Entrepreneurs? Are you your own boss?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 19, 2011 2:18 AM GMT
    Hey so I am curious to hear about people who own their own business, or work work for themselves. At what point did you decide to go do your own thing? What was the tipping point? I think it's a very big and brave step to venture off and do your own thing.

    A few days ago I was talking to some of my tree hugging friends and starting up their own business is looking like an inevitable direction for them in the tight green job market.

    Thoughts, stories, experiences?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 19, 2011 4:00 AM GMT
    I have owned gyms, retail gift stores, travel agencies, and a wholesale supply business for the gift trade.

    The most fun biz were the gyms. All were in small towns with NO competition.

    The most profitable, at the time, were the retail gift stores.

    The travel agencies were hectic operations but money makers in their day.

    A WHOLESALE BIZ is the easiest to operate. You can actually take a day or two off without your biz collapsing.

    I highly recommend a partner in any business one chooses......so that you can actually have a life outside of work.

    I do not recommend a biz partnership with a lover......as you'll NEVER get away from work.

    Choose a business for the type of people with whom you'll interact. YOU'VE GOT TO ENJOY YOUR CUSTOMERS.....and understand them.

    If you naturally enjoy the type of people who are drawn to the type of business you choose, you will be more successful.

    You will be inclined to listen to your customers....and that is ultimately the Secret to Success.
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    Jul 19, 2011 4:36 AM GMT
    I started doing my own thing about 8-9 years ago after finishing a stint in finance/development. It's been turbulent but the last two years have been our best yet though the 2 years prior were rough and now I am looking at building a few new ones. It took a bit of time for us to get traction as well.

    Some thoughts - if you don't have to quit your full time job to start the kind of business you want to, don't. Any business though does start with solving a problem that customers are willing to pay to have solved. At some point you have to decide if you want to build a lifestyle business/localized small business that remains that way or aspire for the kind of change the world type startup and I think the approaches and industries are different.

    If you're interested in a startup - highly recommended book (you can PM if you want my summary notes) -

    Also recommended are Paul Graham's essays and thoughts (the co-founder of a tech incubator/vc fund in Silicon Valley) -

    Start reading blog posts in your field if you haven't already started to do so. I use google.com/reader which is how I get through the information I do in a day.

    Here are a few posts that I think are useful to read/consider:
    http://nat.org/blog/2011/06/instant-company/ (some useful, mostly free applications available)

    The world really is different - but in a good way. It has never been easier and cheaper to start your own business or to find a market. It means a world of rapid change - but that's both a good and bad thing because it also means potentially more competition though the audience is so much bigger.

    Working for yourself or building a business yourself can be extraordinarily lonely. Make sure you have a good support network of people you can talk to - a business partner can be good for that but co-founders are also generally recommended. I bought out most of my original partners but am looking at partnering for the new businesses I am going into.

    Finally, though I am a believer that luck is made, good luck in building your business!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 19, 2011 6:04 AM GMT
    I am my own boss, it sucks, I hate it.

    But at the same time I love it too. Weird right?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 19, 2011 6:05 AM GMT
    For the most part, except my primary client is my "boss" as long as I'm salary...all other clients get scheduled around that (unless, of course, money talks...really loud).
  • in_this_corne...

    Posts: 704

    Jul 19, 2011 6:09 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidIf you are going to create your own business, you need to be prepared to risk everything (your savings, your free time, even your sanity). It's not for the weak. icon_wink.gif

    This is so true. I started a company with a few friends in 1999. We just hit 12 year anniversary, have 100 employees, and on track for best year yet. It hasn't come without it's incredibly turbulent times throughout the business's lifecycle. Luckily we were naive and young (early to mid 20's) when we started it. I could rattle on and on about the trials and tribulations about it. If you're really interested in the good, bad, and ugly about business ownership and self employment...contact me.
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    Jul 19, 2011 6:25 AM GMT
    In Oct 2004, I bought a laundromat & carwash from a couple who was retiring. It also has 2 apartments, one I live in and one I am rehabilitating after the last tenant trashed it. Before that I was the company computer guy at an insurance agency. When I got canned I stretched out unemployment almost as long as I could then sold my house in Lemon Grove ( San Diego) and bought the job I have now.
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Jul 19, 2011 9:36 AM GMT
    Yes, I was tired of working for someone else and opened my own Lighting/Electrical company March 1, 2005. I currently have an office/warehouse with 15 employees. icon_biggrin.gif
    Southbeach1500 is correct when he says: "you need to be prepared to risk everything (your savings, your free time, even your sanity). It's not for the weak." icon_wink.gif

  • Jul 19, 2011 11:10 PM GMT
    It's all true. You have to have the right mind set for it. I'm almost a year into a new venture and had tried the self-employed route before. In my early 30s, I had a little more perspective this time around and knew what to expect.

    It has its challenges, but it has to be what you want. I've never been truly happy punching someone else's clock. A lot of people won't understand what you go through, but if you have a good plan, a great deal of drive, and are 100% committed to going all in, you've got a good shot.

    Good luck if you make the jump.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16412

    Jul 20, 2011 4:25 PM GMT
    I'm a self employed financial advisor, I run my own investment firm.. really love it!

    Right from the start I had certain freedoms even though I was a w-2 employee with a portion of my earnings. Today, I'm a broker and really license with those companies that are beneficial and allow broker representation. I serve my clients with honesty and integrity, never pushing a certain product down their throats. I'm diligent, you have to be with my marketing, my reviews with clients and above all the need to be effective with my travel time.

    If you are considering your own business, you need.. you must, follow a structured, well organized approach. You need to do your homework, follow a marketing plan, set and recognize goals and consider alternatives if they need be considered. Know tax rules (that can be so demanding) and understand the pros and cons of running your own scene. I love it, but it
    isn't for everybody!
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    Jul 20, 2011 4:27 PM GMT
    I started my own "business" 11 years ago...I began giving guitar and piano lessons....all this time later....still have a full compliment of students...and earning my living doing what I love....it's pretty rockin'
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2011 5:16 AM GMT

    I've heard that it is a bad idea to start a business alone? Does any one have any experience in this? What if one partner is not able to bring as much to the table as another?
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    Sep 20, 2011 5:17 AM GMT
    currently I'm studying international entrepreneurship, I'll get back at this thread in about a year from now when I'm all smart n stuff icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2011 5:22 AM GMT
    I am at the moment in the development stages as an aspiring writer, actor, college student, and singer so yes i am. icon_razz.gif
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    Sep 20, 2011 5:24 AM GMT
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    Sep 21, 2011 11:54 PM GMT
    My thoughts from being an entrepreneur...

    -Don't take on a partner. Better to have a great idea and run the show. Money and talent will find you.

    -Take advice with a grain of salt. Every successful entrepreneur has blind spots. They don't know your business (or your temperment) as well as you do. Yes, associate with other entrepreneurs...but make the strategic decisions yourself. If you're just starting out, listen to motivational and entrepreneurship CD's from successful entrepreneurs like Mark McCormick.

    -Live below your means. Toyota and Honda are the top 2 cars among SELF MADE millionaires. Don't play the stock or real estate market either. Cash will ALWAYS be king for an entrepreneur.

    -Cut loose a money loser or time hog ASAP. This includes customers, products, employees or entire businesses. Don't be afraid of cutting losses. This is why successful entrepreneurs will tell you that failure can be a good thing.

    Lastly, just keep it simple. One killer product beats 1000 mediocre products any day.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 22, 2011 1:28 AM GMT
    Absolutely Sound Advice, White4DarkerFl.

    On Partnerships: I had 3 and all worked out very well.
    Even the BAD one was still quite profitable. We owned 3 gyms together. He took more than his share of our cash......but then again, without him I would have made so much less.

    My other 2 partnerships involved retail and I was so grateful to have the help.

    My last biz was solo and was the most profitable and it was great to make ALL of my own decisions. But the downside was that I had NO time ever....for ten years. A manager is not the same as a partner......but a truly responsible manager can almost be as good.

    Choose employees well.....and as White4DarkerFL says, don't be shy about cutting them loose if necessary. But great employees can be your favorite part of doing business.

    Hmmm, also as he advises, learn when to cut your losses........all along the way.

    Great Advice, White4DarkerFl.......new entrepreneurs should read your words again.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Sep 22, 2011 1:50 AM GMT
    Been there, done that, lost my shirt. There's an entire industry revolving around taking honest peoples' savings and their dreams of being rich from owning a small business and making other professional rich. Lawyers, accountants, the designers and renovators, the landlords. It's sad.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 22, 2011 1:58 AM GMT
    yes I work for myself... in a sense...
    It sort of just ended up this way on its own without me really planning for it.
    I took on a marketing project from a company a year and a half ago and now I'm doing projects, strategy formation, evaluation, writing business proposals and developing brands, planning events, etc. for 3 different companies and possibly a 4th by October.

    If that happens I will need to hire help cuz I have no f*king life lol

    But ya I would much rather continue working for myself than becoming a full-time employee... but you have to be ready to have no social life for the first few years (like me) and financially secure enough to not need a steady pay cheque every 2 weeks for the first while... it's tough though.
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    Sep 22, 2011 2:17 AM GMT
    CONGRATULATIONS k313k0 and Ethannyc ! I'm glad you're loving it.

    Something you may have already discovered is that you will have LUCK along the way. During the hard work, some great things seem to just come like magic.

    And something else I suspect you already know about is that you've got keep a great attitude.......especially when days are tough.

    Here's the key to a great attitude: Practice GRATITUDE. Remind yourself frequently of how fortunate you are for whatever level of success you already have. Be grateful for your clients, employees or partners......suppliers, Everything you can think of.

    It's great to see your enthusiasm. BEST WISHES!
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 747

    Sep 22, 2011 2:25 AM GMT
    Been an entrepreneur for 10+ years. I do sales and marketing consulting and training. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Could never work for anyone again. Have freedom, flexibility, and love what I do. I put in lots of work to build business but don't work so hard any more. Feel very lucky and blessed but have done things strategically to get where I am. It's worth the risk if you have the fortitude and the skills to make it work.
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    Sep 30, 2013 3:32 PM GMT
    Reviving an old thread:

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 02, 2013 2:01 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidReviving an old thread:


    Thanks for posting that chart. Very interesting.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 30, 2014 3:11 PM GMT
    For those who are interested -

    There's a new MOOC on how to scale a startup. Signups close Sept 12:
    More here:
  • SilverRRCloud

    Posts: 901

    Aug 30, 2014 4:13 PM GMT
    I started freelancing very early, and I liked it a lot.

    I started developing skills, acquiring knowledge, and growing genuinely interested in the business I was involved with. My employers basically educated me to both their successes and their failures.

    Once I got all the aces covered: fully paid-out home, absolutely no debt, and a certain reputation in my field of work, I started my own thing.

    The beauty of my approach was that I was in it on my own, without any pressure. I took only the work I genuinely believed would be lucrative (I never said - "the work I liked"). And, I grew steadilyicon_surprised.gif

    I gladly employ other freelancers. The risks I am taking are minimal. I am happy to work for days at a time to see a specific project through. And I am happy to lean back for months, too, and just enjoy my life.

    I also branched out, and started acquiring skills and knowledge in another industry. This was a welcome change, and gave me a much greater degree of independence. As we all rode into the meltdown in 2008, one of my ventures took a very serious beating. I chose to sit it out, without losing a dime, simply because the other business was doing well, and I was able to afford a long wait.

    In the meantime, the venture which took the beating has been growing up again. The other safety valve is good but stagnant. Nothing to worry about, though. I have all the time in the world.

    The drawbacks: Sometimes very hectic days, weeks and months. Long working days. Huge amounts of pressure. Nothing for the faint-hearted.

    The two major pluses:
    I get to call the shots. When all is said and done, I decide.

    Income rocks. No one would be as generous to me as I am to myselficon_lol.gif