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1Password Review – The Best Password Manager Out There

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With a new wave of cyber attacks pouring in every month, it is imperative that you keep strong and different passwords for each of your digital accounts. But it can become quite a task to remember all of these passwords, which consumes a lot of time and mental exertion. Why go through all the hassle when you can use one master password for all of your profiles?

Using a password manager can certainly increase your productivity by safely securing all of your passwords in one place. It can also alert you whenever your data has been breached, as well as save time by autofilling your credentials on different websites and social networks.

1Password is a great option when it comes to password managers. I took its free trial back in 2012, signed up for a paid plan soon after, and never canceled.

In this article, I’ll go through all the different reasons why 1Password is one of the best options in the password management space and how it can truly make your life easier.

Creating a 1Password account

When you sign up to 1Password, you’re asked to set a “Master Password”. This is the “one password” that you’ll need to remember throughout the term that you use this app.

Once you do, 1Password presents you with an “Emergency Kit.” This kit contains your “Secret Key” that you would need in order to log into your 1Password account from a new device or in case you forget your Master Password.

1password

1Password highly recommends that you download this security key in the form of a PDF and take a printout of the file. I took the PDF route and saved it in my external hard drive.

Using 1Password

Once you log into your account, you’ll be welcomed by an intuitive user interface, which is basically the 1Password dashboard. “Vault” is where you can store sensitive information including your passwords, credit card details, and more.

1password

You can choose to create a new vault or add stuff into the default one.

Another notable aspect of 1Password’s dashboard is that it clearly segregates your information into different categories like logins, secure notes, credit cards, etc. within the sidebar.

In order to introduce a new item or piece of information into your vault, you can click the plus sign at the right side of the search bar. It opens a dropdown menu for a world of items that you can add.

1password

These items include secure notes, bank account details, login credentials, and more.

Using the “Watch Tower”

Within the 1Password app and website, there’s a place called the “Watch Tower”. This is the best part of this app which makes it totally worth the money.

The Watch Tower is constantly guarding your sensitive information and giving you updates on whether it’s being compromised in any manner.

1password

How does it do that? Well, the Watch Tower tallies your information on haveibeenpwned.com’s list of recent security breaches.

With just a few clicks, you can direct your Watch Tower to check whether any of your login credentials have been compromised.

In addition, the feature also checks if any of your passwords can be labeled as “vulnerable”.

1password

And if this doesn’t convince you that 1Password is worth the money, then here’s the kicker:

The 1Password app would also display a notification if you’re reusing a password.

This is a habit which is extremely hard to avert for people who tend to use the same password everywhere. Tell you what; the constant nagging by this app for changing reused passwords is a pretty darn good way of breaking this habit.

1password

Along with these features, the Watch Tower also keeps an eye out for any potential threats to your websites and gives you a heads up if your passport or any sort of license is about to expire.

Saving passwords on the go

Another thing that I love about the 1Password app is that I don’t have to open it and add a new password every time I create a new digital account.

In fact, as soon as I log into a new type of account and type in its password, the 1Password app opens a window and asks me if I want to save the password in my vault.

1password

With just a click and without the hassle of properly having to open my vault, I can save passwords while I surf through the internet.

1Password doesn’t just save passwords

Unlike a lot of other Password Managers, 1Password allows you to save all types of digital information including your account number, credit card number, license numbers, various types of PIN, website credentials, and even notes.

It works on every device and OS

With desktop apps for Mac, Windows, Linux; mobile apps for iOS and Android; and a Chrome extension; you can use 1Password on just about every device and OS.

There’s even a handy Chrome extension for it

1Password also offers a Chrome extension that autofills your information for accounts whose login credentials are saved in your vault.

1password

What’s even better is that this Chrome extension is quite safe to use as it requires your Master Password in order for the autofill function to work.

This means that even if your device gets stolen, no one can use the autofill function without knowing your Master Password.

1Password plans: There’s one for every user

The 1Password service has a plethora of plans for every type of user.

These plans include:

  • Personal ($2.99 per month): Good for an individual. It provides 1 GB of storage space.
  • Family ($4.99 per month): Supports 5 users, though you can add more accounts for a dollar each. This plan includes storage space of 1 GB per account.
  • Team ($3.99 per month for every user): Unlimited accounts with admin control and 1 GB of storage per user.
  • Business ($7.99 per month for every user): Unlimited accounts with extra VIP support and 5 GB of storage per user
  • Enterprise (custom features and payment)

My final verdict

1Password is a great productivity app for anyone who can afford it.

Although it has no free plan, 1Password certainly is worth the money if you want to increase your productivity by saving time and exerting mental effort on things that actually matter.   

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Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

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Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

We live in a digital age. Everything, from socializing, to office work, to shopping is shifting to the online space. The advent of inexpensive (and fast) internet and smartphones has meant that now no matter where you go, you are always connected to the cloud. And, that invariably, you end up turning to this messianic network to satiate your every need.

Smart companies are busy embracing this very change. The workplace of the future is not one of a unified brick-and-mortar structure. Employees can now sit thousands of miles away and still collaborate successfully on a project. This is not just something I’m pulling out of thin air. Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, postulates that if only more organizations embrace the immense power of the internet, they would be able to streamline their operations and ensure a happier and more productive workplace. You can listen to his amazing, thought-provoking and insightful talk in the video given below. 

Personally, I have always been an advocate of the work from anywhere culture. Partly because of the time it saves me (which I can then spend on any one of my myriad other hobbies), and partly because it frees me up to travel the world. 

What does one have to do with the other? Well frankly, the kind of location independence afforded by the advent of Skype has made it possible for anyone to interact with their colleagues no matter where they are. Like I pointed out earlier, not being restricted by a physical office means you can be just about anywhere in the world, and still get work done.

However, there is another facet of this digital revolution which has fascinated me even more. Honestly, it is something which seems to be staring you right in the face, but it is surprising how many people still fail to (or is it a refusal to?) connect the dots and use technology to their advantage. What is this facet I talk about? Well, it is the ability for just about anyone (yes, I mean anyone) to become an entrepreneur.

“But,” you contend, “entrepreneurship isn’t really for me. It takes time and money, and really, where’s the job security in entrepreneurship?”

I would have agreed with you if I myself didn’t know better. For the past many years, I have bet big on online entrepreneurship and reaped great rewards. Frustrated and sensing the endless possibilities afforded by the internet, I quit my regular 9-to-5 job and decided to start my own online business. As an added challenge, I left just about enough money in my savings account to last me one year. The very fact that I’m happier than ever right now bears testament to the fact that, when done well, online entrepreneurship can give you the freedom you deserve.

Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

When you come to think of it, the market hasn’t ever been better for an online business. It is now possible to get your own website started for less than $50/year. And even if you don’t know a single word of coding, you can have your very own, professional-looking front-end, thanks to the power of content management systems like Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. Don’t like the plain vanilla look they offer? One Google search, and hey bingo! Thousands of themes and skins to choose from! Are you into e-commerce? No worries, mate! Payment gateways like PayPal and its ilk have you covered. Don’t have money to invest? That’s alright. Start a free website on Wix.com. Or, just start hawking your wares on Facebook.

My point is that in this day and age, there really is no excuse to not have your own business. You don’t even have to have the next big Facebook killer to be successful as an e-entrepreneur. I know of enough people selling junk jewelry (sourced from their local flea market) on Facebook/eBay/Etsy. And guess what? All of them seem to be doing really well for themselves. How well? Well enough to not have to work for anyone else to earn their living.

Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

All that you really need to succeed online, in essence, is the will to actually take the plunge and just start something. It really is as easy as that. I’m sure even you have a killer interest you’ve always wanted to exploit. A love for movies perhaps? Or expertise in minting long-form articles your current job has no use for. Or, even an insane desire to turn every song you listen to into a minimalistic poster. Yep, I just gave you three solid ideas for online businesses. Yep, you don’t necessarily have to sell something to be an online entrepreneur. Even Google AdSense revenue from your movie blog counts. Or, commissioned works your Facebook and Behance design pages fetch you.

If you still aren’t really sold on the entire concept and ease of online entrepreneurship, maybe you should actually ask yourself whether you’re actually happy with your day job; whether it fulfils you. If you, like me, happen to be like the majority of the working population, chances are you aren’t really satisfied with what you’re doing. 

Maybe, ok, it manages to pay your bills, but it’s either the rigidity of the corporate world, or a bad boss, or the endless commute to-and-fro, or even the nature of the work itself, which gets to you. And, I also know that much like the majority of the workforce today, you too have a secret desire to be your own boss and just do something for yourself. It’s all about the right day.

The right day, frankly, is on us. We are firmly in the middle of the small and medium enterprise revolution. The parity of opportunity between the big fish and the startup has never been greater. In the coming weeks, I will guide you through the various kinds of online businesses you can start and how to actually go about setting them up. Like me, you too can earn a good living running your own business.
Welcome to the age of the e-entrepreneur. Welcome to the best time in human history to start your own business and be your own boss in the true sense – the good and the bad.

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Be an Entrepreneur: Be Your Own Boss

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Be an Entrepreneur: Be Your Own Boss

Being your own boss fascinates a lot of people, but a few really see the toils and struggles behind the glamour of the idea. When people realize what being your own boss actually means, you see them falter. My job isn’t that bad, they say. What they fail to understand is that to get a taste of success, you first need to sweat over building your business.

On 11th April 1910, a 27-year-old club singer Gabrielle opened a tiny shop at 21, Rue Cambon, Paris. She wanted to sell hats. 

Orphaned at the age of 12, Gabrielle had been raised by nuns who taught her how to sew, a skill that led to her life’s work. Three years later, she opened two new stores at Deauville and Biarritz, where she first tasted success when she designed a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. A few years later, Gabrielle, nicknamed ‘Coco’ from her days as a singer, launched the immensely popular perfume, Chanel No.5 and thus the fashion label Chanel was born. 

First used in 1723, today the term entrepreneur implies qualities of initiative, leadership, and innovation in business. An entrepreneur is an opportunity seeker, a generator of new ideas and business processes. Economist Robert Reich has called team-building, leadership, and management ability essential qualities for an entrepreneur.

But why become an entrepreneur at all? Why leave the comforts and the structure of an established firm, to work 12 hours a day out of a basement?

Be an Entrepreneur: Be Your Own Boss

Mike Templeman, CEO of Foxtail Marketing, says “As an entrepreneur, I always have a story to tell. Whenever I tell someone I run my own business, they always want to know what I do, how I do it and how it’s going. I always am able to provide a tale or two, and the best part is that I get to determine the story’s chapters.” 

Have you ever been fired? As an entrepreneur, you run the show. Plain and simple. This is your company, your brand, your pride, and joy. You are financially independent. Initially, you’ll work for longer hours, but if you keep at it and do it right, the freedom that being an entrepreneur provides is unmatched. 

A start-up also provides a brilliant learning experience. Ashim Seth, founder of Chicago based Seth Business Co. says, “The lack of structure in a start-up is precisely what leads to better learning as compared to big corporations, especially for youngsters.”

Entrepreneurs develop new ideas all the time, but how do you know when to pursue one further? Therefore it is extremely necessary to ask yourself some essential questions before you leap. Do others think my idea is good? Will people pay for it? Why am I the person to make it happen? Henry Ford, with Ford Motor Company, became successful simply by building the first car for the middle-class American, thus converting the automobile from a luxury item to a practical conveyance.  

So list your options and do plenty of research. Think like the customer. Analyze the competition. Build your own idea.

However, while many new businesses boom, many fail as well. An entrepreneur is required to put his career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending time as well as capital on an uncertain venture. “Though there is nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you are responsible for your employees’ success, at the beginning you also have to work hard every day to keep them convinced that joining you was the right decision,” says Gaurav Kumar, Associate Director, KPMG. 

An idea may be too novel, or the market may simply not be ready for a new entry. What is important to understand is that a failure is an option. Successful entrepreneurs excel at adapting to new obstacles. 

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something.”

– Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.

Have you ever wanted to do more? To do good? As an entrepreneur, you also decide where the profits of your company go. You can fund an NGO, or a charity, or even hire the homeless. HarVa, founded by BITS Pilani graduate Ajay Chaturvedi in 2008, is the first BPO set up in rural India which has hired and trained 500 women in Haryana as part of its first project. 

So decide what you want to do. Make a plan. And work on it every day. Change the world in your own little way.

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How to Simplify Your Business Systems to Achieve Growth

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How to Simplify Your Business Systems to Achieve Growth

Here’s a growth strategy: simplify your business systems.

Maybe your workflows are tried and tested. Everyone knows them and does them. This is how you’ve achieved growth after all. But now, you’ve hit a slump. And we know what will happen if you keep doing the same thing:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

As a side note, this quote has been misattributed to Albert Einstein. But somebody traced it back to a 1983 book by Rita Mae Brown, a mystery novelist.

With that out of the way, let me ask you to change your core business systems. Inefficient systems can cost you more. You run the risk of losing 20% to 30% of your revenue if you don’t deal with them. No, this doesn’t mean you need to add more to gain more. But you will have to trim, discard, merge, and automate. 

Let’s do this.

The following steps can be applied either on overarching systems or standalone systems:

1. Visualize Your Workflows

Create a system flowchart or process map to ensure everyone is looking at the same big picture. You can use tools like Lucidchart for faster implementation.

How to Simplify Your Business Systems to Achieve Growth

If you’re reviewing an entire business system, it would be more efficient to have the core teams meet separately first. Let them brainstorm and map out their recommendations. If the main concern is a specific system, then meet with the team involved and other key individuals. Let the team head prepare a visual to have everyone on the same page.

2. Evaluate Each Operation’s Importance

Overhauling an entire system entails a thorough analysis of its components. When looking at the subsystems, ask what they’re supposed to do. Be clear about their purpose. Some aspects have a more obvious impact than others. If you’re in e-commerce, logistics management workflow is a good example. But how about marketing? Where does this team’s work start and end?

So, have a stated purpose for each system. Once you’ve nailed that, ask: are they performing according to expectations? 

To answer that, focus on their output and output value. For instance, the marketing team is in charge of raising brand and product awareness. It’s also tasked to oversee customer experience in many cases nowadays. Ensuring marketing operations are streamlined actually helps the entire business. This translates to a high output value for this system.

Do the same thing to all of your core systems. Then rank them using the highest to lowest output value metric. Aside from the output value, you can combine outputs measured in dollars (market share increase) and outcomes measured by their long-term effects (improved public image)

3. Zoom In On the Steps

After ranking the systems, see if you can afford to take a shortcut or declutter a clunky system. Looking at each process workflow, identify steps that you need to eliminate, merge, do simultaneously, and/or automate. 

  • Merge or parallel – Are there redundant steps in your system? Would your system benefit from merging two or more steps? Are there steps that need to be done simultaneously instead of one waiting for the other to finish?
  • Automate – Is there a series of steps you can automate? Are there parts of the process that can be performed with reduced human input? What solutions exist on the market? Can you leverage those without compromising output quality?
How to Simplify Your Business Systems to Achieve Growth
  • Outsource – What steps in your process do you lack expertise in? Can you afford to hire and train new talent to perform them? If not, are you willing to outsource them to another company or an individual? Will you be able to afford to outsource?
  • Eliminate – Are there unnecessary steps in your system? Are your people performing tasks that are of low value? Are there specific bottlenecks that have kept your process from running smooth? Will you benefit from replacing or removing them altogether? 

4. Refine The System

By now, your flowchart or map may look very different from the one you started with. But the revamp does not end with a new visual. Once again, you need to gather key individuals and fine-tune your output. Your business will benefit the most if you include two sets of people in the brainstorming session.

  • Experienced Members
    Bring in your experienced team members. Their insight and perspective run deep, especially if they’ve been in the business for a long time. They’re also probably attuned to the changes that required the overhaul. And they have a track record for helping the company cross over in the past. One downside, however, is that they may be attached to the processes more than the new ones. 
  • “Outsiders”
    You may invite an experienced individual (consultant) from a different industry. He or she will be your fresh pair of eyes. This person will let you see blind spots that you and your managers may have missed. Having someone with a strong technological background can help you identify which processes to automate or streamline using technology.

    Additionally, you can include some new team members who can address blind spots and have strong technological skills.

5. Apply Growth Hacking

Growth hacking was coined by Sean Ellis after the method he’d been using led to the sustainable growth of companies like Dropbox and Eventbrite. Growth hacking comprises testing and learning approaches within short timelines and small budgets. It’s famous among startups but can be applied to any business.

How to Simplify Your Business Systems to Achieve Growth

So, how do you apply this in your business systems? Now that you have a new and simplified business system, you will have to focus your thinking on delivering value. 

“Value drives customer retention, which is a prerequisite for generating sustainable growth.” -Sean Ellis

Identify the common success metric for your company. Growth hackers call this the North Star Metric (NSM), which should reflect the aggregate value delivered to your customers. Test ways to improve the performance of this metric. This also requires your core growth team to meet, evaluate, and iterate each week.

Final Thoughts

Given all the steps above, you might be thinking about setting aside time to simplify your business systems. What’s a 90-minute brainstorming session compared to the revenue you’d lose if you stayed with the inefficient, clunky one you currently have?

In doing this, you’ll also be documenting your processes and stating purposes. It will be easier for your managers to pass the message down to their team members. The big picture will become clear for everyone. And your growth machine will be set in motion once again.

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