Who else is a business owner?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 17, 2009 10:58 PM GMT
    I registered my DBA with the county today for the web design business I've done as freelance for the past 4 years. I'm going to sweep my writing and DJing under it too, hopefully making a few different revenue streams.

    Who else has started a business on Realjock? Any advice?
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Feb 17, 2009 11:15 PM GMT
    I'm about to register as SP of my small business. Only been doing it since October though, so not really besides keep records of everything.

    If I keep it up after I graduate, I'll be looking into a Tax ID as well so I can buy in bulk.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16412

    Feb 17, 2009 11:22 PM GMT
    I run my own business firm and have for 14 years. My suggestions are as follows:

    1) Have a prudent system for tax preparation, keep all receipts (and its a challenge) and make sure all recorded in a way that is reasoned. DO NOT try and recreate after the fact. It will get you for sure.

    2) Understand about self employment taxes, what you can write off for business related expenses and what you can't.

    3) Have a marketing plan and implement it. Have a reserve fund for your own expenses...
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    Feb 17, 2009 11:25 PM GMT
    I have one LLC (Limited Liability Company) and about to add a second. The first is a sports team (crew). I know...the gay version of Mark Cuban. The second is a consulting firm, which is more of a work thing. Some advice...check with an accountant on your tax liability first.
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Feb 17, 2009 11:29 PM GMT
    I WAS a business owner. Me and my brother use to have a restaurant but unfortunately the business failed. I lose a lot of money because of it. The reason we failed is because we dont have much experience in food business and managing employee. The staff cause us a lot of trouble. The cook dont show up for work. They have attitude problem. They fight with each other. My brother is to nice with his employee, afraid to take disciplinary action. To accomodating to employee wishes (we have a day off on Saturday nite?). Free food policy. It going down hill as soon as the business start.

    I dont mean to discourage you, just sharing an experience so you dont make the same mistake.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 17, 2009 11:33 PM GMT
    Learn Quick Books. You will need that skill to pull up reports even if you have a bookkeeper for data entry.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 17, 2009 11:44 PM GMT
    1) Keep the books in order. Don't skimp corners when it comes to taxes.
    2) Watch your cash flow. Don't spend more than you need to.
    3) Have a plan for success.
    4) Involve others with talents that you don't have, or to do that which you do not want to do.
    5) Leave an honest paper trail.
    6) Have fun, and remember that life is more than about money. It's about people.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 17, 2009 11:46 PM GMT
    I've got two as well, and all those reciepts, phone bills...boggling...
    Good luck...
  • TR_Latitude10

    Posts: 206

    Feb 18, 2009 12:58 AM GMT
    My partner and I just celebrated 6 years in business. Other than the very sound advice from above, I'd say "always be marketing" your business. You have to be the primary doer as well as the entire marketing/sales department for the first couple of years. Get less sleep and hone your sales message (why your offerings versus someone else), what markets are under-served, competitive analysis (who else is doing what you do, what are they doing wrong/doing right).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2009 1:20 AM GMT
    Number one lesson from starting my own law practice: make adequate quarterly estimated payments to the IRS or you'll get a very nasty surprise in April.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2009 1:51 AM GMT
    Find an accountant/tax preparer that specializes in your particular business type, or is experienced in handling self-employed clients.

    No, not H&R Block. icon_lol.gif
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    Feb 18, 2009 2:23 AM GMT
    I owned a business in my early 20s. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it was successful enough at times to make me think being a business owner is a good way to make a lot of money. But it was also very feast or famine. On one good month I made $13,000. On one bad month I made $280.

    Looking back at it, I don't think I was prepared at that age to deal with all the real "business" obligations like filing taxes, keeping books, and marketing the business. I was probably also a little naive about what kind of work it takes to maintain a steady, substantial cash flow.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2009 2:25 AM GMT
    I've had my own sports photography business for 25 years. First I was a sole prop., then LLC and now Corp.

    My first advice is make sure you really love what you are doing because you will be living and breathing it for quite awhile if you want it to be a success.

    Second, find an accountant that is good but more importantly one that you click with. I am so lucky to have a cpa that is so good and yet we can laugh together. I am also out to her which makes it easier when I have questions that involve my partner and the business. A good accountant will keep you legal. I'm horrible at entering checks, keeping track of receipts, etc. I use quickbooks and she is always helping stay up to date. As I always tell her "I don't look good in stripes."

    Identify what makes you different from everyone else that does the same thing you are doing. On what level do you want to compete? Prices, services, etc. Some people want to be like wal-mart and be the lowest in price. Personally, we freely admit we are not the lowest priced but we do offer the best service and best products. If they are simply looking at prices, we won't work well together.

    Timing is also important to any business. You can have the the business but sometimes, everything doesn't click at the right time. When it does, it's great.

    Oh, one more thing. Always keep in mind that you are never the boss. Your customer is the boss, Period. People always say to me "oh it must be so great to be your own boss." Yeah, right...I have several thousand bosses and each one always lets me know it too.

    Good luck!
  • metta

    Posts: 43880

    Feb 18, 2009 3:17 AM GMT

    This April will be my 12th year in business. I have a sole proprietorship and a small corporation.

    - always work to improve quality, minimize expenses, keep your debt to a minimum and always keep a positive cash flow. Business is always in a state of change and you need to try be forward thinking while also maintaining what you have.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2009 3:18 AM GMT
    I have 13 DBAs, a S-Corp and a registered salesmark (protected in Texas).

    #1. Accurate records. If you don't understand accounting, take a class. It's critical to operating any small business.

    #2. Do business with paying customers.

  • Feb 18, 2009 6:39 AM GMT
    Sole prop. here. Software training...Adobe products, HTML, Javascript, XML, and SQL. Been at it for 6 years on my own.

    My biggest advice is to have a decent system for storing your receipts. I am trying to go paperless, since the IRS will take a scanned copy. I'm using NeatReceipts, and Quicken.

    Might make a change to Quickbooks soon.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2009 7:16 AM GMT

    I have one employee in Business A. Me. Other than piles of receipts and a Schedule C, it's an OK life.

    I even frick'n got audited once. Boy was I prepared, and my auditor realized the IRS owed me more money ($300). I'd made a recording error, and she caught it after running through my receipts.

    In Business B, it's a partnership. Rental property ownership, and my new title is property manager. I would rather be president, but I can't have everything.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2009 7:19 AM GMT
    I've had 2 and currently weathering the economic storm on this one. I closed one because I got tired of chasing companies for money and wanted an employer to worry about that. The other one is current

    Not in any order of importance:
    1- Don't let clients pay you with carrots
    2- Don't buy the latest gadgets, buy last years latest gadgets
    3- Buy good chairs
    4- Value your employees... you're there for them
    5- Treat everyone like a client, especially your employees
    6- Hire at least one person smarter than you and pay that person as best as you can. Richard Branson didn't know the difference between "net" and "gross" until he was 50!
    7- Always know you can walk away from a deal. If it smells fishy, it could drag you down.
    8- Did I mention value your employees?
    9- LISTEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    10- Have a personal life that is not at all connected to the business.
    11- Sleep

    Good luck buddy.!!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2009 9:15 AM GMT
    I should be studying for my statistics midterm but...

    I'm in the process of starting a business with two other friends of mine. The two other guys are IT people while I'm the business guy. I handle all business aspects of the company and while it has been stressful and time consuming, it has been a great time and I still find time to do all the things I want to do. It really is a life experience that I recommend to anyone. Even if it does fail, the experience is extremely valuable on your resume (I'm a college student right now for business...my resume shines now).

    If there's any advice I can give you, it would be solid time management. If you don't have a good time management system like GTD (Getting Things Done), tasks will fill the amount of time you allow slowing your business and missing opportunities with clients. For example, I had a Excel spreadsheet that I had to complete for an investor that would take only 15 minutes to complete but it somehow ballooned to 4 hours!

    One more thing. Get an accountant and learn Quickbooks. Nuff said.
  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Feb 18, 2009 9:56 AM GMT

    I am the co-owner of a music promotion, event production and talent purchasing business (LLC). We do about 80-100 shows/year.

    I am also one of three owners of the Reno Burners, LLC, which directs and plans Burning Man events in the Reno/Northern Nevada area.