Thursday, May 9, 2019

Helping New Entrepreneurs Find Their Market Value

94th Aero Squadron
New entrepreneurs have a great product and a great idea! They next great widget is going to hit the market by store. There is a problem! They have nooooo idea what that product is worth! This is particularly true with new product launches and unique products. The value is dependent on its market and to best improve your chances of launch success you would be best served by knowing how to find a value.

A product priced too high might fail just after launch and not be able to gain momentum with consumers. A price that is too low might generate a lot of sales but could end up damaging the long-term brand image of the company. Low quality and value is not something most companies want to be seen as.

Below are three methods you could use. They may be modified based on the individual circumstances and factors associated with the market.

Cost Method: The method of cost plus some safe margin. You should figure out what you need to break even and then what you need to make a reasonable return on investment. At this point you know what number is the bench line where above means you are doing better than expected and a little below means the product has ties up capital.

Perceived Value: Consumers may see different value based on their product. Typically they make some type of mental comparison and then determine what they would be willing to pay for that product. Sampling consumer price points can be helpful in determining what the wider market would be willing to pay.

Market Comparison: It is beneficial to compare your product and its features to similar products in the market to determine where it places. Depending on which strategy you plan on using, the market average becomes a type of benchmark. Know how your product's features line up against competitors.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Bullying and the Search for Domination! Boundary Creation as a Protective Tool-A 4

Bullying is a search for domination to help mitigate feelings of despair. It isn't about treating people fairly or treating people well. The ultimate goal is to put another down so to maintain one's status and self-perception. There are few legal protections for people who are victims of bullying as often laws don't step into protect people from social consequences. There are also few laws against sharing your opinion, getting your friends involved, sharing only part of the information, or manipulating stories. They may be despicable acts on their own but rarely constitute a legal violation unless malicious and directed. Because there are few protections one must continuously enforce boundaries and create distance until resolution has occurred.

Let me give you an example. A person used questionable biased comments around younger people. The act was more of carelessness than intentional....kind of a "duh...I have little understanding of diversity" comment. Its not that the person said those terms directly to the adult kids but that these terms were said in "ear shot" and could possibly be heard, or accidentally said at the wrong time, or encourage disrespectful attitudes with others. Concern was growing that rude, negative, or inflammatory comments are becoming acceptable in the group (i.e. inappropriate jokes, put downs, negative comments, gossiping, etc...)

1. In-out group dynamics that translates into "us" versus "them" mentality. When this occurs the needs of others are diminished and reduced. That can turn into carelessness about comments. and actions. One must address those issues quickly.

A parent feels concerned that these jokes exceed an acceptable limit and increased in intensity by a couple of adults. Because the kids are sensitive they simply don't need to be involved at all in any negative family dynamics. The concerned parent asks their siblings first politely and then more forcibly to please respect boundaries, watch what is said to the kids, and keep children out of adult affairs. A normally reasonable request in confidence becomes part of a campaign to character assassinate as the offended party retaliates and openly talks negatively in an effort to damage a reputation and implement control.

2. The bully is more concerned about how they look than ensuring a healthy environment. Bullying is self involved with little respect for the target or the potential outcomes.

In this example, one of the parents have their own children to contact the targets children....has "so and so ever said an inappropriate term to you?". The questions are not related to the issue and is not reflective of the concern. The child doesn't want to have problems, desires to tell the truth, and isn't sure what is going on so he replies in a text "no". The proxy children pass the response to one of the parents who in turn spreads it throughout their social networks as "proof" nothing wrong occurred. No one is wrong....there is only a need to be more aware of differences and how insensitive comments impact others (one of the reasons for the initial request to keep boundaries). In normal situations people are willing to adjust...but with dysfunctional patterns everyone is on the defensive.

The offered question wasn't related to the complaint and was an attempt to manipulate legitimate concerns. Until someone text them the children were shielded from controversy and were unaware. The problem was that the question directed to the child was inappropriate and an attempt to further ensnare the youngster into squabbles raising stress on them. The continuous involved of the kids starts looking a little like a type of punishment for making the accusation that boundaries have been violated. The question should have been better directed to the parents with, "have you ever used this term?" and "have you ever used this term at a family function?" If they grudgingly say "yes"....they have an opportunity to work issues out. Contacting the child is never the solution and was a willful violation of the the initial request not to get children involved in adult issues.

3. The bully purposely miscues information to make sure that they look good and have "justification" for their abusive behavior. Distorting information is fairly common in almost all arguments but when it is used aggressively there are larger issues to be raised. It is impossible to fix problems if someone intentionally seeks to distort information to justify any claim that serves their interests. This is why open communication is better than indirect communication. Both parties must come to the "table" and be honest.

As they share the concerns the parent begins to look like they are "crazy" because each of their claims are invalidated without being fully heard (its intentional to force only one side). As a matter of point, they may have told the multi-racial child their parent is "crazy" for even trying to create protective boundaries in the first place. The concerned parent may be the only person in the group telling the truth. No one cares. They get more isolated as their legitimate concerns are de-legitimized. This is where real victimization starts to occur as children are hurt, families are broken and the target needs to withdraw to protect their family from a hostile environment. What was a natural parental issue now becomes an issue that requires distance for the sake of everyone simply because there is a lack of constructive solutions and a preponderance of immature behavior.

4. The bully "gas lights" to make sure that others believe the victim is at fault. Gas lighting means they distort the truth to gain influence over the other person. Such as, invalidate a concern.

The bully continues to spread lies and rumors and isolate the victim and in turn encourage others, including young children, to get involved based on a falsely aligned principle. They don't say they are doing this...they just sort of tell everyone they know, their kids who tell their friends, and they share information that was confidential and requested to be confidential. Someone investigating and reconstructing a timeline would be shocked at the lack of regard socially acceptable need to stay close to the truth. Truth doesn't always count in social situations and those who do engage in truth need to watch out about speaking up. Many times its just better to say nothing and create boundaries. Few things within that network from that point on make any sense as information is purposely distorted and people join a mob without critically thinking about the information presented. The original request to "respect kids boundaries" now becomes distorted.

In this case, the target must disassociate with the family in order to protect themselves and their children. They know that the more they stick around, the more angry people get, the more people manipulate information, the more they lie about issues, the more kids get hurt. If the initial attempt was to protect the child, and after numerous attempts to resolve the issue, they must come to difficult solutions. Protecting you and your children's rights to be treated civilly shouldn't rely on who has the most friends, who is willing to be the most dishonest, who has the social power to push their version of the truth, who is most brutal, and who is going to look like they are at fault (blaming the victim).

5. There are few protections for those who desire to maintain healthy boundaries.

When it comes to highly aggressive people who use social manipulation to gain influence, there will always be attempts to utilize these networks to damage people who have crossed them in some way (these patterns are learned in high school and childhood as acceptable methods of managing networks). The inappropriate behaviors were learned over years of practice. Such "rule the school" mentalities were not acceptable when we are young or when we are older. When it is used against family to maintain social status and domination it takes a new level of maliciousness. In the end, nothing good comes from aimless conflict where one side refuses to acknowledge the legitimate claims of another. When your voice isn't heard and your concerns are invalidated you must create bigger boundaries. Boundaries mean having little to no unnecessary contact with those who have done least until boundaries are respected.

Lets be more clear about the definition of bully. When the term here is used and applied it doesn't mean that a person IS a bully. What it does mean is that behaviors in that situation are bully oriented designed to unfairly influence a person, embarrass, harass, mischief, create unjust pressures, or punish a person for non compliance with personal expectations. Those behaviors are part of the typical definition of bully. It is an outward manifestation of aggression based on previous mental patterns.

Here is some generic stuff on bullying...

Most states have very poor protections for children.

A really good resource is Operation Respect. They believe that bullying starts with the personality of the parents.

You may want to read other related articles in a series to raise awareness. Why You Should Encourage Bullies to Get Help? Life Long Disruption

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

4 P's of Marketing as they Apply to B2B

The 4 P's of Marketing helps us view and review a company's offering to determine if it is within the most advantageous position. The P's are simple but helpful in gaining a greater understanding of what the market is willing to buy and at what prices. If you are a small business owner and you desire to skip over the 4P's you should beware. It is your money and your time to lose if you over invest in a product no one wants and no one is willing to pay for!

To lower risks and improve opportunities for success company usually conduct analysis before they jump all in on a product. They must know which product they are going to sell, the price they are going to sell, how they are going to promote it, and where their product fits into the market. We can say they are evaluating the "4 P's of Marketing".

The 4 P's apply to Business-to-Business sales as much as they do in retail. There are some differences in the volume, amounts, services, and competitors. With B2B relationships there is a longer commitment and contracts that ensure both parties are protected. Interactions are much more personalized as people develop individual relationships with businesses.

Product: Products are the center of the marketing approach. Some products are physical and some are intellectually based. Services are also products that can be sold traded and bartered. In B2B transactions the product warranties, stocking ease, just in time delivery, etc... are part of the product offering. They are purchased together to raise the value of the supplier.

Price: The price is found through evaluating the total product and its offerings against competitive products. If such products are not found the business will need to find a utility cost above and beyond the cost of manufacturing. When the perceived value of the product doesn't meet the company's profit potential the product is taken off of the market.

Promotion: If no one knows about your product you are unlikely to get many sales. Advertising gets your voice heard in a sea of competing messages. B2B sales are more focused and intense because there are greater amounts of money and longer-term established relationships. The way in which you find candidates will also vary from phone calls and cold calling.

Place: Place can be viewed as physical in nature, such as a place on a store shelf or a place of a store, but includes position within the market.  Where your product is located in comparison to its competitors is helpful in determining which type of clients offer the greatest prospects for marketing efforts.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Reviewing Life Changes and Goals

In life there are lots of twists and turns that lead to new paths and goals. At this point in my life I'm squarely into middle age and have watched how my goals and dreams have changed over the last 7 or 8 years. Friends are important, lifestyle is important, giving back to the community is important and my career is important. Some things that you once thought were sooo important sort of aren't anymore.

When we are really young we desire to fit in and have people like us. We create these social networks and find a place in society. As we age our relationships with people change and we begin to pick our friends more wisely.

Children come and get older and then we are left with ourselves. If we have great friends then we are doing well. If we have great health we are excellent! Throw some meaningful work into the mix and one doesn't have much to complain about at all!

Age also brings wisdom and the awareness that we may never truly achieve all of the goals we want. Most of the goals I wanted to accomplish, the ones that were important enough to sustain effort, were accomplished in one form or another.

Wisdom also starts to leak in and we find that new meanings from life must be drawn. This provides us an opportunity to grow and develop as a person. Some never change their goals beyond their own daily interests. Others can balance simplicity with cognitive complexity and a sense of wonderment at the world.

What every your goals are take some time to think about what you really like and don't like. Look to your past and look to those things that bring you a sense of pride and happiness.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Girls Soccer Club at Orphanage Needs Uniforms

The girls soccer team at the Ranchos De Ninos orphanage are in need of matching uniforms to replace their tattered t-shirts. Most of their competitors are well funded and have significant advantages not only in equipment but also in style. We would like to get them into presentable state by having matching jerseys. For a sense of pride the team can actually look like a formidable opponent. The price of obtaining these products in Mexico is much cheaper than other places (Give or take $160). 

If you are interested in helping this orphanage you can donate through the following sites. If you are in the San Diego area and want to personally get involved let me know and I'll connect you to the right people. 

Corazon de Vida: You can donate to the general fund of a supporting organization called Corazon de Vida. I have met with some of the senior staff and set up a fundraising page to draw more more interest in helping the kids

PayPal:You can send me money directly to my PayPal and I will give to the director. Please don't donate a lot of money to me directly (uniforms only). I can help you connect with the right person for that. I'm just helping with a small project here so it is charity oriented. You can find me on PayPal via and 619-540-0501.

Direct to Orphanage: You may also contribute directly to the orphanage website. The Corazon de Vida site and the orphanage site are general funds. So where you donate will depend on your specific interests. If you desire to go only for uniforms you may want to send that to me...if you want it to go to the orphanage in general I would send to the fundraising sites. (The site doesn't appear to be working at the moment). 

I went down this past week to work with the kids and drop them some supplies for the holidays. Of course I brought my dog Chewy and the kids loved him! This orphanage has a few dogs and while they are very friendly they also are not trusting of outside dogs. Packs need to adjust and change to one another. The kids did a great job protecting him from overly curious potential pack mates! 😆

Some of the things that are going on at the orphanage include trying to utilize vacant land next door and sell grapes to wine making institutions. I suggested something similar and it seems they liked it. We will see how it turns out. Its not a bad idea considering they are in wine country and the land is fallow. Personally, I like the idea of just leasing it to an organic farmer if they aren't using it. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What Makes an Advertisement Worth Our Time?

Entertainment and information are the primary two reasons why consumers click on certain online advertisements. As we use online media with a voracious appetite we will be bombarded with advertisements from every corner of our screen. Most we block out and skip over as we browse. Every once in a while something will catch the corner of our eye. Slowly but surely we switch our conscious focus from the topic of the day to the advertisement. We forced our brains to detach from its current thinking, switch modes and pay attention to something else. Only advertisements that are seen as worthwhile will have the ability to do that!

According to research on reference groups media sources that are both entertaining and informative are seen as having consumer value (Mahmud, Shareef, and Nripendra, 2017). Associative, Aspirational, and Market Generated reference groups were analyzed online to see what which were of highest value.

Associative reference group: A non-referral reference group that act as market mavens and opinion leadership.

Aspirational reference group: A reference group we would like to follow.

Market-generated group: A viral marketing campaign put in place by professionals.

The study was exploratory by nature and used the theoretical framework advertising value model. What the study does tell us is that people trust sources that are more organically driven and are not necessarily "pitches". When we engage them through with something entertaining we can also then provide them new information.

That is really cool! You engage consumers attention and then move into providing them important information that reaches a conclusion. Advertising success comes through well thought out marketing campaigns that are specifically focused on your target market. If you don't know what your target market likes and wants then you don't really have a pin point gauge of your marketing campaigns.

This is what we learn from such research:

1. Create entertaining ads that at least first focus on gathering consumer attention. This may be putting eye grabbing content in the beginning and then more information infused throughout the ad and toward the end.

2. There must be relevant information provided to the consumer that makes their continued interest worth their time.

3. In the online world the type of person who is spreading and sharing the content determines its perceived value. Thus, creating advertisement that is "cool" and interesting makes a difference in who spreads it and why they do so.

4. Consider infusing your informational content with your entertaining story (i.e. content and story line convergence).

Mahmud, A., Shareef, B. and Nripendra, P. (2017). Social media marketing: comparative effect of advertisement sources. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 46

The information was provided by Abel Business Consulting, LLC

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sibling to Sibling Aggression is a Sign of Bigger Problems-A3

Creative Commons 
Adult Bullying usually starts in early childhood and can continue throughout life without behavioral adjustments. You can see the earliest signs in adolescents with rude or aggressive behavior toward younger or weaker siblings. A unique mix of genetic background and environmental factors interplay to create a problem that may never have manifested. A single traumatic event can start the dysfunctional thinking pattern. In other words, a temporary frustration becomes a life long dysfunctional pattern. The end result is aggressive sibling behavior into adulthood that breaks apart families and causes unnecessary conflicts. The hitting and kicking may end but the ostracizing and name calling continue in its more sociably acceptable form.

Professor Dirks from the McGill University's Department of Psychology found that hitting, calling names and leaving siblings out of games is a form of aggression in children and when it occurs regularly is a sign of more serious emotional and behavior problems (Medical Press, 2019). The emotional problems of the child become the root of their aggression towards others throughout much of their lives.

It doesn't always change when we get older. Adult bullies are following many of the same emotionally learned behaviors from childhood. Limits on that behavior are small and only on what they can get in trouble for. Their environment, parents and predispositions worked together to create a destructive personality. It is hard for bullies to tap into their deep seated fears and emotions to conquer their tendencies. Often they have no prior parental models to rely on.

Behaviors Are Apparent to Others Outside the Dysfunctional Family

Let us go back to our previous example of Cindy. Cindy showed signs of inappropriate aggression as a child. Strangers, on more than one occasion, confronted the parents and encouraged them to teach their child not to attack others through comments, pushing, and general mean behavior. The parents were not happy to have a "noisy outsider" come in and tell them what to do. Those from outside the family unit had a more appropriate reference.

One could also leave for a long period of time, change, and grow and come back and now recognize the behaviors that once seemed appropriate as dysfunctional. They left the group and how they perceived their world to formulate a new understand of acceptable boundaries. Getting away made all the difference in the end allowed for more understanding but further conflict as boundaries are enforced.

Parents Modeled Such Behavior

Sometimes parents modeled such behavior through their own lack of emotional awareness and their constant arguing and fighting. As the stress level rises for both siblings, who are in their formative years, they take on new personality traits. They begin to model the parents behavior. The older one gets more aggressive and the younger one gets more shy. They create a new trajectory of development based on the paths the parents set. They are not fully themselves until later in life.

The formative years are important for developing personality. Poor parental behaviors leads to a cycle of poor behavior as adults. Abused children sometimes abuse others. They may abuse their siblings or abuse their own children. They learned to hate because of their own personal pain. Frustration puts them over the top. To overcome this one must delve deep into the causes and go through a period of growth.

Psychological Scars Last a Long Time

The psychological scars of bullying last a life time. If a child is raised in this environment he/she will struggle to see the world in a way that "normally" raised children will see it. The psychological scars can cause social difficulties, anxiety, depression, internalization symptoms, suicide and eating disorders (Sansone & Sansone, 2008). Many times the victims don't even know that they have an issue.

Because these are so deeply rooted they are not easy to fix. A few of the exceptionally strong are capable of overcoming the pain and draw strength from it. Others simply just get buried in their pain and destroy their own lives. Those that overcome have few to no matches of personal strength because it is they who had to view a new world. Most normally raised children never had to struggle to that level. There is truth to strength through pain.

You can support different types of organizations if you liked this article. Perhaps you can donate a few dollars to their cause. While I try and highlight an organization with each article.  National Abuse Coalition

Helping Orphanages  through Coranzon De Vida: This organization supports 10 orphanages with small children. I have visited a few of these orphanages and seen these kids.  They provide for medical care, food, and much more. This is organization should have corporate support but even as little as $5 helps.

Medical Press, (2019). Sibling rivalry: When the fighting crosses the line. Retrieved

Sansone, R. A. and Sansoon, L. A. (2008). Bully victims: psychological and somatic aftermaths. Psychiatry, 5 (6).

If you want to Read the First Article which leads back to the other articles please follow the link Why You Should Encourage Bullies to Get Help? Life Long Disruption

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Supporting Orphanages and the People in Need

Supporting kids is important in society because those kids may someday be tomorrow's leaders. Some will make it to the top;others maybe not. Despite their challenging backgrounds most grow up to be successful and contribute to society in meaningful ways. It is a corporate responsibility for companies to get involved to protect youth and encourage them to develop Tomorrow's world is built on what we will do for these kids today!

I can't imagine the horror that some of these children have gone through. Abused, rejected, no family, no one to love them, and no one to take care of them! Financially strapped orphanages take in these lost kids and give them a chance.

It is through the good hearts of people like you they have a chance to fulfill their true destinies as doctors, lawyers, mothers, fathers and employees.  Evening with limited resources the orphanage leadership has done a great job. I have visited a few of the orphanages and they may look old...but they are clean. Nothing particularly new but everything had that bleach smell of hospitals and my grandparents home. No bacterial will survive there.

Their lives go on despite their abusive background.There are books and people to read to them. They play games and they deal with their issues with the help of psychologists. The orphanages help them learn how to use a computer and attend college when they are older.They are given the support they need. However, a single expensive dental bill can put pressure on everyone. There is a cost to supporting these kids and that is something that you can help with.

How big is the problem? There are somewhere around 400,000 homeless children in Mexico of which only around 30,000 receive help (1). This means that the vast majority of children receive no help, roam the streets and work as laborers. Many of those orphanages have little money, oversight, or help. Well run orphanages can make a big difference in the lives of people!

Most people feel they simply can't afford to help out with their limited budgets. Something as small as $5 can make a difference. It may not pay all the bills but it could buy laundry detergent or toothpaste which frees up resources at other areas. I guarantee you that your morning coffee will not make you feel as good about yourself as helping one of these kids.

Abel Business Consulting, LLC helps support these children. It isn't all about money and profits! We live in a world and while we work on growing our business consulting experience we will support organizations like this. At present we are visiting the orphanages, help in fundraising, and teaching the kids fitness. In the future we would like to help them learn more about business and the lives they are destined to live!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Psychographics Can Help Your Business Improve Sales

Businesses can explode or die a slow agonizing death over years of product misalignment! Success comes through having a deeper sense of what kind of products and services your customers demand. The very personality of your customers will determine whether they spend their hard earned money on your product or somewhere else. Delving into how customers view themselves and their lifestyle tells you something about the products they want.

Psycho-graphics is the study of personality based preferences in terms of lifestyles and product preferences. Knowing and understanding customer's mental "inner workings" helps companies offer products and services that appeal to customers on a deeper self-image level. If your going to engage in the process of getting to know your customers you will want to understand the benefits of psycho-graphics.

Sociology and Psychology are very much part of consumer analysis. Each of us has a personality that influences the way in which we see the world and the products and services we want. Our purchases say something about who we are and how we think. Studying how personality impacts choices and decisions helps us bundle, pair, and sell more products.

Psycho Relies on Big Data Collected from Everywhere

Psycho means mental activities while graphics means categories. Thus psycho-graphics studies mental differences that can be categorized for making broad conclusions about consumers. Studying such differences is a science in itself and relies on lots of big data to draw conclusion. To reach a level of scientific confidence the sample sizes generally need to be large and utilize multiple ways of drawing information from the massive amount of information. Such consumer information are drawn from browsers, purchase histories, companies, e-marketplaces, sold information, etc....

An Example of How Outdoor Jackets Influence Legislation

What a person buys may also indicate their lifestyle, beliefs and values. Consider that buying an outdoor jacket might also mean the person is likely to engage in camping trips or promote wildlife refuge legislation. In other words, those who are willing to spend the extra money on outdoor jackets may also find adventure trips exciting. With psycho-graphics its becomes possible to offer more value for customers at your business by catering to their mental lifestyle processes.

Psycho-Graphics Focuses on Differences in Attitudes and Interests

Let us consider differences in psycho-graphics between comparison and non-comparison shoppers. Comparison shoppers enjoy shopping more than non-comparison shoppers but were similar in achievement orientation, optimism, spirited living and happiness (Mittal, 2016).  We can see that people who comparison shop had differences in their behavioral patterns. Companies may consider the shopping experience to increase purchasing.

Psycho-Graphics and Multi-Faceted but Interrelated Interests

Psycho-Graphics considers the bleeding of interests around a focused theme. In other words, people of a certain lifestyle (theme) revert back to that self-image that theme projects to make decisions over products and services. For example, a study found that people interested in environmentally friendly wine also held interest in protecting the environment (Nelson, Pei-Jou, Bishop, et. al., 2012). There interest in environmentally friendly lifestyles impacted their political and product leanings.

Shopping Patterns and Styles

Psycho-Graphics can even tell you something about strategies and enjoyment from shopping. For example, comparison shoppers were on a tight budget and view themselves as more savvy shoppers when compared to other groups (Mittal, 2016). Both types of shoppers were similar in achievement orientation, optimism, spirited living and happiness.

How Does this Help Your Business?

Your business should consider the natural differences in personality and lifestyle of customers that will help offer additional products and services that will be more appealing to your customers. Not all businesses have just one type of customers but may have a couple of different kids of customers. That is ok! Once you know the psycho-graphics of your customer you can then bundle special deals, offer products in a similar area, create a brand, and even better know what advertising channels are likely to work the best. If you own a website you will want to include content and pictures that support that lifestyle. The same can be said with causes and activities.

This article is written to help business owners at Abel Business Consulting, LLC

Anderson, T..; Golden, L. (1984). Lifestyle and psychographics: A critical review and recommendation. Advances in Consumer Research. 11: 405–411.

Banwari, M. (2016). Psycho-graphic of comparison shoppers. The Journal of Consumer Marketing. Santa Barbara, 33 (1). 20-31

Barber, N., Kuo, P. Bishiop, M. et al. (2012). Measuring psychographics to assess purchase intention and willingness to pay. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 29 (4).

Sunday, March 17, 2019

When Picking a Degree Follow Your Heart, Skills and Finance

Do you know what degree you want?  Many students have no idea what to study! They aren't always sure where they are going or how they are going to get there! The sheer volume of options at colleges can be confusing and the inexperience of the student makes picking an academic path that could have serious consequences for rest of their lives. Your heart, personal skills and your financial ability should guide students as they determine which degree to select.

First, let us understand that the process of picking a particular degree should not be taken lightly or without sufficient thought. While some students switch their degrees in college it can still cost them wasted money, time and opportunity. Before entering college students should try and gain as much awareness about their personal needs as they can.

Heart: What do you want to do in life? Some of us would love to be an artist or performer but at the end of the day we must pay the bills! If your heart tells you to do something then you will want to spend some time thinking about what particular fields mean to you. Use your heart to determine where you should first start looking. If you "hate" your line of work you are going to be miserable.

Skills: Most people come with some level of innate skills they can enhance throughout their lifetime. Because maximizing ones value means capitalizing on existing skills it is helpful to first understand what those skills are. Choosing a degree that helps you in those skills is important for career growth and development over one's lifetime.

Finance: Not all degrees are financially worth the same on the market. That doesn't mean that not all degrees have value but not all degrees are appreciated by the market through successful gainful employment. Look at the cost of education and the need (compensation) of certain degrees. Engineers, Marketing and Medical Degrees are in greater demand then say ancient literature even though both contribute to society in their own way.

There is no perfect life or perfect expect bumps and a possible career shifts within a normal life! The goal is to help students pick a career that suits them better than others. Some may make lots of money but be limited in their enjoyment while others do something more meaningful and don't make much money. Don't make money your only goal but learn to balance your financial needs with your personal need of life and then just take a leap of faith!