The 10 Questions to Ask if you are a Natural Business Owner

Over the years, I have met many different entrepreneurs, and have collected a large number of feedbacks; I really think there is really such thing called “Entrepreneur Gene”! Here are some good questions I have collected over the years that are useful to assess if you are “Born to be an Entrepreneur” – hope you find them useful.

Question 1: Your Upbringing Experience

For many entrepreneurs, their parents are also business owners; either big or small business owners. They have observed from their parents how to run a business and more importantly how to be your “own boss”. Many of these include both pros and cons; I remember watching my Dad able to come home early in many days as he was an owner of a factory himself, and able to spend almost every weekends with us; unlike most of my friends’ parents who needed to work overtime and not getting paid very often.

However, as I grew up, I could also see how difficult it can be as a business owner; I recall one day there was a major typhoon, and Dad’s factory was flooded. He called all his employees from home and asked them for help to remove all the machines from the factory; not even 1 person turned up because they thought the business was gone.

He spent the next 3 days moving machines by himself and subsequently was injured afterwards. As he has said, unlike employees where you can be lazy and not really responsible for anything and just wait for your pay check, as a business owner, you do need to have a full responsibility.

Question 2: Are you a Responsible Person?

Which brings to my 2nd point; Responsibility!

Are you a Responsible person? I know, most people will answer “Of Course”, but really? How many times at work that you have been doing your persona stuff? Playing games? Watching the stockmarket? Are you really dedicated to your work?

I think not, I think most employees will spend a lot of time on their own personal interests at work; otherwise; you won’t have so many online games developed for those want to pay at work; and I know a very large number of employees just go to work and surf Internet for whole day.

Is this the type of person you want to be as a career? Arrive at 9 and leave at 5 on dot? Most of us are like that, and I have been one of them myself; content with a fixed salary every month; and just go home. Then unemployment wave started, I lost my job, as well as most of my friends; suddenly, I feel that I was not responsible to myself, I should not wasted those time chatting and surfing on Internet, and instead, building up steps towards my dream.

Question 3: Are you a Status Person?

Are you a status person or a status seeker? Is it important that everyone knows that you are a manager of a big corporation? Do you really care? Well personally, I don’t care if a person is a manager or not, but you get to meet so many people and ask them what do you do, they reply “I am the manager at big corporate”, as if we entrepreneurs care.

If you are a status seeker, than entrepreneurship will not be for you; as an entreprenuer, although you are your own boss; you could carry many titles, and at a starting phase, it is likely you will not have a lot of employees or even one employee.

It is also likely that you will work long hours from home as well. There will be no one for you to shout around and be a bossy manager. If you are looking for power and status, please go and find works at big corporations or Government agencies.

Question 4: Do you invent new ideas and have new ideas all the time?

We are not talking about inventing a new product or writing a new programming here, but really if you are someone that has come up new ideas continuously at work? This can be coming up with new process, maybe a new software you can implement to improve workflows; increase efficiency or new industry that your colleagues at work can use for sales leads.

In certain countries and companies; especially those from United States, they do encourage these types of employees (although United States also has some most bureaucratic companies); companies such as Google, IBM and Cisco all encourage innovative thinking; so much so, some of these companies even form venture capital firms as part of their company.

But not all of them can see their ideas become realized; and if you have really good ideas; but not being regarded by your managers; it can be a very frustrating experience; then maybe becoming your own boss is your best choice.

Question 5: Can you handle Flexibility?

As an entrepreneur, there is no such thing as 9am to 5pm; you have to work flexible hours. This means additional hours at night to plan your business and countless hours for you take on projects; products developments; cash flow management; understand your competitors.

When my friend heard about this, he was scared away, he said, he is content just be a manager in a factory; and at least have weekends off. The fact is, flexibility applies to both work and personal time; I can pick up my children everyday, and able to spend many hours with them everyday; I can take them out to lunch & dinner; and I can take them on holiday without asking my company.

Being your own boss, yes, you do work much harder, but you have much more flexibility. I think this is especially once you have your own family; you can certainly have much more time with them by being your own boss; but prepare for hardworking, long hours ahead.

Question 6: Strong Emotional Capital

Maybe EQ is the better word, and you need to have high threshold; not someone gives up easily because you get one compliant from a customer. Most people give up on their path in becoming successful entrepreneur because they give up too quickly; and want to go back to their comfort zone. Being your own boss, you have no one but yourself to turn to, you can’t say “I will ask my boss” as an excuse anymore; you need to have strong emotional capital and able to withstand criticisms and face realities and problems; and able to solve them yourself.

Question 7: Willingness to Change

Are you the type of person that is able to adapt, and willing to make changes? Or are you the type of person that someone has to plan and set path for you? Sometimes this can be evidenced during your study at high school or universities; there are students that need to rely on their teachers to give them practice exams for instance; others are able to be more self-motivated and able to study at their own pace. It takes 3 attempts to become a successful entrepreneur, and willingness to change plus some creativity is a must-have formula.

Question 8: Able to Manage Your Schedule

This is one skill you can not afford to lack, being an entrepreneur, you need to be able to multi-task all the time. I can see that from my Task List, there is no one day I will have less than 20 tasks in my diary; which is significantly more than when I was working for someone else as you can always sit back, as you don’t get anything extra by finishing tasks early anyway.

Running your own business is an entirely different game, the sooner you can finish your tasks, the quicker you can move onto next revenue generating business. This is why I am constantly busy, I want to launch as many products as possible and utilize as much marketing channels as possible, but the reward is also much greater.

Question 9: International Sense

Never set up a business and think small, aim for bigger stage, aim for bigger markets. A lot of my readers are based in Australia, do not think just about your own local area. For instance, I have known many franchises that were set up in rural areas in Australia and since then have expanded into successful international businesses. In this e-commerce age, you can also utilize Internet to expand your business opportunities globally, if I can set up an international business from just one computer; you can do it too.

Question 10: Are you Highly Analytical

This is one factor that many entrepreneurs lack of initially but this can be learnt quickly. As a business owner, you need to be responsive to the latest changes in the industry or from competitors. First, you must realize there is no business that has no competitors; you will always be fighting with other competitors one way or another. Second, you must be analytical and able to find niche opportunities or customers segments that are not serviced or under-serviced by your competitors. Analytical skill is not a skill that you were born with, it’s a skill that can be trained through regularly researching into news, information and forming decisions and strategies.

So after analyzing the above points, do you think you deserve to be an entrepreneur.

Ultimately, the biggest holding factor is the Fear factor; most people are used to the comfort working for someone else and happy to bring some money home every month; ironically; most people only think about setting up a business when they get retrenched. If you truly have an entrepreneurial spirit in your heart; the best time to plan for your own business is actually while you are employed by someone else; as this can minimize the financial risk.

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A 2nd career in the green industry?

A 2nd career in the green industry?

Our team has put together some interesting ideas we would like to share with you – and hopefully this can also give you some directions to find new career opportunities in the green industry.

Agriculture Industry

The agriculture industry has been benefiting from the green economy, mainly due to the significant increasing demand for biofuel and other renewable energy, which have been a major factor for the increase of the food price.


This has created enormous jobs opportunities in the agriculture states in the United States as well as across South America and other countries.

Currently, the ethanol industry is a good industry to be in as the market share for biofuel is likely to continue to increase due to supports from government policies; and demand from commercial vehicles.

Another sector is the sustainable agriculture, this involves with companies that engages in research and development of better products and more environmental products for the agriculture industry such as chemicals & fertilizers; water management systems, irrigation companies.

Companies that manufacture or provide the plants & equipment for the agriculture industry is also benefiting, such as Caterpillar and John Deere; in some states, booming agriculture activities have also helped the aviation industry that sell or lease aircrafts for agriculture use.

Automotive and Components Industries

Recent reports have shown a good recovery in Michigan and Ohio. The good recovery in GM is definitely helping the economy by creating more jobs and also good bonus for its employees.

Automotive manufacturers are likely to continue the growth momentum as businesses and consumers are switching into new electric and hybrid vehicles.

More opportunities are also being created by the companies that provide R&D and components for the electric vehicles. This include battery makers, transmission power companies, energy efficient windows, air conditioning unit and fuel charging companies.

There are a number of engineering and auto components companies opening up new plants in Michigan and Ohio this week, as well as in the southern states; these include American, Asian and European manufacturers as they need to supply the increasing demand for the new electric vehicles.

Water is the king

The water technology industry is a key industry in the cleantech sector. While a lot of media attention has been devoted to the renewable energy industry, there had been substantial developments and breakthroughs in the water technology.

There are many good opportunities relating to the water industry which include: water technology, water filtration technology, water quality management technology, flow control technology. In addition, many jobs are also being created by the utilities companies, engineering firms and the government agency.

The Building Industry

One of our clients has created new building materials that are being marketed as green building materials.

This produce replaces concrete; which is one of the biggest pollutants to the environmental. In addition, the water required for curing is another reason why many countries are adopting new building code to use environmental friendly building materials.

In China, it is catching up to the standards set in the US and Europe to adopt higher grade rebar. The higher-grade rebar requires less iron and more vanadium for production, the change in this building code will reduce the demand for iron ore and also reduce the carbon emission for the steel makers.

The building industry is likely to undergo a major transformation in terms of the building materials it uses over the next 2 decades, new products are already being developed to meet the new standards & codes set by the government worldwide.

In North America, new building materials have created enormous opportunities as household owners look at ways to reduce their energy consumption by replacing new windows, furnace, roofing and other materials. Similar projects at much larger scale are also being conducted by commercial building owners.

So, for job opportunities – you can either look for companies that produce newly engineered building materials, or you can consider set up a business your own as this is also a highly lucrative business.

Green Finance Opportunities

Finance professionals will also benefit from the cleantech & renewable energy industries. I always compare them to the Internet industry – look at how many Internet companies had gone public, and look at how much capital they had raised; and look at how many funds invest in the Internet sectors now?


The same concept applies for the cleantech sectors, we are just at the very beginning of this new sector. There has been a rapid growing of mutual funds and ETFs devoting to the green industries, but still at very early stage.

Similarly, investment banks and stockbroking firms have been expanding their corporate finance teams to assess cleantech companies – as well as venture capital and private equity firms.

The green industry will continue to create new business and job opportunities into other sectors which will include business, commercial services, finance, utilities, marketing and education services.

Hope you find this article useful.

Job Creators: The New Energy Industry

Job Creators: The New Energy Industry

The renewable energy is one of the fastest growing industries in creating new opportunities; here are some general analysis on which sub-sectors are creating new opportunities.

Renewable energy industries include a wide range of companies and jobs but, in it’s entirely, has one, singular focus – to bring the world the greenest and cheapest renewable energy.

One of the faster growing industries within this spectrum is what is called the ‘Second Generation’ marketplace.

Second generation renewable energy technology includes solar power, wind power, and the use of most modern kinds of bioenergy.

Solar Power Energy Industry

Solar Power:

The largest faction of the second generation renewable energy industry is solar heating.   Solar heating was first invented in the 1950s and has grown continually since then.  Solar heating uses the sun to create heat – one of the Earth’s greatest renewable resources.

One aspect of solar energy that has grown substantially into a viable energy resource is the use of photovoltaics.

Photovoltaics are the more commercial aspect of solar power because it has the most potential to become the most widely used form of renewable energy.

However, with the growth of renewable energy industries – and more specifically second generation renewable technology – photovoltaics power stations have been one of the main focuses of the industry

In the last ten years solar power, as a renewable energy industry, has grown substantially.

In 2011 solar energy accounted for close to 1 percent of the worlds total energy output.  This may seem like a small number but, considering the amount of power generation from solar panels in the 1980s and 1990s, the increase is enormous.

In the next ten years world solar energy output is expected to continue to rise substantially and be around 5 percent by the year 2020.

New jobs created by the solar industry: Photovolatics R&D, PV manufacturers, solar cells, solar batteries, smartgrid, utilities companies, home solar power installation, commercial solar power installation, urban planning, roof contractors, electricians, electrical engineers and government planning departments. The jobs created will include both technical and non-technical professionals.

Wind Power Energy Industry

As a second generation renewable energy technology, wind power is already well established throughout the world.

In fact, the use of wind power as a global source of power increased by 23 percent in 2010 and, since then, has continued to grow substantially.

Wind Power Industry:

The wind power industry is the production, design, and construction of wind turbines.  Currently, the wind renewable energy industry is undergoing a rapid growth; this growth is due to the increased globalization of the wind industry, with countries such as Japan and China investing billions of dollars into its sustainability.

Furthermore, large companies have begun investing large sums of money into the industry. General Electric, for example, made an investment in 2010 that, at the time, was worth more than the industry itself.


This sudden surge of financing has opened the doors for numerous new wind turbine manufacturing companies which, in turn, have created thousands of job opportunities.

Wind Power Companies:


  • Wind Turbine Manufacturing:  One of the largest sectors of this renewable energy industry is the manufacturing of wind turbines.  This includes the production, the design, as well as the maintenance of wind turbines across the world.  The largest wind turbine manufacturing company in the world is Vestas, accounting for 15% of the industry.
  • Wind Farm Developers:  Wind farms are where wind turbines are built.   This involves the purchasing and maintaining of land, as well as all the detailed financial agreements.
  • Wind Power Consulting Companies:   A newer aspect of the industry is wind power consulting companies.   These consulting companies will review various aspects of the wind power industry, including financially agreements, location requirements, and wind turbine design specifications.
  • Wind Power Managing Owners:  A recent trend within this second generation technology renewable energy industry is the use of wind power managing owners.  These owners are usually very large corporations that will own and run a wind power farm.  They will sell off their power to local electricity companies, as well as export the power to foreign countries.

We will continue this series in our next articles and discuss other new energy job creating industries; and what companies you can approach. 

Profile of interesting technology employers

Profile of interesting technology employers


Here is our new coverage on different employers in the IT & technology sectors, as these sectors are showing good growth in creating new jobs. Inc. Inc. is an online family history resource, with approximately 1.7 million paying subscribers worldwide as of December 31, 2011. The Company’s subscribers use its Web-based services and content collection to research their family histories, build their family trees, collaborate with other subscribers, upload their own records and publish and share their stories.


Registered users have uploaded over 95 million pieces of content, such as photographs and scanned documents. It derives revenue primarily from providing online access to digitized historical records on a subscription basis.


The company introduced, as its Website specializing in military records; released mobile apps for both the iOS and Android-based platforms and it had approximately 1.8 million downloads, and developed technology to synchronize family trees between platforms, including online, mobile devices and Family Tree Maker desktop software.


The company is a global company, its services are especially popular in United States, Canada and Australia to help families to look for their own family history. It is a great business and has been growing consistently last few years, the company is also listed on Nasdaq.


Yelp Inc.


Yelp was listed a few days again with good performance on its debut. Yelp Inc. connects people with local businesses with reviews of every type of local business, from restaurants, boutiques and salons to dentists, mechanics and plumbers.


Its platform provides local businesses with a range of free and paid services, which help them to engage with consumers at moment when they are deciding where to spend their money.


The Company generates revenue from the sale of advertising on its Website to local businesses and national brands.


In addition, it enables local businesses and national advertisers to deliver advertising to local audiences through its platform.


Yelp is a good example how a successful social media website can monetize into a highly profitable business. With the new IPO, the company had successfully raised fresh capital and will be expanding its workforce across the world.


Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc.


Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) is a lifestyle content and interactive services company with television and interactive brands; you may not know the name straight-away, but you are probably watching one of its channels currently.


SNI manages its operations through two operating segments: Lifestyle Media and Interactive Services.


Lifestyle Media includes Home and Garden Television, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country.


Lifestyle Media also includes Websites that are associated with the aforementioned television brands and other Internet-based businesses, such as and, serving food, home and travel related categories.


Interactive Services includes its online comparison shopping service, Shopzilla, and its related online comparison shopping brands, BizRate, Beso and Tada. In January 2012, it also acquired RealGravity Inc.


The company is looking to make further acquisitions and expand its lifestyle media, it is currently looking for sales, marketing, advertising, digital contents and technical positions.


A123 Systems, Inc.


A123 Systems, Inc. designs, develops, manufactures and sells rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and battery systems, and provides research and development services to Government agencies and commercial customers.


In the transportation industry market, the Company works with global automotive manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers to develop batteries and battery systems for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles, (EVs).


The Company’s transportation business is divided into two categories: heavy-duty and passenger. The platform for battery and battery system development is its Nanophosphate material.


A123 Systems Inc, is an example of a new industry created by the cleantech industry, in this case, the electric vehicles.


While passenger vehicles are just starting to be transformed into electric vehicles, most of new commercial vehicles will be electric vehicles in the coming years as part of new regulations to reduce carbon emissions and to stimulate green economies; these new legislations will assist A123 Systems and other companies that are producing components for the electric vehicles.


How to find prospective new technology companies & employers? Check out on venture capital portfolio companies.


Tracking investment activities in the venture capital industry is always a good strategy; also check out industry guides.


Global New Media Capital Providers Guide


This guide includes hundreds of active venture capital firms and private equity firms that have invested in digital media, technology, Internet companies. Please check out more information on


Global Green Investors Guide


This guide contains over 1,000 investment institutions that are investing in cleantech, renewabler energy and green businesses, check out their portfolio companies to find out the emerging green corporations. More information on

US Employment Highlights: Finance Industry

US Employment Highlights: Finance Industry

The finance industry is a major segment of the US economy , particularly for cities like New York City and Chicago.

The finance industry is also the major casualty during the GFC, and it is still in the recovery mode.

Apart from the banking and the investment industry, insurance is another industry that is also another industry within the finance industry; its performance was also adversely impacted by the recession.

Sectors that are hiring in the US finance industry now

Investment Banking & Corporate Advisory

The listing activities have recovered strongly last 2 years particularly in the United States – driven by a large number of greentech, renewable energy companies as well as foreign companies (especially Chinese & Indian companies) listing across different stock exchanges in the US.

Some of these are multinational conglomerates, or apply for dual listing while there are also many small to medium sized companies that just emerged to become public listed companies.

Listing and further capital raising are key drivers to create investment bankers and corporate advisors; as well as increasing number of mergers and acquisitions; the 3 factors have resulted in increasing hiring of investment bankers across the industry.

Insurance Companies

The insurance companies have been hiring as well. They are hiring both the insurance and investment professionals. The insurance industry is a significant industry in the US. For job seekers, they can consider career opportunities as underwriters with commercial insurance firms, reinsurance firms and life or medical insurance sectors.

Insurance adjuster is another profession in high demand particularly after several natural disasters. Recent survey has put insurance adjuster as one of the fastest growing jobs in the US.

For investment analysts, insurance companies are major investors in the market; and they usually have very large investment teams with analysts for different sectors, sometimes this even include venture capital investments. If you are considering analyst position for your career, check out with insurance firms and see if they have openings available in their investment divisions.


All the big and medium sized accounting firms have been hiring a lot of positions. The new legislations and rules mean more works are needed for public listed companies – many public listed companies are also foreign companies which need to adjust accounting rules to comply with the listing rules.

Recent issues with Chinese foreign listed companies had revealed this issue, more auditing are now required for listed companies.

Financial and Investment Analysts

Analysts – Analysts are needed across different investment industries. Analysts are required for mutual funds, pension funds, venture capital and private equity funds.

The emergence of online research houses, increasing international investment activities and 3rd party research outsourcing services are another 3 reasons why analysts are in demand.

For example, investment banks now require analysis specializes in Asian and Australian equities, so that they can invest in them while the US markets is closed.

Conversely, Australian and Asian investment banks also require US and European equities analysts and fund managers to construct international portfolios in their investments.

American investors are also showing strong appetite to invest in international markets particularly Latin America and Asia.

As the result, hundreds of new funds have been created tailored to these needs – either mutual funds, index funds or ETFs; as well as venture capital funds and hedge funds.

ETFs is especially an interesting sector to watch, recent survey has shown that ETFs had grown by almost 10 times over the past 15 years in terms of assets under management.

This is also a sector that has been hiring professionals – including fund managers, traders, analysts and sales & business development managers.

Useful Information

American Venture Capital Employers Database

Check out our American Venture Capital Employers Database if you are interested in career opportunities in the venture capital industry.

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The Investment Rate

The Investment Rate is the most accurate leading longer term stock market and economic indicator ever developed.

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Information on environmental engineering industries

Many Civil and Environmental engineering firms are hiring new professionals because of increasing number of projects. Here are some firms that are expanding their global presence and their workforce.

URS Corporation

URS Corporation offers a range of professional planning, engineering and architectural design, environmental, construction, and program and construction management services.

The company provides system integration, operations and maintenance, management and a wide range of specialized technical services.

With an established presence in major cities in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, we serve the U.S. federal government, state and local government agencies and private-industry clients, including FORTUNE 500 companies worldwide.

URS also has separate divisions engages in research, which is a major international research division providing various research reports, industry analysis as well as R&D relating to engineering, engineering technology and global market analysis.

BechTel Group

Bechtel Group, Inc. operates as an engineering, construction, and project management company, it is one of the largest privately owned companies in the world.

Its services include construction and construction management; development and financing for projects and customers internationally; engineering and technology; procurement; project management; safety; and sustainability and environment.

The company offers its engineering, construction, and project management services to various industries, such as civil infrastructure, which includes rail systems, roads, bridges, aviation facilities, and ports; communications and transmission, including end-to-end deployment services for communications infrastructure.

In terms of the environmental related engineering projects, it is particularly active in the mining, waste management, power generation; as well as site remediation and development of nuclear and other renewable energy infrastructure projects.

Environmental restoration and energy generation have been its 2 fastest growing divisions globally; and these areas are also where key employment opportunities exist for the company.

Wink Engineering, LLC is a professional consulting firm which provides engineering and design in all disciplines with its primary focus on process / chemical, mechanical, civil, structural, electrical, instrumentation / controls, and environmental.

Wink’s survey department includes registered Professional Land Surveyors and provides boundary, topographic, and hydrographic surveys and in-house high-definition laser scanning.

Founded in 1970, Wink Engineering has developed a strong reputation for high-quality, cost-effective professional services to the petroleum refining and chemical / petrochemical industries.

Wink’s markets include oil and gas; electric power; bulk storage terminals; ports and marine facilities; food processing and other industrial facilities.

Booming oil and gas sectors in North America have been a key factor behind Wink’s growth in the recent years, and is likely to continue so.

KBR, inc.

KBR, a global engineering, construction and services company supporting the energy, petrochemicals, government services, industrial and civil infrastructure sectors. KBR is one of the largest public listed engineering companies in North America.

KBR operates in four segments: Hydrocarbons, Infrastructure, Government and Power (IGP), Services and Other segments.


The Hydrocarbons business segment consists of the Gas Monetization, Oil and Gas, Downstream, and Technology business units.


The IGP business segment includes the North American Government and Defense (NAGD), International Government and Defence (IGD), Infrastructure and Minerals (I&M) and the Power and Industrial (P&I) business units.


Services are organized around four product lines: U.S. Construction, Industrial Services, Building Group and Canada Operations. Other segment includes the Ventures business unit and other operations.


Cardno Limited


Cardno Limited is a provider of professional services in physical and social infrastructure.


It has three segments:

1)   Professional Services Australia and New Zealand,

2)   Professional Services Americas and Software, and

3)   International Development Assistance.


Professional Services Australia and New Zealand provides consulting engineering, planning, surveying, landscape architecture, environmental services and geotechnical services.


Professional Services Americas and Software provides services in the Americas and software sales globally.


International Development Assistance manages aid projects on behalf of unilateral and multilateral government agencies and private clients.


Cardno has been on acquisition trail in Americas, it had acquired several companies in Americas as part of its international expansion strategy, this included Geotech Solutions, TEC, Inc, Humphreys Reynolds Perkins; environmental planning and engineering services have been its key growing area particularly in North American markets.

Useful Resources

Major US Environmental Engineering Companies Guide

This is our latest Guide adding to our Green Companies Guide Series. Environmental Engineering is one of the fastest growing segments globally; and this particular industry has not been impacted by the recession. This report includes approximately 200 environmental engineering related companies in USA.

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Global Oil & Gas Companies Guide

This is our complete guide covering over 1500 oil & gas companies globally, the companies are segmented into 3 main regions: Americas, Europe & Asia Pacific (including Australia).

Please Click Here For More Information


10 Useful Strategies To Find Hidden Jobs

10 Useful Strategies To Find Hidden Jobs

With the job market in consistent recovery process, more jobs are being created, but this also means more hidden jobs are created. With the power of social media and Internet, more efforts are actually required for job seekers to find them rather than relying on advertisements.

Here are some strategies that could be useful for you, especially if you are new to social media or the job markets.

First: Not relying on just advertisements

Many advertised jobs are real jobs, but there are also many advertises jobs that are repeating jobs posted by different advertisers or for the purpose of “open to public”. It is a frustrating process a lot of times when you think the job is the right job for you, only to find out that job was filled months ago, and the advertisement is just an advertisement.

I had been through such situations 3 times when an internal appointment was already made, but they needed to consider at least 2 candidates as part of the process, so they called me in for interview and tried to extract as much marketing ideas from me as possible, which was a very frustrating experience; and really waste of time.


Second: Pay attention to positive news only

Who cares about negative news? Watching negative news is not helping you anything other than making you feeling more negative.

I have seen so many people being absorbed by the negativism reported by the news. Successful people do not have time to watch negative news, they are too busy to complain about their lives, So make some fundamental changes to the way you perceive the world and your surroundings will make you feel much more positive.

Have a routine to subscribe to positive news by using news search or switch your news channels – by following on which companies are opening new headquarters and offices.

Third: Power of Association

Check on your peers – both in real life and online. It is dangerous to surround yourself just with negative people. I felt into that trap before, 70% of people were unemployed or underemployed around me, and naturally, our conversations were full of complaints.

I then changed my mind by focusing in building up my networks with business owners, consultants and ambitious young professionals, and it was a lifetime changing experience.

You should find other peers that can offer assistances and jobs, and online is the best way to start.

Rather than bombarding people if there are any jobs available, find out why many people can find 10 interviews in a week, and what their strategies are; and you can learn from them.

Fourth: Set Up Your Own News Channels

This was the first thing that had changed my job finding process. I set up my own news channel using news alert functions such as Google News Alert or Social Media monitoring programs.

Set up topics like “technology companies receiving funding in Seattle”, new headquarters in Boston”, “cleantech companies set up in Texas”.

Set these topics as industry and location specific. When I was looking for jobs, I often received replies that:

“How do you know we are here?”

“Wow, you are quick, we have just started the hiring process and you are here already!”

This helps you to jump well ahead of your competing candidates; I used this tactic and found 3 jobs in my career.

Fifth: Know Who’s Who in your industry

A number of candidates have purchased industry databases, and register their interest in companies that fits their criteria (location or residency).

I heard one guy has received 16 interviews from this tactic, and none of the jobs were advertised.

I was working in a very niche industry before (Internet Data Center), so I approached different companies in this industry and offered them consultancy services, and I have received a good response rate.

Sixth: Top down approach

This may not work for huge corporations, but it can work well for companies with employee size 20 to 100. You send your resume and cover letter directly to the CEO.

If he/she likes what you can offer, they will pass it down to the Human Resources or the hiring team, even meet with you personally; this increases your chance significantly.

I received interviews from several mutual funds using this tactic in the past where the CEO saw my resume and passed them down to HR and the departmental head to arrange an interview. This helps you to leapfrog the whole recruiting process.

Seventh: Use Technology or Assistant to Send Out Applications

Job finding process is just like running a factory, it all comes down to efficiency.

I met this guy last month, which was unemployed for several months after corporate retrenchment; he received some assistance from the government.

However, instead of spending everything on essential items, he allocated $300 and hired a part-time assistant to send out as many resumes and as many applications as possible.

He sent out more than 1000 applications within the first month and was able to find a new job within a month; he commented some people think that was a crazy move as he should saved every single penny when he was out of job; but his argument was to invest his time in creating resumes and cover letters; and get someone else to send out e-mails and leave posts on different blogs and social media to speed up the process.

Eighth: A Good Blog

This is an excellent way to prove you are an expert in the area and market yourself and build up your personal branding as a subject matter in your desired industry.

I have been asked in almost every interview if I have a blog. Some employers feel that by reading your posts, they can get to know you better; others feel that you must be quite confident in posting articles online.

However, only tell your potential employers if you have a worthy blog, not talking about your personal story, this only works for professional blogs.

As an example, I was applying for a fund manager position, they checked out my blog that talked about different strategies and emerging companies and offered me the job because they really liked my investment style based on the blog.

Ninth: Get Information On Listed Companies

Most of large companies are public listed companies, one good strategies in identifying large employers is through checking out profiles on listed companies on various stock exchanges.

Use information available from popular websites such as Yahoo, Google Finance and exchange websites which will list companies by their market capitalization, some also list their number of employees. They will also list their Headquarter office.

Tenth: Follow Investment Dollar

This is a strategy we have been advocating for a long time. You can follow news relating to venture capital investments, new funding from Government or mergers & acquisitions. For example, if you are looking for a job in Pittsburgh, check out some of the venture capital and private equity investors based in Pennsylvania, and look at what companies they are investing in (Go to their portfolio or news page).

In addition, check out local government funding or incubation programs as well as funding programs from local universities – these are the sources that help start-up companies or help companies to expand their operations which usually lead to more hiring opportunities.

Venture Capital Firms Love Young CEOs

Venture Capital Firms Love Young CEOs


The venture capital firms are increasing their investment activities in new businesses, with one very interesting trend, they are investing in younger CEOs as well, and some of them are not even reaching their legal drinking age yet.


Does this sound a surprise to you? Not really if you have been following the latest ranking of billionaires, where more and more under 30 billionaires have been added thanks to great success of online gaming, social medial, mobile applications and even financial services.


This is great news for the younger entrepreneurs, ironically, this was partially caused by the economic recession where it was too hard to find a decent job, so many university students or freshmen choose to set up their own ventures. Most have chosen to set up Internet business as  the starting point, but retail industry, with assistance of Internet have also been a popular choice.


Would venture capital firms take these young guns seriously? Well, the world has changed, 10 years ago; you would need someone senior or someone with experienced connections in the corporate world, preferably a lawyer or a finance professional background.


But the nature of economy has changed, so is the venture capital industry.; venture capital firms will take you seriously now; however, there are still many challenges faced by younger entrepreneurs mainly due to lack of business references (if any) and of course, lack of work experience (come on, they are just 18 or 20 years old), so here are some suggestions for you:


  1. Attend investment events or seminars specifically targeted for younger entrepreneurs; most of these events are based in the United States, particularly in California. But more and more similar events are being announced worldwide, these are events where investors will come and look for younger entrepreneurs.
  2. Attend your local young entrepreneur associations – they come under different titles such as Young Entrepreneurs Associations, Young CEOs Associations, Future CEOs..etc. These are good opportunities to find your angel investors, which often include CEOs from established companies, university professors, some lawyers and accountants.
  3. Look for Venture Capital firms set up by other young entrepreneurs – examples include venture capital firms established Google founders, Netscape, PayPal, eBay. There are quite a few of them, and you can find them by doing search on search engines under the founders’ name – some of them are privately managed venture capital firms.
  4. Look for programs that foster innovations and young companies. Such programs are widely available in the United States, Canada, UK and Germany. These programs are designed for those under 30 (this can vary), some programs provide funding, typically ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 for start-up capital.
  5. Yes, your family and friends count. They are your angel investors, if you have raised some money from your family and friends, which does imply to some valuation on your company. They may not be accurate, but it is a benchmark you have set.  For example, a company established by 3 Year 1 College students was asking for $500,000 Series B investments based on their milestone achievements and Series A investments from their friends and families.
  6. Your university or college contacts. Quite a few young companies have raised their start-up capital from their professors, lecturers or other connections in their universities. Many colleges also have their own incubation programs, so check out if these programs are available in your college. They do not necessarily have to be in the technology sectors, in fact, many operate these programs from finance or economics related courses.
  7. Move to a location where they value innovations and entrepreneurships. Every city and every country is different; some cities are especially supportive for younger founders; whereas some communities see them just as dreamers.

If you are a female entrepreneur, look for locations where they are supportive for female businesses. For example, in the US, there are many “Female Only” venture capital firms, where they will only invest in female CEOs.

If you have an ethnic background, you can also approach many ethnic business foundations or associations. My friend had raised $40,000 from a Chinese association supported by Yao Ming for his telecommunications business; I have another friend who had raised capital from Hispanic business association for his Spanish radio business.

I wish there were these much opportunities when I was under 30, it was a different era when I started my first business at the age of 25, and it was very difficult to convince any company to invest in me simply because I was too young. I hope my article is useful for all of you young entrepreneurs.

Weekly Green Investment Highlights

Some Interesting Investment Highlights

It has been eventful week already in the world of Cleantech and Renewable Energy investments, with a number of interesting announcements. Here are some news we have collected for those interested in these areas.

Carbon Trust forms partnership with GE

The UK-based Carbon Trust announced it would work with General Electric (GE) to establish a $5-million business incubator fund designed to boost low-carbon infrastructure technologies.

The fund is targeted toward European clean tech start-up businesses, and will not have a cap on the size of possible investments.

Both companies will work together during the initial 18-month partnership to selectively identify promising companies, offer management advice, and allocate capital funding. Carbon Trust will administer the program, and the funding will come from GE’s $200 million “ecomagination Challenge”

GE has committed $134 million from the fund to date in start-up investments and commercial partnerships across the globe since it launched in 2010.

Recent data seems to support the imperative for new sources of clean tech capital in Europe.

In 2007, 42 percent of the world’s clean energy investment took place in Europe, compared to just 25 percent today, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

By comparison, Asia Oceania has nearly doubled its share of clean tech investment during the same period, and North America accounted for almost 66 percent of total clean tech venture capital investment during fourth quarter 2011.

Considering this environment, GE’s funding and other funding from private sectors are critical to Europe’s ongoing cleantech industries as European governments are cutting back their funding supports for various cleantech incubation programs.

UK’s clean-tech venture fund commits £60m to six funds

The £130 million ($206 million) Hermes GPE Environmental Innovation Fund (HEIF) was launched 2 years ago to stimulate investment in clean-tech companies, so helping the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Structured as a venture capital fund-of-funds and co-investment fund – and operated in partnership with the private sector – it received commitments of £50 million from the UK government, £75 million from the BT Pension Scheme and £5 million from a local authority pension fund. Hermes GPE, a private equity investment management firm, was appointed to manage the HEIF.

In December, the HEIF invested an undisclosed sum in the £420 million Clyde Blowers Capital Fund III. The Glasgow-based fund announced in November that it had acquired Moventas, a Finnish wind turbine and industrial gear manufacturer, for €100 million ($133 million). The HEIF is expected to run over 10 years and invest in about 10 funds.

New US Programs to stimulate green economy

US President Barack Obama has underlined his desire to make the green economy a key election battleground, after yesterday unveiling a budget proposal for 2013 that includes a significant increase in support for clean energy and outlines plans to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

The budget signals Obama’s intention to revive his long-standing plan to axe nearly $39bn worth of subsidies over the next 10 years for the oil and gas industry.

Most notably, $310m has been earmarked for a programme to reduce the cost of solar power, $95m is promised for wind energy research, and $350m is planned for the Advanced Research Projects Agency, which aims to accelerate the development of cutting-edge energy technologies.

In addition, $770m has been proposed to support research into modular nuclear reactors and a total of $2.3bn has been earmarked for research and development into energy efficiency, advanced vehicles and biofuels – a 30 per cent increase year-on-year.

Apple’s new solar energy ambition

Apple has revealed plans to build a giant 20MW solar array to help power its North Carolina data centre, as part of its latest efforts to reduce the firm’s environmental footprint.

The company claimed that once built the system will be the largest user-owned onsite solar array in the US. The array will be installed on 100 acres of land surrounding Apple’s recently opened Maiden data centre in North Carolina, which the company claims has already been built to demanding energy efficiency standards.

Apple said it was also building a fuel cell installation adjacent to the data centre, which is expected to be the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating in the US once completed later this year.

The 5MW facility will be powered by biogas and could provide more than 40 million kWh of baseload renewable energy annually, the company said. The building also uses variable-speed fans to match air-flow to server requirements and a white roof to maximise solar reflectivity.

In addition, the company report reveals that the building was constructed with 14 per cent recycled materials, diverted 93 per cent of construction waste from landfills, and sourced 41 per cent of purchased materials within 500 miles of the site.

Have a sales plan for job seeking process

Many job seekers have developed their own business plan and strategy to find jobs.

One big issue faced by job seekers is information overflow – there are many jobs, and more industries compared to a decade ago, but it is actually becoming difficult to find them because they don’t go advertised anymore.

In the old days, candidates just need to carry out 2 strategies: Check out newspaper Ads, and also sign up with recruiting agents.

These days, as we have heard, 70% of the positions are unadvertised, and more importantly, good jobs are often unadvertised – and more and more are relying on social media networks as a way to communicate.

Many companies simply post their job positions on their websites – but what if you don’t even know the company? Which probably applies to 99% of people – how do we know every good company that are hiring?

So, it is important to outline a simple and executable plan for you to improve your efficiency. Here are steps based on our research interviewed with those who have received multiple offers, so their plans must have worked.

1)   How many applications do you send out everyday?

Some first time job seekers only send out 5 to 6 applications a day, that is a terrible “yield rate” so to speak.

Some candidates are able to send out 100 qualified “leads” every day, and naturally, this has increased their probability. Assessing your productivity now, and you know you must make some changes if you only send out minimal number of applications each day.

2)   Can you standardize your Cover Letter & Resume

A sad fact is; many companies do not eve accept cover letters anymore. But on the positive side, this also means increase in productivity as you don’t need to personalize each cover letter anymore.

Large corporations usually only accept resume – so you can standardize your resume based on each industry or location or position and send them out.

3)   Third Party Resume Distribution Service

This is a new service that started about 3 years ago. Since then, it is becoming a trend, and we have tried some of the services ourselves, which is quite effective in reaching potential employers.

Ultimately, it is still based on your experience and resume, but by adopting one of these services; it does generate the leads for you.

My friend told me this is just a “Sales Cycle” process – you have to generate leads before you convert it into a prospect.

This may work for employers that do not accept cover letters and only have standard forms on their website, such as the major banks or government agencies, but using this strategy does take away the personal aspect.

4)   Database Marketing

Another way to do it is database marketing – acquire industry or regional databases and e-mail out your applications. If you have time, study each company quickly.

Database marketing allows you to create personalized cover letter, so you can use that as an advantage.

5)   Social Media Networking Contacts

On average, each person has approximately 300 network contacts either on Facebook; LinkedIn or combined. Most of us do not interact with then much. But this is a good starting point as you are already connected, and you never know, you may be connecting to a new CEO or a new Human Resources Manager without your own knowledge.

6)   Beat the Crowd

You have to demonstrate you are different. In your Job Seeking Business Plan – you should include some interesting tactics – we know increasing number of applicants already use multimedia to show their talent.

Blogging is certainly a very useful tool as long as you talk something positive; otherwise they can turn against you. This can help you to stand out if you have written something about the industry or the company you are applying.

When I was applying for a green related job in the past, I have produced many articles relating to green investments, green economy and have built up around 1000 followers already, this had helped me to convince cleantech companies in hiring me as their PR officer.

7) Leads Generation Process

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest issues faced by job seekers is lack of leads and solely rely on advertisements where everyone else can see it, hence the competition.

We talked about different strategies you can find job leads – media announcements, news, use search engine to find keywords, look at who’s coming to your town or your preferred location, look at ribbon-cutting ceremonies in your localities, look at latest investments made by government incentive programs or venture capital investment firms – all these activities can be automated through news alerts or social media alerts – so you can use these tools to generate leads for you.

Employers would usually Google your profile or check out your social media profile before the interview.

I received several interviews because they had been following my blogs and posts – they had generated more leads for me than applying directly through advertisements.

Basically, treat your job finding as a sales process is the best way to describe it.

There are much more resources and applications you can tap into these days – and by using them – you are able to reach the hidden jobs much more easily.

It does not have to be an elaborate plan, but it is a good idea to build a spreadsheet or a checklist to track your activities. Some of the candidates also use CRM systems and put down notes on the progress; by doing so, they also pick up a new skill that is in high demand at moment.