Applying Tools from the MBA toolbox

“An MBA degree helps set you up for the future” – agreed, but what about the present?

I’ve been fortunate to have an opportunity to apply a great deal of our first year’s curriculum to my current role. Here are a few examples:

The impact of culture

This was an actual meeting schedule of mine from a month ago:

7:00 AM discussion with a product development team, represented by Sweden, the UK and Israel.

10:00 AM call with a sales team representing Canada and the northeastern part of the US (yes, people from New Hampshire are a different nationality).

1:00 PM meeting with folks from the west coast.

3:00 PM call with our Japanese sales team.

4:00 PM call with two members of our Australian sales team.

Every meeting had the same objective: collaborate to move a specific agenda item forward. What I did not appreciate until now is the impact each person’s cultural upbringing has on the tone and manner in which progress is best made. 

For example, the Swedish and Israeli teams prefer group consensus instead of relying on one person that ‘owns’ the decision (who might contradict the group). “I know best” is a behavior more indicative of the UK, Australia and the US. Additionally, I learned that the best way to get buy-in from the Japanese is to first approach the decision-maker’s subordinates, first getting their approval before moving ‘up the chain’. 

Based on these high-level understandings, I’ve noticed considerably less friction (and less time required) to move my specific agenda items forward.

Leadership

I have a decidedly autocratic managing style – while I certainly solicit opinions from my team members, ultimately it’s been “my way or the highway”, and I believe I’ve lost a few solid contributors owing to that approach not appealing to them. As such, I have adjusted my management style to first better understand the motivations of each individual employee, then adopting more of a coaching style of management to help them achieve more in the long-term.

Visionary vs. Pacesetting

In a similar vein, I am now cognizant of the fine line that exists between being a ‘resonant’ leader versus one that would be considered ‘pacesetting’. Visionaries provide a new or clear direction, and lead by example. However, owing to the pressures of my unique situation at FLIR, I have been driving too hard in some cases (i.e. too much of a pacesetter) and burning people out – most notably myself. I recognize now that taking time to renew is a requirement of ‘working hard’, even if that seems counter-intuitive. 

Negotiation

I recently changed the platform on which we run ecommerce to a new provider, and took the opportunity to apply our learnings in negotiation. Aggregating losses, disaggregating gains, knowing ahead of time what my reserve was (and guessing at theirs) – these were all things that put me in a position of strength at the outset of our discussions.

Experience change

One of the largest challenges I’ve faced working for an organization the size of FLIR is the number of stakeholders from which I need buy-in to move forward with a project…and the fact that as many of them have their own agendas, they are likely to dismiss mine, especially if we’re competing for limited resources.

So it came with great satisfaction when my latest project was approved owing to “a well thought out presentation from conception to iterative improvement”, which was framed using the 7-step experience change model. 

Net present value

Specific to this project, one aspect that set it apart was my consideration for the time value of money. While I always put forth an ROI analysis for any new endeavor, I had never previously considered two important factors (especially to our CFO):

  • The present value of future returns (since money loses value over time owing to inflation).
  • The discount rate (rate of return) of one project relative to other potentials. There is only so much working capital to go around!

Accounting (in general)

I can finally have an intelligent conversation with FLIR’s controllers <*breaths sign of relief*>. Timing of revenue recognition. Accruals. What’s included in COGS. Now when I’m given a specific contribution goal, I understand the elements that make this up, and which are in my control to improve.

Customer Lifetime Value and Net Marketing Contribution

Everything with respect to our marketing campaigns has been “one and done”, i.e. have not considered future cash flows from customers who purchase through our advertising. As a result, we were discontinuing ad campaigns that were slightly below the required breakeven point, by not taking into account the fact that future purchase, i.e. “lifetime value” would push them to net a positive return.

India 2019

Reflections, Relationships, and Building Connections

“What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it?”

                                  -Toni Morrison

In 2010, one of my MBA students delivered a welcome note to the incoming class. He said, “Force yourself to be in uncomfortable situations because you’ll learn more about yourself.”

This was my second trip to India and this time was just as uncomfortable as my last. It was as beautiful as I left it. Colorful as I remembered. Busy as I experienced. And everything about it was perfect. 

Why uncomfortable? Being in unfamiliar territory is terrifying but so rewarding at the same time. I’ve traveled to 15+ countries. Each visit holds a place in my heart and fuels my mind with memories to puzzle back together as I share my story now, tomorrow and moments ahead. 

Aside from the 50+ hours I spend working, on the road, making phone calls, running dashboard reports, planning events, attending those events, interviewing applicants, etc…life as a recruiter is not for the faint of heart. It’s a lifestyle. 

Speaking of lifestyle— think about your current life. If there’s one element you couldn’t live without, what would that be? For a village I visited, grid electricity wasn’t easily accessible. 

Project Chirag, an initiative of Chirag Rural Development Foundation, is one of India’s largest youth-driven initiatives providing solar lighting to villages that have no access to grid electricity. Founded in March 2010 by young students and their faculty advisor, Project Chirag has a clear vision – Light for All.

Can you imagine living day-to-day life without access to electricity?  

The district we went to had 4 villages around close proximity and we installed solar panels in 17/20 homes in this town. Their overall goal is to light all 101 homes across the district. 

Here is the link to Project Chirag website if you wish to read about their work: www.projectchirag.org and a short video from my time at the village. 

If there is one core competency a great recruiter should possess (IMHO), I’d say the ability to build and maintain connections. They are relationship seekers and opportunity givers. I am forever thankful that my career allows me the opportunity to provide people with the chance to better themselves personally and professionally. Not only have I gained a solid professional network, but also a circle of friends and supporters from students, colleagues and faculty.

And what brings people together? Mmm hmmm, that’s right: food! When I travel abroad for work and pleasure, I make every effort to eat what the locals eat and share the experience with fellow recruiters and alumni. One of my favorite experiences from recruitment trips is reconnecting with alumni at their fave restaurants. What’s an international trip without trying their local grub?! And trying it with a friend who can order for you. 

In Bangalore, one of the Willamette MBA students connected me with his sister. My time in Bangalore was tough; I got bit by what doctors thought was a spider. I’m allergic to anything that bites me, so this was no surprise. Except for the fact that it got infected and I was stuck in my hotel room for 2 days. I couldn’t apply pressure as it was swollen and just straight up awful. You can imagine the #FOMO I experienced and I was beyond excited to meet my student’s sister and her friend! What a day: we shopped at Mantri Mall and then they guided me through street shopping and auto riding. Check out the video to see my #Uber adventure!

So you guys, this was my second time visiting the #TajMahal and it was as magical as the first time. And much cooler; the weather called for only 70% humidity this time. Of the New 7 Wonders of the World, I’ve visited 2: The Great Wall of China and The Taj Mahal. The Taj was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife’s tomb, Mutaz Mahal. It’s quite the love story. Childhood lovers, he was from royalty, she wasn’t. His father didn’t approve of her, but love has no limits. She was his third wife and before she died of birthing complications, she made him promise to never marry again. Like, seriously? He loved her so much that he made that promise. Isn’t history beautiful? 

Well, there is so much about this trip that I want to share, but it’s about 7am and I’ve been up for about 22 hours now. For you young professionals out there itching to travel and seek a career that’s fulfilling, my #1 advice is what my former MBA student shared in 2010, and that’s to put yourself in uncomfortable situations (stay safe of course). Then take time to reflect on those situations and ask yourself what the late #ToniMorrison once said, “What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it?”

Here’s one last video with more pictures and video from India 2019.

The MBA story: From Farm to Executive Table

MBA Student, Misael Rios, shares his reasons for pursing and MBA.

Growing up as the child of a migrant farm/ranch worker was fascinating.  I enjoyed being with my father as we rode farm equipment and tended to the animals.  As a child, I did not realize the physical abuse it had on my father and why he stressed the importance of an education.

My father’s desire for myself and my siblings to have careers better than what he had instilled a drive and passion in us.  We wanted to make him proud of our accomplishments and wanted to acknowledge the sacrifices he made to ensure our success.

My siblings and I are first born Mexican-Americans.  Navigating the public-school system was not difficult.  Our teachers wanted us to be successful and were able to guide us through the school system towards graduation.  My father was always helpful with answering questions about our homework.  If he was not able to answer questions, he always knew whom to contact to assist him with retrieving the answers. 

My school had a program which assisted seniors with college applications and completing financial aid forms.  I was accepted to Portland State University and like any college student, was excited to move away from home.  My first term at Portland State was, to be blunt, a disaster.  I had no idea how ill-prepared I was for college.  Of no fault of my father, we had no idea how navigate how the university systems in the United States.  My parents were high school dropouts from a foreign country.  After having a terrible fall term at Portland State, I withdrew from school and moved back home.  I felt defeated and was upset I disappointed my father.  Our drive home my father wanted to know how I was feeling.  I told him how sad I was about my failure and did not know what to do.  I was afraid my father would be disappointed and see me as an unsuccessful induvial.  The exact opposite happened, as he praised me for having the courage to do something no one in our family had done and did not see it as a failure, but as a life lesson to learn from and move forward.

Upon my return home, my father had a meeting set up for me to meet one of my former high school teachers who could help me navigate the university system.  I enrolled at the local community college and obtained an associates degree in Emergency Medical Services.  I retuned to school years later to obtain a bachelors degree in Radiologic Science.  My father was present for every graduation and has always been my biggest cheerleader. 

When I told my father, that I was considering going back to school for a Masters in Business Administration, I got a response that surprised me.  He said the life lessons he has taught me thus far in life would be a solid foundation for me as I dared enter the world of administration.  As I researched graduate programs, I discovered the Willamette University MBA program for working professionals.  They offered in class lectures two nights a week and had a cohort system.  Those two things really sold me on the program.  I learn better with in-person interactions and the cohort model would allow me to become intimate with classmates which would help me to become more successful. 

During our first semester, I had to write a paper on my ideal self.  This paper required me to look beyond the superficial desires of my career and really analyze who I wanted to become as an administrator.  This program has also helped me further develop of my soft skills, of which I can use to network with colleagues. 

As, I am nearing the end of my first year in the Willamette MBA program and I can not help but be tremendously grateful for my father’s sacrifice to make sure his children were successful and valued education.  My father, who began is his career as a ranch hand, paved the way for his oldest son to hopefully one day be fortunate enough to have a place at the executive table.

Misael (second from left) with his partner, parents, and siblings.

Women in Tech: New Insights from TrustRadius

First, Some Context

I am a woman in tech. Specifically, I work with data from abuse investigations for the State of Oregon. (If you’re curious, my work is released publicly in the form of an annual data book.) My team is small, and actually, the women on my team outnumber the men by a small margin. Our office is a relatively small one, and our team is just five analysts. I feel fortunate, to a degree, for the unique place I’ve found in tech. I hold an entry level position and I’m supported by mentors and offered training opportunities. It is a comfortable and supportive place to begin a technology career. Studies show, however, that my situation is unique.

PDX WIT – Portland Women In Tech

The experience of most women in tech is more adverse than mine. I first encountered this reality while networking at an event in Portland, when one of the women on a panel shared her own struggle as the only woman on a team of financial analysts for a private sector firm. I was struck by her drive and tenacity, and her story about a supervisor providing the feedback that she could be more direct and less apologetic was revelatory for me. Mostly, I realized that my cozy little spot was doing nothing to prepare me for the challenges I might face as I advanced in my career as a data analyst.

It was at this networking event that I was told about Portland Women In Tech. The advice I received was to go to their networking events and learn more about both the adversity and the opportunities for women. I was intrigued and hopeful. The PDX WIT website outlines their purpose as this:

“PDXWIT empowers individuals within the Portland-area tech industry by offering community and skill-building events, mentorship, and access to jobs and opportunities. We dedicate ourselves to nurturing community leaders, advocating for the underrepresented, and inspiring change both locally and in the wider world. We leverage our leadership, commitment and influence towards reducing the imbalances that exist today in an industry that is shaping the future of humanity.”

Women Building Up Women

Finally, the Data

Studying the way we hire, fire, pay, promote and work is the awareness that sparks the beginning of change. PDX WIT collects data from surveys in the Portland, Oregon area. Their report is PDX WIT State of the Community and has insights into the experiences of women, people of color, and people who identify as non-gender conforming. TrustRadius compiled data from national data sets including from Statista and Glassdoor to produce the following key points:

Why do women join tech? 37% get started in the industry because of its fast pace. The ability to solve interesting problems (35%) and opportunities for growth (27%) round out the top 3.
43% of female tech professionals don’t think their company invests enough in building women’s careers. These perceptions vary by experience level, department, and job title.
Around 1 in 4 leadership roles at large tech companies are held by women.
Women in tech earn 94.6 cents for every dollar earned by a man with the same role and experience.
Men are 3x as likely to think that the wage gap between women and men in tech is because of a difference in job performance. Only 8% of women agree!
Asking for a raise based on current inequitable wage rates is why it takes women longer than men to earn more.
Men and women will both ask for approximately 33% raise, but they’re starting lines are so disparate, the finish line gets farther away for women with each raise.

Solutions and Resources

Alright, the data is scary. Discouraging. Debbie Downer and all that. Where do we go from here? Well, the purpose of data is to identify and validate these disparities, so we can look at opportunities.

Networking and Mentor Relationships

Personally, I adore the networking forums that have been created by remarkable women in the face of these issues. Local networking organizations are the sources to start supporting one another and championing the necessary changes to come. When we gather, train, and mentor together, we build a collaborative coalition that has the strength to bring meaningful changes to the environments we work in. We’ve already talked about PDX WIT. The State of Oregon Research Academy (SORA) is another networking group for researchers, economists, financial analysts etc. (learn more here).

Consumer Engagement and Social Media

SORA’s Journey to a Social Media Launch

Getting an MBA is still hard work! #JustDoIt

As we close out the final week of our Digital Marketing Campaign for our cohorts marketing class, you can read from the blog that there is a wide diversity of messages, experiences, and methodologies that our classmates have used to capture your attention and engage with you through your participation.  Some are funny, some are serious, and some are admittedly, just click bait. (To be honest, our team just considered posting photos of French Bulldogs over and over).

Marketing Final Start: Momo @ 3:30pm. “You got this dad!”
Dogs 12 hours later at 3:30am – Why the hell is he still up?  We’re over this.

But as a final thought on both this class, and the MBA program at Willamette University in general.  We thought it fair to say that while the MBA experience has thus far been both rewarding and fun; it is still school, it is still a lot of work, and it is still a big time commitment.

We now close out our 3rd semester, marking the half-way point in our program.  

Motivation is low and we’re getting old.  So for a final thought, if you’re considering doing an MBA, my advice would be start NOW.  Don’t wait. Because a year from now you could also be half-way done. And by this time next year, you’ll be glad you did, because starting now would pretty much be a non-starter.

So as a hat tip to Portland’s own Nike, JUST DO IT!

If you want a little more inspiration, keep reading:

MBA at Willamette University: A Solution to a Career Dead End – Part 2

When I decided to go back to school, I didn’t know where to start. I made the decision in 2011 but at that point, I haven’t attended college since 1998 and was not familiar with “college culture”, and application requirements. After learning about where I stood in terms of existing college credits, and my GPA, I found out I had to start from the beginning. Community college was the most logical and cost-effective option for me. I attended Portland Community College (PCC) before transferring to Portland State University. PCC was a long and slow process since I was paying for my classes out-of-pocket and took one class at a time until I decided to apply for financial aid to expedite my time in school.

At Portland State, I majored in English with a minor in writing. I chose English due to my interest in the subject. I understood the subjects and majors in the STEM field is in demand and well-compensated, but I was never a math whiz. Math and algebra were always my worst subjects in primary school and community college, so I felt the STEM door was closed for me. During my time at Portland State in the English department, I contemplated what I would do career-wise when I was done, but always came up short with ideas.

 Let me rephrase that: I came up short with careers ideas where I would be compensated more than when I was working as an admin in San Francisco in the early 2000s. Remember, I will have student loans to pay back. Looking at local career options, I ran the risk of taking a hugs loss in compensation despite having a college degree.

After meeting with a few counselors regarding career and graduate school, I realized business was where I wanted to go, and an MBA would be my method.  One year before my graduation date from Portland State, I started researching MBA programs nationwide and eventually in the local area. In the third post in this series, I will focus on Willamette University MBA and why I made the decision to all of my eggs in their basket.

How did you get here?

And is there a reason why you were led here?

What is Segmize.com? We have an explanation. Keep reading.

Did you click here from Segmize.com? Were you enticed by a flashy (and super clever) domain name? Did something about the content, the way it was written, the use of a cool video, make you want to click to read more?

Well, if it did. SWEET!!!! Because that’s all it was meant to do.

Hi, were team Ruthless. We are a team of 5 members. We consist of: Josh (a lawyer), Tyler (HR director), Laura (Commercial banker), Tucker (an old oil tycoon), and Kelli (slangs Insurance policies by day. )

You were lead here because we are in the midst of a competition in our Marketing Strategies class in the MBA for Professionals program at Willamette University. We are working professionals by day and by night we parrttaaayyyy.

JK. We attend class 8 hours a week at night and spend our time learning cool marketing tricks like the ones that got you here. 😀 Definitely no time for partying. (Mostly..)

Basically, your click and the fact that you are reading this are giving us good mojo points so thanks! And if you would be so kind, stay a while? Just leave it open you don’t even have to read… But if you do want to read some more there are some interesting articles posted by others in the competition..

HOWEVER YOU CAN ONLY CLICK ON THESE LINKS RIGHT HERE. They take you to team Ruthless articles of course.. Please? 😀

Learn about Laura’s life changing decision

Find out why driving an electric car makes you a prime MBA suspect . (er -we meant candidate* not suspect.. ha.. Also, this was written by the Oil Tycoon! Who woulda thought!)

Or maybe you hate the idea of going back to school? Trust us, we TOTALLY get it. So here’s 5 reasons you should NOT get an MBA. (you are definitely going to want to read this one.. so make sure to click that link.. Just, click it. Go a head.. It’s really funny!!!)

PS: All is fair in love and war? Er- marketing? Right? 😉

Consumer Engagement and Social Media: SORA’s Journey to a Social Media Launch

Business Presence on Social Media

Just over 42% of the world population is using social media on their mobile device. More than 3.48 billion people are active social media users – that’s 45% of the world’s population. These users support an e-commerce market valued at $1.786 trillion for 2019, and that’s up 14% from last year.

Why Your Website is Not Enough

Most organizations have a website, but not all have invested enough into engaging with consumers on social media. Google, YouTube and Facebook are the top three visited websites globally. Google will direct consumers to your organization’s website, but having a website alone won’t give you a presence on social media. According to Hootsuite, 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness. The 10% who don’t use social media are just not going to remain relevant or competitive.

Consumers spend more than 3 hours each day on their smartphones (e-marketer, 2019), and 90% of that time within smartphone apps (not their internet browser). Media connected users are spending that 3+ hours in audio-media apps, social media apps, and video-media apps – in that order. Your organization’s website may be at the end of a google search, maybe, but if you neglect audio and social media, then you’re out of sight and out of mind.

Consumer Engagement

Social media platforms offer a venue for customer service, consumer engagement, and consumer generated content. Users expect to be able to use a social media platform to provide feedback and stay informed, and they prefer social media platforms to calling in their feedback. Customer satisfaction is just the beginning. Your brand awareness depends on engagement on social media. Consumers want an experience that they will then share with their network using hashtags and location tags.

An Organization’s Journey to Social Media

I found an organization at the cusp of starting their journey to a social media launch, and interviewed its founder and creator. I’ve also volunteered to be part of that journey by committing to planning and strategy meetings for the launch. On a sunny, somewhat windy day in July, I sat down with Tasha Chapman at the Ike Box coffee shop in downtown Salem and learned what follows.

The State of Oregon Research Academy (SORA) is a data-happy nerd club of sorts, its creation inspired by Chapman’s experiences. From 2007-2014, Chapman hosted the State of Oregon SAS Users Group (SOSUG), which provided training sessions for state employees interested in SAS programming. The sessions were viewed as “useful, but had low engagement”. Chapman said that in 2013, she had “discovered these Learning Sessions that Pam McVay was hosting at DHS for OFRA.  The content for these sessions was very broad and engaging, but the sessions were essentially limited to just OFRA employees.”

Chapman envisioned a group with an expanded purpose and scope to include any State of Oregon research employee, and a broader range of experiences offered, and started SORA in 2014.

“I wanted to pair the content of the Learning Sessions with the wide open format of SOSUG. So I hosted the first SORA session solo in September 2014.  After that I asked for other volunteers to help join me, and thus began the first SORA Executive Committee.” – Tasha Chapman, 2019

SORA now has a beautiful and practical website, built and maintained by Julie Huber of the State of Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). SORA’s website boasts a membership of “more than 700 members, representing close to 20 agencies across the state. Members include research analysts, financial analysts, economists, database architects, information systems specialists, auditors, managers, legislative staff, and even entomologists!”

SORA Focus Group Study

Engagement has increased and grown for SORA in it’s half-decade of life, but the SORA board sought to measure its members’ experience with a Focus Group Study. The findings were many and varied from feedback about the types of offerings to the benefits of membership, but the resonant feedback was a request for SORA to have a social media presence. Members wanted a place to exchange knowledge, share events, and stay informed about SORA’s events. They want to network in real time, in addition to the networking events hosted by SORA, and they wanted a place to ask questions.

GovSpace – the MySpace for Government Employees

I hadn’t actually heard of GovSpace until I interviewed Tasha Chapman, SORA co-creator and board member. Tasha says GovSpace was considered as an option for launching SORA’s social media presence for several reasons. First, State of Oregon employees can use the site at work without violating any policies. Also, GovSpace provides users with a space other than their personal social media profiles, so their private lives can remain private while they interact with GovSpace. GovSpace has collaborative spaces and customizable user pages, much like MySpace – if you remember what that was like. GovSpace, however, has low engagement and is simply not widely used enough to meet SORA’s goal of increasing engagement.

SORA’s Social Media Sub-committee

SORA has only just begun its journey to social media, and its first step was to form a Social Media Sub-committee. Part of the sub-committee’s purpose is to determine the best place for SORA’s social media launch, whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or some other platform. Also on the agenda is whether SORA should launch in multiple platforms, or focus on one.

Chapman wants the subcommittee to consider the benefits and drawbacks of the two options. A single platform could mean users would have a forum for discussions and sharing, but we would have to consider which platform would best reach our audience. Multiple platforms would enable broader announcements and promotions to the group through many platforms, but we risk siloing feedback and discussions because users will engage through their preferred platform.

Tasha Chapman and Lora Edwards

Tasha Chapman is a Research Analyst at the State of Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. She co-created the State of Oregon SAS Users Group, which she expanded in 2014 to become State of Oregon Research Academy. Tasha remains on the executive board for SORA.

Women in Tech: New Insights from TrustRadius

Build a collaborative coalition that has the strength to bring meaningful changes to the environments we work in.

Psychology in Marketing: Emotional Response Strategy

What if the way we understand the neuroscience of emotions is wrong?

https://www.rbr.com/wp-content/uploads/Q1-2019-Nielsen-Total-Audience-Report-FINAL.pdf

https://hootsuite.com/pages/digital-in-2019#accordion-115547

https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-time-spent-with-mobile-2019

8 Unique & Profitable Business Ideas you can launch for FREE!

It’s the dawn of the side hustle and almost everyone has one these days. But what about launching a real business? One that can take you from 0 to 6 figures in no time? And what if you have no money to invest?

It’s your lucky day because we have narrowed down the best and cheapest business ideas you can launch today for CHEAP or FREE.

1. Resume Writer

It’s a task pretty much everyone hates and a rare few are good at. Even if you think your resume is far from great, chances are someone out there will pay you to don there’s. As you get better and quicker your resume charging power will grow.

You could charge anywhere between $20-$100 dollars an hour, or a flat fee. Getting started is free and easy on sites like fiverr.com and upwork.com. Or, launch your own website and keep the money all for yourself! Advertise on Reddit, Instagram, your friends and family! Word of mouth spreads quickly. This is also a good side hustle and that you can launch while working your day gig and then build up into a full time income quick.

2. Meal Planning Service

Everyone loves food. Which means the target market for a Meal Planning service company is HUGE. Like our appetite!

It’s super simple to create a free website and start advertising yourself and your meal planning services. You can create a subscription based service where you provide a new meal plan each week (complete with a shopping list for extra value) or create a package of pre made meal plans for a variety of dietary preferences. Once you have these packages made it’s just a matter of advertising and then you have got yourself a nice little passive income stream that could turn into some big mullah.

3. Referral Services

Are you the person who your friends and family constantly call when they want to know a good restaurant, a decent house sitter, or a honest lawyer? Even if you have trouble referring that last one (oxymoron, we know) you could still make a decent paycheck if you made your expertise into a legitimate business. Here’s how we see it working:

  • Start a list of business’s in your area that you want on your referal list.
  • Reach out to the businesses and sell the benefits of being on your list
  • Place ads on Facebook (local city groups are great for free publicity) and to your friends and family that you have this service.
  • Soon enough you will have businesses reaching out to you to be on your list and willing to pay good money!

5. Extensive Travel Planning

While many may think that the “travel agencies” of the past are long done for, you may want to think again. Brick and mortar travel agencies may have a hard time surviving but digital nomad experts have a niche skill that those strapped with no time are still waiting to pay big bucks for.

The ‘wanderlust” influence of the internet is apparent everywhere you look on social media (yes we all want to be in Bali…). Young and old professionals alike are saving up their PTO to take extended out of country trips. The thing is, they often don’t have the time to plan an itinerary for a three week backpacking trip through Asia. But if it’s your business and you have the travel savvy you can make a killing planning these trips for them!

6. Child Proofing Services

Every family with a newborn baby or small child wants to provide a safe home for them. There are so many areas of a home that can be dangerous, from sharp corners to stairs. A childproofing business is very cheap to start up, but you may be required to follow certain state regulations, depending on your location. However, if you can get down a quick and easy system, you could easily take on staff that could do the dirty work for you. Or you could put together an Ebook instruction manual for new parents.

7. Tour Guide

Live in a happening city? Offer tours or sell guide packages. Set yourself apart by offering tours that speak to a specific niche of your community’s history. Some tour guides offer historical walking tours of their town’s most haunted spots while others curate guided foodie tours for guests to get a true taste of the city.

8. Product/Business Reviewer

Startups or individuals usually look for people who can write reviews for their products or services to encourage the audience to make a purchase. If you love to write and looking for online business ideas, then this can be a great option. You can either get started with a profile on freelancing websites or contact companies directly.

You can write reviews for them in exchange for a monetary reward by becoming an influencer. Even better, if you have your own website or a blog, you can write a post about their products. Its highly recommended to read some studies, guides & blogs before trying your hand in product/business reviewing.

We hope one of these ideas has ignited some inspiration in you to start something of your own! If you have never ran a business before or you think you may need to brush up on some existing skills before going global then check out the Willamette MBA program.

Or maybe not… Here’s a list of reasons why you SHOULDNT get an MBA.. h

5 Ways a MBA Program Has Upped My Social Game

Organizational Network: The Social Impact of an MBA by Michael Cooper

1. An effective organizational network breeds inspiration

If you ask me, I’d say I’m paying for inspirational moments that I wouldn’t have experienced if I hadn’t pursued an MBA. This is an environment in which you are listening to multiple perspectives, and it can have a huge impact on a career path.

2. You will meet professionals that work in multiple different industries

The value of meeting people who work across multiple industries which include healthcare, accounting, government, and supply chain management is extremely educational in itself. Every night in class, I have a chance to understand these different perspectives on the course material, and because of this it’s like having multiple professors teaching me at one time.

3. When everyone on the team wants to learn, you have a winning team

My environment is what influences me to be the person I am, and by surrounding myself with an eclectic organizational network of professionals that want to be educated, I’m building an unbelievable foundation that I can always fall back on.

4. Constructive criticism is a great way to learn

In our cohort we challenge each other. We are constantly in situations where we have to compare performances with one another whether it be related to presentations, group work, knowledge of the material, or more. Being critical is important to grow, and as long as you have an organizational network that wants each other to succeed, there is no reason that criticism wouldn’t be constructive.

5. Ultimately, you’re making life long friendships

This is going to sound corny, but we’re more than just a network. We’re a family. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and an effective organizational network knows how to utilize each member to the best of their abilities.

Michael Cooper resides in Portland, Oregon but calls Saint Louis, Missouri home. His undergraduate degree was obtained at Westminster College and he is currently completing his first year at Willamette University (MBA). He enjoys learning about global business, traveling, and hiking.