Die sieben besten Podcasts für Nachwuchswissenschaftler, die sich nicht auf die nächste Vertragsverlängerung verlassen wollen

Headphones with speech ballons containing different podcast logos
Die verschiedenen Logos in der Collage wurden jeweils freundlicherweise von den Podcastern für diesen Artikel zur Verfügung gestellt 🙂

In diesem Artikel werden Podcasts vorgestellt, mit denen du dir auch als Nachwuchswissenschaftler gute Grundlagen für dein Standbein neben der Wissenschaft aufbauen kannst.

Podcasts bieten sich dabei besonders an, weil du nicht am Schreibtisch sitzen musst, um die Inhalte zu verinnerlichen. Das geht somit gut beim Kochen, unterwegs oder beim Wäsche aufhängen. Außerdem erscheinen immer wieder neue Folgen, so lässt sich leicht eine Regelmäßigkeit beim Hören umsetzen.

Die Reihenfolge der Podcasts in diesem Artikel richtet sich danach, wie lange ich die Podcasts schon kenne.

Der Finanzwesir rockt

logo of "der Finanzwesir rockt" podcast
Der Finanzwesir rockt mit Daniel Korth und Albert Warnecke (Logo freundlicherweise zur Verfügung gestellt)

Bei Der Finanzwesir rockt sprechen Albert Warnecke (Finanzwesir) und Daniel Korth (Finanzrocker) über Continue reading Die sieben besten Podcasts für Nachwuchswissenschaftler, die sich nicht auf die nächste Vertragsverlängerung verlassen wollen

Kopf schlägt Kapital (German) – a PhD student’s review

book "Kopf schlägt Kapital"
The book „Kopf schlägt Kapital“ by Günter Faltin. It describes how rethinking a business concept can lead to a successful, innovative business.

This post on books worth reading features Günter Faltin’s Kopf schlägt Kapital, which means Mind beats Capital in English.

What is the book Kopf schlägt Kapital about?

The book’s title summarizes the key statement: One possibility to start a business is collecting lots of capital to invest. A preferable alternative is Continue reading Kopf schlägt Kapital (German) – a PhD student’s review

Where to start looking for your backup funding

You are probably wondering, how the hell you could possibly fit an extra source of income into your schedule – research is already very time demanding.

What do you do for fun and recreation?

If you want that other people give you money for something you do, then you have to be good at it. And the most promising way to become good at something is practicing. Practicing a lot!

This takes either lots of discipline and willpower or you’re enjoying the process of practicing.

The things you’re already doing for fun are things you probably already practiced a lot – therefore you’re probably good at them.

An example is my own project sockenpaket.de: Due to my sewing experience, I got a basic understanding of textiles which I’m currently turning into an online business.

What Do You do in your field of expertise?

You are spending most of your time with your studies, your current job or your research. And you spend this time practicing some skills. Your expertise in your research subject is obvious 😉

But there is more: Continue reading Where to start looking for your backup funding

Initial Thoughts on Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investments: Buying houses/flats and receive rent

The book Cashflow Quadrant triggered my interest in real estate investments again. A few months ago I already thought about it and requested detailed information about real estate that was for sale. It was easy to see, that this piece of real estate wasn’t a good investment, most of the rent had to be spent on monthly expenses. At first I decided to stay focused on stock and ETFs.

But, as described in the book, real estate has its opportunities, too. The main advantage is that buildings are commonly accepted as a credit security. With this mortgage, you can use other people’s money as a leverage for your earnings – you borrow money, the mortgage improve the conditions (lower interest payments!). Then you buy a house with this borrowed money and receive rent. A fraction of the rent is used for paying back the loan and interest. The remaining part is cashflow and can help you to get a financial cushion.

The key is Continue reading Initial Thoughts on Real Estate Investing

Introduction to ETFs

Development of the MSCI World Index (screenshot taken at https://www.msci.com/world on 02/212017)

ETF? What’s that?

The name is an abbreviation for Exchange Traded Fund. Interpreting literally, an ETF is a fund in which you can invest  in or sell at the stock exchange. It is a more liquid version of a fund, because Continue reading Introduction to ETFs

The 4-hour workweek – a PhD student’s review

book "The 4 hour workweek" in German, lying on a desk wit other stuff
German version of the 4-Hour Workweek: Post-its indicate stuff I have to read again

The book “The 4-hour workweek” written by Timothy Ferris is a classic when it comes to achieving freedom to do what you want to do.

What’s the book about?

The book is about finding a muse business that allows you to spend your time with fulfilling activities. Timothy Ferris describes possible steps to build such a business which pays off enough so you only spend four hours per week with inconvenient work. It is subdivided into four parts, i.e. Continue reading The 4-hour workweek – a PhD student’s review

Current Bottleneck: Audience and Reach

With the first order of socks for sockenpaket.de nearby, I’ve been reflecting, what’s the next challenge. And there is one bottleneck that sockenpaket.de and this blog share: Both do not reach a big audience (yet).

The success of sockenpaket.de and the amount of people who visit the website are directly linked: Lots of people visiting the website means lots of people could benefit from the products. The same holds for this blog: More people reading it means a better chance of inspiring someone to do a similar thing.

So, how can you increase your audience without paying lots of money for marketing and ads? Continue reading Current Bottleneck: Audience and Reach

sci-hub.cc

Screenshot of www.sci-hub.cc, taken on 25 Feb 2017 15:15

There have been lots of posts on ways to find alternative ways to financially support your research career, but now it’s time for a small text which is research related: It will feature Sci-hub. Some of you already heard of  it – for the ones who have not, here is a short description:

Sci-hub is a platform dedicates itself to the free access to knowledge. The problem is, that some institutions (esp. publishers) consider the methods of this website illegal. I think, that’s why the operators did not locate it within US American jurisdiction, but somewhere in Eastern Europe or Russia. You can also access SciHub with the Tor browser.

I think the idea of Sci-hub is very noble and it serves human progress. As a researcher at a large University in Germany, I have the privilege of having access to nearly all publications, because my university pays for this access.

And still Sci-Hub offers a benefit. It’s a single platform, where the DOI is sufficient to find and download a publication. This is why at least one Ph.D. student at my group uses Sci-hub regularly – it’s convenient. Another fellow Ph.D. student doesn’t want to use Sci-hub after all, because the website violates laws.

Now you know both sides of this dispute and it’s up to you to avoid or use Sci-hub…

Finding Producers and Suppliers

Picking Producers to Contact

The idea of starting a sidebusiness originated from a podcast episode they talked about Amazon FBA. FBA stands for “Fulfillment By Amazon” and describes a business model, where you order stuff at a supplier, they ship it to an Amazon Storage and Amazon ships the stuff and bills you for this service. That way you won’t even have to touch the stuff you’re selling.

At first I liked the idea, but I don’t like the fulfillment fee for the start, so I’m trying my own website first. Maybe I’m going to use the shipping service later, maybe another service provider.

What remained was the knowledge of two websites to contact possible suppliers, that are commonly used for FBA:

alibaba.com is a platform for business-to-business trades. Most producers on this website are located in China, the minimal order quantities are high, but low prices are available. If you contact producers, alibaba notices this and other producers start contacting you and offer their products. The large order quantities enable custom design, because the stuff might be produces directly for you.
aliexpress.com is a platform for business-to-customers trades, too. The minimal order quantities are lower, therefore the prices are not as competitive. The articles I have seen there are off the shelf products, which are not customized. If you want to test a product or market, ordering stuff at aliexpress allows you to start with a small initial investment. And if it’s ok for you to wait three weeks until online shopped stuff arrives, it’s also an option for regular online shopping (I bought my bluetooth speakers there 😉 )

Local listing websites exist, too. If you look for German companies, you might want to use wlw.de, for Latvian producers be referred to exim.lv.

When you want to start in fair traded textiles and apparel, there is the website global-standard.org, where they list all GOTS-certified companies. Fair trade is about transparency, too. So I guess, there are similar websites for other fair trade products.

Contacting them: Call first!

I placed the first call for offers at alibaba using the website’s own interface. Some suppliers responded with their offers, but it turned out either the minimal order quantities where to high or the price was to high. Back then I wasn’t willing to invest  more than 1000 € in the first order, especially when trading with another legal system.

The call for offers went to German sock factories, but it turned out, those where way to expensive to focus on the medium price segment. Here I noticed, that writing e-mails without knowing the people leads to a low reply rate (about 50 %). It’s a good idea to call first and “ask for their e-mail address”. Then they know your request is a serious one.

This approach worked out well, when I contacted some sock factories in lower-wage-countries of the European Union. Calling before writing an e-mail led to a reply rate of 100%.

Calling foreign suppliers which do not speak German forced me to leave my comfort zone and I was very nervous during the first two calls. It will be difficult for you, too. But it’s worth it – leaving your comfort zone is part of progressing 🙂