Is it really worth to work in trading business

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Where to work in Asia

Todd: So, I’m here with Dan, and Dan lives in Bali, Indonesia where he runs his business operations. And we’re going to talk about good cities to do business.

So Dan what are your favorite cities or cities that do you think would be a good place to start up an international business?

Dan: Well, it really depends what kind of business you’re doing, I suppose. If you are an English speaker and you like to hire other English speakers, the Philippines is a famous place for going to hire English speakers. A good city to do that would be like Cebu City in the south of the Philippines, or Davao in the south of the Philippines. You can also look at Manila but it’s not such a nice city, and the workers are a little bit more expensive there.

If you’re looking for lifestyle like a great lifestyle, maybe you’re not hiring so much or doing financial things but it’s just on your laptop, say, Bangkok is a great place. Some of the best food in the entire world, you’ve got great night life, and you can travel anywhere from Bangkok.

Bali obviously is a great place, if you’re not such a city person and you like a more relax environment but it’s still very developed. I mean, you can eat a hundred different nationality of food, walk down the street and you can get food from all around the world, whereas if you want something a little bit more of an adventure and secluded , sort of off the beaten track , you could select Nha Trang in South Central Vietnam.

Todd: Now, you have connections in China, could you recommend any places in China?

Dan: Well, unfortunately for me in China is that a lot of my travel there has been super business focused. And I’m always going to the place where there’s the factory or the bank or the connection. And so I haven’t really gotten a great chance to explore places that you might go for lifestyle. But off the top of my head , there’s two places that stick out . One is Shanghai.

And really to me—you know, I’ve been to a lot of big cities, but Shanghai is a whole another level of big. It’s like the movie Blade Runner mixed with the movie The Matrix. I mean, it is so futuristic and I just—it really blew me away to be in the city. And it also has hints of Europe. I mean, Shanghai is famous for being famous in the 1920s and ’30s with ex-patriots coming there, and it’s very international. And it really does have sort of a charm that a lot of places in China lack because cities in China are so new; a 10 million person city just sort of pops up overnight .

Another place that sticks out for me is Shaman, and that’s close to Taipei and it’s one of the nicer big cities in China. There’s a lot of more nature-oriented green park stuff like that. So those would be the two places, but especially Shanghai, I feel like I could live there for a few years.

The Tradeoffs Of Owning Your Own Business Vs Working A Day Job

Ever wonder whether the people who brag about their small business wealth are really living the high life? Most of what you read on the web about starting your own business tends to be over glorified because everyone is always trying to sell you something.

When all you see are get rich quick tag lines everywhere, it’s no wonder that many people have misconceptions about what it’s like to run your own business.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m absolutely 100% pro-entrepreneurship and pro-small business. But while I strongly advocate giving entrepreneurship a chance, I don’t think it’s the right choice for everyone.

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There are many trade offs involved. Depending on what you value in your lifestyle, these trade offs may or may not be worth it to you.

Based on my own experiences, I will try and provide you with an honest account of the lifestyle trade offs I make from day to day. I will begin with the negative aspects since you’ve probably heard the positives ones many times already.

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The Payouts Are Unpredictable

One of the biggest negatives about depending on income made from your own business is that your earnings are inherently unpredictable. Especially if your business is brand new, chances are that you’ll have absolutely no clue how much you will make in any given month.

This makes expense planning and budgeting extremely difficult, not to mention stressful. Imagine having to cover your mortgage, education and everyday expenses based solely on sales projections and guesswork.

Imagine trying to make a large purchasing decision that requires financing when you have very little idea whether you’ll be able to make the monthly payment.

My wife and I would like to buy a house one of these days. The problem is that we can never be 100% sure how much we can afford because the revenue from our linens store is extremely bursty.

For example, most of our business is made during the wedding and holiday season and the periods in between can be slow. (This is when my neurotic side kicks in).

I’m hoping that with time, we’ll be able to accurately predict our revenues, but right now we’re not quite there yet. Fortunately, I still have my day job which makes our income somewhat more predictable.

Emergencies May Take You Away From Leisure

Every business will have its share of fires that need to be put out. Sometimes these fires can come at inopportune times. For example, my wife and I have had to wake up extremely early in the morning on a Saturday in order to prep emergency orders for our customers. Sometimes, we screw an order up and have to rush things in order get a replacement product out to the customer.

There have been times when these fires have prevented us from going out with our friends. For example, we had to cancel our child’s play date several weeks ago because we had to deal with a bridal emergency.

Granted, these fires don’t pop up very often, but they can be extremely disruptive to your plans.

In the beginning when you are trying to establish your business from scratch, you can pretty much kiss your social life goodbye. My wife and I probably went about 3 months without seeing any of our friends in order to launch our store. Fortunately, this start up phase is only temporary and once you are past it, things start to settle down.

You Have To Deal With Customers

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to deal with customers directly. While I’d say 99% of our customers are extremely pleasant to work with, the 1% that are unpleasant are the customers that l remember the most.

If you want to know about some of the customers that we deal with on a day to day business, be sure to check out our customer stories.

In any case, dealing with customers can be extremely draining and humbling. You may have to endure bouts of verbal abuse. You may have to bend over backwards to make a customer happy. Sometimes, you’ll get tormented.

We had one customer who threatened to bad mouth our store all over the internet if we didn’t agree to his ridiculous terms.

If you are not used to dealing with this sort of abuse,then you could be in for a shock. Fortunately, I was married for 3 years prior to starting the business so I was prepared:)

You Feel Personally Responsible

With a regular day job, you never feel personally responsible for things that are beyond your control. For example, if you’re an engineer and your company’s marketing team makes a critical mistake in positioning the product that you designed, you might be disappointed but you probably wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

When you own your own business though, you’ll stress out over everything, even the things that are beyond your control. Your livelihood depends on the proper execution of your business plan so there are no excuses. Every little thing becomes your problem and you have to suck it up and deal with it.

Your Hours Are Unpredictable

Unlike a day job, there is no notion of a weekend. In fact, all of the days kind of blend together. You will need to put in as many hours as necessary in order to accomplish your goals.

Our wedding linens business requires about 3 hours a day of my wife’s time on average. She has to put in these 3 hours on weekends as well. If business is especially strong, sometimes she’ll work for 8 hours.

Sometimes, it gets so busy that both of us have to put in longer hours as well. The time we devote to the business is inherently unpredictable.

The main advantage of the business is that we can time shift all of the work. For example, we can save up 3 days worth of work and put in a single 9 hour work day. This gives us the flexibility to manage our time as we see fit.

The other advantage is that we can hire people to help us out. Imagine trying to hire someone to do your job for you at your day job. It just wouldn’t fly.

Is It Worth It?

As a wise Bleu Panda once said about his day job

It appears to me that although your hours working on the business may be long, you are spending that time much more purposefully. It’s like while I am renting time from my life, you are investing time into yours.

There is a lot of truth in this statement. Any improvements that you make to your business tend to translate directly into your topline. Your earning potential is virtually unlimited and you have the option of working at your own pace.

You will also experience a sense of personal satisfaction when you run your own business as well. Even though I have to deal with irate customers from time to time, I also get to speak with extremely thoughtful customers as well. Some of these customers have said such nice things about our store that I’ve blushed while on the phone.

In retrospect, while I can acknowledge the disadvantages, the positives of running your own business far outweigh the negatives. Give it shot! Worse case scenario, you’ll learn something about yourself that you never knew before.

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Is Uber really worth billions of dollars?

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Everything about Uber is big.

The taxi app and delivery business is America’s biggest venture capital-backed company.

It is forecast to raise $10bn ($7.6bn) when it sells its shares on the New York Stock Exchange – one of the largest amounts on record.

And the 10-year-old company could be valued at as much as $90bn when it floats.

However, the other big thing about Uber is its losses which, although down on the previous year, hit $3bn in 2020.

And that raises the biggest point of all – when will Uber make a profit and perhaps justify that massive market valuation?

It is the question that Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, will face over the next few weeks as he embarks on a roadshow to visit potential investors ahead of the flotation, which is expected in May.

What reception will Uber get?

Uber is not the first of its ilk to float this year.

Of the so-called unicorns – venture capital-backed businesses valued at $1bn or more – Uber’s closest US rival, Lyft, floated at the end of March, while online scrapbook company Pinterest is expected to list its shares next week.

But so far, those initial public offerings (IPO) have shown that there is some caution over valuations. Lyft’s stock price has fallen 15.2% since it floated.

Pinterest has priced its shares at between $15 and $17 each, which gives it a value of up to $11.3bn. However, that is still below the $12bn valuation the company had during its most recent round of private funding two years ago.

Against this backdrop, will Uber be able to hit that $100bn valuation?

Kathleen Smith, from Renaissance Capital, says: “I think sometimes they are a little bit tone deaf because they’ve been in a world where everyone has been climbing all over themselves to get to invest in their companies.

“They think then ‘oh, that means they’ll roll out the red carpet in the public markets’ – and it’s not that kind of place.”

When will Uber make a profit?

The company is unlikely to make any money soon, according to the IPO documents it filed on Thursday.

“We have incurred significant losses since inception, including in the US and other major markets,” it said. “We expect our operating expenses to increase significantly in the foreseeable future, and we may not achieve profitability.”

It expects losses to continue in the “near-term” because of higher investment in areas such as increasing the use of its apps, expanding into new markets and continuing to develop its autonomous cars division.

In a letter to potential shareholders, Mr Khosrowshahi said: “We will not shy away from making short-term financial sacrifices where we see clear long-term benefits.”

Jordan Stuart, from Federated Investors Inc., says investors are willing to be patient when it comes to profit, but only if a company can spell out how it intends to get there.

Amazon, for example, didn’t make an annual profit until six years after its 1997 flotation. Even then, it took a while before investors could see a sustainable path to profitability.

Mr Stuart said: “The stock really moved let’s say five or six years ago when they were really able to show ‘hey, we can turn off investment to show profitability if we want and give up top line growth for bottom line growth but we’re not going to do that’.

“Some of these companies, if they can show that scalability, that ability to turn that profit nozzle on or off, then I think investors. are going to give companies a chance to say ‘this is worth X amount of billions of dollars’.”

Uber’s sales are growing. Revenue has risen from $3.8bn in 2020 to $11.2bn in 2020.

Gross bookings from Uber’s core business – which accounts for the majority of sales – jumped from $18.8bn in 2020 to $41.5bn last year.

In its filing, Uber says it expects people to move away from the expense of owning a car to using services to get around.

Uber is also investing in e-bikes and e-scooters where it hopes to capture customers who make shorter journeys.

But investors want to see a plan.

Mr Stuart said: “I do believe [investors] have raised the bar and said ‘we’re not going to look at clicks or eyeballs or users anymore unless you can show us where is that profitability’.”

What do Uber’s IPO documents reveal?

Dan Ives, managing director and equity analyst Wedbush Securities, said the company’s IPO filing is the first time people will be able to “really get under the covers of Uber to understand the financials”.

But there are some areas of concern.

The firm’s US and Canadian business does not appear to have recovered from the #DeleteUber campaign in 2020 – not a stellar year for the company – which was first spurred by claims that Uber attempted to break a taxi strike by New York taxi drivers.

The hashtag then reappeared on social media when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog which alleged a toxic work environment at the company.

Uber said “our ridesharing category position generally declined in 2020 in the substantial majority of the regions in which we operate impacted in part by heavy subsidies and discounts by our competitors in various markets”.

Another potential concern is the employment status of Uber’s drivers. They are classed as independent contractors, but Uber is still facing legal issues about this and if workers were to be considered employees then Uber could face higher costs.

What now for Uber?

Uber did not specify what price it will sell its shares at – that is something to be determined over the coming weeks as Mr Khosrowshahi meets potential investors.

“A lot of technology investors are looking for is who is going to be the next FAANG,” said Mr Ives, referring to the acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google.

But Ms Smith said: “In light of the fact that we have seen Lyft and its very poor trading and then in seeing what Pinterest is doing tells me that investors may be a bit more ‘wait and see’ about Uber.”

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