Goody Bag

Tech, HR and Success Coaching

Tech Camp

Wanted: high-tech workers. That refrain will be sung by employers with increasing frequency. The demand for computer engineers is expected to grow by 108 percent from 1998 to 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

InternalDrive Inc., based in Campbell, California, is doing its part to get the next generation job-ready with its summertime high-tech training courses for kids. "The shortage of tech workers is going to reach epidemic proportions," predicts Pete Ingram-Cauchi, 28, president and co-founder with his mother, Kathryn Ingram. (Rounding out this family business is his sister, Alexa Ingram-Cauchi, who is senior corporate consultant.) "We prepare our students by offering high-quality, cutting-edge technology," says Pete. The trio started from a small home office with $900 three years ago. Last year, the company hit its goal of $1 million in revenue.

The camp's 30 locations, with 13 full-time and roughly 250 seasonal employees, have attracted 5,000 to 8,000 students so far. Kids attend weekly sessions and learn about such subjects as digital video production and robotics.

Virtual HR

People skills combined with organizational abilities can net big gains. Just ask Jim Sterling, 45, who used his skills to capitalize on the growing virtual human resources trend two years ago when he launched Sterling Consulting Services LLC in Westerville, Ohio. The HR consulting firm does everything from developing employee handbooks to conducting surveys on morale issues. And the firm's Web site attracts businesses as far away as Scotland.

The ongoing downsizing movement has led to a boom in the HR outsourcing biz. Sixty-nine percent of HR professionals say their organizations use external vendors or consultants to handle HR activities, up from 58 percent in 1999, according to the Bureau of National Affairs and Society.

Eighteen years' experience in corporate HR management made Sterling a natural for this growing field. He invested $10,000 to set up a home office, and his various subcontractors have helped him take in about $200,000 per year.

Success Coaching

Personal coaching, while not one of the newest professions (formalized in the 1990s), is one of the fastest-growing. Today, there are more than 10,000 coaches in the United States, up from about 1,000 in 1995, according to CoachU, the grand-daddy of the coach-training programs. Today's brand of coaches is decidedly different, however: Known as success coaches, they advise clients on all areas of their lives.

What does it take to be a success coach? "You have to be able to listen and motivate," says Kristin Taliaferro, 31, founder of, a success coaching firm in Dallas. Previously the owner of an executive recruiting firm, Taliaferro launched her company in 1998 with just over $5,000. Today, she coaches 25 to 30 clients per week and expects $123,000 to $206,000 in revenue for 2001. Because, like the majority of coaches, Taliaferro does her work by telephone, her clients hail from as far away as England and Japan. She charges $400 for four sessions or $300 per month for three 30- to 40-minute phone sessions and unlimited e-mail exchanges. She has no employees, but she sends any excess clients she has to a referral network of five other coaches, who then pay her one month's coaching fee for the referral.

If you're still not sure what type of business you want to start, read How to Find the Business That's Right For You and start planning your future today.

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This article was originally published in the May 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Goody Bag.

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