Monday, May 14, 2007

Executive Search Firm
  • Start-up cost: RM5,500-RM9,000
  • Potential earnings: From RM40,000 to as much as RM150,000 (gross)
  • Typical fees: Varies, but often equals 25 percent of first-year earnings of person placed with client
  • Advertising: Cold calls, attending trade shows, newsletter to potential clients, direct mail, ads in publications
  • Qualifications: Excellent people skills, patience, self-confidence, knowledge of specialized fields to be able to select
  • Equipment needed: Computer and office equipment, telephone, business cards, letterhead, brochures
  • Staff required: None
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Phone expenses and advertising costs could exceed budget early
  • Lowdown: Executive recruiters (also known as “headhunters”) are paid by companies to fill management, professional, and technical slots within their firms. Most of a recruiter’s work is done via phone and E-mail, so you can do this job anywhere, although networking face-to-face is also important. You will collect as many qualified applicants as you can (gleaned mostly from your vast resume collection and a few friends in high places). Many consultants choose niches in which to specialize; others serve all areas. A sales personality is helpful in this business, as is the ability to be self-motivated. Often, finding good people for the positions is easier than finding clients who will hire you to conduct the job search. You will need self-confidence, tenacity, and good networking skills to make it as a recruiter. This career choice gives you a great deal of flexibility and personal freedom, since you can work from any location that has a phone.
  • Start-Up: A computer and printer are essential, as is database, word processing, and communications software. These items will cost from RM3,000 to RM5,000. You will need a telephone, a headset, and fax, along with office furniture and business cards, letterhead, and brochures to promote your business. These pieces will cost RM1,500-RM4,500. You’ll earn an average 25 percent of the new hire’s salary—so it behooves you to search for the high-end, top-level managers.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Competition for the best companies and top-notch candidates is stiff, and you get paid only when you successfully match a company with a candidate, but the financial rewards can be considerable, and the satisfaction of helping a good candidate to find a job and your client to fill a key position, make your efforts worthwhile.
Employee Leasing
  • Start-up cost: RM15,000-RM35,000
  • Potential earnings: RM60,000-RM80,000
  • Typical fees: Mark up the going rates by 40 to 50 percent
  • Advertising: Direct mail, networking in business and trade associations, publishing a newsletter
  • Qualifications: Knowledge of and contacts in a specific field, excellent organizational skills
  • Equipment needed: Office furniture, computer, printer, fax, telephone headset, business card, letterhead, envelopes, brochure
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Liability insurance against employee misconduct
  • Lowdown: While you may not be able to compete with the big general help agencies, a small employee leasing agency can provide workers with specialized skills who cannot be reached through the traditional temp services. This business produces good earnings relative to time and materials: you’re not doing the actual work—just the organization. Build your database of specialists in a field you have experience with, then begin direct mail to your prospective clients.
  • Start-Up: Although the cost of building your initial database and center of operations is not high, you will need a sizable initial investment (RM20,000) to cover the delays in cash flow between your clients and your employees. You could see at least RM60,000 at the end of your first year.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: You may need to consult an attorney to stay abreast of the laws regarding taxes, workers’ compensation, and employment. Some types of temps will need to be bonded, and you will need to measure the advantages of incorporation over the extra costs and red tape involved.
Direct Marketing/Sales
  • Start-up cost: RM1,000-RM3,000
  • Potential earnings: RM20,000-RM50,000
  • Typical fees: Percentage basis
  • Advertising: Word of mouth, direct mail, cold calling
  • Qualifications: Energy, persistence, ability to manage time well
  • Equipment needed: None
  • Staff required: None at first
  • Handicapped opportunity: No
  • Hidden costs: Some organizations charge for catalogs and other sales materials, attendance at meetings, inventory replacement
  • Lowdown: Many, many people try their hand at direct sales, yet only a few of them make it big. What is the difference? Consider your goals. Do you want to make a few bucks and sell a line of products you like to family, friends, and acquaintances? Is your main goal to make your own purchases at a discount? Or are you planning to put the effort and commitment into direct sales that you would into establishing any other type of small business? Many products are best sold person-to-person because they benefit from demonstration. Finding an excellent product line to work with is vital, and you should feel confident in the company as well. The rest is up to your selling skills and personal drive. Many direct sales-oriented companies encourage their salespeople to create networks, additional salespeople whose sales bring a percentage to the person who recruited them. This practice acts as an incentive to everyone in the sales force. It is the way to large earnings, if you can achieve it.
  • Start-Up: Costs to start are very low (around RM1,000), but watch out for hidden charges and fees from the manufacturers. These should warn you off the companies that might exploit you. An income of RM20,000 in the beginning is realistic.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: How many opportunities are left in this country in which your own hard work will define your success? Direct sales is one of them. Are you comfortable with cold-calling? Are you committed enough to keep yourself going with no one to answer to but yourself? Do you genuinely like people and enjoy helping them find products that will add something to their lives? Or, on the other hand, would you be satisfied with direct sales as an add-on to some other activity? Be sure you’re clear on what you want, and what you will need to do to achieve it. If you have big ambitions, you’ll need a very big commitment to achieve them in direct marketing and sales.