41

Be Your Own Part-Time Boss: The Pros & Cons

in Do What You Love

SpidermanGoesToWork

This article is a guest contribution by Austin Morgan. Austin blogs over at Foreigner’s Finances, where he not only talks personal finance, but also writes on the culture differences (and increased cost) of living in Japan.  Courtney and I are considering Japan for the future, so I love reading about his firsthand experience.  Learn more by following @ForeignersFinan.

If you’ve ever had an itch to start a business – do it.

Don’t wait any longer; take your idea and run with it. The time will never be perfect, but starting your own business will teach you more about yourself than any book, tv show, magazine, or college course ever will.

I’m only suggesting you do this because I saw how much of a morale boost a tiny side business gave to my life.

I took over a textbook resale business my junior year of college from a friend. I had sold a book to him my sophomore year and asked him how his business worked. He told me he just sold the books on Amazon and was nothing more than a middle man. In the meantime, he bought a PS3 with his income from the side business.

My eyes popped out of my head. After working on-campus making minimum wage for two years, I was stunned at his “riches” and took the business from him when he graduated that spring.

I recruited my girlfriend and we bought textbooks from students and sold on Amazon for a profit. That was my business. It didn’t take fifteen people, an office, or a secretary. It took two people, a dorm room, and some hard work.

This wasn’t a huge business. It wasn’t an LLC or anything “official”.  We only made around $5,000 over fifty weeks of school – much better than part-time minimum wage, but not a huge ordeal.

The business sounds simple, but I quickly learned that working for myself was going to be significantly more difficult to manage and organize than I thought. It was hard work, but I learned more from that small side business than from any other part-time job I ever had.

That’s the beauty of starting your own business. You stop saying, “I should really open up that (blank)” or “my skills in (blank) are marketable, I should really charge for them”; and you start doing it.  You learn to take an idea or a dream and put it into action!

Start now and work out the kinks along the way

It’ll take a couple weeks for you to feel out the intricacies of working for yourself and your small business in general.

Once we got our name around campus and started purchasing inventory, I realized how important organization is to a successful business. We had five or six books coming in a day and were also selling that same amount on Amazon. We had to keep track of our customers around campus, shipping labels, incoming cash, and loads of e-mails.

You will make mistakes, but don’t let them stop you. Take it from me, we made more than our fair share of mistakes.

It took us over a year to figure out the most efficient way to ship books across the country. The Post Office isn’t the most helpful group of people in the world, and we finally learned our second year that we weren’t shipping with the safest and most cost effective way. We wasted hundreds of dollars because we repeatedly lost books and had to give up the sale.

No one is going to hold your hand through the first few months, you just have to take the bumps and hope your business is still around when you come back down.

Warning – Not for Everyone

The self-employed life suits different people. Personally, I enjoyed working for myself and could see myself pursuing bigger self-employed ventures in the future. But there are also a lot of aspects of running your own business that aren’t so glamorous and will make you miss the comfort of a steady job with a paycheck every two weeks.

Most of us have to work in some fashion, but there are multiple ways to go about it. Testing out the self-employment waters will let you see what you really want out of a job and give you a chance to find your passion and desire in work.

Here are the pros and cons I found from working part-time for myself the past two years.

Pros:

It’s Liberating.

When you run your own business, you can wake up at 11 in the morning and work, you can answer some e-mails in the afternoon, or you can stay up late and tie up loose ends at 2 a.m. I would answer e-mails in my boxers, while I played NHL Hits on XBox at 4 in the afternoon – it was wonderful.

The chance to create your own work schedule is one of the best perks about working for yourself.  Work just feels different when you don’t have to stare at the clock waiting for quitting time everyday.  It no longer mattered how many hours I worked in a day, but rather how efficient I had been with my time.

This was a huge plus because it allowed me to cater to my own energy levels as I wasn’t forced to produce from 9-5 everyday. If I felt up for work, I went for it. But I never had to drag myself into the office and force myself to be productive.

You Get the Coffee Cup That Reads: “World’s Best Boss”

Being in college, I had only worked part-time jobs, and I loved not having to cater to a boss or higher-up in my own business. I could concentrate on growing sales, marketing, and expanding instead of worrying if I was doing a good enough job for the person above me.

Some people need the structure and predictability of a boss or manager – which is totally fine.

But maybe you’d react differently to work if you called the shots. That’s why it’s a great idea to test out your own business to see what works for your specific working style. You may think of yourself as someone who needs to be managed by another, but it turns out you excel on your own.

Taking Pride

When you create a company yourself, it gives you a different perspective on what work can be. Your company becomes your baby. You create it, raise it to health, let it cry on your shoulder during the awkward teen years, and eventually you hope it moves on without you.

You no longer are a puzzle piece at a company with 200 employees. You are the employee and there is something incredibly uplifting about that. It drives you to work harder and make the company more successful. Clocking in at nine every morning and out at five doesn’t concern you. You’ve found your passion and you’ll work harder than you ever have to make it succeed.

If you get to this point with your own business, there is no going back. You have caught the self-employed bug.

Cons:

It’s So Much Work

Starting something from the ground up is challenging. There’s no way around it.

It’ll take time to get your companies name out to the public, and it can take a long time for money to come in. Don’t let this discourage you. Setting the foundation for your own company is the most difficult thing you will do, but if you set up a sturdy business, it’ll soar once it gets going.

The most difficult thing about working for yourself is that you have to do EVERYTHING. There is no delegating work to others or slacking because someone else will pick it up. If you don’t do the task needed, it won’t get done. A lot of time this pressure can be too much for people. Any slow day is a wasted day when you’re self-employed.

Working Alone is Lonely

This is the reason so many people have business partners. From the start, my girlfriend and I ran the textbook business and I don’t think I could’ve done it without her.

A partner is great for throwing around ideas, keeping sane, and pushing one another to succeed. It’s easy to slack and take it slow when you’re a one-person business, but a two-person business still maintains the small-company culture, while adding a little accountability to keep the company progressing.

Juggling the Details

Managing e-mails and judging the relationship between time and income was something I never anticipated when I first started working for myself.

At first, anybody who emailed us books was someone we’d buy from. But after making only $5 on a book when it probably took two hours of work, I quickly became efficient at spotting what business was worth our time.

You can’t fight all of your battles when you run your own company, so play to your strengths and only do the tasks that will make your business progress. Learn to say “no” early on, and you’ll save yourself time and grey hair later.

What Life?

Setting boundaries for work is one of the hardest thing about starting your own business.

90% of my work was done online so it was so easy and tempting to check Amazon to see if we had sold a book, or to answer more e-mails before I went to bed. Far too many times I found myself hitting the refresh button on Gmail to see if we had received any new e-mails. It became too much and it lost its excitement when it reached this point.

Make sure to separate yourself from your work. Find the times of the day that work best for you, and be productive during those few hours. Hitting the refresh button on your e-mail ten times an hour isn’t being productive and it’s just hurting your morale and your business.

If you can learn to set boundaries between your company and your personal life, you’ll create a much more successful business because your time spent working will be of quality.

Regardless – Just Take the Plunge

Starting your own business is a chance to test yourself. A chance to see what is available to you as an employee, and to see what best suits your personal work style.

Start small – what are your hobbies or interests? Follow those, and you’ll be able to find a way to monetize those skills at least a little.

Your business can be something small you do after work for a couple of hours a day, but don’t let paralysis by analysis set in. Pick something you love and run with it. This side project doesn’t have to immediately challenge Exxon, but even a small business selling hand-made soap will teach you a lot about yourself and what you want from a job.

It’s possible you won’t succeed. It’s possible you’ll loathe working for yourself. Good. I hope you find such a concrete conclusion from this experiment. Congratulations for taking the risk, now move on and be a better employee because of it.

For me, self-employment showed me a path I never knew existed.  Right now I’m working as an English teacher in Japan, but I know I want to pursue a business of my own soon. I’m pursuing personal interests – blogging, and encouraging my girlfriend to open a restaurant in Japan.

Starting my own part-time business taught me more about myself than any blog, job, college professor, or homework assignment ever did.

Take the risk – you won’t regret it.

Baker’s Note: As you might guess, I really connected with this post.  Most people can’t simply up and quit their jobs, but nearly everyone can start a side gig part-time.  For both Courtney and me, tinkering with small business has been a great experience that has really stretched us.  You’ll never know unless you give it a shot, and a part-time gig like Austin’s is a perfect start.

What has been your own experience with starting a part-time business? Have you given it much thought, if any?  Is so, what have been your biggest personal pros and cons?  I look forward to reading your comments below!

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

David @Money Under 30 October 26, 2009 at 11:41 AM

This really struck a chord with me too and, having gone to being my own boss part-time to doing it full-time (at least for now), I would say this should be required reading for anybody considering ever working for themselves.

In my experience, everybody thinks about the “pros” of working for yourself (setting your own schedule, not being managed by anybody else), but few people realize just how quickly the “cons” will rear their ugly heads.

For me, the hardest part has been losing the social interaction I had in cubicleland. Working for yourself IS lonely. Online connections are nice, but they don’t make up making small talk and doing lunch with coworkers. Also, you really do have to realize that if you’re doing it correctly, your business WILL become one and the same as your life. Dividing them is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
.-= David @Money Under 30´s last blog ..What a Buyer’s Agent Can Do For You =-.

Reply

Sean October 26, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Couldn’t agree more. For some people, starting a business is the best thing they could possibly do. However, others will struggle with keeping on task and staying motivated.

Over the last few years I have started multiple businesses including a house painting business, and apparel company. Both were successful in doing the job I intended them to do (painting gave me money from school, and the apparel company gave me a side project to keep me entertained during my real job).

While neither of these were a runaway success, the skills I learned will definitely be carried forward in the future. Great post, I am heading over to check out your site now!
.-= Sean´s last blog ..How to Stay Motivated Without a Boss =-.

Reply

LobotoME October 26, 2009 at 12:07 PM

my husband and i love being our own bosses – and i’m not sure either of us could ever go back to working for someone else. we enjoy the flexibility too much! i think the hardest thing to adjust to was the irregular cashflow…we were used to both getting paychecks every 2 weeks and now it is much more random, so developing spending plans based upon our projected income or last month’s revenue was a challenge at first. and with the current economy, i think it is a perfect time for people to look at ways to supplement their income with a side business….

Reply

Lisis October 26, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Awesome post! Thanks for keeping it real (pros AND cons). I’m getting a little sick of this trend of every single person becoming their own boss. Fact is, it’s not for everyone.

I totally agree with you that most of us should give it a shot at some point in our lives, and if we find it’s not for us… fine. It’s not the end of the world (as most people would have you think).

Very nice. :)
.-= Lisis´s last blog ..Inspiration: Helen Keller “Great and Noble Tasks” =-.

Reply

Studenomist October 26, 2009 at 12:50 PM

I have been blogging for almost a year and still don’t have that coffee mug lol. This post is one I’ve been meaning to write for months.

Any side business is a lot of work. Whenever I tell a friend that they spew out some empty rhetoric- “nothing good every comes easy,” or “hard work pays off.” That’s great that you got the quotes down but are you actually willing to make the necessary sacrifices? When you got a business you can’t spend 3 hours on Facebook trying to pick up girls. You can’t pick up and go on vacation whenever you would like to.

I could go on but I will stop. Anyone that wants to start a business needs to be completely realistic. If not then reality will give you a swift kick in the butt.
.-= Studenomist´s last blog ..Responsible Credit Cards Usage Tips =-.

Reply

Melissa - Peace & Projects October 26, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I love this post, Austin! Good luck to you and your girlfriend.

Reply

Matt Jabs October 26, 2009 at 1:25 PM

First let me start by saying that Austin Morgan is a great writer and that if you don’t check out his website – ForeignersFinances.com – you are doing yourself a disservice, as shown clearly in this excellent post.

I am glad that Austin touches on the fact that this is not for everyone, and also that there are many cons. Some people who start their own businesses do so because they are just lazy and have problems with authority… so it is awesome to list all the pros & cons here for people to consider before making the leap.

It is hard work, but it is also so much more rewarding (at least for me, and you) than a 9-5 working for someone else.

Another great article Austin, cheers man.
.-= Matt Jabs´s last blog ..Non-Monthly Expenses – How to Budget for Lump Sum Payments =-.

Reply

Casey October 26, 2009 at 2:24 PM

I really like the idea of starting small with something you love and run with it. A great way to see if that life is for you.

That is awesome you are teaching abroad. I have been contemplating that for awhile. I really like Asia so was thinking somewhere over there. My girlfriend can’t quit her job so leaving her for 6-12 months would be rather difficult. I look forward to checking out your time in Japan. Cheers!
.-= Casey´s last blog ..Backpacking: What to Bring =-.

Reply

Foxie | CarsxGirl October 26, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Ugh, you might have been writing this just for me right now, LOL. I know that’s not true, but it’s exactly about what I’m struggling with.

I would *love* to work more on developing my writing & photography into a little side business for myself. In fact, it’s right in line with my passion (cars) and I would love to do it 24/7.

I just am terrified to up and quit my job and lose that little bit of predictable income. It would take me a while to save up enough of a buffer for me to feel comfortable quitting. I’m hoping to just reduce my hours and start creating those income streams and really throwing myself into my work, but that’s going to be another two months before I can start. (Retail + pending holiday season + seasoned employee = stress, but money, but lots of stress when ya add in FINALS. Ugh.) If I didn’t have school, life would be much simpler, but education is important to me and I want that freakin’ degree.

Someday, someday… I’m just sick of sitting here, waiting, wondering if I shouldn’t just scare myself into action by up and quitting with nothing. Just sucks when everything I want to do too needs money, and quite a bit of it. x_x;; Sigh.

One last thing: Japan? I hate you. D: (Not really, but ya.)
.-= Foxie | CarsxGirl´s last blog ..New Project Idea — Opinions Wanted =-.

Reply

Roblynn October 26, 2009 at 5:14 PM

I enjoyed this post. We moved to Costa Rica three years ago to start our own business. It has been quite the shock for my husband who worked for the govt. for 25 years, and it is very hard to get used to irregular payments. He began teaching English several months ago and feels better now that he has a regular schedule and income. The pros and cons in the article are very “for real” and we have dealt with all of them. Plus the living in a foreign country while starting your own business for the first time may have been a little much to bite off. But heck we are not getting any younger and it would not have gotten any easier for sure.

Reply

Austin October 26, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Thanks for the great feedback everyone.

I’m glad most of you pointed out that being your own boss isn’t always glamorous and for some people will always be a romantic notion – something to long for when they’re having a bad day at the office.

As soon as Baker posted the article, I regretted not asking for personal experiences but you guys have provided some great insight into life as your own boss.

@Casey I’m young, but teaching in Japan is the best job I’ve ever had because of what it allows me to do outside of work. I get to fulfill my goal of living abroad, I get to live on my own and make a decent salary, and my favorite part is the other teachers in the area. People who want to live abroad are a different breed and EVERYONE has an amazing story to tell. It’s been a blast hanging out with those people and what will be a big selling point when recontact day comes in February.

I would suggest a trip to Asia with your girlfriend. Maybe 2 weeks to test out your interest in the culture. Perhaps, she will really click with the country too and she’ll even consider a life-changing move. Good luck and if you need anything at all, you know where to find me.

@Foxie You just have to start doing something that interests you. Don’t let yourself wait for the “ah-ha!” moment because I’m sure there are many retirees who will tell you they’re still waiting for it. Start something you love, work hard, and follow it until it doesn’t interest you anymore.

I love when successful entrepreners tell stories about starting 100 companies and 98 failed. It’s not glamorous to hear this, but it reminds you that you need to work harder than you ever have, and you need to start NOW to work out the kinks.

Thanks again everyone for the comments. I’m off to school!
.-= Austin´s last blog ..Welcome Man vs. Debt Readers! =-.

Reply

Financial Samurai October 26, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Great topic Austin! I feel you regarding being your own boss as totally time consuming. Working 60 hours a week, and then writing/running Financial Samurai is a lot of work. It’s almost sometimes like playing poker though. It’s fun and intense, and you realize after playing for a while it’s 3am and it’s time to go home!

When you’re in your 20′s, and even in your 30′s, definitely take as much risk as possible… there’s simply less to lose! If you can find a stable job, and do your entrepreneurial activities on the side with passion, even better!

Best, FS
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Financial Samurai $1,000 Giveaway & Your Chance To Make Millions Over Your Career! =-.

Reply

Financial Samurai October 26, 2009 at 7:38 PM

BTW Austin, I forgot to ask, are you doing the “JET” Program in Japan? If so, I’ve had so many friends do it as well right after school, and they had a blast. I live overseas in 6 different countries for 14 years, and it was so much fun.

Which city in Japan are you from? You planning on going up to Shiga Kogen for the winter ski season? That was my absolute favorite, sking all day, and going into the Japanese style hottubs and eating soba and some sushi. Yum.
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Financial Samurai $1,000 Giveaway & Your Chance To Make Millions Over Your Career! =-.

Reply

Stephanie October 26, 2009 at 8:28 PM

This couldn’t have been more perfect timing. I was just having an HONEST conversation with myself on if I can really get this dream of mine started or not.

Sometimes you just need a little nudge. Thanks….

Stephanie

Reply

Gordie Rogers October 27, 2009 at 2:34 AM

Hey Austin,
Thanks for this. I think this is practical advice. All I need to do now is actually come up with a decent business idea.
.-= Gordie Rogers´s last blog ..How To Put Your Wordpress Blog On Autopilot And Spend Most Of Your Time At The Beach. =-.

Reply

kenyantykoon October 27, 2009 at 3:34 AM

i wish this post was available as a motivator when i was first starting out. its not that i am not motivated enough seeing that i am past the starting phase, but it could have helped with the initial doubts
.-= kenyantykoon´s last blog ..AN OVERVIEW OF THE MUNICIPAL BOND FUND =-.

Reply

Austin October 27, 2009 at 6:50 AM

@Roblynn Costa Rica is definitely on my must-see list. I went on an Asian study abroad trip to Beijing/Kyoto my junior year and our school also offered a Costa Rican trip. Let’s just say the Costa Ricans had prettier pictures when we all got back to Chicago! I was a little jealous of their 75 degree temperatures, swimming everyday, and zip gliding adventures.

You guys run a massage business in Costa Rica? That sounds surreal! I hope business is good and thanks for commenting!

@financialsamura I am indeed a JET – good call! I’m currently in a small town of 25,000 in Fukui Prefecture on the west coast. At first I was a little hesitant about a really small town, but I went to Tokyo a month ago to pick up my girlfriend and after 4 days I was itching to get out of the hustle and bustle and back to my small-town life. It’s real Japan where I live and I love it like that. We do have a McDonald’s, but who doesn’t? Well, I guess Iceland would take offense to that statement…

Sounds like you have quite the story. I’ll hit you up on Twitter for some follow-ups on your adventures.

Reply

Financial Samurai October 27, 2009 at 9:27 AM

Hey Austin – Good stuff! Congrats for getting into the JET program first of all, because I know they are quite selective! I was big into language as a student some time ago, and lived in the Spanish house, which was right next to the Japanese house. I’m a BIG BIG proponent of Americans living overseas, learning a new language, and experiencing the world.

I have a prediction Austin that you might find a local girlfriend, so your current girlfriend (if she is not Japanese already) better watch out! :)

Your area, reminds me of the setting in the book “Norwegian Wood” by Murakami. HAVE A BLAST!!

FS
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Financial Samurai $1,000 Giveaway & Your Chance To Make Millions Over Your Career! =-.

Reply

Austin October 27, 2009 at 9:49 AM

@Financialsamurai
I think I’m doing more than ok with my current situation ;)
.-= Austin´s last blog ..Welcome Man vs. Debt Readers! =-.

Reply

Ryan Yates October 27, 2009 at 10:37 AM

I had my idea in college, but didn’t have the faith to go through with it until my late twenties. I missed out on some great years of experience, but the point is, I did it. My wife and I started a Christian clothing/t-shirt company that raises support for missions and missionaries. We have both been on numerous short-term mission trips, and are now moving forward (with our new son Isaac) to becomming full-time missionaries. (we’re prayerfully considering possibilities at an orphanage in Honduras, Central America and Biblical training for pastors in Eleuthera, Bahamas) I know the idea of t-shirts and Christian t-shirts is nothing new. But we think we set our company (Hill Thread) apart from the rest with a few interesting ideas.
1. Each shirt comes with a short devotional on the tag that studies the scripture in the Bible that the design was based on. (For instance, our ‘Reside in the City’ shirt was influenced by Matthew 5:14-16. The devo on the tag of this shirt studies this scripture in the Bible and encourages the person who bought the shirt to study their Bible, spend time with God, and use the scripture as a witness.)
2. For every shirt that we sell, we purchase and donate one clean, brand new t-shirt to a child in need.
3. We use the money we make to donate financially to mission organizations and to set up scholarships for students who want to go on mission trips, but can’t afford it.
4. Besides offering the shirts for sale, our website http://www.hillthread.com encourages people to learn more about missions and mission opportunities. We post pics and videos from mission trips, we have a mission resources section that helps the user connect with missions organizations, and we have a prayer request and praises page set up to help us connect with people and pray for them and praise God with them.
5. Hill Thread exists to spread the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus, to encourage discipleship and spiritual growth, and to raise excitement, awareness, and financial support for missions.
6. We also post a daily Bible study in hopes to encourage people to dive into God’s word and develop a strong relationship with Him.

We think it’s great and are so thankful for the opportunity.
.-= Ryan Yates´s last blog ..Small Faith, Large Results =-.

Reply

Dustin | Engaged Marriage October 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Perfect. Just this year, I took a salary cut at my “day job” as an engineer and decided I needed to do something to plug the income hole. I started buying golf clubs locally and reselling them on ebay for a nice profit. It demonstrated to me that I could be successful with my own business at least on a part-time basis.

So, I am now taking another step and building an online business about something I’m actually passionate about (reselling golf clubs is not as romantic as it may sound). That’s why I now have a growing website devoted to helping other young couples achieve the extraordinary in their marriages. It’s fun and as I develop resources to offer, I believe it will be a financial success as well!

Reply

Austin October 27, 2009 at 7:12 PM

@Dustin – That’s a perfect example of taking a niche that not everyone thinks about and running with it. It sounds like you have a sound business plan so run with it and blow away that market.
.-= Austin´s last blog ..Welcome Man vs. Debt Readers! =-.

Reply

Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog October 28, 2009 at 12:20 PM

I like the idea of working on a side business. I’ve already noticed how it zaps away a large chunk of my free time. While I’d love to make enough income to leave my “real job”, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point. But if I can juggle both, all the better… stability in my career with addition income on the side!
.-= Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog´s last blog ..Book Review – Stocks For The Long Run =-.

Reply

jforestphotos October 28, 2009 at 7:44 PM

This is incredibly good advice! For a while I have trying to come up with a good side business to pursue while still having a full time gig. I have recently settled on an idea, and have gotten started setting up all the various pieces.

I am learning as I’m going, but I think you are right, it’s important that I started. It’s so easy to get paralyzed by trying to be perfect, by trying to figure out all the details first.

Thanks for the great post!
.-= jforestphotos´s last blog ..Photos of Cinque Terre =-.

Reply

Austin October 28, 2009 at 8:14 PM

@jforestphotos

That’s great to hear and good luck with your endeavors.

You hit the nail on the head and found the core reason I wrote this article in the first place. My business wasn’t huge and successful and it doesn’t even exist today. But that period of a year and a half taught me about business and work and showed me what I was really interested in. It was small and insignificant to anyone outside my school, but it was my best decision in college.

Thanks for the comment and good luck!

Reply

Credit Card Chaser October 28, 2009 at 11:58 PM

Definitely love being my own boss and just had to compliment you on the picture lol :)
.-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Think You Could Go Into Massive Debt While Making $10 Million/Yr? =-.

Reply

ed October 29, 2009 at 10:49 AM

wow you really struck a cord with this article. i was in debt with seemingly no way to dig my way out. i worked two jobs, my wife one. i painted part time for a contractor and had an eye opening experience. he paid me well hourly. on one occasion i painted several rooms in a home after my regular job shift. i worked 7 hours on this and hurried because the time was late and i had to work an early shift in the morning. finishing up the contractor came to the home and picked up the check as i was cleaning up. he paid me my money and left with the check. i realized that he made hundreds of dollars while i made less than 100 for my skills. it was then that i decided to put a small ad in our local paper. in one week i was called by several people and i made my estimates for the jobs. do you know that i was consistantely busy for years after that. word of mouth kept me busy. my ad only ran for one week and thats all it took. after a very small investment in supplies i was a business owner. i loved doing this and was surprised at how many people kept in contact with me after the jobs were done. the money i made paid bills and gave me enough money to reside my home and put in new windows. the only drawbacks were that i was always working and didnt see my children and wife enough. working seven days a week isnt fun but it sure helped me get out of debt. for any business ideas i would suggest starting one with skills that you do great in. and as you said work the kinks out as you go. mine was instead of using canvas tarps i used inexpensive plastic dropcloths then tossed these after the job was done. customers liked that i was using new (clean) drops and the clean up was very easy.

Reply

chacha1 October 29, 2009 at 7:50 PM

After many long years as a legal assistant I knew I needed to get the ball rolling on something to do when I just … couldn’t … take it … anymore! I studied at home for a high-quality personal training credential, then took an evening course to become a certified ballroom dance instructor. This served me well after a layoff this spring … I was able to bring in enough by teaching to cover our insurance and food till I got a new office job.

For now, my security needs are too high to jump to teaching full-time, but in the future – when certain financial goals are met – I do intend to downshift into the teaching life. I love dancing and yoga and I know I will do those things my whole life. To be able to share my skills is truly a gift. Not to mention it’s a lot of fun.

Foxie, I see your comments on a lot of blogs that I also read and I can tell you are going to be a big success. It’s hard not to be impatient but take a deep breath and try to enjoy where you are. Practice with the little time and money you can spare now, and your skills will just be better on that day you finally feel free to give your dream a test drive.

Reply

Matt @ Self Improvement Resources October 29, 2009 at 10:19 PM

This is a good post. I think first and foremost that people should seek to do their life’s purpose (rather that is a job or a business). See, if you truly love what you do… then their are very few cons.

If you truly love what you do, then working a lot can be rewarding rather than draining. And if that passion drives you to be the best, then eventually enough money will come so that you can delegate and you don’t have to deal with some of the more cumbersome elements of your career.

Reply

Lillea Woodlyns November 15, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Thank you for posting a realistic overview about working for oneself. I like it, and usually don’t experience lonliness because I enjoy interacting with people via e-mail/forum/blog/phone. Studies have shown that most people will procrastinate if work tasks are left fully up to them, which plays a part in the problems many people experience when they try to work for themselves of course. But studies aside, it’s a lot of work no matter how disciplined one is, and it requires persistance to get things going and to tough out the lean times and not give up too soon.
.-= Lillea Woodlyns´s last blog ..Clicky WordPress Plugin: Better for Web Analytics? =-.

Reply

jefferson faudan January 11, 2010 at 3:51 PM

I couldn’t help but agree more to this… the perks of being alone working can at times be very quiet but once you understand the value of your business… you would work harder and even more efficient.

Reply

Bridget April 9, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Great post – I started my own business over a year ago – it was after being an employee for 20+ years. I had thought and talked about it for many years, and a year and a half ago, the timing and other circumstances lined up to take the plunge. For preparation, I bought a book by Nolo on the financial side of being self-employed, I interviewed three other self-employed people to ask them what to expect and some logistical details, and I set up a simple web-site and told people I was going into business for myself. My first job was via a referral and since then business has been growing. The advice I got from the interviewees was that it would take about 1-2 years for business to be more regular. The timing was right.

The cons have been some some isolation, getting payment on time – or the task to payment lag, and learning to be patient for the business to build. The pros have been the different types of skills I’ve learned and the different perspective I’m given by selling my services and working with the people who pay the bills. It has been liberating form a time perspective in that I do set my own schedule – I always tended to do things fairly quickly and efficiently and early or on-time – I’m also disciplined about finishing things. That is a plus when you are in business for yourself. That means I get more time for other things that I didn’t have when I was an employee for someone else.

Thanks for the post (sorry I’m late) and I agree, one should try something out to see if they would like it – I’ve found I like being self-employed and shudder at the idea of working for someone else now—-I’ve adjusted to controlling my own endeavors and time and know it will be hard to adjust back if I needed to.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 9 trackbacks }