Wednesday, August 27, 2008

10 Things Millionaires Won't Tell You

Recently I went though an article @ yahoo which goes by the heading "10 Things Millionaires Won't Tell You". I found it quite interesting so

1. "You may think I'm rich, but I don't."

A million dollars may sound like a fortune to most people, and folks with that much cash can't complain — they're richer than 90 percent of U.S. households and earn $366,000 a year, on average, putting them in the top 1 percent of taxpayers. But the club isn't so exclusive anymore. Some 10 million households have a net worth above $1 million, excluding home equity, almost double the number in 2002. Moreover, a recent survey by Fidelity found just 8 percent of millionaires think they're "very" or "extremely" wealthy, while 19 percent don't feel rich at all. "They're worried about health care, retirement and how they'll sustain their lifestyle," says Gail Graham, a wealth-management executive at Fidelity.

Indeed, many millionaires still don't have enough for exclusive luxuries, like membership at an elite golf club, which can top $300,000 a year. While $1 million was a tidy sum three decades ago, you'd need $3.6 million for the same purchasing power today. And half of all millionaires have a net worth of $2.5 million or less, according to research firm TNS. So what does it take to feel truly rich? The magic number is $23 million, according to Fidelity.

2. "I shop at Wal-Mart..."

They may not buy the 99-cent paper towels, but millionaires know what it is to be frugal. About 80 percent say they spend with a middle-class mind-set, according to a 2007 survey of high-net-worth individuals, published by American Express and the Harrison Group. That means buying luxury items on sale, hunting for bargains — even clipping coupons.

Don Crane, a small-business owner in Santa Rosa, Calif., certainly sees the value of everyday saving. "We can afford just about anything," he says, adding that his net worth is over $1 million. But he and his wife both grew up on farms in the Midwest — where nothing was wasted — and his wife clips coupons to this day. In fact, most millionaires come from middle-class households, and roughly 70 percent have been wealthy for less than 15 years, according to the AmEx/Harrison survey. That said, there are plenty of millionaires who never check a price tag. "I've always wanted to live above my means because it inspired me to work harder," says Robert Kiyosaki, author of the 1997 best seller Rich Dad, Poor Dad. An entrepreneur worth millions, Kiyosaki says he doesn't even know what his house would go for today.

3. "...but I didn't get rich by skimping on lattes."

So how do you join the millionaires' club? You could buy stocks or real estate, play the slots in Vegas — or take the most common path: running your own business. That's how half of all millionaires made their money, according to the AmEx/Harrison survey. About a third had a professional practice or worked in the corporate world; only 3 percent inherited their wealth.

Regardless of how they built their nest egg, virtually all millionaires "make judicious use of debt," says Russ Alan Prince, coauthor of "The Middle-Class Millionaire." They'll take out loans to build their business, avoid high-interest credit card debt and leverage their home equity to finance purchases if their cash flow doesn't cut it. Nor is their wealth tied up in their homes. Home equity represents just 11 percent of millionaires' total assets, according to TNS. "People who are serious about building wealth always want to have a mortgage," says Jim Bell, president of Bell Investment Advisors. His home is probably worth $1.5 million, he adds, but he owes $900,000 on it. "I'm in no hurry to pay it off," he says. "It's one of the few tax deductions I get."

4. "I have a concierge for everything."

That hot restaurant may be booked for months — at least when Joe Nobody calls to make reservations. But many top eateries set aside tables for celebrities and A-list clientele, and that's where the personal concierge comes in. Working for retainers that range anywhere from $25 an hour to six figures a year, these modern-day butlers have the inside track on chic restaurants, spa reservations, even an early tee time at the golf club. And good concierges will scour the planet for whatever their clients want — whether it's holy water blessed personally by the Pope, rare Mexican tequila or artisanal sausages found only in northern Spain. "For some people, the cost doesn't matter," says Yamileth Delgado, who runs Marquise Concierge and who once found those sausages for a client — 40 pounds of chorizo that went for $1,000.

Concierge services now extend to medical attention as well. At the high end: For roughly $2,000 to $4,000 a month, clients can get 24-hour access to a primary-care physician who makes house calls and can facilitate admission to a hospital "without long waits in the emergency room," as one New York City service puts it.

5. "You don't get rich by being nice."

John D. Rockefeller threatened rivals with bankruptcy if they didn't sell out to his company, Standard Oil. Bill Gates was ruthless in building Microsoft into the world's largest software firm (remember Netscape?). Indeed, many millionaires privately admit they're "bastards in business," says Prince. "They aren't nice guys." Of course, the wealthy don't exactly look in the mirror and see Gordon Gekko either. Most millionaires share the values of their moderate-income parents, says Lewis Schiff, a private wealth consultant and Prince's coauthor: "Spending time with family really matters to them." Just 12 percent say that what they want most to be remembered for is their legacy in business, according to the AmEx/Harrison study.

Millionaires are also seemingly undaunted by failure. Crane, for example, now runs a successful company that screens tenants for landlords. But his first business venture, a real estate partnership, went bankrupt, costing him $20,000 — more than his house was worth at the time. "It was the most depressing time in my life, but it was the best lesson I ever learned," he says.

6. "Taxes are for little people."

Most millionaires do pay taxes. In fact, the top 1 percent of earners paid nearly 40 percent of federal income taxes in 2005 — a whopping $368 billion — according to the Internal Revenue Service. That said, the wealthy tend to derive a higher portion of their income from dividends and capital gains, which are taxed at lower rates than wages (15 percent for long-term capital gains versus 25 percent for middle-class wages). Also, high-income earners pay Social Security tax only on their first $97,500 of income.

But the big savings come from owning a business and deducting everything related to it. Landlords can also depreciate their commercial properties and expenses like mortgage interest. And that's without doing any creative accounting. Then there are the tax shelters, trusts and other mechanisms the superrich use to shield their wealth. An estimated 2 million Americans have unreported accounts offshore, and income from foreign tax shelters costs the U.S. $20 billion to $40 billion a year, according to the IRS. Indeed, "an increasing number of people want to establish an offshore fund," says Vernon Jacobs, a certified public accountant in Kansas who specializes in legal foreign accounts.

7. "I was a B student."

Mom was right when she said good grades were the key to success — just not necessarily a big bank account. According to the book "The Millionaire Mind," the median college grade point average for millionaires is 2.9, and the average SAT score is 1190 — hardly Harvard material. In fact, 59 percent of millionaires attended a state college or university, according to AmEx/Harrison.

When asked to list the keys to their success, millionaires rank hard work first, followed by education, determination and "treating others with respect." They also say that what they absorbed in class was less important than learning how to study and stay disciplined, says Jim Taylor, vice chairman of the Harrison Group. Granted, 48 percent of millionaires hold an advanced degree, and elite colleges do open doors to careers on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley (not to mention social connections that grease the wheels). But for every Ph.D. millionaire, there are many more who squeaked through school. Kiyosaki, for one, says the only way he survived college calculus was by "sitting near" the smart kids in class — "we cheated like crazy," he says.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

20 Small Business Tips for Success

Image by michaeldurant01
These are just some general tips to keep in mind as you design/operate your small business:

1. Take the time out to explore and understand whether or not you are compatible with running our own business. Some people are just plain happier and better off financially on the other end of the paycheck.

2.Get your personal finances in order. Before you jump into the entrepreneurship world, get your own money matters squared away.

3. Pick your niche. Many small business owners succeed in businesses that are hardly unique or innovative. Take stock of your skills, interests, and employment history to select the business that is best suited for you.

4. Benefit from your business plan. The exercise of creating a business plan is what pays the dividends. Answer the tough questions now before the meter starts running.

5. Do not think you need bankers and investors at the outset of your business. The vast majority of small businesses are bootstrapped.

6. Acquire the proper background. In the early months and years of your business, you will have to acquire many skills. Gain the background you need to oversee all facets of your business well, but determine what tasks you should outsource or hire employees.

7. Remember that nothing happens until a sale is made – How many good products go nowhere because they do not reach the shelves? Sales drive your business. You will need a good marketing plan to sell your product or service.

8. You have to see a customer to know one. N o matter how busy you are, spend at least 25% of your time with customers. You cannot make the proper business decision without understanding their viewpoint.

9. Solve your customers’ problems. The best way to satisfy your customers is not by selling them products but by giving solutions to their problems. There is a big difference.

10.Quality takes minutes to lose but years to regain. Quality is not a destination, it is a never ending journey. After you have strayed from quality’s path, your journey maybe sidetracked forever.

11. Put profitability first, rewards seconds. In small businesses, profitability must come first. Find out how to measure your cash flow and understand key financial ratios.

12. Hire supporters. If you intend to create a growing business, your number one duty is to assemble a great team of employees.

13. Do not do it alone. Find such help from small business peers, a mentor, even trade associations. They can help take some of the trial and error of beginning your business.
14. Vendors are partners too! Treat your vendors like customers and watch your partnership grow.

15. Make use of benefits. Understand how to provide insurance and other benefits for your employees and cut your tax bill at the same time.

16. Ignore regulatory issues at your peril. Federal, state, and local governments require licenses, registrations, and permits. Obey them or face losing your business.

17. Know the tax laws. Invest in understanding tax issues that affect your small business.

18. It’s the people! Whatever happens to a small business happens at the hands of the people who work for it. The evolution of the business is a result of their efforts.

19. Fast, good, cheap. Pick any two. Serious trouble awaits those who attempt to be all three in the market place. Stick with what you do best.

20. Develop a passion for learning. As your business grows, you need to change and grow along with it. One common denominator can be found in all successful business owners and that is a passion for learning.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Linux popularity across the globe & Nepal

Recently, I came across this article about the growing Linux popularity around the globe and I was a bit surprised to see Nepal's name also being included in that list. According to their study, there are a significant number of Red Hat and Fedora users in Nepal. This may have also due to growing number of training centers for Red Hat and Fedora, and also for their global certification which is valid all over the world as well.

This is something to be proud of. Since Linux is one of the stable operating systems that you get in the market. It is even better than the market giant Microsoft. But due less training centers and popularity than Microsoft, it has less popularity in the general public.

You can read the whole article in here.

Business Development: The Expanding Role of the Project Manager

This is one of the best project management blogs I've found over the internet. It overs a wide range of subjects regarding project management. You can read the blog here or visit this site for more information.

Over the years, the term project manager has been defined in many ways that does not give a single description of the roles and responsibilities. Organizations have, without consideration for a standard definition, labeled individuals with the title of project manager whether they were responsible for a schedule, schedule and cost, or schedule, cost and product, or service performance.

Rightfully so, organizations tailored the roles and responsibilities to meet their business needs. This does, however, cause some confusion as to what are the full roles and responsibilities of a project manager. The USA National Competence Baseline (NCB) lists 49 elements (Editor’s note: there will be 49 with the addition of Business Development) of competence that are suggested areas of competence that a project manager should possess to fully meet the qualifications for managing a large, complex project. A person managing smaller and less complex projects would perhaps need less competence
in some of the areas, but more detailed depth in some of the technical competences. Organizations may selectively use the 49 competence elements to tailor the required qualifications of their project managers.

Competence Growth for Project Managers
The evolution of modern project management as a discipline, and the various roles for project managers have expanded. Where formerly the focus was relatively technical aspects for guiding projects through their life cycle to a realization, increasingly the context in which projects are implemented and the behavioral aspects of the project staff are also important for success. The three categories of project management elements, Technical, Contextual, and Behavioral, continue to evolve through better definitions and added competence elements.

Joshua Blankenship writes in his blog “why design” is the single most important part of our businesses. By the way, “Design” is broad and if you think it is skin deep, and pretty looks, please please read this in depth. here is how he defines it.

But most of the web developing companies does not focus on design and have very less or limited people looking after the design part. Which is not very good. This may lead to loosing the client.

I tend to define design as “the intentional ordering of components” or “logically solving problems.

So you see, design is a whole lot than what most people (and most clients) seem to think.

Here is the article in depth.

kevin boss writes: 5 Mistakes That Made Me A Better Freelancer

Kevin boss writes this and it is an insightful experience which our small firm itself has gone through and learnt in the process.

5 Mistakes That Made Me A Better Freelancer - June 9th, 2008

Doing Business, The Internet, Web Design

A few years ago I started offering web design services to those in need of a web site. Ever since, It’s been a constant learning experience. When I advanced from website coding to directly interacting with clients, I was taking a pretty big step. It was hard enough trying to understand this crazy markup language, and now I had to learn how to interact with clients? Sheesh. Thanks to trial and error, I’ve come to understand a few things about establishing and maintaining the best possible relationship with my clients.

My clients shared the same technical background: they had no idea how the Internet works, how websites work and what exactly it is I did. As far as they were concerned I waved my magical wand and poof, a site is born. Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately that isn’t how it’s done (well for me at least). Because of my inexperience, I set myself up for a few nasty headaches. But I also learned a lot of valuable lessons.

The Never-Ending Design
“Hi Kevin, you know i see where that link is and well, can you make it blue instead of black?” Sounds innocent enough right? When you have a backseat designer who is continually revising the design, it can be a little frustrating. Especially when they liked your markups, then had a change of heart after you already coded everything. Getting calls a dozen times a day is also pretty tiring. You’d think your client would have the common sense to not call this often. Think again. When you don’t set guidelines and establish a clear work-flow, you’re just asking for trouble. Have your client sign off on the final mockup before moving to the next step. Define how you want to go back and forth regarding revisions.

The Midnight Caller
“How’s development going on the site? What? Of course I’m awake why wouldn’t I be? You were sleeping?” We don’t all keep the same schedule, and this is especially true if you’re dealing with someone that lives in another part of the world. Then again even when my clients lived 10 minutes away I was still getting calls at the strangest hours. Your client is paying you to get something done, and if you don’t state otherwise, expect them to need to talk to you at the most inconvenient times. If you give out your contact info, make sure you explicitly state how to contact you, and what time(s) are acceptable.

The Chatty Sally
“Hi Kevin, how are you doing? How’s the weather? Are you wearing shorts? I called to ask a quick question about the site and I’ll keep you on the phone for a while talking about general stuff not relating to the project at all” Having a good relationship with your client is important, but remember to keep it professional. Your working on their website, not becoming their new best friend. Socializing with a client isn’t bad, but it can become an issue if you don’t set clear ground rules. When you’re socializing, you’re either not working or at the least, distracted. If you have a time-sensitive project this can become a major issue. Make sure you clearly establish the purpose of your communications, and keep them on track. I’m not suggesting that clients and developers should avoid a social and professional relationship. I’m saying if you don’t set some ground rules it can get out of hand.

The Project that Doesn’t End
“The site looks great, but can you add an image gallery to it? I forgot that I wanted that before” Clients are notorious for wanting more work done than originally anticipated. I can’t remember a single project where the client didn’t want something new added as the project came to a conclusion. It’s natural - if something rattles around in your brain it’ll eventually spit out some new ideas. Since I agreed to make the client a website, I guess I agreed to add whatever they wanted right? Wrong. I failed to outline a specific scope, and as a result got stuck in a loop of additional work. Clearly define the scope of the project and what requirements need to be satisfied to complete the project. If they want to add more work after the fact, simply tell them that it’s not in the contract. Offer them the option of revising the project with added labor and a later completion date.

Hosting Woes
“Help the site is down!!! You suck at hosting!!!” I used to host my clients and charge them a few bucks for it. I figured hey why drive business elsewhere when I can offer a complete solution? Well that worked out well until my host started flaking. The site would be down once every week or so, and the people who I hosted weren’t too happy with it. I couldn’t blame them. I was angry at my host too. I’d constantly get calls about the site being down, call my host, and either get a machine or no answer at all. Now the obvious problem here is that my host sucked, but for a few dollars a month I was also being held responsible for something not in my control. I decided the profit wasn’t worth my reputation. I did explain that the hosting problems were beyond my control, but that didn’t make their site magically work. If you host your clients make sure you’re ready to accept the responsibility when something goes wrong. I do think hosts, for the most part, are more reliable now than 3 years ago. They are also cheaper now too. I refer my clients to the web host I use. I think it’s mutually beneficial that my clients deal with their host directly.

I never completed a project for a client without doing everything I could to completely satisfy them, but I sure did have some tough situations. Most of my work comes from word of mouth, so I place a lot of value on each individual client I have. These aren’t all my adverse situations, but they are my most memorable. Do you have any of your own? I’d love to read about them.

Oh, and not every single client can be satisfied - some people are just unhappy. There are other ways of dealing with them.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Big brother Blogs and their hosts

You've got any plans for your blog. But before you sign up for any hosts it would be insightful, savvy posts, there are practical considerations - like where to host it.

Who is Hosting This has put together a great little study into the blog hosts of the top 100 bloggers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Must visit CSS inspiration sites

This is a collection of Must visit CSS inspiration sites. These sites features the CSS based designs. Do check out for latest design trends:

Read more!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hello World

This is the first post in IT and Business talk.

You are welcome to this site.