Business At A Glance
Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes
Computers and computer programs are among the most wonderful toolsavailable–as long as you know how to use them. If you don’t, youquickly learn the true meaning of frustration. And let’s face it: Mostprograms–despite what the blurb on the back of the box may say–arenot cuddly. Which leaves lots of would-be computer users, especiallybusinesspeople, floundering instead of working successfully.
But ifyou’re intimately familiar with one or more software packages, then youcan transform the virtually flummoxed into virtual wizards (or at leastcomputer-savvy souls) with a computer-training business. This is a hotfield–according to the International Data Corporation, the worldwidemarket for technical computer training is nearing the $28 billion mark,with an annual average of $8,200 spent for information systems stafftraining and $3,000 per person spent on general staff training. You canspecialize in the software program or programs you know best; in afield you’re familiar with like law or medicine; or, if you’ve got abroad base of software smarts, you can be a computer G.P., trainingclients in a wide variety of programs and packages.
And you can workone-on-one with individual clients–from tots to seniors–or train aroomful of employees at a time for corporations.
The advantages to thisbusiness are that you’re out and about, working with lots of differentpeople; helping folks overcome computer-phobia is always rewarding; andbecause you have to keep up with ever-changing technology and softwareupdates, you’ve got the best excuse in the world for buying newcomputer goodies on a regular basis. You should know inside and out atleast one software package, commonly used by the mass computer marketor by a particular industry. But it’s not enough to be a softwareegghead–you’ll also need the ability to communicate your knowledge toothers. Other must-haves are the patience to help clients conquercomputer-phobia and the communication skills to transfer yourenthusiasm and techniques to your pupils.
Your clients can be private individuals or corporate types who want tomake their employees computer-literate. To get the business fromprivate parties, establish relationships with computer retailers andask them to refer customers to you. (Be sure to leave a stack ofbusiness cards for them to hand out.) Place ads in local newspapers andthe Yellow Pages. Solicit companies and corporations throughdirect-mail campaigns and network at professional, civic and tradeorganizations. Place ads in industry journals and other publications.Another excellent technique is to get certified or licensed fromsoftware manufacturers or vendors who will then refer customers to you.(Sometimes there’s a fee involved for getting certified.)
You’ll need your own computer and up-to-date versions of the softwareyou’ll teach, along with a good word-processing or desktop-publishingprogram, and–naturally–an inkjet or laser printer, so you can spinout training materials. To go with this, you’ll want a desktopprojector and a laser pointer so a classroom of clients can see whatyou’re doing.