restless peasant: life, changing :

Poland tech entrepreneur dream stumbles

Poland has worked diligently over the past decade to become an entrepreneurial powerhouse. Once home to businesses focused primarily on app design and outsourcing, social, societal, and economic pressures forced the country’s brightest to start building for themselves. And they did.

I’ve covered Polish startups for almost a decade, first on TechCrunch and then on a new blog I helped create, ImpactCEE. It was my mission – as it was Poland’s – to show the world that this central European country was a liberal, open, and capable society able to produce some of the best software in the world. I’ve seen the ecosystem grow from a small, suspicious group of former cubicle warriors into a vibrant…more

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High interest rates driving micro-businesses to dodgy lenders

With growing interest rates and ambiguous requirements to access credit from banks for their daily business activities, many Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) now opt for non-bank lenders.

According to reports, Nigeria’s lending rate is one of the highest in the world. Although, lending rates in Nigerian banks officially remain at 18 per cent, four percentage points above the MRR, loans are available in the banks only at an interest rate of between 20 and 21 per cent.

This underscores the disconnection between the small businesses and the banking sector of the Nigerian economy.

In a statement late last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled the applicable rates for deposit money banks (DMBs) showing the lowest and the highest rates from the 24 lenders. The statement showed that Skye Bank, Keystone Bank, Unity Bank, and Wema Bank had the highest lending rates of between 30 and 31 per cent while Citi Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, Rand Merchant Bank had the lowest rates of…more

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Cannabis Company wins STASH Award For Best Potting Mix

SoHum® is a proprietary “just add water” growing medium that contains 100% natural ingredients and provides the cannabis plant a full buffet of macro/micro nutrients to better achieve genetic potential as well as an optimal cannabinoid profile. Not only does SoHum® optimize the plant’s yield and quality, it also eliminates the need for complex feeding schedules and the associated risk(s) of operator error, as well as reducing time and labor. The SoHum® product overview may be viewed at

Read all about it

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5 easy steps to start a freedom business.

The safest and easiest way out of the rat race is to dig a tunnel.

When did you last consider digging a tunnel?

Probably not since you were a child I would imagine. (Tunnelling Engineers…work with me here…)

Put another way, have you ever thought (or ever stopped thinking) about changing your life for the better?

Ever spent hours day dreaming about how much different your life could be?

Ever wondered if there is more to life than the 9-5?

Well of course there is and a growing army of people like you and me are realising that they were sold a dud when they were unwittingly indoctrinated into the capitalist religion and the rampant consumerism that supports it.

I used to work with someone who talked about digging tunnels incessantly. He always wanted to talk about the same thing; getting out. He would come up with all sorts of ideas about how he was going to start an Internet business (this was in the infancy of the web), I would encourage him to go forward with any idea that sounded reasonable, but he never did. By the way he still works at the same place 17 years later, and I’ll guarantee he is still talking about digging tunnels.

However, he gave me the idea for this article because he always referred to his little schemes tunnel digging; in other words he was digging an escape tunnel; a tunnel through which to escape the 9-5 existence forever.

Tunnelling is making arrangements to improve your income or even start to build an income that comes from an entirely different stream than the one you consider your main income producer today (your job probably).

The analogy of course comes from The Great Escape, where the prisoners had to dig a tunnel using increasing amounts of ingenuity in order to have any chance of escape.

Now back in the day when my colleague was bleating on about tunnelling, the internet was young and most of his ideas were about using it somehow to conquer the world.

If he had only taken action with one idea even, then his life could have been changed for ever; 1995 was a time when you could get a $1m for any harebrained idea that was using the internet!

So what did he do wrong; only one thing: he » More »

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Minimum Viable Business

Success isn’t defined by Twitter followers and Facebook likes.

In January I talked at length about starting the year with a determination to change to a life of freedom where you call the shots on a daily basis.

More recently I espoused the benefits of bringing a sense of order to your work; the main one being the way it helps you to get things done in a shorter time period and stops your living becoming your life. It seems that routine can be good even for freedom seekers; if taken in moderation of course!

In a similar way you can bring order to the process of doing business as an artisan or micro business owner, by creating a structure for how you do things. This is mostly about how you use your time most effectively and doesn’t need to be as rigid and uncool as it sounds.

I’ve found that thinking of  myself as a river; meandering from one spot to another is a powerful productivity tool. Don’t get bogged down in stuff that you hate doing because it will sap your energy and kill your creativity, just flow around it and do something more interesting. If you can just go with the flow and do the things you feel best about doing; the things you are drawn to at any given time you will get more done and feel more energised most of the time.

There is one warning here though; make sure the task you are engaged in at any given time is perpetuating the river analogy and that you are actually taking your business in a forward direction; rivers look serene and aimless but they are completely focused on one purpose; getting to the sea, they never stop to back track.

Remember that procrastination and resistance will try to stop you at every turn. These can be cunningly disguised as seemingly worthwhile work activities such as designing business cards, making a website, buying office furniture, designing your office etc. If you have to do any of these do them fast and effectively. Get cards for free at vistaprint or your local print store, put up a simple wordpress blog and move on to creating the products or services you will sell and start to sell them by tracking down your ideal customers.

Spend as much of your time as possible creating your stuff and helping customers. You can’t completely avoid the boring business stuff, but you can minimise your involvement in it. You can create a Minimum Viable Business. Don’t learn book keeping, instead just keep a simple spreadsheet with what goes out and what comes in. Number each receipt for purchases, punch holes in them and put them in a file, same with invoices for sales made.

Fail quickly and learn from failure, but don’t give up too soon on projects. If you believe in what you are doing, give it at least 6 months of solid action and drive before deciding on a different plan. The death of many freedom bids is brought on by procrastination, giving up early and/or chopping and changing the plan.

Focus on one task at a time, switch off all other potential distractions.

Most importantly, concentrate on building a tribe of happy customers/enthusiasts who will recommend you. Make sure you have their contact details. Remember that the 10 happy souls who purchased your stuff are your tribe and the key to your future success. If each of them talks to 10 others, the word of your greatness will spread exponentially. 10,000 Twitter followers or 1 million likes on Facebook are something else entirely; don’t be distracted by social media, use it for your own ends, but don’t fool yourself about its worth or importance.

I’ve said many times that my aim in any new venture is to create an asset before moving on to another project. If you keep this at the front of your thoughts you wont go far wrong in your micro-business life. Most important right now is that you have a Minimum Viable Business…don’t waste time building an edifice that never makes a sale. Make a product and find a customer; avoid administration until this has been achieved.

Start a Minimum Viable Business today and test your theory.


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