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Business Owners - Need advice

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by MTMike, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. MTMike

    MTMike 1/2 ton status

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    I don't know what to do - I'm on the brink of a stress breakdown.

    Here's a little background - I started a web site design, hosting and computer repair business in 2001 in my spare time.... now 4 years later, I'm doing pretty well for myself. I have a full time job as a graphic designer for the local newspaper and it's a great job, but it's still a "job".

    In the last 3-4 months, the business has picked up SO MUCH that I simply cannot keep up with it and still work 40 hours per week. If I were to take 2 weeks off of my day job, I could spend the next 2 weeks working 12 hour days solely at the business and I MIGHT be able to catch up. My clients are being patient, but for how much longer, I just don't know. And I keep getting new calls, inqueryies and busienss. I'm now at the point where I either need to cut my hours at work, turn away business, or hire somebody. It's great... being self-employed is what I've dreamed of doing since I was in high school....

    But... (there's always a but...) here's my dilema. I *need* my job. My wife is working 16 hours per week during college, and going to school full time (16 credit hours), and works 40hrs per week in the summer. Because of that I don't quite feel comfortable leaving my job (aka 'guaranteed income) or cutting back hours, because 9 months out of the year, I'm basically supporting everything on my shoulders, and if I were 50% or 100% self employed and were to have a slow month, say in December, we'd be pretty much fscked.

    Dilema 2: Health insurance. I wasn't a member when we were going through this, but my wife is a cancer survivor - she had Hodgkin's disease and went thru chemo & radiation to the tune of $120,000, all but $5k funded by my health insurance..... if I were to risk my health insurance and have her relapse, again, we'd be pretty much fsked. The good news is that I'm still elegible for full benefits at an increased premium if I maintiain 20 hours/wk at my day job.

    3rd Dilema - is we've incurred a lot of debt between the home improvements, school (or lack of income-due-to-school) related debt, paying for hospital bills instead of credit cards, plus business startup costs.... I would feel much more comfortable cutting hours if I had some debt paid back....

    It seems like a sick cycle.... I can't get more business because i don't have the time to put into it, It takes me twice to 3 times as long to complete projects as it should, thus slowing my business cashflow down, but at the same time, because of that I feel that I can't leave or cut hours at my day job. Also, luckilly, I don't have the added dilema of having children to look out for....

    Advice needed: I need to hear success stories..... What did you do when you went from working for the man to working for yourself - did you just jump in w/ both feet - quit and start up, or did you do it gradually?

    Thanks!

    Mike
     
  2. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    I would cut the hours at the day job, so you can keep the insurance. Then, I would make it my mission in life to book as much business as possible doing your own thing. Make it a priority to save some of what the self employment brings in for a rainy day, and I'll bet you won't have a slow month, if you are doing what you love.

    If you make clients wait, that will have disastarous long term consequences, I think. It's hard to recover from lost opportunities created by you and your own business. . you can trade dollars for hours anywhere, and job security is a myth anyway.

    Tom
     
  3. 4GUNZ4X4Z

    4GUNZ4X4Z 1/2 ton status

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    I jumped in both feet and blind folded 6 years ago and its been great to me. My brother did the same over a year ago and he's been doing better then before. Now on the other hand my best friend is on his third try at it and he hasn't been so succsessful.

    I think it depends on who you are and how you handle things. I also believe one should go with their gut instinct. I'd be some poor bastard still living in the ghetto if I wouldn't of set out on my own. Then again I'm a pretty confident person and feel that no matter what hand I'm dealt there's still more cards in the deck. Keep that in mind.

    Insurance is available to the self employed. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2005
  4. gjk5

    gjk5 3/4 ton status

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    I'd have to agree, went solo about five years ago and while being self employed isn't what most people think it is (more hours less vacation), my income has increased by at least 25% per year every year (and that's being conservative), my company is successful and I don't feel like I'm busting my ass to make some other guy rich.

    There is something to be said for having that "safety net" of guaranteed income and insurance, but in most cases the trade off is that you'll never "make it big" working for someone else.


    All that being said, I would have to be offered a pretty generous compensation package to ever go back to work for someone else, and I'm not sure I'd do it even if they offered to match my current income. (don't know if I could part with being able to choose who I do business with and who I tell to go to hell)


    Good luck whatever your decision.
     
  5. PhoenixZorn

    PhoenixZorn 1/2 ton status

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    I've been a break even company for the last 4 years, and while that's not considered success in my book, at least I'm not in the red. Sadly, my company is headed for the circular file very shortly... I didn't renew my licensing this year, and I'm pretty much done due to a lack of customers where I live. On the other hand, my wife and I are about to start a venture into the medical practice ownership thing... She's a physical therapist, and was recently offered the chance to purchase the PT department (clients and accounts receivables included) and have our own business... Cost of operation looks to be about $25-30,000 per year including rent, insurance, supplies, and other odds and ends... I've seen the previous year's collections and billings, and we'd be quite well off after just our first year of running the business... I wouldn't have to work after 2 years or so based on current growth, so I could stay home with the kids, clean house, and fix trucks. =) Of course, I plan to work for my wife so she doesn't have to hire anyone to start out, but eventually, I'll take some of the company profit and get my own business running properly.
     
  6. ronnny

    ronnny 1/2 ton status

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    If you have a wife that works and can have insurance this is always easier. Enough said to thoose who know. Only reason i still work for a company is the wife don't work.
     
  7. smalltruckbigcid

    smalltruckbigcid 1/2 ton status

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    I can add to this. A good friend who is self employed (he owns a semi truck) has a wife who is a cancer survivor. He cannot change her health insurance because no one else would cover her for anything, that means he's paying $850. a month for her insurance. For her its not a question of if the cancer will kill her, but when. You can cobra your existing health insurance if you leave your current employer, but figure your premium will at least double or go higher. I'm self-employed and my health insurance is $209. a month, for a single man non-smoker, that sucks bigtime.
    Being self-employed is great, lots of freedom, but....you NEED those benefits for your wife. So before you jump and lose those, find out if you can replace them and what that would cost. That will be a cost of doing business for you.
    George
     
  8. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Almost forgot

    Speaking of health insurance, look into the new HSA policies. they're great for the self employed.. my wife's premium was cut in half, and she has better coverage. You can buy the policies direct, or go through a broker. Just be sure to shop around.

    Tom
     
  9. 4GUNZ4X4Z

    4GUNZ4X4Z 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not trying to start a fight, but thats a cop out. My wife hasn't worked since 97' and it didn't stop me (and countless others) from going out, risking it all, and giving it a shot. That was as bad as z3pr wanting a federal grant to buy house, because he's to freaking lazy to do it on his own, and wanting the rest of us tax payers to foot the bill for him. Shhheeesh.
     

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