Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Seven Businesses You Can Start With Your Kids

We are living in a time where the entrepreneurial spirit is accepted and praised. People are starting businesses all the time, and kids should not be excluded from that. There are so many business ideas that let kids express their imagination, wonder and skills. Here are seven ideas to help get you and your kids started.

1. Children's book author: Reading stories with kids is a time-honored tradition, so why not write one? It can be based on your child's life and the funny things they do or say, or the book can be used as an opportunity to teach a life lesson like sharing or respect. Get your child's input on how they would like to develop the story. Bonus points if your child draws the artwork for the book.

2. Tutoring: This is a great business to start with older kids. If they excel at a certain subject, let others know. Parents are always looking for ways to help their kids, and that can always mean finding a tutor. As the parent, you can help your child with things like driving them to and from tutoring locations or supervising tutoring sessions in your home. Parents can also help with advertising by taking flyers to work or by posting them around town.

3. Babysitting and pet sitting: Babysitting and pet sitting teach kids responsibility. In the digital age, getting jobs like this is simple. Websites like Care.com and Rover.com are great resources to not only post your kid's babysitting service (Care.com) or pet-sitting services (Rover.com), but they are also places to find jobs.

4. Lawn care: When kids are out of school, jobs like lawn care are a perfect way for them to spend their summer. Not only do they make some extra money, but they learn valuable skills for the future such as attention to detail, timeliness and respect for others' property.

5. Computer repair: Let's face it, some kids are better at working with computers than others. In this sense, growing up in the digital age has allowed kids to live and breathe technology, making them experts in many areas. If this sounds like your child, help them turn their skill into a business by creating flyers, publicizing their services on social media platforms and getting the word out. If your child has helped you with your computer, you can provide a firsthand testimonial about the quality of their work.

6. Marketplace seller: Imagination enables kids to create art, jewelry and other crafts that appeal to the whims of potential customers. If your refrigerator is covered with artwork, take it to the internet. There are so many options these days for selling handmade goods; Etsy is no longer the only option. With many online marketplaces, you get unlimited listings, can set your prices, and get community support from other sellers.

7. Cleaning service: Here... you just need to put years of chores to good use and encourage your kids to market their cleaning skills to others. Things like vacuuming, dusting and washing dishes are all things your child can do for neighbors or family members. If your kids are older, you can include tasks like cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors. You can advertise on community boards online or at local places like grocery stores and libraries.

Bottom line: All these businesses can be started with your child and can teach them viable skills for the future. Encourage your young entrepreneurs to try their best and seek success with their new business.
Even if it doesn't turn out as planned, you can show them that adversity is a part of life, and that failure is an opportunity to retool an idea or a door to a new opportunity. The work experience also looks great when it comes time to apply for college and scholarship opportunities. Thanks for reading...

Android security: Why Google's demands for updates didn't go far enough

If there should be one thing about Android that Google desperately wants to fix, it's updates. Unless you're buying a Pixel or an Android One phone, you're never really sure whether you're going to get updates as they're available or, really, at all.

It's a question, whether you're buying a thousand-dollar Galaxy Note 9 or something much cheaper: What's going to happen to my phone in 6, 12, or 24 months?

As regard to this so far, Google is trying to make sure everyone has the same answer to that question. According to a report in The Verge, Google's latest Android partner contract finally includes language that mandates security updates for a minimum of two years, lest the OEM in question lose future phone approval.

That all sounds well and good on paper, but it's not like Google is playing hardball here. The requirements are about as light as they can be and apply to a relatively small subset of phones. As The Verge reports, the terms:

1.Cover devices launched after January 31, 2018;
2.Apply to phones with at least 100,000 activations;
3.Stipulate only quarterly security updates for the first year;
4.Place no minimum on security updates in the second year; and
5.Make no mention of version updates.

Same old, same old: For most users, things aren't going to change much. Samsung already updates its phones with security patches at least four times a year, as does Huawei, LG, Lenovo, Nokia, Sony, and others. In fact, for some of the phones, meeting Google's bare-minimum requirements would actually represent fewer updates, not more.
Things probably won't change too much even for phones that aren't updated as regularly. Taking the contract at its literal word, Google requires only 5 updates over 24 months. This means phones that are woefully behind on security patches will probably still be woefully behind on security updates this time next year.

Let's say a phone is released January 15, 2019, and reaches the 100,000-sold activation trigger. By next October it could be running Android 8 Oreo with July's security patch and still technically be in full compliance with Google's contract.

Listen, this is a good start, albeit a late one. Android is on its 9th major revision and 16th overall, and Google is only just now getting around to mandating security updates for its partners. But cool, I'm on board with the change, I just wish Google had gone further.
There are 12 security updates each year, so why mandate only four? And what about version updates? Each new release of Android contains plenty of security, performance, and safety features that all Android phones can benefit from, not just the small percentage that are lucky enough to get updates. Why isn't Google demanding that Android phones get at least one version upgrade from the point of sale?

Barely bare minimum: Google is at something of a crossroads with Android, and not just because it needs to come up with a confection that starts with the letter Q. Now on its third Pixel phone, Google doesn't just promise five updates in two years on its own phones, it promises 36 security updates over three years, plus two full version upgrades. Granted, that's probably too much to bear for many smaller OEMs, but what about half a year of updates? Or raising the limit for phones that sell more than a million units?

If there's one thing about Android that Google desperately wants to fix, it's updates. Unless you're buying a Pixel or an Android One phone, you're never really sure whether you're going to get updates as they're available or, really, at all.

It's a question whether you're buying a thousand-dollar Galaxy Note 9 or something much cheaper: What's going to happen to my phone in 6, 12, or 24 months?

Now Google is trying to make sure everyone has the same answer to that question. According to a report in The Verge, Google's latest Android partner contract finally includes language that mandates security updates for a minimum of two years, lest the OEM in question lose future phone approval.

[ Further reading: The best Android phones for every budget. ]
That all sounds well and good on paper, but it's not like Google is playing hardball here. The requirements are about as light as they can be and apply to a relatively small subset of phones. As The Verge reports, the terms:

Cover devices launched after January 31, 2018;
Apply to phones with at least 100,000 activations;
Stipulate only quarterly security updates for the first year;
Place no minimum on security updates in the second year; and
Make no mention of version updates.
Same old, same old
For many users, things aren't going to change much. Samsung already updates its phones with security patches at least four times a year, as does Huawei, LG, Lenovo, Nokia, Sony, and others. In fact, for some of the phones, meeting Google's bare-minimum requirements would actually represent fewer updates, not more.
Things probably won't change too much even for phones that aren't updated as regularly. Taking the contract at its literal word, Google requires only 5 updates over 24 months. This means phones that are woefully behind on security patches will probably still be woefully behind on security updates this time next year.

Let's say a phone is released January 15, 2019, and reaches the 100,000-sold activation trigger. By next October it could be running Android 8 Oreo with July's security patch and still technically be in full compliance with Google's contract.

Listen, this is a good start, albeit a late one. Android is on its 9th major revision and 16th overall, and Google is only just now getting around to mandating security updates for its partners. But cool, I'm on board with the change, I just wish Google had gone further.

There are 12 security updates each year, so why mandate only four? And what about version updates? Each new release of Android contains plenty of security, performance, and safety features that all Android phones can benefit from, not just the small percentage that are lucky enough to get updates. Why isn't Google demanding that Android phones get at least one version upgrade from the point of sale?

Barely bare minimum: Google is at something of a crossroads with Android, and not just because it needs to come up with a confection that starts with the letter Q. Now on its third Pixel phone, Google doesn't just promise five updates in two years on its own phones, it promises 36 security updates over three years, plus two full version upgrades. Granted, that's probably too much to bear for many smaller OEMs, but what about half a year of updates? Or raising the limit for phones that sell more than a million units?

Google is in a position to make much more stringent demands. For example, after a ruling by EU courts that prohibited the company from bundling Chrome and other apps with Android licenses, Google will reportedly begin charging to include essential apps like the Play Store in the free version of Android. If Google can charge as much as $40 per device for the same apps it used to supply for free, surely it can demand six measly security updates a year.

What I mean is, we're not talking about new features or UI overhauls here. Security updates are about patching the code that already exists, and they shouldn't be too burdensome for manufacturers to implement. If monthly updates are possible for Android One phones, why not others? By Google's own words, "updates on a 90-day frequency represents a minimum security hygiene requirement," but shouldn't Google by asking more than the bare minimum from the phones running its OS?

So, while we can all applaud a move that finally brings some level of uniformity to Android phones when it comes to security, I hope it's just a start of better things to come.

This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: All You Need to Know to Get Started

Before anything is said here, immigration is a cornerstone of the American identity, but it's also a cornerstone of American entrepreneurship. From industrial titans like Andrew Carnegie to modern corporate leaders like Elon Musk, non-native business men and women have shaped the American economy for hundreds of years. The Center for American Entrepreneurship found more than 40 percent of the companies on the 2017 Fortune 500 list were founded by either immigrants or children of immigrants.
Despite this presence, experts say immigrating to the U.S. is complicated and, at times, difficult. The visa application process alone can be difficult to navigate, and long processing times add to the complexity of starting or joining a business in the United States. However, there are some important steps to take to fully understand the process and better position yourself for success once your business is up and running.

How to get a visa

The United States, like any government, mornitors who enters and lives in the country through a visa program. Visas are extended to tourists, students, family members and business men and women. There are several types of work visas you can apply for. The ones detailed below are some of the main visas foreign workers can apply for. This list does not include the EB-5 visa, which only pertains to foreign investment. For a complete list and step-by-step application details, visit the USCIS website for more information.

H1-B

The H1-B is a special visa meant for temporary workers. You'll need at least a bachelor's degree to qualify in some cases, and they're most often used for highly technical work. Kamal Bathla, president and founder of Maestro Technologies, said that his company acquired another company and now sponsors a few H1 workers.
Bathla emphasized that these types of workers are usually only brought in when the company can't find a native-born employee with the skills needed for a project. This makes the H1-B visas more applicable to highly skilled workers.

"Having an ability to hire someone, as long as you exhaust all the options of hiring someone local, it's important," Kamal said. "That's why you go out to hire or someone – someone with an H1 – because you can't find someone local."

While Bathla said it was not difficult for his company to bring in a new employee, Eileen King English of the New Jersey-based immigration law firm Harrington King English LLC said that H1 visas can often be a major barrier for some immigrants because of the highly skilled nature of the requirements.

"It is a difficult route," she said. "When you're a for national and you want to get an H1-B for yourself or for your company in the U.S., that's difficult … They [the visas] all have a hurdle to overcome to do it."

L1-A and L1-B

The L1 visa program is for company executives and "special skills" employees who need to be relocated to a company branch within the United States. The L1 visa can also be used to establish new branches of a foreign company in the United States. It's broken up into two levels: L1-A and L1-B. The L1-A program is meant to "transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States."

You can view the full definition of executive or manager on the USCIS website. The L1-B program is for a "professional employee with specialized knowledge" who needs to be transferred from a foreign office to an existing office within the U.S.

Like the L1-A visa, the L1-B has some fine print that's important to review and understand before applying. In the case of the L1-B, the full definition of "specialized knowledge" includes knowledge of internal company processes, products, services, research, equipment, techniques or management.
Unless you're looking to open a new company branch in the United States, the L1 program is for workers who are already employed by a company that's looking to send them to the U.S. for work. It's similar to the H1-B in that the person interested in working in the U.S. needs to already be employed by a company who has the means and corporate infrastructure to send them there.

E1 and E2

These visas are treaty-based visas – only countries that have special agreements with the U.S. can qualify for the E-1 and E-2 visas. The list of countries does not include China, Russia or India. The E1 and E2 visas are for individuals looking to come to the U.S. to either start a new business or join an existing one. The E1 visa is for "treaty traders" while the E2 is for "treaty investors." According to King English, there are extensive reporting requirements for these visas if you're looking to use it to extend your company into the U.S.

"The documentation required by the Department of State to show for a new office is just a high burden in terms of a five-year plan and showing the money you've already invested in the U.S. and how that money's going to be used -- all of those things," King English said. "It's not a straight path."

While the documentation may be extensive, it is not impossible. The key, however, is whether your country of origin has a treaty with the U.S. These visas also need to be renewed every two years, depending on your specific situation.

What to know if you're starting a business

Jalal Maqableh immigrated to the U.S. from Jordan and works for the Shenandoah Valley's Small Business Development Center. He specializes in immigration entrepreneurship – particularly with helping business owners who are new in the United States get their operation up and running.

"The most important businesses for immigrants, most of the time, is shopping and the food," Maqableh said. "People are looking for the traditional stuff like clothes and accessories, and the things that they used to use before coming to the United States."

Maqableh said this inspires a lot of immigrant entrepreneurs to open their own shops stateside to represent their culture and provide the kinds of goods and services that were available in their native country. He said this can present some challenges.

Finding the right idea

Before establishing a business, Maqableh said it's important to consider who the customers will be. It's a good idea to open a store that caters directly to one culture, but it's possible to be even more successful by opening a business to other cultures in the community as well. Examples of doing this can include providing English menus, working with other community leaders and marketing the business to the general community. By setting up a business that caters to both a traditional cultural community and the wider culture within an area, Maqableh said business owners can maximize their reach.

"If you go to an Arabic, Halal or Latino store and you don't know the language and the culture, you will leave," Maqableh said. "The culture is preserved for the local people, but Americans like to try new things and discover new things. There is potential there if you communicate, if you have signs in your language and in English, or if you contact the local community."

He also said it's important to do some research and speak with community experts and leaders to find out if a business idea makes sense in the United States. Maqableh gave an example of an entrepreneur who wanted to start a copying center in his local community. While copy centers were a booming business in some countries, Maqableh explained that there's little demand for copy center services in the U.S. because several businesses, such as Walmart and Staples, may already provide those services within the community.

When thinking about starting a business, it's important to shoot for a wide customer base and ensure that there is demand for the product or service that you're looking to provide.

Setting up a business takes time

The other thing Maqableh pointed out is the legal processes for starting a business are likely different in the U.S. compared to some other countries. He highlighted state and municipal requirements, as well as how long it takes to set up inspections and receive safety permits.

"People were organizing their businesses and they are ready to open," he said. "They have the safety people coming to check the fire alarms, but because they didn't arrange the proper permits, they're forced to wait six months to fix the problem."

The detailed rules and laws for starting a business vary by state and town. It's important, however, to be aware of the different regulations that need to be adhered to. Maqableh said paying attention to these laws is a crucial part of successfully opening and running a business in the United States.

Bottom line

Traveling to the U.S. for work, or opening your own business once you're there can be difficult, but it's not impossible. By working with professionals like Maqableh, it's possible to succeed as a newly arrived entrepreneur. Thanks for reading....

Here's how you can get a Google Pixel 3 (or two) without paying full price

Now that we’ve seen the Pixel 3, tested it, and measured the notch, some of us have probably made up our minds as to whether we’re going to buy one. And if you are, you already know that’s it’s not going to be cheap.
But there are ways to keep costs down. For starters, most outlets offer some kind of trade-in deal, so you can shave some dollars off the price simply by swapping out your current phone. But even if you don’t want to part with the handset you’re using, you can still find some great deals on the Pixel 3. Here are the best we’ve found so far:

Verizon

As the exclusive carrier partner for the Pixel, Verizon holds more leeway with pricing, and it’s offering a great deal right out of the gate. Anyone ordering a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL will get a second 64GB Pixel 3 for free or $800 off whichever model you’d like. One catch though: One of the phones needs to be attached to a new line.

Google Fi Store

If you are planning to use your Pixel 3 on Project Fi (Google’s wireless service), the Google Fi Store is the way to go, especially if you want two Pixels. Anyone who buys a pair of Pixel phones and adds a new user to their Project Fi plan will receive $799 in Fi credit, which can be applied toward your monthly bill. That means you’ll be covered for at least six months of service, depending on how many gigs of data you use each month.

Target


Target hasn’t opened up Pixel pre-orders on its website yet, but it’s teasing a great deal. All new Verizon activations of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL through Oct. 20 is going to receive a $150 gift card. However, the phone only seems to be available in black or pink through Target, so if you want white you’re out luck.

Best Buy

Like Target, Best Buy is also offering a gift card promotion for new Pixel purchases, but it’s only for $100. And you are going to agree to pay for the phone via 24 monthly installments of $33.34 to qualify.

Google Store

The Google Store isn’t giving any blanket deals on the new Pixel, but you may qualify for an offer anyway. Google is targeting promotions at specific Gmail address, and we’ve seen two so far: one offering $50 credit in the Google Store for U.S. shoppers, and another offering $75 credit and a free Pixel Stand in Canada. Both offers run through October 17 and the promotional balance needs to be used by December 31, 2018.

This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Four Strategies to Make Your Content Go Viral

Have you at any time wondered why some content goes viral with the intensity of a doomsday plague while others struggle to find an audience even among friends and family? The solution to creating viral content is easier than you may think.

1. Play Captain Hook: If you can remember the writing lessons you were taught in school, Throughout the course of your academic career, you were likely required to write a few hundred essays. For each of those essays, your teacher emphasized the importance of the introduction, body and conclusion.

For the purposes of creating potentially viral content, we will focus on the introduction. After all, before a social media post gets attention, the story linked to it must grab eyeballs.
Part of the introduction is the title, or headline. This is your only chance to garner readers' interest. With an essay, you have the first paragraph to create the hook to generate further interest in reading your article.
But in any case, writing for an online audience is significantly more difficult than writing for your high school English teacher. You must succinctly restate elements from the introductory paragraph, including the hook and thesis statement, into the title if you want people to pay attention to your post.
2. Create content worth sharing: Imediately you have viewers' attention, it is time to give them a reason to share the content with their friends and followers. What does that look like? It looks like raw emotion.
When people are moved emotionally, they are more likely to share that information with the people around them. Whether you've made them angry, excited, sad or joyful is not nearly as important as the fact that you made them feel something.
The online sphere is inundated with pointless cat videos that go viral, because when people watch them, they feel something – a moment of levity in a chaotic world, a connection to a beloved pet or simply the opportunity to laugh. The video of a cat preparing to pounce is not life altering, profound or remotely important, but it evokes feeling. Finally here, if you want your content to go viral, find a way to evoke deep feelings from your audience.

3. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words:
If this looks like a cliche, remember, cliches gain their status by being fundamentally true. According to recent research, infographics are the most frequently shared type of content. In part, this is due to the nature of the content, which makes complex topics easier to grasp quickly. This has enormous value in a world like ours which has an ever-increasing amount of online content.
Of course, infographics aren't the only way to garner viral exposure and acclaim. For example, Oreo flipped the switch on a power outage to make their tweet a Superbowl touchdown. It had nothing to do with an elaborate graphics coup or strategic planning. It was the timeliness of the tweet and the way so many people instantly related to the message that caused it to go viral … that and a delicious image with a powerful tagline.
If a static image is worth a thousand words, can you imagine the worth of video? Online video has exploded in recent years, and many industry insiders recommend posting video content across social media channels to boost engagement and increase the odds of content going viral.

You may think creating a viral video is an iffy proposition, but there are several things you can do to help your content reach liftoff. First, remember that longer isn't necessarily better for videos. Most people are consuming social media via mobile devices. This means they are likely on the go or multitasking while they watch your latest video.
What does that mean for the creation of viral video? It means to have the best chance of getting viewers to share your video, you must engage them quickly and finish before they get bored and move on to the next thing. You should also consider using subtitles for maximum stealth viewing potential.

4. Pay to play: According to a content marketing expert Sandra Wróbel-Konior, the final key in creating viral content is promotion. Without it, the chances that content will go viral are low.
Sandra explained, "It's a common truth that content without a promotion is hard to find, but I feel that content creators still forget about it. It's good to have a plan in place for multiple channel promotion, and it doesn't always have to be influencer-supported or covered in well-known publications (even though it really helps)."
While creating viral content isn't hard, it requires creativity and a willingness to create from a place of authenticity that will resonate on an emotional level with your audience.