Happy New Year To Russia

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With love from Microsoft. Apparently those Russian hackers have accessed more of Microsoft’s network than originally thought. We’re talking about the hackers from December 2020’s hackathon where major players like Microsoft were hacked. The hackers found their way into all of this through SolarWinds, ironically enough a major player in the network monitoring services arena.

One account in particular was used to look at source code in a number of “different source code repositories”. Uh oh.

Sure, they couldn’t change or modify any of the code or engineering systems, but they can definitely use that code to clone and manipulate at their own discretion. The hackers weren’t able to see internal services, products or emails, but viewing their source code… eh…

Microsoft is currently trying to downplay it. The company said, “we do not rely on the secrecy of source code for the security of products, and our threat models assume that attackers have knowledge of source code, so viewing source code isn’t tied to elevation of risk.”

Still though, major industry players, Microsoft clients and government officials are even more concerned with this information.

Hopefully January 2021 will be kind to us, but if not, this might be the first political and security scandal we deal with.

How Dunkin’ Is Beating Starbucks At Their Own Game

What once was a cheap, hole-in-the wall, mediocre donut shop is now a viral brand beating Starbucks at their own game. They even sell $34 candles that smell like a (no offense) crappy cup of $2 Dunkin’ coffee. The company partnered with Homesick, the popular natural candle company, along with selling mini fridges, scrunchies and bedding.

They’re kinda going the Taco Bell route in order to regain brand loyalty and popularity. Drayton Martin, Dunkin’s vice president of brand stewardship says the company’s goal is to have people say, “wow, I didn’t expect that from Dunkin’.”

They’re doing a good job.

Dunkin’ has also taken over social media by partnering with TikTok influencer Carli D’Amelio, coming out with new drink names that rival Starbucks, like the Sugarplum Macchiato, and creating eye-appealing merch that generates thousands of retweets on Twitter. Dunkin’ saw an increase in sales by 0.9% in the third quarter, the same day Starbucks announced their sales were down by 9%.

The one struggle the company is still trying to get over is being seen as just a New England brand, or, like their name says, that they just sell donuts. They’ve built up their product line with espresso-based drinks, have added matcha, Beyond Meat Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches, and beat Starbucks at adding oat milk options to the menu. They also left locations open when Starbucks closed most of theirs due to the pandemic.

Not to mention Gen Zers love Dunkin’ on TikTok.

Do you think Dunkin’ can overtake Starbucks brand reputation and loyalty? Hit reply and tell us!

How To Spend In Order To Scale

A lot of budding entrepreneurs have dollar signs in their eyes in hopes of surpassing that six-figure mark in business. The next goal is multiple six-figures, then a million, then multi-millions and so on. But what a lot of entrepreneurs don’t think about is how they’re going to spend that money in order to keep growing and scaling their company.

Morgan Overholt left her 9-to-5 in 2017 to start freelancing as a graphic designer. In just three months she was able to duplicate her previous salary at $75,000 per year. Two years later, Morgan makes about $200,000 a year and is projected for the same amount of growth. And yes, that is $200,000 is her take home after business expenses and taxes. Most of her income comes from Upwork, the freelancing job board website, or word of mouth contracts. She’s got a small amount of income that comes from an office rental she purchased, and that’s about it.

But instead of blowing all her cash each month, Morgan first treats taxes and retirement contributions like regular expenses. She uses a simplified employee pension individual retirement account (SEP IRA) and maxes out her tax-deductible contributions as much as possible. Outside of designing, she has bought and sold three houses in the past 10 years, losing money on the first, breaking even on the second and profiting majorly on the third.

Morgan is constantly looking for ways to grow or diversify her income. She’s planning on getting enough renters in her office space to cover the mortgage, starting a travel company with her husband and sister, and starting a freelancing blog which she’ll place advertisements on. Early retirement is the goal.

What’s one thing about your spending you plan to change in 2021 to increase and diversify your income, or grow your business? Hit reply and let us know your plans!

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