Quite an interesting collection of people here. After reading most of the recent posts (at least those since the board was featured by TMF), its clear though, that "one size doesn't fit all." I guess everyone's story and their motivation to become or be self-employed range from, as one poster comments, "not wanting to be a wage slave" to necessity (as in the morning after you've become unemployed).To many people's minds, I haven't had a "real job" since 1984 when I lost my last job on Madison Avenue (I was a mid-level VP-executive managing major client accounts for multinational advertising agencies)...I used to joke about "losing my job" by repeating an old Bobcat Goldthwait line that sort of went like this: "I lost my job...well, I didn't really lose it. Its just that when I went back to yesterday, someone else was doing it."Once my 'reality bites' moment passed, I found myself an opportunity to become the Marketing Dir. of a start-up company (first mistake was not having equitable equity in the company) that was doing innovative things in the gift and awards/specialties industries. Once the product was finished, we were actually "on plan" for 9 months, generating sales of about $50K/month. Problem was that the 'entrepreneur' had the deadly combination of greed and stupidity that led to my departure, and the departure of his sales mgr. and customer service person (he was eventually maneuvered out of the business by some investors from Canada and he ultimately lost everything).I then became a management consultant, and actually supported myself and family through about 1990, even latching onto an investment/marketing group for about 6 months of consistent salary. But everything fell apart at the beginning of the recession/depression of the early 90's.Attempting to 'land on my feet' again, an associate of mine and I approached a local state university and were appointed Research Professors involved in community outreach and technology application for local businesses. It was a great "job" that included free office space and phones, but required that we secure grant funding in partnership with the university for compensation (we did three funded programs, the last of which was a federal grant to work as a "bridge" between the university and a federal research laboratory. This was 1992 and begins the story of a journey that has yet to finish...and definitely illustrates that in some cases, being a "wage slave" is alot better than being self-employed.At the time of our federal grant, our budget was 10% of one other group, and 1% of the budget of a "politically preferred" group. The result was the while our efforts were more successful than the two other programs, our's being the least politically correct, our final report was never circulated to the federal agency or given due credit by the sponsor. (Here I say that not only does "reality bite" but "politics sux" - and yes, I am quite aware that politics is a reality). One of the results of our program was the founding of the business of which I am still CEO and still embroiled in keeping alive (without details, it is an innovative, technology-based company competing in a timely and high visibility area - we are a dedicated group of 7 people, mostly still 1/2 to 3/4 time except me who works full time).Along the way, we've been on the brink of success or not a number of times...and continue to move toward our goals. I've also had quotations and sayings shared with me that pretty much sum up my whole "long strange trip" as a "technology entrepreneur" (I'm not sure that everyone will agree with all of these):"NOTHING MORE DIFFICULT TO TAKE IN HAND, MORE PERILOUS TO CONDUCT, OR MORE UNCERTAIN IN ITS SUCCESS THAN TO TAKE THE LEAD IN THE INTRODUCTION OF A NEW ORDER OF THINGS...”“THE INNOVATOR HAS FOR ENEMIES ALL THOSE WHO HAVE THRIVED UNDER THE OLD CONDITION AND LUKE WARM DEFENDERS IN THOSE WHO MAY DO WELL UNDER THE NEW.”"EVERYTHING IS ALLOWABLE IF NOT SPECIFICALLY FORBIDDEN.""FORGIVENESS IS EASIER TO ASK THAN TO SEEK PERMISSION AHEAD OF TIME.""GREED IS A STRONGER MOTIVATOR THAN INTELLECTUAL INTEREST""WHEN SOME ARE ASKED 'TO DO' AND OTHERS ARE ASKED 'TO PREVENT, THE PREVENTERS WILL ALWAYS WIN." (I don't agree with this one, since I have fought and won some battles against the 'preventers')."IN THE END, OLD AGE & TREACHERY WILL OVERCOME YOUTH AND SKILL."One size definitely does not fit all when you are "self-employed." I've got a number of investors (and therefore cannot walk away), and have gone through the "friends, relatives and angel investor" phases, and am now attempting to close a significant round of funding.I wouldn't change a day of my life since I started my business, even though we still haven't crossed the ultimate goal line..."What a long, strange trip it's been."
I recently lost my job of 11 years and have thought about starting out on my own but I have a couple of things preventing me from taking a serious stab. First, I have had a resellers business license for 14 years (mostly a hobby). But I am in IT, so there are many competitors out there (including my brother who has been at it for 4 years). I thought about video editing, but recently Office Depot started offering it for $50 a video and I could not match that and make a living. Moreso, I can not see enough business in my future to generate enough income. More likely I do consulting and video editing work on the side while I look for a full time job.
Great post, Just a small quibble, but next time you might want so substitute"Forgiveness is more easily obtained than permission."for "FORGIVENESS IS EASIER TO ASK THAN TO SEEK PERMISSION AHEAD OF TIME."
"I have met the enemy and it is me", Pogo
SeaPhantom writes:"Great Post" huh? Really?If this board is about being self-employed and offering input/insights from our experiences, then I'm willing to participate. If we're going to "quibble" over whether the quote that I was given (by someone else, a man who I respect) was perfect or not, or even if someone's spelling or grammar is correct or perfect (as I've seen in some earlier posts)...as Dennis Miller says, "I'm freakin' outta here!"Well, gosh, Sea (since we 'know' each other), I really did/do think it's great.I mean the guy gave me information. Not just a long brag, but insight into a part of the world I know little about. I don't know about you, but I recommended his post. I make it a habit to "rec" posts that give me new information. After all I run into a dozen people a day who'll gladly boast of their exploits and I can (occasionally) garner some insight into the places and institutions they mention by way of justifying their brag, but it's a real pleasure to get a little insight without having to run the verbiage through a BS filter.That particular "quote" was kind of er... strained and so stood out from the rest of the fine post. Being a kind of amateur communicator I appreciated the straightforward communication and felt the author would appreciate a pat on the back and a little help straightening out that well known (but morphed almost beyond recognition) quote.Desert (you can call me Dave) DaveMen occasionally stumble on the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. --Sir Winston Churchill
I apologize to you, Dave, and to all. I don't know what I was thinking when I posted something with that tone to it, especially since I noticed just now that I was on-line long after my usually self-imposed posting deadline of about 9PM (I have my reasons for this, but its a matter of being lucid).Stress and a healthy dose of frustration go along with my life every day, as it has almost each day since I was thrust into being "self-employed."Similar to your thread, "Another One Bites the Dust," I had a partner (actually I still do, but I now refer to him as my co-founder since he is thankfully inactive). One of the other lessons I've learned is that "its alot harder to get rid of a partner, than it is to get rid of a wife." My "partner" would never be bought out (why should he when we're doing all of the work, he has none of the stress or responsibility and when we cross that elusive goal line, he'll get ridiculously wealthy because he still holds his founders' stock - he actually did turn down an offer of $1 million because he "smells" much more and figures he has nothing to lose - I think it simply shows how greedy he is). I've been divorced, now five years ago, largely because of my commitment to the company (I worked 24/7 and rarely rested). My daughter, a graduate of an Ivy League business school (not Brown Univ.) commented once that in her courses on entrepreneurship that the divorce rate was quite high. The following .ppt file is quite interesting on the subject, although its a few years old.http://www.engin.brown.edu/courses/en90/Lectures/engine90-crawford-ENTREPRENEURSHIP.pptAgain, I apologize for the attitude last night.
I thought about video editing, but recently Office Depot started offering it for $50 a video and I could not match that and make a living.As the wagon driver would say....WHOA NELLIE!Office Depot likely has restrictions on what they will do for $50. And they will certainly from time to time have that area of the store staffed by a new employee, maybe someone who walked in just looking for a job, and wouldn't know customer service if it bit him on the behind.You could clean their clock when it comes to personal service, offering suggestions, adding features, etc.If that's a typical Office Depot store, they have a small copy center where they will copy, bind, sell business cards, sell envelopes, etc. Odds are, they can do it cheaper than traditional printers in the area. Odds are, those traditional printers didn't close their doors because Office Depot came to town.I live in a town of 20,000. A new Office Max with a Copy Max center was recently built. The traditional printers didn't stop printing envelopes and business cards just because Office Max could do it cheaper.Wal-Mart probably has the cheapest photo processing in town - yet there are about a dozen other places that offer it, for a higher price, and a new one just opened up less than a mile from my house. Those higher price providers offer something Wal-Mart can't.ShelbyBoy
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