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Eureka: Another set of failed business ideas
by Joseph Gatt
2018-07-19 07:37:20
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The Italian cooking school

“I want to become a chef who works at an Italian restaurant, don't know anything about Italian food, so will go to Italian cooking school to learn how to cook Italian food.” Now you're not going to find people like that, are you. People who want to become Italian chefs do so because they already know how to cook Italian food. People who take cooking lessons tend to be husbands forced by their wives to do so, or husbands who want to please their wives, or wives who want to please their husband. And they want to learn how to cook simple dishes, and want general and generalist cooking lessons, not specifically Italian cooking lessons.

faile0001_400The freelance translator and interpreter

The problem is in today's world a lot of meetings are held in English. English is mainly spoken at international conventions, and many organizations have done away with translators and interpreters. Reports are increasingly being written in English and are not being translated, meetings are held in English and speeches are delivered in English. There's still a market for translators, but they tend to be people who work for companies who do translation and other stuff.

The online freelancer

Since working online has no borders, there is no minimum wage law that applies. That is you end up working for two or three dollars an hour. Or you could make two or three dollars an hour collecting coffee cups and soda cans and selling them at stores that collect them.

The grant writer

Most grant writers don't have a specific speciality and aim for generalist grants, that is apply for every grant they see. The problem is organizations who dish out grants want specialists, and want people with years' experience covering the area.

The Maldives travel agency

If you want to start a travel agency, the more countries you cover, the better. Travel agencies involve complicated work such as visas, tour guides, transportation, hotel rooms, food and frills. Some want to go on a tour, others want to go solo, and you will be dealing with a lot of clueless tourists making crazy demands. If you only cover one or two countries, few people will tend to come. Most people who go to the Maldives don't go on a tour but stay at a resort. There are a “million” websites advertising tourist resorts in the Maldives.

The guy who quit his job to start a blog or vlog

Blogs and vlogs tend to be slave labor. If working for 24,000 a year in an office may be slave labor, few bloggers make more than a couple thousand dollars a year, when they work well over 60 hours a week. Blogs are not just about content, they are also about research, networking and advertising. You're better off trying your luck with a grocery store.

All those internet stores

Now here's what works and here's what doesn't work. In Korea and Japan, where the postal services are very efficient, you have a group of people who follow closely the new fashion lines on display at fashion retail stores like GAP, Zara or H&M, buy the merchandise in bulk, and then sell the merchandise online to Koreans or Japanese who live in towns that don't have those stores, and people order online from them. They ship the clothes and that works. Same thing in North Africa where you have people travel to France, buy bulk from those same stores, and sell in Facebook pages where they decide a meeting point and sell the merchandise.

Now what doesn't work. Online retail stores are as much about merchandise as about merchandise shipment. That is you need good postal services, or to create your own postal service to deliver the merchandise. The problem is if you operate in a country the size of Canada, the United States, or even Germany, you're going to have several people order in Berlin or New York City but you will also have people from remote, isolate towns order your products and you will have to deliver to them as well. Some tows are so far and remote, that you will have to spend a fortune delivering to that specific person, and will end up losing a lot of money. Postal services are not always reliable, so you will have a guy drive a truck to a remote city just to deliver a book or a sweater. That's not very profitable.

The guys who got a Masters degree so they could teach English at a university in Korea

Universities in Korea were a paradise for English teachers. Teach ten to twelve hours a week, 4 months paid vacation a year, good pay, retirement pension schemes, health insurance, severance pay, bonuses, and all you do is play games with Korean students, games like hang man or boggle. That's a pretty sweet deal.

Initially all you needed was a bachelor's degree to teach at a Korean university. Then a lot of Korean universities wanted Masters degrees, and you got higher pay if you had a Masters degree. That's when all the diploma mills started advertising in Korea, pay 40,000 dollars, fill out a few sheets, and you have your master's degree. A lot of people spent 40,000 dollars to get a Master's degree in English education from diploma mills so they could teach English at a university in Korea. The main problem? Now Korean universities want you to have a Ph.D. so you can teach Korean kids English, that is play hang man and boggle with them. The Korean government can be shameless, and for all those who lost 40,000 dollars for a piece of paper, now that piece of paper can't even get you to the Korean classroom.

The guys who got Ph.D.s and paid hard cash for it so they could teach at a university

They say you need do go to law school and pass the bar exam to become a lawyer and to medical school to become a doctor, so naturally you need a Ph.D. to become a professor. Indeed most law firms want you to go to law school and pass the bar exam, and going to medical school is a must to become a doctor. Technically you could pass the bar exam without going to law school but most if not all big law firms want their lawyers to come from elite law schools, and if you have private legal practice you could get swallowed by bigger law firms. Universities use the same tactics, you need a Ph.D. to get in regardless how smart or talented you may be.

But here's the catch. If you're working with people with that level of intelligence, that is who affirm that they would never hire anyone who does not have a Ph.D. you know what level of intelligence you're getting yourself into. Until the 1980s you did not need to go to law school to become a lawyer, all you needed was the bar exam, and you did not need a PhD. to become a professor, all you needed was to be smart. You need to know that if you work for a law firm or university, you will be getting that level or rigidity. A whole set of rigid rules that you must comply to or you're fired. You get the same pay teaching at a high school, but at least at high schools you will be dealing with smarter teachers and less rigid standards, and the pay is about the same. You also have more job security teaching at a high school, and all you'll need is a teacher's certification. Universities are boot camp when high school is more like summer camp. It's your decision.            

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