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Answer from our Guest Expert Peter Soh of AdviseInc.com

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What Type of Experience Do You Have?

I'm a certified public accountant, but before I went out on my own, I had more than 9 years experience of consulting. Five of those years were with Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Services Group. As owner of LA-CPA.com, I specialize in developmental requirements of startups, plus I offer business plan assistance, financial strategies, accounting reviews, and stock option planning. So before going solo, if you're a newbie to the field, I suggest getting your feet wet with companies, like SunAmerica or Primerica. They'll train you and you can learn their systems. It seems to have worked since they're quite large and have been successful for many years. If you have a lot of experience under your belt, then consider partnership opportunities with a person that complements your skills. For example, if you're a strong technical person, then partnering with a strong salesperson to complement you might be a good move. Also, partnering with someone who has an established client base can help you find work quickly and help you network.

Do You Have the Required Licenses?

I live and work in California, and to sell securities you need to have Series 7, 63 and possibly some others. This takes time, money, and effort to get the certificate. I'd say at least $2K. Also, even if you get these licenses, you still need a broker to sponsor you. You can't just sell mutual funds without a broker to back you, unless you want to take on the full risk of selling the securities and meet the specs for a broker/dealer for the National Association of Securities Dealers. It can be quite costly and you have high liability because when markets plummet, people get "sue happy" and you don't want to hold that much risk if you're not making much yourself.

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