5 Ideas for Starting and Running Your Own Business – Career Alternatives

success1Are you tired of the 9 to 5 grind? Maybe your industry or the company you work for are headed for failure. Or maybe you are just tired of working for other people and want to manage your own destiny. Whatever your reasons for thinking about making a drastic change in your career, there are tons of career alternatives that you can consider. The best place to start is to focus on products and services that you know a lot about. There are many things to consider when starting your own business (which we will cover in a future post). First you need to know what business you are going to start.

If you don’t really know where to start, then consider one of the following ideas:

Manufacturing Business -Starting a manufacturing business can be challenging, but if you have a great idea you want to bring to market, then this may be your business. One really big challenge is making a business as efficient as possible if you want to be competitive and profitable. Keep in mind that the systems that are used to manufacture products are not always checked during the production phase. There are software platforms that can help to check on these systems, and manufacturing software will make it easier for you to note successes and flaws in the system (and correct them where necessary).

  • What You Need -Efficiency is a key component of the process. Plan out the entire process before you build it so that you can have the maximum efficiency in place from the start. A key component to being efficient is to log and track all expenses.Producing items costs money, and you need to be careful with your cost of production as well as the cost of your raw materials. Location is key, create a plan before starting to build you manufacturing process. Leverage as many experienced individuals as you can, learn from their mistakes.
  • Education and Training Requirements -No specific education is required. Of course engineers  have a great head start. More important is your understanding of the product you are creating (materials, refining, etc.) as well as the level of skills require to manufacture (technology products versus furniture).
  • How to Get Started – As with real estate, location is key. The old “starting from your garage” would be ideal if practical (just make sure you don’t run afoul of any local laws). Make a list of all of the materials and equipment you will need.  If possible, rent equipment rather than buying from the start. Finally, you must have a plan, the most important part of which is a “cash burn plan”.  You must fully understand how much real cash you will need over how many weeks/months to cover all expenditures (including your own) until your new business is cash flow positive. Setup bank lines of credit where possible.

 

Business Planning Service -Business planning is a form of consulting (see below), which is specifically focused on helping individuals and business to plan. Specifically, Business Planning services help individuals focus on the type of business they would you like to open, the types of activities will their business will be performing, the timing as to when do they plan to start their business, where their business be located, the type of business structure to be used and, last, but not least, what the business will be called.

  • What You Need – You need to be well versed in basic business models and all of the aspects required to start a business and run a business. This includes familiarity with finance, accounting, law, project management and budgeting.
  • Education and Training Requirements – If you start your own practice, no specific degree is required. However, if you specialize in any one area such as human resource management, financial services or technology, having a degree in one of those areas certainly helps. Having an overall business degree will help as well.
  • How to Get Started – As with some of the other careers in this post, you must be good at marketing yourself, leveraging your networks. Join professional organizations such as the Association for Strategic Planning (www.strategyplus.org) – there are some great resources here. Create an Internet presence for yourself by creating a website. Link up with some business partners who offer complementary other services.

 

Consulting -Consultants leverage their knowledge and experience in a specific professional field to help clients in need of specific expertise. Consultant should be able to demonstrate and leverage experience and accomplishments. Consulting is very broad and can cover many areas of business. Consultants are sometimes hired to supplement staff at a company. Consultants are sometimes used in restructuring and strategy related activities at a new or existing businesses.

  • What You Need – You need excellent interpersonal skills, great marketing skills and the ability to summarize information for senior executives. Great presentation skills are also a plus.
  • Education and Training Requirements – Most consultants typically have a bachelors degree in a focused subject, such as technology, accounting or finance. Experience is a huge plus, as this is what most companies will look for when deciding whether or not to hire a consultant. Project management experience is also a skill set that is expected.
  • How to Get Started – If this sounds very similar to Business Planning, it is. Marketing yourself and leveraging your networks will determine much of your success. Join professional organizations such as the the Institute of Management Consultants or Association of Management Consulting Firms. Create an Internet presence for yourself by creating a website. Link up with some business partners who offer complementary other services.

 

Financial Planning – So you want to be a financial planner? Financial planners provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They also help their clients with managing their money like, reviewing your plans for saving, investments, insurance, taxes, retirement, estate planning, children’s education saving, buying that new house and getting out of debt. They understand and review their clients specific situation and come up with plans (and sometimes solutions).

  • What You Need – You need to be really good with numbers and you must work well with people. When it comes to money (as in “other people’s money), people can be a little difficult. You should have a good grasp on Finance, business management and accounting.
  • Education and Training Requirements -Here too, certification is a definite help and becoming a Certified Financial Planner is probably the way to go (check out CFP’s site or see if there are local schools that offer the program). You should also be familiar with what you can’t do without the proper licenses (every jurisdiction has its own requirements).
  • How to Get Started – This is a fast growing career, one of the fastest growing in fact. The good news is that most of the growth is as a result of demand, mostly from aging Baby Boomers who have not planned well for their retirement or have substantial wealth but don’t know how to manage it.  Great sales and marketing skills are key, but more importantly, your network is the most important. Starting your own practice / business can be a bit challenging, but is not impossible if leverage networking and financial planning events. Hooking up with another professional as a “complimentary” business (such as with a tax accountant who does not manage finances) is also a good business model. Most importantly, find some aspect to specialize in and create a niche market.

 

Personal Trainer -So what is a personal trainer? A personal trainer is an individual who helps create a personalized fitness and training plan for clients based on their needs. They setup goals and provide regular feedback to their clients.

  • What you need – Having an interest in health and fitness is a given. There are many additional traits that are required to become a personal trainer. In addition to good interpersonal skills, you need to be able to both motivate and nurture your clients.  It obviously helps if you lead are knowledgeable health and fitness and, while you don’t need to look like a body builder, being in good shape goes a long way to getting your clients to have faith in you.
  • Education and Training Requirements – Education is not as important as becoming certified as a Personal Trainer. To do this you need to find the right certification course for you. How and where you receive you certification will have significant impact on your ability to get and retain clients. There are a number of recognized and respected certification programs (such as those offered by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America).
  • How to Get Started – Once you’ve got your certification, it’s time to get clients. Creating a plan regarding “client acquisition” is a great start. Word of mouth, friends, family, etc. If you are great with the gift of gab, the health club is one of the best places to do this (just be careful they don’t toss you out!). Another great option is to start out working for a fitness club to “learn the ropes”, and then break off on your own and create that business!

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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What an MBA Can Do For Your Career

Graduation girlThe current job market is quite competitive with employers looking to hire the best talent. A degree is no longer a guarantee that you will even get an interview call. To stay ahead of the competition, job seekers are either returning to school or leveraging online programs to earn an MBA. Although tuition costs at top business schools can top $60,000 per year, the hope of career advancement more than outweighs this drawback. Many MBA candidates also consider alternatives such as an online MBA from from schools such as Northeastern.  Here are some of the top benefits of an MBA.

Catalyst for a Salary Increase

Most employees want to earn more money and an MBA is a sure ticket to the rarefied field of top earners. According to a study carried out by the Graduate Admission Council (GMAC), people who graduated with an MBA 2011 earn an average annual salary of $75,000 while their counterparts who graduated a year earlier make, on average, $15,000 more. An astonishing 82% of all the graduates who took part in the study said that the starting salary exceeded their expectations and unsurprisingly, 96% of the graduates said they would recommend taking an MBA to people who would like to improve their career fortunes.

Of course, the starting salaries vary from one industry to another. For example, MBA graduates working in the healthcare industry could potentially earn as much as $111,477 while those working in finance could potentially earn $103,122. Other industries where the starting salary is well above the $100,000 mark include energy and consulting.

Increased Chances of Getting a Job after Graduation

An MBA increases the chances of getting a job immediately after graduation, . The aforementioned GMAC study found that 45% of MBA graduates started working straight after graduation. An additional 24% continued with internships while looking for work. In addition, 79% of employers said they had plans to hire an MBA graduate in 2012. These statistics show that one of the best ways to impress potential employers is by adding MBA credentials to your CV.

Better Networking Opportunities

On the one hand, the majority of students pursuing degree courses are young with no working experience. On the other hand, most students taking MBA classes have some bit of working experience under their belts. This makes it easy for the students to expand their network of professionals with similar career goals. Such connections can prove quite useful especially when looking for new job opportunities. This is because you can also use the networks you cultivated while in business school to learn more about certain industries. For example, you can gain invaluable information from someone working in quantitative trading and use the information to expand your knowledge about finance.

Career Advancement

Another great benefit of earning an MBA is the opportunity to advance your career. To start with, by joining an MBA program, you will not only acquire new skills but also enhance some of your old skills. As such, you will be able to handle new and bigger responsibilities because you would be able to use your new skills to improve productivity at the work place. In most cases, a promotion comes with perks such as a salary increase, performance bonuses, and stock options. People who do not have an MBA can only dream about such rewards.

Gateway to Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has become a badge of honor in the United States. The fastest route to bootstrapping the next big startup is by enrolling in an MBA program. According to Forbes Magazine, some of the successful companies started by MBAs include Zynga, Yelp, Bump, GrubHub, Warby Parker, Trulia, and Birchbox.

An MBA is more than a piece of certificate from a business school. It can help you earn a higher salary, advance your career, increase networking opportunities, reduce the likelihood of becoming another sad unemployment statistic after graduation, and help whet your entrepreneurship appetite. Up to 93% of students surveyed by the GMAC said that an MBA made it easy for them to find the right employers.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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5 Rewarding Careers in Finance

Enjoy Your Work 5 of the Funnest Jobs People are Doing TodaySome careers are good, some are bad and some are great. Getting the right mix of challenge, personal satisfaction and compensation can be difficult (but not impossible). Finance is one industry that can certainly offer all three. While finance has lost some of its appeal since 2008, it is still a vibrant industry and offers quite a bit to those that are interested. Finance is probably one of the more challenging careers (high expectations, but great rewards as well) and is not for everyone. But if you are great with numbers and want a meaningful and  challenging career, then consider some of the jobs in today’s post.

Financial Analysts

  • What They Do – Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They understand and review macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions along with company fundamentals. They review business and industry dynamics and may make recommends based on their analysis.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median pay for Financial Analysts is $77,000 per year. The lowest 10% earned less than $47,000 while the top 10% earned in excess of $148,000. The job outlook is 16%, faster than the average for careers.
  • Education and Training Requirements – While college is not required, there is an expectation that financial analysts have an undergraduate degree in Finance or Accounting. An MBA or Masters will certainly help your career.

 

Personal Financial Adviser (Financial Planners)

  • What They Do – Personal financial advisers generally give financial advice to small businesses and individuals. Based on the review their review of financial needs, they help individuals make decisions on investments, other personal financial questions and retirement planning.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median annual salary for Personal Financial Advisers is $67,500 per year with the highest paid earning in excess of $187,000 (sounds great!). The job outlook is 27%, faster than the average.
  • Education and Training Requirements – An Bachelor’s degree is generally required. There is also several types of certification such as a Certified Financial Planner (which also helps). As with Financial Analysts, a masters degree is also helpful.

 

Insurance Underwriters

  • What They Do – Underwriters analyze risks on behalf of insurance companies. They Brokers analyze the risk factors on an application and submit their findings to insurance companies on behalf of individuals and businesses. Most insurance underwriters typically specialize in one of the main insurance fields –  life, health, and property and casualty.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS,, the median annual salary for all workers was $34,750. The highest 10% earns in excess of $92,000 per year. Job growth is below the average.
  • Education and Training Requirements –While not required, a bachelor’s degree certainly helps. Strong computer skills is also required. Certification is generally required for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter manager positions.

 

Financial Brokers

  • What They Do – Like financial planners, Financial brokers give financial advise to individuals in terms of buying and selling securities (stocks, bonds and other financial instruments) that meet their investment profile. They provide information on companies and financial instruments and make recommendations to their clients as to what they should include in their portfolio.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the average annual stock broker salary in the U.S. is $100,910. The bottom 10% in the profession earn $32,030 or less and the top 10% of stock brokers earn in excess of $161,000 per year.
  • Education and Training Requirements – There is no formal degree requirements, but a bachelor’s degree certainly helps. Degrees should be in Finance, Accounting, Math or Economics.  Finance graduates have a good shot at being hired and those with an MBA in finance have the best chance. Most countries and local municipalities require one or more licenses, depending on the types of securities and where the broker is located.

 

Financial Examiners

  • What They Do – Financial examiners monitor the financial condition of banks and other financial institutions. They can be “internal” examiners or work for a regulatory agency (like the SEC or Federal Reserve). They review balance sheets, and income statements. The review internal document to confirm assets and liabilities. They will generally issue a detailed report at the end of the examination listing their findings. They must understand regulations and policies to determine their the organizations compliance with minimum requirements.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median pay for Financial examiners is $77,000 per year. The bottom 10% earn $45,000 while the top 10% earn in excess of $145,000.
  • Education and Training Requirements – You typically need a bachelor’s degree in Finance or Accounting. A degree in Accounting with a focus on Auditing can be very important in helping you land a job.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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5 Tips to Digitize your Job Search

Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” – Jack Welch

I remember reading not too long ago that the last company to manufacture typewriters just announced they are ending production. “Typewriters”? What’s that you may ask (ancient history). In one way, it is a little sad for those of us that grew up in the days of pre-computer typing days. But in another way, it is just another step to leaving the past behind us. For those of you fortunate enough to never have had to type your resume on a typewriter, you don’t realize how difficult and time-consuming job hunting was in the pre-digital days. We now have different challenges in managing digital job search. “Speed to market” is now the name of the game, along with leveraging digital tools and your professional network. To those who master these skills, the job market is all yours.

Tip #1 –  Make Your Resume Accessible- Your resume and other job search documents should be accessible to you no matter where you are. Additionally, while you will want to limit how many job search sites you post your resume to, you should upload your resume to all of your top choice company career sites.

  • Company Career Centers – Use this list of Company Career sites from CareerAlley to pick the companies you want to work for. Go directly to their profile page, enter your profile set notifications for new jobs. This way, you will get an email when there is a job match for a company you want to work for

 

Tip #2. Use Job Search Bots – Most job search engines have the ability to deliver personalized job search results (job alerts) to your mailbox similar to, but a little different, company career sites. The advantage is that you can set up very specific criteria and have several searches. This allows different slants on your search (whether it be different cities, industries or types of jobs). The trick is to keep this in balance so that you are not getting too many emails from these job alerts.

 

Tip #3 – Leverage Social Media – Social networks should be a major part of you job search as well. You should leverage your social networks (in the right way) to both, cultivate your professional network (who may know about opportunities that you do not) as well as to look for jobs. You will know some of the information listed below, but leverage tips to focus your search.

 

Tip #4 – Do your homework – research companies – You need to have a pretty good idea about where you want to work and the types of companies you would like to work for. In order to do this you need to do a fair amount of research on companies. Between company sites and other resources (like your network), you should be able to get most (if not all) of the information you will need.

 

Tip #5 – Leverage Smartphone Apps  – Smartphone apps are the best way to keep your job search going when you are away from your desktop. Consider the tools you will need.

 

Book Corner

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Joey

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3 Healthcare Informatics Careers

UntitledMost healthcare careers require a master’s degree in a healthcare related field of study. Healthcare informatics is an example and individuals who work in this area of healthcare collect, analyze and store medical information. Today, more doctor’s offices and hospitals are switching from paper to electronic medical records. This makes a person with an advanced degree in healthcare informatics an asset to both the business and medical sides of a healthcare facility. Take a look at some of the most popular careers for people with a master’s degree in healthcare informatics.

A Healthcare Informatics Director

  • What They Do – These professionals work in hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical clinics. They are responsible for implementing an electronic system for maintaining medical records. A master’s degree in healthcare informatics gives a person in this position the skills necessary to train employees on the system as well as solve any problems that arise. In addition, a healthcare informatics director is always on the lookout for new technology that can make a record-keeping system more efficient. A person in this occupation must have the ability to communicate with doctors, nurses and other members of a medical staff. Plus, he or she must be able to address any technical problems related to the system.
  • Training, Requirements and Education Needed - A job at this level requires advanced education and Adelphi University is one option for individuals interested in earning a master’s degree in healthcare informatics.
  • How Much They Make – According to U.S. News and World Report, the average mean salary for these professionals is $89,000 with job growth expected to be 22% through 2020.

A Healthcare Informatics Project Designer

  • What They Do – A healthcare informatics project designer is responsible for creating an electronic system for maintaining medical records. He or she looks at the needs of a medical facility such as a hospital or doctor’s office to determine what features to include in a record-keeping system. In short, the system must be tailored to the specific needs of a medical facility. Also, once the system is up and running, a healthcare informatics project designer must address any weak points in the system.
  • Training, Requirements and Education Needed – This is a challenging and rewarding career that requires the skills and knowledge of someone with a master’s degree in healthcare informatics.
  • How Much They Make – Salaries range from $58,000 to $118,000 depending on education and years of experience.

 

A Professor of Healthcare Informatics

  • What They Do – Finally, some individuals with a master’s degree in this discipline want to teach in a college setting. This professional is responsible for instructing students on the fundamentals of establishing an electronic system for maintaining medical records. A professor of health informatics must prepare students for the challenging issues related to creating and maintaining an efficient record-keeping system.
  • Training, Requirements and Education Needed – A masters degree is a minimum requirement, but in order to advance (or even stay employed) you will most likely need a postgraduate degree as well.
  • How Much They Make – Average salaries range from $60,000 to $120,000 depending on the university, experience and education.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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