Today’s best opportunities: Where the money is and how to get it

The 3 wealth building markets

Market #1: The Home Market

Computers are in nearly every home, but invariably uers are stuck when it comes to using them. Most feel that they are only using a small percentage of their machines capabilities. That’s why they call upon a trainer to help them get better value for money out of the machine.

You can expect the home user to want to learn how to use Windows (or Mac OS), which comes bundled with just about every new machine nowadays. They may also have Microsoft Works/Office or some other package that has a similar function (Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Database etc).

Often they want you to set up a printer, get some software installed or even troubleshoot simple problems. It’s all pretty easy. But if you don’t know the answer to something just tell them. They will still look upon you as the expert.

The biggest misconception is that you won’t be able to learn enough to instruct the typical home user. This is nonsense. With a modicum of effort, you can learn the basics thoroughly. And most home users are only concerned with the basics when they first buy a new machine.

The things they might ask advice on are:

  • How to print
  • How to use Windows
  • How to set up broadband
  • How to use the internet (seniors)
  • Setting up social accounts, email, FaceBook, Twitter
  • How to customise Windows (its easier than you think)
  • Installing software

With effort, you could learn this thoroughly in a week and I mean thoroughly. You need to be motivated to persist when you are having difficulty understanding something. If you give up too easily you’ll get nowhere.

In my opinion, the home user is the best place to start because it gives you a safe environment in which to learn how to train. Also, you will find you learn new things every time you go to an appointment. Your client will not know you are learning on the job and your appointments become your training ground.

You tend to get a lot of business with home users just after Christmas. Computers are bought as presents and people play around with them, not really knowing how to make best use of them. Then it dawns on them that some training might be in order so they can get the best possible use from the machine. After all, its a powerhouse right? And that pesky printer doesn’t work properly, that game keeps crashing and so on.

While home users are a good place to start, you might like to consider branching into the lucrative business market.

Market #2: Small & Medium Sized Companies (SME)

By small business I mean either a sole proprietor or anything up to 5 employees. Sometimes these are referred to “Micro companies”, depending on which country you are from.

Right from my second week I was dealing with small businesses. Mainly sole proprietors, they knew only the rudiments of using a computer and yet were aware of the potential benefits that further knowledge could offer to their business.

Two key benefits when dealing with small businesses are that firstly they can pay a higher hourly rate for your services – when starting out, my $20 per hour charge must have looked ridiculously low when offered to a business. Secondly, you often get more repeat business. One small business hired me over 25 times over 2 years, each session earning me around $96 to $192. Medium sized companies hire me even more!

Most businesspeople don’t have the time to wade through manuals to learn to use their computers. They rely on “experts” to get them up and running quickly. Often, their needs are simple such as how to use their word processor a little more efficiently or the basics of using a spreadsheet.

This should be the lifeblood of your business for some time or at least until you are ready to tackle larger companies and their bigger paychecks!

Market #3: Large Companies

The larger the company, the more you can charge. With a small business owner he has to pay out of his own pocket. They tend to be more reluctant to fork out a high hourly charge.

However, with a larger company, the person paying for the training does not pay for it out of their own pocket, but from a budget. Also, they are under pressure to get in someone competent to train staff. The old expression, “No one got fired for hiring IBM” is as true today as it ever was.

One factor they look at to judge competency is the price you charge. If you are charging $20 per hour they are unlikely to hire you. That is a toy-town rate of pay and they would consider you amateurish at best.

Another benefit with a larger company – other than a high hourly charge – is they often book you up by the day or half day or even week! One single contract can lead to a sizeable paycheck.

Furthermore, you often get a lot of repeat business as staff come and go, the companies needs change and they discover the benefit of your expertise.

Having said all this, you first need more experience before you can tackle this market. You will gradually slip into this market as a few larger companies will respond to your advertising and you will be sucked in. It can be a harder market to crack but the rewards are well worthwhile.

Which MUST you first start with? The answer depends on a number of factors:

  • Your experience
  • Your skill level
  • Your market

For rank beginners If you are new to computer consultancy, I recommend you start out helping home users. This is the easiest market to break into and requires the least experience. Also, it is an excellent place to cement decent computer skills. You will often be presented with all sorts of situations that will challenge you. It is fertile ground for learning the ropes.

Businesses want results and if you don’t deliver they won’t hire you again. But homes users will be happy even if you can’t solve one or two of their problems. They normally have such a large list of things they want to tackle that if you just cope with 60% of them they will think it is money well spent.

However, once you have built up some expertise, I recommend you move onto the small and medium sized business. With more experience you can then tackle the larger companies. If you stick with home users for a long time (like I did) you will not get paid the big money you are worth.

Changing from the home market to the business market seemed daunting to me at first, but in reality you are doing the same thing. The surroundings are different but you are still dealing with people and their computer needs. Honestly, no difference whatsoever. I was tied up psychologically thinking how difficult it must be to “break into” the business market. What a load of rubbish! I did break in and without any conscious effort on my part – it just happened.

Looking back I think I should have been locked up with some of the attitudes I had. Despite this, I still made a whole bunch of money. And I had no mentor to guide me! I envy you.

For those with experience If you already have experience in the IT industry, you may know what you want to do. You possibly will have selected your market and this in turn may pre-qualify the type of people you will be serving. A previous IT support job, for example, could have equipped you with some excellent skills that companies would pay handsomely for. In this instance, you are likely to want to tackle the business market without delay. Your skills would be wasted on the home user.