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 12-08-2003, 12:17 Post: 70552
bnrhuffman



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 Thoughts on self employment by business owners

I just want some comments, good or bad, from those of you that own your own business.
Presently I work for a large company but its always been one of my life goals to own a successful small business. Its in my genes. My mother was a business owner back as long as I can remember and she was very good at it. She worked hard at it and it was lucrative for her but I think the biggest payoff for her was the pride she got from taking nothing and making it something.
I dont think she cared what the business was. She owned three totally different types of businesses as I was growing up. She would start them, grow them and as soon as they were well established, move on to another project.
She suddenly passed away about 7 years ago and I never took the opportunity to talk with her about it.
Ive talked with several friends that own their own businesses and have yet to hear anyone say that they regret doing it. Even when times are hard, they still say its the best decision they have made.






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 12-08-2003, 12:34 Post: 70555
kwschumm



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 Thoughts on self employment by business owners

I've managed several different businesses (everything from restaurants to auto repair), been a mechanic, done the corporate cube-farm thing, and have been on my own with a one man software engineering business for the last 10 years. I don't regret being on my own but the last year has been tough. If it wasn't for my wife having a good job we wouldn't have made it and I would be back in the cube-farm.

It works out great for a married couple. Since I work out of the house with a very flexible schedule I can keep an eye on the house and run errands or work the trees during daylight and write code at night. Of course there are those times when I have to go on-site for a week or two (I've become allergic to travel) but the upside is that I get to go to places I'd otherwise never see.

After managing businesses for awhile I discovered that I don't want to deal with employees. It's hard to find good ones, it's expensive to train 'em, it's hard to keep 'em (benefit expense, etc) and it's hard to fire 'em (bogus discrimination suits, labor law compliance, etc). Now I have a loose network of other guys who work the same niche market as myself and we subcontract out work to each other. This generally works well but I've had to turn work down when additional help wasn't available.

I intentionally keep my business small - I'm not trying to get rich, just trying to make a good living. It's stressful enough earning a living for myself, I don't want the responsibility of having the livelihood of others on my shoulders. If I had a business that required employees I've learned that you need to give them a stake in the business, a career path, and keep it a FUN and lively place to work to keep them motivated and happy.






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 12-08-2003, 14:15 Post: 70563
AC5ZO

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 Thoughts on self employment by business owners

I have been doing pretty much my own thing for the past fifteen years. I invent medical devices of various types and build up companies around the inventions. I have also worked as an engineering consultant. I like both types of work, but the engineering consultancy is easier since you don't have to worry about employees.

My current business employs about ten people. Some of those are consultants but most are regular employees. My top priority is to keep the project going followed only shortly behind by ensuring the welfare of my employees. Times are rather lean right now, and I have not taken a paycheck for over six months, although I have made payroll for all of the other employees and paid all the bills during that time.

When I interview potential employees or speak with people that want to start their own business, I generally want to learn more about their personality than anything else. It turns out that if you can handle the income irregularities (both economically and mentally) then you may do well in your own business. I have seen many talented people fail because they ran out of money during a lean time, or could not handle the long times that some companies take to pay.

I have been lucky enough to have some of my inventions and patents become very popular. Johnson and Johnson bought my last company and they made about $100,000,000 in sales just last year on my product. After they bought my company, they wanted me to stick around for a while. But, I could not stand being an employee for a big company, anymore. This says more about my needs than it does about Johnson and Johnson being a good place to work. Working on your own or for yourself has tendency to change you to the core.

I have enabled my email address if you want to discuss this off-line. Be sure to mention CTB in the email subject or the spam filters might cut you off.






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 12-09-2003, 05:49 Post: 70612
TomG

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 Thoughts on self employment by business owners

Since this is a tractor board, maybe the buz idea involves equipment. Buz ideas that are capital intensive are tricky because equipment costs a lot to buy and maintain or lease. The equipment has to be kept busy or the buz is in the hole real fast and the investment is better off even in savings bonds. It's sort of tough to keep equipment busy unless you start with a customer base.

I eased into the equipment rich buz sound and lighting buz by keeping my day job and equipment purchases minimum--supplemented with rentals until there were enough jobs to justify buying. I never completely cut myself away from the day job. I knew several ex-musicians who also started sound businesses that eventually supportedthem. What they found is to make a transition they had to share revenue with agents who got them customers. When customer bases became larger they ended up being their own agents. They hired people to do the work and spent most of their time keeping customers happy, finding new ones and managing staff.

You've got to like the management part, because that's eventually what you do in this type buz.
Small contracting probably is similar and it's very different than storefront operations. Oh yes, and insurance will kill both types of businesses as will receivables. It's easy to forget that equipment eventually needs replacing too.






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 12-09-2003, 06:25 Post: 70617
moosefishing



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 Thoughts on self employment by business owners

I would not have it any other way...

If you are willing to work 18 - 24 hours a day, go for it. Bieng self employed is great and terrible all at the same time. One of the joys of "doing your own thing"is that you will not be limited on how much work you can do. There will be no boss telling you to go home because he cannot afford the overtime. You will work cheap. Your employes will make more money than you will at first. You will realize just what it cost to have an employe. You will also realize how valuable a good employe really is to you. You will make the decissions, you will put your neck on the line, and if you do it correctly, you will reap the benefits. (and there are many).
I am sure you are aware that most new buisness fail within a few years. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!! Good luck, ain't America great!






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