The Business Of Education

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Education is often seen as a vocation, but the sector is so large – and so consistently in-demand – that it is no surprise that education can also be a business opportunity. In fact, the education market is expected to be worth $2040 billion by 2026, so it’s fair to say that for those seeking a business opportunity, education could well be worth considering.

The question, however, is what type of education-related business a prospective entrepreneur could start – and it’s a question we have sought to answer, with the three options below all providing the opportunity to find your place in the ever-growing education marketplace.

Option #1: Set up a school

It may sound like an outlandish suggestion, but if you’re thinking big and want to do something genuinely different, then setting up an educational establishment could well be the right choice for you. There are countless options to consider, ranging from nursery schools to higher education colleges to vocation-specific schools, so you should be able to find an option that will work well with your existing schools and interests.

It’s also important to note that you don’t need to be a teacher to start a school, either; there are countless options such as working with vocational, primary or higher ed search firms in order to locate the talented personnel you need. Your responsibility as the owner will primarily be to manage the finances of the school, and ensure that you are compliant with all local and federal regulations as appropriate. So while the idea of starting a school may initially seem odd, it could actually be more viable than most people expect.

Option #2: Provide courses to teachers

Many schools and educational establishments regularly advise their teachers to take additional professional development courses on a variety of different subjects, including health and safety, classroom management, and team building courses. The vast majority of these courses will be provided by an external company, which means you have the opportunity to start such a company and market directly to schools.

You will, of course, need to satisfy a variety of legislative requirements in order to offer courses, especially if you intend to offer courses related to any aspect of health and safety. With that said, all business types have regulatory requirements, and if you’re passionate about helping teachers reach their full potential, then starting a business offering professional development courses could lead you to a bright, fulfilling future.

Option #3: Sell stationery and school supplies

Finally, a more ‘conventional’ business choice, but one that can undoubtedly be successful for those in the education sector. The business concept is simple: you buy stationery and other school supplies at a low price, then sell them directly to schools – or teachers, given that 94% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies – at a profit.

While this idea may be simple, it’s undeniably effective provided you can purchase goods at the right price. It’s also perhaps the one idea on this list that requires relatively little startup capital, so you could start small and then expand as your profits begin to grow.

In conclusion

By considering one of the ideas above, you may well find that education is the perfect sector in which to reach entrepreneurial success. Good luck!

Basic Skills for Improving Your Professional Performance

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We all want to do the absolute best we can in life. We want jobs that we find fulfilling, and that pay well. We want to have good relationships with the people we care about. And, of course, we want to have fun, and feel that we are living in a meaningful and uplifting kind of a way.

When it comes to professional success, there are a lot of factors to consider. Sometimes, a certain qualification or degree will be essential for “making it” in a given field, or even just for getting a call back for a second interview.

Ultimately though professional success is largely a matter of being consistently excellent at the work we do. Of course, that’s not always easy to achieve.

Here are some basic skills you should develop, in order to improve your professional performance, and fulfill your potential in your career.

Focus on doing the best you can, even in the small things

It may seem self-evident, but in order to perform to the best of your abilities in your profession, you need to actually focus on doing the best you can – even in the small things.

The thing is, although this makes sense intuitively, many people nonetheless find themselves coasting through the work day, and doing “just enough to get by”, instead of enough to really thrive.

It’s easy to see why this would be the case, as well. It’s not always immediately apparent what the benefit is of dedicating a significant amount of additional time and energy to a given task.

Excellence, however, is a habit. If you routinely put in your best effort – even in terms of such things as finding the right tools to ensure that you have professionally designed presentations at your fingertips – it becomes almost a given that you will be a high performer in other domains of your professional and personal life, too.

Reduce distractions (including things like email) and emphasize “deep work”

One of the big authors in the productivity sphere in recent times, has been the academic Cal Newport.

In one of his hit books – titled Deep Work – the author argues that it is the ability to focus your attention for long periods of time, in an undistracted manner, that allows for the kind of “deep work” that maximizes productivity, develops advanced skills, and turns out a quality end product.

According to Newport, it is essential to reduce distractions in your life in order to facilitate this deep work.

Among other things, this can mean checking email only once or twice a day, and leaving your phone on silent while you work.

The more you focus – the better you can expect to do.

Always be on the lookout for new opportunities – never get too comfortable

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comics, has shared an anecdote from the early days of his professional life in business, where he encountered a CEO, who told him that in order to be successful, he should consider his “real job” to be always finding the next, better job.

To really perform to the peak of your ability – and to rise in your professional dealings – it’s important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities.

If, on the other hand, you get too comfortable, the odds are significantly higher that you will stagnate.

4 Basic But Great Perks of Freelancing

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“I’m a freelancer”. It is something you are likely to hear more and more as you meet people. In the last few years, it isn’t just the ‘starving artists’ that is a free spirit, you’ll find a free-spirited account, assistant and graphic designers. There is a lot of flexibility with freelancing and home businesses, and it doesn’t work for everyone. But there are plenty of basic, and great perks. If you aren’t already freelance, maybe these are something for you to consider.

No Commute

Ahhh the joy of waking up and rushing to grab a train that is heaving with people, then run from that platform to a bus stop – said no one, ever. Many freelancers never have to leave their home, unless they choose to meet up with local clients. Stilling bumper to bumper during rush hour is said to raise your blood sugar and increase your cholesterol levels.

Zero commute = 100% satisfaction. Not entirely separate is that if you choose to travel, it can be anywhere. Peak season, off-peak, far away, backpacking… the list goes on. If you have a wifi connection, you can work, heard of the digital nomad? It’s not as uncommon as you think.

Be The Boss

This one seems to be the big winner when it comes to freelancing. Don’t like a client? Then you can terminate the contract. Don’t want a particular type of work? Then you simply don’t have to do it. Working with a terrible boss will have a negative impact on how you see what you do and your value in the company.

Forever Learning

When you first that the chances are you will need some help, getting things like your hardware, software, social media, appointments, and even some of the work that you chose to take on. While you are learning to be a human swiss army knife, you can also hire in companies on a long term basis that can help you tackle specific tasks. Appearing as a more prominent firm is simple when you have the right people in place. Managed IT services from Safebit, a good virtual assistant, and some automated customer services applications can help you manage your enterprise while you learn how to calculate your taxes, and work in and on your business.

Mental Health

When you work for yourself, if you feel that you are going to burn out, or that you can’t effectively perform your duties, the chances are you can take the day to yourself to rest, reset and recharge. In an office, there are often policies and procedures in place, but that might not be enough. You can control your workload down to the last minute during the week and only take more when you want to.

Taking short breaks during the day, when you feel you need one, not just because that is the scheduled break time is beneficial to both you and your work. Taking a proper time out for lunch, and even a nap can get your rested and refreshed ready to take on the rest of your work.

How Companies Can Use Generational Differences To Their Advantage

It’s natural for any new worker to look around to see how many people are around their age at first, but there’s a huge opportunity lost when companies only recruit one age group.

Generational conflict will always exist based on style preference alone.

But workplaces can flip the script on older vs. younger in one swoop: cross-generational mentoring.

When you think of mentor it is assumed older-to-younger knowledge transfer, but don’t mistake age for experience.

Millennials were raised with technology so even with lacking workplace experience, their digital knowledge is far superior than generations above them. On the opposite end Boomers and Gen X understand office politics, communication and responsibility better.

This “fair trade” can be a huge asset to your bottom line if utilized properly.

There’s no better teacher than trial and error. Also if you really want to understand a concept, teach it. When workers are paired with co-workers of different ages the focus is on individual strengths instead of nitpicking about disparity.

Professional development is a huge retention benefit and when companies empower that responsibility to co-workers there’s more ownership taken because each person is involved with the process.

The term diversity normally pertains to ethnicity, but age diversity is just as important.

The healthiest organizations find ways to appreciate and value workers of all ages because everyone has something to offer others.

If employees expect management to provide direction solely, workers gain a “consumer’s” mentality believing learning needs to be spoon-fed to me. When cross-generational mentoring exists “learning” becomes a personal responsibility. Companies need to quickly dispel the notion that growth opportunities only happen within a organizational context.

When I advise clients who are job searching I always emphasize that personal growth is your responsibility. Anything a company provides is a bonus.

Make it your mission to find a mentor and mentee and learning becomes a habit, not a destination.

Investing In The Startup Of You

work-life-balance

Training and Professional Development has been a “luxury” that’s first to go in the budget for most companies, but are the “savings” really worth it?

Poor performance, stress & lack of engagement are just a few of the negative consequences of neglected employees. For workers in their 30’s and beyond, work life balance becomes a major issue regardless of your position.

Instead of depending on your organization for professional development, why not take personal responsibility for investing in the “startup of you?” If you treat yourself as a business, take the necessary steps to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. If it’s overwhelming as where to start and how to accomplish work life balance check out this 8 week course I’ve designed to help you!