Here's a business idea that meets all the aspirations of anyone who wants a profitable, but easy, home business.
You can start small with little or no investment, develop it in your spare time, and parlay it into a $200,000 a year income - all within the next twelve months or so.
Really, all it takes to move on this one is an empathy for people, a basic understanding of money management, about 500 business cards, some smart advertising, and you're in business. Your greatest expense or investment, of course, will be for advertising.
The first, and most important thing to learn is the "thought processes" in the minds of the people or firms that lend money. No one lends Money with the thought of foreclosing on the loan and taking away a borrowers collateral. Whenever the lender is forced into such a situation, everybody loses. The borrower loses his possessions, and the lender ends up with about one tenth of the money he originally loaned out.
Therefore, the lending institution will generally do everything possible to work with the borrower as long as he continues to show good faith in attempting to repay the full amount of the loan. The most important thing a borrower should do, once he finds himself in a financial bind, is to get in touch with his creditors and appraise them of his situation. Usually, the lender will set up a meeting for an open discussion between himself and the borrower, in order to adjust or work out a more convenient repayment schedule.
Most people who borrow money are having money management problems to begin with, and are actually terrified to death at the thought of people from the loan company calling them. Although they generally won't admit it, most are aware that they've having problems managing their money. They're embarrassed about it, and instead of openly seeking help, they attempt to cover up the problem, and then hide from or avoid the very people who want to help them.
Over the past three years, personal and small business bankruptcies have been soaring to record levels.
People want to file bankruptcy against their creditors, because regardless of how easy it is, the thought of having "gone bankrupt" still leaves a stigma.
And this is where you should step in with your Professional Credit and Debt Counselling Service. You should never have any trouble finding clients.
Remember, step one is always to notify the client's creditors. This is the first instruction (or job) that you give to the client after you've heard his story. The borrower should be the one to notify the creditors, and ideally, he should call each on the phone, set up a meeting, and then discuss with the lender his current financial situation as well as his plans to rectify the problems, and resume payments. The plan he'll discuss with the lender will be the plan you assist him in setting up.
If the borrower is in over his head and with no other alternative, you should immediately advise him to file for relief at the local courts, which gives the debtor time to regroup and reorganise his financial situation without being hounded by bill collectors.
Anyone who's capable of earning wages, salaries or commissions, can make use of this plan. It should in no way be thought of as bankruptcy. This is simply a court supervised method for a borrower to pay off his debts. The borrower simply draws up a plan to pay off his debts over a three year period. If the court accepts the plan, the lenders are almost always obligated to accept it. While more recent bankruptcy laws still leave room for abuse by dishonest "big business", they fortunately have improved the outlook for the "little guy".
Your job as a Credit and Debt Counsellor is to meet with the over extended borrower, listen to his problems, and help him to plan a budget to live by, and set up a plan for the proper management of his income that will include money for him to live on, plus regular payments to his creditors. In the beginning, you can meet in the borrower's home, pretty much the same way as an insurance agent does. Later on, you'll probably want your own office, but a formal office for your business will never be absolutely necessary.
Many people are reluctant to be seen walking into a Credit Counsellor's office. Again, there's a personal embarrassment - the thought of their friends seeing them, and the worry of what other people will think of them. So if you do opt for an office, make it as unobtrusive and as confidential as possible. A sign stating "Money Management Consultant" would be appropriate. Gaining the confidence and trust of your clients will be the secret of your success. And do not underestimate the power of "word of mouth" recommendations by grateful clients.
Follow the methods of the insurance salesman, making everything as comfortable as possible for your clients. So long as you listen to your client's problems, and then work with him to plan a budget he can live with while paying off his bills, you won't be required to have a licence.
You simply will listen, assist the borrower in planning a budget, and he administers it himself. He makes all the contacts with his creditors, and makes all the payments directly to them. To give you the money and have you disburse it among his creditors would require a licence for your business.
Step two in your service is to find out the total amount of cash your client has coming in each month, and on what dates. Calculate according to his current obligations, how much he needs for living expenses: Rent or mortgage payment, utilities, food and clothing. The remainder of his available income is then budgeted for division among his creditors.
One of the best (and easiest) methods of money management within a budget is via envelopes. The wage earner marks a different envelope for each of his obligations. He then makes a predetermined amount of deposit in each of these envelopes each pay day.
Thus, if his mortgage were $1,000 per month, and he brought home $400 each day, you'd probably advise that he "deposit" $250 each payday into the mortgage envelope. And so it would be with each payment envelope.
Many people find this kind of system scary in the beginning, but after they've used it for a month, they swear by it as the only way to keep bills up to date.
Of course, the most important thing you want to advise your clients to do is destroy all their credit cards. Best of all, cut them in half and send them back with a short note explaining what they are doing and why - getting a handle on their debts according to their actual income. Basically, that's all there is to your counselling service.
You'll need a first meeting to hear the problems, and to make your proposals. A second meeting will be in order to polish and endorse the planning. Perhaps a third meeting at the end of the month to assist them in making their payments from their obligation envelopes. You'll find that most of the people you serve today will need your services again at some time within the next five years - sad, but statistically true.
It's a "fast track" and ever changing world. People who are poor money managers today invariably encounter money problems, again and again, regardless of how often they get everything paid off. This is, unfortunately, what keeps the lending institutions in business, and presents the opportunity for you to become wealthy as a Professional Credit and Debt Counsellor.
You'll need a receipt book. Drop by any large stationery store and get the most impressive available. You should charge $200 for your services. Three counselling sessions, with the payments at $20 per month spread over ten months is an ideal arrangement. Explain your fee during your first meeting.
Always carry an attache case, and at each meeting, work at the kitchen or dining room table. If it's a husband and wife, be sure that each is seated besides you. If it's just one person, have him or her to your right if you're right handed, to your left if you're left handed. Never have a client opposite you, across the table. Round tables are best for empathy, agreement, and co-operation, this has been proven psychologically - just believe it, and be guided accordingly.
Always carry a yellow legal A4 pad, and have plenty of pencils with erasers available. The legal pads lends authority to your knowledge, while leaving plenty of room for alternatives. The pencils and erasers eliminate the symbolic fear of everything being "cast in stone", and conveys the feelings of negotiation.
You should be well dressed, a portrayal of the traditional "financial officer", and yet in warm colors to accentuate your empathy with the problems of your clients. By all means, you should be sparkling clean and well groomed. Do not smoke during a meeting with a client, and always diplomatically refuse any alcoholic drinks that may be offered. Try to "talk" with your clients. You must never show any signs of disapproval of the actions that resulted in your clients being in their present predicament, nor should you sound as if you're lecturing or speaking to children. Remember - and you can tell your client - this has happened to many stable, conscientious people.
Maintain an attitude of understanding and a sincere desire to help them out of their current "tight spot". Don't let them get going on a deprecatory tangent, either. Should they start down that path, simply tell them, "These things happen to everyone, and what's done is done; the important thing now is working out the solution to the problem."
As mentioned earlier, your only real investment to set yourself up in this business will be for advertising. Even that does not have to be a "saved up" cash outlay. You can start off by planning to run an advertisement in your most read area newspaper. Check with the newspaper office to get the best price on a bulk space contract.
Under this kind of agreement, you sign to pay for a certain minimum number of advertisements for the next year or so, and as a result, your rates are considerably lower than those paid by the infrequent advertiser. Best of all, the newspaper will bill you after the ad has run, allowing you 30 days from the date of your billing to pay.
You should plan to run an ad in the newspaper for at least two days a week, especially in the Sunday editions, every week. Also you could have a circular made up, advertising your circulars, and distribute around your area. With a little imagination and thought, you could soon be running a really profitable business, helping others.
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