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Entrepreneurs Grind

How Michael Mayer, Co-Founder of Windmill, Is Changing Air Conditioning

This week’s edition of The Tartare Project hosted by Phil Toronto features Michael Mayer, the co-founder of Windmill. A consumer electronics company, Windmill is a small business headquartered in New York that focuses on building eco-friendly products that help keep the air clean. The brand’s most notable product is their personalized Windmill Air Conditioning unit that targets better airflow and smoother cooling while keeping away outside air.

Prior to co-founding Windmill in 2018, Mayer had a resume full of business experience, including being the co-founder of smartphone gadget Lookalu, and a three-year stint at Betterment For Advisors in which he served in various different roles.

Toronto and Mayer sat down for a 45-minute interview in which they discussed his career trajectory. Toronto began the conversation by asking Mayer about the decision to start Windmill. “Before Windmill there was no brand association or loyalty when it came to air conditioning. You know the big-name companies, but they haven’t been able to connect with the customer. For that very reason, this is an opportunity for innovation and experience.”

Growing up in Orlando, Florida with Disney World as his ‘backyard,’ education was a huge part of Mayer’s upbringing, attending college at the University of Pennsylvania, where he eventually received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. “I actually wanted to be an English major because I loved 18th Century Poetry in high school, “ he tells Toronto before going into the decision to go down the finance lane. “I went from an English major to finance. I spent the rest of those three years doing international currency finance and accounting. I felt the air just get sucked out of me. I wasn’t myself, and I wasn’t vibing on the stuff that I was learning. I ultimately graduated and realized that it wasn’t who I was.”

Windmill

Like many young adults, Mayer had to discover himself and find his own path in life. That journey was a spiritual one that included lots of meditation and therapy. “I’m a big fan of mental health. Even if you think you don’t need therapy, it’s helpful to dig into your past to figure out why you are the way you are—especially with starting a business. It’s very helpful!”

As the conversation continues, Toronto and Mayer cover his decision to leave banking, trusting your ability to live in uncertainty, and his early career experiences. Naturally, the conversation gets back to Windmill, and how the company values their customer’s experience. “LG, GE, Frigidaire—they aren’t thinking about how to word their installation manual in a way that you would understand it—they have third-party companies doing their manuals,” he says before detailing Windmill’s game plan for the future. Ultimately the vision of Windmill is to expand outside of air conditioning and to think about air care more broadly—especially with Covid and the wildfires out west. Air care is becoming more important.”

For more on Mayer and his business Windmill be sure to listen to the full interview above. You can also check Windmill’s official website here.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

How Jacob Zuppke Is Changing The Landscape of Petcare

This week’s episode of the Tartare Project hosted by Phil Toronto features Jacob Zuppke, President and COO of Autopets. Autopets is most known for their innovative pet care products such as the ‘Litter Robot,’ and the company aims to deliver meaningful insights through their high-grade products to assist in making better decisions for pets. Priding themselves on their development, marketing, and elite customer service, Autopets continues to rapidly grow their company as they establish themselves as one of the leaders in quality pet care and accessories. Zuppke spoke with Toronto in a nearly 40-minute conversation that covered his early childhood, the beginning stages of his career, and the developmental strategies behind Autopets.

Toronto starts the conversation by asking Zuppke to give a rundown of how Autopets originally came to be. “Autopets is the maker of ‘Litter Robot,’ which is the highest rated self-cleaning litter box for cats, and that is how we got our start. As of recently, we launched the ‘Feeder Robot,’ which is a pet feeder for both cats and dogs. We also have our litter box brand which is the maker of refined cat accessories ranging from modern cat trees, to cat nips, to different litter boxing closure to hide your litter box in plain sight.”

Taking some steps back, Toronto and Zuppke discuss his childhood in Bloomfield, Michigan, how he viewed school growing up, and his very first business venture at sixteen. “When I turned sixteen, my buddy and I started TJ Bagel, which was a Sunday morning bagel delivery route,” he says, reminiscing about his teenage entrepreneurial days. “We would get up early and go to a bagel place near us called Brooklyn Bagel and pack up everyone’s order and deliver them. We did that for about a year-and-a-half, and it didn’t really turn into much. It was a fun hobby business where we could make a little bit of money, but it was the first real business entity that we filed for and learned that process.”

Two summers later Zuppke embarked on a power washing landscaping business with another friend, and it was there that he realized that he had a passion for entrepreneurship. “That’s when I realized that I had this creative marketing approach where we sat outside of a grocery store that we worked at, and gave away free power washing services. We gave out 100 square feet of power washing, which isn’t much, and we were eventually able to book out an entire summer of homes. It was a really cool first go!”

After diving into more of Zuppke’s early businesses, the conversation progresses into Zuppke’s decision to join Autopets and how he has approached each phase of his career. “It definitely wasn’t all rainbows, but I came to a head where I realized that my partner and I were no longer having fun growing the business together,” he tells Toronto. “I recognized that I am somebody who wants to be in business with a partner, and it’s hard to do that if you don’t enjoy each other’s company all the time or don’t want to have some form of a relationship outside of a business one. I was young and really wanted a mentor, and I felt like it was something that I wasn’t necessarily getting a piece of. I want to have fun with what I’m doing, and looking back, I’ve never had more fun than what I’ve had at Autopets.”

For more on Zuppke and Autopets, be sure to listen to the full interview above. You can follow the entrepreneur on Instagram and Twitter.

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What Is Conor McGregor’s Net Worth?

When people joke that one of the letters in UFC stands for your first name, it’s clear that you’re an incredibly big deal. Since the first time he stepped into the octagon in April of 2013, he has surpassed names like Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, and Jon Jones to become the biggest name in mixed martial arts, by a long shot. His pockets reflect it too. Up until recently, Conor McGregor boasted a net worth of approximately $120 million.

However, on April 27th, McGregor sold his majority stake in Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey for $600 million; his business partners, Audie Attar and Ken Austin, received part of that lump sum, so McGregor’s exact net worth increase is unknown at this time.

Depending on how much he made off the sale, McGregor’s net worth is somewhere in the $200-700 million range as of late April.

Big purses

Despite entering the UFC with a legion of dedicated fans already, Conor McGregor first fought on the Facebook prelims on a UFC on Fuel TV event. He and his opponent Marcus Brimmage were set to make the same amount of money that night, $8k to show and $8k to win. Conor McGregor made quick work of Brimmage, though, earning him a $60k Knockout of the Night bonus and taking his pay up to $76k. It’s not the kind of money that retires you, but it is the kind that means you don’t have to be on social warfare, which is what Conor was collecting up until the week before the fight.

Conor’s contract money increased incrementally in his next couple of fights until he fought Dustin Poirier the first time around. For that fight, he made a total of $200k, split up into $75k show money, $75k win money, and a $50k bonus. Skipping forward slightly to fight Chad Mendes for an interim world title and to fight José Aldo to unify the belts, Conor made close to $600k both times.

His first million-dollar purse came when he moved up to Welterweight for the first Nate Diaz fight. He was guaranteed $1 million on the night. For his next four fights against Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, Khabib, and Cowboy, Conor was guaranteed a staggering $3 million. For his most recent rematch against Dustin Poirier, the Irishman made his biggest guaranteed money in MMA to date, at $5 million. Of course, none of these include the millions he certainly made off of his share of the pay-per-views.

MMA aside, we all know that Conor’s biggest fight purse came from his one and only professional boxing match. Not including sponsorships and PPV points, Conor was guaranteed $30 million for that night’s work against Floyd Mayweather. It’s 30x more than most fighters even dream about making.

Proper 12

In 2018, Conor McGregor entered the alcohol business and founded Irish whiskey distiller Proper No. 12. It was a big talking point in the lead-up to his fight with Nurmagomedov because he was drinking it at the infamous pre-fight press conference, and it was one of the advertisements on the octagon at UFC 229. Since then, it has been made available in many countries worldwide, and with Conor’s name attached to it, it has done incredibly well. In its first year, it boasted sales of more than $40 million.

Earlier this year, Becle acquired 51% of Eire Born Spirits. We found out then that it was valued at around $235 million. It was reported that off of this sale, McGregor made a little over $100 million.

As mentioned above, McGregor sold his majority stake in Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey for $600 million in late April, but his business partners Audie Attar and Ken Austin received part of that lump sum. Depending on how much he made off the sale, McGregor’s net worth increased by somewhere between $100 and 600 million based off of this news. He will remain involved with the whiskey company as a brand ambassador.

Sponsorships

When you have the eyes on you that Conor McGregor has, it’s no secret that companies will want to attach their names to you. Forbes reported that in 2018, McGregor re-signed a deal with Reebok that was set to earn him $5 million that year. The same year, the Irish superstar signed a deal with Monster that was worth multiple millions, according to multiple reports.

Conor has also signed deals with Beats By Dre, David August, BSN, and HiSmile, amongst others. But perhaps his most famous endorsement came when he became the face of Burger King. It made him the butt of some jokes from Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the money he made from it was likely no laughing matter.

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Some Thoughts on Bitcoin’s Recent Price Volatility

Note: This article is not intended to be formal financial advice; always do your own research before investing.

Bitcoin hit a 40-day low of $47,272 on April 25 after an impressive run to start the year. And like every dip, bears are out of hibernation again, telling us Bitcoin reached its peak. But I’m not worried about the recent price drop.

The downturn began after Turkey banned Bitcoin payments, highlighting concerns about government crackdowns on cryptocurrencies going forward. The price drop prompted realistic concerns about Bitcoin’s future outlook. But have we really reached peak levels?

Let’s take a closer look at Bitcoin’s historical data. It’ll show us why we are on the verge of another bull run.

Bitcoin trends since 2017:

Bitcoin has made about four major jumps since 2017. Obviously, there are different ways to define a “jump”. For this exercise, we are going to look at instances when Bitcoin pumped over 100% growth within a period of a few weeks.

https://www.coindesk.com/
Coindesk

In 2017, Bitcoin had a historic year. It doubled in just four weeks from April to May and then exploded in the fall, jumping from around $3,000 to a whopping $19,000/coin. We all know what happened next. Bitcoin plummeted back down to $8000, then landed and stabilized around the $6,000 mark for most of 2018.

The next major push came in the summer of 2019, when prices quadrupled in a matter of weeks. After reaching a peak of $12,000 in that bull run, prices fell as low as $7000. This was about the price of Bitcoin when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Through the first four months of the pandemic, Bitcoin rose around 100% as governments around the world printed trillions of fiat dollars to keep up with a flattened global economy. 22% of USD in circulation was printed in 2020 alone. Most notably, Bitcoin redefined itself in 2020 as more than just a tool for financial crime. Suddenly, it became a legitimate, viable world currency after years of criticism.

Bitcoin’s latest push came faster than ever before. After a quiet few months, Bitcoin grew from $11,000 to $40,000 from the end of 2020 into 2021. Prices dropped to $30,000, before quickly doubling to $60,000. If we are playing charts, we may be at the back-end of another drop period… with a bull run on the horizon.

The difference between 2021 and 2018 Bitcoin:
Jared Wolf / imgflip

Based on historical data, Bitcoin took about 12-18 months to reach its next macro-level bull run after hitting a peak. But this is not the same Bitcoin we knew in 2018.

Over the last few months, thousands of old-world portfolio managers embraced crypto. Heck, BTC has become a ticker mainstay on CNBC. Whoever thought that would happen? But the interesting thing is, none of these people embraced Bitcoin because they wanted to, they embraced it because they had to. “Follow the money”.

Major companies like Square and Paypal use Bitcoin to store cash reserves and enhance their user experience. In March, the Dallas Mavericks (led by Mark Cuban) announced they would be the first NBA team to accept Dogecoin for tickets and merch.

TL;DR: The crypto market is nothing like it was three years ago. It’s like comparing 2008 Facebook to 2016 Facebook.

On the verge of a Bitcoin bull run:

All the indicators point to another bull run for Bitcoin. I’m not worried about this price drop. In fact, if you are one of those people who missed the boat on BTC completely but don’t want to dive into the volatile, confusing world of altcoins, this may be a good time to jump in.

There are a lot of bears in the media saying this may be the end of a historic run. But they have been saying that since 2013, and they’ve been wrong every time.

I’m not a Bitcoin maximalist, per se, but I think we are nowhere near hitting its true, long-term value. Bitcoin is now backed by powerful market forces, even if a few governments seek to halt its growth.

With a finite supply available, Bitcoin has serious appreciating value as a cash reserve for businesses. Digital payments are more frequent, transactions are getting faster and more reliable, and the prospect of exchanging crypto in everyday purchases will become more and more normalized.

Put simply, Bitcoin is still undervalued. It’s hard to say that, especially when it’s jumped over 500% in a matter of months. Still, as more legacy brands look to adopt crypto into their business models, Bitcoin, millions of which are lost forever, has some room left to grow.

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What Is Mike Tyson’s Net Worth?

Whether or not you know the first thing about boxing, you know exactly who Mike Tyson is. One of the better Heavyweight boxers to ever grace the ring, he’s lived 5 lifetimes worth of success and turmoil. Over his long career, he’s made hundreds and hundreds of millions but as of 2021, his net worth is estimated to be just $3 million. This is due to bizarre spending habits, being cheated out of millions, bad deals, and more. But how exactly did it all happen?

Fight purses

Tyson got paid a wide variety of purses throughout his career, but since winning the WBC Heavyweight title against Trevor Berbick in 1986, his guarantee has been no less than $1.5 million. The first time he made $10 million was in his first fight in Tokyo against Tony Tubbs, though, of course, the second time is far more famous. Off the back of the Tubbs fight, he then made a whopping $20 million to fight Michael Spinks to add The Ring Heavyweight Title to his belt collection.

The biggest purses of Mike Tyson’s career didn’t come until the mid-1990s. For his rematch with Frank Bruno, where he regained the WBC Heavyweight title, his WBA heavyweight title win against Bruce Seldon, and his pair of consecutive losses to Evander Holyfield immediately afterward, Tyson earned a massive $30 million each and every time. That’s $120 million from March of 1996 to June of 1997.

All in all, it’s widely reported and believed that Tyson made $400 million over his professional boxing career from his fight purses. But of course, the word “made” is disingenuous. It must be said that Tyson was never earning anywhere close to his entire fight purse.

Before deducting for expenses, Don King received 30% of all of Tyson’s fight purses. Rory Holloway and John Horne also received a hefty percentage, meaning Tyson was left with just half of his own money before paying taxes and bills. When it came to the hundreds of millions he reportedly made off of endorsements, he also only ever received half of the money, at most.

Don King was robbing Tyson. He charged Tyson everywhere he could. He was accused of paying $200k to his wife and kids per Tyson fight and $1,000 weekly to his daughter because she was the President of Tyson’s fan club. In 1998, Tyson wised up and sued King for $100 million. They settled out of court, with Mike winning $14 million—a handsome sum, but far from justice served.

Cameos

With the level of star power that Mike Tyson has had for decades now, having him as part of your franchise has always brought some extra eyes to it. His famous appearances in The Hangover films reportedly brought him $300k in total. While that’s good money for the amount of work he did, the Hangover franchise topped $1 billion and he was one of the least paid ‘main’ characters in the films.

When he appeared at WrestleMania XIV in 1998 as the enforcer for Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin’s main event match, he was paid $3 million.

Business ventures

For a few years now, Tyson has been selling cannabis products after people around him telling him it made him a better person and him wanting to help others through it. Today, Tyson is believed to be making $1 million monthly from the Tyson Ranch.

Tyson also hosts one of the more popular podcasts in the space with Hotboxin which, though there are no official numbers on, is certainly one of his most lucrative ventures in 2021. 

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Entrepreneurs Grind

What Is Post Malone’s Net Worth?

Post Malone first rose to fame in 2015 with the release of his single ‘White Iverson.’ The following year the artist released his debut album Stoney, which featured the hit ‘Congratulations’ and set a record for the most weeks on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In the five years since, Malone has continued his success with his follow-up albums Beerbongs & Bentleys and Hollywood’s Bleeding and has amassed a net worth of $30 million. Here is a breakdown of how the 25-year-old has been able to reach that number in just a six-year time period.

Getty Images
Post Malone at the Grammys

Post Malone was born in Syracuse, New York, where he spent the first ten years of his life, before moving to Grapevine, Texas. It was there that the budding artist discovered his love for writing music, and taught himself how to play guitar through YouTube videos. Malone used social media to build his profile and began gaining attention through his covers and original releases.

At this point in his career, the majority of Malone’s earnings have come from his music career and endorsements. The success of ‘White Iverson’ captured the attention of many esteemed rappers like Mac Miller and led the artist to sign a deal with Republic Records in August of that year. His first studio album, Stoney, went double platinum, and spawned two top ten singles with the tracks ‘Rockstar’ featuring 21 Savage, and the Ty Dolla Sign collaboration ‘Psycho’.

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Post Malone at the Billboard Music Awards

His sophomore album Beerbongs & Bentleys was even more successful, earning the artist four Grammy nominations, and breaking a streaming record on Spotify. His latest release, 2019’s Hollywood’s Bleeding, solidified his place as one of music’s most successful young rappers as the album broke Michael Jackson’s record for most weeks on the Billboard’s Top R&B and Hip-Hop Albums chart.

In the music industry, success on the charts doesn’t always mean that an artist is making a lot of money. In this current music climate, artists earn a good percentage of their money through performances and tours, and of-course, the more you know how to do on your own, the less money you have to payout to others.

Malone is his own principal songwriter, which means he gets to keep a higher percentage of his royalties as opposed to other artists who hire a team of writers for their projects. The rapper has also booked many performing gigs through the years, and has embarked on a major concert tour for each studio album.

His last concert, The Runaway Tour, was on track to be one of the biggest tours of 2020 prior to the pandemic cancellation, and was voted Best Hip-Hop/R&B Tour by the Pollstar awards over the summer. With the pandemic still being a concern, Malone hasn’t announced any new concerts, but is currently confirmed as one of the performers for Rolling Loud in May, and Rock in Rio in June. While Malone has never officially released his tour earnings, according to Forbes, the rapper reportedly grosses $500,000 per show.

Getty Images
Post Malone at Billboard Music Awards

In addition to his musical projects, Malone has multiple brand partnerships, with his Bud Light deal being the most financially lucrative. Malone has performed at various Bud Light sponsored events, and has earned millions with the company. The artist also has also secured on-going partnerships with True Religion and Hyper X.

Post Malone is still only six years into his professional career, but appears to be on a good track in terms of his success and overall net worth. With more music in the works, and upcoming entrepreneurial ventures ahead, Malone certainly has the potential to wind up being one of music’s top earners in the future.

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How to Harvest Cannabis with Homegrown Cannabis Co

Okay, so it’s time to harvest your cannabis plants. First off, congrats on making it this far—especially if you’re a beginner. You’ve obviously read up and studied all my guides at the Homegrown Cannabis Co; you should pat yourself on the back for a job well done. If you need a refresher on growing in general, check out our last piece.

This quick guide will show you when to harvest your plants, how to harvest and what to do with your plants once you’ve cut them down.

Too many growers miss the optimum harvest time because they don’t know how to read the plants, while others can easily make a mess of the drying process.

This won’t happen to you! 

I’ll show you step by step exactly what to do and when. You’ll soon be showing other people how to harvest like an expert.

Homegrown Cannabis Co.

What’s so important about harvesting?

Cannabis plants have special ways of communicating with growers, with YOU. They let you know when they’re well-fed and happy, and when they’re under-nourished or suffering at the roots. They also let you know when they’re ready for harvest.

I will show you how to spot these signs to ensure you harvest at the right time. If you harvest too late, the terps and cannabinoids start to degrade. Harvest too early and the plants won’t have reached their full potential—meaning weaker, tasteless buds.

You also need to dry them properly. Without optimum drying conditions, they might dry too fast (buds like sawdust) or too slow (buds full of mold). 

There’s lots to learn.

Now that I have your full attention—let the lesson begin!

Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Knowing when to harvest.

The first thing to consider is the flowering time provided by the breeder. Note the date you flipped the plant into flower and, if it has an 8 – 10 week flowering time, you should start to see the following signs around the 7 – 8 week mark. 

One good sign is the pistils turning red; once this happens, you’re close! But it’s not enough to check the pistils alone, you need to mike the triches.

Miking the triches is simple: you look at the trichomes under a microscope, or, more commonly, a jeweler’s loupe. 

For the majority of flowering, the trichomes (tiny, mushroom-shaped growths on the leaves and buds) will be clear—glittering like little crystals. 

Around a week out from optimum harvest time, the trichomes will turn cloudy or opaque. This is when you get your drying preparation started. 

Over the next few days, a percentage of the trichomes will start turning amber and brown. Once this percentage is up to 5 – 10%, it’s time to take down the plants.

Homegrown Cannabis Co.

What to do leading up to harvest.

So, now you know what’s coming, how do you prepare for it? What do you need to do during the last few weeks of flowering?

From around five or six weeks into flowering, take these steps.

  • Week five / six: no more nitrogen.
  • 3 weeks before harvest: no more micronutes, reduce phosphorous by 50%.
  • 2 weeks before harvest: flush – feed only enzymes and water.
  • 1 week before harvest: feed only water.
  • 1 – 2 days before harvest: stop watering (but don’t allow your plants to completely dry or wilt).
Homegrown Cannabis Co.

You also need to prepare your drying space. This could be a separate room or closet, or even the tent you used to grow the plants (if indoor). It needs to be dark, 68 – 70°F, with a relative humidity of 50 to 60%.

You can achieve these conditions using fans, dehumidifiers etc, but try to do this as passively as possible. Don’t point anything directly at the plants. You want to affect the environment rather than the plants themselves.

How to harvest your plants.
Homegrown Cannabis Co.

My preferred method is to cut the plants down whole, close to the base. Why? Chopping them into smaller pieces often leads to them drying too fast. You want them to dry nice and slow, retaining that little bit of moisture needed for the perfect cure.

Hang them on drying lines and let them lightly touch each other; they’ll soon shrink as they dry. If you’ve set up the room just right, they’ll take 7 – 10 days to dry perfectly, 2 weeks at the most.

Note: If you’re an outdoor grower with huge, 10 foot plants, you might want to cut them up a little before you hang them. Cut them down an hour or so before sunrise, when their terpenes and cannabinoids are at their peak.

Homegrown Cannabis Co.

What comes next?

Once they’ve been hanging close to a week, you should start regularly checking them. Here’s a few simple ways to tell your plants are dry enough to be cured.

  • Bud test. Squeeze the buds. They should be dry but with a little springiness left.
  • Snap test. Try breaking a branch. It should snap with a satisfying crack, rather than bend and squash.
  • Smoke test. Grind a little into a joint and light it. If it stays lit, it’s probably ready.
Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Now everything is properly dried, you need to buck, trim and cure your buds—this will guarantee the best quality cannabis possible. Maximum flavor and effect, maximum smokability.

Happy harvesting.

Knowing when to harvest is all about paying attention to your plants, learning their language and responding to their needs. Skills that underpin all aspects of being a successful cannabis cultivator. 

Once you’ve mastered harvesting, it’s time to master the cure. 

You can check out my curing guide at the Homegrown Cannabis Co, along with hundreds of other helpful blogs and videos.

Master your craft. Be the best grower you can be. Give it your all.

Your plants deserve it!

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Four Things I Wished I Knew Before Starting MiniSuperHeroesToday

In a recent study done by The Sun, it was discovered that 1 in 3 kids want to be a YouTuber, and 1 in 5 kids want to be a Blogger/Vlogger. I am both of these things, but I never planned to be. I absolutely love what I do for a living, which includes building LEGO, then turning around and creating content around what I build for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and of course articles like this. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my LEGO hobby would someday become a career, but that’s the reality I’ve worked to build and I am truly grateful. It has been a lot of hard work, but I truly believe anyone can do this within their interests given the dedication and determination. 

With that being said, it’s not often that content creators pull back the veil and really talk about what it’s like. In March 2021, I celebrated my six-year anniversary of creating daily content online without ever missing a day. Yes, you read that right: WITHOUT EVER MISSING A DAY. Creating daily content with a perfect record is an achievement I am proud of, and I have learned a lot about myself, my followers, my hobby, and what it is to be an influencer.

Today, I want to share the four things I wished I knew before starting my influencer journey in hopes that it inspires you. Whether you’re working on building a new page or breathing life into an existing one, I hope these influencer insights help you gain a better picture of what life is like, un-photoshopped and unedited:

1.) Nobody takes you seriously… until they do.

I started my influencer journey in 2015 while studying my Freshman year at Belmont University. I was going through a tough time personally, and I had a random idea while looking at the toys I’d had on my desk: I challenged myself to post a daily LEGO photo on Instagram and see how long I could go for. That challenge remains ongoing to this day and has taken me further than I’d ever imagined. I went from a 19-year-old with six LEGO figures on his desk to a 25 year old with over 3,000 minifigures, a literal LEGO room in my house and a partnership with LEGO themselves through the coveted LEGO Ambassador Network.

My wildest dreams have (and continue) to come true every day. I had people I thought were friends laugh at my account when I started it, and for a long time, I ran my account anonymously. These days, more people think it’s cool than not when they learn about my alter ego, but things were not always that way when I had less than 200 followers and nobody took my dream seriously. 

Lesson Learned: The first few chapters of becoming an influencer are the hardest, but that’s why most people aren’t influencers. Stay true to yourself, don’t focus on the numbers and be consistent. Eventually, you’ll end up exactly where you want to be, right when you’re meant to be there.

2.) Finding a healthy balance of how often to post is important.

I wish I wouldn’t have made myself a “daily content creator,” because there are times I’ve felt uninspired to make a new post. At the same time, my daily commitment is what kept me going all these years. Just like the gym, once you skip a day it becomes a slippery slope to start skipping more often. Stay committed, stay focused, but don’t burn yourself out! 

After more than half of a decade, it seems silly for me to skip a day at this point. I know my following would forgive me if I missed a day, and the world certainly would not end, but at this point I might as well keep my perfect streak going!

Lesson Learned: Don’t overcommit to a schedule you can’t handle, but DO commit to a plan that holds you accountable!

3.) Finding a niche is crucial, but don’t stress it too much.

My original niche was “white background photography,” since that was the only way I could photograph my minifigs at my humble dorm room desk my freshman year. The white background quickly became “my thing,” and even to this day, when I deviate from it I do see a decrease in my engagement. Sometimes I wished I was more of a “general photography” page, but at the same time, I am glad my images have a certain consistency and brand to them. Catch-22! 

Lesson Learned: Give people something to expect and recognize when they engage with your content. Let them know it’s your post before they even see your name attached.

4.) Getting started is more important than how you get started.

My first IG photos were taken on an iPhone 4s while I knew nothing about lighting, composition or any other photography basics. Still, I was able to attract an audience through storytelling, posting content at the right place at the right time and offering consistency. The fact that my first 100 photos look awful by today’s standards doesn’t matter in the long run; it helped me build a solid fan base all those years ago that has transitioned into my audience today, eclipsing 150,000+ followers across all platforms.

Lesson Learned: Your first several dozen pieces of content will probably be subpar, but that’s what will set you apart. Everyone dreams, but very few people do

I wouldn’t trade my influencer journey for anything. Although I’ve been at it for over half a decade, I truly feel like I’m just getting started and the best is yet to come! I wish you all the success in the world in whatever path lies ahead for you as a content creator, and if you ever have questions, DM me on IG and tell me you read this article.

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Alternative Investments: The Fractional Ownership Apps To Look Out For

Fractional Ownership is a method in which people can invest in a percentage of an asset while sharing in the benefit. The cost is split between the individual investors. 

Alternative assets, such as trading cards, cars, comic books and wine are now viable investment opportunities. To give context on alternative investing, the S&P 500 Index has appreciated 160% from 2008 to December 2020. The PWCC100 Trading Card Index appreciated 392% and The Blue Chip Automotive Index appreciated 283% during the same time. Both alternative markets appreciated more than the traditional market. The innovation towards alternative investments is happening right now. Fractionalization of assets is a new avenue of investing that opens many doors. In this article, we will dive into a few companies at the forefront of this movement: RallyRd, Collectable, Dibbs and Otis

1. What is Rally Rd.?
Rally Rd.

Rally is a platform that turns alternative assets into stocks and allows people to invest in premium quality collectible assets through a simple platform. When creating a Rally account, it is similar to opening a brokerage account via Fidelity or Robinhood.

Rally sources the most notable blue-chip alternative assets in the world, such as trading cards, cars, comic books, watches and wine. They then turn each item into a “company” via SEC qualifications. After the paperwork is done, the “company” is split into equity shares. The shares are sold via Rally’s app.

Next, they host an IPO, where investors can purchase shares of the asset offered. Also known as the funding stage, the process is similar to buying shares in Apple or Microsoft. Ninety days after the IPO, shareholders have the chance to either sell or buy more shares. You have to wait approximately 90 days after the IPO ends to transact on your holdings. This is something you must take into consideration because it’s not the most liquid way of investing.

Rally provides the chance to invest in alternative assets in a way that is simple, understandable and efficient. Alternative investments are here to provide diversity to your investment portfolio, not replace your existing portfolio. Examples of Rally offerings include: 

1999 1st Edition Charizard PSA 10

1976 Apple 1 Computer

1776 Declaration of Independence

While these are a wide variety of items that you do not see every day, there is risk involved here. You must do your own due diligence. It will be interesting to see how the next 10 years plays out in the collectible space. Rally gives you the opportunity to be a part of the action! 

2. What is Collectable?
Collectable

Collectable is another fractional ownership company that hosts investment opportunities exclusively in the sports cards and memorabilia market. Similar to other fractional ownership companies, Collectable provides access to some of the most rare and significant collectibles in the sports world. When an asset is split up into shares, the entry point for most users is accessible compared to paying full price for the entire asset.

This solves the issue of accessibility for many sports collectors and investors. Every asset on the app is valued at over $20,000. To make this happen while having variety, they sometimes create “baskets” of similar assets. An example of a recent “basket” contained two 1959 Topps Willie Mays PSA 9 cards, valued at $24,000 ($12,000 per card).

Other examples of recent offerings on the Collectable app include a 1998 Tigers Woods tournament used putter, Emmitt Smith’s 1993 & 1994 Jim Thorpe Trophy NFL MVP Awards, and Mookie Betts’ 2018 MLB Gold Glove. 

Another one of the unique features that Collectable offers is the ability to share the stories of the items via their app, which keeps the items relevant. We recently had an opportunity to visit with the legendary Sports Immortals collection that is exclusively offered on this app, whose owner Joel Platt told us that he chose to go with Collectable specifically because of their emphasis on storytelling.

3. What is Dibbs?
Dibbs

Dibbs is an app where sports bettors and card collectors can coexist. This app is a 24/7 marketplace for buying and selling fractions of sports cards. So far, Dibbs has a limited number of investment vehicles, all of which are sports cards.

On Dibbs, users can purchase tokenized representations of physical sports cards called “Card Tokens”, who then can trade them within the app. The tokens exist and are transferable on the Ethereum blockchain. This process is similar to how NFT’s work, except Dibbs backs each “Card Token” with the physical card. The physical cards are held in PWCC’s vault, or by a third-party custodian.

Dibbs solves the issue of liquidity. Being able to buy and sell fractions of sports cards, at any time, gives you the opportunity to trade cards based on performance and news. The “Card Tokens” solve the issue of liquidity. I would relate Rally & Collectable to your long term traditional IRA, and Dibbs to your short term, risker, day trading brokerage account.  

4. What is Otis?
Otis

Otis is the stock market for cultural assets, turning sneakers, sports cards, comic books, video games and art into stocks. Each asset on the platform has been confirmed with the SEC and split into shares. You can buy and sell shares 24/7 similar to Dibbs, which gives users a lot of access.

Otis opens assets for trading approximately 3-4 weeks after they fill in pre-sale. At this time you are able to place asks and bids – buy or sell your shares. What’s unique to Otis is how diversified you can become within one app. They have a variety of alternative investments under solid categories.

There are two ways to buy shares via Otis: pre-sale which is an IPO of an asset, funding stage. This occurs throughout the week with different assets, at 12pm est. The second way to buy shares is through trading, this is the process of buying shares of the pre-fill.

Some examples of assets that are offered on the Otis app include:

Lionel Messi 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Barcelona Campeon PSA 10

Nintendo World ChampionshipWata 8.5, Grey Cartridge, NES

3 Pairs of Original 1985 Air Jordan 1 Sneakers

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NBA Strength Coach Haseeb Fasihi Discusses The Ins and Outs of Training Athletes

Staying physically healthy is an essential component of being a successful athlete. To ensure their performance remains at a high level, many teams/athletes have a designated strength and conditioning coach/specialist to help them keep in tip-top shape. Haseeb Fasihi has been a go-to trainer/player development specialist for many teams and athletes since 2010, working with some of the NBA’s brightest stars including Jae Crowder, Miles Bridges, and Robert Covington to name a few. Fasihi has been the strength and conditioning specialist for the Lakeland Magic (the NBA G League team for the Orlando Magic) the past three years and played a critical role this past season in making sure the players stayed healthy during a shortened campaign that saw the team winning the 2021 G League championship.

Taking a well-deserved break to relax and recoup, Fasihi will soon be back in action, and he caught up with ONE37pm’s Jael Rucker to discuss this past season with Lakeland, how he started his training career, and advice for young college students who also aspire to achieve a career in conditioning and player development.

Haseeb Fasihi

Jael: I wanted to first get your thoughts on the bubble. I know you guys weren’t out there for as long as the NBA, but I know it was still tough.

Fasihi: To be honest, it was exciting for all of us! We treated it as a way to evolve ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. I had a goal for the players to work on things to get them out of their comfort zones. A lot of the stuff I have players work on is reading books, staying on time, making sure they are communicating better than normal, and eating better than normal. With the bubble experience—all of the players had the resources needed to excel, and usually, the ones that utilize the most resources are the most effective.

Those first couple of weeks in the bubble taught us to establish a routine, and from there, move forward to keep building off that routine. The best part about the bubble was getting that routine, and working on winning habits. Lakeland has had a winning culture since 2017, so we had to make sure the new players understood how we go about things. It took time, in the beginning, to figure each other out, but once chemistry started building up, everyone began to understand one another, and it led to a championship.

Jael: How was the season? Did you guys go straight into playoff time, or were there exhibitions?

Fasihi: We had a 15-game regular season, a lot of back-to-backs. The players had to understand that going through the back-to-back process could mean more injuries, additional rehab processes, more treatment time, etc.—we had to make sure guys were playing effectively and recovering. My biggest goal as a strength and conditioning coach/player development specialist is to make sure guys are priming and at their peak at the right time. 

We had a system where I tried to make sure everybody was sore and growing their tissues from the start of the bubble. When the playoffs came, we had a ‘one and done’ system similar to March Madness. There was a one-day break in between the regular season and playoffs and then three games to win the championship. 

Haseeb Fasihi

Jael: That is a lot of games in such a short amount of time, so what was your strategy?

Fasihi: Trying to figure out what everybody needs because every player has their own specific needs. I would always try to find out if players had a routine prior to the bubble that they wanted to continue. Myself and my performance staff had a logistic performance plan to work on stuff in a strategic way. The biggest goal was communication—we didn’t want players hiding injuries just so they could play. I had to deal with that over the past couple of years, where players weren’t expressing if they were hurt right away, but with this situation, we had to be as transparent as possible.

We noticed a lot of other teams dealing with big injuries in the bubble, and in speaking to the other strength coaches, they said the players were trying to hide it. So communication was one thing, and the second was finding a routine that worked for the guys in terms of implementing it over time.

Jael: Let’s take it back. When did you start training?

Fasihi: I started doing player development around 20 or 21. I had just gotten done playing overseas, and I wanted to get into injury prevention because I started going to UCF for exercise physiology. I was 21 when I worked with my first NBA player on the development side—that is my bread and butter. Over time I’ve had mentors along the way that have really helped me. There was a time where ESPN had an article that featured me.

I would forward that article to my mentors and people that I knew. One of my mentors at the time was the strength coach of the Orlando Magic; his name is Bill Burgos. He saw my progress, and then in 2017, the Orlando Magic invested in the G League team, and he asked me if I wanted the opportunity to work at the G League level. That was also when I started my strength and conditioning career. Everything prior to 2017 was player development, so now I have both roles, and players trust me on both sides.

Haseeb Fasihi

Jael: What would be your advice to anyone in college that wants to do what you do?

Fasihi: The best advice I can give is to just gain as much knowledge as possible and get as many certifications as you can. You also want to build relationships with people who are in the industry. You can’t just know people—they have to know you. People always say it’s ‘who you know,’ but if nobody knows you, then to me, there is no purpose for that phrase. The ones that really know me know what I am capable of doing. Build relationships and be persistent, but you don’t have to nag either. Just update them with things along the way, so they are up-to-date with your progress, and eventually, they will reach out to you. I never filled out an application to get into the NBA. It was more of a referral. It can be like that or the route of applying for a job. If you are applying, just make sure you have some sort of relationship within the organization or know their history because that can help your chances.

Jael: Final question. What is your plan for the future?

Fasihi: Right now, I’m still up-to-date with what Lakeland has going on performance-wise, specifically with their injury and medical prevention staff. The draft process will happen this summer, so God-willing I will be a part of that by helping the players work out before they get drafted. I will also have my off-season workouts in Miami—that is the new hotbed for NBA players to come train and hang out. I have a program/bubble situation here in Miami where players can come get their workout in and feel safe. That’s what the plan is, but still moving along the chain and making myself available for anybody, whether it is the NBA or working independently.

I have flexibility, and that is what I wanted. Learning from people who have worked in strength and conditioning for years has also been one of my biggest goals, and getting my masters remains one of my biggest priorities. I want to keep my clientele running independently.

The season will be back before we know it, so make sure you keep up with Haseeb on Instagram and Twitter.