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Are you meant to be an entrepreneur? According to Operation Hope, 43% of children and teens say they want to start their own business one day but less than 15% of adults in the United States are involved in entrepreneurship.

Are some people born to be entrepreneurs while others struggle with the decision or never achieve entrepreneurial success because they were never meant to be an entrepreneur in the first place?

Here are characteristics that show you are meant to be an entrepreneur, according to science.

1. You are a Self-Starter

People who take the initiative and start something like a club in college, for instance, or a weekly get-together for like-minded colleagues typically consider themselves self-starters. Then there are people who think that they are self-starters but they are in fact just play around with ideas without ever taking action.

It turns out, what you believe might matter more than whether you are in fact are a self-starter or not. In a 2024 study, people with self-control who believe they were self-starters turned out to be 1.5 times more likely to become entrepreneurs than others who didn’t think they were self-starters.

Being a self-starter also helps people better cope with failure. Getting back up after a financial or emotional hit without help is important for long-term success. As a result of consistently getting back on their feet, self-starters are persistent. This is not to be confused with patience. Patience implies that one is at ease throughout the “trial period” until something works. Persistence in relation to being a self-starter, on the other hand, implies perseverance, will power, and self-discipline.

2. You Have a Parent who is an Entrepreneur

According to the Young Entrepreneurs Study, also referred to as “The YES Study”, having a parent who is an entrepreneur is one of the main indicators you have chances of being a successful entrepreneur yourself.

Nearly 50% of start-uppers in the study have a parent who runs a business compared to merely 30% of other students. In addition to being surrounded with an entrepreneurial mindset throughout childhood, children of entrepreneurs grow up with the idea that starting a business is a perfectly feasible career path.

To the contrary, children from families with a long history of 9-5 employment may hear frequently to get a job and work hard to make it in life. They may, therefore, grow up with the idea that a job is not only a necessity to gain recognition from society but that starting a business is risky, out of the box and not a real job. The entrance barrier into entrepreneurship is therefore much higher.

3. You are Charismatic

Charisma can be learned, and if you are habitually charismatic or have improved your charisma over time, you are likely to have one important characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. Charisma is a key skill when it comes to winning negotiations and getting people on board with your ideas. Steve Jobs is known to have come across awkwardly at his first presentations and had worked tirelessly on being more charismatic during public appearances.

Charismatic people frequently mimic other people’s body language, also known as emotional contagion. It makes people feel like you are connecting and they can better identify with you. This is the basis for trust, which helps not only in negotiations but many other life and business situations.

4. You are Actively Developing Your Business Skills

According to The Wall Street Journal, people who are actively working on improving their business skills are more likely to become entrepreneurs. Students who are majoring in business or take finance and business classes frequently develop an instinct for investment opportunities and are more financially aware. Both of these skills are an important factor of entrepreneurship.

The difference between flirting with the idea of entrepreneurship and having a feeling you will definitely open your own business one day makes the difference between passively and actively considering the decision to become an entrepreneur. The closer you are to the latter, the more likely you are to translate ideas into reality.

5. You are Improving Existing Concepts

According to Business Insider, creativity plays an important role in entrepreneurship. Three-quarters of aspiring entrepreneurs, compared to 47% of other professions, demonstrated innovative thinking by creatively improving an existing product.

The key learning here is that innovation does not necessarily mean a new product or service has to be invented from scratch but that innovation more often than not is the ability to see flaws and opportunities in existing products or concepts. Innovative people are frequently solution oriented and resourceful when it comes to problem-solving tasks.

Thoughts on Scientific Entrepreneurship Studies

I believe most studies that are trying to decipher a true entrepreneurial personality type ignore the fact that there are several types of entrepreneurs. Science looks at the person who runs a business as the entrepreneur. While most small businesses are run by who Michael Gerber refers to as “technicians” in his bestselling book “The E-Myth Revisited”.

He categorizes business owners in three categories:

Technicians – The expert, the specialist, the craftsman. A typical technician statement is “If you want it done right, you do it yourself”.

Managers – The planner, the pragmatic supervisor. Managers spend the vast majority of their time learning from experience and creating predictability.

Entrepreneurs – The business strategist, the catalyst for change. Entrepreneurs do not operate their business, they make strategic choices to get closer to the bigger picture they have in mind.

To better explain the difference between technician, manager, and entrepreneur, let’s use marketing agencies as an example.

There are people who own marketing agencies but are actually not very good marketers. These are mostly entrepreneurs. As a matter of fact, if several employees got food poisoning and couldn’t come in for a day or two, most entrepreneurs wouldn’t know how to complete their own employees’ tasks. Their skill is to work on a business – not in it – and find people who compensate for their lack of expert knowledge in the field.

Then, there are marketing agencies that are owned by marketers that know every little detail there is to know about their specific expertise such as PPC, SEO, AdWords, Facebook Ads, Social Media Management, and so on. These are the technicians.

They have expert knowledge and focus the vast majority of their day on providing the actual service because that’s what they do best. In an ideal scenario, they hire an office manager or surround themselves with freelancers and virtual assistants to compensate for the managerial side. While it may be beneficial to hire a CEO, most companies never grow to a size where both a manager and a CEO makes sense.

Last but not least, the manager. While the manager frequently also has expert knowledge, the true talent lies in organizing other people’s time and tasks to maximize profitability for the company. This is frequently a COO position.

Does that mean that technicians and managers aren’t entrepreneurs?

Not at all.

It just means there are usually tendencies where people’s talents are best allocated. By following their talents, they can usually make the biggest positive impact by giving in to those tendencies.

Science seems to think that entrepreneurs and managers are the same thing and largely forgets about technicians in many of the studies I have seen. More so, they suggest that technicians cannot be entrepreneurs in the first place. I believe this is due to the fact that technicians frequently acquire their specialist knowledge in employment and not as entrepreneurs. Therefore, they are employed at the point in time most studies are conducted because studies usually focus students and people in their twenties.

Michael Gerber touches upon the highly controversial topic of what makes small businesses successful. According to Forbes, 90% of startups fail so understanding what it takes to be part of the remaining 10% is highly valuable information.

Considering that there is a bit of technician, manager, and entrepreneur in all of us and that we most likely have a tendency to be best at one of the three, Gerber is implying is the following.

You can be a bad manager and still have a successful business

You don’t need to know your craft to have a successful business

As long as you know what your strengths are, you can profitably compensate what you don’t want to focus your time on

In Conclusion

I am convinced that entrepreneurial skills can be learned. At the same time, I have received the impression over the last few years that people who enjoy entrepreneurship have always wanted to open a business one day. So if you ask me whether there are people who are meant to be an entrepreneur or not, my answer would be yes.

The path to get there might not always be the same, but if it is meant to happen, an entrepreneur will make it happen.

Additionally, I think a significant percentage of businesses are owned by people who might not fit all the entrepreneurial characteristics science thinks are indicators of entrepreneurship. The question whether science has simply found characteristics that likely result in entrepreneurship or whether results actually show increased chances of being successful in entrepreneurship has not been answered. Considering how many businesses fail, it would be interesting to see studies that reveal characteristics of successful versus unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Over to you! What do you feel identifies people who are meant to be an entrepreneur?

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8 Important Signs If Entrepreneurship Is Right For You?

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Every year Forbes releases the list of the world’s top billionaires and arouses reader interest as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim Helu, Amancio Ortega, among others, vie for the top position based on their shareholdings and other wealth. In the Indian context, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries with $19.3 bn net worth, Dilip Sanghvi of Sun Pharmaceuticals with a net worth of $16.9 bn, and Azim Premji of Wipro are the toppers. The list reveals one common factor to all billionaires: they are not workers or top employees but businessmen who took the risk to start their own entrepreneurship business or continued the glorious tradition set by their parents or grandparents.

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Is Entrepreneurship For You?

It is common for many young men and women to think they cannot start a business independently. This can be due to various reasons, such as a lack of entrepreneurship ideas, unwillingness to take a risk, or insufficient entrepreneurship finance or infrastructure. It may be recalled that the legendary N R Narayana Murthy, who co-founded Infosys with a few other professionals, set up their venture in a car garage. Many banks refused to finance their project in the initial years, and Murthy himself met clients to market their services.

Likewise can be true for other brands. It may have been mostly started from the garage of a house, e.g., Amazon, Harley Davidson, Apple, Google Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, etc. One of the largest selling voltage stabilizers, V-Guard, from South India, had humble beginnings. The founder, Mr. Kochouseph Chittilapilly, himself distributed the products directly to shops in a used scooter he bought and Rs 1 lakh he borrowed from his father, who was a peasant. But now, he is a millionaire, having listed V-Guard industries and operations in the leisure, electrical, and manufacturing industries. The legendary Dhirubhai Ambani rose from humble beginnings selling clothes in wholesale markets in Mumbai much before his Reliance Industries became known for its investments in petrochemicals, oil, and telecom.

So what matters is not big money, infrastructure, or bank funding but a burning desire to make it top by relentlessly pursuing your idea.

8 Important Signs of Entrepreneurship

So here are the 8 most important signs that will explain if entrepreneurship is right for you:

1. Find a need/problem and fill it

Success in any business depends on identifying a need and filling it. Tata spent millions of rupees developing the Nano car, but it was to fill the need of the teeming middle class in India who wanted a small, very affordable, and fuel-efficient car. It also helped them tap into the market for those looking for a second car to ride. Many of the success stories in business were created by identifying a need and filling it, applying to low-budget airlines, solar panels and inverters, e-commerce ventures such as Amazon and Flipkart, vacuum cleaners, LED

2. Have sufficient money to last for at least six months

Many entrepreneurs work for a few years in a high-paying job and then quit starting their own venture. A new project may take over a few months or years to break even. Meanwhile, even if the promoters may have to go without a salary or any dividends. Hence it makes sense to work initially and save money before starting a new venture.

3. Focus on cash flows before profit

From small trading businesses to big industries, cash flow is paramount as it is the entity’s lifeblood. Every month rents, salaries, stationery, and petty cash expenses come up, and there should be sufficient cash flow for such recurring costs. If the entrepreneurship organization has to borrow to meet its routine expenses, it runs into trouble. It is said that a company can survive without profits for so many years, and it may mean no dividend declaration for its shareholders. However, if there is no cash flow, the entrepreneurship organization will have to wind up its operations even if it runs on profit. In the initial months, promoters themselves don’t draw any salary or fix very low salaries in comparison to what they are eligible for to ensure cash flow.

4. Make use of incubators/angel funding

In recent years, there has been news of many bright engineering and management students who have shunned lucrative job offers to start their own ventures. The most difficult part of any start-up entrepreneurship business is to have the necessary infrastructure and funding to keep going. Banks shy away from startup projects as there is no track record to go by, making them appear very risky. Hence, many engineering and management students who want to set up a business utilize the incubation facility in technology parks set up by the government or start off the incubation facility within the campus and remain there for a year or two before moving out to their own premises. However, they may require some funding for it which angel investors provide.

5. Have a good business idea

They must have a clear entrepreneurship business plan, marketing strategy, innovative technology or product, and potential to grow big. Angel funding may be the best option to raise money under most circumstances, but it doesn’t come easy. You have to go through meetings, negotiations, project appraisals, and personal assessments before getting access to funds.

Until such funds are available, you may have to depend on your parents, close friends, and family members or even pledge some gold or immovable property to keep going.

6. Venture Funding for growth

As the company grows, you may still need more capital for technology infusion, marketing, launching innovative products, and expansion to other territories. Here, the due diligence would be much stricter than in the case of angel funding. They would examine the balance sheet, accounting procedures, the future of the company’s products and services, potential technology disruptions, and many risk factors facing the company. They will seek one or two seats on the director board and close to 40% more share capital. Since the venture fund wants to exit after getting a good valuation, they will seek to closely examine your track record in the market, your strategies, plans, and potential strength in introducing new products.

8. Learn about business, understand and invest

There are debates about whether one can learn entrepreneurship or not. However, several universities and institutions worldwide have started entrepreneurship programs of one-year or two-year duration. In India, the Ahmedabad-based Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India is offering a postgraduate diploma in Management-Business Entrepreneurship (PGDM-BE). It equips students to identify new entrepreneurship opportunities, starting a new venture, the procedures, preparing project reports, marketing strategies, financial planning and control, human and resources management, logistics.

Without proper entrepreneurship training and guidance, many new entrepreneurs may lose money, get stuck in projects, and seek the support of foundations that give guidance to overcome the crisis.

However, in Forbes magazine, Andrew Yang, promoting entrepreneurship in the US, wrote that the entrepreneurship training module does not seem to be delivered. The number of entrepreneurship training programs has quadrupled in the past 25 years. Still, there has only been a decline in private business ownership among households with people under 30 years. This shows that many students who complete the entrepreneurship program do not end up doing their own business.

Business is not about 100% success but also taking failure in your stride. Bill Gates failed in his first venture, as did many other successful businessmen. But it’s not easy to teach how to handle failure in the classroom. It is an attitude that has to be developed. Likewise, bundling all issues related to starting a business in a two-year program may make it look daunting for students, hesitating to begin one and fearing all the risks and failures.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurship is undoubtedly the best way to attain wealth and prosperity and lead a fulfilling life compared to holding on to a highly-paid job with more risks and uncertainties. However, every entrepreneur should possess a few entrepreneurship qualities irrespective of whether he has undergone an MBA, engineering, entrepreneurship MBA, or is just a school/college dropout. Entrepreneurship needs courage, vision, the ability to take risks, be willing to change, and, more importantly, communication skills and leadership qualities.

However, you don’t need to be an extrovert. Many of successful businessmen have been introverts. According to Bill Gates, introverts can quietly slip away from the crowd, remain somewhere for a few days, and devise a solution. Or else the entrepreneur can hire some extroverts and utilize their entrepreneurship skills where required. The other techniques that introverted businessmen use are to act the extrovert’s part even when holding their introverted qualities in other compartments of life. This goes on to prove that introverted entrepreneurship nature need not be a hindrance to entrepreneurship.

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Iphone On Verizon? 5 Reasons To Be Skeptical

Another day, another iPhone rumor–so is this one for real? The current buzz around the blogosphere is that Apple is preparing to offer its iPhone over Verizon’s network, therein ending its thus-far-exclusive arrangement with AT&T. Before you immediately believe the hype, allow me to provide a few reasons to think twice.

The rumor, published by Indian blog chúng tôi and attributed vaguely to “deep throats” within Apple, states that an iPhone-Verizon announcement will be made “soon.” The site also points to past job postings on Apple’s Web site for engineers specializing in EVDO and CDMA technology–two wireless broadband standards currently supported by Verizon’s network and not AT&T’s. (The standards are said to provide a far faster network than AT&T’s EDGE-based platform.)

“While EVDO could cover a wide range of 3G skills, it is more likely that Apple is specifically after the Verizon Wireless standard,” chúng tôi infers.

The report goes on to note past rumors that AT&T has been dissatisfied with the reach of its iPhone coverage on AT&T’s network alone, suggesting that “Steve Jobs misjudged [AT&T’s] control over the U.S. wireless market” and that Apple may be “hammering out a more open deal” while Jobs is away from the office on medical leave.

Reality Check, Aisle Two…

Right now, the rumor is no more than speculation–and, as anyone who follows iPhone news knows, there’s always plenty of that to go around. Apple, of course, is staying mum on the matter (representatives weren’t immediately available to answer our questions), but here are five reasons for some healthy skepticism about this latest scuttlebutt:

Yessir, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an iPhone-Verizon deal. Back in September, Apple blog chúng tôi suggested agreements between the two companies would be finalized by the end of 2008. (At least one tech publication is already distancing itself from this week’s report because of that.) The site said an announcement could come as early as MacWorld 2009. To be fair, it also said the deal could be revealed anytime during the year, so interpret as you wish.

While the details have varied over time, most news outlets have put AT&T’s exclusivity deal with Apple at a minimum of two years. This past July, USA Today said AT&T signed an extension that gave it exclusive distribution rights through 2010, modifying the original contract that provided Apple the option of bringing in other carriers in 2009.

Jobs may be off the clock right now, but one has to question whether he would be completely uninvolved in such a major decision–and whether his staff, knowing his plans to return within a matter of months, would even consider doing something he is said to oppose.

Go search Apple’s jobs site for the EVDO engineer positions mentioned in the rumor report–they’re no longer there. Moreover, the specific

In the iPhone’s infancy, Verizon turned down a deal for the smartphone–apparently because Apple was “demanding control of marketing, pricing,” and other considerations. Execs even later stated they were “relieved” they hadn’t accepted the offer. Given the iPhone’s success, is Apple likely to loosen the reins and ease those concerns now?

With all of that said, of course, things do change–and hey, sometimes rumors do turn true. (Like with the long-discussed $99 iPhone deal. Sort of.) All I’m saying is that we have to keep things in perspective and look at the big picture. There are plenty of holes in the Verizon deal theory, and even if there weren’t, you can’t be certain of anything with Apple until it’s made official.

Just ask these guys.

Microsoft Ceo: “Every App Is Going To Be An Ai App”

During a recent earnings call with shareholders, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, stated that artificial intelligence would eventually be included in all of the company’s applications.

After discussing Microsoft’s financial performance for the last quarter, Nadella answered questions about AI and its expected integration into more products.

Given Microsoft’s commitment to expanding its partnership with OpenAI, it makes sense that shareholders would have questions about when Microsoft plans to use the technology it’s investing in.

Although Nadella wasn’t willing to give a specific date, he stated that AI would be integrated into all of Microsoft’s applications in the future.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Nadella’s statements regarding AI and briefly summarize the relevant highlights from Microsoft’s earnings report.

Nadella Says Every Microsoft App Will Be An AI App

Tyler Radke, the Lead Analyst at Citi, asked Nadella about the extent to which AI will be employed throughout Microsoft Azure, which is the cloud computing platform that runs its applications.

This was Nadella’s response:

Nadella is saying it’s too early to separate AI into its own category because it’s becoming a core part of all products.

He believes AI will be integrated into all apps over time and will also be integrated with storage and other forms of computing beyond just GPU inferencing.

In response to a question from Keith Weiss of Morgan Stanley, Nadella expressed a similar sentiment, saying investors should expect AI to be included in everything.

“I think the way for our investors to see this is we fundamentally believe that the next big platform wave, as I said, is going to be AI. And we strongly also believe a lot of the enterprise value gets created by just being able to catch these waves, and then have those waves impact every part of our tech stack, and also create new solutions and new opportunities…

And so, we fully expect us to sort of incorporate AI in every layer of the stack, whether it’s in productivity, whether it’s in our consumer services.”

Other Highlights From Microsoft’s Earnings Call

Microsoft announced that in the last quarter of 2023, it made $52.7 billion in revenue, which is 2% more than the year before.

However, the company’s profit is down due to decreases in operating income, net income, and earnings per share.

One of the most notable highlights is the increase in LinkedIn revenue by 10%. This indicates the professional networking platform is performing well and that businesses can feel confident investing their time in it.

Another highlight from the report is the increase in revenue for server products and cloud services by 20%. This growth was driven by the revenue of Azure and other cloud services, which increased by 31%.

This indicates that Microsoft’s cloud services are becoming increasingly popular in the market, which bodes well for the future of the company’s partnership with OpenAI.

Despite a slight decrease in profit, the company’s overall financial performance remains strong.

Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: ThomasAFink/Shutterstock

Should You Defrag An Ssd?

Defragment is a popular utility used to boost the performance of our computers. It is widely known that defragging hard drives works well to make our devices faster. 

But do they work on the SSDs?

SSDs are a great find in the storage device segment, with features such as high read/write speeds, low power consumption, and much more. A common notion is that defragging SSDs can amplify these features. 

Contrary to what is believed, defragging the SSD won’t give you the expected results and can even severely affect the drive’s performance in the long run.

In this article, we’ll look at how defragmentation works on SSDs and whether it’s necessary.

Before diving into how the defragment works, it’s a good idea to understand how a hard disk functions. A hard disk has a cluster of spaces known as the sectors. A hard disk contains many sectors, each of which stores some amount of data. These sectors are located on the platter where the data are stored magnetically.

For instance, if a sector’s size is 1 byte, it can hold up an equivalent amount of data in it. The actuator arm of the disk positions the read/write head over the spinning platter to access the storage spaces of the HDD.

Fragmented and Defragmented HDD

Simply put, fragmentation is the situation in which the pieces of data stored are scattered. When the disk is defragmented, these pieces are placed in proximity to each other, which reduces the access time.  

As discussed earlier, the files stored on the HDD are scattered into pieces and stored all over the disk. Continuous writing, deletion, and modification of the file make fragmentation obvious. This reduces performance by increasing read and write time, eventually slowing down the computer.

Fragmented and Defragmented Blocks on Hard drive

Defragmenting a hard drive places the chunks of large files that were previously scattered into a single contiguous block. This decreases the rotational latency and head seeking of HDD, which means lesser time taken to assemble the pieces of the file.

SDD, on the other hand, does not have any moving parts with it. SSDs use integrated circuits to store data, most commonly the NAND flash. Unlike the HDD, the SSD does not store on sectors, rather, these data get stored on pages and blocks.

Solid-state Drive

Data is arranged in these blocks through the floating gate transistors that hold the electrical charge. The data available on each block can be accessed at the same speed. This reduces the read and write latency, which sets the SSDs performance apart from the HDD. And this is also the reason that fragmentation holds little or no effect on the performance of SSDs.

Defragging the SSD, obviously, stacks up the related pieces of the file together.  However, the access time of the SSD, even after the defragment, will remain the same. 

It is undeniable that defragging an HDD improves its performance and longevity. Reduced data fragmentation decreases the overall workload of the HDD’s hardware components. When this happens, the platters need to spin less, and the read/write arm and the actuator have little work to do. 

But does this fact holds up true in the case of SSDs? Here’s how defragging impacts the overall performance and durability of the SSD. 

With the detailed discussion earlier, it can be deduced that defragging has no positive impact on the efficiency and longevity of the SSD. The defragment utility has been designed for mechanical drives to minimize fragmentation and reduce the workload of their internal components. 

However, defragging becomes futile in the case of SSDs with no mechanical components and fragmentation having no major effect on their performance. 

SSD do tend to get cluttered by the blocks of unusable data, and it remains unaware of this. This is where the TRIM command comes in. TRIM is based on Active Garbage Collection, which helps to get rid of these useless data and organize the SSD.

Trimming SSDs will wipe the specific pages or the blocks when you delete a file on your computer. Next time data is written over that block, the SSD can use the space as new without having to perform the clean-up process. This makes the writing process more efficient and even makes the life of the SSD longer. The only downside is this will also make recovering data difficult on SSDs.

It is also worth noting that Windows 10 and 11 have been programmed to disable defragmentation for SSDs. Instead, Windows suggests performing Optimization,  which uses the TRIM command to maximize the drive’s performance. It is even scheduled to run weekly by default on Windows devices. 

Therefore, Windows users do not need to worry much about the fragmentation and stuff on their SSDs as the OS handles the optimization independently. 

Here’s how you can manually trim and optimize the SSD on Windows devices. 

This will manually start the TRIM process and optimize the SSD. You can even configure the optimization schedule to run TRIM automatically on Windows. 

10 Google Tag Manager Variables You Need To Be Using

In this guide, I’ll be going over my top 10 Google Tag Manager variables and give you a brief overview of each one.

I won’t get too much into how each variable actually works but I will go into some of the ways you can use them in GTM.

Variables are like placeholders within Google Tag Manager that let you fill your tags, triggers, and other variables with this placeholder information. These variables get resolved during the page load and can hold different values.

The Top 10 GTM variables are:

1. Data Layer Variable

The first variable is the Data Layer Variable. If you have a Data Layer already set up on your page, you’ll be able to pull out the data stored in the value of Data Layer and transfer it to a Data Layer Variable as shown in the visitorType example below:

Once you have set up your Data Layer Variable, you will see it under Variables.

How to Set Up a Data Layer Variable?

To set up your Data Layer Variable, simply go over to Google Tag Manager and on the variables panel, create a new variable of the type Data Layer Variables. In this case, we want to pull out the value of our visitor logged out and store it in a Data Layer Variable. 

To do this, simply enter the key into the Data Layer Variable Name field and you’ll be able to then pull this out of the Data Layer and store it in a variable.

Once done, you will see that you’ve successfully set up the visitorType Data Layer Variable.

There are a few other tricks to this Data Layer Variable. You can check it out here: 

2. Auto-Event Variable How to Enable Auto-Event Variables?

To enable Auto-Event Variables, go over to your variable menu and Configure your built-in variables. 

3. Google Analytics Settings Variable

The third is the Google Analytics Settings Variable. Google Analytics Settings Variable is simply a variable that will fill out any areas that use this variable with the same value. If the value of this variable is then changed at a later date all the areas that use this variable will be updated.

This saves a lot of time manually updating and keeping track of important fields in your account.

Why Is Using the Google Analytics Settings Variable so Useful?

If you have Google Analytics installed through Google Tag Manager, and you have several tags that are sending data over to Google Analytics, you can use the Google Analytics Settings variable to fill out fields in GTM with your Google Analytics Tracking ID from one centralized location, making it easy to swap out this value for something else down the road. 

Setting Up a Google Analytics Variable

Below is an example of Tracking ID. This is something we would need to repeat all over again. For convenience, we can simply build a new Google Analytics Settings Variable that will prefill this Tracking ID field.

To build a new Google Analytics variable you should fill the Tracking ID and press Save. 

Here in the settings variable drop-down, choose the variable you made. Turn off the enable override settings in this tag so all the settings that would normally be put into these fields here are now governed by one central variable, the Google Analytics Settings Variable. 

4. URL Query Variable

The next variable is the URL Query Variable. This variable is particularly useful if you see any kind of query string in your URL and would like to get its information.  Learn more about URL variable in this post:

How to Pull Information through the URL Query Variable?

To pull out information through the URL Query Variable, go over and create a new variable of the type URL.

Choose Query as the component type, then type in the Query Key.

The key is whatever is in front of the equal sign of your desired value. In this sample, it would be simply s.

5. Referrer Variable

The Referrer Variable is a variable that is already built in and also enabled by default. You could find it under your variable menu shown below: 

What is a Referrer Variable?

Referrer Variable is the URL that the user just came from, before he entered a page. We could utilize this to always fire a tag when somebody comes from chúng tôi for example, or we could also utilize this in our other tags to send that data to our analytics tools.

6. 1st Party Cookie Variable

Unfortunately, Google Tag Manager cannot remember anything that was going on beforehand. Each page load means a new loading of Google Tag Manager. With web development, you can persist the data. And commonly there are cookies used to do this. You can set cookies with Google Tag Manager, but that will be for another post. 

How to View Browser Cookies? 

To view the cookies set on our browser, you need to open the chrome menu and go to Developer Tools. 

Here we get some useful information under the application tab. And Cookies right here we can see what data was set through different code on our website. 

Now in some cases, there’s more useful information. In other cases, it’s unusable because you don’t really know what it exactly means. But as I said, you could actually also set your own Cookies. 

For example, this Cookie here is this user newsletterSubscriber was set to true. Probably he came from a newsletter source. 

Building 1st Party Cookie Variable

To build a 1st Party Cookie Variable, all you need to do is go over to Google Tag Manager and under the user-defined Variables will choose a 1st Party Cookie Variable as our type. 

In this sample, the Cookie Name is newsletterSubscriber. And this should now pull out the right value from our Cookie. 

And voila, here we go. 

7. DOM Element Variable

This will open up the elements pane here and give you the visual representation of the document object model. With the DOM Element Variable you’ll be able to pull out any kind of node that you are interested in and get either an attribute or the text in between those elements. 

How Does It Work?

An example will be pulling out the cart menu, and the amount of the cart menu. You would need to either know the ID or the CSS Selector. Luckily in this sample there is a class called amount which you can utilize in your variable really easily. 

The selection method is CSS Selector because we don’t have an ID, and we have a class so, in the element sector, you put a dot first then the amount. Note that you need to know a little bit about CSS Selectors in order to do this.

And then we can choose the attribute that we want to pull out. Since we want to pull out the text, we can leave this empty for now. Then press Save. 

Screenshot of Google Tag Manager showing a variable configuration with CSS Selector as the Selection Method, .amount as the Element Sector, and a blank for the attribute name. 

Try it out!

8. Lookup Table Variable How to Rewrite an Existing Variable?

An example would be the variable we created earlier that would pull out the value from our cookie newsletterSubscriber, true. 

Now if you use this inside of an event tag, for example, you would simply see true in the action and you wouldn’t quite know what this means. So you would like to rewrite this variable into something more recognizable like subscriber. This is easily possible with the Lookup Table variable.

Now, let’s head over to Google Tag Manager and build a new user defined variable. And this time, we’ll go with the Lookup Table.

In the variable dropdown, choose cookie. 

If the input is true, then we want to rewrite it into Subscriber. If the input is false, rewrite it into a Non Subscriber. And for the default value, we can just set it to Unidentified.

Alright, let’s try this out! Our variable that we had before shouldn’t change. We still have cookie newsletterSubscriber true, but rewritten, we should have this in our Lookup Table as Subscriber. 

9. Regex Lookup Table Variable

The next variable is the Regex Lookup Table Variable. What you might have noticed is that when we created our Lookup Table subscriber variable, we need to be very precise with the names. 

If I type in anything extra or put a white space, it wouldn’t match up anymore. And we’ll just get undefined in our field value.

Therefore, the matching option that we have in this first input column is similar to “equals true” so the cookie newsletterSubscriber needs “equals true” in order for it to go into the output subscriber.

But what we also have available is a variable type of Regex Lookup Table. 

What is Regex?

Regex stands for regular expression. And if you’re familiar with Regex, you know that you can really get detailed in your search query, which can be very powerful. 

How Does It Work?

For example, we would like to classify all product pages into a product category. So we would like to have an output of “product”, simply to classify our product pages. And we can have one for category pages as well. We can easily do this with a Regex Table Variable. 

In the variable Configuration page, the input would simply be Page Path. If the Page Path contains anything like / product then the output should Product. And if there’s a /category in there, then the output should be Category.

So what I will do here is put around dot stars, which means everything multiplied. So let’s put this in the front and the back here and see if this works. Let’s save this, and refresh the page. 

And in all variables we now see the Regex table has the name Category that matches up the category page based on the URL path. 

And if you go to a product page, it also matches the name, Product,  in the Regex Table. 

You can become more sophisticated with Regex Table than you are with the normal Lookup Table. And this can be very valuable, for example, for content grouping and Google Analytics or to look at the Referrer.

10. Custom JavaScript Variable

And we have come to, champion, the variable that rules them all, which is the Custom JavaScript Variable. Now, the Custom JavaScript Variable is probably the most versatile, but also the most complicated to write yourself (or the easiest to use if you just copy the code you need). 

To be honest, the Custom JavaScript variable could potentially be used to replace all the variables that you have seen in this post, because JavaScript is the technology that is powering Google Tag Manager, and therefore will be able to do everything that Google Tag Manager does with only using JavaScript in this Custom JavaScript Variable. 

How Does it Work?

Let’s go with a little example. In Google Tag Manager, I can simply go over to the user defined variables again, and create a new Custom JavaScript Variable.

Here, we need to adhere to some conventions. One is to write an ominous function that returns a value.

To put this in right from the start in between, you can execute any kind of JavaScript code, you obviously would need to know a little bit of JavaScript. And also you need a return value.

As an example, let’s go with the current time, which we can get by writing a new Date and it’s return value as time. 

Refresh your page and in the variables, you’ll see a variable of the Return Type date with the current date and time as the Value. And this should dynamically change. You see here at the second level, that some of these are changing, depending on when the event loaded. 

Again, with a little bit of more JavaScript code, you could probably make this quite useful. I just hope that you understand the potential of this Custom JavaScript Variable.

JavaScript can really help you step up your measuring game, so make sure to learn the top 5 techniques in JavaScript for Google Tag Manager.

FAQ How do I set up a Data Layer Variable?

To set up a Data Layer Variable, go to the Google Tag Manager interface and navigate to the variables panel. Create a new variable of the type “Data Layer Variables” and enter the key into the Data Layer Variable Name field. This will allow you to extract and store the desired value from the Data Layer.

How do I use the DOM Element Variable? What is the Lookup Table Variable used for?

The Lookup Table Variable is used to rewrite or transform existing variables into more recognizable values. By defining input and output pairs in the lookup table configuration, you can map specific input values to corresponding output values.

Summary

Alright, so there you have it. These are my Top 10 variables that I use within Google Tag Manager. There are more out there and there are also many other use cases for these specific variables. 

Learn more about tracking conversion values which helps you accurately measure the financial impact of your marketing campaigns.

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