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Signs You Need a Career Change and What to Do About It

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Burnout is a real thing, and it is not fun. For some people, burnout is a badge of honor, but it should not be. Pushing yourself past your limits on a consistent basis while identifying that you need a break or change and ignoring your base instincts to take one can have lasting impacts on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Before you find yourself in a spot where you are spinning out of control, look at the elements of your life and identify where the biggest stressors are originating. For many people, their job is the main culprit. Just because you have a need to make a living does not mean that you must subject yourself to a career that fills up your finances but drains every other part of your life. 

Career changes are more and more common especially in a post-pandemic world. If you are curious about making a change and are just waiting for the right time, it is not coming. There will never be an optimal, perfect day or moment in time where the right time appears out of thin air, you must create it. Before you make your final decision think about some factors that will be beneficial to you not just during the initial transition but also in the search process leading up to it. Especially if your reason for seeking out a career change is a toxic work environment, be sure that you have identified what has made it toxic for you personally so that you can avoid falling into another less than desirable situation. 

You Cannot Hide Your Feelings

One of the biggest signs that it is time to get a new job is disengagement. Often, once someone has reached a state of disengagement they are past the point of salvation regarding the specific topic. You need to stop, look, and listen within your own mind and body, as well as your surrounding for signals that you have become disengaged. 

If you find yourself going through the motions, without emotion, that is disengagement. When this becomes more of the rule and less of the exception your productivity will likely suffer as well and your mental and emotional health. If the first thing you do when you begin each workday is start the countdown until it is over, you are not setting yourself up for success. Consider as well how this disengagement might be trickling into your life outside the office as well. 

It is completely normal to vent or rant to a spouse or friend at the end of a particularly tough workday, and in fact, venting is an important element of managing emotions, but pay attention to their responses. If the people who love and know you best have started to voice concern about your well-being coming off a vent session, do not ignore that. Additionally, consider their feedback, if you voice a specific complaint about a person or element of your job, and their feedback has a tone of suggesting that perhaps more is wrong this one-off incident that can be a sign of the need for change. 

You Are Easily Triggered

Being on edge, or easily triggered is a classic sign of burnout. Regarding your job, if you are noticing that even the smallest things are setting you off and leading to thoughts or actions that make you feel out of control, it is time to look elsewhere. No job will ever be completely free from stress or irritation however it is important to know the difference between a healthy level of stress and a dangerous one. As mentioned before though, no reaction is often stress in disguise. We all operate differently and while one person’s sign of burnout may be an audible outburst or throwing things off their desk, another’s may be silence and neglect.

You Are Not Fairly Compensated

Part of any business plan is going to be managing the payroll piece of the budget. With managers notorious for watching the dollar and trying to get more for less as a facet of their job, do not let your employer get you at a discount for an extended period. Gone are the days where discussing your salary is taboo. In today’s world, talking about your earnings and the perks and benefits associated with your employment is a smart way to be sure that you are getting compensated fairly. 

Having said that, be able to recognize when you are not, and when that fact determines your future with the company. If you are happy and fulfilled and the money is the only missing piece know how to ask for a raise in a way that best sets you up for success. However, if money is just another element of your job that feels intolerable, say sayonara. You spend too much of your life working to not be earning top dollar for your contributions. 

What to Do About It

At this point it should be obvious if now is the time to make a move but admitting that fact and taking the steps to make it a reality are two different beasts. Do not let intimidation deter you though, just create a workable plan of action. A well thought out list of must-haves for your next gig is a great tool for your job search and the fact that it will be personalized means that you can sort through options more efficiently. Below are some questions to ask yourself and what the answers might lead you to.

  • Do I work better in autonomous roles? If the answer here is yes, think about jobs that take you away from an in-person office and into a more independent environment. Long haul trucking comes with travel and autonomy, but you might not have arrived at this career opportunity had you not identified your preferences first. You can review a guide on if long haul trucking is right for you to move forward within this industry or not. 
  • Do I need control over my schedule? If you need a flexible schedule and control over it, that will narrow down your search significantly. Be in tune here with what the role demands though, for example, it might be unrealistic to identify a desire to work in the accounting sector but not be willing to put in extra time during the height of tax season.

What salary does my budget demand? You can tailor your job search to your budgetary demands, or you can tailor your budget to your earned income. Either way, you need to know in advance of seeking out a new job what you consider an acceptable earnings range for yourself. Do not forget to consider factors like hours worked, and potential perks that might make up for a gap in base salary.

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4 Tips for Starting an Industrial Business

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The industrial sector is a broad category that covers businesses involved in the manufacturing, production, and distribution of goods. Small industrial companies are growing across the country and there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to get involved in this sector.

As with any type of business, there are certain things you need to do to set yourself up for success. Here are four tips for starting an industrial business:

photo credit: Pixabay

1. Do Your Research

Market research means figuring out who your target customers are and what they want or need. There are a number of different ways to do this, but some of the most common include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observation.

Surveys can give you a good overview of customer opinions while interviews or focus groups can help you to delve deeper into specific issues. Observing potential customers in their natural environment can also be helpful in understanding their behavior and needs.

2. Choose the Right Niche

When it comes to starting an industrial business, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right niche. There are a number of factors to consider when making this choice, and it’s important to do your research before settling on a particular industry.

First, you’ll need to identify the needs of your potential customer base, such as the products or services they need. Once you have a good understanding of the market, you can then start to narrow down your options. Consider the competition in each niche and decide which one offers the best opportunity for success. When making your final decision, it’s essential to choose a niche that you’re passionate about.

3. Create a Business Plan

In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s more important than ever to choose the right niche for your industrial business. When you specialize in a specific industry or type of product, you can better meet the needs of your target market and stand out from the competition. How do you know what niche is right for your business? Here are a few things to consider:

First, think about your strengths. What does your company do better than anyone else? What unique skills or experience do you bring to the table? Use these strengths to narrow down your focus and choose a niche that you’re passionate about.

Next, consider your target market. Who are you trying to reach with your products or services? What needs do they have that you can address? When you choose a target market and understand their needs, you’ll be better able to choose a niche that meets their demands.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Trying new things is essential for any business, so don’t be afraid to test out different niches to see what works best for you. By keeping these tips in mind, you can be sure to choose the right niche for your industrial business.

Engineers work with industrial printer

4. Optimize Your Processes

Through industrial control engineering, you will be able to identify opportunities for improvement and design solutions that achieve the desired results. In many cases, these solutions involve the use of automation and other advanced technologies.

By optimizing industrial business processes, industrial control engineers can help to improve efficiency and increase productivity. In addition, they can also help to improve safety conditions by reducing the potential for accidents. As industries continue to grow and become more complex, the demand for qualified industrial control engineers is likely to increase.

Endnote

With an increased demand for industrial operations and manufacturing, there has never been a better time to start an industrial business. By following these four tips, you can be sure to set your business up for success.

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How to Find the Right Business Coach — and Avoid the Wrong One

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At its best, business coaching can connect you with a mentor and supporter who helps you generate ideas, make plans and execute on them.

But at its worst, a business coaching offer can cost you time, energy and money — without much to show for it.

Here’s what to expect from a business coach, how to find a coach that suits you and how to spot red flags.

What a business coach can do

Business coaches draw on their professional experience to help you set and achieve your own business goals.

“I’m here to help you, and I’m here to raise your level of knowledge in whatever way I can,” says Gary Robinson, who chairs the Memphis, Tennessee, chapter of SCORE. SCORE offers free business mentoring for entrepreneurs nationwide.

Some ways a business coach or mentor might do this include:

  • Offering feedback on your ideas and suggesting new ones.

  • Giving you templates and other tools that help you make plans.

  • Connecting you with resources in your region or your industry.

  • Giving you deadlines and holding you accountable to them.

Some business coaches may also offer coursework or group training sessions on particular topics, like sales.

Working with a coach should help you identify opportunities you hadn’t seen before or develop new strategies for pursuing those opportunities, says Sophia Sunwoo, who coaches women and nonbinary entrepreneurs through Ascent Strategy, her New York City-based firm.

“[Coaches] don’t necessarily have to have all the answers,” Sunwoo says. “But they are the people that know how to maneuver and create a bunch of different thinking paths for their clients.”

What a business coach can’t do

A business coach isn’t the same as a consultant, whom you would hire to perform a specific task. A coach or mentor could look over your business plan, for example, but they wouldn’t write it for you.

“If you were to hire me as a consultant, you would expect me to roll up my sleeves and pitch in and work with you to get things done, and you would pay me for that,” Robinson says. Coaches, on the other hand, “try to show you how to do things so that you can do them [yourself].”

Business coaches are also not therapists, Sunwoo says. Entrepreneurship can be emotionally and mentally taxing, but it’s important that coaches refer clients to mental health professionals when necessary.

Business coaching red flags

If a business coaching opportunity “promises guaranteed income, large returns, or a ‘proven system,’ it’s likely a scam,” the Federal Trade Commission warned in a December 2020 notice.

In 2018, the FTC took legal action against My Online Business Education and Digital Altitude, which purported to help entrepreneurs start online businesses. The FTC alleged these companies charged participants more and more money to work through their programs, with few customers earning the promised returns.

In both cases, these operations paid settlements, and the FTC issued refunds to tens of thousands of their customers in 2021 and 2022.

To avoid offers like these, the FTC recommends that you:

  • Be wary of anyone who tries to upsell you right away or pressures you to make a quick decision.

  • Search for reviews of the person or organization online.

  • Research your coach’s background to see if they’ve accomplished as much as they say.

Sunwoo says to also be skeptical of one-size-fits-all solutions. A coach should customize their advice to your personality and skill set, not ask you to conform to theirs.

“The moment that a business coach pushes you to do something that is really not compatible with your personality or your beliefs or values,” Sunwoo says, “that’s a huge problem.”

How to find the right coach — maybe for free

Here’s how to find a coach that will be as helpful as possible.

Determine whether you need advice or to hire someone. A coach isn’t the right fit for every business owner. If you need hands-on help organizing your business finances, for instance, you may need a bookkeeping service or accountant. And take legal questions to an attorney.

Seek out the right expertise. A good coach should be aware of what they don’t know. If they’re not a good fit for your needs — whether that’s expertise in a particular industry or a specialized skill set, like marketing — they might be able to refer you to someone who’s a better fit.

Consider free options. There may be some in your city or region:

  • SCORE offers free in-person and virtual mentoring in all 50 states, plus Guam, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

  • See if your city has a Small Business Development Center, Veterans Business Outreach Center or a Women’s Business Center. All are funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and offer free training and advising for entrepreneurs.

  • Do an online search for city- or state-specific programs. Philadelphia, for example, offers a business coaching program designed for entrepreneurs who want to qualify for particular business loan programs. Business incubators often offer courses or coaching.

Make sure your coach is invested in you. They should take the time to learn about you, your business and its unique needs, then leverage their own experiences and creativity to help you.

“I’m on your team now,” Robinson says of his clients. “Let’s do this together and make this a success.”

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Are There SBA Loans for the Self-Employed?

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Many of the same SBA loans are available to both self-employed people and more formally structured businesses, such as limited liability companies and corporations. However, self-employed individuals, like sole proprietors and independent contractors, might face a higher barrier to entry for having limited credit history, inconsistent revenue or no collateral. If they can’t qualify for an SBA loan, other business financing options are available.

Who qualifies as self-employed?

Sole proprietors, independent contractors and partnerships all fall under the self-employed category. In these cases, there is no legal distinction between the business owner and the business itself. Sole proprietors, for example, are solely responsible for their business’s gains and losses, while LLCs and corporations are legally distinct from their owners. This distinction helps protect the owners’ personal assets if their business runs into legal or financial issues.

Are self-employed SBA loans hard to get?

While a sole proprietorship is much easier to set up than an LLC or corporation, lenders may be more hesitant to finance them for a few reasons:

  • Self-employed business owners are legally responsible, as individuals, for any debt and liabilities that their businesses take on. If someone sues their business, for instance, their personal assets — not just their business — could be at stake. This makes it riskier for lenders to finance them.

  • Sole proprietorships and independent contracting businesses may have lower revenue or less collateral to offer since they’re often a business of one. This could make it more difficult for them to prove that they can pay back the loan, plus interest. And it may require more paperwork.

  • Some banks set lending minimums that surpass what a self-employed business owner is looking for, either because the business owner doesn’t need that much funding or doesn’t qualify for it.

  • Since there is no legal distinction between the self-employed business owner and their business, they may lack business credit history. To establish business credit, you’ll want to register the business, obtain an employer identification number and open a separate business bank account and credit card to keep your business and personal finances separate.

SBA loans for the self-employed

SBA microloan: Best for small loans and more lenient requirements

Applying for an SBA microloan is a great option for self-employed business owners, especially if they’ve been turned down by traditional banks and don’t need more than $50,000 in funding. In fact, the average SBA microloan is around $13,000, according to the SBA. SBA microloans are administered by nonprofit, community-based organizations that can also help train applicants in business practices and management. And because the loans are small, the application process may be easier — applicants may have limited credit history and typically don’t need as high of a credit score as they do for an SBA 7(a) loan.

SBA 7(a) small loan: May not require collateral

Funds from the SBA’s most popular 7(a) lending program can be used for a variety of business-related purposes, such as working capital or purchasing equipment. While the maximum SBA 7(a) loan amount is $5 million, SBA 7(a) small loan amounts don’t exceed $350,000. And if the 7(a) small loan is for $25,000 or less, the SBA doesn’t require lenders to take collateral.

SBA Express loan: Best for quicker application process

SBA Express loans are a type of 7(a) loan for businesses that need quick financing and no more than $500,000. The SBA responds to these loan applications within 36 hours as opposed to the standard five to 10 days, which may speed up the process for borrowers working with non-SBA-delegated lenders. Additionally, borrowers might not have to fill out as much paperwork — the SBA only requires Form 1919. Beyond that, lenders use their own forms and procedures.

SBA loan alternatives

Online lenders

Self-employed business owners turned down for SBA or traditional bank loans may be able to qualify for financing with an online lender. These lenders offer options such as term loans and lines of credit, and they often process applications faster and have more lenient requirements. However, applicants should expect to pay significantly more in interest than they would with an SBA loan.

Business credit cards

Not only can business credit cards help build your business credit history and pay for everyday business purchases, but they can also help finance larger purchases (within your approved credit limit). And if you qualify for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR offer, you’ll have multiple months to pay off the balance interest-free. Just make sure you’re able to pay off your purchase before the intro offer ends and a variable APR sets in.

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