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post #31 of 36
The business I run was created by my father in 2003. As a baby boomer he fell into the niche of no college but had been a GM for 30 years. His last boss died and the family sold the business for scrap. No one would hire him because the lack of college, his advanced age, and he is very ethnic looking. So the business was created out of a last ditch effort.

A quick note on a great book I've been working with The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky. It is fantastic for choosing the profit model you should be working with. It small and right to the point. It's worth a read if you are in business for yourself.
post #32 of 36

The way I came to start my own business was to first start doing the job I do now as a self employed person on the side, as extra income in addition to my full time job working for 'the man'. My main job was very structured,  monotonous, boring, this side gig was an escape. When I realized how much I enjoyed it and started getting much better at it I decided to put more time into it and when money started increasing I realized it was a viable main income earning profession. It all kind of flowed well, my old job phased out when I moved out of state, and this side job turned into my main job. I actually was still applying for jobs working for 'the man' in my new state, but it never became necessary to go that route. My new venture was blessed and all roads led to it and all open doors were in this direction so I walked through. The main motivations for continuing with self employment are the creativity and variable nature of the work, of course the freedom of working for yourself, and the lack of a ceiling on what you can make. The challenges are the anxiety brought upon by knowing that you have no 'safety net' as far as a salary, either your company makes the money and you can pay yourself, or it doesn't. The main advice I can give is do things the right way, from the beginning, have a high standard of integrity. Doors will open for you and stay open based upon that fact alone because so many people are dishonest out there, you will be like a refreshing drink of water for your clients/customers when you're not. Secondly, tap into all your previous contacts for your new business, it may even be the deciding factor for what your new business is. Your contacts and the favor you have with people you have previous relationships with are like your raw materials for starting your business. You may find you are in a position to start a business you wouldn't have necessarily chosen for yourself, but you have the contacts to make it happen vs. starting something from scratch where you know no one and have no "in". Keep expenses as low as possible, pay yourself as little as possible at the beginning, and be smart. Nothing happens overnight, but if you work hard and again do things the right way, good things happen. Self employment is not for everyone, quite frankly there were a number of times when things were slow that I was sure it wasn't for me, but once you learn to navigate the ups and downs and not get too down or too excited during the lows and highs, you can operate at an even keel and be creative for your business. Most people aren't creative when they're terrified about where their next check is coming from, and most people slack off when they feel like things are just flowing like gravy and will do so for the rest of eternity. The mental aspect of self employment is so huge I think as far as your success.

post #33 of 36

Here's the thing...


Don't wait for an inspiration point or a breaking point to FORCE you to start a business.  To be truly successful, you need to have that desire inside of you to do the work EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE TO...


This is really a measure of determination. 


I've been running my own business since 2006.  It's a small business and I've designed it to operate with no employees so I can be free to go and do whatever I wish.  Employees = office space, insurance, HR paperwork, not to mention the labor costs...


A lot of businesses take money to start.  I started mine with $500 and since I knew how to design a web site and knew the graphics stuff, I was able to start off pretty easily.


All businesses start with ONE person. You. The game of business is to achieve profitability and scalability that goes beyond just you.  So if you can be crazy profitable, great. Hire someone else to do the same or carry forward what you've started.  Knowing how to do the job in the first place helps you train someone to carry it forward but you have to make sure that person doesn't have the skillset or resources (money / data / connections) to do it on their own... at least for the next 1-2 years. 


Anyway, if you're thinking about doing it, do it.  The sooner the better, you don't want to hit 40 and look back and wonder "what if"... :)

post #34 of 36
I never had the balls to go into business on my own. I salute those that took the plunge - regardless of the outcome.
post #35 of 36
great thread
post #36 of 36

I started a B2B consulting business right out of college providing 'statistical consulting' and 'data analysis and visualization support services' to small businesses. Being fresh out of college, I didn't have much savings, but I managed to scrape together my funds with some loans from family members and started the company. A year later, I had learned a lot about marketing to businesses, customer service, and worked on a number of interesting problems. However, I ultimately found out that marketing oneself as a "consultant" when you're only 22 is difficult task and people never took me seriously as a result. After a year I shut the business down and became a statistician at an online marketing company. In hindsight, my actions were a little reckless, but it worked out in the long run. I hope to give the B2B consulting firm another shot in a couple years, especially given that I now have experience working at an analytically advanced marketing company and have found ways to apply survival analysis (ecology), bayesian networks, and various machine learning algorithms to solve some complex online marketing problems. Given that most marketing companies are very unsophisticated, I should be able to reach a whole new market with the experience and skills  I've gained.

Edited by amathew - 7/17/13 at 8:32am
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