Being Your Own Boss

Discussion in 'Mid Atlantic' started by Kanman, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Kanman

    Kanman Well-Known Member

    732
    May 5, 2014
    Sigmunds post in Trev's thread inspired me to start this.

    "However, surfing can also create opportunities. If you have ever sat in a cubicle watching the surf going off on the cam at your beach, then you know the true definition of torture. This is what motivated me to start my own business that allowed me the flexibility to surf when I wanted. Now *I'm* the guy in the cam surfing the wave you're watching. Thank you surfing!"

    So now this leads me to ponder whether anyone else has become their own boss or runs their own business. What field are you in? How and when did you do it? What were the hurdles you faced?

    I continue to jot down great ideas for products, companies, etc., but it's so easy to lose sight, get distracted and then forget about it. The whole vlogging thing seemed cool, but now everyone is doing it. Still searching for my niche and what could be a big breakthrough.

    My goal is to achieve complete financial security and have all the flexibility I need, while staying motivated. I'm sure we would all love that.
     
  2. foamieswithmyhomies

    foamieswithmyhomies Well-Known Member

    379
    Sep 18, 2014
    My old man owns his own publishing business and I don't think he's ever taken a day off. Sure it's nice to answer to nobody but yourself, but in reality your clients just become your boss. Thought one annoying boss was bad? Try having to placate dozens of temperamental people who you have to coddle and reassure just to make sure you're turning a profit. Either that or you can buddy up with the Girl Scouts in the venture capital world and have them bankroll your endeavors. Just supply the pound of flesh, no more no less.

    I've flirted with the idea myself, but ending work and beginning life doesn't happen at 5 pm if you take that route. I work for a start up now, and even with our somewhat vertical org, it can be tough to know where that line ends.

    Sure you can duck out and get a lunchtime sesh in and nobody will say boo, but setting firm lines between work and play (and even finding time to play if you're obligated to be an income prover) is tough. This piecemeal, gig economy that's exploded looks to offer flexibility on face value, but I think the pay/nature of the work chains you more than most traditional gigs.

    Just my musings. If you open a surf shop, I'll stop by
     

  3. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    Best advise I can give you is only take advise from people who are at in life, where you want to be.
     
  4. Kanman

    Kanman Well-Known Member

    732
    May 5, 2014
    You make some very valid points there. I think you are right in that owning a business may not mean complete freedom on the part of flexibility, particularly due to the fact that in reality you still have work to do.

    I guess having that business in a surf or travel field might make it all a little more viable.
     
  5. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    Depends on the business. Some allow you to leverage your time if you have the right setup. Owning a company doesn't necessarily mean you're attached to it 24x7. I does for some, but not others. It depends on you.
     
  6. sigmund

    sigmund Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2015
    What foamie said was spot on, going out on your own can be a huge time sink, but in my case I didn't care if I had to work absurd hours, I just wanted to be able to catch that session on a Tuesday from 10am - 1pm when the tide was just right and it was pumping, then if I had to work late into the night to catch up, no problemo, I would do it with a big smile on my face and salt water dripping out my nose.

    The first couple of years were a huge commitment for me as I was starting a new business while still working my day job so the family didn't go hungry. A good business is like a giant fly wheel - it takes a *lot* of effort to get it to start turning, but once it builds momentum it can really take on a life of it's own, and your workday hours can drop significantly as you fine tune your processes, and hire out the day-to-day functions.

    My business is web-based so I can travel and work from anywhere, which was a key for me, plus, web-based businesses can scale so easily. Good ideas are the easy part, relentless passionate execution is the tough bit, and where most fall by the wayside. Best old Chinese saying ever, "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."

    A couple of resources that inspired me in the early days (and still do):

    http://www.tropicalmba.com/
    http://fourhourworkweek.com/
    https://www.bobparsons.com/my-16-rules - I have this poster on my wall.
     
  7. foamieswithmyhomies

    foamieswithmyhomies Well-Known Member

    379
    Sep 18, 2014
    I think that's is a huge point of distinction. Early on, brick and mortar service industries that sound "fun" make the freedom balance next to impossible. You have to open the store at 8 and be open till 10 to make money - unless you're doing well and have tons to cheap HS workers. More "traditional" B2B ventures, in theory, are easier to pull off. Sure you can't tell chicks at the bar you own a surf travel business, but your buds will already be jelly that you never miss a swell.

    I think it then just becomes a matter of developing a service/product that can demand a high enough going rate, while not require you to be on call 24/7 or sit behind a register. Programmers, software developers and other IT roles are hot for this type of stuff now, but I think even someone with a marketing/design background can make a boutique firm grow. It all depends on finding a P&L that works.

    This isn't to say B2C companies can't do well -- uhhh look at EVERY lifestyle brand -- but like sig said, getting that wheel moving can sometimes seem more fruitless than grinding at your old gig
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  8. Zippy

    Zippy Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    I have run my own business for the last 14 years and have always had a side business even when employed elsewhere. I was the kid on the street that always had something going on, something for sale, or a big plan. None of my businesses have become huge, but all have made money. I'm lucky to live and work at the beach and spend everyday of the spring, summer and fall working a stones throw from the ocean. You would think I would tire of it but I don't. When I'm not surfing I will be in my boat fishing, clamming or crabbing. Most of my high school friends are more successful financially but all seem to think I have the best life, I'm very lucky.
     
  9. BassMon2

    BassMon2 Well-Known Member

    Jan 27, 2015
    When i first got into HVAC/R this was my goal. Starting my own business. My boss has it made, although he is smart with his money and investments which definitely helps. Its a smaller company but we do big company work. Anyway, i kind of got discouraged from starting my own business. At least in this field. Its still an option. I'll have to see where life takes me.

    But for sure the first few years are tough. Id be doing the work and wouldn't be making money yet due to overhead. Parts, tools, insurance, just so much overhead in this field. Sure after awhile, if i was successful and got employees i could trust, i could skip out to surf on the good days. Or head in after a DP sesh. But with all yne stresses of owning a business in this field. I don't know if i want it. After seeing it. If i can make good money, i have the vacation and sick days to use for big swells, and can still do DP seshs or after work seshs..... It might not be worth it for me.

    It's still an option for me. Still something i keep in the back of my head. But i definitely view it more realistically now. Although i do work with a dude i went to school with. Starting a company with him has crossed my mind. Split the stress and responsibility. Who knows. Time will tell.

    Major props to anyone who's done it though. Especially in a manual labor type field. So much respect for guys like that. Its not easy.

    Sometimes i think about robbing people. I think I'd make a good career criminal. Ever watch the show animal kingdom? I can do that. And they surf!
     
  10. Zippy

    Zippy Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Being your own boss doesn't always mean easy street nor should it. Years ago it became apparent that all the money in the world couldn't make up for the misery and stress of chasing it. Gave up on the goal of riches for happiness. Once I decided that dealing with a bad customer for the money wasn't worth it my life got a whole lot better. I have an interesting business and get to meet some real characters. Some are terrible, like the worst people you can imagine but most are funny, friendly and pleasant to deal with. I've given up on the terrible and am happy to deal with the good. Less money, but less headaches.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  11. yankee

    yankee Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Started locksmith company from scratch with my brother. Both brokus. No money. Everything I made on Wall Street, I had spent on stupidity.

    So, we ran jobs 24/7/365 for years. Run n' gun. Literally, sometimes. Real cowboy stuff. Oh the wild, insane stories from working in our nation's capital. Just the 2 of us. And those were the most fun, the bestest years.

    Work all day 6am - til whenever running jobs, then invoice & do the books at 2-3am in the attic of my brother's rental house. No AC - - trying not to sweat on the invoices. Every profit we made we put back into the biz: machines, training, trucks, gear.....we only went into debt if it would help us produce more revenue. Otherwise, forget it - - debt scared us & we wanted no part of it, cause that's how you could lose it all if the economy turned sour for awhile.

    Nvr refi for cash money. That's the most expensive money you'll ever take out. We always refi'd to get a better rate so we could pay off our houses faster.

    Made it through the real estate recession of the early 90's, the govt shutdown in 95, the dot.bomb implosion in 2000, 9/11, the great recession & many stock market crashes, spikes & govt budget BS.

    It was actually really simple in those years. We often say, he and I, that we probably couldn't do this from scratch these days. Very different world here in metro.

    Cash money & the yrs when one could cash checks at any bank without being fingerprinted / Patriot Act / have an account; lol, i.e., tax free (statute of limitations is up on that shiiite).

    Massively long hours. Without end. Years. The stress was constant, low-grade to intense but it never went away. Having to meet a payroll every 2 weeks is like having a building chasing you down the street that never ever fades away.

    Now? 45 employees. And hiring more. I went from entrepreneur to managing people. It's all about the HR. Seriously. If you have happy camper employees, your product & your clients are deeply successful.

    Financially? House paid off (bot for 254k, now @ 875k, crazy place). Chunk o' change in the VFIAX. Company always profitable. Own 2 other profitable companies that my bro & I started from scratch as a result of the first company. Own highly valuable CRE that's spinning off very good cash positive revenue & will be paid off in 2 yrs. No debt whatsoever, personal or corporate. Still have our health, for the most part.

    Getting older really sucks ass though, I admit it. It's gotten boring - - not cocky, just saying that it's figured out. Net worth...? North of $10 mln.....and I look at that # & think how did that even happen?

    And now comes the exit aspect. Not as easy as you might think.

    Anyways, it's no cakewalk running a company. It's really all about how well you manage people.

    What am I most proud of? Not the money; that's merely the scorecard. Most proud of the fact that my guys who have GEDs & less are making 75-120k per year with full bennies. That they are able to take care of their families. That they understand their relationship with money, and with investing.

    Put your people first, and the revenue will flow. If you put the profits first & the people second....? You will fail.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  12. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    ^^^ Good sh*t dude.
     
  13. Zippy

    Zippy Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    45 employees? There is no way on earth I could handle having even one. That has always been what limited my income. I can't get myself to hand anything over and really don't like having employees. Thankfully for me my idea of success and good money is deeply rooted in 1982. I prefer not to know what others make for a living, without that knowledge I am king Midas and am happy living in my fantasy.
     
  14. yankee

    yankee Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Employees are the blessing & the curse.

    I currently have a really good group of hard-working folks. Hasn't always been that way, though. And, I learned a raft of HR lessons the hard way over the years. Life is scar tissue.

    It never feels like I'm the 1% that sigmund hates, because, well, I'm not actually. Great to be debt-free, that's the best part of this. I never compare myself to others financially - - that's like comparing oneself to everyone else surfing or in the gym working out: what's the sense of it?

    Seeing hard work pay off in many ways, seeing employees doing well, seeing employees putting kids through collitch, making sure that they have good health care (as good as it can be under O-no-Care). And driving my 10 year old, paid-in-full 4wd. Simple stuff is good stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  15. BassMon2

    BassMon2 Well-Known Member

    Jan 27, 2015
    ^^^^^ That's the type of stuff i have an immense amount of respect for. Very similar to what my boss did, but he only has 8-10 employees at a time. But he bully yne company from the ground up and most importantly takes care of the employees. The money is a plus, but the main goal is keeping the employees happy.

    Much respect yank.
     
  16. Swellinfo

    Swellinfo Administrator

    May 19, 2006
    There's only one way to find out personally, and that is to go for whatever ambition you truly believe in. A lot of people don't want to take the financial risk, and depending on where you are in life, that can be a really hard thing. For me, I never had any money when I started my business, so I was going to go for it whether it worked or didn't and wasn't worried if it failed, because I was passionate about trying.

    You generally work more hours when you run your own business, but you are way more driven to do work for your self, rather than doing work for someone else, or at least I am. And, the flexibility and freedom to do whatever the heck you feel like, is invaluable. Aka, surfing when its firing! We surfers want our freedom more than the average hombre, where others are quite content putting in their 8-5 or whatever.

    Think the task at hand through, and if you believe you can make it successful, go for it!
    Good luck.
     
  17. JayD

    JayD Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2012
    Good stuff Yank. The first part of your (and bro's) Story is what most people can't figure out. It actually takes blood sweat and tears to build a successful organization. Pretty cool you were able to do that with your brother too....and from scratch.

    I have see people come from nothing and build great enterprises and generate tremendous wealth. I believe it takes a certain type of personality to be able to drive and manage the brain child to success. Some people just can't get there for one reason or the other (laziness, commonsense etc.). Really, yank's story is a great look at this. I can't get the attic seen out of my mind....crunching # and having business discipline. Making good financial decisions is key. The point about managing debt properly is a great point. Look at how many people who lost so much during the last great recession in the RE market. So many were doing the equity suck out and then got left with their pants down.

    I think the two keys to becoming idependent/own boss is drive and determination. If you don't have it, you are probably better off working for the man anyway.
     
  18. sigmund

    sigmund Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2015
    Agreed, the keys for a surfing lifestyle friendly business is web-based and location independent. I have zero employees, I contract out some stuff, but no payroll, nada. I can be just as productive on the beach in Nicaragua as I can here in NH, sometimes more so. I average about 2 hours of work a day now, and my business is more profitable than ever.

    My point here is not to brag, but to say it can be done. I had some great mentors and some good breaks along the way, but it can be done. And the best part, it is so much goddamned fun, I mean like pure laugh out loud joy doing your own thing. People freak about failing, but that's the best part of it because you're always improving, iterating, refining your ideas, and learning from your mistakes until success is almost an inevitability.
     
  19. sigmund

    sigmund Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2015
    Dude I don't hate the 1%, I am the 1% (or maybe 5%). You'll never agree with this, but we are similar in many ways. Big props to your success and drive.
     
  20. sigmund

    sigmund Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2015
    Money gives you options, but it does *not* bring you happiness as you have found. Want to be happy? Form deep lasting relationships. "Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives". This is from an 80-yeard Harvard study that I stumbled on recently, and I couldn't agree with it more -> http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/sto...showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/