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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I'm not exactly sure where to start. I am a 29 year old recent college graduate (May, 1998). I graduated with a degree in Marketing and a 3.5 GPA while working full-time. I have known for years that I want to own and run my own business. I feel it so strongly that I believe it is what I was born to do.

A couple of months after graduating, I took a job with a rental car company, thinking it would be more related to my marketing degree. Basically, I feel like this job is sucking the life out of me. I have no time or energy to pursue my dream. I go to work before anything else is open and get home after most everything is closed. I find little, if anything, stimulating about the work and the paycheck is no more than I made at the job I had going to school.

I still work every other weekend at my previous job for a little extra money to help pay back my student loans, this job has very little to do with my degree, it very much health care related. I could easily go back there at my previous pay level with full benefits. This job wasn't great, but it would allow much more free time. My family hates to see me go back there, they feel it would be a giant leap back. I see it as a step back that could lead to a giant leap forward.

There is my dilemma, do I stay with the rental car company or do I go to my previous job in order to have the time to pursue my dream? Any suggestions or experiences would be helpful. Arguments I could use to convince my family would be very much appreciated.

Thank You.

Answer from our Guest Expert Mark Bower of Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair


You sound like me when I was just out of college! I wanted nothing more than to own a business, and I'd do anything to make that happen. You've also discovered that people with marketing and business degrees are a dime a dozen, and the job market proves that. So what do you do?

Set Some Goals

In your case, goal-setting is vital. First, sit down and write out your personal goals for the next 5 years, then think ahead 10 years. Next, write out how you intend to achieve those goals. If your goal is to be self-employed in 5 years, then now is the time to determine how you'll reach that goal. Strike while the iron is hot and decide which job will benefit you the most. And keep in mind neither job may be what the doctor ordered for you!

Learn the Trade--Get Biz Experience

Okay. So your goal is to be self-employed within 5 years. Do you have any idea what kind of business you wish to own? If you do, obtaining experience in that industry is a key ingredient for your future biz success. So if the jobs you're doing now don't help you along that line, then look for a new job. Believe me, I understand that goals change. So don't be afraid to reassess them every few months.

If you cannot possibly pin-down what kind of business you'll own, then find a job that'll give you sales experience. I'm not talking about a sales clerk job at the local TV store. I'm talking a real sales job in a company that believes in beefy, solid sales training. Normally, this is a commission job. If you're afraid to take a commission job, then you'll never have the stomach to own your own business. Every small biz owner has to be a salesperson if she wants to survive and grow. Those who lack sales skills oftentimes don't make it.

Get Books to Perk Up Your Biz Interests

Read everything you can get your hands on about running your own business. Two books I highly recommend are The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins. Attend seminars whenever you can, and start networking. Join the Jaycees and gain valuable experience in running projects. Plus, the Jaycees are generally a group of young managers, owners and go-getters. (Great people to rub elbows with and schmooz!)

Final Words of Wisdom on Goal-Setting

From this point on, think about goals in everything you do. Be sure to include your family in the goal-setting since they'll be a strong support crew for you and share your vision.

My dream was to own a business and I finally succeeded, but it took several attempts. But I'm here, and enjoying every up and down. Now, I'm extremely focused on taking my business to the next level. Earlier this week, I had a company in town offer me a job that would've evolved into a six-figure income in about eighteen months. My business isn't earning that yet, but I turned them down. Working for them isn't part of my dream, and definitely not on my goal sheet. What's on your goal sheet, Cory?

Best of Luck!

Mark Bower

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