Turn Your Hobby Into Money: Selling Items at a Farmers’ Market

Farmers Market

Farmers MarketPerhaps when you started experimenting with your sticky bun recipe, you just wanted to impress your friends. But now, the baking has taken over your time, and you bake way too many buns than you could eat. This is the perfect time to consider converting that baking hobby into something that helps with the bills.

The farmers’ market is nothing short of magical. Passionate people who believe in their products gather and share their trades and fruits of their labour. Apart from being a gathering place for enthusiasts, people participate as sellers to earn a living and be able to continue creating their products.

Where to Start

The very first step is to get familiar with the farmers’ market in your area. Befriend the stall owners and get information on who’s in charge of the operations. When you start participating as a seller, being comfortable with fellow business people will come in handy.

Your Goods

Of course, if you didn’t like the product you created, you won’t even get the idea of selling at a farmers’ market. For sure, you have slaved nights away trying to perfect the process and now your product is ready to be sold. The next step is to make sure you have the information buyers need — care instructions, source, ingredients, expiration dates and other relevant information depending on your product.

Setting Up a Shop

Once you are happy with your product and you have applied and received approval for a stall in the farmers’ market, you need to figure out how you want your stall to look at. The eyes are the first filter for every buyer, so make sure your stall reflects your brand. Utilise the space, decorate the tables, and have your logo printed on your awning. If you’re looking to sell in Perth, a shade is advisable.

From here, you just need to be vigilant and pay attention to the development of your business, so you can make the necessary fine-tuning it needs. Your sticky buns will pay for your bills in no time.

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Why China’s Internet Censorship is Bad for Business

China InternetIf the Great Wall of China is the country’s most famous manmade structure, Western Companies say that its ‘Great Firewall’ is its infamous cousin. China has long maintained a tight grip on what information passes through the Internet in the country, and these strict restrictions are becoming a huge hurdle for many investors from Europe and in the United States.

Foreign Internet companies are the most affected by the China’s increasing censorship efforts. In particular, the country’s grip on the use of virtual private networks has caused many IT companies to leave China and caused difficulties in communication and getting information for those that remain.

The Great Firewall

China’s censorship of the Internet is driven by the country’s need to protect their interest, values, and political ideas from other ideologies they may deem as dangerous. To this end, they censor websites and even pieces of information that they deem may cause unrest. These range from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, to searching for politically sensitive phrases such as the Tiananmen Square protests to the Free Tibet Movement.

Inconvenient conditions

Google has been victim to China’s censorship over the years, which escalated back in March 23, 2010 when Google directed search results from Google China to Google Hong Kong. China has since blocked many of Google services such Gmail and Chrome following this. In response, many foreign companies have been using VPNs and third-party email services as a way of circumventing China’s ban.

China, however, has added new barriers to further prevent people from using Google’s services. Late last year, many people in China reported that their third-party applications were failing to download their emails and were becoming difficult to access despite having VPNs. On the other hand, representatives from Microsoft and Yahoo report that their users did not experience any complications regarding their services, which further reinforces the belief of many that China is strictly targeting Google. The government, however, maintains that it is Google that is censoring and blocking their services which only aggravates their relationship further.

For many foreign companies that rely on Google’s services, this adds a new level of frustration and complication as communication is getting more difficult and gathering information seems nearly impossible. These are not the only complications; foreign and multinational companies note that doing business in an increasingly paranoid climate is choking business growth and is increasingly making doing business in China an expensive venture.

Only time will tell if these censorships will become stricter and force many foreign companies to leave China and never return.

Australia’s Housing Prices: The Bubble could lead to the End of the Australian Dream

Many Australians dream of being able to buy their own houses, but the rising cost of property coupled with increasing high standards of living makes nearly impossible for many.

An unreachable dream

The rising property bubble severely affects the younger generation who cannot yet sustain their lifestyle amidst looming property prices. Traditionally, young Australians will find a partner to settle down with and build their family in their own homes. However, actually owning a home is no longer reachable for some not only due to the high prices of property but also for the steadily increasing mortgage and loans.

HouseAn increase in borrowings means that the younger generation, who are still trying to set a foothold on the world, will have increasing difficulty in actually paying off their mortgage. This is further confounded by the rising standard of living in the country; particularly in large cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Middle income home owners are not safe from this danger as prices increase, so is the difficulty in actually sustaining themselves and their growing family.

When lending fails

The increase in housing cost can eventually cause too much lending to the residential housing sector, with the RBA noting that lending had surged to almost 150% in the last three years. This is bad for business and will eventually cause banks to move money away from them, which ultimately leads to bad growth, shoddy competition, and negatively affect jobs.

Properties within larger cities like Sydney are most affected by the increasing bubble. On the other hand, properties in the rural and suburban areas are not so much affected. Unfortunately, many Australians hold a particular aversion to buying suburban homes mostly due to how far it is from major cities where they may go to work. This means that people who have homes in the suburbs would have to travel considerable distances just to get to work, and many note that this is something they can no longer afford to do.

Placing the blame

Many claim that foreign investors, particularly the Chinese, are partly to blame for Australia’s increasing housing prices. Pete Wargent, co-founder of Allen Wargent Property Buyers notes that Asian Investment is affecting the country’s real estate mostly by developers who pay prices in excess of the fair market value, which in turn drives the prices higher.

In response, Prime Minister Tony Abbot says that the government proposes to create penalties and fees for foreign investors. With this proposal, foreign investors will have to pay a A$ 5,000 to A$100,000 application fee if they wish to purchase property worth A$ 1 million and above.

The Australian government hopes that this will ‘level the playing field’ and allow the younger generation and middle income owners the ability to purchase homes at prices they can actually afford.

Trader Charged For Contributing to 2010 US Stock Market Crash

Wall StreetAn event that nearly brought the entire US stock market to its knees is alleged to be the doing of one man: Navinder Singh Sarao, a UK based trader who used automated trading programs to manipulate the market.

An event that rocked the market

The so-called ‘flash crash’ happened on May 6, 2010. Traders saw the dow trending low throughout the day when suddenly it went down more than 300 points at exactly 2:42 pm and steadily went down to almost 1,000 points within a 5-minute time frame.

Although the market would regain 600 points later in the afternoon, the sudden crash had overreaching repercussions. Eight of the major companies within the S&P 500 saw their stocks fall to one percent. Of particular note was the whopping 37% drop of value of Procter & Gamble’s stocks, which CNBC Jim Carter humorously provided commentary about the outlandish situation. Stock market prices eventually rebounded after a few days and in the weeks that followed, many companies reported that they have all but erased their losses during sudden market meltdown. However, this only reinforced suspicions that the ‘flash crash’ was done intentionally.

Making a profit

There were many theories of how such a sudden meltdown could occur including technical glitches, a change in market structure, and the impact of high frequency traders placing too many sell orders. Eventually, United States prosecutors announced that the flash crash could be due to the actions of a singular entity. It took authorities nearly five years to track Navinder Singh Sarao who used a practice called spoofing and layering to manipulate the market and eventually caused the flash crash.

U.S. prosecutors assert that Mr. Sarao did this using a trading program which left the market vulnerable to risky moves. He is accused of placing thousands of order worth millions of dollars and then withdrawing it in order to push down the price of stocks. He would then buy these deflated stocks and sell them for a higher price when the market recovers. He is alleged to have been doing this for more than five years, boldly stating to have made over 27 million pounds or over $40 million dollars.

Spoofing is a form of stock market manipulation wherein a trader places a large number of buy order for shares through an ECN and then cancels it almost immediately. Due to the large number of anonymous buy orders, the price of the stock immediately spikes which gives the impression of high demand. This tricks other traders into purchasing that specific stock and allowing a trader to benefit from selling them at an increased price.

The U.S. Department of Justice hopes to extradite the 36 year old and charge with wire and commodity fraud, and market manipulation.

Oil Prices Fall as Saudi ends Military Campaign in Yemen

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter of crude, finally ends its military campaign on Yemen and in doing so quelling rising oil prices in the market. The price of Brent crude rose at the onset of Saudi Arabia’s coalition bombing of Yemen but finally dropped below $60 dollars a barrel and settling at $57.88.

OilYemen itself produces little oil but is in a strategic location for many global energy producers as it is found within an important shipping route in the Middle East. Although there was little to worry that the conflict would affect oil shipments, pressure caused oil prices to gradually hike for fear that other oil producing countries would be drawn into the country’s increasing internal conflict, which has inexorably affected its neighboring countries.

The benchmark

Brent crude is the world’s benchmark in global price of crude oils originating from the Atlantic Basin. The trader’s fears are justified as a spike in Brent Crude would mean that other oil and crude products would steadily increase in price. The easing tension is a welcome relief for exporters and traders who were worrying that the conflict would eventually cause oil prices to spike even further.

Yemen Crisis

The country’s three-week operation focused on halting advancing Iran-allied Houthi rebels marching through Aden, a port city in Yemen where President Abdurabbuh Mansour Hadi had taken refuge after being force the flee Sana’a, the country’s largest city and capital. Oil regularly passes through cities like Aden, through the narrow Red Sea Straight and into the Suez Canal where it is then shipped to Europe and other parts of the world.

The situation in Yemen has at many times almost erupted into a full-fledged civil war. The arrival of the Houthi rebels only served to escalate fears of unrest and political instability. Saudi Arabia and its allies’ response were to initiate airstrikes in an attempt to prevent the rebels from marching further into Yemen and elsewhere. However, many analysts took note Saudi Arabia’s impetus for this action was to ‘correct’ oil prices that were steadily increasing due to oversupply.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are one of the largest producers and exporters of oil, producing more than 40% of the world’s oil. It is currently not known how the latest military campaign would spell for the two countries’ relationship, although there are requited fears that their conflict will eventually spill away from proxies like Yemen and out into the open.