Top 10 Alternatives to a Job

What if I can't Find a Job?
Top 10 ways to grow an income.
All about Income Opportunities.
Avoiding Business Opportunity Scams.
Helpful Pages

Sometimes finding a job is just too difficult, even when you do all the things on our Top 10 Tips for Finding a Job, and follow expert job search advice. Even when you first start looking for a job, you should consider alternatives to a job. In good times and bad, business opportunities and alternative incomes are available. In economic recessions, people continue to eat, to party, to drive, to maintain their houses and companies continue to advertise and sell at lower volumes. Companies are more sensitive to and pay for public opinions, and for cleaning and repairs when they are struggling, or even for stress relief (massage, fishing trips, parties, events), so businesses related to that can prosper.

Opportunities abound for those who can carefully, cautiously discover them (identify new ones) or evaluate business opportunity offerings. Don't fall for get rich-schemes and most multi-level, work-at-home and crowded venues schemes like vending machines, affiliate web sites or medical billing "opportunities". Whether you work in a job, or your own small business, you must provide something of value, not just network selling of opportunities and inventory to other neighbors in the same multi-level MLM scam. Check out our pages on Avoiding Business Opportunity Scams.

In all your efforts, first remember three main things:

1) Don't fall for most business opportunities: Shop hard. About 98% of "work at home" business opportunities are scams. About 90% of most other business opportunities are either over-priced, not exclusive, or just not very good. If they were, the seller would be doing it all everywhere big time. About 96% of multi-level marketing opportunities are scams and pyramid schemes, mostly for reps to buy most of the inventory and then not be able to sell it, usually just irritating your neighbors with over-priced "me too" products.

2) Attitude is everything: Regardless what you do, your beliefs, enthusiasm, hard work, adaptability and persistence will make all the difference. The main difference between any two otherwise equally talented people is attitude and desire to learn and improve.

3) Think and study about business: Learn the basics of positioning, differentiation, focus, strategies, pricing strategy, distribution channels and the importance of uniqueness, exclusiveness, unique selling proposition (what is your elevator pitch?), and competitive advantage. To think business, think unique offerings in high demand, and buyers with sources of funds. Who has funds or who will spring their pay for your product/service? (But remember the old saying "Sell to mass, live with the class". That is the masses usually spend everything they get-the same attitude problem:lack of self-discpline plus cost of living).


Here are things to remember before our Top 10 Alternatives to Finding a Job: In all times, some people have money, and so do some companies. Even in bad economies, companies must test products and consumer attitudes, distribute items, pack them, and advertise. Individuals still do a lot of maintenance and add-ons, like painting, repairing and adding a porch or back room. They do more "comfort" things, like entertainment, partying and eating and "cocooning", buying nice furniture. They get into hobbies at home or outdoor recreation. They need comfort items, stress reduction and household amenities. People fix up cars, or buy used. Repair and refurbishing usually do well. Personal services usually continue, such as insurance-paid elder care, lawn care or cleaning services. Resale, refurbishing and scrap do well with minimal capital.

Before you pick a direction below, evaluate your situation and yourself. Do you have a few funds, such as $3000? Are your math and communication skills fairly good? What are your strengths? Are you well-rounded, able to do many things? Do you prefer to do only one thing? Are you technical and analytical, or salesy and folksey? Do you enjoy indoor or outdoor work? List all these kinds of aptitudes and preferences first. Remember,even if you are technical, marketing and sales always take priority over anything else, such as production.

Whatever you do, think: Anything you choose must meet demands in society, that people need or use, preferably somewhat unique. Factor that in as you read our

Top 10 Alternatives to Finding a Job:

1) Decide what you are capable of doing and want to do: Decide whether you could run a real small business, or whether you might be a product representative (sales agent) or distributor (or route vendor), or whether you just want to work at odd part time jobs or as a contractor type. You don't have to be an accounting expert to just have one bank account for business money in and out, and about $10 to register a county DBA. That gets you started. (as soon as possible get legal and risk advice)

It's not terribly difficult. Determine whether you need a license if you later actually get the small business running, such as a city occupancy permit (some businesses run a while without it). Likewise your budget dictates whether you can buy a small business with a low down payment, or whether you should take some temp jobs, or even "day labor", which are usually hiring. These are good to build up that critical $2000 or so to get your little business started. By the second year of business you will probably need a used QuickBooks accounting package (about $100). Set that up as simply as possible with accounts in line with IRS Schedule-C expense items (to ease tax reporting).

2) Do everything to cut costs and find small income and subsistence while you learn and decide; Consider signing up for focus groups or taste tests to earn money. It's small but buys some food. Make use of "211" county services guides to find food pantries if necessary. Cut your costs. Find a good used car, van or pickup over 4 years old and maintain it and keep it at all costs.

3) Study which types of businesses are better: Realize that certain types of business are subject to more competition, risks and regulations, such as food and transportation businesses, for example. Few investors will back those (you'll go it alone). Know laws before you do any modifications to a vehicle. Some types of businesses are classically more profitable than others: Study and learn which businesses have higher profits by going to a major library and asking for "accounting ratios". These will show margins by industry and type of business. For beginners, a resale or recycling business can be quick to start and is among the more profitable types of businesses to start with under $2000. Everybody has heard EBay success stories, for example. Just helping people run garage sales can be a good business, or being early to buy at many sales one week, then offering them at twice the price at your sale the next, or combined with someone else's sale the next, so you don't even have to have a garage and can use their permit, if one is required. This can be a lot of fun. Don't think negatively, that you were trained as an engineer or that you're too important to sell small items or do odd jobs. You can get very comfortable doing these kinds of little businesses, so THEN you can work back to your skills area. That's an example.

4) Study business opportunities and local businesses for sale: (if its an "on-line business opportunity" or "make money online", be doubly cautious)), to get a better feel for what is real and what is hyped scam. Go slowly if you don't have much real business knowledge. We have helpful information on how to determine what is a real business and Tips on Buying a Business, and Avoiding Business Opportunity Scams. Go sit through a few business broker selling spiels, but don't buy. Use the spiels to learn valuation methods and strengths. Study business for sale listings, for days. Craigslist can be your familiar friend. Notice the pricing, usually sky high pie-in-the-sky. Learn to bargain, especially on terms. It is all about cash-flow with low down payment owner-finacing. Learn the differences between "biz opp" small opportunities in magazines and web sites versus on-going real businesses. There can be a gem in any one of those, but the odds are if you study for a few months, or at least a month, you will recognize that you can do better, or that a real business stands out. An existing business with a motivated seller with owner financing has possibilities. But unless you know that business area well and have considerable funds, go slowly and consider your own new business or side income hobby.

5) Allow enough time: Don't expect a business other than local contracting fix-up, maintenance or cleaning or care services to take off in less than six months, likely 1 to 2 years. If you need quick money, consider those handy-man, clean up, fix-up and cleaning services. Animal, child care and even elder care can be done at home in some areas. Elder care is tough, but if you are strong and patient, you can do well if you have a well-designed house. This could get you by for a couple of years. Think about what people need, like carpet, window and gutter cleaning, painting, furniture repair, carpet cleaning, etc.. If you are more creative and technical, you have to study areas related to your knowledge and become an expert consultant or contractor in a narrow, but high demand area.

6) Consider buying an existing running business for low money down owner financing. Check our tips for buying a business or income opportunity. Be sure you plan transition. Many businesses require skills of an owner. Transition is usually like a partnership, then the owner retires. But avoid real partnerships. Be careful to have a hold harmless agreement that you will not be liable until the owner moves out of the scene.

7) Consider getting funding or investors. Funding is loans. Investors are part-owners, but avoid their complete control of the business. Consult a lawyer. For these, you need someone knowledgable of small business lending or "boutique investment banking" or an "angel network" of angel investors. Be careful to abide by securities laws, to not offer "blue sky" promises of passive income from an investment. That is illegal. The most important aspect of investment capital or loan raising is disclosure. Be completely honest. If somebody does not point out the risks of an opportunity, don't trust them. It is illegal to advertise for passive investors who are not "high net worth individuals". But if you have a really good idea, get people to sign non-disclosure, non-compete agreements before you disclose it. Consult with experts.

8) Consider a small corporate type partnership, like an LLC, with a close knit group on the same wavelength---But be careful of partnerships. Their mistakes are yours and their debts are yours. A cooperative strategic alliance might be good, each helping the other periodically. A serious problem with any corporation or LLC is that legal problems require that a lawyer be hired. Only a sole proprietor (or possibly a small partnership) can represent him/her self "pro se". Here in items # 6 to #8, realize that making money usually takes money, at least a few thousand dollars, usually not less than $10,000.

9) Consider starting an internet-based business, but be careful: Competition is fierce, and you must have something very suitable to the internet, usually not requiring fitting, taste, smells or touching to sell, and not too expensive nor too cheap (usually $30 to $3000 range). You must have a great and unique idea with special skills or unique product, or be a sole source in a geographic area. Ideally, you have considerable web business knowledge and some technical, creative and/or artistic ability. But you must follow basic web site design rules. Consult with Buyers' Group Web-Success marketing services division for web business planning, promotion methods, content writing and site critiques. See Web Business Tips informational pages (links on left).

Be sure you read Before you Begin a Web Business before you even register a domain name, create a logo, chose a hosting company or begin to design your web site. Better yet, read most or all of the Web Success pages and pages linked there from before you start a web business. You will see that it is risky, expensive and difficult to do a web business correctly.

10) Work a job while starting a business: For a while, most likely you must do two tasks at the same time: do part or full-time work of a type you don't necessarily enjoy (such as temp help or day labor-- get over it), combined with expanding a hobby or aptitude that you develop with training over time to become self-sustaining. This is the old expression "Don't quit your day job." Do both, such as house, carpet or window cleaning, then practice your skill or production at night. (or vice versa) Such day or night job is the one that makes some money to sustain you while you experiment with, study and improve your main interest and possible business. But before you do this, be sure to ask a few people what they think about your idea. You should get a "Wow!" reaction from those who might have an interest in buying or trying your product or service. See our Tips for Starting a Business page. There are exceptions. You can simply market a bundle of smaller services, or put together a small group of circular or flyer deliverers, or similar concept. Whatever you do, be sure the demand is there and the pricing is right. Price comparably to others and add one featured advantage. Don't try to undercut pricing unless there is only one provider gouging the market. Do something different to differentiate yourself. If you decide to sell used tires from your garage with one tire machine, advertise something like "Day and Night Tires". (don't add the word "Service" that will probably get commercial truck tire calls for you to come out on the road at 2:00 am-maybe not what you intended). But there is plenty to do. If you love kids, baby sit or tutor. If you love animals, consider pet sitting or feeding care for people on trips-vacations. If you love cars, maybe do special detailing, customizing or repairing. If you like selling, become a rep by pestering a company to let you. Yeah-- SELL THEM like you would sell their product- polite, persistent, effective.


Summary: To find a good alternative or business, as with searching for a job, just do a better job than your competitors. Duh ! Considering the above approach can help you create or buy your own job. There are many advantages and disadvantages to owning a business. A very small but profitable business can be way better than a job. You don't have to take orders from idiot thoughtless bosses, nor take flack from A-hole co-workers. But you do have to deal with customers who can be irate and similar to those bosses and co-workers. However,... YOU can FIRE them !! (Especially if your business is in demand). Upgrade and improve your customers constantly by improving your screening. Be sure you and your unique skills are actually better, and appreciated highly by your customers. Don't waste time on those who try to take advantage of you or try to get free work from you, nor those who don't want to pay or can't pay. Keep the slogan "First pay, first served" if you do service. Don't issue credit if you can help it. Say "I'm not a bank".

Another big advantage is doing things the way you want to. There is a good chance that with your own business you can instill your values into your product and people. You might end up doing what you love. If it does not start out right, you can change it, adapt it, or sell it and start another.

Helpful Pages" consumer and citizen better living tips are sponsored by Buyers Group and Business Standards Institute.

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