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How can teachers become rich entrepreneurs?

/ 12:12 AM November 13, 2015

Question:  We’re a group of nearly a dozen high school teachers in a private university in the south.  We heard that you are now a rich professor and entrepreneur.  We want to be like you, even if we’re just high school teachers and in the province.  Like you, we wish to stay in teaching but we also want to make both ends meet. Please share with us your experience.  We’d like to learn from it.  We know that it’s up to us to make the needed and realistic adaptations.

Answer: My first impulse was to e-mail you my response.  But as I began to write, I realized that there are so many of us teachers in the country and there are many who occasionally find themselves in difficult situations. So let’s see how I can help.   And thank you for writing.  It’s the first time I heard from my fellow educators.

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Allow me to start with some necessary clarifications.

When you speak about teachers who are entrepreneurs, there are two kinds.  Their difference is by primary purpose.  The kind I belong to are teachers whom I call academic entrepreneurs.  They are teachers first and are after money only to avoid frequent financial strain.  So they are not rich.  Since I belong to this group, I am therefore not rich.  But I’m not poor.  I’m just financially worry-free.  I think that’s the kind you’re after.

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The other kind are business entrepreneurs first and are teachers because they love to teach.  In this group, those who succeed are rich.  They teach because they want to share what they know and make others succeed.  The practical wisdom of teachers in this group is authentic and admirable.  I will invite someone else to talk about his experience as this kind of successful business entrepreneur and who’s also a teacher.

So let me talk about my kind.

How did I monetize my research expertise as a market research professor?  It was as simple as selling my survey research mastery to large companies, NGOs and GOs whom I found had the need for market research innovations.  That’s what an academic entrepreneur does.  He creates academic innovations.

Selling took the form of consulting.

For example, at Unilab’s consumer health division, I sold myself as the research consultant that the new division head then, Freddie Rodriguez, needed in the successful launching of pH Care.  My consulting engagement was to set-up a market research desk taking charge of a research project’s “book-end” stages of design at one end and analysis at the other end.  This was a lean organizational unit of only three executive staffers.  The research’s mid-stages of field interviewing and data tabulation that required a large number of workers were outsourced to a specialized Field+Tab agency.  This was a cost-effective arrangement because the Field+Tab agency billed only up to 50-60 percent of what a full service research agency like AC Nielsen or TNS would charge.  Savings was therefore 40-50 percent.

Later, this consulting project of setting up a market research desk became my major engagements with companies like AyalaLand, KFC, Ramcar, ACM Homes, and others.  Each such project also eventually got me into marketing planning and execution consulting.  That’s not all the time but most of the time.

There was a necessary precedent preparation I had to have.  That’s gaining the  experience of market research practice.

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I did that by persuading Consumer Pulse (later acquired by and became AC Nielsen) to appoint me as EVP of Consumer Pulse for three years after which I went back to the Asian Institute of Management as research professor.  This is a preparation I wish to underscore.  I could not have gotten the kind of premium market research consulting engagements without having established my research expertise in both theory and practice of survey research.

What about my social marketing and social marketing research consulting engagements?  Those were with NGOs and GOs.

My NGO clients were mostly in the family planning and health care projects.  Locally, these included Population Center Foundation, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, Kabalikat, Coalition of Smoke Free Philippines and the like.  Overseas projects came from the United Nations,  World Bank, Academy of Educational Development, and others.  My GO client projects were mostly with DOH and a few with DAR.

But my most extensive and productive social marketing research and social marketing consulting projects were with the Bulacan Provincial Government during Governor Josie dela Cruz’ terms.  I wrote a book on that six-year experience.  The book became a supplementary reference in local governance courses.

For the preparation for these consulting engagements, I had the best and that’s in co-authoring a social marketing book with the inventor of social marketing himeslf, Dr. Philip Kotler.  This best-selling book was translated into seven languages.  It became a standard textbook on the subject.  Later in 2012, Dr. Kotler encouraged me to publish my own social marketing and social marketing research books for the Asian market.  I did and both became best-sellers.

The foregoing money-making consulting experience is true of those few who have been blessed with rare expertise.  So what about the larger population of ordinary teachers?  I say, they can free themselves of financial worries also by selling.

A proven effective way of doing this is via the UInternet or more specifically via  TeachersPayTeachers.com.  Start by becoming a “Standard Member” so you can download free teaching resources and buy products from its catalog.  Then become a “Seller Upgrade” member to start selling or learn selling.  You can sell other teachers’ teaching resources like lesson plans, teaching materials and earn royalties.  Or you can sell your own learning materials.  This is open to teachers at all levels including kinder.  This is why the site calls itself as “An Open Market Place Where Educators Buy, Sell and Share Original Teaching Resources.”

I’ll have another MRx column so you can learn from the experience of the second type of teacher who is first a rich business entrepreneur but also a teacher.

Keep your questions coming.  Send them to me at [email protected]   A new edition of The Best of Marketing Rx book is now available in bookstores.  It’s a good Christmas gift item and as a supplementary learning reference for marketing students and practitioners.

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