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The first thing you need is the skills. Not because you can open a document or create a table means that you are ready to be a computer trainer. Neither do you have to be certified, but you must have enough skills to teach a class or a person.

Here are my suggestions to get started:

1. Go to CompUSA and purchase a computer software book, for example, "Getting Started with Microsoft Word"ยจ by Certification Insider Press. This is the book you use to prepare for the Microsoft Office User Specialist Examination. Again, you do not have to become certified, but I do recommend that you do. The book comes with a CD and it has practice exercises to help you evaluate and update your skills. I believe the cost is only $19.99.

2. Become Certified. This gives you the edge and credentials to make people take you seriously. Go to http://mous.net to find out more about becoming certified.

3. Practice, Practice, and Practice. You would be surprised at how smart and perceptive your students can be. They may ask you a question and may not remember how to perform a simple task. This can be embarrassing. So always keep practicing your skills.

4. Take a few classes yourself. Prepare, Prepare and prepare. I can't stress that enough.

The following software training is in demand:

Microsoft Word
Microsoft Access
WordPerfect 8
Microsoft Excel
Visual Basics
Microsoft Powerpoint

Most companies want to hire people with one or more of these skills. The more skills you possess, the better it is to land a good paying job. There are lots of people who want to improve their skills for a better paying job and your training will offer that to them. If you offer a variety of classes, you will have more clientele. A person who takes the Microsoft Word class may come back for the Microsoft Excel class.

Here are a few places that offer tutorials and online courses for improving and learning new skills:

http://www.learn2.com
http://www.smartplanet.com
http://www.tutorials.com
http://www.onlinelearning.com
http://www.open.ac.uk
http://www.2work-at-home.com/tutorial

Some people find it easier to take a course than to learn something from a textbook. When you are looking for a course, look for something short and simple. Look for courses that last five or ten evenings.

Self-Instruction is another method of learning. If you are good at perception and understanding things easily, then you can instruct yourself. You can purchase books on the particular subject you would like to improve and go through the book on your own. If you purchase a computer program, it usually comes with a manual. You can use that, as well as, the "help feature" in your computer program to learn how the new program works. You would be surprised how many people learned new things by following this step. Not everyone is able to do this though, so make sure you are, before you go out and purchase a manual. You must also be able to follow through.

Your Market

Your market can be just about anyone but try to find a target market. Here is a list of possible targets:

Children
Children are now using computers to do their schoolwork and parents are buying computers for kids to use. Computer classes are now being taught at some schools but not on a wide scale or in depth. We are moving into advanced technology and most parents who can afford to, will want to want to get computer training for their kids.

Stay-at-home moms
I can't say enough about this group, of which, I was once a part. Motherhood is a job by itself, but of course, this is not what my book is about. I probably will write a book someday about this second job, taking care of your kids. Mothers sometimes are not rewarded for what they do and taking a computer class is a self-esteem booster for stay-at-home moms. Mothers will use this as a back up for when the time comes when she has to return to work.

Elderly
Not because you are old means you can't learn. Keeping your brain active is very good especially when you are getting old.

Baby Boomers
These are the people who were not fortunate like you and I to get the benefits of a computer during their age but it is never too late.

The Disabled
A disabled person needs to earn an income as well and though they may be disabled, they still have a brain that keeps working.

College Students (you would be surprised)
A lot of college students do not have time to figure the details when it comes to computing because they are too busy studying. If you are not an Information Technology student, you may need computer lessons.

Someone who is trying to switch careers
A lot of people these days are unhappy in their careers and want to make the switch but don't have the appropriate skills. This is where your expertise comes in.

Companies who invest in training their employees
Companies are now investing in upgrading the skills of their employees. Ask your employer and find out how they would go about seeking someone to train their employees. You might get some good ideas from that.

Someone who just bought a computer or got one for free
Wow! You wouldn't believe how many people are buying computers these days and a lot of them are older folks and of course, parents buying for their kids. Some people do not like to commit to a large computer class so they would rather have you come to their own home to give them private lessons. This group is one that you need to take a very close look at.

Your Marketing Plan

Your target market is one aspect of your plan that is very important and since we have already identified your target market, it is time to put your plan into action.

Print Flyers and leave them everywhere. Your hairdressers is a good place to start, your local church, maybe. Stores and other small businesses places are good places also. Your local copier center is a good place. In most cases, you have to ask permission.

Create and give out your business cards to everyone you meet.

Put an ad in your local paper.

Word of mouth ---tell your friends and your associates. In other words, talk, talk, talk....as much as you can

Offer discounts and referral packages.

Offer a free class if time permits.

If you are Internet Savvy, create a web site and list your site address on every sales material that you reproduce.

Your Dream

You can make this dream a reality. I did and so can you. You can also make it a success. Do not give up your dreams but try to stop thinking about them and do something about it. Do not procrastinate. You will never know unless you try.