Have you ever thought about opening a stock trading account? Or perhaps you are looking for another platform to trade on? This blog is intended to compare and contrast three popular stock trading platforms.
I have had experience and currently use all three brokers : ETrade, Robinhood, and Webull. I first started on Robinhood back in March, while I took over ETrade and Webull accounts in May.
In general each broker offers:
Free commission trading (no fees).
Face ID to get into your mobile account.
$0 account minimums.
From the outside looking in, there are a ton of similarities between the three companies. However, each site has unique qualities that are worth noting:
Best Mobile App:
User-friendly interface, customizable portfolio and watch list, straightforward and simplistic.
Most Popular Stock Broker:
13 million users, continuously growing, lots of groups on Facebook geared towards Robinhood traders.
Best for Beginners:
Easy to grasp, fractional shares, free cash management debit card.
Easy Access to Trade Cryptocurrency and Low-Cap Stocks:
Whether you’re looking to buy Bitcoin or an up-and-coming company, Robinhood can provide it.
Robinhood’s Worst Features: Bad Customer Service, Low Priority Ranking for Users, Cannot Short-Sell (only options), Often Labeled as “Too Simplistic”.
Best Research/ Stock Advice:
Robo Advisor, analysts provide price targets and buy/sell ratings, up-to-date news stories regarding specific stocks.
Best Customer Service:
24 hour phone support line, online texting/email option, offices around the nation.
Best for Advanced Traders:
Shortselling, trailing stop/ limit orders, ETrade named as the #1 online broker by Kiplinger in 2019.
Longest Active Stock Broker:
Trustworthy, reputable, regularly featured on the news.
ETrade’s Worst Features: Does Not Have the Best Mobile App, IRA Fees, Slow Account Verification, Limited Currency Trading.
2 free stocks for signing-up & funding your account with $100, always doing raffles where you can win free stocks, has a great referral program.
Best for Technical Analysis:
Graphs are impeccable and interactive, statistics are widely provided, and gives you the ability to analyze a lot of numbers.
Can invest in both IRAs and Crypto, access to stock screeners, stock lending income program.
Best for Paper Trading:
Robinhood does not offer trading simulators and ETrade is not as user-friendly. Personally I use Investopedia’s trading simulator, however Webull offers a similar platform for those that like fake money trading.
Webull’s Worst Features: Poor Customer Service, Slow On Getting You Your Free Stocks, Flawed Options Trading, Sub-Par Reputation.
For me, Robinhood is my favor broker. I wrote about my first three months on Robinhood (here). It’s combination of simplicity and user-friendliness is the reason for its rapid growth. I can see Robinhood expanding even more in the future, eventually being the biggest stock trading platform in the world. Do you agree?
**Something to note: The rankings of these popular stock trading platforms above are a combination of personal opinion and online research. I am not a financial advisor, and urge for you to do your own research before trading on these platforms!
Comment below and I’ll be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability.
Social media has been growing rapidly over the years and there seems to be no end in sight. With many of us being first introduced to social media at a young age, Generations Y and Z have transformed the industry. Currently there are over 3.8 billion users on social media. By 2023, it is estimated that there will be over 4.2 billion people using social media around the world. This makes me question, which 2020 social media platforms are here to stay?
With that said, I thought it would be interesting to break down some major 2020 social media platforms into subcategories. Those subcategories being: Here to Stay, Up-and-Coming, Overrated, and Soon-to-be Dead. Comment below if you agree/disagree!
2020 Social Media Platforms that are Here To Stay (and growing):
Launched in 2004: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Over 2.6 billion active monthly users
Valued at ~$600 billion
Being one of the largest social networking websites, who doesn’t know Facebook? As of recently this popular platform has faced scrutiny due to the lack of filtering advertisements, but Facebook is still rapidly growing.
As a Zoomer, what you see on Facebook is much different from what you see on Snapchat or Insta. Gen Zer’s often label Facebook as “irrelevant” because all of our parents and grandparents use it. Does anyone else try to reflect a goody-two-shoes image on Facebook or is it just me?
The network will continue to be relevant among Baby Boomers and Generation X. I am really interested to see how much it will continue to grow into the future. I assume it expands deeper into countries outside of the United States, while also will try to innovate new ways to compete with Twitter.
Launched in 2010: San Francisco, California
Over 1.2 billion active monthly users
Valued at ~$102 billion
An inclusive platform, Instagram has a tight hold on many of our lives. If you are a member of Gen Z, you probably look at somebody differently if they don’t have an Instagram. It has basically become a societal norm for young adults and kids to have at least one account.
Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, they are not competing. Therefore, Instagram will continue to expand. Even though Instagram has been affiliated with hurting individual’s mental health, their doing away with displaying “likes” could help them. Instagram is definitely here to stay, and will most likely fight off any competitor that comes too closely.
Launched in 2011: Santa Monica, California
Over 46 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$33.5 billion
One thing I love about Snapchat is that it is always evolving. Does anybody remember the best friends list back in 2014? A love-hate relationship for most of us who used the app back then. Since that time, Snapchat has gone through some major revisions that are beneficial to its users.
Snapchat is probably the most niche social media platform out there, with a large focus being on 15-27 year olds. Love it or hate it, Snapchat is here to stay. It is extremely user-friendly, and is used as an alternative to text-messaging for most. Stories, SnapMap, and Discover add elements to the app that make it enjoyable and practical. Look for Snapchat to keep growing in popularity!
Launched in 2005: San Mateo, California
Over 2 billion active monthly users
Valued at ~$200.6+ billion
Youtube is a platform that can thrive with literally any environment. This Google owned video sharing website gives you the ability to find anything you want. I see nothing but long-term success for Youtube, as it holds a strong grip on all generations, old and young.
As I mentioned before, Youtube thrives on any type of environment due to the nature of its work. Whether you’re in quarantine or traveling the world, you can essentially make a video of anything and upload it. One thing I have loved seeing on Youtube recently are musicians doing live performances. With in-person concerts out of the question for the time being, these live performances are entertaining and worth the watch. It’s going to be cool to see what else breaks out on Youtube over the next few years.
Random thought: Does anybody else still watch old Vines on Youtube in 2020? Or is it just me?
2020 Social Media Platforms that are Up-and Coming:
Founded in 2007, launched in 2011: San Francisco, California
Over 37.5 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$5 billion
The ultimate “stay home” platform, Twitch has transformed the video game industry into something new. Instead of watching recorded videos on Youtube, Twitch is a live streaming service. It has brought Ninja, Tfue, Myth, and others to fame. In addition, it has made video games more interactive and entertaining.
Acquired by Amazon in 2014, there is no stopping this streaming service. Mainly popular among younger generations, Twitch has massive potential. If Twitch can add another element to their business, I see massive upside growth. Two things I would like to see get more popular on the platform – live stream music and live stream sports (when they come back of course).
Launched in 2002: Mountain View, California
Over 580 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$26.2 billion
LinkedIn is honestly one of my favorite social media platforms. It has a very strong hold on young professionals, job seekers, and businesses around the world. LinkedIn has been able to separate itself from the competition, with only Handshake rivaling it. I say it is the future of job searching, as COVID-19 is going to limit large networking events and job fairs for a long time.
LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft – which also has a bright future ahead. The only problem I see for LinkedIn is possibly another competitor emerging, but even then I don’t see people fleeing the site. In my opinion LinkedIn is both trustworthy and reputable. I have never once had a problem with the site. A question I have been thinking about – when the job market starts opening back up, how will LinkedIn be impacted?
Launched in 2012: Los Angeles, California
Over 50 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$18.6 billion
You may argue Tinder has “been here”, but its potential to become even more popular is clear. With the coronavirus limiting opportunities to go out to a bar or party, more and more individuals are signing up for Tinder. This app has revolutionized dating for Generations Y & Z, and has made it easier to see who is interested in you and who is not. With the swipe of a finger you can find a ton of single people looking for some fun.
The question I have for Tinder – will it revolutionize into something else? This is why I place Tinder into up-and-coming. It has potential to explode into an even bigger social media platform just like Instagram or Snapchat. I know a lot of people who dislike it and discredit it as a fad, but in my eyes it can grow to something bigger and better than what it is right now.
Launched in 2011: San Jose, California
Over 200 million active monthly users (Data ranges)
Valued at ~$73 billion
Zoom has exploded in recent months and has turned into one of the best platforms for virtual get-togethers. It is not restricted solely to iPhones (like Facetime), and it gives you the chance to talk to an individual anywhere in the world. To say the least, Zoom has massive potential. If they can adopt a “talk with strangers” feature, they can make Omegle even more irrelevant than what it is.
There definitely are a few things that are holding Zoom back. One being Zoom-bombing, which is when random people come into discussion rooms and raise hell. This has been a problem at a few universities and live-stream talks. One thing Zoom does to combat this is giving the host of the meeting the ability to mute anybody who tries to take over the chat. Zoom also has a problem with connectivity issues (on my end at least). It seems like people break-up a lot or have their screen frozen. If Zoom invests more money into the platform, they can break away from the issues they are having and will thrive in our current world.
2020 Social Media Platforms that are Overrated:
Launched in 2017: Beijing, China
Over 800 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$100 billion (not concrete)
Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, Zach King, Loren Gray – all have been brought to fame because of the platform. You even see Giannis Antetokounmbo, Jason Derulo, and Jimmy Fallon hopping in on the fun. The Chinese video app “TikTok” has exploded in recent months. TikTok mainly features people trying to imitate viral dance routines, but now I see filming yourself with a tweet in the background is the way to go? Users can do whatever they want with their videos, but this makes me question, is TikTok here to stay?
I personally don’t think so. Already people are becoming skeptical about its trustworthiness, as it’s getting accused of infringing on the privacy of its users. The President is now even considering banning the app in the United States. I have no doubt that TikTok will expand in the coming months, but I am not convinced it is here to stay for the long-term. The recycled content is popular for now, but just as fast as Vine died, so will TikTok.
Launched in 2006: San Francisco, California
Over 321 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$24.2 billion.
Twitter was most widely used back in 2015. I used to be one of those annoying people who would tweet about almost anything back in the day. Honestly it once was a platform for young people who wanted to rant about something. Nowadays I feel like it’s almost used as a news source and political agenda pushing. If I want to see something bad going on in the world, I’ll just log onto Twitter.
I still consider Twitter as a top-tier social media platform, but I do not see it expanding at all. It is dominated by a small crowd of people, while the rest of us just like and retweet their stuff. Content on the site is still good, but it gets old after a few minutes. Unless Twitter innovates like Facebook or Snapchat, their usership will start to decline rapidly.
Launched in 2007: New York City, New York
Over 7.2 million monthly active users.
Valued at ~$3.2 million
I am personally not a big fan of Tumblr, which is why I put it in this category. I honestly thought it died a long time ago, but I guess people are still using it. One thing I’ve heard about Tumblr is that it is constantly evolving, which is a good thing for its users. I would assume so if people are still using it. Tumblr recently banned a certain subgroup, which I won’t go into in this blog.
The problem I have with the site is you never know what’s going on with it. I hear people talking about Tumblr on other websites, but I never understood the hype. It’s almost like a knockoff version of Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr has been around since 2007 and I have never once downloaded the app, simply because I never felt the urge to. Tumblr is not something that Generations Y or Z use frequently, and will probably decline in popularity soon.
Launched in 2005: Medford, Massachusetts
Over 430 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$3 billion
Reddit is a unique platform, as the ability to go out and comment on whatever topic you want is pretty cool. It is interactive and informative, while it also gives you something to do if you’re bored. However…
New and improved versions of Reddit are surfacing everyday. Even though Reddit is very common in 2020, it does not dominate conversations as a superior social media. People have been saying it’s out of date and hasn’t innovated with the times. A lot of the content is a waste of space, spammy, and irrelevant. In my opinion, you have to be pretty bored to go on Reddit. This “overhyped” platform will have to get with the times if it wants to survive.
2020 Social Media Platforms that are Soon-to-be Dead:
Founded in 2007: Stockholm, Sweden
Over 75 million active monthly users
Valued at $150 million (decreasing)
Soundcloud has given us Post Malone, 21 Savage, Lil Peep, Two Friends’ Big Bootie Mixes, and much more. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how I could’ve been the next famous Soundcloud rapper (this is a joke by the way). Aside from the bad jokes, Soundcloud’s music sharing ability used to be the best. But times have changed.
Even though Soudcloud used to be such a great platform, it is slowly dying due to the rise of Apple Music and Spotify. It’s unfortunate because I love listening to a lot of the EDM remixes and underground rappers trying to make it big. Maybe it can turn itself around, but for now I see it either being replaced by another platform or dissolving in full. RIP to the Soundcloud Rap Era.
Launched in 2002: New York, New York.
Over 1 million active monthly users
Valued at ~$200 million
Meetup is a platform that makes it easier for groups to get together. It is a useful app to have downloaded, as it makes it easy to discover events. However, Meetup has a lot of drawbacks. One, you have to pay money to organize an event. Two, they were thinking about adding a $2 fee for anybody that RSVP’s for an event. I think in today’s age, people are not willing to pay for things that they can do for free. Is that just me or do you agree?
I put Meetup as “soon to be dead” due to the nature of its work. Are people really going to be “meeting up” any time soon? COVID-19 definitely will have a say in that. Even though Meetup is trying to transition to online events, Zoom is a lot more popular for online get-togethers. Unless Meetup gets a few popular influencers to give them a boost, I do not see it surviving through this global pandemic.
Launched in 2004: Vancouver, Canada
Over 12 million active monthly users
Valuation: Unknown, rapidly declining
Flickr is a photo sharing platform that is on a steep decline. I remember it was gaining traction a few years ago, but its hopes are now dwindling. Instagram severely overpowers Flickr, and now you see royalty-free photo sharing networks rising in popularity.
For those of you who still use Flickr, I would suggest starting to look for other ways to share your photos. I do not see a network that is asking users to contribute money staying in business. In my eyes, Flickr probably won’t exist in 2021.
Founded in 2016: New York City, New York
Over 1.23 million registered users (monthly user data not available)
“Built on Blockchain”, Steemit is a blogging platform that pays you to write. A pretty neat idea, they give you STEEM cryptocurrency for publishing good content. Another thing I like about Steemit is that it is headquartered in the great state of Virginia (where I am from). Is it legit though?
It is legit, however I have read that Steemit has a ton of issues. One, it’s hard to understand how it works. Two, the platform is not very user friendly. Three, they have a weird payment structure that isn’t determined by “popular voting”. I am not super knowledgeable about the site, but Steemit has a lot of things they need to take care of. If they don’t, it will never get bigger than it is right now (which is not big at all). Wishing them luck though!
Stock Market Data! I was thinking to myself a few days ago, what if I bought one share of each of the 100 biggest market caps on the stock market? Would my portfolio be “too diversified”? Would I make a profit?
I decided to complete some research, and the data is worth sharing!
The Study: Say you bought one share of each of these 100 biggest Market Caps offered on July 2, 2019. How much would you have now?
**This data was collected via Robinhood and a stock screener. No dividends were factored in. The calculations run until July 1, 2020. Stocks were personally chosen for research purposes, Berkshire Hathaway A and Alphabet C are not included in this sample. COVID-19 HAS IMPACTED THIS DATA.
It would cost you $15,870.65 to buy one share of each stock above on 07.02.2019
Amazon would cost the most at $1,934.31 per share.
China Life Insurance would cost the least at $12.80 per share.
The average cost per share would be $158.71.
What would be the industry breakdown?
13 stocks in drug manufacturing
7 stocks in banking.
7 stocks in semiconductors.
6 stocks in oil and gas.
6 stocks in software.
**See excel pictures below for the full breakdown.
How much would you have today?
You would have $20,153.82.
A profit of $4,283.17.
Your investment would have grown 26.99%.
Which stocks performed the best by dollar-value?
Amazon with a net gain of $944.39
Tesla with a net gain of $894.16
Shopify with a net gain of $704.64
Alphabet (Google) with a net gain of $328.40
NVIDIA with a net gain of $218.87
Which stocks performed the best by percentage?
Tesla with a percentage gain of 398.20%
Pinduoduo with a percentage gain of 319.50%
Shopify with a percentage gain of 225.88%
NVIDIA with a percentage gain of 134.91%
JD.com with a percentage gain of 90.65%
Which stocks performed the worst by dollar-value?
Boeing with a loss of ($172.92)
Anheuser-Busch with a loss of ($41.68)
Berkshire Hathaway (B) with a loss of ($36.55)
Chevron with a loss of ($35.31)
Honeywell with a loss of ($32.51)
Which stocks performed the worst by percentage?
Shell with a percentage loss of 49.67%
Boeing with a percentage loss of 48.82%
Wells Fargo with a percentage loss of 46.88%
Anheuser-Busch with a percentage loss of 45.98%
HSBC Holdings with a percentage loss of 44.87%
Would your investment be worth it? 100% yes! To say the least, a pretty impressive return during the year of a recession and a global pandemic.
I know a lot of you are saying, “I would’ve bought a bunch of Tesla instead of this”. Even though 60 shares of Tesla would have returned $53,649.60 for the same initial investment, you would have been stretching yourself extremely thin.
For example, if you thought Chevron was going to have a good year and decided to buy 100 shares of it a year ago, you would currently be in a deficit of $3,531.
This extremely diversified and intriguing portfolio would’ve beat out the majority of stock traders who hold all of their capital in 1-2 stocks. Patience and diversity is key towards stable growth!
Would you be willing to take this risk for 2020? Comment your thoughts below!
***Disclaimer: This is not financial advice. I am not a licensed professional. This research was done for educational and entertainment purposes. Do your own research and address your risk tolerance before pursuing this idea. Thanks all!
Excel sheet stock market data:
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College is said to be “the most fun four years of your life”. Even though that may be true, it also is a time where you learn about yourself and the world around you. Not so long ago, I graduated from Virginia Tech. Since then, I have been reflecting on my college experience. What did I learn? What did I get out of it? How have I grown? Transitioning into the “real world”, these questions have been circling my mind. This article is intended to show five college skills I have learned over my four year journey, and why they are important in life.
Nowadays we hear ourselves always saying “I’ve been so busy”. Realistically “busy” means we still have time to go on social media 10 times a day, and spend 2 hours a night watching reality TV. Why? Because we have built that time into our schedules. We may think we are putting all this time aside to work on our business or side-hustle, but we are constantly taking social media breaks while doing it.
A lot of us are in this continuous cycle of what I call “phone instincts”. When we’re bored, we open up our phones and instinctively swipe to the left. We click on Snapchat or Instagram, or whatever app we check often. We get tired of it and close our phone. A couple minutes later, we do the same thing. Nothing has changed! Then a few minutes after that, we get a notification, “gotta check that” we say to ourselves. Do you find yourself doing this?
In general, a lot of us get into this mental state of being “busy”, yet we do not realize how much time we actually waste during the day. If you don’t believe me, pull up the “Screen Time” feature on your phone, it tells you exactly how much time you spend on your phone per day.
How do I stop wasting time on unimportant things?
Work. Stay Productive. Work More. You will have time to take a break when you’re on a vacation.
Set “App Limits” for social media unimportant websites.
Make mental notes to yourself whenever you catch yourself opening your phone and clicking on Snapchat or Instagram. Affiliate this behavior with procrastination and laziness.
Find a passion and write down a long-term goal that you can work towards. Make it your priority to accomplish that goal.
Do not burn yourself out staring at a blank screen.
What are some things I can do in my free time?
Create both a ‘To Do’ list and also a ‘Do Not Do’ list. Both are imperative to your daily routine and mindset.
Read! Constantly educating yourself is the key to prosperity and knowledge.
Journal or blog. Writing is a great way to gather your thoughts and/or teach others.
Promote your brand. This can can be done on social media or in person.
Workout, catch up with a friend, work on your side business, etc. There is a ton you can do instead of spending hours on Twitter.
Final takeaway: Wasting time watching the Kardashians, playing Call of Duty, going on Instagram every 20 minutes, it’s all holding you back! We all have goals, but a lot of us do not want to put in the work to get there. There is a lot of wasted time in our day that we could use to pursue our dreams or socialize with others. DO NOT let other people live your dream for you! Go out and make it happen. If that means giving up your nightly TV time, so be it.
College Skill #2 – Taking Risks:
During my undergraduate experience, I realized that some of the greatest things in life come from taking risks. If you live the same lifestyle day after day, how will you be different? The answer is, you won’t be.
This is one thing that I learned later in my college experience, but honestly one of the most important. After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, my perspective on life changed. For five dollars, I have taken the lessons I learned from this book and applied it to my life. The author, Robert Kiyosaki provides some of the most eye-opening life lessons that will make you realize the importance of taking risks. If you are not fond of risk, I highly recommend reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
One of my favorite poems ever is by Robert Frost who hints at taking risks. He explains that taking the road less traveled has made all of the difference in his life. If he didn’t take the road less traveled, he probably would have ended up at the same destination as all of those before him. Moral of the story, even if you are unsure of something, trusting your instincts and following the less traveled path could be the difference between average and being the best.
How can I take a risk?
A concrete example of taking a risk is investing. This could be in stocks, real estate, startup companies, etc. You are risking your income in the hopes that your money will grow. You have no control over it, but the money you make is all passive income (you don’t have to work for anyone).
Another example of taking a risk is starting your own business. This is how the rich become richer! They take a calculated risk of starting their own company and then they watch their money grow. They wake up to hundreds or thousands of more dollars than they had the night before. This is all done by applying what they learned and realizing the potential of their risk.
Going out of your way to make a new friend or network connection is also considered a risk that benefits you.
What are some tips for taking risks?
Keep your risks under control.
If you have a good idea, pursue it.
If you have a good investing hunch, take it.
Do not overthink, people are going to judge you either way.
Realize the difference between a calculated risk and stupid risk. If you can do that, you are setting yourself up for success!
Final Takeaway: In no way am I saying to go out and bet all of your money on a sporting event. That is what we call stupid risk. What I am saying is to put yourself out there and do not let your insecurities hold you back. Taking risks is an integral part of life, and essential for long-term success.
College Skill #3 – Active Listening:
Coming from a small bubble of friends in high school, to attending a massive university like Virginia Tech, I recognized what active listening is on my first day of college. There are 330 million people in the U.S and 7.8 billion in the world. Each person has a different mindset and contrasting opinions to yours. Simply put, not everybody is going to agree with you, and may disagree completely. With improved active listening skills, life in general will be ten times easier for you to get along with people.
What is active listening?
Active listening is hearing and understanding someone else’s point of view. You do not necessarily have to agree with their viewpoint, however it is the act of comprehending why someone believes something.
Indeed.com points out “One of the most critical skills in effective communication is active listening.”
It is considered a verbal skill, instead of non-verbal. It is also linked to intuition.
Why is active listening important?
Leads to open-mindedness.
Improves relationships with friends, family, and coworkers.
Establishes greater trust between you and the person you are communicating with.
Shows respect towards the person talking.
Makes you more likely to hold people to their word.
Decreases repetitive conversations and recycled questions.
How can I improve my active listening skills?
Ask questions. Look at the responses you get as a chance to learn something new and apply it to the conversation.
Do not interrupt someone to talk about yourself. It is obvious when someone only wants to talk about THEM in a conversation. It is fine to relate your own experiences and perspective, but do not make everything about you.
Realize that people are raised with different values. They may approach a conversation differently, or talk in a way you find strange. You do not need to be friends with everybody, but you can make an effort to get along.
Final Takeaway: Use active listening as a tool to understand other people. Stop making assumptions and start asking questions. This skill will better your relationships and make it easier to have genuine conversations with people.
College Skill #4 – Failure:
Before going to college, I always wanted to succeed. Whenever I failed at something, I would give up and tell myself I was not good enough. I did not comprehend that failure is a part of the road to success.
It look four years of constant setbacks and obstacles to get where I am today. The scary part is, this is just the beginning! I have failed so many times in my life without realizing how important the concept is. Failure is a part of life that you have to live with everyday.
Who is a good representation of ‘failure to success’?
A person who represents the importance of failure is Michael Jordan. Jordan once said “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
In addition, Michael Jordan did not make his varsity basketball team in his sophomore year of high school. Imagine getting cut from a high school basketball team and then eventually turning into the greatest basketball player of all time.
Jordan could’ve let failure define him, but he didn’t. He had a vision and realized he would encounter shortcomings in his life. He dealt with his challenges properly, which is why he has had so much success in life.
How do you overcome failure?
Learn from your mistakes.
Do not let failure cripple your motivation or self-esteem.
Dissect what you are doing wrong, establish what you can do to change.
Stop saying “I can’t” and start saying “I will!”
Ask yourself, “What can I do to improve?”, “Do I need to put in more effort?”, “What is my end goal?”.
Answering these questions is the first step towards learning from failure. It may not be a smooth road, but if Michael Jordan can evolve into the best basketball player of all time after getting cut from a high school team, why can’t you achieve your goals?
Final Takeaway: To say the least, life is not easy. There is always going to be someone smarter or more talented than you. There are going to be hardships and you will struggle along the way. At times you’ll want to give up, or simply lose all motivation. However, those who prosper put in the hard work and never give up on their dreams. Once you look failure into the eyes and say “I’m not scared of you” is the moment you will not let it hold you back.
College Skill #5 – Be Open To Change:
This is one that I have personally struggled with throughout the years. I am constantly on a schedule and want things to go as planned. Whenever my plans get messed up, I get flustered and anxious.
In my eyes, change is synonymous with spontaneity. If you are already a spontaneous person, change most likely comes easy to you.
If you enjoy an unchanged routine, then spontaneity is often discouraging.
College taught me that no matter how much you plan, there is always something that could go wrong. As Murphy’s Law goes, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.
If you are able to adjust to the unexpected, your life will be 10 times better. You will think more positively and you won’t overreact to things out of your control. You will stay level headed and be confident that everything will work out.
What are some good examples of being open to change?
A coworker/classmate is sick, now you must give a full presentation by yourself. Instead of getting overwhelmed, you gather your thoughts and deliver the best speech possible.
A friend cancels on you. Instead of getting upset, you ask someone else to hangout, or fill the time with something productive.
You recognize that your after-work routine is leading to an unfulfilled life. Instead of watching two hours of Netflix and feeling lackadaisical – you spend an hour reading and an hour exercising. If your brain and body both feel good, so will you!
What are the results from being open to change?
Being open to change makes life more enjoyable and less stressful.
You will worry less about the things out of your control and you will think more positively about your circumstances.
A spontaneous lifestyle becomes more natural.
You are more willing to try new things, and will live life to the fullest!
Final Takeaway: One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Robin Sharma: “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and so beautiful at the end.” Basically, change isn’t easy. It is going to be challenging to overcome something you are not expecting. However, on the other side awaits satisfaction and glory. Stay spontaneous and strive to not stress over things that are out of your control!
I appreciate you taking the time to read this article. Comment below if this helped you in anyway, or you want to share your own experiences. I would love to hear your college skills! Any feedback is helpful and cherished,
The COVID-19 global pandemic has officially altered travel plans and has limited adventurists worldwide. Reflecting back on my past travels gets me excited for what the future holds for life after quarantine. To those who feel the same way, I suggest adding some of my favorite hikes to your future itinerary!
Certainly one of the hardest, but probably the most rewarding hike I have ever done; Monte Boglia is like no other!
A group of my fellow classmates took a bus from Lugano to a small town in Italy called Ticino. We then walked about a mile through a residential area to get to the trailhead. If it weren’t for my professor, we probably would not have found the trail due to the poorly marked Italian signs. I personally thought we were going the wrong way, as everything was pointing towards Monte Bre instead of Boglia. We continued for a few minutes until finally reaching a sign that showed Monte Boglia’s peak was 7km away.
During the hike, we came across lumberers who were cutting down trees. The trees were falling down on the trail, almost hitting us in the process. We saw a few signs written in Italian about a warning, but none of us spoke the language. Turns out, that part of the trail was closed for maintenance. Once we got out of the “danger area”, this old dude came running over to us and started yelling in broken English. “What do you think you are doing, can’t you see the trail was closed?” He asked. Our response was “We aren’t from here, sorry!” He didn’t seem to take our apology lightly.
The rest of the hike was extremely strenuous. At one point, I found myself climbing up a man-made rock staircase, looking straight up to the sky with no end in sight. A surreal moment to say the least.
When I reached the top, I felt as if I were in the clouds. I looked around me and saw miles and miles of mountains, land, and waterways. At the peak stood a catholic cross and a small bench that my professor sat on (the picture below). All of my classmates were exhausted when we reached the top, but all agreed the view was worth the journey.
The total hiking distance was about 14.8km or 9.2 miles, and it took us most of the day. I would totally recommend this hike if you find yourself anywhere near Northern Italy/ Southern Switzerland. I have never experienced anything like it!
The “Five Lakes Trail” had some most spectacular views I have ever seen. The hike is located in Zermatt, Switzerland, home to the famed Matterhorn. A fact worth noting: Zermatt is is a car-free town, so you have to take a train to get there!
I completed the Five Lakes with two of my friends from my study abroad trip back in 2018. The hike itself was pretty easy, it wasn’t rigorous and the terrain was surprisingly flat. The hike was ~5.5 miles in distance, and it took us five hours to complete. We stopped a few times to take pictures, enjoy the scenery, and eat some Toblerone (which has the Matterhorn featured on its wrapper). Swiss chocolate is a must-buy when you’re in Switzerland!
One thing that was abundantly clear was how clean the air was during the hike. Even though we were almost 7,000 feet above ground, I could breathe perfectly. The water was also crystal clear. I filled up my water bottle with some running water that came straight from snow melt. It had such a pure taste.
The lakes combined with the mountainous landscape was an awesome sight. I took my favorite picture of all time sitting on top of a rock, looking down at one of the lakes. Out in the distance you can see the snow-capped mountains on each side of the Matterhorn, which stands 14,692 feet tall.
In my opinion, the lakes are really ponds, as they are decently small and shallow. We saw four out of the five lakes during our trip, the last one was a little further away. Apparently the fifth one has the best reflection of the Matterhorn, so we missed out!
If you are looking for more of an up close experience with the Matterhorn, I would recommend another trail in Zermatt. The ‘Matterhorn Glacier Trail’ is said to be another popular hike. However, I felt the Five Lakes Trail was the most scenic and provided a perfect landscape for pictures. Zermatt is a must-visit when you are in Europe, and the Five Lakes Trail is worth the addition to the itinerary when you are there!
In late 2018, I was helping out at a non-profit called OPDE located in Huye, Rwanda. During my last week there, my fellow classmates and translators took a drive about thirty minutes West of Huye. It was a bumpy and crowded ride as thirteen of us were squished together in the back of a tiny bus. If you ever sat in a truck bed on a rough dirt road, you can imagine the feeling.
When we got to the trailhead, I saw the mountains were terraced for producing rice. The hills looked like stairs going all the way up to the top. I was told the terraces help with irrigation; they also looked pretty cool.
Throughout the hiking loop we saw a ton of natural vegetation and blooming flowers. Wildlife was limited, but we did encounter a mass amount of bugs.
Close to the top, we made our way through these thick vines that covered the trail. The moment we took a step off of the trail, three fully armed Rwanda Defense Force soldiers with AK-47s came over to question us. Turns out, there was a heavily guarded military base on the top of Huye Mountain. The fact that we were a bunch of white Americans increased their suspicion and led to extended questioning by the soldiers. Luckily our translators talked to them and explained we were on a casual hike, looking for a good place to take a picture. They let us proceed with a smile on their faces.
There wasn’t an amazing view at the top, but there was a nice open grass field where my group took a photo together. Even though the overlook wasn’t spectacular at the top due to tree coverings, the landscape on the way down was unbeatable. We took some awesome photos at an overlook we encountered about a half mile down from the peak. Looking over the rolling green hills of Rwanda is such a unique sight.
When we reached the bottom, we had to wait several minutes for the bus driver to pick us up. We were in a small rural village at the time and a few kids were kicking around a soccer ball. A few of us decided it would be cool to join in while we waited. Even though I am awful at soccer, and the kids in Rwanda are so good, it was an enjoyable time. We played for ~30 minutes until our transportation arrived to take us back to our hotel.
This hike was mainly for the experience. I would not urge you to go pack up your things and go hike up Mount Huye. From what I have heard, there are some better hikes in the Nyungwe National Forest, Rwanda. However, if you do find yourself in Huye for an extended period of time, it is worth the visit!
Hike #4 – Monte San Salvatore: Lugano, Switzerland 09.02.2018 (3.9 miles, Moderate)
According to my professor, this hike is both a “walk” and a “stroll”. At least that is what he told me and 60 of my fellow classmates when we landed in Switzerland. Turns out, it was a full-on hike. A pretty hard one too.
We began our journey at the Montarina Hostel, which is where we stayed. We walked through the town of Lugano for about a mile to the trailhead. The first two miles of the hike were decently hard, with lots of switchbacks in between. Along the way, you could look down through the breakage in the trees to see how high off the ground you were. Monte San Salvatore is surrounded by waterways, mainly Lake Lugano. It was a consistent upward climb to the peak.
One thing I love about Monte San Salvatore is that you can access a cable car to reach the top. For those who don’t feel like hiking two hours to get to the peak, this is a good option for you! If I were only in Lugano for a day, I would’ve taken the cable car, since it saves a ton of time while also providing you with some of the best views of the city.
At the top stands a tower that you can climb up on to get a slightly better look. It really is a full panoramic view of Southern Switzerland and Northern Italy; simply amazing. There also is a restaurant where you can get yourself some food or a drink. I personally did not get anything, I had a hunch that it was going to be expensive.
My group stayed at the top for a few minutes, took a picture together, and went back down. The hike in total took about two and a half hours; the journey itself was over five hours. After the hike we walked through a small town to get to a gelato place in Italy. Gelato and/or Ice Cream is honestly the most refreshing thing to eat after a long day like this.
Would I recommend Monte San Salvatore? 100% yes! Lugano is an amazing town located right outside Lake Como. The hike is easily accessible and not too strenuous.
Hike #5 – White Oak Canyon: Stanley, Virginia 07.24.2016 (9.5 miles, Moderate)
The natural waterslide of White Oak Canyon makes it a must visit! I hiked part of White Oak Canyon with a friend back in 2016. The hardest part of this journey was the actual drive to White Oak Canyon, as the roads were poorly paved. At one point, I thought I was driving on a one-lane road when all of a sudden, a car appeared driving towards me. Two cars couldn’t fit on the road at the same time, so I had to veer off to the side for a second. I guess that’s country roads for you!
Anyways, the full loop is nearly 8 miles, and provides an overlook of the canyon. My friend and I personally just went for the waterslide, which we found roughly 2 miles into the hike.
To get up to the top of the waterslide, you have to climb up a few rocks. The rocks are slippery, which makes it a lot of fun to go down. Not so much going up though, so watch your step. It only took 5-10 seconds to complete the whole slide, as you fly down it. At the bottom is a pool of water which the waterslide dumps you into. A pretty refreshing feeling once you hit the cool water on a hot summer day. If you like Slip n Slides, you’re in for a real treat. This waterslide is like a Slip n Slide on steroids!
It’s been awhile since I have been to White Oak Canyon, but I have been wanting to go back to finish the whole hike. I have heard it is considered a “hidden gem” of Virginia hikes. It was not super crowded when I went, and I still never hear people talking about it. Check it out if you get the chance.
Pro tip: If you’re looking to get some GoPro footage, White Oak Canyon is a great place to do so! There are places you can cliff jump, while also filming yourself going down the waterslide makes a great video.
This hike gives you a spectacular view of Harpers Ferry, Maryland. Harpers Ferry has a ton of history as it is famous for John Brown’s raid against the South in 1858.
I climbed the Maryland Heights Overlook Trail in 2017 with one of my friends. At the time, I had just gotten a new camera and wanted to test it out. My friend and I decided Harpers Ferry was a cool place to check out, since neither of us had ever been. The drive was super nice, with many hidden picture spots along the way. When we got to the parking lot, I remember we had a little bit of trouble finding the entrance to the trail. We eventually found it after walking around for a few minutes alongside the Potomac river.
The overlook trail is 3 miles long, and is categorized as moderate. There is another trail that leads to the overlook called the Stone Fort trail. This trail is 6 miles long and is categorized as strenuous. My friend and I were not really prepared for a whole day of hiking, so we decided the overlook trail was a better option for us. If you’re looking for a harder hike, I would recommend Stone Fort. If not, stick with the Overlook trail. Both of the trails bring you to same destination.
The overlook trail was well marked as we found our way up to the top pretty easily. We encountered a decent amount of people along the way, so if you’re trying to keep your distance, this may not be the best hike for the time being.
Once we got to the top, I was shocked at how amazing the view was. There was a large observation area that you could sit on and enjoy the scenery. It is a really good place for a picnic with family, or a significant other.
I suggest this hike solely based on the view. You get to see a little bit of everything – old town buildings, mountains, rivers, and bridges. Come here with a good camera and you will walk away with some awesome pictures worth posting on your Instagram or Facebook page.
Tip: DO NOT forget bug spray! I got some of the worst bug bites of my life from this hike because I forgot to spray myself beforehand. Bug spray is almost as essential as a facemask for those who get bit a lot.
Hike #7 – Ile Sainte Marguerite: Cannes, France 09.22.18 (1 mile, Easy)
Not really a hike, but a walking trail to say the least. Ile Sainte Marguerite is located in Cannes, France, which is the home of the international music festival. For all of those who have seen Mr. Bean’s Holiday Vacation, this is where the final scene takes place. I traveled to Cannes from Lugano with three friends, it was one of my first weekend trips during study abroad.
Ile Sainte Marguerite is about a half mile off of mainland Cannes. The island is only accessible by boat so you have to pay for a ticket (~$20), unless of course you have your own boat. Once we docked, we walked about a mile through the island to get to a bathing spot. The walking path was well marked and pointed to different locations that you could put down your belongings.
We encountered a small antiquated castle, colorful vegetation, and many different animals (mainly birds) during the walk. One thing that surprised me was the mountainous atmosphere of the island. I categorize Ile Sainte Marguerite as a hike since we were surrounded by the Mountains of the French Riviera.
The beaches of Ile Sainte Marguerite have little sand and are mainly comprised of rock. Not the most comfortable thing to sit on, but we made it work. We had a ton of fun swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, even though the water was pretty in mid-September. There are places you can jump off of rocks, and many fishing spots on the coast.
One thing we saw a lot of on Ile Sainte Marguerite were boats. Vacationers and locals dock their boats right off of the island, as we encountered probably 50 of them surrounding us. Most of the people on the boats were either having their own mini-parties or sunbathing.
The city of Cannes is worth a visit itself, but Ile Sainte Marguerite adds to the experience. You are basically surrounded by mountains while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, what’s better than that?
Over my four years at Virginia Tech, I have hiked Dragon’s Tooth three times. Being only a 40 minute drive from Blacksburg, Dragon’s Tooth is super easy to get to. I did the hike once by myself, once with my girlfriend, and once with my roommate from college. I have never gotten tired of it!
Dragon’s Tooth hike is roughly 4.6 miles and is considered Strenuous by many. It is located on the Appalachian Trail, and is part of the “Triple Crown”- which also includes Tinker Cliffs and Mcafee’s knob. Generally, it takes an hour and a half to get up, and an hour to get back down. The hike has a steady incline all the way up until the last half mile. It is the last 0.5 that you find your legs cramping, and thinking to yourself if you took a wrong turn. To say the least, you are climbing over rocks and walking on the side of ledges. Not the safest hike if you have poor sneakers, so keep that in mind.
Personally, I love Dragon’s Tooth because of the rock that stands at the peak called the “tooth”. The tooth is a sharp rock that you can climb up on to get a better view of the valley. The rock is about 25 feet off of the ground and takes a bit of effort to get up on. If you are scared of heights, do not climb on top of it; unless you’re trying to break away from your fear. The tooth is narrow and there is almost always someone sitting in the middle of it. Even though the top of the tooth provides an epic view, be cautious of others and watch your footing when you climb up. You do not want to fall off of that thing!
For all Virginia Tech students and faculty, this is a must-do during your time in Blacksburg. For those who do not go to Tech, I would still very much recommend visiting it. Dragon’s Tooth is a great place to spend part of the day with a group of friends, family, or simply by yourself. As mentioned before, I have done this hike three times and loved it every time!
Those are my favorite 8 hikes around the world. I would love to hear about your favorite hike. Comment below and maybe I will make that my next stop!
Some others I would recommend:
Mcafee’s knob: Catawba, Virginia (8.1 miles, Moderate- Strenuous)
Seneca Rocks: Monongahela National Park, West Virginia (3.2 miles, Moderate)
Bald knob: Giles County, Virginia (0.8 miles, Easy)
Cascade Falls: Giles County, Virginia (3.8 miles, Easy)
As a person who is inspired by short text and quotes- I thought it would be beneficial to share my personal philosophy. Also, a few of my favorite quotes by some of the most influential people who have ever lived.
Last week I put out an article that showed a few ways that could make you some extra money. This week’s blog is focused on ways that could put significantly more in your bank.
Say you have $500. One day you decide you want to turn that $500 into $1000. How can you do it?
Instinctively, you would probably say “bring my $500 to a casino and see what happens”. Well, at least you’re being optimistic.
In truth, you have to be really lucky to win money at a casino because the odds are always stacked up against you. For example, you may think you have a 50% chance of doubling your money by putting that $500 you have on red or black. In reality, many casinos have green “0” and “00” listed on the roulette board, lowering your odds to ~47%. This is extremely risky and not very smart.
Rookie tip: DO NOT take on unnecessary risk! If you want to risk all your money and don’t care if you lose it, probably just go gamble.
Here are six smart (but risky and/or time consuming) ways to make money:
The age of E-Commerce! With Chinese marketplaces like Alibaba and Aliexpress becoming popular over the past few years, dropshipping has never been easier.
Dropshipping is the act of selling products that a manufacturer assembles without physically touching it. This could include electronics, backpacks, kitchenware, etc. There is no shortage of highly demanded products in our world today.
A dropshipper is the middleman between a company and the customer. A dropshipper has to create their own website, establish a partnership with a distributor, and develop a customer base. This may seem like a scam, but it’s really not. It requires a lot of hard work and some money upfront ($200-1000), but dropshipping has made millions of dollars for individuals around the world.. If you don’t believe me, look up some Youtube videos on dropshipping.
A lot of dropshippers use Amazon FBA or Shopify to market and sell their products. However, in order to sell on these websites, you have to have a professional website. You can easily create a website on Wix.com or GoDaddy to get started with this. Dropshippers also run advertisements on Facebook and Instagram to facilitate traffic to their website. If dropshipping seems interesting to you, there are classes you can take online that will help you grow your business.
My grade: B+
Final take: Dropshipping may seem complicated and a lot of work to begin, but it is a great way to make some phenomenal money. With Chinese companies on the rise, there are plenty of sellers out there looking for help to sell their products. I highly suggest watching Kevin Zhang and Dan Vas on Youtube. They are sales people/ entrepreneurs, however they have some great content if you want some advice on how to start.
Calling all venture capitalists, this business is for you! SeedInvest is a company that makes it easy to partake in venture capital and private equity investing. For those of you unfamiliar with these terms, venture capital is basically loaning money to a startup company. Venture capital (VC) is under the umbrella of private equity, VC focuses primarily on technology, whereas private equity encapsulates all industries.
SeedInvest, founded in 2012 and based in NYC, has made a name for itself. The company has been featured on CNBC, Fox Business, and Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money”.
SeedInvest has a user-friendly website that walks you through the exact steps you need to take in order to fund a startup. They also provide you with resources about startups you can invest in, such as company data, valuation cap, and the total amount of money the company has raised so far. Say you wanted to invest in a home-delivery medicine company. Lucky for you SeedInvest provides you with the opportunity!
One downside to SeedInvest is the minimum investment required to buy into a company. A lot of the companies I was looking at require at least $1000 to buy shares. A bit pricey, however, businesses featured on SeedInvest have high potential. Imagine buying shares of Amazon or Microsoft before they became household names. You would be rich!
My grade: A
Final Take: If you are looking for a risky long-term investment, I recommend checking out SeedInvest’s website. They have a really unique layout and provide you with a ton of resources. Be sure to remember that investing in startups is extremely risky. A company could fail at any point in time, resulting in all of your money down the drain. However, if you have faith in a company, SeedInvest could help you get rich, while also providing you the opportunity to fund an idea you are passionate about!
Trading cryptocurrencies and low-cap stocks
Cryptos are highly volatile, meaning they can fall just as quickly as they went up. They are also relatively new, and there still is a lot of skepticism around them in finance. Examples of cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dodgecoin, and so on. When investing in crypto, you are not buying shares, you are buying a dollar amount of coin. For example, if you want to own 1 Litecoin, you would enter the dollar amount it is currently priced at (~$44). A good article on what cryptocurrency actually is can be found here.
In contrast, low-cap stocks are those with a small amount of capital. Generally these businesses are only worth a few million dollars, compared to Apple which is worth billions. Low-cap stocks have their stock price below average and make it easy to buy a few shares. Oftentimes, it only takes a few pennies to own a share of a low-cap stock. Low-cap stock examples include: Novus Therapeutics (NVUS), U.S Energy Corporation (USEG), and Seneca BioPharm (SNCA).
A lot of traders take advantage of low cap stocks and cryptocurrencies due to their volatility and upside potential. You can make a lot of money from these two with good timing, research, and a little luck.
For those who do not have a ton of money and want to get into investing, these options are for you. Even though they are highly risky, they can make you just as much money compared to big-cap stocks like Microsoft and Amazon.
My grade: C+
Final take: Cryptocurrencies and low-cap stocks have put a lot of money in some traders’ pockets. It takes correct timing and research to be successful in this type of investing. I give them high “Cs” because they resemble gambling a lot in my opinion. Taking calculated risks are a lot harder, and the confusion around cryptocurrency could bring down the price significantly with some bad news. Even with that said, I think it is exciting to own a piece of both low-cap stocks and cryptocurrency. A big return is waiting on the other side if you invest properly.
Getting paid while traveling the world? Sign me up! I have always been really passionate about traveling and constantly exploring new places. If you are the same way, look into travel blogging! Just imagine traveling the world for free. A pretty cool thought.
Starting a travel blog is definitely a lot easier then it may seem. One, you need an audience and a following. In order to gain followers you have to have a reputation. This will take time, money, and effort. Your blog is not going to be monetized overnight. I have heard it has taken people a few years to monetize their travel blog or Youtube site. It’s a long commitment, however, the journey could be worth it itself.
To start, there are plenty of freelancing opportunities online where you can get paid for writing articles on someone else’s blog. Grow your brand by participating in these opportunities and learn from the best!
Travel blogging is not impossible and is still growing in popularity today; it is far from being “dead”. There are statistics online that say people make anywhere from $300- $20,000+ a month travel blogging, with all of their travel expenses paid.
If you are interested in travel blogging, I would say to start writing or Youtubing about your past travel experiences. It’s never too late to write about what you’ve encountered during your past adventures. Also, watch some videos online to get an idea of some professional content created by pro travel bloggers.
My grade: B
Final take: If I were going strictly off of the type of work, travel blogging would get an A+ from me. However, travel blogging is not going to get you rich quick, and it requires a ton of commitment to be successful. If you have a good camera and can communicate to an audience, then this could definitely be for you. If you are interested in travel blogging, look up some videos on Youtube on how to be successful as a travel blogger. Many influencers have provided some great tips that has made them rich.
Real estate investment trusts, or simply REITs, are real estate investments that help finance property. Whether it is hospitals or shopping centers, you can invest in almost any type of real estate.
With REITS, you are not buying physical property. Rather, you are investing money in a sector of the economy that needs real estate to function. An example of this could be Equnix, a company that specializes in data storage and collection. Equinix is not the only REIT out there, there are plenty of other companies that you can purchase shares from.
You can buy REITs through any major brokerage company. Do your research before you purchase one because not all REITS pop up when you type in “REITS” into the search bar. I usually Google “up-and-coming REITS” to get ahead of the game. I have heard it is better to purchase REITS which are rising in popularity compared to those that are already very popular and overbought.
Something to keep in mind, REIT owners do not have to pay federal taxes. However, they are obliged to pay at least 90% of their net income to investors. That is why dividends for REITs are paid out monthly, compared to quarterly or yearly like common stocks. Dividends are definitely something you can take advantage and are a form of asset building.
The risky part of REIT’s is the risk of foreclosure. Just like any company, REITs can go out of business or suffer massive loss due to customer decline. Be careful about investing in REITs that seem to be on a downward trend, these investments can inflict huge losses to your portfolio.
My grade: A-
Final take: REITs are an interesting way of growing your asset column and diversifying your portfolio. With their heavy dividend payout, you can definitely reap the rewards of owning a few shares of a REIT. However, the risks are abundant, which investors are oftentimes not aware of before making a purchase. Do your research and quantify your risk tolerance before investing in REITs. I give it a low A due to the fact that it is easy to invest in and you are passively making money through dividends and company expansion.
Starting your own business
Starting your own business has been said to be “an investment in yourself”. Many people around the world have become self-reliant and do not need a paycheck coming in from their 9-5.
Some of the biggest businesses today have been created with little to no personal capital. These business owners have sold their ideas to customers and investors who have realized the potential of their product.
You hear stories of Amazon and Apple being formed inside of a garage. Founder of GoPro Nick Woodman even sold seashells to gather money for his cameras. At the beginning, business owners often struggle, and sadly most do not live up to expectations. However, it is those who push through failure, trust their ideas, and sell their product that make it big.
When deciding to start a business, you have to create something that is either demanded right now, or will be in the future. Why does someone want to buy your product or subscribe to your service?
I see starting a business risky and time consuming, but it is an avenue to success! There is infinite earning potential and you do not need to work for anyone. In addition, you are not paying 25% of your salary to the government.
My grade: A+
Final take: Starting a business is easy for some, but not so easy for others. You will run into obstacles and may question why you even started your business in the first place. However, having that commitment to your product and yourself will drive your business to success. First, think of a business idea and write out the steps you need to take in order for your business to thrive. If you can do that, I would definitely recommend giving it a shot! The reason so many people have gotten rich is because they have made an investment in themselves, not other people.
First and foremost, I am not trying to sell you anything. In no way am I sponsoring any of these businesses. This is purely an informative list of some of the best services that can put a little extra money in your pocket risk free.
EcoATM: “Recycling your old phones, MP3 players, and tablets doesn’t have to be a hassle. We want to make ecoATM the most convenient way for you to leave a positive impact on the planet while also putting a little cash in your pocket.”
EcoATM is sometimes referred to as the “gamestop for selling phones” you are not going to get rich from EcoATM. HOWEVER, EcoATM is rated highly for its convenience. It literally takes zero effort to get some cash, other than bringing your outdated device to one of their ATMs and hitting a few buttons. You don’t have to ship anything, and you don’t have to interact with untrustworthy vendors on the internet. EcoATM is 100% legit and safe to use.
Honestly, I probably have 4-5 broken devices just sitting around in my bedroom that I have not touched in years. I wouldn’t mind bringing it over to one of those ATMs and getting $25 for them. If you are in the same situation, I would recommend checking out EcoATM. If you google “ecoatm near me” it will show you a list of ATMs that are closest to you.
Keep in mind, I have read that this service sometimes does not offer any money to you if it finds your item completely worthless. However, you do still have the option to take back your phone, or opt to recycle the phone if you want to make a contribution to a good cause. I attached an article here that provides why recycling your phone can be a benefit to our environment.
So again, for all you who have a ton of old or broken phones stacked up in your bedroom, consider using this service!
My grade: B
Final take: EcoATM’s grade is boosted a lot from convenience and practicality. Just think of how many unused or broken devices you have laying around your house. These damaged devices can be turned into some quick cash. Plus, it’s good for the environment! If you’re looking to sell your old devices/ phones for more money, and they are in good condition, then I would recommend selling it online or simply using the trade in value that Apple offers.
Calling all fashion lovers…. and also those who are trying to declutter your closet. Do you want to make some cash by selling your clothes? Then check out DePop and Poshmark!
With Covid-19 dismantling on-premise thrift shops around the country, its hard to go out and dump off all of your unused clothes somewhere. Fortunately, there’s a solution.
DePop and PoshMark are two up-and-coming online thrift shops. DePop mainly focuses on streetwear/ trendy styles, while PoshMark specializes in designer brands, such as Vineyard Vines, Nike, Zara, etc.
The selling structure is pretty straightforward on these two sites. Poshmark takes a commision of 20% on sales over $15, and $2.95 for anything under $15. Whereas Depop takes a flat 10% commission for anything you sell on the site. I would say this a pretty fair deal, considering it is free to list an item and you have the power to price your clothes at whatever cost you choose.
A lot of influencers call Depop and PoshMark a mix of instagram, amazon, and ebay. Negotiating/swapping can happen, and you have the power to price your own products. Additionally, both of these websites allow you to gain followers and make a brand for yourself.
A tip to the wise: simply putting a picture of a normal piece of clothing probably will not sell. You have to know how to create a brand and take good pictures of your clothes (Youtube videos can help with this).
If you do not have a specific piece of clothing you are looking to sell, you could also possibly bundle a bunch of clothes together for cheap. Will it sell? Maybe, maybe not. But it does not hurt to list a product on these websites though, as thousands of people a day are looking to buy clothes.
Something to keep in mind: Watch for scammers on these sites! Be sure to do some background research before buying or selling something.
My grade: A
Final take: I love the idea of both PoshMark and Depop. With retail companies declining in numbers due to the rise of big companies like Amazon, a door has been opened for individuals looking to profit off of their unused clothes. Instagram and digital marketing are also on the rise, so if you can easily create a brand for yourself. I give Depop and PoshMark an A because it is totally worth the effort, and people will actually buy your clothes that you no longer wear. Also a huge benefit can be seen environmentally, as these websites reduce clothing waste and deter individuals from “fast fashion”.
Open a free savings account with high APY
You probably have heard this back in high school personal finance, but compound interest is one of the most powerful money-making tools anybody can come across. You are literally getting paid to lend money to a bank, so why not let your money work for you?
The Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is the rate of return given per year. For example, you put in $1,000 into a savings account with an APY of 2%. How much will be in your account in five years? $1,104.08. How about ten years? $1,218.99. Twenty years? $1,485.95.
This is pretty much the easiest way you can generate money by doing legitly NOTHING. And that’s only with $1,000, a 2% APY, and no annual contributions!
Another benefit of keeping your money in a savings account is its ability to adjust to inflation. Finance professors advise you to never keep cash under your mattress because it is losing its value overtime!
In general, if you’re one of those people who love seeing their money grow with very limited risk, then open a savings account today. Three of the most trustworthy savings accounts with the highest APYs are: CitiBank (1.40% APY), Marcus by Goldman Sachs (1.30% APY), and Ally Bank (1.25% APY).
My grade: A+
Final take: If there is one thing that you should do (if you haven’t already) is open up a savings account. For those who are not currently making money at the moment, this may be a little harder for you. However, those who are currently employed, or those who will soon be employed, you should definitely look into opening a savings account with one of the banks listed above. Please do your research before opening one of these, and make sure you are aware of the benefits and drawbacks of the savings account you choose. I give it an A+ because it takes no effort while it also has the potential to make a decent amount of money over time.
For all the music lovers out there, this site is for you! Basically, SliceThePie is paying you money to leave reviews for songs.
In order to make money, you must listen to a song provided by the website for at least ninety seconds, and give it a rating of 1-10. The company uses some sort of algorithm that figures out if you are not actually listening to the song. So a tip of advice: vary your reviews if you don’t want to get booted from the site.
In my opinion SliceThePie is brought down largely by the “effort-to-payout” ratio. The “effort-to-payout” ratio is a term I use to determine if the effort I am putting into something is worth the money I am getting back.
On average, you are only going to get around twelve cents for every review submitted.
There are some bad reviews out there about SliceThePie, as many people suggest to use alternative “survey junkie” serivces. I personally give it a higher rating compared to surveying because I would rather spend time listening to music rather than answering a bunch of questions about myself.
My grade: C
Final take: If you have some extra time on your hands and love listening to music, sign up for this. Even though this is not going to get you rich, SliceThePie is pretty straightforward and can be done on your couch. I give SliceThePie a low C rating simply because it takes a lot of work for a low payout. The site has also been known for banning people’s accounts that are not actively engaging in the music.
DoorDash, Postsmates, InstaCart, etc
For those with adequate access to a vehicle, consider delivering food! In the wake of COVID-19, people are still skeptical of going out to eat. There are plenty of customers who are willing to pay for you to bring their food to them. In addition, some of these services are offering contactless delivery, so you can just drop the food right at their doorstep without any interaction.
People often write these companies off when they first hear their names, but if you have some extra time on your hands why not try it? You don’t have to drive people around, like Uber drivers. You aren’t bound by a specific number of hours you have to drive a week, like Dominos. You create your own schedule, and dictate how much you want to make.
I have heard the average hourly wage ranges depending on the service. But a simple answer is anywhere from $7-25. That is largely dependent on tips, average number of deliveries, and the price of the food the customer orders.
A downside to driving for one of these services is constantly getting gas. However, for the time being, take advantage of these low gas prices!
Final take: Delivery driving is pretty straightforward. Although I would not recommend driving for a pizza shop or chinese restrauant, these delivery services are a great second source of income. Whether it is DoorDash, Postsmastes, or Instacart, each one guarantees you money upon completion of a delivery. I give these services a B because it may not be the most exciting or rewarding job, but it is pretty easy and will cover your small expenses.
Etsy: “Find things you’ll love. Support independent sellers. Only on Etsy.”
Your simple art project can be the next big hit! Etsy has taken off over the past few months with the rise of face masks/coverings.
Etsy rewards those who have created a unique product with high demand. This website is great for beginners, user-friendly, and gives you the ability to show off something you’ve created. Marketability is at an all-time high, and the site is rising in popularity by the day.
If you decide you want to post a product on Etsy you will be met with some fees. There is a 5% transaction fee (including shipping) for any of your products that sell, and .20 cent listing fee.
The downside to Etsy is that there is a ton of competition. You have to be ready to answer the question of “what makes your product special” before you list an item. Or else you are probably going to be losing 20 cents for each listing.
My grade: B+
Final take:Even though there is a lot of competition present on Etsy, those who have a creative and sales-oriented mindset will thrive. The fees are a little discouraging, however, pricing is completely up to you. Take advantage of this website if you want to share your art with millions of individuals around the world! I give it a high B since it takes some effort to be successful, but the potential is through the roof, and demand is surging.
I know I only listed six above, however, there are still plenty of other opportunities out there:
Growing up as a sports bettor and spending countless hours partaking in fantasy football, I am a person who embodies the “high risk, high reward” philosophy. Draftkings.com and Bovada.lv were two websites that I often used to try and turn a quick profit. However, with the disappearance of sports in March due to the novel coronavirus, I found myself steering away from sports betting and into the stock market. The term “hedging” often came up in conversations surrounding the stock market, which simply means offsetting the risk of price movements. Hedging makes it harder to lose your money, and is a tool that is highly recommended; something that is not accessible in sports betting.
Coming in as a naive investor, I wanted something that was simple and easy to grasp. I stumbled upon the investment app called Robinhood, or sometimes said to be the new wave of investing. This commission free business has been deemed “a millennial app” typically used for those starting their trading careers. As a result of the virus, many stocks were getting pummeled, reaching all-time lows when I first downloaded the app. I thought to myself, could this be a good opportunity to jump in, or will these stocks continue to decline? I took a risk and decided to deposit $200 into my Robinhood account, feeling both excited and anxious. As a graduating college senior in a global pandemic, $200 is not something to throw around lightly.
Before I purchased a specific stock, I wanted to get a better grasp on what investing actually entailed. One benefit from this pandemic was the ability for myself to stay home and learn new things that I would not have otherwise. After reading multiple articles on Investopedia and watching videos on Youtube and CNBC, I felt that I started understanding stocks on a greater scale. The $200 of buying power in my Robinhood account decreased to $129 when I purchased three shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals at $7 per share, and two shares of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines at $25 per share.
I bought Inovio because of the enormous upside the company had, being one of the lead coronavirus vaccine candidates at the time. Royal Caribbean was a bit of a more strategic buy. After talking to one of my friends who purchased a few shares of Norwegian Cruise Lines, it was obvious a lot of millenials were confident in travel industries surviving the pandemic. The cruise lines industry has been hit extremely hard, with a lot of them down over 60-70% of the past three months. I saw this as a solid opportunity to invest in something while it was down, in the hopes it would come back up in the coming months. In other words, I was “bullish” on this industry returning to old highs.
It took me a few more weeks to buy my next stock, with fears that my money would disappear overnight. A little more research took me down the road of “Big Tech”, which according to almost every investor on CNBC is the future of our economy. Facebook and Apple were two popular stocks that required a lot of capital to buy a share, capital that I struggled to cough up. Therefore, I decided to look at cheaper options, one of them being Snapchat. Hovering at around $12 a share in early-April, I felt there was a ton of upside for this company to continue its success into the future. Snapchat has a solid grasp on teenagers and young adults, allowing for users to see what their friends and family are up all around the world.
With young adults transitioning into the global workforce, there are a lot of computer scientists emerging, it is a fear of mine that a competitor could easily appear. Even though I am skeptical of the app long-term, I see it as a short-term investment that still has room to expand in recent months. Snapchat is a good swing-trading stock in my opinion, which has potential to trade around $25+ in the future (as of 6/3 it is currently trading at $18-19). What is swing-trading you may ask?
Swing-trading is a refined version of day-trading that thrives on volatility. But instead of focusing on each stock by the very second, and requiring a minimum of a $25,000 account balance, swing-trading takes place over a few days. It is accurate to say, the more money you put in, the bigger your potential profit will be. An individual is not going to get rich from swing-trading with a meager $200 in their portfolio, as many elite swing-traders only return about a 2-3% profit on their investments. Therefore, it is important to have a decent amount of capital on hand with this strategy, and of course you need to be comfortable with losing some of it.
Swing-trading really is a game of patience, strategy, and diligence, those who are not committed to the cause will more than likely not enjoy this type of investing. Generally when it comes to swing-trading, it is recommended that you find a strategy that you are comfortable with. In my case, I wanted something that could return an immediate profit, allowed me to understand the stock market better, and ultimately become more immersed in finance.
When I realized the possible return swing-trading could provide, I decided to throw in some more money. A $300 deposit this time, I was confident in my ability and trusted the market to continue its upswing. With the 300 bucks worth of buying power, I dived into the world of ETFs, focusing primarily on oil. These highly volatile exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were hit extremely hard because of Covid-19. At one point back in early May, I remember oil literally selling for negative $37 a barrel. A really insane thing to think about, imagine paying someone money to take a product off your hands that you are trying to profit off of. Crazy!
Anyways, back on May 6th I bought 10 shares of Bloomberg Crude Oil (UCO) at $16.90, and 6 shares of United States Oil Fund at $20.91. I continuously swing-traded these two stocks and have made over $100 over the past three weeks by simply buying and selling a few days apart. Taking advantage of oil volatility played into my favor heavily. Due to our current economy’s situation, there still is plenty of time to get involved in ETF swing-trading. Even though it is pretty risky, I believe UCO and USO still have great potential to grow back to normal heights. Nuclear power, solar power, and other alternative energy industries could be substituted for oil if you are counting on its downfall.
Swing-trading does take a good amount of time and research to be successful, however I find it exciting and a way to learn something new. There are plenty of resources out there, like Stock Screeners that give you an upper-hand on knowing what stocks and doing well and which are not. Be sure to read up about swing-trading before you get involved in it, there are a ton of professionals who have made millions from doing very little.
If there are four tips I could leave you with today, I would say this:
1) Stay committed to your cause. Do not give up after one bad trade. Do not sell your stocks in fear that they may go down a couple of cents. Know when to cut your losses, but also remember your successes. The stock market can be a pretty intimidating place at first glance, but it really is an opportunity that can provide you with long-term profit and knowledge. Create an investment plan if you’d like, but as many financial advisors say, “let your money work for you!”.
2) Do your research before trading a stock. Try not to act on emotion or instinct. The worst trades I have made came from acting on emotion. Use stock screeners and news sources to your advantage. The little bit of effort it takes to read an article or watch a video is worth offsetting a bad investment, or a way to further maximize your profit. I would recommend watching “Mad Money” at 6pm EST on CNBC. Jim Cramer is an entertainer and genius investor, so check it out!
3) Diversify your portfolio! Unless you are fully committed to a specific sector like travel, healthcare, or energy, try to buy across industries. Especially during this pandemic, some days certain sectors in the economy will do well, while others will rapidly decline. Having a diverse set of stocks offsets your risk for huge potential losses, while also providing a bit more exciting portfolio. A great article for tips on diversification can be found here: Investopedia’s Tips for Investing.
4) Sports betting and gambling are not healthy ways to turn a profit. Draftkings, Bovada, the MGM all take advantage of you. They are businesses who rely on your money to survive. If you are going to partake in these activities, realize that gambling is more of an exciting/ fun activity to do rather than a way to build your asset column. If you want to make money on the side, start investing today. You do not even need a ton of money to begin with! As Warren Buffett says “Never depend on a single income. Make investments to create a second source.”