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Surviving entrepreneurship

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by ASU2003, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    I already know that this is something I want to try, when is another question...

    But, I was thinking the other day about what it would take to survive while trying to start up a company. From still having bills that you need to pay, a mortgage, health insurance, food, etc... to the business expenses they will add up pretty quick. I have a little bit of money saved up, but I would be in trouble if I wasn't breaking even at the 1 year point probably. And I can live very sparsely.

    But, what is the plan if your venture doesn't work out? Do people have a plan for that, or is it bad karma to plan for the worst?

    I also fear this type of thing and trying to get a 'job' from the outside and without working in the field for a few years. Not that I ever want another one of these 9-5 type of jobs anyways. I am also done with school for anything that doesn't really interest me.
    There Really Is A Stigma Against The Long-Term Unemployed - Yahoo! Finance

    Has anybody here tried to start their own business and would choose to do it again?
  2. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    I did it years back...of some significance.
    Now I have a little thing on the side, with no focus or effort...just a legal entity to take funds in for ad-hoc jobs. (and copyright/trademark)

    The one I had before was 5 years in my late 20's/early 30's, before I moved my life and sold it off.
    I got tired of the pain in the ass side of it.

    Believe it or not, the "work" the service you do is the fun part...and that's relatively easy.
    It's all the other things that you have to do that gets to be not as fun.
    Paperwork, legalities, Collection, HR, etc...

    Now you say you can get a person to do this...but you have to be big enough to pay a person to do this. (even PT vs. FT)
    BTW...it is a "bit" easier these days since there are so many "little" ad-hoc service groups/specialists that you can ship it out to as necessary.

    You also need to make sure that you keep your jobs/projects overlapping enough that you can keep a threshold of income for yourself (and family)
    You never know when one of these will fail, flake, be partial, close, "decisions were made"...or the bastard/bitch just won't pay you.
    Many new business owners forget to do this...putting all their eggs in one basket.

    If you're not doing a service, but selling a product, then you have inventory, a location and otherwise to deal with.
    And remember, it's not just you doing it...but others out there are doing it also, your competition. (what makes you better??)

    I'm not saying don't do it...it's actually quite cool in a way...and if anything you'll learn a lot.
    But in a way, you have to become a touch obsessive about it...for it to grow and become something of substance, you can't be casual.
    The buck stops here. Even if you have people under you...only the hard problems get to your desk...and you can't pass it up or along.
    You'll be thinking about it 24/7.

    Me? I decided to allow someone else to deal with all the BS...and I could just get a paycheck and walk away every night.
    But I still have the bug and ambition every once in a while...so I may try it again.
    This time, perhaps I'll do a different business model...partner/team with another company...let them take a certain percentage.
    That way, I don't have everything riding on me. I just need to make sure I get with one who won't take advantage and is competent & consistent.

    We'll see...I'm just emerging from my hole...I'm not ready to launch yet.

    I'd say go for it...it's easy to start, a challenge to keep going and make enough.
    Be realistic, proactive and think ahead of the curve.
    But it will be an adventure. :cool:
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
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  3. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Also realize there are countless ways to start a business. It really depends on what you're doing and how you do it. Many start businesses while holding down a regular job. It helps mitigate the risks when it comes to income. It's especially useful if you have bills to pay and your spouse cannot cover you if you have income problems. Most businesses don't make a profit within the first year. Most fail within five years. If you don't have business experience, the numbers are stacked even more against you.

    I highly recommend educating yourself if you feel there are gaps in your capacity as a businessperson and entrepreneur. I recommend reading the book The Personal MBA. I didn't get a ton out of it because I went to business school; however, it was a good refresher (I'll return to it again, I'm sure), and there is value for those who want to make sure they're well rounded in business. The best value of the book, in my opinion, is the recommended reading list. The author claims to have read a ton of books and builds his "best 99" list after serious considerations of quality and use value. He even recommends where to get started on your reading based on what you do: individual contributor, manager, or entrepreneur. The website is here: The Personal MBA - Master the Art of Business

    I've read several books on his list. The quality so far has been great, though not all of the books have been immensely useful for my situation. All of them were educational and valuable in my opinion, though. I will continue reading from this list here and there over the next while, I think.

    My own situation is that I've gone from full-time salaried (and freelance on the side) to full-time freelance. I'm not an entrepreneur in terms of starting a business from scratch, but I'm being entrepreneurial in terms of "legitimizing" my freelance practice by organizing it better and running it better. For starters, I registered with the government and now have a business number and sales tax number. Charging sales tax on your invoices makes you look legit to clients, but it's also a requirement for more than $30,000 of revenue.

    I'm now starting to focus on marketing and promotion to build my client base, now that my main client (the company of my former salaried position) won't be giving me as many hours for a few months. I'm going to be focusing on Twitter, maybe a blog, and redoing some of my website's pages. I'm also going to start getting out there doing some networking, as this is my weakest aspect at the moment.

    I need to also work a bit more on my "systems": How I organize my workload and my administration (invoicing, recording expenses, revenues, etc.).

    I need to prepare myself for the idea of having unconventional work hours outside of 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and even possibly putting in a ton of hours that I can't bill anyone for as I build the business on the backend.

    It's a change. I have to realize that now I'm my own boss, my own company. I have to keep asking myself, "If I were an investor, would I invest in my company?" The answer right now is no. I need to change that.

    Back to work I go.

    I'm sure I'll come back to this thread. :)
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  4. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    I graduated college in 1982, worked corporate jobs until 1999 and started my own business then. I did some things right and I made many mistakes. Either way, I know not to dwell on successes or failures - I try to learn from both. One thing that surprised me was the cost of growth. Being too successful too fast can be very expensive and if you are not ready for it, it can break your company and ruin relationships with clients, vendors and employees. Business planning is very important.

    Talk to people who have done what you want to do. Most guys who have been around , near or at retirement, love to talk business with new business owners. They are a treasure of information, better than books, trainers, bureaucrats, professors in my opinion.

    I have no regrets. I would do it again, only better. I would do it sooner in my career, but there was tremendous value in working for others. Always learn everything you can learn when working for others - you never know when it will come in handy. You may have to be your accountant, your tech guy, your lawyer, your janitor, and every other thing for your business and if you can pay others you still have to know enough that they are doing it correctly and that you are getting your moneys worth. It is challenging but it is fun - at least for me. But unless you have deep pockets or access to OPM (other peoples money) there is no security. When you take the dive, you have to be "all in".
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  5. cynthetiq

    cynthetiq Administrator Staff Member Donor

    New York City
    I have always had my own business since I was 14.

    It never was a full time business, but it was something that I do in my spare time when I have time. Sometimes it encroaches on my day to day job.

    My wife took a severance package and we had savings. She wanted to start a food business. She set out to do so and over time learned she didn't have some skills here and there. I told her to read books, go to classes, network, find a mentor. She wished to not do any of these things saying she needed to do to learn. I told her she needed to just get anything sold, just get a website up and start selling something anything. Just because you start a website doesn't mean someone will visit it. After 4 years of not being able to get her website the way she wanted. I told her she needed to find another way to replace the income we were still losing.
  6. samcol

    samcol Getting Tilted

    i never started a business, but i inherited a family business you could say. as cliche it is to hate business owners, it's all you. it's you when the secretary quits and you have to do books, it's you when you have too much work and not enough growth in your business to handle it so you have to put in weekends/nights/holidays, it's you when the things get slow and you have to do the selling, estimating, accounting, and not draw a wage for months or years while paying all your bills and employees.

    rogue nailed it with the not enough work/too much work to handle it. it's so hard to get to the next level as i'm noticing in my company. pain in the ass is right. i wake up at 3 am on a saturday night thinking about this shit and can't get back to bed it kinda sucks. is the customer going to be satisfied on monday? is this employee going to quit soon because i can't afford to pay him enough? the vehicles are breaking down, how can i afford to pay for them?

    feast or famine.

    many people who are successful failed 2 or 3+ time before making it. the experience you get in middle management of another company in a similar field is worth its weight in gold. these are the people who can make your life easier. so if you know how to do it and know what to look for hopefully you can find a good goto person.

    how much are you willing to gamble to make it happen? can't pay bills for 2 months are you going to dip into your personal savings to 'maybe' make it happen or just close up shop? there is no contingency plan. you are either all in or you just dont do it. make it or die trying. anything in between just doesn't seem to work from what i've seen. (well established franchises are an exception often, but you need a small truckload of lenders/partners to make that happen).

    lets not even talk about the government, because there are so many hoops to jump through it's crazy.

    yeah i can afford a couple toys and vacations though while my employees can't. is it worth it? i'm not sure they sure seem happier than i am much of the time. the stress of running a company can eat at you like a cancer. it's not fun to have the power to hire and fire people. it's terrible. someone's not gettting a check next week and i have to decide who :(

    i forgot to add. if there's trouble on a job or task at the most basic level of production of whatever you do, when an owner or management person can step in and perform the job for a couple hours or a few days it can prove to the employees that you know what you're talking about and you gain their respect.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
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