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Thread: Working for yourself

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
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    5,172

    Working for yourself

    With guys being laid off and needing to finding a new future for themselves, I find a lot of advice scattered here and there. Maybe we ought to have another forum for this topic. Just saying...

    Back in the early '80's I was laid off by AT&T after 15 years. It took a while to appreciate all the things the company did that I did not have to do to keep the check coming every two weeks. One of those things was that someone else decided what my tasks for each day were. All I had to do each morning first thing was get to work on time.

    So with regard to getting up in the morning, I discovered that having a to-do list so I know exactly what is on my plate first thing in the morning is a great incentive to get out of bed early.

    There are many things I'd be happy to share with regard to working for one's self, if you are interested. I have been a self-employed woodworker since 1984. I've learned a few things along the way. A lot of them the hard way! Maybe I can save some of you some pain and trouble.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,475
    well carol,, as for the sub forum just having some info as to where to go, what to do and what to expect is a great help..coming from those that have been there.. just like the link darren sent me some time back of the 5 different phases that one will go threw.. as for the wood working aspect to get some income of any kind would be helpful in my opinion even if we dont look at it as a lively hood we can learn from it to make our hobby some what self sufficient perhaps.. i know i have looked at many avenues and still havnt got my plan of attack solid yet but i have learned a lot form those offering there input on this subject.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,452
    We can discuss having another forum, it's what ever the membership decides. But let me offer this...one thing I try to do when posting a new thread is to add the tag words using the tags field. Adding keywords of say "unemployment", "job search", "entrepreneur" (no quotes used, just for my example) will add some additional levels of search to make the threads easier to organize.

    If you look at the bottom of the advanced search, there is a "word cloud" with larger and smaller font sized words. The size of the words is based on the number of threads using those tag words. There is a dozen or more ways to organize those tags so that they work more like an alphabetized list for easier navigation, and we don't have to have additional forums to contain them. In the near future we're considering a new front page that has some organization that will use the tags for categorizing content as a list.

    So, how do you go back and add tags after creating a new thread? Any member can add tags to a thread, they are at the bottom of the page, just click the add/edit tags. The thread starter can add 5 tags, anyone else is limited to 3. I've added two to this one using my test account.

    You can also view the tag cloud by clicking the "View Tag Cloud" link in that box. Clicking a word in the tag cloud returns a list of threads with that tag in it.

    Sorry, not trying to hi-jack the thread, just wanted to address the question, please start a new thread or PM me if you have tagging questions or want a new forum ...back to the regular scheduled programming.
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 05-03-2012 at 02:51 PM.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
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    Escondido, CA
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    Thanks, Darren. I had ignored that feature, unable to appreciate (before now!) how it could be used.

    As for the thread to continue, depends on the readers. I'll watch and read. I am willing to help but don't have time to cast pearls into the wind. I have little desire to pontificate for the sake of pontificating.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Posts
    4,699
    I'd certainly be interested. Currently still employed.. but.. you never know!!

    The main thing still keeping me from doing my own thing has been having a day job Its really hard to consider giving up something stable and decent paying for a higher risk venture. I'm thinking it may well be prudent to diversify my options if the opportunity arose though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Villa Park, CA
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    The other thing that makes it difficult to go out on your own is health insurance. When you go to buy an individual policy, you become a group of one. As you age, the insurance gets more expensive. And if you have any serious illness, such as cancer, the insurance cost will go through the roof.

    When working for a company, you're part of the company group and if most of the group is healthy, the cost of insurance is reasonable. I was paying about $900/mo for an individual policy (just me, not a family policy) and I was healthy - but I was over 60 years old (and the policy didn't pay very much). But I was lucky to get that policy - other quotes were higher.

    Reaching age 65 and getting Medicare was such a relief - Medicare is excellent health insurance.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 05-03-2012 at 11:34 PM.
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    i am learning the hard way that to try a new adventure when the last one is gone is harder than doing a little at a time to start.. the insurance thing is big for sure..and the mindset is another obstacle to deal with.. but one thing i can assure you is,,, what you have now isnt permanent
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Posts
    1,726
    I'd love to start my own business, but much like Ryan having a reasonably stable day job has it's advantages. I am however nearly fed up with the bureaucratic poo that has started to impact my job more and more. Like Mike the insurance is also a big consideration. Besides, I don't really know what sort of business I'd start. I've mulled over several ideas in the past but don't have any idea if they would be successful.

    Here's a question for those of you who've started your own business. How did you choose the business you started?
    Last edited by John Daugherty; 05-04-2012 at 12:57 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Santa Claus, In
    Posts
    4,779
    As one who was SE for a time, I never worried about insurance. I had it yes, but I ran the risk. I ran a high deductible and per occurrence policy. I have that now as well. I generally get a $2000 deduct, major medical and let it eat. We don't run to the doc every time we have a runny nose. Now per occurrence, if you break your leg and leave the e-room on crutches and trip and break your arm, it's another $2000. Risk I am willing to take. It is around $1000 per 6 months. That includes myself, wife and 2 kids. No dental, no vision, either. Just live within your means and it is all good. Pay cash when and where you can. Dentist are very nice folks when you flash paper with faces. They know they are going to get paid on the spot. Same with the local eye doc.

    One other thing, when we had Gator, we had no maternity insurance. It was more in the long run, so much for so long before you could even think of getting pregnant. So when it happened, I talked to the doc, told him the issue. Got an extreme discount from him and the hospital for paying cash. Once again, live with in your means.
    Last edited by Steve Southwood; 05-04-2012 at 12:49 AM.
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you don’t know what tool to buy next, then you probably don’t need it yet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    How to choose your business.

    Mine chose me. Call it serendipity.

    What is motivating you to go out on your own? In my case, no choice. Age factor. It's a reality, illegal or not. We all know that.

    Do a personal inventory. What do you know best? What are willing to do even when you don't want to? There is always plenty that needs doing that you may hate doing, but it is necessary, so it is good to have something you also enjoy.

    What investment in tooling, inventory, etc. have you already made? In the case of woodworking, some of us have made a considerable investment in this area.

    Get realistic. You are not going to make money overnight. Money is not going to come in regularly, especially in the beginning. You can't spend every dime that comes in on whatever. Generally every dime is already spoken for.

    Got a spouse? Time for some serious talk. I was on my own. No net. Had to have a serious talk with ME! Develop a support system. Your spouse and family is good. They must be on-board or you are doomed. No spouse or family?

    Find a business mentor. Also good if you do have an on-board spouse and/or family. I found my mentor at church. I simply asked him if I could talk with him from time to time about business decisions I had to make. He was a very successful businessman, one of the wealthier members there. He built shopping centers. I was no competition to him! But he always had words of wisdom when I needed advise. I didn't bug him. I always arranged for an appointment to speak with him to respect his time. He always gave me more time than I thought I needed. He was a goldmine of information and made me aware of things I needed to know to make good decisions. I can tell you for a fact that when I ignored him, it cost me big time. I learned!

    Attitude check. No time for anger or pity or complaining. Disastrous to insist on 'your way.' Develop a positive attitude. It is hard at the beginning. Go back to the supportive spouse, family, or mentor.

    Food on the table reasonably regularly is the first goal. Roof over the head places a close second. Everything else is optional. Reality check. You will want to add stuff here, but don't. This is the bottom line. You may think transportation is necessary. It is but what is up for interpretation is the 'type' of transportation. Example: Stu's delivery transportation is a bike with a trailer, not a truck. Huge difference in costs.

    OK, now the rest will seem like, duh! But having these things clearly in front of you at all times is very, very necessary. They become the mantra for all you do.

    First order for a business is to have customers. The business provides something, product or service, that the customer is willing to pay for. There are customers for everything and at every price point. No customers, no income, no business. No but's. Simple.

    Second, customers don't come to you. They don't even know you exist. You need a plan to find them. That means you need to be able to describe them, everything about them, including where they are and how they can be found. You also must learn 'what' and how much of 'what' they are willing to pay for. In other words, what you see as necessary and good, they may find irrelevant for them. It's their checkbook, so that makes them 'right.' Of course, if what they want places your liability in an unacceptable range, you have two choices; successfully education them or walk away.

    Third, you must know all your costs. Unless you plan to work for nothing, or even pay for the privilege. Ignore this and fail, every time.

    Hard core stuff.

    Two areas need attention at all times. Customers and costs.

    You can start with "I want to make widgets. I have the tooling, some experience, and I enjoy it." Now you have to find customers that want your widgets. Or, better, you can begin with, "I see customers want this kind a widget. I can make those. I have the tooling, some experience, and I enjoy it."

    So, first choose the area, product or service. You can do both but they have different customers. Learn to do one thing first. Second, sit down and figure out how you will get by while you work your business into a viable business. Third, determine the first year's necessary gross income. That means every dime that comes in. Keep it as low as you can. Trust me, unexpected expenses will pop up on a regular basis. Fourth, examine your market. Begin with the local market. It costs money to go beyond your local market. You may have to but let's figure out the local market first. Lot's of details here, so I will stop here for now. You have plenty to do to catch up to this point.
    Last edited by Carol Reed; 05-04-2012 at 01:52 AM.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

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