Jump-start your career with a personal business model

In columns past, Get Rich Slowly has showed you how to improve your financial situation by thinking of yourself as a business. In short, the lessons of business often apply to personal life. I recently discovered this while editing a book about business models that turned into an international bestseller. (Who knew business models could be so popular?) The lesson I learned — that business model thinking can apply to individuals as well as to organizations — could help you jump-start your career.

The term “business model” may seem like jargon used by high-priced consultants and business-school professors. That's too bad, because understanding and analyzing business models remains a rare and valuable skill — yet one anybody can learn.

What does “business model” mean, anyhow? There's little agreement on a precise definition, but two common explanations are “a blueprint for a business” and “how a firm makes money.” These definitions are general and don't mean exactly the same thing. Still, both suggest that business models play a key role in business success.

Why is this im

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How to Decide If You Should Become an Entrepreneur

In response to October's quiz about entrepreneurial "types", a reader named Pace posed some intriguing questions:

  • What are the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs?
  • Are they demographically different from unsuccessful entrepreneurs?
  • Or is it all due to individual differences?

At the heart of Pace's inquiry, I think, is something many people long to know: How can I decide whether I should become an entrepreneur?

Here's the first part of my two-step response, and one I sincerely believe: If you're seriously thinking of starting your own business, then you have what it takes to start your own business. We've seen that "personality" and other personal attributes are poor predictors of entrepreneurial inclination, let alone success.

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Quiz: Are You the Entrepreneurial “Type”?

Have you ever wondered whether you're an entrepreneurial "type” of person?

It would seem easy enough to find out: The internet is rife with quizzes promising to assess your “entrepreneur-ability” in terms of personality, skills, experience, and background.

But watch out! Many such tests are nonsense. They're based on folk wisdom, and lack any basis in rigorous research.

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Clark’s Option Theory: Making the Most of Opportunity

Two Get Rich Slowly readers recently asked whether education is always a good investment. Lisa and Jethro are pondering their futures and wondering whether they should borrow money in order to go back to school.

Both Lisa and Jethro seem to be looking at the decision primarily from a cost/benefit viewpoint: An advanced degree will cost x dollars and require borrowing, but their salaries will rise to x dollars when their new credentials allow them to secure better jobs. Is it worth taking on debt?

GRS readers might benefit from taking a different approach to the issue, one based on Clark's Option Theory.

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