The Big Bitcoin Short

History is full of financial bubbles. From Tulip Bulbs to the Dot Com Boom, bubbles follow patterns of rampant speculation and collapse that are, in retrospect, almost formulaic. Each time this occurs, there are voices of reason who see through the euphoric mirage of riches and glory to the underlying value. Sometimes, these people leverage their understanding to become extremely wealthy.

Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017 has made a number of people very rich. However, this only represents wealth in the traditional sense when they sell their Bitcoins or exchange them for other goods/services of value. While this fact is contested, given that cryptocurrencies are marketed as currency and thus supposedly have intrinsic value, the market value has been far too volatile to function effectively as a currency. There will need to be a major stabilisation of the market for cryptocurrencies to function as a mainstream currency (outside of the black market, where they have more clear advantages over other currencies).

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 11.19.59
XBT:USD chart from www.xe.com
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XBT:AUD chart from www.xe.com

While the value at which Bitcoin will stabilise is open to speculation, there is little to support a continuation of its trajectory to date. Media coverage has reached saturation point – with Bitcoin’s price featuring in mainstream news broadcasts, everyone who would potentially invest already knows about it. While there will undoubtedly be plenty of new investors, the tipping point will be when new investors are outweighed by those looking to cash in on their investment. With so many respected voices predicting a price collapse, it’s hard to imagine many early investors forgoing millions in profits for the possibility of slightly more. With the most bullish predictions placing Bitcoin’s peak value at $60,000 (with a subsequent crash to $1,000), would you risk an appreciation of 1,000% for a slim chance of a further 400%? What will happen when the big players take their winnings?

This looks an awful lot like Tulipmania.

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This article represents the author’s opinion only. Before obtaining any exposure to the markets you should be sure to understand the potential risks. Never risk more money than you can afford to lose.

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The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need

The Barefoot Investor is a refreshingly accessible take on personal finance for Australians. While it can easily be read cover-to-cover in a day, it’s true power lies in carefully following the 9 simple steps Scott Pape lays out in the book. You don’t need to have any background financial knowledge to understand this book and none of the steps require any great investment of time or money.

While the claim to be ‘The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need’ is true for the average reader, we have a number of other great books to recommend if you want to take investment to the next level!

The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need

“This book will help you protect the people you love.”
Melissa Doyle, host of Sunday Night

“Follow the Barefoot path or at least consider doing so as soon as possible.”
– Tim Fischer, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

https://www.facebook.com/barefootinvestor/

A Lesson in Fiverr Ordering

Here’s a brief account of an experience I had on the online marketplace Fiverr. This isn’t about ‘naming and shaming’ – I understand that you get what you pay for and when buying cheap you have to expect some people will try to get away with as little time and effort as possible. It’s important to remember that you’re still entitled to get what you order and you shouldn’t just accept whatever you’re offered.

Essentially, while setting up this website I was looking to get some articles by other people who are experienced at making money online. Given the website was too young and poor to be able to attract writers in its own right, I figured the best way to do this was to find pay someone through an online marketplace. Not only would this allow us to find someone who was willing and able to write a good article, it also let us select someone who is already reasonably successful selling their skills online and thus has knowledge of the topic.

We easily found someone who was successful in the freelance writing arena and provided this request:

I would like you to write an article about making money online. I would like an engaging, semi-formal tone (factual and professional but not too boring) that provides advice about one or several ways to make money online. This should be about something practical (e.g. freelancing) not trying to masquerade as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.

Within the scope of my original request (making money online), I am happy for you to come up with a topic if there’s something that you know well. This could, for example, be about the pros and cons of freelance work, how to freelance online, comparing different freelancing platforms, how to spot scams, how to build your personal brand online, etc.

All up it was quite a simple, straightforward request – especially for somebody already making money online. So what did we get?

Here is the original, unedited article we were sent:


Making Money Online (Original Version)

With the advent of the internet came thousands of opportunities to make money online. You can sell your car or your dog (hey just your dog!).  Or you can go legit and earn a few extra dollars with a bit of imagination. Often, all you need is your cellphone and an app. It’s in your pocket anyway, everyday, so why not make use of it. No time records to fill out, no boss to look over your shoulder, no office hours, and yet you make money on your own time, anywhere and while looking cool.

  1. Juno Wallet. Juno Wallet allows you to earn popular gift cards.  After downloading the Juno Wallet or Bamboo Wallet app into your device via m.junowallet.com, you become eligible for rewards by earning credits. Earning credits require inviting friends, doing tasks, submitting photos or videos, or having fans. Rewards can come as digital gift cards from Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon, xBox Live and others.
  2. Gigwalk. Gigwalk’s system is similar to Juno Wallet. You first download the app, register you Gig account, register with Paypal, do some Gigs in your area, get guided on steps to take, and earn credits from $3 to $100.
  3. CheckPoints. There are a lot of options to cash out with CheckPoints. It requires only a simple interface called the CheckPoints app which transforms your cellphone into a reward card. You can earn rewards as small as $1 or one that is as expensive as a designer bag. By simply scanning specific products, clicking “in-store”, you gain points that become rewards.
  4. ShopKick. Whenever you are at the entrance of a listed establishment, you simply open your app, and voila! You make points by simply being there!
  5. ReceiptHog. By simply scanning the receipts of listed stores like 7-11, McDonald’s, Best Buy and many more, you earn coins. You earn more coins with bigger receipts. Even teenagers can make money from this app.  All they need do is to ask their parents to keep their receipts in a container for her to scan.

You can also make legitimate money by offering your services online via websites that connect you to people who need your services.  For instance, there are also many online tutors needed for teaching English especially in Asia. You can earn as much as $15 per hour. Aside from Freelance jobs, there are other ways to make money online, just browse, try each one and see what fits you and your lifestyle best.


On first glance, I thought this was an acceptable effort. It wasn’t an expensive service so I wasn’t expecting an extensive article based on in-depth research. I just wanted a basic overview which could serve as an introduction to the topic for novices. Sure, it needed some editing so that it didn’t read like a high schooler wrote it but I was after content not style. To be on the safe side, I checked through the recommendations… and I am so glad that I did.

The list is filled with services bearing overwhelming negative reviews, claims of fraud and a lack of updates or customer service for users. I seriously doubt the writer has used any of them – or at least not in the last few years. If so, where did the list come from? Was the core content plagiarised?

I contacted the writer about this and, to their credit, they didn’t contest my claims or object to rewriting the article. Here’s what they came up with the second time around:


Making Money Online (Revised Version)

Technology and innovation have changed the way we live, work and spend our leisure hours. But there’s nothing more disruptive among all technology than the internet. It has changed the way we work and do business. Unfortunately, making money online is easier said than done and we must take into account shady characters who promise to help us make easy money online only to end up with nothing but broken dreams or worst, leave us broke. First things first, to make money online, you must work for it online.

There are two types of income generating plans online, continuous work and making a little investment of time, effort and money for passive income. Here are five ways to make money online through continuous work or passive income:

  1. Build your own online store – The internet is the new marketplace with the great advantage of not having to worry about a physical store. Whether you want to make money through retail merchandise or specialized handcrafted products, there are different platforms to cater to your retail dreams. Shopify and Etsy lead the pack as online platforms for retail goods. What’s more, these online shopping platforms are easy to build and manage. The bulk of the work is the inventory and marketing.
  2. Establish yourself as a specialized blogger with special talents and proclivities to different hobbies and activities. Many pioneer entrepreneurs on the internet became successful in making money through specialized activities and hobbies. Building websites and blog sites catering to specific activities and hobbies such as weight loss, knitting, home improvement or cooking specialty foods are great places to start. Write blogs, make explainer videos and market these through social media and email. As your site/blog become popular and gains followers, you can endorse different products and get paid by advertisers for posting their advertisements.
  3. Be the next YouTube sensation. Doing something you love and are passionate about plus being real and making good, instructional or entertaining videos is a winning formula to become the next YouTube sensation. Making good, entertaining and educational/instructional videos is a way to make passive income.
  4. Work as a freelancer. This is one of the best ways to make money online, and there are different freelancer platforms ready to take in new talents to be discovered by employers and contractors. Upwork, Design99 and Fiverr are the top platforms catering to freelance work. You can work anywhere and anytime.
  5. If you have a house or an apartment in a prime destination for business or leisure, you can rent it out through AirBNB. If you live and own a property in a city or destination, this is the best way to make money online. You can rent out your property on a daily or monthly basis, depending on your arrangements with the AirBNB client.

Make decent and sizeable money online. Get started while you are still ahead and find your niche.


This was clearly a better article with (mostly) more reasonable and realistic ideas. Obviously not groundbreaking or particularly original but still a vast improvement and suitable for our purposes. The writer was paid as agreed, however, we certainly wouldn’t use them again or recommend them.

Ultimately, we decided not to publish the article by itself. Partly because we weren’t comfortable letting this writer’s content stand on its own without contextual commentary and partly because we felt that this article would be more interesting and relevant to our readers.

Buyer beware!

Get Started on Fiverr

This is part of a series of instructional articles about Fiverr.

Fiverr is a fantastic platform to help sell your skills in the online gig market. This post from Fiverr Best Seller mariokempes explains some of the basics of Fiverr and gives a few pointers for anyone looking to get started on the site.

 

People have been saying for many years that you can make money online via many different platforms such as blogging, affiliate networks, and online shops. The problem with all those platforms is that it takes quite a while until you actually see a flow of income into your bank account, and this is where Fiverr comes in.

Unlike other online ventures, Fiverr is an almost instant way to make money without the hassles of creating a website, spending money on domain and hosting services, making hundreds of posts on blogs, or even signing up for the rights to display advertisements. Fiverr is a workplace for freelancers from all around the world who offer a great variety of services; from typical items such as writing blog posts, recording review videos, analyzing website performance, setting up WordPress sites and so on, to some slightly bizarre services like pranks and stunts. For beginners, the first thing to understand is that Fiverr is now a huge marketplace for online services so you have a lot of competition – not only in terms of quality but also price.

Although Fiverr has already set the basic price for one service (or Gig), there is a workaround to set your own basic fee. Let’s say you’re a blog post writer on Fiverr, and the basic price for one Gig is around $5; the good thing is that Fiverr does not limit the word count required to constitute ‘one article’. This means you can set the word count yourself – for example, you can set 250 words as your basic unit, or you could set it at 500 words to attract more potential buyers. Once you sign-up and explore the options, Fiverr also allows you to make more customizations to your service. In general, Fiverr makes an excellent representative for the Gig Economy.

It all sounds very simple indeed, but as you dive down into the real Fiverr atmosphere, the sheer number of freelancers and various specific demands from the buyers can be overwhelming. That being said, Fiverr gives all the options to make your Gig stand out from the crowd and improve your chances of having a steady flow of income. Here are some simple suggestions to get started.

The Profile

You need to create a concise summary for your profile. It should include your skillset, level of expertise, and any information catchy enough for potential buyers to notice. The most important thing is that you are honest about the profile; there is no need to brag about your competence or certification on certain skills if you cannot prove it in your works later. For example, if you claimed to be able to create quality video animation in 24 hours, you must understand that buyers expect you to deliver exactly as promised. Remember that there is always the possibility of having multiple orders at a time, so the best approach is to under promise yet over deliver. You can also use video for your Gig and feature it on the front page to get better exposure.

Getting Your First Orders

You can only start working on Fiverr once a buyer places an order for your Gig; this is where many sellers seem to get easily frustrated. It does take a lot of patience while you are waiting for the order to come in. After your profile and Gigs are set up, there isn’t really much to do but wait. Thankfully, Fiverr has a helpful section of the website called Buyer Requests. This is the place where buyers can send various requests attached with a set of specific requirements. Instead of looking for sellers who offer a particular service, the buyers choose to list their requests and let the sellers send offers. You don’t always get your offers accepted in Buyer Request section, but at least you have the chance to promote your Gigs more easily.

If needs be, you can send an offer for much lower than the standard price. If your standard Gig offers $5 for one piece of work, for example, you can try to send offer for two pieces of works at the price of one. It does involve more effort, but you can stop offering the discount once you feel comfortable without it.

Note: sometimes the requests have different parameters or requirements from the Gigs you actually have. As long as you can adjust for the difference, send your offers with a sample of your works if possible.

Ranking System

As I mentioned before, there is no need to lie about your profile. The entire success of your Fiverr venture is based on performance and buyers’ reviews. Getting 100% completed orders along with 100% of customer satisfaction rating is difficult, but at least you can try to get close to that. Especially for beginners, with presumably lower number of orders, getting the perfect rating is actually possible. When you are just starting, perhaps you only have two to three active orders; assuming you get all the jobs done and those buyers are all pleased, you have perfect scores for job completion and satisfaction level. This is your chance to capitalize on the achievement; share your profile on social media accounts to get more exposure.

Remember that there is always the possibility of having multiple orders at a time, so the best approach is to under promise yet over deliver.

Another good thing about Fiverr is that you have the option to allow buyers to complain about your works after the works have been delivered. This may not sound terrific at first, but it opens the door to keep the customers happy even when you did not manage to meet their expectations the first time. It applies to all Gigs. You can revise the completed works and get better reviews – in the end, buyers’ testimonies play major role to your success. Keep your customers happy!

The Gig Shortlist

This list serves a quick starting point for the range of potential money-making avenues you can pursue. Which options are best for you will depend on your skills, resources, timeframe and location.

Each will eventually be discussed in a dedicated post but if you have a burning question then get in touch!

  • Monetised website or blog
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sell things
  • Online trading
  • Share economy
  • Airbnb
  • Pet sitting, dog walking
  • Surveys
  • Internet use
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Graphic design
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Teaching, tutoring
  • Sewing and alterations
  • Consulting
  • Transcription
  • IT support
  • Data entry
  • Telemarketing
  • Leaflet distributing
  • Personal assistant
  • Drive (e.g. Uber, Lyft)
  • Product testing
  • Fundraising

Gig Platforms

Think of something you can do – absolutely anything – and chances are there’s someone out there who is willing to pay you money to do it.

Do you personally know that person? Probably not.

Fortunately, there are numerous platforms out there to help connect you with them (and all their likeminded friends). Here’s a list of the sites and apps that can help you earn extra cash:

Marketplaces

Gigs

 

We are continually growing this list. Want something added? Let us know!

Getting Started in the Gig Economy

For most people, the hardest part about succeeding in the Gig Economy is getting started.

This is normal.

Society and the media continue selling the idea of a single, stable job as the real-world possibilities for this evaporate. To reach your full potential you need to embrace the opportunities that the Gig Economy offers. Get yourself out there. Find your niche. Make yourself known. Success, satisfaction and money will follow.

First Steps

Clearly, the Gig Economy is less predictable than a ‘career’ has traditionally been – at least less predictable than a career was 50 years ago. When getting started, don’t forget your basic needs. You still need somewhere to live, something to eat and people to share your life with. Success is hollow without human connection.

Assets

How you approach this will depend on your current situation, your assets (both personal and financial) and your skills.

If you have the privilege of being able to live cheaply with family or friends – use it. Everyone needs help to get established. It is a sign of strength to understand when you need help and to accept it with humility. Don’t see it as a step back or an imposition. Taking temporary measures to minimise your cost of living will let you focus more time and energy on building a sustainable independent income.

If you have money saved away for a rainy day then consider how stormy your situation really is. While it can cost money to money, especially in the early stages, consider the risks and rewards. Spending a portion of your savings on a new camera, programming courses or art supplies may be necessary to start up your project – but also take time to find alternative avenues. Perhaps you can borrow a camera once a week? Perhaps you can learn what you need to online for free? Perhaps you can use a computer at the library instead of buying your own?

It is a sign of strength to understand when you need help and to accept it with humility.

Skills

It may seem obvious, but how you get started is likely to be determined by the skills you already possess. If you’re already able to do something that people will pay for then it makes sense to start by monetising this – even if it isn’t your ultimate goal. Embracing the Gig Economy doesn’t necessarily mean only pursuing your passion. You can start by shifting to greater independence and control in your current field then use this a stepping stone to an alternative path. If you’re working in graphic design but keen to branch out then picking up some freelance graphic design work is a logical starting point. From there, you can work on building your personal brand, portfolio and online presence to move into other areas of interest.

While you may not feel like you have any skills that can be traded, consider the vast arena of (relatively) unskilled gigs. These are gigs that don’t require any specific training or experience to get started, such as online trading or completing surveys. Your personal qualities can still influence how well you perform in these roles, so it’s worth looking over your options and working out which best suit you.

Building Your Gig Portfolio

The immense range of potential avenues can initially be overwhelming. Don’t fear – we’ve all been there.

You may already have a good idea of where you want to focus your efforts. If you’ve always wanted to turn your hobby into a full-time pursuit then this step may be simple (though it probably won’t be easy). It’s important to consider your options seriously regardless. I’ve met many people who found tying their passion to money drained it of enjoyment and led them to regret the move.

If you’re not sure how you want to make money – take a look at The Gig Shortlist for inspiration. Think about what will most likely provide an adequate income but also think about what you will enjoy, what you will find fulfilling and how much time or effort each would require. You may be able to start something immediately if you have readily marketable skills (e.g. graphic design) or resources (e.g. an empty room just waiting to be listed or a car that’s ready for ridesharing). You may also need to invest some time and/or money to get things off the ground (e.g. craft supplies and production or a typing course).

Diversify

One of the key advantages of the Gig Economy is the ability to diversify your work. By dividing your time between multiple avenues of income you can keep your work interesting, have greater control over how and when you work, and protect yourself against market fluctuations. Many gigs will see fluctuations over time – demand for Airbnb properties, for example, is often seasonal and will change with local events and the overall economy. Unless you have the rare fortune to find a niche of high demand and reliable returns, it would be wise to avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. For most people, this means a mix of income streams including some that are interesting and enjoyable with others that are purely to keep money coming in. Interest and enjoyment won’t pay your rent or put food on your table.

By dividing your time between multiple avenues of income you can keep your work interesting, have greater control over how and when you work, and protect yourself against market fluctuations.

Where to next?

Making a living in the Gig Economy is hard work. If all of this is confusing or intimidating then take a step back and breathe. It’s scary to take the power and responsibility for your livelihood into your own hands – especially when you’ve grown up being sold the ‘dream’ of working a steady 9 to 5 job for life. You aren’t the first person to feel this way and you certainly won’t be the last. Subscribe for ongoing advice and inspiration for surviving in the Gig Economy. We’re here to help.