MONEY Small Business

Startup Makes Money By Giving Away Free Stuff

Claim It! lets users win prizes just for watching a 15-second ad.

When Ali Abdullah was homeless a few years ago, he was struck with the brilliant idea that would lead to his current, thriving company, Claim It! Free stuff makes people happy, so he would build a business around giving away free products that people actually want. By watching a 15-second advertisement on the Claim It! app, users are eligible to win prizes ranging from lip balm to pricey headphones. Investors understood the power of this business model, and he’s raised millions, including a six-figure contribution from just one investor.

MONEY Autos

Buick’s New Encore Will Change Your Mind About Buick

The small SUV turns in a respectable performance.

Since its own corporate revival, GM has been working hard to reposition Buick as brand that we should take seriously. And not without reason: The company sells more than three times as many Buicks in China as it does here, so the badge is important globally. It’s just that car buyers here have long memories, and their memory of Buick is that it’s been all marketing and not very interesting metal.

Encore is one of the models out to reverse that notion, and it’s making headway. The small SUV’s sales were up 21% in May, making Encore Buick’s top model, accounting for 30% of sales. You can look at it as a gutsy decision, since Buick unleashed Encore into one of the most competitive segments of the auto markets. There’s Honda’s CR-V, Mazda’s CX-5, Ford’s Escape, Chevy’s own version, called Trax, and Nissan’s Rogue, to name a few.

Can Encore compete with this excellent group? In a word, yes. That is, it can compete but it can’t necessarily win. But that’s all right with Buick. It just wants a chance to be considered in such good company. And Encore has earned that right, courtesy of some nice styling. It’s a curvaceous little number with the classic Buick grill but frills such as blue halogen headlamps. Inside there’s a really great adjustable chair, the better to enjoy a ride that you have to admit is smoother and quieter than you’d thought it would be. One reason: The Encore has an active noise cancellation system. Our test model, a front-wheel drive Premium Group number, ($31,755; entry level models start at about $24,000) came with a good collection of safety systems: forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot and rear cross traffic alert. The navigation system, though, was annoying, and the middle console, a jumble of buttons that were less than helpful. Intuitive, it’s not. There’s also an 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot available.

Where Encore comes up a little short is under the hood. It’s powered by a turbo-charged, Ecotec 1.4-liter engine. While that sounds like it has some oomph, it’s so wimpy at 138 horsepower that Buick doesn’t even bother to list it on the dealer’s invoice. Can’t say I blame them. You can measure the acceleration on this thing with a calendar, although it does get a thrifty 28 miles per gallon combined mileage, which is one of the only benefits of the smaller engine. To be fair, Encore is really designed to be a city/suburban getabout. And by that measure, it gets about its business fairly well.

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MONEY job hunting

How Do You Actually Land Your Dream Job?

What is it that makes you excited about getting up in the morning?

What do you really love doing? Here’s how to figure out and land your dream job.

Talk to your network. Ask your friends. They know you well; ask what skills they see you with. You’ll likely hear things you take for granted about yourself.

Don’t do anything rash. Go slowly. Do your homework.

Research. Find out what’s out there right now you could be good at. Then, find out if you need some kind of professional licensing. If you do, go get it.

Try it out. Go and do the job pro-bono and find out how you like it. Get a sense of how well you fit in.

In order to make a huge industry switch, it’s good to allow three to five years to lay the groundwork and ensure you’re ready to launch.

Read next: How to Ace Any Interview and Land the Job of Your Dreams

MONEY Autos

Volkswagen Pulls Ahead to Become Top Automaker

Volkswagen is on pace to surpass Toyota in auto sales for 2015, but analysts question whether it can maintain its lead.

MONEY Family

The Hidden Upside to Living With Mom and Dad

Recent college grads may think living at home is less than ideal, but it has its advantages.

CNN’s Christine Romans thinks it’s the perfect solution. If you’ve just graduated from college, there’s a good chance you’ve got at least a little bit of debt. Romans advises you to take a year at home to save up money, start paying off your loans, and get on your feet financially. But don’t stay forever, she says. Make a plan – you can even sign a contract – with your parents on what responsibilities you’ll take on, and how you plan to be out of the house before two years are up.

Read next: Why Millennials Are Better Off Waiting 10 Years to Buy a Home

MONEY Autos

Chrysler’s Parent Hit by Recalls and Monster Fine

Millions of Fiat Chrysler vehicles have been recalled for faulty air bags and cyberattack vulnerabilities.

MONEY Tech

Comcast Now Has More Internet Customers Than Cable Customers

Comcast might have more broadband subscribers than television subscribers, but it still wrings money out of TV watchers.

MONEY Autos

Get Ready for a Jaguar You Might Actually Be Able to Afford

The entry-level Jaguar XE is no slouch.

Behold the Jaguar XE. It’s an all-new car from Jaguar, a British sports sedan aimed at taking away market share from the Germans.

The bad news. You can’t have it yet. The sedan won’t be available in North America until next year, although it’s already on sale in Europe. Blame the fact that the company is waiting until the all-important all-wheel-drive model is ready, a critical selling point in the snowier parts of the States and Canada.

The good news. We had an early drive of the car in northern Spain, and it proved a compelling alternative to the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Jaguar has been the lucky recipient of a huge influx of research and development dollars from its owner, Tata Motors, and the XE is a clear example of the movement to make the boutique car company more competitive. Jaguar’s sales numbers are low, and the brand dearly needs a contender in the luxury compact sedan segment.

To that, the engineers went all out. The XE is built from aluminum, its engines are fresh and capable, and the interior layout and electronic systems have been thoughtfully conceived.

We’ll get both a 340-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel variant with 180 hp. Both are easy engines to live with. The V-6 sounds great and is potent when it needs to be, and the torque-rich diesel is an ideal tool for long highway drives.

The XE has the obvious dimensions of a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car. To my mind it isn’t quite as sensuous as it might be, with the body lines a bit too rounded and soft. It lacks the sharp angularity and brash attitude of the all-new Audi A4, or the obvious sporting intentions of the BMW 3 Series.

But that aesthetic difference may also be one of its major selling points. The exterior is less in-your-face than is the Germans’ wont, with a good measure of British reserve showing through. Some buyers don’t want to look like they’re always in a hurry, with a predatory stance and grille hunched to the pavement.

This ethos translates to the ride as well. The suspension lends a happy, cushy equanimity, sashaying over crumbling asphalt and evening out bumps. Carrying medium speed, it rolls a bit into corners. Push it beyond that, interestingly, and its relative lightness and aluminum chassis begin working for it. On a series of twisting mountain roads, I blasted through tight turns, limited far more by the tires than the agility of the suspension.

Over a long day of driving, that was our takeaway. The XE is competing with the Germans, but it doesn’t really want to be German. It’s looking for the kind of buyers who want something else.

Read next: For About $78,000, You Can Buy an ‘Entry Level’ Maserati

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