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Suits Offline
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Post: #51
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(03-31-2016 10:26 PM)monster Wrote:  I started a business 5 years ago with $10,000. Last year we passed 4mil in sales. Have 12 employees.

It's hard.

My personal boon and bane has been I always want to do everything myself (excluding routine operations, but including marketing, sales, creative, R&D, etc). On the one hand this is good because it's extremely hard to find dependable people (and very expensive). On the other hand this has limited our growth.

I think my introversion has been both a boon and bane too. It allows me to get technical and look for ways to implement operational improvements via a lot of self-reflection and introspection. However, dealing with employees is hard when I want to be left alone (which is most of the time) but need to interact with them instead (which is also most of the time, lol). And many times against my better judgement I have opted not to do networking stuff in favor of working on things at the office because I hate networking even though I know it is beneficial.

Everyone always wants to give advice on what you should do or shouldn't do, but the fact is 99% of the people giving you advice have never been successful at what they're giving you advice about, lol.

My two biggest obstacles are time-management and finding talent. Time management because all these little things add up to so much time and it's easy to not have time for working ON the company rather than IN the company (The E-myth Revisited is a good book on this). Finding employees is a major pain, sort of like looking for that unicorn. I want people to be generalists and do all these things that I do, but it's the opposite, everyone focuses on just a minor element and wants to depend on someone else to do what they don't know how, but if you don't provide them with that other person they have no idea what to do. For example, marketing: I'll design the t-shirts, find the printer, coordinate the shipping, find models, do the photography, then do the social media. Good luck finding anyone who can do more than one of those things. And then it seems to me that talent often over-values their worth by a good margin.

One thing I've learned that is apropos to the other elements found on this forum is this: on RVF women get a lot of slack for being hamster-driven, for being entitled, for being mindless, for having self-important & inflated egos & more. From all the human resources work I've done over the last 6 years, just as many men or like that too & just being a lousy person with the aforementioned negative qualities is not gender-specific by any means & in fact pretty normally distributed among both genders.

But to counter that negativity I must say when you do find a good employee it's a brilliant thing to have them by your side to carry out your vision in an effective manner.

I'm less than a year into a launching a company, but I've already experienced everything written here.

Your breakdown is is very helpful.

Please keep posting advice and tips in this thread.

I'm the King of Beijing!
04-01-2016 09:04 PM
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Post: #52
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
I have been running my own businesses for 11 years now.

The last 6 have been somewhat difficult due to poor partnerships and straight up theft.

At the moment I have three businesses on the go and one consultant gig. All three are somewhat successful, though two of them are only a few months old.

In the past week, one of them has taken off and my long term business has been getting good traction with 3 lucrative sales and one very lucrative sale pending. I paid a rich connected Chinese girl to do a WeChat campaign for me and it has been working out amazing.

I dropped a bunch of money on elevator advertising in mid to high luxury condo buildings. Its a digital display and looks good, although I have yet to get any sales from it. My analytics show people coming to my site, but no calls or emails yet. Its been two weeks, so my hopes are fading. I thought I would have a captive audience, but it turns out that the upside might be as little as brand awareness.

I teemed up with a couple who has a product that I come across in my business. We have the same clients, and they are strong hustlers. We both have very complimentary products and are big fans of each others. This will likely turn out to be very lucrative for both of us. Strategic partnerships are my favorite.

I have managed to move my manufacturing from the US back to Canada. China is almost the same price as the USA, only that China has far better quality than the US in what I am manufacturing. Canada is the worse of the three, but I managed to find a nice little gem of a factory here that is competitive with pricing and is very easy to deal with.

I still have one product that I want manufactured in China (or Taiwan, Vietnam or Philippines). My packaging comes from Guangzhou which is amazing quality and very reasonable. I can also slay some serious Chinese pussy in this area so I enjoy business here.

One of my products went from zero competition to having 10 competitors in only the last 4 months. I was looking at this as being a product that was ahead of the wave, but now I could be swamped and in competition with guys who have deep pockets and more time.

My consultant mind always has me trying to help my clients do more, expand more and improve more. I like this sales technique and so it seems do my clients.

I am glad I ask for 50% up front, I have had a client go cold on me last week but he put USD$5000 up front so my costs are covered. Not many people like doing this, but it has save my ass many times.
04-01-2016 10:42 PM
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Post: #53
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-01-2016 10:42 PM)Laner Wrote:  I dropped a bunch of money on elevator advertising in mid to high luxury condo buildings. Its a digital display and looks good, although I have yet to get any sales from it. My analytics show people coming to my site, but no calls or emails yet. Its been two weeks, so my hopes are fading. I thought I would have a captive audience, but it turns out that the upside might be as little as brand awareness.

I find the trial and error aspect of marketing to be very important. When something is not working and is just eating money I now cut fast. When I first started my company I had more patience wishing and hoping things would work.

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04-02-2016 11:26 AM
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Pyrrhic victory Offline
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Post: #54
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
I've been self employed almost my entire life starting off in finance and then later transitioning entirely to real estate.

There are a few rules that i have learned the hard way.

1. Trusting others to do your work entirely will always have a limited success rate.
Delegating to others without full knowledge of their capabilities and skill sets is an exercise in futility.

2. When considering hiring contractors or new help look into their past verifiable history. I have found consistently that a person who is a thief or liar with even the smallest of things will more than likely revert to these tendencies when the scales involve more. Especially , those that are very charismatic at heart and cover up these faults by appealing to you on a strong personal level. These are the ones you must really look out for.

As a perfectionist, I have seen flaws in others thought processes , laziness , not being able to determine senses of urgency , lack of intelligence , understanding Etc. Each and every one of these faults will always cause losses of efficiency and cumulatively may possibly even be devastating.

In many cases, said individuals may be honest people but do not have the ability to internalize basic business concepts. These individuals need to be vetted and assigned to tasks they can excel at. I have been very good at giving slight cross training depending on the individuals natural talents. When hiring a contractor , I will have them work with my most skilled guys for a week to see what their pros and cons are. Based on this and multiple general conversations with them I can gauge whether they have the skill set and work mentality that will work in my business.

3. Scaling a business is very difficult. Especially if you are juggling two or more businesses. Any start up will always require a tremendous amount of your time and energy.
By focusing on one , you will always neglect the other at least slightly. When starting a new business , this neglect is a recipe for failure or running at sub optimal efficiently levels. Focus on one thing at a time and devote the necessary resources to maximize its success.

Once you have found a recipe that works then slowly add the necessary pieces to scale up. Trouble shoot and repeat again for next level of escalation.

4. Mark Cuban once said " Don't drown in opportunity." Every time I hear that I Chuckle as I think of my somewhat limited success in finance that could have been scaled on a much more efficient and profitable route. In addition, I now apply this fully to my real estate development business as I constantly have to hit the brakes to ensure my renovations are being done efficiently and reducing the amount of service calls tenants will place down the road by doing the job right the first time.

As cliche as it may sound , cutting corners in any business will more than likely come back at a greater cost down the road.

5. I am a firm believer in not getting too personally involved with my staff. Many employees will blur the lines of business and personal as this happens. I put a stop to this as soon as it comes up. It's almost like walking a tight rope, you need to show a sense of compassion but not too much or you will be taken as someone they can push around.
04-02-2016 11:29 AM
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^
Add on

6. Do not ever go into business with friends or in many cases, family. You more than likely will not see eye to eye on many subjects. The sense of entitlement and greed can come up at any time. It can possibly devastate any personal relationships you had prior to working together. At the very least it
Will create a sense of resentment that will stick around for many years.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2016 11:44 AM by Pyrrhic victory.)
04-02-2016 11:36 AM
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Post: #56
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-02-2016 11:36 AM)Pyrrhic victory Wrote:  ^
Add on

6. Do not ever go into business with friends or in many cases, family. You more than likely will not see eye to eye on many subjects. The sense of entitlement and greed can come up at any time. It can possibly devastate any personal relationships you had prior to working together. At the very least it
Will create a sense of resentment that will stick around for many years.

This should be etched in stone.
04-02-2016 01:11 PM
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Post: #57
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-02-2016 11:36 AM)Pyrrhic victory Wrote:  ^
Add on

6. Do not ever go into business with friends or in many cases, family. You more than likely will not see eye to eye on many subjects. The sense of entitlement and greed can come up at any time. It can possibly devastate any personal relationships you had prior to working together. At the very least it
Will create a sense of resentment that will stick around for many years.

Absolutely. I lost out on some major money when a previous partnership went to shit. I chose friendship over money (I am very close friends with his little brother) and my partner is very greedy. It would have been devastating even to my mother who is also close to this family. But even though I took what I thought was the better route, things were still strained. So in hindsight I should have just took it all.
04-02-2016 02:18 PM
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Post: #58
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
Not sure if this is the appropriate thread or if I should start my own or find another, but I'm in the market for an artist on something I'm looking to publish soon (in the next few weeks). Images have to be in print quality. Where would you guys recommend one (aside from Fiverr) that I can find or negotiate with? And if any of you here are interested, let me know.

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04-02-2016 08:17 PM
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Post: #59
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
^^ Check out Upwork. I was impressed.
04-02-2016 10:09 PM
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Post: #60
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-02-2016 11:36 AM)Pyrrhic victory Wrote:  ^
Add on

6. Do not ever go into business with friends or in many cases, family. You more than likely will not see eye to eye on many subjects. The sense of entitlement and greed can come up at any time. It can possibly devastate any personal relationships you had prior to working together. At the very least it
Will create a sense of resentment that will stick around for many years.

I have to also chime in on this. I founded a business with a close friend of mine and due to the friendship, saw his skills through rose tinted glasses. He couldn't make sales calls to save his life and I didn't need his financial knowledge as I had priced everything out and he came to similar conclusions. As the business wore on, I was taking far more of the brunt work, and it made me disdain ever asking him to join.

It put strain on our relationship, and as the partnership faded, so inevitably did our friendship.

That being said, I am now in real estate with a close friend I've known for almost a decade, and because of our similar wavelengths, are absolutely killing it via our individual skill sets that build on each other. I handle more of the marketing online, he has more technical knowledge in the industry, and we learn through each other while also enhancing the business because of our strengths.

As a generality, make sure that whoever you're going into business is a "walker" and not a "talker". Build friendships through making money, those are the friendships that really last.

"Money over bitches, nigga stick to the script." - Jay-Z
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04-02-2016 10:22 PM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
I've always thought business topic should be the standalone section of the forum not a thread cause there is too much to talk about related to that. Look..
- game
- travel
- business/career
- health/fitness
- philosophy
- everything else
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2016 01:25 AM by XXL.)
04-03-2016 01:23 AM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-03-2016 01:23 AM)XXL Wrote:  I've always thought business topic should be the standalone section of the forum not a thread cause there is too much to talk about related to that. Look..
- game
- travel
- business/career
- health/fitness
- philosophy
- everything else

I agree eventually it would be nice.

Usually topics are given a new section when it is dominate its current home. Take politics, it was flooding the crap out of Everything Else so it was awarded its own section.

I imagine if business and career topics start dominating the Lifestyle forum it will be spun off.
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2016 04:31 PM by username.)
04-03-2016 04:31 PM
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Post: #63
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-02-2016 11:26 AM)offthereservation Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 10:42 PM)Laner Wrote:  I dropped a bunch of money on elevator advertising in mid to high luxury condo buildings. Its a digital display and looks good, although I have yet to get any sales from it. My analytics show people coming to my site, but no calls or emails yet. Its been two weeks, so my hopes are fading. I thought I would have a captive audience, but it turns out that the upside might be as little as brand awareness.

I find the trial and error aspect of marketing to be very important. When something is not working and is just eating money I now cut fast. When I first started my company I had more patience wishing and hoping things would work.

Those elevator advertising people harass me all the time. I just don't see how that would work. If yo are alone in the elevator, maybe. If there's other people you just naturally stare at the door.

The company that calls me always wants a big poster on the back wall of the elevator car. The way you get in an elevator just makes that stupid. Do you ever see a group of people standing facing backwards in one? No, you push the button then you face the door.

Those LCD screen ones are in the front, but they are only so big because that's where the sliding elevator door is.

Maybe it would be successful if you put a split down the middle poster on the elevator door, but that's about it.

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04-03-2016 06:23 PM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
If you work for yourself, and aren't doing physical work, then the number one tip I'd suggest is that you wear a tie to work everyday.

It is too easy to get up, not bother to shower or shave, throw on a tshirt, deal with a few things whilst you faff about making coffee and reading articles, and just generally have an idle, unproductive, and detrimental start to the day. I guarantee that if you get up early, shower, shave, comb your hair, and put on a shirt and tie that your productivity will increase significantly. This Dan Pena chap is getting a lot of love in the Everything Else section, and one of the things I've not heard him say but that you can see he believes is that if you dress sharply, professionally, then that will affect how you conduct yourself and your business. If you don't take yourself seriously, and present yourself to the world seriously, then that attitude will seep into your day to day business and it will be detrimental.

If you work for yourself, ultimately you are your product. People will buy it based on how you present yourself to them. You're ultimately selling yourself, your integrity and your credibility to people. You are asking them to believe that YOU will deliver what you promise, when you promise. The client is not buying a product, they are buying your ability to honour your word and deliver exactly what you have sold them. If you shag about in jeans and a tshirt, how can you even convince yourself that you really take yourself seriously?
04-04-2016 06:56 AM
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Post: #65
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-04-2016 06:56 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  ...
If you shag about in jeans and a tshirt, how can you even convince yourself that you really take yourself seriously?

I agree.

However. Most technical people will stereotype you as dumb. This is largely justified considering the sort of people they see in suits. Luckily, technical guys are generally reasonable.

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04-04-2016 10:26 AM
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Post: #66
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-04-2016 10:26 AM)storm Wrote:  
(04-04-2016 06:56 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  ...
If you shag about in jeans and a tshirt, how can you even convince yourself that you really take yourself seriously?

I agree.

However. Most technical people will stereotype you as dumb. This is largely justified considering the sort of people they see in suits. Luckily, technical guys are generally reasonable.

Where do you guys get your ties? It would be nice to just buy a complete spectrum of ties in one go instead of getting them one by one...

Re: ties, I think it is far better to take your time with buying them. People really miss a trick when they buy ties. A fine tie collection gives you a great opportunity to discretely show character. It is the height of style and refinement to be able to show flair and imagination within a strict set of rules - much as a poet might show their genius through use of the sonnet form. A classically tailored suit, a white shirt, shiny black shoes, and a fantastic tie with something playful or distinctive as a pattern is far more eye catching and debonair than a gaudy suit, a flash stripe, multicoloured shirt, brown shoes (shudder) or whatever could ever be.

Take your time finding ties, and try to reflect a little of yourself in them.
04-04-2016 10:51 AM
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Post: #67
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
Anyone here use Kajabi?

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04-04-2016 10:55 AM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
I have a business idea that I would like to calculate on to see if I can make it profitable. Any tips for resources or book recommendations to help with the calculating process? Something almost like a step by step process.
04-04-2016 12:50 PM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-04-2016 12:50 PM)Мортен Wrote:  I have a business idea that I would like to calculate on to see if I can make it profitable. Any tips for resources or book recommendations to help with the calculating process? Something almost like a step by step process.

Revenue minus expenses equals profit. If revenue exceeds expenses, you're profitable. The difficulty lies in the assumptions on revenue and expenses. You can guess, or you can create a minimally viable product and take it to market. Pretty obvious which one's the better idea.
04-04-2016 02:45 PM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-04-2016 06:56 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  If you work for yourself, and aren't doing physical work, then the number one tip I'd suggest is that you wear a tie to work everyday.

H1N1 -- I'm a big fan of your posts.

Do you mean public facing work? I'm self-employed in a professional field. I rarely see clients. I convert at least 95 percent of my clients over the phone. I never see these people. There is no way I would wear a tie every day; in fact, I'd get less work done because I'd be uncomfortable. The proof of my professionalism is how I conduct myself. I'm polite, timely, and tell people exactly what to expect. And of course the results I get.

When I do see clients, then naturally I wear a suit. That I agree is a must. But otherwise, I feel like a professional because I am a professional and because I'm held to that standard by my clients.

To avoid loafing around and wasting time, I write down tasks I want to accomplish the night before. I've also figured out when I'm most productive. I do my best work in the morning and I'm somewhat useless in the early afternoon. So I mold my day around that.
04-04-2016 07:21 PM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
eBay Sellers:

How long was it before you found your feet selling on the site? eBay seems a different beast from say 10 years ago.

What's the learning curve like these days?
(This post was last modified: 04-04-2016 07:58 PM by Nineteen84.)
04-04-2016 07:28 PM
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RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-04-2016 07:21 PM)PartManPartMonkey Wrote:  
(04-04-2016 06:56 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  If you work for yourself, and aren't doing physical work, then the number one tip I'd suggest is that you wear a tie to work everyday.

H1N1 -- I'm a big fan of your posts.

Do you mean public facing work? I'm self-employed in a professional field. I rarely see clients. I convert at least 95 percent of my clients over the phone. I never see these people. There is no way I would wear a tie every day; in fact, I'd get less work done because I'd be uncomfortable. The proof of my professionalism is how I conduct myself. I'm polite, timely, and tell people exactly what to expect. And of course the results I get.

When I do see clients, then naturally I wear a suit. That I agree is a must. But otherwise, I feel like a professional because I am a professional and because I'm held to that standard by my clients.

To avoid loafing around and wasting time, I write down tasks I want to accomplish the night before. I've also figured out when I'm most productive. I do my best work in the morning and I'm somewhat useless in the early afternoon. So I mold my day around that.

I think the point is not so much to specifically wear a tie, but rather to have some process by which you put on your "work hat" and focus solely on work.

A tie might be the thing for some guys (to remind them that they are in work mode), but if that doesn't work for you, there are other options.

However, if you already have a history of success when working independently as your own boss, you probably don't need to focus on this advice. It's more for guys who are just starting out (like me).

I'm the King of Beijing!
04-04-2016 07:29 PM
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Post: #73
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
This shit is no joke, I'm not gonna lie it gets a bit hard to keep your head above water sometimes. Have been starting around 7am the last few weeks and ending closer to 9/10. I enjoy the work but this shit truly is a marathon and not a sprint. Been doing my best to keep my gym/diet regimen in check as if that breaks down so will my body (most likely).

Definitely need someone to help on the back office side of things. The only issue is I'm not at the point where I can pay someone competent to do it. Working on getting some intern help so we'll see how that goes. Sort of at a Catch 22...need help to grow...need to grow to get help.

Tomorrow is another day.
(This post was last modified: 04-04-2016 07:33 PM by Thatdude.)
04-04-2016 07:30 PM
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Thatdude Offline
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Post: #74
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
(04-04-2016 06:56 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  If you work for yourself, and aren't doing physical work, then the number one tip I'd suggest is that you wear a tie to work everyday.

It is too easy to get up, not bother to shower or shave, throw on a tshirt, deal with a few things whilst you faff about making coffee and reading articles, and just generally have an idle, unproductive, and detrimental start to the day. I guarantee that if you get up early, shower, shave, comb your hair, and put on a shirt and tie that your productivity will increase significantly. This Dan Pena chap is getting a lot of love in the Everything Else section, and one of the things I've not heard him say but that you can see he believes is that if you dress sharply, professionally, then that will affect how you conduct yourself and your business. If you don't take yourself seriously, and present yourself to the world seriously, then that attitude will seep into your day to day business and it will be detrimental.

If you work for yourself, ultimately you are your product. People will buy it based on how you present yourself to them. You're ultimately selling yourself, your integrity and your credibility to people. You are asking them to believe that YOU will deliver what you promise, when you promise. The client is not buying a product, they are buying your ability to honour your word and deliver exactly what you have sold them. If you shag about in jeans and a tshirt, how can you even convince yourself that you really take yourself seriously?

Concurred. I'm in a business where I'm out there most of the time, yet I don't necessarily need to dress as nicely as I do. Sounds vain as fuck but it's been a mindset thing for me at least, like you outlined above.
04-04-2016 07:33 PM
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Suits Offline
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Post: #75
RE: The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge
I'm very fortunate. I've invented a niche service that I am uniquely qualified to provide. This is in a field that desperately needs new products, so I'm able to slowly develop and test out products in real conditions as I'm earning money providing a service.

In the next two years, I plan to transition more and more into product development and sales, since that is far more scalable than offering a service.

In the meantime, however, I'm able to work for myself, without the pressure the most new business owners face, since there is strong demand for the service I offer.

I'm the King of Beijing!
04-04-2016 07:43 PM
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