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Making Money Advice on Starting a Business?
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NorthernLights Offline
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Post: #1
Advice on Starting a Business?
I'd like to start a business sometime during the coming year. I have a couple of ideas kicking around in my head -- however I'm unsure about how to begin, and how much of myself I need to commit to the project. In the past, I have toyed around with various arbitrage/reselling schemes of my own, but I don't have much information or guidance about what it actually takes to start a business providing a good/service that people want to buy.

As for my own situation, I'm in my late 20's with a decent remote-work IT job that pays ~$4k/month while working 25 hours a week. I have some, but not much, money saved (~$10k). I am mainly curious if I am likely to succeed in building a business by keeping my part-time job and using the freedom+finances it provides, or if my chances are better if I quit my job in the near future so I can dedicate all of my energy towards my own endeavor.

So, I'd like to ask the men of the forum if they could share any personal experience they have in this area or recommend books that could provide examples to direct my thinking. Some of the questions I have are:

1) How much money/capital did you start out with when beginning to build your business?

2) What % of your time/energy did you direct towards growing your busineses at the beginning stage? What about after 1-2 years?

3) How long did it take for your work to translate to a reasonable living wage for the time and energy you invested?

4) How much about the relevant field did you know before beginning the business? How much did you learn as you went?

5) Is there anything you wish you knew then about being an entrepenuer that you know now?

Much thanks.
12-20-2015 04:55 PM
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Saweeep Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Advice on Starting a Business?
How long is a piece of string?

What is the business?
12-20-2015 06:32 PM
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WanderingSoul Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Advice on Starting a Business?
It sounds like you need to do some reading.

The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco is a great book and not nearly as cheesy or "Get Rich Quick-y" as it sounds.
12-20-2015 06:36 PM
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H1N1 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Advice on Starting a Business?
Expect it to be harder, take longer, and involve far more sacrifice than you can imagine right now.

I've not had a holiday in three years, still avoid taking a salary as far as I can so that I can pump that money back into the business and keep it growing quickly without having to give any shares away, have had more sleepless nights, heartbreaking days, and unexpected obstacles to overcome than I could possibly have conceived in the beginning - I've also put in far more money than I originally intended and in many ways don't produce the same product I did when I started.

The best advice I can give is a version of some advice The Lizard of Oz gave to me, and that is that there is a certain prestige associated with running a business you started - people will call you enterprising and if you are easily pleased that will bring some short term pleasure to you. But the truth is that there are many kinds of clever; many ways to be brilliant, and we are not all suited to all of them, either temperamentally or intellectually. There is an abstract appeal to running your own business, but honestly I don't think it's something you play around with, or dip your toe into.

No one can tell you what you need to know, all they can do is point you in the right direction and tell you to get started. I'd encourage anyone to have a go at it, and see if it is for them, but should you decide it is not for you after 10k and a year of your life, then there is no shame in that. Having staff (however good they are it's a headache), doing all the incredibly mundane shit like accounting, posting invoices, filing, meeting with suppliers, etc etc is really extremely tedious, and if you don't want to give 90% of your company away to some VC shark, then you will probably have to do it for years yourself.

It's an enormous commitment, and I personally still can't decide whether I love it or hate it, or whether I wouldn't be better doing something else. All you can do is try and see if it is for you.
12-20-2015 07:08 PM
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Atom89 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Advice on Starting a Business?
What goods/service business do you want to run?

Marketing wise, online is a great tool, make use of business cards, your own network, create your own webpage, facebook-have people comment and like on it, use your local directory, etc.
(This post was last modified: 12-21-2015 03:54 AM by Atom89.)
12-21-2015 03:53 AM
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Oneeyedjack Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Advice on Starting a Business?
(12-20-2015 04:55 PM)NorthernLights Wrote:  Some of the questions I have are:

1) How much money/capital did you start out with when beginning to build your business?

2) What % of your time/energy did you direct towards growing your busineses at the beginning stage? What about after 1-2 years?

3) How long did it take for your work to translate to a reasonable living wage for the time and energy you invested?

4) How much about the relevant field did you know before beginning the business? How much did you learn as you went?

5) Is there anything you wish you knew then about being an entrepenuer that you know now?

Much thanks.

1) It really depends on the business you are in. Mine was a consulting/staffing business and initial capital was almost zero. I built my own website (really ugly when I think about it now) and business cards. At this early stage, it was just enough to point a potential client to a website that summarizes services offered. I was always upfront about being a startup. If I have to really count money invested, I would say that I invested two months worth of salary. I didn't take 2 months worth of salary so I could build up enough cash to cover 1 months salary of my first employee.

2) I focused on the business 24x7. If your not billable, your always selling, marketing, and recruiting (even if you don't have open positions).

3) I didn't take salary the first two months, that was it. First rule of business, pay yourself first. I was lucky that I had a paying client lined up before I quit my job and started the business. I was billable the first day the business was operational.

4) I was already working in the industry for 10 yrs before starting my business. I knew the industry inside and out and had lots of contacts. People already knew me and I already had a reputation. Made getting new business a whole lot easier. Learning was constant. You have to be ahead of your business. What I mean by that is that you have to anticipate and manage growth - preparing for the transition, allocating the budget for added infrastructure, recruiting staff with right skill set/experience for your size.

5) Never give away equity. I was stupid to give some early on. Took over two years to buy it back, lawyer fees, and a ruined friendship.
12-21-2015 05:17 AM
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Irenicus Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Advice on Starting a Business?
Hello folks, long time lurker here, and a perfect time for a first post. Lets get started.

I can speak from the online business prospective, if that is relevant to you. I cant answer all your questions unfortunately, since I am still relatively green, but I have gained valuable experience.

Quote:How much money/capital did you start out with when beginning to build your business?

Well...let's say zero. Basically, my old laptop died, and I sold components on the internet. They went quite fast, which provided me cash to buy more of them. And also I made some business contacts and reputation - very important for future growth.

Quote:What % of your time/energy did you direct towards growing your busineses at the beginning stage? What about after 1-2 years?

At this stage (still begineer), I check my online business twice a day - in the morning and in the evening. Also, I have provided my phone number, so any potential client can call me any time. That is good enough for a start.

Also, as H1N1 stated, it will get harder and it will require more from you as time goes on (that is, when you achieve growth). Be open minded all the time. Learn from the mistakes of others. Accept critics from people who did achieve something, whether on this forum or in real life. Be prepared to make sacrifices. And the most important thing - PAY NO ATTENTION TO HATERS!!. A lot of people WILL hate you because you DON'T WANT TO SUBMIT to their meager existence - this I am speaking from experience.

Also, remember this saying:

Quote:"Rome wasn't built in a day"

Don't expect to make a lot of money overnight, especially if you start with a small, or no budget. It takes time and effort.

Quote:How much about the relevant field did you know before beginning the business? How much did you learn as you went?

None. I only had prior teoretical experience (there are plenty of books and videos on the net).

Also, believe me or not, some WOW Auction house experience. Laugh as much as you wish, but that thing did learn me quite a lot of stuff - how to track expenses (and in order to do that, I have learned how to work on Excel), how to research the market and the current trends, among other things.

The main things that I have learned is that you need to find a middle ground between being a total asshole and a rug (someone who is constantly being taken advantage of, for free, as we call it here), be patient and be communicative (which for my generation - milenial, is, unfortunately, a rare trait...) .

Quote:Is there anything you wish you knew then about being an entrepenuer that you know now?

I can summarize this in one single sentence - I wish I swallowed the red pill earlier. After all, we are men. We build stuff. And we do not whine.

Unfortunately, that is all I could say. Although it is not much, I hope it will help. Good luck!
12-21-2015 07:14 AM
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jbkunt2 Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Advice on Starting a Business?
I will revisit this thread properly later but I want to mention the best two business books that genuinely helped me were:

E-Myth Revisited
Purple Cow

I would recommend them to anyone starting or running a business.
12-21-2015 08:12 PM
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