Payza E-Commerce School: Starting An Online Business

Payza E-Commerce School - Starting an Online Business

Starting your own business is an appealing idea for many ambitious people today. A study by Santander shows that more than 25% of university students in the UK run or plan to run their own business. Financial motivation is one of the most common reasons for starting a business, as well as turning your hobby into an enterprise and gaining work experience. Being your own boss and keeping your own hours may sound good at first, but it also takes a lot of determination and hard work.

If you have decided to become an entrepreneur, the Payza E-commerce School can help you out. Here is a list of things to do and keep in mind when you want to start your own online business:

Choose a Product or Service to Sell

Firstly, you must decide what your company will offer potential customers. This should be something that’s in demand, but also something that you know you can manage.

When picking a product or service to offer, you don’t always have to provide something that no one else supplies. On the one hand, uniqueness is good, it will help you stand out from the competition, but on the other, you do not want your business to offer something that no one wants.

If you need help finding a business idea, Entrepreneur has put together a list with 55 Business Ideas. The Payza Blog can also help you out – check out our list of Trending Products to Sell Online in 2018: 10 Hot E-Commerce Items.

Know Your Market

Do some market research and decide who the target audience is for your product or service. The first segment of the Payza E-Commerce School teaches you about creating your target audience. If you know your ideal target market, it will be easier to know how you can sell your business to your customers.

Create a Business Plan

You must have a vision of your purpose and targets when starting a business, which means that you need a business plan. A business plan should include the following details:

  • A summary of the purpose of your business
  • Your business’ mission statement
  • Your target market and how you plan to sell to your customers
  • Your marketing strategy
  • A launch and growing plan for your business

Make sure your business plan is convincing because you may need it later when looking for funding and additional support.

Set Your Budget

A new business means start-up costs that need to be paid. These can include the cost of setting up a website, purchasing inventory or software, getting licenses or certificates, and much more.

How much money do you need and how much money can you invest in your future business? You might not need a large amount of money to start a business, but it’s good to set a budget so you know how much you can afford to spend and to be prepared for unexpected costs that may pop up along the way.

Look for Funding

Some people may be able to launch a new business all on their own, but if you need startup funds, you can always search for investors and business loans to help you get started. Use your business plan to pitch your business idea to possible investors to see if they are interested in funding your business. In some countries, there are also government funding programs available that can support businesses.

Take Care of Legal Matters

It’s important to choose the right the legal structure for your company. Speak to an expert to determine which of the following structures is right for your business:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation
  • Non-profit
  • Cooperative

Also, depending on your country, you will likely need to register your business name with the government and get a tax identification number. Finally, check with an expert to find out if you need any special licenses, permits or certifications for your business.

For a new business, an attorney who practices corporate law can be a big help. They can provide advice on the legal aspects of business ownership. This can also help you avoid accidentally violating the law while running your business.

Build Your Website

Your website is your online presence, the most important part for an e-commerce business. When setting up your website, you want a domain name that your customers can easily remember and find, so keep it short and simple.

Also, pay attention to your branding. Make sure that the logo of your company is visible on your website and that you have an “About us” page where customers can find your story, as well as the contact information they need to reach you.

Set Up Your Online Marketing

Keep your online presence strong by setting up the online marketing for your business. To avoid having too much information about your products or services on your website, you can use landing pages. Landing pages are a great way to provide specific information to customers that are looking for exactly what you offer. The Payza E-commerce School has more information: Building Landing Pages.

The Payza E-commerce School has even more online marketing tips and guidelines to help you get started: Marketing Tips for Online Businesses and Which Type of Online Marketing is Right for You?

Figure Out How to Manage Payments

Before you can actually start selling, you must decide how you will process payments. Make sure you keep your personal and business accounts separate, your accountant will thank you when it’s tax season.

A Payza Business Account gives you access to many great features: accept online payments by credit card, Bitcoin, or e-wallet; make payouts in both fiat currency and Bitcoin; handle transaction disputes; and so much more. Setting up a Payza Business Account is easy and our business support team is here if you need any help.

There are many things to keep in mind when starting your own business. This article is just a starting point, and on the Payza Blog you’ll find much more great advice for online business owners.

Stay tuned for more “Payza E-Commerce School” articles where we’ll share the e-commerce tips and tricks we’ve learned by serving thousands of online merchants. For all the latest news from Payza, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

New Payza Checkout Experience

New Payza Checkout Experience

Streamlined checkout process that makes it faster and easier to pay by credit card, Bitcoin, or Payza e-wallet

Payza is excited to announce that we have updated our checkout module! This is great news for Payza merchants and their customers, as the new process simplifies the checkout experience for faster and easier payments.

Thousands of online merchants already use Payza to process online payments and that number is growing each week. For information on how to set up a Payza Business Account, and integrate Payza payment buttons and checkout module into your own e-commerce website, review our Payza Merchant Setup Guide for everything you need to get started.

As an online shopper, you can now make payments at a Payza merchant whether you already have a Payza account or not. When you pay as a guest, you will have the option to complete the purchase using a credit card or Bitcoin (if your merchant offers both these options). Once the payment is complete, you have the option to join Payza and create a Payza Personal Account for faster checkouts in the future.

So how does the new checkout process work? When completing your purchase, you now have two options to choose from:

  • Pay as a Payza member
  • Pay as a guest

If you’re a Payza member and would like to pay via your Payza account, select “Pay as a Payza member”, enter your account details, and choose your payment method:

  • E-wallet
  • Credit card
  • External Bitcoin Wallet

If you want to pay instantly with the Bitcoin you have in your Payza account, you must select the “E-wallet” option. From here, you can select to pay with any currency balance in your Payza account, including Bitcoin.

If you want to pay with Bitcoin from an external Bitcoin wallet, select the “Bitcoin” option. You will then receive a Bitcoin address to send your payment to. You have approximately 60 minutes to complete the transaction or your purchase will be cancelled.

If you’re not a Payza member, select “Pay as a guest” and choose your payment method:

  • Credit card
  • Bitcoin

These gifs show you exactly how to complete the guest checkout process using a credit card or Bitcoin. If you’re a Payza merchant, we suggest placing these resources on your website to help your customers complete their Payza checkouts:

Payza Guest Checkout – Credit Card

New Checkout Process - Credit Card

Payza Guest Checkout – Bitcoin

New Checkout Process - Bitcoin

When your payment has been processed, you will receive an email with a purchase confirmation. You will also get the option to sign up for a free Payza Personal Account. To set up your Payza account, all you have to do is click the “Validate email” link in the confirmation email, then choose a password and your Payza account will be activated!

Note: Guest checkout is currently not available for Indian Rupee (INR) purchases.

To learn more about Payza’s services and to receive all the latest updates about new Payza products and features, make sure you subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Bulk Discounts Online – Why Buying Big Pays Off

Bulk discounts

Ah, bulk discounts. The wonderful phenomenon responsible for $20 bags of trail mix that are so big they last for months in your cupboard or for keeping the checkout lines at Costco full of people with even fuller shopping carts. 

For consumers, buying in bulk presents a clear opportunity for serious savings without necessarily sacrificing quality: all it requires is a little bit of foresight and a lot of storage space. For retailers, however, the benefits are arguably even more appealing. Bulk selling means more overall volume (and therefore revenue), but it also passes down some of the cost of holding inventory to the consumer, reduces the cost of customer acquisition, and presents an easily marketable value proposition.

It’s no surprise then to see e-tailers build on this principle and adapt it to their specific market. To compete with giants like Walmart, Amazon, and Alibaba, many smaller players (some of them not so small anymore) have been relying on a bit of creativity to enhance the consumer experience.

Three specific bulk-sales business models have attracted our attention: subscription-based, group couponing, and crowd purchasing sites. Each of these models comes with their own pros and cons.

Subscription-based Model

From a business perspective, it’s evident why encouraging customers to purchase a subscription box is advantageous. You won’t need to forecast who will buy what this month or how much you’ll need to order, it helps keep storage cost down, and a new customer who signs up is almost guaranteed to be more valuable on average than if you were to offer a one-time purchase. If the quality of the selection is perceived to be high, subscribers also tend to be vocal about their contentment, with many influencers providing a large portion of the traffic directed towards subscription sites. This goes hand-in-hand with the unboxing phenomenon, which encourages subscription box businesses to invest in branding and packaging, along with selecting other brands to feature in their selection who do the same.

As of April 2017, the largest industry sector is beauty, followed by food and apparelBeauty itself captures over 35% of the subscription-based online market, with two of the three largest companies fitting in this sector (Ipsy, Dollar Shave Club). Why is beauty dominant? A plethora of factors can be proposed:

  • Beauty products tend to have a high emotional value to customers, which makes the experience of the purchase as important as the product itself.
  • There is a risk factor associated with the use of new products, which increases the appeal of curation and the endorsement of authority figured (influencers).
  • By default, subscription-based models favor the creation of a niche: sites are largely gender-centric to narrow down interest and simplify marketing efforts.
  • The use of beauty products, just like the other dominant segments (food/cooking, apparel, and pet care), is part of a routine – a perfect fit for businesses based on repeat purchases.

Standing in second place, the food segment seems more uncertain as leader Blue Apron is struggling to keep investors happy and maintain subscriber numbers. While CFO Brad Dickerson is blaming marketing cutbacks put in place to automate their warehouses, other players like Goodfood are moving. Goodfood is planning to become a Canadian equivalent to Blue Apron and even surpass it. In the meantime, Amazon wants to do what Amazon does best: use its titanic influence and deep pockets (see the recent Whole Foods acquisition) to completely dominate the market.

The appeal of subscription doesn’t stop at consumables though. The apparel industry is slowly gaining grounds as shopaholics are considering adding an element of adventure to their e-commerce experience. Big player Stitch Fix is looking to secure founding through an upcoming IPO in the United States. FabFitFun is pooling multiple different sectors by offering a box satisfying your “beauty, wellness, fitness and fashion” needs, taking the curation aspect to a new level. A smaller competitor, the Wrist Society, aims to change the way consumers look at watches by having them try a myriad of different ones and educating them. Each timepiece is paired to a type of event or situation. Others are focusing on their local market, like Montreal-based From Rachel that sends pre-selected tights based on an online profile.

Group Couponing Model

Groupon is very well-known and one of the first online couponing websites to really make an impact. This website, who quickly became a behemoth (to the point of receiving, and rejecting, a $5.75B bid from Google), has largely faded from the news but not from the minds of business owners and consumers who keep using its services. Despite a near -$200M net income loss in 2016 and a stock with a poor performance, Groupon still has had over 48M unique users making a purchase in the past 12 months.

The second biggest competitor in the group couponing industry, LivingSocial, proposes a very similar model and user experience, but is limited to the United States.

The relationship between local businesses and group couponing sites is fairly simple: businesses get free online exposure without having to pay upfront for a web marketing campaign, but they lose a large part of their profit margin by providing significant discounts. In exchange, Groupon gets a cut for each deal purchased. This approach is somewhat different from retail couponing sites like RetailMeNot and DontPayFull, who are less service-oriented and focus on discount codes redeemed in online carts.

Crowd Purchasing

Finally, there’s crowd purchasing. At the moment, this is the most novel segment, with only one notable player: Massdrop. On this site, patience is a virtue (shipping tends to be longer than for regular e-tailers) and the selection is limited, but shoppers are rewarded with high-quality items found at exclusive prices.

Here, the business adopts a more collaborative rather than transactional approach, with both the brands it carries and its consumers. Items are requested by users, who create polls to gauge enthusiasm, then Massdrop contacts the sellers to negotiate an arrangement. These deals go from developing a new joint product to simply listing existing ones on the Massdrop site. The goods are then sold in the form of “drops” – organized discount purchases that are only valid if a certain amount of people commit to buying them. As such, drops can ‘fail,’ as insufficient volume wouldn’t allow for the promised discount.

Is such a business model viable? Sure, it requires partnerships and relies on keeping niche communities alive and finding new products that interest them, but there’s no risk of failing to sell current inventory, forecasting is essentially outsourced to the consumer, and having an engaged audience means valuable feedback is being given consistently. Since its inception in 2012 and success with audiophiles, the self-proclaimed “community-driven commerce” secured over $45M in funding and has expanded to offer products in 20 “communities.”

Whether you’re looking to save on your favorite brands or to take your business online, it’s important to note that the incredible level of accessibility which the web offers has many advantages, but some drawbacks as well. Creative business models based on bulk selling offer deep discounts, but this also means consumers get used to seeing low prices and become reluctant to pay full price, while some corners inevitably get cut to maintain margins.

For more insight on e-commerce, be sure to subscribe to the Payza blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Working the Gig Economy: Part 3 – The Best Freelancing Jobs Online

Gig Economy Part 3: The Best Freelancing Jobs Online

The way that people work is changing.

Exclusive relationships between employee and employer are a thing of the past – it has become the norm for workers to take on side jobs, supplement their income and explore new professional interests. Even working full-time jobs is becoming less common, as those who take on side gigs may find these more fulfilling (and even more profitable) than their salaried positions. Therefore, they may eventually leave their primary employment in favor of taking on more gigs.

This phenomenon has had such an impact on the modern labor landscape, for both workers and employers, that a new term has been coined to describe it: The Gig Economy. Defined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements”, the gig economy signifies that the modern workforce is increasingly made up of self-employed freelancers and that businesses are changing their relationship with human resources to reflect that fact.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re one of the few that hasn’t yet engaged with the gig economy to increase your income, improve your job satisfaction, and raise your quality of life, there is no better time than now.

This is the third and final article of our Gig Economy series, and it gives an overview of the best types of freelancing jobs available. Be sure to check out our other articles in this series as well:

Customer Service

The days of the call centre are coming to an end. In the age of the digital economy, the customer service field has become decentralized. Businesses are saving money on the costs of maintaining a call centre facility and customers are getting better service as round-the-clock live chat and email support becomes the norm. If you enjoy helping others solve their problems, CS may be the route for you.

Find current Customer Service openings at Upwork here: Customer Service Jobs.

Data Entry

There is never any shortage of data entry work – quite the opposite (they don’t call this the age of “Big Data” for nothing). For detail-oriented individuals who are comfortable listening to music or a podcast while performing a repetitive task, data entry is a reliable source of work that can be very profitable for those who work quickly. Also, as an entry level position in the tech industry, there can be real room for growth.

For a primer on Data Entry jobs available to you, click here: Online Data Entry Jobs from Home without Investment.

Language Services and Translation

Another recession-proof avenue open to freelancers is language services. In an English-dominated business world where most people are unilingual, anybody who is bilingual is an extremely valuable investment. This can help you stand out in the customer service world, but also allows you to specialize in the profitable and growing fields of Language Services and Translation.

Check out these links for jobs within the language industry: Indeed for Interpreter jobs and Upwork for Translator jobs.

Copywriting and Transcription

You don’t need to be a professional to get a writing job online. There are plenty of entry-level copywriting and transcription jobs online – they may not pay very well at first but they allow you to develop your writing and marketing skills and build a content portfolio.

Sign up here to start honing your skills:

The Sharing Economy

App-based technologies have made the Sharing Economy possible. Many of the biggest success stories of the gig economy fall under this category, such as Uber and AirBnB, two platforms which allow you to provide on-demand service to clients via a mobile app. These services don’t typically require any special skills beyond mobility and the ownership of something “shareable”, and are therefore an excellent way to supplement your income.

For an in-depth look at making a living in the Sharing Economy, visit here: Making a Career in the Sharing Economy.

Affiliate Marketing

An industry almost as old as the internet itself, Affiliate Marketing offers the promise of “passive income”. Simply put, the affiliate works with a business to help drive more traffic to their website in order to generate more sales. This can be done by hosting advertisements, publishing links, or creating content which promotes the business’ products. The affiliate is in turn rewarded based on their performance: for every sale facilitated by the affiliate, the business pays them a share of the profit.

Read our short primer on getting started in Affiliate Marketing here: Introduction to Affiliate Marketing.

The gig economy has allowed skilled workers all around the world to do what they love, increase their income, and free themselves from the traditional nine to five jobs. If you’re ready to take on that passion project and make money doing it, now is the time!

Do you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Get your start in the gig economy by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for every referral after that! Learn how to get started by reading this handy guide: Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program.

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to get paid for their gigs. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Working the Gig Economy: Part 2 – The Benefits for Business

Gig Economy part 2: The Benefits for Business

The gig economy is often advertised as revolutionary for workers – it’s a major opportunity to supplement their income or even become their own boss. What’s harder to define are the many unexpected benefits of the gig economy for employers.

This article is the second of our 3-part series. If you’re a freelancer who works “gigs”, check out: Working the Gig Economy: Part 1 – Modern Work.

What is the Gig Economy?

Defined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements”, the gig economy turns the traditional employer/employee relationship on its head. In some cases, this replaces a reliable permanent workforce with inconsistent temporary labor, but it also allows businesses to engage with high quality talent from all around the world, employ experienced specialists for specific tasks, and cut down on overheads and wasteful busywork.

The movement toward the modern gig economy has, with some exceptions, been a bottom-up development. After the great recession, the workforce had little faith in traditional job security and less loyalty to their primary employers, instead opting for multiple diverse income streams. For numerous reasons (some of which we will go into below), convincing employers that this is a good idea has been a bigger challenge. In this article, we argue that businesses do stand to benefit a great deal from the gig economy and should be open to engaging with non-traditional workers.

Today, non-traditional workers, including independent contractors, on-demand workers and remote workers, already make up to 30 percent of the workforce. In the UK, more than 74% of independent workers have stated a preference for independent work over traditional job security and according to the Freelancing in America 2016 report, 25% of U.S. workers employed in full-time, permanent positions are also moonlighting as independent contractors. In light of the gig economy’s prevalence in today’s digital marketplace, let’s address (and dispel) some of employers’ biggest concerns:

Keeping Track of Remote Workers

At its most pessimistic interpretation, the modern employee’s desire to work from home is thought of as laziness by some old-fashioned employers. Your staff just wants to sleep in, slack off, and have no oversight. But Dell and IBM, early adopters of remote labor, discovered that when they switched from the office building to a distributed team, productivity actually went up. This was made possible by a number of factors:

  • Remote workers have more workplace satisfaction, because their workplace is whatever they want it to be.
  • They are more willing to work outside of the traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday schedule.
  • Office management costs and man-hours go down sharply the more of the workforce is distributed.
  • Modern communication platforms designed specifically for distributed teams (such as Slack) allow for a structured workday with open dialogue and scheduled meetings even when teams are spread around the world.
  • When looking for the best candidate for the job, businesses are no longer limited to a hiring pool within commuting distance of the office.

Don’t Fear the Side Gig

When we talk about the gig economy, we tend to focus on freelancers, distributed teams and self-employed people. In reality, the vast majority of gigs are actually performed by people who have traditional, full-time salaried positions and just want to earn a little extra cash on the side. These kinds of side-jobs have historically had a bad rap; many employers see side-gigs as a sign of employee disengagement or lack of loyalty and are concerned that their staff are at risk of being recruited by a competitor.

Employers typically want to protect and retain top talent and, in their minds, the gig economy threatens to lure good workers away in favor of entrepreneurial aspirations and more autonomous work schedules. The risk of that is actually quite slim: a survey from Career Builder found that 71% of workers with side-gigs had no intentions of leaving their full-time job. Encouraging your employees to take on side-gigs can have a great number of benefits:

  • Workers are creatively engaged by side-gigs, increasing their confidence and career satisfaction.
  • New jobs require workers to hone new skills, which will then increase their value to their primary employer.
  • Supplementary income increases the quality of life of the employee at no cost to their primary employer.

Businesses have a great deal to gain from the gig economy. Autonomous, self-driven workers tend to be more creative and take more initiative. Distributed teams empower businesses to engage with the world’s top talent. Temporary labor allows businesses to scale rapidly according to their needs. Remote workers with diversified income save businesses huge amounts in overhead costs, and there are many hidden benefits beyond just these. So if you were concerned about how the gig economy is going to affect your business, we hope we’ve put your worries to rest. Just embrace it!

A Payza Business account makes it easy to complete your payouts with just one click. Send money to employees, freelancers, contractors, affiliates and suppliers, and keep track of your payments with Payza’s detailed Transaction History. Just upload your payroll spreadsheet and send money to anywhere, from a few people to a few hundred, instantly!

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to manage their business. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Despite Early Surge, Future of Bitcoin Cash Still Uncertain After Fork

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

On July 20, the Bitcoin mining community voted in favor of Segregated Witness (or SegWit): a technological solution designed to increase the transaction capacity of the Bitcoin network. The vote was almost unanimous which would have resulted in a single currency emerging from the upgrade, but a vocal minority of the community that opposed SegWit decided to go ahead with a hard fork instead.

This group of miners announced that the implementation of Bitcoin Cash, with a block size of 8MB, would take place via a hard fork on August 1. Now, one month later, Bitcoin Cash is still struggling to catch up to its big brother.

Both SegWit and the hard fork were designed to solve Bitcoin’s scaling problem. The cryptocurrency has become so popular that the original blockchain, with a block size of 1MB, was unable to process the sheer volume of Bitcoin transactions. SegWit solves this problem by recording transaction signatures onto a separate ledger, freeing up more space on the blockchain for the input data. Alternatively, the hard fork would solve the issue by simply increasing the size of the individual blocks in the chain, allowing for more transactions to be confirmed within a single block.

Why opt for a hard fork?

Proponents of the hard fork take issue with SegWit for several reasons: they argue that SegWit does not increase capacity significantly enough to maintain Bitcoin’s cryptocurrency market leadership, that segregating the transaction signatures would effectively “centralize” control of the currency, and that the solution favored people who viewed Bitcoin as a digital investment rather than a transactional currency.

On the other hand, a hard fork would maintain the fundamental design of the Bitcoin blockchain while multiplying the transaction capacity. The downside is that increasing the block size makes the new chain incompatible with the old – it’s called a hard fork because it effectively splits (or forks) Bitcoin into two separate currencies.

A new coin emerges

This is what happened on August 1. Bitcoin as we know it went in one direction while Bitcoin Cash, a new cryptocurrency created by the fork, went off in another. Despite the attention and scrutiny, it was an inauspicious start for Bitcoin Cash, at 8:20 am (EST), miners began working on what would be the network’s first block. Some thought it would happen quickly, others thought it would take several hours, but as the day went on many began to doubt the effort, worrying that miners would give up on Bitcoin Cash and return to Bitcoin even before the first block was mined. But then at 2:14 pm, after nearly 6 hours of mining, the first block was found, officially launching the new blockchain.

The rough first day may have set a bad tone for Bitcoin Cash, or perhaps the fact that Coinbase (one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges) publicly announced that it would not support the new coin on its platform (at least not initially) had something to do with this negativity. Both of these things cast a shadow on Bitcoin Cash, conveying a lack of trust and implying low acceptance and reliability of the new coin. One week after the hard fork, mining on the original blockchain remained 30% more profitable than the new chain, and despite much larger block capacities, the original chain had grown 920MB more than the new chain.

Bitcoin Cash, one month later

Now, one month after the split, the price of Bitcoin Cash is experiencing a steady decline after an impressive surge. The value had an early peak of $677 USD on August 2nd before dropping down to around $200 soon after, and excitement dropped off as people turned their eyes back onto Bitcoin and the imminent implementation of SegWit. In the days leading up to SegWit’s launch on August 23rd, Bitcoin Cash again climbed sharply from $300 to over $900 per coin in a 72-hour period as investors hedged their bets amidst uncertainty about Bitcoin’s future. However, with SegWit successfully implemented as of last Wednesday, Bitcoin Cash has begun another seemingly steady decline.

While it’s easy to be dismissive of Bitcoin Cash, the arguments put forward by the developers who support the new cryptocurrency remain valid. Going forward, the original coin and the new one will continue to compete and draw comparisons to each other, with the two ideologies being put to the test. In the first week after SegWit, the expected boost in Bitcoin’s capacity has not yet been seen; if SegWit fails to make the hoped-for impact, many may yet turn to Bitcoin Cash after all. Whether one or the other proves to have the superior technology, or whether both can have a valuable role in the crypto economy, is still yet to be determined.

Payza is closely following the development of Bitcoin and altcoins, and is committed to supporting all of the currencies and cryptocurrencies you are using. By using the Payza platform, you can buy, store, and sell Bitcoin and over 50 different altcoins right inside your Payza account.

For the latest updates and industry insights about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Working the Gig Economy: Part 1 – Modern Work

Gig Economy Part 1: Modern Work

In today’s digital economy, the traditional employer/employee relationship is disappearing. The overwhelming trend is toward a new gig economydefined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.” For some, the gig economy has replaced reliable permanent employment with inconsistent temporary labor. For others, it poses a major opportunity to supplement your income or even become your own boss.

Some professions have always included “gigs” as part of the economy. Full-time graphic designers, for example, have been taking jobs on the side for as long as the profession has existed and many people in artistic trades, such as carpentry or interior decorating, begin their careers with gigs while maintaining a full-time job elsewhere.

Today, contract labor has pervaded just about every industry there is. There are many causes for this, including:

  • Mobile workforce: Thanks to the internet, a lot more jobs can be performed remotely, which has caused the link between “job” and “location” to diminish. Employers gain the benefit of hiring the best person for a given job out of a potentially global pool of candidates, and employees gain the flexibility to work from home, travel without missing work, and have more control over their own schedules.
  • Automation: As software and roboticization grow more sophisticated, the total labor required to keep a business running decreases. Many businesses have responded by shifting away from salaried employees in favor of part-time workers and contractors hired to complete specific, temporary tasks.
  • Career satisfaction: The gig economy is also driven by choice. Coming out of the great recession, many people no longer believe in the “job security” promise of salaried employment, instead opting to diversify their income streams. Self-driven work also allows people to pursue career paths that align more closely with their interests and values.

Presently, the average worker does not (yet) participate in the gig economy, however LinkedIn predicts that by the year 2020, 40 percent of American workers will be employed as independent contractors. Gig-based work is now more accessible and navigable than ever, so even those comfortable in their day job can take advantage of the gig economy to supplement their income, build new skills, and explore new career directions.

Jobs in the gig economy can take almost any form. As contract work becomes more common, more and more industries will increasingly be hiring freelancers. There are innumerable ways to categorize and subcategorize the gig economy, but here’s a primer to help you figure out which kind of “gig” is right for you:

Sharing Economy

The age of the app has ushered in what is known as the sharing economy: a subset of the gig economy which refers specifically to offering the use of something you own to others. As the most often publicized form of the gig economy, the sharing economy is exemplified by platforms such as Uber, which allows you to share your vehicle by driving customers to their destinations, and AirBnB, which allows you to share your home or apartment with travelers who need a place to sleep. These services don’t typically require any special skills and are therefore a very popular introduction to the gig economy for people who need some extra cash.


For labor that requires more specialized skills, gigs have always been a big part of the job. Artists, designers, editors, and tradespeople are no strangers to the gig economy, but contemporary platforms such as Upwork, Elance, and TaskRabbit have allowed people with specialized skills, and those searching for workers with those skills, to connect more easily than ever.

Content Producers

The digital age has also made it easier than ever for content producers to monetize their creative passions. Musicians, bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers now have many tools allowing them to get paid for their content. YouTube, for example, pays popular producers per view, and musicians can sell through Bandcamp and earn royalties through Spotify. Podcasters can sell airtime to advertisers, and bloggers can earn money through affiliate marketing. However, the latest boon to content producers is the success of Patreon: a platform which allows producers to connect with “patrons”. This platform allows fans to commit to a long-term payment plan in exchange for exclusive perks, either by paying on a regular schedule or paying a small amount every time the producer releases a new podcast/video/song/etc. So the content producer gets a more predictable stream of income while the fans get access to unique bonus content and other incentives, a win-win!

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a well-established revenue stream in the digital age. This gig involves an affiliate who promotes the products sold by a business, for example by blogging about them, writing product reviews, or releasing a shopping guide for niche interests, and the affiliate also provides a link for readers to purchase that product. The business then pays the affiliate a commission for every sale they helped to generate, in a commission-based system.

The gig economy has allowed skilled workers around the world to do what they love, increase their income, and free themselves from the nine to five job. If you’re ready to take on that passion project and make money doing it, now is the time!

Do you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Get your start in the gig economy by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for every referral after that! Learn how to get started by reading this handy guide: Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program.

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to get paid for their gigs. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Introduction to Affiliate Marketing

Introduction to Affiliate Marketing

Internet marketing is an umbrella term that includes many technologies, tactics, channels, and revenue streams. There is no shortage of ways to utilize internet marketing to your advantage and it would be impossible to cover every effective strategy in the always-evolving online landscape. Today, we’re going to turn our focus to affiliate marketing – one of the most misunderstood forms of internet marketing.

Too much is made of the internet “moving at the speed of light.” Anyone researching internet marketing is bound to find one warning repeated over and over again: the internet moves so quickly that in order to be successful you must be one step ahead of the latest tools and best practices. It’s true that being an early adopter can help you become very successful in the short term, but it’s also highly risky. It’s much more rewarding in the long-term to provide a product that is consistent, stable and practical. In other words: slow and steady wins the race.

This is especially true when it comes to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is one of the cornerstones of internet marketing and it is largely built on trust. The best affiliate marketers are seen as authorities within their niche.

As a whole, affiliate marketing is an enormous network which helps businesses reach their target audiences and points consumers to the products that best suit their needs. In this regard, affiliate marketing has a lot in common with, and is closely linked to, search engine optimization (SEO).

Simply put, affiliate marketing involves two parties: the business and the affiliate. The business is selling some kind of product and the affiliate is promoting that product. It’s a form of commission-based salesmanship, with the affiliate rewarded based on their performance. Every time the affiliate helps to generate a sale, the business pays them a share of the sale. This graphic explains the relationship between Brands, Affiliates, and Ad Platforms.

Affiliate Marketing - How Does It Work?

While ad platforms used to play a very large role in affiliate marketing, more and more affiliates are finding ways to earn commissions that bypass these platforms altogether.

One way for affiliates to promote products is by creating a customer-facing service, for example a blog that reviews books, a series of videos explaining how to build furniture, or a website documenting the latest fashion trends. In the first example, the affiliate can provide links to buy the books from Amazon, in the second, the affiliate can provide a list of all the tools used in the video and link to buy them from Home Depot, and in the third, the affiliate can direct people to Revolve. Each of these companies has a healthy affiliate program and there are many other programs and networks to choose from.

The key to success in affiliate marketing is to provide an organic and high-value context in which to drive traffic to your partner(s) – consumers aren’t going to follow a link unless you give them a good reason to. First, you need to attract people to your site, which is going to require good SEO in order to rank higher in Google. Then, you need high quality content to keep people reading and keep them coming back. The more value and usefulness your content offers to your readers, the more business you’ll generate.

Affiliate Marketing Facts

  1. Affiliate marketing is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing

Affiliate marketing is a broad network used by every major online retailer. It’s a widely accepted form of digital marketing and a huge part of any retailer’s consumer outreach strategy. Affiliates act as an arms-length sales and marketing force, organically directing consumers to the products they want and need, and helping businesses to grow their customer-base.

  1. Affiliates DO sell a product

Affiliates are more than just a part of a business’ sales funnel – they provide a very valuable product of their own: good content. Affiliates are thought leaders and tastemakers that answer the questions consumers are actually asking. Whether customers want to know more about a specific product, want to keep up with the latest trends, or are getting into a new hobby, affiliate marketers are often the people they turn to for more information. The most successful affiliates are the ones who offer the most valuable (and most well-written) information to consumers in their niche.

  1. You CAN make money

Many people portray affiliate marketing as passive income, but that’s a little misleading. Starting an affiliate marketing site takes a lot of work – don’t expect there to be anything “passive” about it during your first six months. Affiliate marketing, like SEO, is built on trust. It takes time for consumers to trust you as a resource and it takes time for Google to trust you. Generate good content and network with other sites in your niche for at least six months before you expect to see a significant return on investment. Be patient: by your second year you could be making $10,000/month.

  1. You DON’T have to focus on a specific niche

What holds many people back is a desire to do something totally unique, waiting to find that hyper-specific niche that will make them one-of-a-kind. But there are two problems with this: first, for a very specific niche, you have to truly be an expert to regularly produce good content; and second, if nobody’s done it before, there’s a good chance that’s because there’s no money in it. By choosing a broad niche (such as fashion or home renovation), you can target a wider audience and tap into a wealth of existing information and resources.

Anyone can be an affiliate. If you already have a blog or website (and lack the time or the ability to create a whole site dedicated to affiliate marketing) you can still work with businesses in your industry by linking to products that you use yourself or that you think your visitors would enjoy, or just by including a banner ad on your homepage.

Did you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Test out your affiliate marketing skills by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals, and $10 USD for every referral after that!

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use affiliate marketing to supplement your income, and if you have any questions about getting started, ask us in the comments below.

SegWit and the Future of Bitcoin

Bitcoin SegWit

Bitcoin has a scaling problem.

When the cryptocurrency software launched in 2009, the nature of the blockchain technology on which it was built meant that there was a hard cap on the total amount of transactions that could be processed in a given amount of time. In the past eight years, the basic technology hasn’t really changed, but the user base has grown so large that the Bitcoin network is struggling to handle the transaction volume, and unless something changes, this issue will only get worse over time.

Blockchain technology was designed by the anonymous developer(s) of Bitcoin and has come to be a core technology in almost all cryptocurrencies today. The Blockchain is a public ledger where all Bitcoin transactions are recorded and bundled into 10-minute blocks which are limited to a maximum size of 1MB. The scaling problem is the result of this size limit; Bitcoin has become so popular that it can no longer process all the transactions made within any given 10-minute period.

The Solution

To address this problem, developer Pieter Wuille has introduced to concept of SegWit, short for Segregated Witness. SegWit addresses Bitcoin’s scaling problem by “segregating” the transaction signature (the “witness”) from the input data. In short, signatures, which validate transactions, would be stored separately from the blockchain. This will free up more space within each block to store more transaction data and help streamline transaction processing.

Since signatures make up about 65% of the size of the input data, removing them can increase the effective block capacity by more than double. On top of that, SegWit also solves the problem of transaction malleability, a minor security flaw which makes it possible for hackers to change the signature of a transaction before the block is confirmed, which invalidates any later transactions in the chain.


The trouble with SegWit is that this still may not be enough to completely fix the problem. Bitcoin is growing so rapidly – now with over 10 million users making hundreds of thousands of transactions per day – that even doubling the capacity of a block is only a temporary solution. This was pointed out by the Bitcoin mining community, who took a stance against the developers, favoring a hard fork over the latter group’s proposed solution.

A hard fork is what happens to a blockchain when a new rule chain is introduced to the software that makes it incompatible with the previous version. For example, to upgrade the Bitcoin network in order to allow block sizes to increase from 1MB to 2MB would create a hard fork.

After some debate, the two parties have agreed to a compromise called SegWit2x, with the mining community agreeing to Segregated Witness in return for the execution of a 2MB hard fork within 6 months of SegWit implementation.


However, SegWit2x may be too little too late. Ironically, the sheer popularity of Bitcoin, which led to the scaling problem in the first place, meant that there were too many interested parties that needed to agree to the upgrade, causing the execution of SegWit to be delayed (it was originally suggested in 2015). Bitcoin competitor Litecoin recently executed the SegWit upgrade to their blockchain.

Litecoin, even though it is the 5th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is smaller than Bitcoin and therefore in a better position to adapt to the latest technologies available. Franklyn Richards, Litecoin Foundation director, initially admitted that the implementation of SegWit could serve as a test for Bitcoin, but the announcement in late March caused such a renewed interest in the Bitcoin competitor that Litecoin’s value tripled during the month of April and has doubled again since then, growing from roughly $5 USD to around $30.

This success has led many to speculate that Bitcoin missed their opportunity to capitalize on SegWit, leading segments of the cryptocurrency community to abandon the most popular coin in favor of newer, more innovative options.

The Future of Bitcoin

Bitcoin was originally developed with the goal of creating a decentralized currency, free of influence from political forces and the banking industry, and grew popular because of those ideologies. While it’s necessary for the developers of Bitcoin to make changes in order for the currency to survive, many Bitcoin enthusiasts believe that the proposed changes give too much power to the Bitcoin Foundation, thus making the currency no longer decentralized. If Litecoin or another altcoin develops a better way to solve the scalability problem while maintaining decentralization, it may spell the end of Bitcoin as we know it.

The power of digital currencies in today’s economy cannot be understated, as more people and companies invest in cryptocurrencies and retailers large and small begin accepting them as forms of payment both online and in-store. To learn about some of the leading Bitcoin competitors, check out our Beyond Bitcoin series:

Visit the Payza Blog regularly as we will be following cryptocurrencies closely in 2017 and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for e-commerce news from around the web.

Payza’s Complete Payment Solution for Businesses Using Bitcoin and Fiat Currencies

Payza Bitcoin API

In Payza’s latest Bitcoin update, the company announced that members can now hold Bitcoin right in their Payza e-wallets. This has a big impact on merchants who want to be able to accept payments in Bitcoin and traditional fiat currencies. It’s also exciting news for businesses who need to make Bitcoin payouts to their affiliates.

As a merchant, there are several ways to take advantage of Payza’s new Bitcoin features. You can now accept payment in Bitcoin, you can even set prices for your items directly in Bitcoin instead of having to peg that amount to a fiat currency. Bitcoin you receive can now be held right within your Payza e-wallet. You can instantly convert those Bitcoin to fiat currency whenever you like.

Bitcoin services for merchants

Payza is proud to offer new Bitcoin services for our merchants.

To complete our new range of Bitcoin services, we’re also updating our APIs to help merchants who make regular Mass Payments.

Automate your Bitcoin payouts

Payza’s MassPay API and Payza’s SendMoney API already make it possible for merchants to send multiple payments in a single click to other Payza members. These payments can be made in any currency Payza supports, which now includes Bitcoin.

But what if you need to make Bitcoin payouts to affiliates who don’t have a Payza account? That will soon be possible too. Payza’s team of developers is updating our APIs to let you send Bitcoin to other Bitcoin wallets with just one action. This will help you automate your payouts, regardless of where and how your recipients want to receive their payments.

If you make regular payouts in both Bitcoin and fiat currency, chances are right now you are using multiple solutions to facilitate your payments. With Payza, you can soon make all of your payouts using just one system, saving you time and trouble. Your affiliates will love it too, thanks to Payza’s low fees for Bitcoin transactions.

When using Payza’s APIs to automate your Bitcoin payouts, you’ll soon have two options on where to send those bitcoins. You can either use your recipient’s Payza email address to send bitcoins right to their Payza e-wallet, or you can enter their Bitcoin wallet address to send Bitcoin to an external wallet.