Entrepreneur Careers – Entrepreneur Career Info

An entrepreneur is a person who uses a keen business sense to create profitable opportunities where there are none. Forbes succinctly defines entrepreneurship as “define, invest, build, repeat.” An entrepreneur sees an opportunity, invests (often considerable amounts of) time and money, builds the business, and then moves on to the next opportunity.

Note: There is often confusion between the terms entrepreneur and small business owner. These two roles are similar, and once in a while a person may be a little bit of both, but in general, there is a difference:

  • A small business owner owns a small business. He or she operates his or her small business and works to make it a success. A small business owner is usually personally and emotionally invested in his or her business.
  • The term entrepreneur is associated with big ideas and big risks. An entrepreneur may come up with crazy schemes and then develop risky plans to bring their grand visions to life. An entrepreneur isn’t usually as emotionally invested in his or her business ventures. To an entrepreneur, “It’s just business.”

Entrepreneur Requirements

An entrepreneur needs to have:

  • Access to funds and resources to invest. (This may mean access to investors.)
  • A willingness to take risks.
  • A willingness to work hard.
  • Excellent people skills.
  • The ability to “see into the future” and make accurate predictions.
  • A good business sense.

Education and Training — How to Become an Entrepreneur?

Some believe that entrepreneurs are born, not made. It does take a certain kind of mind to be able to recognize business opportunities where most people don’t see them. But education and experience also helps.

People can earn degrees in entrepreneurship, but many entrepreneurs have other (often business-related) degrees. And still other entrepreneurs have no degrees at all. The best training might come from a mentor. An aspiring entrepreneur may want to find a successful entrepreneur and watch the way he or she works.

Entrepreneur Salary — How Much Do Entrepreneurs Make?

It is impossible to accurately summarize how much entrepreneurs make because of the risky nature of entrepreneurship. Some entrepreneurs are billionaires. Some are bankrupt. Some make lots of money one year and then bottom out the next.

A skilled and hardworking person can definitely make a good living as an entrepreneur, but he or she has to be willing to take risks.

Entrepreneur Career Opportunities

Entrepreneurs work in every field. An entrepreneur sees opportunities everywhere, be it construction, health care, technology, or used cars.

Entrepreneurs make their own career opportunities. They are creative, resourceful, and brave. They see a need in society, come up with a way to meet that need, and launch a plan.

Business Owner Careers – Small Business Owner Career Info

A small business owner is a person who owns and operates a small business. He or she could own a vintage clothing store, a diner, or a mobile car detailing service. The possibilities are pretty much endless.

Small business owners often work round the clock. They get to be their own boss, but they are also ultimately solely responsible for the success (or failure) of their business.

Note: There is often confusion between the terms entrepreneur and small business owner. These two roles are similar, but there is usually a subtle difference:

  • A small business owner owns and operates a business and works to make it a success. A small business owner is usually personally and emotionally invested in his or her business.
  • The word entrepreneur is associated with big ideas and big risks. An entrepreneur may come up with seemingly crazy schemes and then create risky plans to bring their big ideas to fruition. An entrepreneur isn’t usually as emotionally invested in his or her ventures. To an entrepreneur, “It’s just business.”

Small Business Owner Requirements

There really are no requirements. Anyone can become a small business owner. He or she simply needs to buy or start a business. The kid with the lemonade stand is a small business owner. All one needs is the will.

Education and Training — How to Become a Small Business Owner?

There is no required education or training to become a small business owner. Still, many small business owners do choose to earn degrees in business, and degrees in small business management when available. Another way to train for small business ownership is to work for a small business owner. Aspiring small business owners may want to seek out a successful mentor.

Small Business Owner Salary — How Much Do Small Business Owners Make?

It’s difficult to discuss how much money a small business owner really makes, because there is no such a range. Some small business owners are rich. Some are working two other jobs just to support their budding small business.

An American Express OPEN study found that small business owners made an average annual salary of $68,000. It also found that fifteen percent of small business owners were working a second job to make ends meet.

Small Business Owner Career Opportunities

Career opportunities for small business owners are limited only by the imagination. The first person to open a cupcake truck garnered some criticism, but then made a small fortune. If you have a business idea, or know of a small business for sale, then you have a career opportunity before you.

Just know that owning a small business is a taxing endeavor. Many small business owners say they never really get to “go home from work.” They are thinking about their business round the clock. This takes an incredible level of commitment.

Economist Career – Economist Jobs Info

Economists are economics experts. They study the production and distribution of goods and services by conducting surveys and collecting data, analyzing that data, and researching and analyzing economic issues.

Economists share their findings by preparing reports. Many of them write articles for academic journals. Economists are also problem solvers who interpret and forecast economic trends. When you read a prediction about the economy, you can know that there was an economist behind it.

Economist Requirements

Economists must be computer savvy. They use software programs to organize and help them analyze their data.

Economists sometimes have to work under high pressure and tight deadlines requiring extended work hours.

Economists must also have the following skills:

  • Analytical skills
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Communication skills (including writing)
  • Excellent math skills (including statistics and calculus)

Education and Training

Most economist job opportunities require a graduate degree in economics. People holding bachelor’s degrees may qualify for entry level economist positions, especially within government agencies. A bachelor’s degree in economics or a math-related field is a good foundation for an economist career.

Work experience, including unpaid internships, will also help a candidate secure an economist position.

Economist Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for economists in May 2012 was $91,860, with the top 10 percent earning upwards of $155,000. Highest salaries were paid to those economists working in finance and insurance. State and local governments paid the lowest wages.

Career Opportunities

In 2012, nearly half of all the economists in the US worked for the government. Others worked for corporations, helping them to understand their relationships with the overall economy, and helping them to increase profits. Some economists worked in scientific research and development services. A small number worked in finance and insurance. Some economists also teach college courses. Some even become high school teachers (BLS).

The economics field includes many specializations. Some economists work as econometricians, people who apply complex math (statistics) to economics. Some economists work in finance, analyzing savings, risk, and investments. Some work in public finance, looking at the role of government in the economy. Some find careers as industrial organization economists, studying how companies compete and how antitrust laws affect markets. Some economists specialize in labor. Some study the global economy.

Some economists are able to work from home, though economists need to travel for work fairly often.

Accounting Careers – Accountant Job Info

Accountants are expert number crunchers. They are charged with preparing accurate financial records that comply with local and federal laws. They also have to maintain these records and keep them organized and ready for inspection.

They figure out how much tax money an individual or company owes, and they prepare sometimes complex tax returns.

Accountants may also oversee business financial operations to help with things like: risk management, investment planning, cost cutting, profit improvement, account analysis, and tax planning.

But most accountants don’t get to spend all their time squirreled away with their calculators. Most accountants also have to be good communicators. They have to meet with people and be able to communicate complicated financial principles to both businesspeople and laypeople.

Accountant Requirements

To work as an accountant, you will probably need an accounting degree, or a non-accounting degree with some credits in accounting. A candidate who has passed the CPA (Certified Public Accountants) exam will have significantly better employment opportunities.

Specific requirements differ by state, but in general, you do not need a degree in accounting to sit for the CPA. You will probably need a degree in something though, and some states require a number of college credits beyond what is required for a non-accounting bachelor’s degree.

For example, if you earn 120 college credits for your French literature degree, you may need to take additional courses to reach your state’s minimum 150-credit CPA requirement. This is hypothetical—check with your state for exact requirements.

Some professionals who have a non-accounting bachelor’s degree choose to go for their MBA with a concentration in accounting.

Education and Training

Most accountants hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a similar field. Job prospects improve significantly for candidates who pass the CPA exam. Some hold MBAs, often with accounting concentrations.

Many businesses, organizations, and agencies (including the IRS) offer job-specific training to employees.

Accountant Salary

According to BLS, in May 2012, the median salary for accountants was $63,550 (about $30 per hour), with the top 10 percent earning upwards of $111,500.

BLS further states that only about 20 percent of accountants worked more than 40 hours per week. Many accountants work longer hours during spring “tax season” and some are able to take extended vacations during the off season.

Accounting Career Opportunities

According to BLS, employment opportunities for accountants are expected to grow slightly faster than average for all occupations. From 2012 to 2022, a 13 percent growth is expected. Employment opportunities for accountants are directly proportional to the overall well-being of the economy itself. The healthier the economy, the more accountant jobs there will be.

Many accountants work full-time for businesses and organizations. Others do contract work for small businesses and individuals. Some accountants operate their own accounting firms and hire other accountants and financial professionals to help them.

Some accountants work for governments. These accountants keep records for government agencies and/or examine the records of others. The IRS employs many accountants.

Still others specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial events after they have happened. These accountants often work for or with law enforcement or lawyers and may be required to serve as expert witnesses in court.

Commercial Banker Career – Commercial Banking Jobs Info

Commercial Banking careers include Branch Managers, Loan and Mortgage Bankers, Credit Analysts, and Trust Officers. (And sometimes, one’s job title will simply be “Banker.”)

A commercial bank is a for-profit business involved in loaning individuals and businesses money and offering checking and savings accounts. This type of institution employs many people at many different skill levels.

Commercial Banker Requirements

Most commercial bankers have bachelor’s degrees, but some may only have comparable (and usually significant) work experience.

If you’re looking at a Commercial Banking career, know that you will also need to have solid communication skills (including writing), good people skills, good computer skills, analytic abilities, decision-making skills, problem-solving abilities, and good organizational skills.

Education and Training — How to Become a Commercial Banker?

Some commercial bankers begin at entry-level jobs (e.g., bank teller) and work their way through the ranks. Others earn their bachelor’s degrees in business or finance and are able to enter commercial banking at higher-level jobs. Most commercial bankers can expect some on-the-job training once hired.

If you want to work as a Mortgage Loan Officer, you will need to have an MLO license. To earn this license, you must complete 20 hours of courses and pass an exam. Check with your state for specific requirements.

Though it is usually not required, some Loan Officers do get certified. Both The American Bankers Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association offer Loan Officer certification programs.

Commercial Banking Salary — How Much Do Commercial Bankers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2012 the median salary for loan officers was $59,820. The lowest 10 percent of loan officers earned less than $33,000 with the upper 10 percent earning upwards of $119,000. It is worth noting that some banks pay loan officers on commission, so the more money you earn for the bank, the more money you earn for yourself.

In general, the more responsibility a banking job requires, the more money it pays. Also in general, the bigger the bank, the bigger the paycheck.

Career Opportunities

According to BLS, employment for banking loan officers is expected to grow at about the same rate as most other occupations over the next several years. The more the economy recovers, the better the career outlook for commercial bankers.

Financial Advisor Career – Financial Planner Jobs Info

Financial Advisors can go by several names, e.g., Personal Financial Advisor, Stockbroker, Tax Preparer, Estate Planner, Certified Financial Planner, and even more.

Broadly speaking, a Financial Advisor is someone who charges money for financial advice. An individual may turn to his or her accountant for this type of advice, or may walk into a fancy office building that houses dozens of professional finance gurus.

Financial Advisor Requirements

To be a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), you must pass the Series 7 exam and the Series 66 exam. Or, you could just pass the Series 65 exam.

RIAs who manage a portfolio totaling less than $100 million must register at the state level. RIAs managing larger portfolios must register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

There are many professional certifications available. Here is a brief overview of the most reputable:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is the most widely recognized credential in the financial planning industry. The CFP board has set up rigorous requirements and this is a tough certification to earn. You have to take five courses and then sit for a board exam — a 2-day, 10-hour, 285-question test that 40 percent of test-takers fail. You must also have three years of professional experience and hold a bachelor’s degree.
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is the oldest designation and is similar to CFU, except that it has a life insurance focus.
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) was also created by the life insurance industry, as an alternative to the CFP. It begins in life insurance but also allows for general financial planning issues. (The CLU and the ChFC may require more coursework then the CFP, but there is no comprehensive exam.)

Financial Advisors must have great analytic skills, be able to work well with people, be strong communicators, and be good at math.

Education and Training — How to Become a Financial Advisor?

Nearly all Financial Advisors have a college degree. Some certifications (e.g., CFP) require a four-year degree.

If you don’t have significant experience and coursework in finance, you will probably want to start with a bachelor’s degree. Look for a program that will help you prepare for licensing exams. Then work to pass the exam that will take you in the direction you want to go. Note that large firms often have their own training programs, which helps trainees get the required licensing.

Also, if you choose to sell insurance, you will need to be licensed by your state.

If you’re planning on a career in Financial Planning, start networking like crazy, and start now.

Financial Advisor Salary — How Much Do Financial Advisors Make?

In May of 2012, the median salary for Personal Financial Advisors was $67, 520 (BLS). This figure does not include self-employed advisors. This figure also excludes bonuses that many firms offer.

Career Opportunities

If you’re looking for a Financial Advisor Career, we have good news. Employment for financial advisors is expected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022 (BLS). This is a much faster rate than most occupations.

Financial Analyst Career – Financial Analyst Jobs Info

Financial Analysts analyze investment opportunities and help individuals and companies decide where to invest their money. Sometimes Financial Analysts are called “Investment Analysts” or “Securities Analysts.”

Financial Analyst Requirements

Obviously, it takes some math skills to become a Financial Analyst, but it also takes good communication skills. Financial Analysts need to be able to explain complicated ideas to their clients, and they also often have to prepare written reports.

Financial Analysts must also be detail-oriented, be good decision makers, and have solid computer skills.

Education and Training — How to Become a Financial Analyst?

The majority of Financial Analysts have bachelor’s degrees in areas like accounting, economics, statistics, or finance.

Many Financial Analysts, especially those who supervise other Analysts, have master’s degrees in business or a master’s in finance.

Many employers will require Financial Analysts to become licensed through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Aspiring Financial Analysts probably don’t need to worry about licensing until after they secure a job. Most licenses require an employer to sponsor the licensee.

Once you have at least four years of experience, you may want to get certified. To become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), you will need to have four years of experience, to hold a bachelor’s degree, and to pass three exams.

Financial Analyst Salary — How Much Do Financial Analysts Make?

In May of 2012, Financial Analysts made a median wage of $76,950. The lowest 10 percent made less than $47,130, with the upper 10 percent making upwards of $148,000. In 2012, about a third of Financial Analysts worked more than 40 hours per week (BLS).

Career Opportunities

Financial Analysts work for banks, securities firms, insurance companies, pension funds, and mutual funds.

Look for job titles like “Financial Research Analyst,” “Financial Sales Analyst,” “Portfolio Manager,” “Fund Manager,” “Risk Analyst,” “Rating Analyst,” and of course, sometimes just “Financial Analyst.”

If you’re looking for a Financial Analyst Career, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has good news for you. From 2012 to 2022, jobs for Financial Analysts are expected to grow by 16 percent. This is a faster than average growth rate.

Opportunities will be especially good for those Financial Analysts who are able to specialize in a region. In this global economy, companies are looking for Analysts who know the languages and cultures of other countries.

On the flipside, because Financial Analyst jobs generally pay well, expect tough competition in the applicant pool.

Investment Banker Career – Investment Banker Jobs Info

Investment Bankers are finance gurus who help clients increase their capital. They can do this in several different ways. They may raise capital by underwriting or by distributing stocks and bonds. They may also maintain markets in securities, and advise clients on issuing, buying, and selling securities.

Investment Banker Requirements

Obviously, if you’re thinking about an Investment Banker career, you will need to have sharp math skills. You will also need to be skilled at creating spreadsheets and presentations. You will also need to have good communication and people skills.

You will also need to be able to thrive in a breakneck-paced and fiercely competitive environment. (Think constant adrenaline rush.) Investment Bankers work long hours under big stress.

Education and Training — How to Become an Investment Banker?

Most Investment Bankers hold at least a four-year degree. They usually start out with two to three years at a large global bank, often working as Financial Analysts, learning the ropes, and working their way up the ladder.

At this point, many potential Investment Bankers return to graduate school to earn their MBA. They may then seek employment at a higher level.

Note that this is a fiercely competitive job market. Those who did the best at the best schools will have significant advantage over those who did not.

Investment Banker Salary — How Much Do Investment Bankers Make?

According to an article in Forbes, the average annual income (including bonuses) for a First Year Associate Investment Banker was $159,900. A Third Year Associate averaged $209,700, while Managing Directors averaged $409K. Remember that this is an average. On a good year, a Senior-level Investment Banker can earn a million dollars.

Investment Bankers make lots of money, but they earn it. Many work 100 hours per week under high stress.

Career Opportunities

Of course, many Investment Bankers work for the big banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Some Investment Bankers work within the investment departments of commercial banks. And still others find work at small, chic “boutique” investment banks. Large companies (e.g., GE) sometimes employ their own Investment Bankers.

Investment Bankers may find work in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Some find careers in underwriting departments. Some Investment Bankers build careers in private equity, often at specialist firms (e.g., Blackstone, TPG).

If you’re looking for an Investment Banking career, get a quality education, work tirelessly, and network like crazy.

CEO Careers – Chief Executive Officer Career Info

“CEO” stands for Chief Executive Officer. The CEO is the man or woman “in charge” of a business or organization. (In nonprofit lingo, the “chief” is often dropped and the position is called executive director or executive officer.)

Every business and organization has a CEO, even if they don’t use this title. From the largest corporation to the single business owner, there is an executive officer in charge. So it is true that some CEOs enjoy a posh office full of support staff, but others work out of their cars.

The CEO is the top rung in the chain of command, right before owners or boards of directors. CEOs oversee and supervise all of a company’s operations. They often set goals (or are assigned goals by a board) and then ensure that a business reaches said goals.

Many CEOs are in charge of setting their own hours, but most still need to be “on call” round the clock. While some CEOs are able to work the standard 40-hour work week, many put in far more hours than that. If you are in charge of a business, you will likely do whatever it takes to make it a success. In 2012, about half of the CEOs in the US worked more than 40 hours per week (BLS).

CEO Requirements

A candidate for a CEO position will need to have the following:

  • Management skills and experience (in large companies, a CEO is often in charge of other managers).
  • Leadership skills.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving abilities.
  • Decision-making skills.
  • Time management skills.
  • A working understanding of economics and accounting.
  • Good people skills.
  • A good public image (a CEO is often a company’s representation to the public).
  • Public speaking abilities.
  • Ability to accurately read and respond to business communications.
  • Ability to actively listen to others speaking and clearly respond orally.
  • A willingness to travel.

Education and Training

Required education varies among industries. While more and more CEOs do hold MBAs (especially in large corporations), many others hold industry-specific degrees. (The CEO of an engineering firm may well hold an engineering degree, not a business degree.)

CEOs have usually “worked their way up” to upper management. New CEOs don’t usually roll off the truck — instead, they gain years of experience while learning how to succeed in their industry.

Some CEOs have earned a Certified Manager (CM) credential through the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. This is rarely mandatory, but can help candidates secure positions.

If you know you want to be a Chief Executive Officer one day, but you are not sure of what industry would suit you best, you may want to begin with a business degree. Nearly all CEOs do hold some sort of degrees.

CEO Salary

CEOs are among the highest earners in the US. In May 2012, the median pay for CEOs was $168,140 per year. The lowest 10 percent of CEOs earned less than $76,220, and the top 10 percent earned more than $187,200 (BLS). CEO earnings vary considerably among different industries.

A CEO’s earnings may also depend in part on a company’s success. Compensation may include performance bonuses or stock options.

Career Opportunities

According to the BLS, job outlook for CEOs is about the same as most other job opportunities. From 2012 to 2022, CEO career opportunities are expected to grow by 11 percent.

CEO positions are more readily available in more populated areas. (Large businesses and organizations often headquarter in large cities.) In 2012, the following states led in CEO employment: California, Illinois, New York, Florida, and Massachusetts. Still, wherever there are businesses, there are people in charge.

Expect strong competition for CEO positions.

CFO Careers – Chief Financial Officer Career Info

“CFO” stands for Chief Financial Officer. A CFO often works closely with a company’s CEO.

A CFO is in charge of a company’s money. He or she oversees all the financial activity. This includes budgeting, planning, spending, investments, earning, and collecting. In large companies, a CFO oversees accountant and finance departments. In smaller companies, a CFO often is the accountant and finance department.

A CFO of a large company will also help with leadership and administration. They may help with business planning. They are often responsible for preparing financial statements, annual reports, and forecasts. They may also help develop company policies and guidelines, especially those involving finances.

Note: There is sometimes some confusion between the job titles “CFO” and “Financial Director.” While these may occasionally be synonymous, they are usually not. A CFO usually has more responsibilities than a financial director. Often, a financial director will be a position that reports to the CFO.

CFO Requirements

A CFO will need to be skilled in the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Financial Reporting
  • Financial Analysis
  • Budget Management
  • Senior Financial Management
  • Communications
  • Problem-Solving
  • Time-Management
  • Industry-Specific Technology

Education and Training

A CFO will need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or similar subject. Many CFOs are accountants who have worked their way up to management positions. An expert accountant with a good business sense will make a good CFO candidate. Most Chief Financial Officers have acquired significant corporate experience.

CFO Salary

According to PayScale, the median salary for CFOs is $117,815, with a range of $64,803 to $244,212. In general, the larger the business or organization, the higher the salary. Also, positions in metropolitan areas tend to pay more than positions in rural areas.

Career Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for top executives is about the same as other careers. Job opportunities are expected to grow by 11 percent from 2012 through 2022.