afraid to fail over and over again, and most importantly don’t give up!

SHBH: What’s it like to compete in the New York market?

JN: It is a competition and it’s not in the real estate market in NYC. You can choose to view it that way, but in reality there’s more than enough for everyone to eat and you just have to be reliable, competent and honest and it will take you a long way.

SHBH: Who are some of your biggest influences?

JN: My biggest influences aren’t in the real estate field, I look at who’s successful as an entrepreneur, find out if I resonate with their style and choose from there. The people who I identify the most are Gary Vaynerchuk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas and Josh Altman. I’m sure there are a bunch of others but these flow off the top of my head.

Entrepreneur

The One Key Philosophical Reminder for All Entrepreneurs with Side Hustles

There are many myths in business.

  • Work hard and you’ll succeed.
  • Do your job and you’ll get a raise.
  • Apply for a million jobs and at least one will get back to you.

But anyone hustling to make ends meet knows that these ideas are all myths.

Nothing is guaranteed in business. NOTHING…

Except taxes, obstacles, pain, disappointment, exhaustion, a lifelong journey of what ifs and fuck yous.

You get the point.

Which is precisely why inspiration is key. As you’re out there hustling day in and day out on your side hustles and projects, it is imperative that you dig deep into your inner core and open yourself up to always, always, always remembering one thing:

Life Sucks

Yep, I said it. It does. It’s full of endless suffering and sometimes it’s generally awful.

That suffering begins with your born day and ends with your last day. Actually, it continues on beyond your last day on this earth because it gets passed down to your next of kin. In some cases, the family you leave behind gets tasked with paying for your freakin’ tombstone (it doesn’t get more morbid than that, huh?).

But knowing that life sucks makes us feel grateful. We become enamored by the fact that we are here, on this earth, with time. Time is more important than everything.

It’s exactly why you’re on this blog trying to uncover ways for you to save more time.

Spend more time being productive and less time trying to understand why your life sucks a little more than the next guy’s. Remind yourself that his life sucks, too. If you don’t believe me, just ask this dude once he’s feeling depressed drunk and in his own head.

So let it go. Understand that time is finite and you might as well try to live your best life; be peaceful, be productive, and absolutely without a fucking doubt be hopeful. Be hopelessly hopeful. Keep hoping until you run out of shit to be hopeful for, and if/when you get to that point, then God damn it hope some more. Keep fucking hoping.

Hope the next day is going to be less stressful.

Hope this next month isn’t going to be as shitty.

Hope that this project is going to come along and help you pay off some of your bills.

Once you lose hope, hope loses hope in you. 

Think about that for a second. I know it’s hard to process but it’s the truth. Once we close ourselves off to the idea of success being an actual, possible outcome – and this deliberately happens once we lose hope that things will work out someday – the universe kind of pushes us away from our proximity to success.

Through the obstacles, ups and downs – through it all – always remember that life sucks, and it’s supposed to suck or else we wouldn’t be happy because happiness would be the norm, so if happiness is the norm then that’s just what it is: the norm, the mind/heart/soul living in neutral.

And because life sucks, always remember as you pursue your side hustle that you are not at the bottom. The bottom sucks more than life. The bottom takes days, weeks, years to rebound from.

If you’re not there, then smile, get your game focus on, and go out there and amplify your earning power.

And don’t stop.

Don’t you stop for a second.

Keep pushing.

Keep fighting.

Keep grinding.

KEEP HUSTLING.

Real Estate

Interview With Established NYC Real Estate Agent Jodi Nath

With so many variables altering the ins and outs of the real estate market, and the industry as a whole, in this digital age, it’s now more important than ever to gain insight from a tried and true professional. We sat down with Jodi Nath of Argo Residential for an interview about her journey into real estate and how things have changed over the years since she had her first real break. Through insightful and perceptive statements, Jodi eloquently gives both new and seasoned real estate agents the tools they need to truly excel in this industry.

How did you get started as a real estate agent?

Back in 1992, somebody suggested I get my license as they thought I would be good at it. Although I did eventually pursue it as my life’s career, I was an advertising executive for John Paul Mitchell Systems, CA before I joined real estate sales and rentals in 1996.

How is the real estate market different today than prior?

Technology has allowed me to do a deal anywhere in the world. Before, we relied on the hard copy of listings. I spent hours going over faxed listings looking for the right ones for clients. For distributing exclusives, we had Real Plus or faxing over docs.

What would you say social media’s role is in gaining new clients?

Social media for me has been a terrific tool in getting my name and business model out to everybody. With money well spent, I have my own website Jodinath.com which is constantly updated in real time. With just a look on Facebook and Instagram, buyers and sellers can see prices, photos and information with my name being seen and viewed by a huge amount of people at one time. Linked-In has been great to say hello and keep in contact with fellow brokers and people from my past.

Has the internet made it easier or harder to gain a presence in the real estate market (i.e., due to growing competition)?

The Internet should for everybody be a great tool if used properly. No fluff, just good decent photos showing who you are and what you can do.

How do you manage your time and priorities? Any tips?

Real estate is great because there is always tomorrow. You need a break? Take it and come back the next day refreshed.

What advice would you have for new real estate agents?

In the beginning this business should be 24/7. Every breath you take should be about the market and getting out to those buildings/communities. Bring coffee to your favorite doorman and/or super. If you are in the office, you are not making money!

Writing

A Brief History of ASR: Automatic Speech Recognition

A Brief History of ASR: Automatic Speech Recognition

This moment has been a long time coming. The technology behind speech recognition has been in development for over half a century, going through several periods of intense promise — and disappointment. So what changed to make ASR viable in commercial applications? And what exactly could these systems accomplish, long before any of us had heard of Siri?

The story of speech recognition is as much about the application of different approaches as the development of raw technology, though the two are inextricably linked. Over a period of decades, researchers would conceive of myriad ways to dissect language: by sounds, by structure — and with statistics.

Early Days

Human interest in recognizing and synthesizing speech dates back hundreds of years (at least!) — but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that our forebears built something recognizable as ASR.

Image result for ibm shoebox

1961  —  IBM Shoebox

Among the earliest projects was a “digit recognizer” called Audrey, created by researchers at Bell Laboratories in 1952. Audrey could recognize spoken numerical digits by looking for audio fingerprints called formants — the distilled essences of sounds.

In the 1960s, IBM developed Shoebox — a system that could recognize digits and arithmetic commands like “plus” and “total”. Better yet, Shoebox could pass the math problem to an adding machine, which would calculate and print the answer.

Meanwhile researchers in Japan built hardware that could recognize the constituent parts of speech like vowels; other systems could evaluate the structure of speech to figure out where a word might end. And a team at University College in England could recognize 4 vowels and 9 consonants by analyzing phonemes, the discrete sounds of a language.

But while the field was taking incremental steps forward, it wasn’t necessarily clear where the path was heading. And then: disaster.

Image result for whither speech recognition

October 1969  —  The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

A Piercing Freeze

The turning point came in the form of a letter written by John R. Pierce in 1969.

Pierce had long since established himself as an engineer of international renown; among other achievements he coined the word transistor (now ubiquitous in engineering) and helped launch Echo I, the first-ever communications satellite. By 1969 he was an executive at Bell Labs, which had invested extensively in the development of speech recognition.

In an open letter³ published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Pierce laid out his concerns. Citing a “lush” funding environment in the aftermath of World War II and Sputnik, and the lack of accountability thereof, Pierce admonished the field for its lack of scientific rigor, asserting that there was too much wild experimentation going on:

“We all believe that a science of speech is possible, despite the scarcity in the field of people who behave like scientists and of results that look like science.” — J.R. Pierce, 1969

Pierce put his employer’s money where his mouth was: he defunded Bell’s ASR programs, which wouldn’t be reinstated until after he resigned in 1971.

Progress Continues

Thankfully there was more optimism elsewhere. In the early 1970s, the U.S. Department of Defense’s ARPA (the agency now known as DARPA) funded a five-year program called Speech Understanding Research. This led to the creation of several new ASR systems, the most successful of which was Carnegie Mellon University’s Harpy, which could recognize just over 1000 words by 1976.

Meanwhile efforts from IBM and AT&T’s Bell Laboratories pushed the technology toward possible commercial applications. IBM prioritized speech transcription in the context of office correspondence, and Bell was concerned with ‘command and control’ scenarios: the precursors to the voice dialing and automated phone trees we know today.

Despite this progress, by the end of the 1970s ASR was still a long ways from being viable for anything but highly-specific use-cases.

The ‘80s: Markovs and More

A key turning point came with the popularization of Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) in the mid-1980s. This approach represented a significant shift “from simple pattern recognition methods, based on templates and a spectral distance measure, to a statistical method for speech processing”—which translated to a leap forward in accuracy.

A large part of the improvement in speech recognition systems since the late 1960s is due to the power of this statistical approach, coupled with the advances in computer technology necessary to implement HMMs.

HMMs took the industry by storm — but they were no overnight success. Jim Baker first applied them to speech recognition in the early 1970s at CMU, and the models themselves had been described by Leonard E. Baum in the ‘60s. It wasn’t until 1980, when Jack Ferguson gave a set of illuminating lectures at the Institute for Defense Analyses, that the technique began to disseminate more widely.

The success of HMMs validated the work of Frederick Jelinek at IBM’s Watson Research Center, who since the early 1970s had advocated for the use of statistical models to interpret speech, rather than trying to get computers to mimic the way humans digest language: through meaning, syntax, and grammar (a common approach at the time). As Jelinek later put it: “Airplanes don’t flap their wings.”

These data-driven approaches also facilitated progress that had as much to do with industry collaboration and accountability as individual eureka moments. With the increasing popularity of statistical models, the ASR field began coalescing around a suite of tests that would provide a standardized benchmark to compare to. This was further encouraged by the release of shared data sets: large corpuses of data that researchers could use to train and test their models on.

In other words: finally, there was an (imperfect) way to measure and compare success.

Image result for November 1990, Infoworld

November 1990, Infoworld

Consumer Availability — The ‘90s

For better and worse, the 90s introduced consumers to automatic speech recognition in a form we’d recognize today. Dragon Dictate launched in 1990 for a staggering $9,000, touting a dictionary of 80,000 words and features like natural language processing (see the Infoworld article above).

These tools were time-consuming (the article claims otherwise, but Dragon became known for prompting users to ‘train’ the dictation software to their own voice). And it required that users speak in a stilted manner: Dragon could initially recognize only 30–40 words a minute; people typically talk around four times faster than that.

But it worked well enough for Dragon to grow into a business with hundreds of employees, and customers spanning healthcare, law, and more. By 1997 the company introduced Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which could capture words at a more fluid pace — and, at $150, a much lower price-tag.

Even so, there may have been as many grumbles as squeals of delight: to the degree that there is consumer skepticism around ASR today, some of the credit should go to the over-enthusiastic marketing of these early products. But without the efforts of industry pioneers James and Janet Baker (who founded Dragon Systems in 1982), the productization of ASR may have taken much longer.

Image result for whither speech recognition 25 years later

November 1993, IEEE Communications Magazine

Whither Speech Recognition— The Sequel

25 years after J.R. Pierce’s paper was published, the IEEE published a follow-up titled Whither Speech Recognition: the Next 25 Years⁵, authored by two senior employees of Bell Laboratories (the same institution where Pierce worked).

The latter article surveys the state of the industry circa 1993, when the paper was published — and serves as a sort of rebuttal to the pessimism of the original. Among its takeaways:

  • The key issue with Pierce’s letter was his assumption that in order for speech recognition to become useful, computers would need to comprehend what words mean. Given the technology of the time, this was completely infeasible.
  • In a sense, Pierce was right: by 1993 computers had meager understanding of language—and in 2018, they’re still notoriously bad at discerning meaning.
  • Pierce’s mistake lay in his failure to anticipate the myriad ways speech recognition can be useful, even when the computer doesn’t know what the words actually mean.

The Whither sequel ends with a prognosis, forecasting where ASR would head in the years after 1993. The section is couched in cheeky hedges (“We confidently predict that at least one of these eight predictions will turn out to have been incorrect”) — but it’s intriguing all the same. Among their eight predictions:

  • “By the year 2000, more people will get remote information via voice dialogues than by typing commands on computer keyboards to access remote databases.”
  • “People will learn to modify their speech habits to use speech recognition devices, just as they have changed their speaking behavior to leave messages on answering machines. Even though they will learn how to use this technology, people will always complain about speech recognizers.”

The Dark Horse

In a forthcoming installment in this series, we’ll be exploring more recent developments and the current state of automatic speech recognition. Spoiler alert: neural networks have played a starring role.

But neural networks are actually as old as most of the approaches described here — they were introduced in the 1950s! It wasn’t until the computational power of the modern era (along with much larger data sets) that they changed the landscape.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Stay tuned for our next post on Automatic Speech Recognition by following Descript on Medium, Twitter, or Facebook.

Image result for Timeline via Juang & Rabiner

Timeline via Juang & Rabiner

This article is originally published at Descript.

Entrepreneur

Top Six Business Trends of 2018

2018: A Year of Digital Trends in Business

It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs and company leaders across all industries in the business world to look for bold and innovative steps that would give them an edge over their competitors. While some may be trying to get ahead, other are simply fighting to keep up with their counterparts. The advent of technology has made it a lot easier for startups to compete, thereby eroding past practices and creating new strategies for smaller business to succeed.

Here are a few trends that the year 2018 has brought forth (while also noting that these practices might just continue to gain ground going forward in the future):

Digital Banking

This is perhaps one of the more obvious and prevalent trends that continues to solidify its root each year. The advent of digital banking has replaced the traditional over-the-counter-banking system, making it easier for people all over the world to carry their financial records and most of their assets in their pocket. This trend is not just prominent amongst millennials, as even the older generation are beginning to understand the need to adapt to this faster and more convenient solution.

While these trends bring a lot of positives with them, one can clearly see that the direct impact will likely be a rise in cybercrime across all sectors.

Blockchain Technology

The concept of money is one that has been a serious topic of discussion as it is a means of exchange that decides the economic status of the entire world. Therefore, the idea of a universal decentralized system is one that appeals to all. Blockchain technology offers security, authentication – and it is undoubtedly the currency of the future. This means that more and more businesses will adopt the use of this technology in an attempt to become early adopters.

Virtual Workplaces and Remote Offices

As newer job descriptions’ are opening up, there is a corresponding change in the nature of human presence. Businesses are becoming much smarter thereby targeting productivity and space utilization more efficiently. This means that people can now work from all kinds of locations while remaining connected or clocked in to their various bases. Of course, a bulk of this new behavior is made possible by the advancement in the field of IT by newer software that make connectivity much easier and much more convenient.

The Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Artificial Learning

These three concepts have been buzzwords for quite a while and will likely begin to become reality in the near future. Such technology and interaction between physical devices will mean increases in quality of services and interaction among customers and vendors. This also means that businesses can begin to predict human behavior, satisfaction, and respond to their product based on past history. On the other hand, customers can begin to evaluate the services of their favorite vendors even before they initiate contact, thereby ensuring efficiency.

A Need for Advancements in Cybersecurity

There is an ever present danger that is associated with the extreme levels of connectivity around the globe. Identity thefts, Hacking and user data siphoning has become a real and ever present danger and businesses will have to put a lot of resources towards ensuring that this menace is curbed.

Advertising, Lead Generation and Conversion

One of the main goals of every business is to generate revenue. This means that a huge part of their resources have to be devoted into customer acquisition. However, with the arrival of several user platforms consisting of targeted audiences and customers, this has become more accessible. Businesses must begin to devise new strategies to acquire customers without risking information overload. Small businesses may need to lookout for more effective solutions in order to compete with their larger counterparts.

Conclusion

It is important to ensure that you stay ahead of trends and never fall behind them. Every business has trends that are present in specific industries, and you should ensure that you work with the data available to you.
What other business trends have you noticed in 2018 that have made the biggest impact in your industry? Let us know in the comment section below.