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The Bed and Breakfast Business - Debt/Credit Counselor and Financial Counselor - Certified Financial Planner
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More good Business Ideas
The Bed and Breakfast Business - Debt/Credit Counselor and Financial Counselor - Certified Financial Planner

- Becoming an Image Consultant

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The Bed and Breakfast Business


Provided you own a large home and if it is located in a tourist area, you can enter the "Bed and Breakfast Business". You will require four to eleven decently furnished spare bed rooms, preferably double bedrooms with bathrooms, a breakfast room and a general living area/reception room for your guests. You should offer bright and clean rooms with luxury quality bed linen, bath towels and bath robes, decent table ware and cutlery. As inn keeper you should have an outgoing personality, without being overbearing, some skills in cooking and a flair for other domestic tasks. You have to offer a decent breakfast and you can offer evening meals.

If you have the house, the costs of entry are quite moderate. The business activity could, depending on where you are located, be seasonal, leaving you with a whole lot of free time to pursue other things in the off seasonal.

Bed and breakfast inns have become a growing business across the country. It is something which existed in Britain for a long time. But here in the USA it is a more recent phenomena. In the 1970's there were a mere 300 bed and breakfast places in the whole of the USA. Now, in 2010, there are more than 17,000 according to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. The market is expected to continuously grow during the coming years.

A new area of the market for Bed and Breakfast are urban locations for business travelers. If you want to go after that sector, your rooms will have to be equipped with high speed internet connections and individual TV's.

Other good locations, apart from specific tourist destinations, are along the North-South travel routes to Florida and the East-West routes to California. Advertising in travel magazines (expensive!), the AARP publications, student publications and universities, the local Tourist Office and the Internet, through a website and through social networks like facebook, linkedin and twitter, will help you market your location and make it known to the travelling public.

You have to differentiate yourself from hotels and motels to be attractive to travelers . Elements that make a stay at your place feel like home - dining room, kitchen, sitting or living room, and decent home cooking, will make you an appealing choice for travel accommodations.

The typical Bed and Breakfast Inn has between 6 and 11 rooms (12 rooms will make it a hotel which will change local licensing and security requirements). It is generally assumed, that 4 rooms are the minimum for a viable business. According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, the Industry has a market of about $3.6 Billion annual expenditure. The national average price for a room is around $150.00 per night (including breakfast) and the room occupancy rate is about 43% making the revenue potential per room about $64.00 per night

If you seriously consider the B&B business, you should start by travelling a bit and staying at some inns so that you see what pother people offer, what you like and dislike. You should also read travel recommendations and reviews of B&B Inns, so that you get a real feel of what clients expect from your future venture.

There are workshops offered by trade associations that can help you about running a bed and breakfast business.

For more information, contact:

American Bed & Breakfast Association,
1407 Huguenot Road,
Midlothian, VA 23113; (804) 379-2222
Bed and Breakfast National Network, (TNN)
57 Broad Street ~ Charleston, SC 29401
Operates a Reservation System for BB Inns
Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII)
Jay Karen President and CEO
207 White Horse Pike Haddon Heights, NJ 08035 
Ph: 800-468-7244 - Fx: 856-895-0432

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Debt Counselor/Financial Counselor


Consumer debt is today a major problem. And contrary to common belief, it is growing rather than reducing. The number of people with poor credit ratings is constantly increasing and has reached almost 30% now. Debt Counseling is a growing business. The debt counselor is helping clients to make sound decisions in planning their clients debt reduction programs by helping clients renegotiate their debt with their creditors. This is often a difficult task, since most clients only seek the help of the counselor when things have already gone out of hand. Convincing a creditor that a client, who has probably broken half a dozen promises, to accept yet another debt rescheduling, is usually not easy.

The most suitable background for a debt counselor is if you have a degree in finance, business or maybe even psychology, provided that you have a good background in managing figures. Solid arithmetic, not higher mathematics, is what is asked for in this job. As as debt counselor you will be involved in debt management programs, client credit counseling, financial education, as well as debt elimination and budgeting. You can find a summary of some of the subjects you have to know about at http://www.ezecredit.net . All of the aspects where clients need help require a well organized mind. The ability to use computer programs like Microsoft's Excel or another spreadsheet, is also helpful! In addition, if you are fluent in Spanish, you will have a further market that to expand in.

Credit or Debt Counselors have now established their own trade association, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, NFCC, 801 Roeder Road, Suite 900 Silver Spring, MD 20910. They offer tools for financial literacy and some education programs for clients.

Even though, there are some programs to become a "Certified Debt Councilor", many of these are just money making machines for those who provide the often doubtful training. So be careful when you select someone's program. Ask around, especially amongst former graduates of such courses, what exactly the benefits of the training were!

There are some books from amazon that can help you in this field

Books and Information about Debt Counseling from amazon.com

Triple Advantage


Certified Financial Planner


A Financial Planner, as opposed to a Financial Counselor, helps client to invest their savings wisely based on informed market decisions, avoiding inordinate risk. The financial planner usually has a wide variety of financial instruments ranging from treasury, municipal and industrial bonds, to mutual funds, stocks, real estate and venture capital opportunities. The activities of a financial planner can cover advise to individuals as well as to businesses and corporate pension plans.

Even though, recent events like the activities surrounding Bernie Madoff and similar operators, have left many individual investors with a bad taste about financial planners, it is, nevertheless, a growing and ever more complex activity.

There is at the moment no agreed format of education at the state or the federal level for financial planners. But most states require some type of certification, if you want to set yourself up as a financial advisors or planner. The most common certification is that offered by the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Registered Investment Advisor. You will have to follow some training and pass a series of exams. There are several levels for this and you will have to decide at which level you want to work. They also offer a Certified Financial Planner where you have to cover subjects and pass exams in tax management, investments, insurance, employee benefits, retirement and estate planning to get your certificate. In addition, you will be required to complete a set number of hours of further education every year to keep your certification.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator of all financial security firms in the USA. They oversee almost 650,000 registered financial security representatives in the USA. FINRA does NOT approve or endorse any professional designation. You should be aware that Financial Analyst, Financial Adviser (Advisor), Financial Consultant, Financial Planner, Investment Consultant or Wealth Manager are generic terms or job titles, and may be used by investment professionals who may not hold any specific designation.

There are certifications from other organizations, such as the ones shown below:

National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (for Accredited Estate Planner) They offer two designations
  • The Accredited Estate Planner® designation is available to attorneys, Chartered Life Underwriters, Certified Public Accountants, Certified Trust and Financial Advisors, Chartered Financial Consultants, and Certified Financial Planners®.
  • The Estate Law Specialist Board, Inc., an attorney-run subsidiary of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils in Cleveland, Ohio, is the only ABA-accredited program for certification of an attorney as an Estate Planning Law Specialist (EPLS).
Institute for Investment Management Consultants (for Certified Investment Management Consultant), The Institute has been offering the
  • Certified Investment Management AnalystSM certification to experienced financial consultants who have successfully completed the rigorous education program and met the other certification requirements.
  • IMCA extended its offerings to include the Certified Private Wealth AdvisorSM credential designed for advisors and wealth managers who specialize in counseling high-net-worth clients, taking the professional past investments and into the area of estate planning, executive compensation, stock options, charitable planning, and more.
The Global Association of Investment Professionals (which used to be the Association for Investment Management and Research [for Chartered Financial Analyst) This international association offers a graduate level education and self-study program combines a broad-based curriculum of investment principles with professional conduct requirements. You have to pass three levels of exams to become a CFA
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards This association offers a whole host of certifications for financial professionals
The Financial Planning Association This is a professional association site that offers lots of information on how to start a practice, how to grow it and so on. It does not offer any educational courses but gives lots of other useful information

If you want more information look at some of the books from amazon.com.

Books and Information about Financial Planning Certification and Professional Conduct from amazon.com

There are a large number of educational texts available through amazon.com which will make self study easier

You should be aware that certification requirements may differ from state to state within the USA and also from Province to Province in Canada. Therefore, make sure that what you want to do is feasible in your state or province.


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Image Consultant


Today "Image" is everything. It determines the success or failure of a persons professional life, more than any other element. Sometimes more than knowledge and professional skill. "Looking good" and being confident, knowing what to wear and how to wear it, knowing how to speak and what to say, are all elements that will influence your counterpart or people you meet to a significant extent. Whether you are going for an interview and want to "shine" or to a sales meeting and want to close that sale, the image you project, beside your professional knowledge, will be the key that makes things happen.

As an Image Consultant, you will have to further the client's image and coach him, or her, to project an appearance and behavior that is conducive to the persons status or social position.

You as the consultant have to be socially secure in all situations and at every social level. You require impeccable taste, a solid good education, a grasp of the language and the ability to eat properly, a knowledge of food and wine and, generally, a mastery of social etiquette. If these things are not "second nature" to you, you are selecting the wrong job! You will have to teach and advise your client on

Their personal appearance, their posture, the way they greet another person, the way they walk and stand around; how to introduce yourself to someone and how to be introduced; Their use of language, the words they use in their normal speech, the structure of sentences, the voice they project, their laugh and their gestures
Their wardrobe and clothing; their color coordination; what kind of clothes to wear when and on which social occasion How to eat properly, what to eat and where, what to drink with a meal, how to select wine, how to enter a restaurant with guests, how to sit and behave on the table, how to tip and when to tip.
Their make-up, hair style and hair coloring How to behave in a professional environment, what to say, small talk
Selecting their clothes when they go shopping; Be their personal shopper and help them create a wardrobe that fits their needs and social engagements; How and where to travel to for leisure and recreation; How to go to the Opera and theatre;

You will have to manage the "image" of your client in a way that he/she can rely on your judgement and incorporate what you teach them, into their own life. You have to be sure that you are not just creating a "gloss" over their life. But, instead, that they absorb it and make it part of their own.

Your potential clients will come from almost all walks of life. From the "upstart" who has suddenly come into money and fame to the corporate executive who left his former social class behind and suddenly moves with the "movers and shakers" of this world, to the politician who has to face his constituency. You will have many people from the entertainment and sport world, as well as TV and radio. They will come to you, because they have heard about you through the "grapevine", through your extensive network which you are building up. Clients will not look for an image consultant in the Yellow Pages, it is far too discreet and touchy a subject!

In addition to personal consulting, you can also offer seminars to executives and corporations where a small group takes part in a days "image projection seminar". But for that you have to prepare yourself, offer folders and write ups that leaves the impression you have communicated something new and worthy of emulation!

You will find some more information in the publications below.

Books and Information about being an Image Consultant from amazon.com

Additional resources about Image Consulting can also be found at:

Association of Image Consultants
AICI Headquarters
East Grand Office Park
100 East Grand Ave • Suite 330
Des Moines, IA 50309
Ph: +1 (515) 282-5500
Fx::+1 (515) 243-2049

Oh, and don't think, that image consulting is only utilized by women. In fact 70% of the clients of image consultants are men who want to project a better image about themselves!

Books and Information about being an Image Consultant from amazon.com


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