Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The money making ideas are all out there. If you think every popular website or blog is the first of its kind, you are very mistaken. Ever since the beginning of man kind we've been stealing ideas from our fellow man.
There's Perez Hilton, TMZ, Superficalworld, etc. And on top of those, there are hundreds of other blogs and magazines devoted to celebrity gossip. Which one was first? WHO CARES! There is room for you on the bandwagon.
However, if you decide to use an idea like a men's magazine, or website, as a business, remember that you are COMPETING with everybody else in that genre. So do your best to stand out.
Create a persona. Whatever your blog is about, make it something recognizable. Use a distinctive color scheme, and have a consistent tone throughout your site. Don't be afraid to go to an extreme, so long as it doesn't completely turn people off. And remember, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." So think about what your target demographic is. Who is going to be using your site or product? Cater to them, not those who aren't interested in the first place.
Invest your time in it. Spend time making everything as good as you can. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was any successful business. It will be months before you can really experience great success, maybe longer. Take your time marketing and spreading the word about your business. Spread the word. Get your link on as many sites as possible. Use Facebook, Myspace, and other social networking sites to spread the word. They are great for free advertising.
Make sure what your saying is something that people want to hear. You can find out what people want to hear by visiting other popular blogs. Do what they do, but do it better.
My mother and father, ever since I can remember, both pushed the importance of a college education, claiming it was a necessary part of a successful adult life. They painted a grim picture for those who didn't attend college. "They'll never get a good job," they would tell me. "You need a college degree." And that was all they ever told me. There was no detailed explanation. It was a simple as that. No degree, no job.
So I, like most people I knew, though not all, applied to colleges, chose the one I liked the best, and as one of the more unfortunate ones, took out massive loans to cover my tuition. I attended school out-of-state, so my tuition costs were more than double my resident counter-parts. By the time I understood what an advantage taking a year off to obtain residency would be, I was a senior. So I decided to finish, taking an extra semester on top of the average 4 years to finish.
What I found, looking into the job market, was not a network of employers eager to take anybody with BA. In fact, that was less often a requirement than the dreaded 2+ years of experience I was faced with nearly every time. 2+ years of experience? I was busy getting my degree.
The lesson here is that college students should not bank solely on their degrees as a keys to that 50k salary they figured they'd get after graduation. It's necessary to start thinking about the future perhaps years before they graduate. Internships, and/or part time jobs in their desired field are an important tool, and will give students a much needed edge when applying for work after school.
The question, however, is still loud and clear. Is a degree worth the cost? The answer is: it depends. "Fifty-eight members of The Forbes 400 either avoided college or ditched it partway through." Bill Gates being one of them, had an uncanny flare for computers. A friend of mine who never went to college, is making 75k a year doing personal training. And my cousin, who is the same age as me, makes 41k a year working for his father.
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. You've got to go out and claw away to get your share of the pie. If all you do in four years at college is get a degree, then as far as earning is concerned, you are four years behind the curve. All of the people who didnt go to college (and who aren't still living with their parents) have been gaining real world experience. They are learning how to earn, which is ultimately everybody's goal.
However, "Lifetime incomes of college grads in today's dollars average nearly $300,000 more than high school graduates over a 40-year career.(2)" Though this may be due to a variety of factors (I suspect socio-economic class is one of them), it is still a potentially important statistic. Long after one graduates college, the degree remains a strong presence on his/her resume. However, actual experience and tangible work related success, is perhaps just as strong, if not stronger.
Finally, if you see something, grab it. If you think a business idea that you have will take off, or you see an oppurtunity that intrigues you, go for it. College or no college. Though you might fall into a sect of the population with a lesser average income, your drive and ambition most likely distinguishes you as part of another sect, whose average income I suspect is much higher. A college degree is not necessary. It may help, though.
One of the most important skills a young person can have is the ability to find a job. Whether that be a temporary job you find working retail, or a job that sets you up for a career in your field, not everybody understands what it takes to find a job.
If you are in need of a job you need to devote yourself to finding one. It is highly unlikely that one will just fall into your lap, and it is not productive to sit back and imagine that everything will work itself out. As they say, "God Helps those who help themselves." So get away from the TV, grab a newspaper or get on your computer and start looking. It should be the first thing you do all day and should take a minimum of three hours each day.
2) Have a Resume
Many jobs, especially more professional ones, will require that you have a resume. There are many free and paid resume building sites online. Many of them require registration, and often times the pay sites, like Monster.com and Pongo.com will distribute your resume for you. If that is something you are interested, consider investing in a feature like this. TAKE YOUR TIME. Your resume is the best insight into your person that an employer has. It's often more meaningful than the interview itself, as it displays your previous work experiences and accomplishments. Consider how you word your descriptions, and make sure you have a cover letter. Potential employers will want to know where your coming from as an employee, and what your objectives are in your career. For a vast array of tips in building and distributing your resume visit:
Note: Know your resume so that you aren't surprised and at a loss for words during an interview. A good interviewer will know when you have embellished on your resume.
Use your resources. Remember "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Relatives are a great way of launching very successful careers. These are people who are more inclined to do more for you and your career. Also consider your friends, and your friends' parents. Some of them might be employers, and you might be the employee that they're looking for. And even if they're not looking, it cannot hurt, and it may in fact be a great help, to send them a resume. Make sure you don't hand them your resume at their home or while they are somewhere that they might lose it.. If it is at their office, they will have it on hand while they are recruiting employees.
4) Be Involved In Your Field
Unpaid internships and entry level jobs "in the mail room", are great for starting careers. The closer you are to the people who do your ideal job, the closer YOU are to doing it. You can make friends with the boss and work hard for a promotion. Simon Cowell, the British Judge on American Idol, started in the mail room at EMI, a large record label and became one of their most successful producers and executives.
Don't be afraid of rejection. It is part of the process. The more rejections you get, the more likely you are to get an acceptance. Your ideal job is waiting out there for you, it's just a matter of what you're willing to do to get it.
For those of us who have enjoyed an easy going college experience-- one where bills are paid by mom and dad, where if we work, it's only for extra spending money, and even a successful one with a good GPA and a few extra curriculars-- thinking about life after school can be a harrowing, and stressful ordeal. Suddenly, those jobs at coffee shops and working a cash register become obsolete. They won't maintain the life style you have grown to accustomed to, they won't help you pay off those college loans, and they are certainly not what you want to be doing for the rest of your life.
You want a career.
Maybe some of you realize what makes this such a difficult feat: SO DOES EVERYBODY ELSE. Looking at your resume, you might think that you have too little experience, or maybe you have none at all. Maybe you think to yourself "There is no job for me." For those of you suffering with the latter problem, take advantage of your resources.
The internet offers many oppurtunities. For one, it contains many job listings. Sites like Monster.com help you build your resume and find a job. Also, check your schools website. It probably has a database of jobs in the area. Find out if your school has a career center. Most universities do, and there are people there that will help you. It's their job to do so. The internet not only lists jobs, but now more than ever, it is creating them.
Start your own blog. It's easy. There are tons of free blogging sites that will offer to host your ramblings. And you can blog about anything you want. If your blog is successful, it is something you can put on your resume. Provided that your topic is something of relevance to others, you can make contacts in a desired field as well as encourage your own personal growth towards the field of your choice. Read the following article by Ryan Healy, a 2006 graduate of Penn State and found of Brazen Careerist, an online resource for young professionals.
Think of your blog as a business. And if the blog isn't enough business for you, go ahead and start your own business. If you can generate traffic on a website, you can sell advertising space. Take a potential blog topic, and take it further by creating a multi-faceted website. Put your creative skills to good use by designing t-shirts. The more traffic you can acquire, the more customers you are likely to have. If you are familiar with Perezhilton.com, then you are familiar with how successful a successful blog can be a business. The ads that run on his website earn him thousands upon thousands of dollars day!
For inspiration on your blog or business, look around the web at sites that interest you. When you find a site that you like, make your own site. Use their ideas and generate your own base of visitors. There are a lot of low cost website builders you can purchase online. Here is a list of "Tips For Running A Business In Your Dorm Room" from College-Business.com and a page of advice on "How to Make a Web Site of Your Own"
Don't expect to immediately earn thousands. Put a good amount of your time into this. It will reflect on your blog or business, and your potential readers and/or customers will take notice.
In addition to the aforementioned, take time to consider your options. Don't waste your time. Stay motivated and ambitious. The more time you put into making the transition between college and a career, the more edge you have over the competition.