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The Future is Freedom: Why breaking free of the past is crucial to your next leap in business




Running a business is, by definition, demanding. Dealing with investors, employees and the general public whilst trying to build a solid reputation. Most of the time, we are able to rationalise our negative experiences, but occasionally, some comments can bring us down. 

One of the most important qualities is to develop a positive mindset, focusing on what’s going well. To live like this consistently and avoid getting bogged down, there are several proven strategies we can employ.

Don’t take it to heart

Firstly, we must recognise when we are reacting emotionally, rather than logically. This can be evidenced in thoughts such as: ‘Why did this bad thing happen to me?’, ‘I never hurt anyone’, or, ‘What that person said is so unfair .’ 

In business, we can’t afford to take everything personally. We don’t always know what’s motivating people to react negatively.

As difficult as it is, we must accept that business is tough. Not everyone will play fairly; some will even break the rules intentionally. As much as we’d like to focus on our financial objectives, future plans and goals, often we end up managing our emotions, dealing with inter-relational issues and navigating difficulties. 

This is a scenario that the Mikkelsen twins have grappled with, on several occasions. Rasmus Mikkelsen and Christian Mikkelsen, Co-Founders of Publishing Life, run an online education business that teaches regular everyday people how to replace their 9-5 job by creating passive income with self-publishing. 

Commenting on the personal challenges that can emerge occasionally, Rasmus says: “Sometimes, we’ll get messages where people don’t agree with our opinion or don’t like our easy-going nature. I used to get offended by their criticism and felt like I was doing something wrong. Now I’ve learnt that you can’t make everybody happy. The bigger you get, the more often you’ll see this. But the truth is, for every 1 person that is unhappy, I’ve made 10 other people happy. So I focus on that instead.”

Christian adds: “We always look forward and focus on our goals instead; things like this just don’t get us down. We’ve developed a new identity in the last few years— a more emotionally mature version of our younger selves, especially as the business has grown and we’ve taken on additional business responsibilities. Now we are both happily married, and focused on achieving our business goals to provide for our families.”

Reframe the events 

As an entrepreneur, when confrontation arises, whether it’s a disagreement with an employee or a bad review in the press, it’s vital to be able to defuse the situation and de-escalate a potential flash point. One way of doing this is to reframe your thoughts and feelings. Begin to look at events from a fresh perspective so that they no longer evoke the same negative response.  

For example, instead of focusing on how angry a comment made you feel, you can try to imagine what motivated the behavior. The key is compassion. How upset must the person have been at that moment? What events must have been going on in someone’s life to make them so angry or combative? 

By changing the narrative, and viewing events from a different angle, your emotions can start to change. Not only will you recover faster from drama, experiencing less cognitive drain, but you’ll also be able to turn your attention to more pressing matters like your business success. 

Rasmus comments: “Not everyone is going to react positively to everything you do. That’s just life. The trick is not to fight fire with fire: you have to empathize with others and try to understand what might be going on inside them. Why are they acting this way? Are they being driven by hurt? Is this coming from a ‘positive place’.”

Use negative events as a springboard into your future

It’s a common misconception that our business lives would be better if we didn’t have problems and setbacks. The opposite is actually true. You need a little bit of resistance and a little bit of difficulty to energize you, focus your efforts and make you more resilient. 

Think of the analogy of rubbing your hands with sandpaper. If you rub too hard, you cause your hands to bleed. However, if you rub it just a little bit every day, you will soon develop tough, impenetrable calluses. 

The Mikkelsen’s have certainly learned from their experiences over the last few years and have been able to turn that resistance and difficulty into a growing business. For them, there is no ‘secret’ to success; it is the ability to stick with something long enough to reap the rewards. 

 Christian adds, “If only people would do the hard work, and not just give up when things get tough. The perfect example is our business. We focused on one important thing for years, rather than dabbling for a few months and then trying something else. You see new trends all the time and instead of jumping on the bandwagon, we knew the future was in digital publishing. It’s not a “sexy” opportunity like crypto, but it’s an emerging market that’s here to stay and is growing each and every year.

Focus on life’s essentials 

He continues, “Adversity has a knack of stripping away what is unnecessary, unhelpful or untrue. When you’re faced with problems, you rethink your values. What do I believe in? What do I want to achieve?”

It seems inevitable that every seasoned businessperson will go through the fires of adversity: a process that burns off the dross of uncertainty and indecision and reveals a clarity of purpose. Some call it your ‘life’s mission’ or ‘calling’. In a business setting, this is invaluable. Knowing what you’re good at and how you can add value is the key to reaching your highest business potential. 

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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Business Strategies of Michael Gastauer




Michael Gastauer, a German billionaire and entrepreneur, has led Black Banx to remarkable heights with his innovative strategies in the digital banking sector. As the founder and CEO, his vision has transformed Black Banx into a significant player in the global financial industry, serving millions and revolutionizing banking practices. 

Gastauer’s approach has been distinctly customer-centric, focusing on solving real-world problems through accessible financial services. This strategy has not only captured a vast market share but also established Black Banx as a model of innovative fintech success.

Innovate Early and Often, Invest Strategically

Gastauer’s journey began with a robust foundation in the fintech sector, where he initially created and later sold a payment services company for US$480 million. 

This significant capital boost allowed him to invest in his next venture: Black Banx. Launched in 2014, Black Banx differentiated itself by offering real-time account opening and cross-border payment solutions to a global audience, addressing major inefficiencies in traditional banking. 

Gastauer’s foresight in identifying and investing in these key areas early on allowed Black Banx to scale quickly and efficiently. His strategy was clear: leverage high initial investment to accelerate growth and secure a substantial market presence before competitors could catch up.

Within a year of its inception, Black Banx expanded rapidly, reaching over 1 million customers. This was just the beginning, as the platform soon integrated cryptocurrency options, enhancing its appeal and utility for a broader client base. By the end of 2018, Black Banx was valued at US$9.8 billion, a testament to its rapid growth and the successful implementation of its business model. 

Gastauer’s bold move to integrate cryptocurrencies early in the game positioned Black Banx as a pioneering force in fintech, well ahead of traditional banks.

Pinpoint Problems and/or Challenges

One of the core components of Gastauer’s strategy was to tackle financial exclusion head-on. Black Banx made significant strides in offering banking solutions to the unbanked and underbanked, particularly in regions with limited access to traditional banking services. 

By leveraging technology and strategic partnerships with mobile network operators, Black Banx has been able to extend its reach and offer innovative banking solutions to millions worldwide. This strategic alignment with mobile operators has been crucial, as it taps into an existing infrastructure to reach remote areas, significantly lowering the cost of expansion.

The platform’s ability to facilitate quick, cost-effective international money transfers has been a game-changer, particularly in markets like the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. This not only supports individuals and businesses in these regions but also contributes to the overall growth and stability of the global economy. 

Gastauer’s focus on simplifying and reducing the cost of these transactions demonstrates a deep understanding of the core needs of his customers, thereby enhancing customer loyalty and trust in the brand.

Take a Tech-Driven Approach

Under Gastauer’s leadership, Black Banx has remained at the forefront of technological integration within the banking sector. The adoption of blockchain, AI, and data analytics has enabled the platform to offer personalized financial services, enhancing customer experience and satisfaction. 

This technology-driven approach ensures that Black Banx stays ahead of industry trends and continues to offer relevant and secure banking options. Gastauer’s commitment to integrating advanced technology not only streamlines operations but also provides a scalable model that supports continuous growth and adaptation in a rapidly evolving market.

Leave No Market Unturned

Gastauer’s vision for Black Banx was never limited to a single region. By 2023, the company had expanded its services to include 28 FIAT and two cryptocurrencies, with a robust presence in over 180 countries. This global approach has not only diversified the company’s customer base but also minimized regional economic risks, allowing Black Banx to thrive in a competitive and fast-changing financial landscape. 

The strategic decision to operate across diverse markets also mitigates the risk of localized economic downturns affecting the overall health of the company.

Set Milestones

The year 2023 was a landmark year for Black Banx, as it reached 39 million customers and reported revenues of US$2.3 billion. The company’s ability to maintain a high rate of customer acquisition and satisfaction speaks volumes about its effective strategies and customer-focused approach. 

The first quarter of 2024 continued this trend, with Black Banx announcing a pre-tax profit of US$639 million and revenues of US$2.1 billion, driven by strategic implementations like fixed monthly account maintenance fees. Gastauer’s strategy to introduce fixed fees was a calculated risk that paid off, providing stable revenue streams and further solidifying Black Banx’s financial foundation.

Michael Gastauer’s strategic foresight and relentless innovation have propelled Black Banx to new heights, making it a leader in the digital banking sector. His commitment to financial inclusion, coupled with an aggressive expansion strategy and technological integration, has not only shaped the future of Black Banx but has also set a new standard in the industry. 

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