IT Employment

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Job vs. own business

By skainhifi ·
TechRepublic friends,

- I am 26.
- I have a full time public sector job.
- I am attending grad school.
- I have started my own Web development business on the side.

My public sector job is not challenging (and boring). The pay is average, but has good benefits. My own business is challenging and fun, but does not pay well (until I can put more time into it).

Do I quit my job and take a risk on my own business? Or continue with my current job until my business can pay the bills?

Losing my health, life, etc. benefits at the public sector job is a big negative of quitting. I feel like if I don't get out of the public sector soon, I'll be stuck in slow-moving boredom forever.


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I too have thought about this

by ND_IT In reply to Job vs. own business

I am about the same age, 25, and working in the public sector with average pay, benefits are great, and there is profit sharing at the end of the year. But in the back of my mind, I always thought how nice it would be to work for myself, set my own time, ect, ect. But the thought of giving up the benefits, the vacation, and not to mention the steady income of a paycheck are all factors that are withholding me. But then again, many of the great entenpenuers haven't suceeded without taking some risk or failing before. My suggestion is, you have a good start with doing this on the side, keep at it, build up more clients until you have to do it full time. Another suggestion, is there anything you can do at your current job to liven things up a bit? Ask for special projects that aren't related to IT? I have done this and been able to complete them with satisfaction of learning something new everytime. Good luck!

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Me too...

by BytetheBit In reply to I too have thought about ...

Yes, I'm in the same dilemma. I too work in the public sector and I have to agree that it is extremely mundane. As mentioned, the benefits are really good and the pay is mediocre at best. But, like the both of you it is very unfulfilling. I do some part time IT work with my very part time business, but mostly it's for friends/family, so for now I don't even entertain the notion of self-sufficiency with it. It's a tough call. Both situations offer their pros and cons. And I agree that you should have some sort of nest egg already in place prior to ditching your public sector job. It'll be nerve racking at first, but if you're diligent and committed it should work out for you.

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Heres My Thought.

by nex In reply to Job vs. own business

I did what youre considering, and it worked just fine(great actually). At first, if you dont make much, you can always get uncle sam to pay for your medical, and in no time at all the other things will take care of themselves. Remember that practically everything about your life is deductable on taxes, if you have your own business!! Once you dont have to go to that anchor that we call a job, you will have all the time you need to grow your business.

It's ALOT easier than you think(and even less scary).

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Future is open

by B9Girl In reply to Heres My Thought.

It's hard to figure out if it is the right thing to do or not. First, you need a good solid business plan, because if you do freelance you are essentially a small business. Try getting help from an organization called They have very good free advice on business planning, marketing, etc.

One other thing to consider is what if it doesn't work out (think exit plan), then what? Do you go back to the W2 world? It's harder at first blush to get back in. Just be prepared for questions like "How do I know you won't run off and start another business" or "will you be freelancing on the side?" Some companies could care less, but just think about that for a while so you have an idea of what you might do. Planning helps smooth the bumps so you can throw the plan away and go do something else...

My advice... keep the day job for now but start building your new business, networking and writing a business and marketing plan. Find the people you'll need to advise you in business BEFORE you need them!

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I agree

by wjones In reply to Future is open

I agree. You can never be too prepared, and you may never feel prepared when you do make the jump. I think it is beter to be more prepared than not at all. It will take confidence, motivation and most importantly, Possibility that you create for yourself to move forward.

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And now a word from the other side

by DC_GUY In reply to Job vs. own business

The key to this is your personality. Public sector people and entrepreneurs are dramatically different kinds of people. Of course few people fall squarely at one end or the other of that spectrum, but most of us are clearly of one type.

Be sure you know which you are.

You are accustomed to:

Working a predictable and not demanding schedule.
Not suffering terribly for your mistakes, whether due to honest error, temporarily being a bozo, or daring to try something new and different.
Eating breakfast in the daylight and looking out at your garden.
Seeing your children before bedtime.
Having hobbies.
Not knowing the first thing about investing money.
Not chasing after people who owe you money.
Not worrying about unemployment.
Not paying much attention to how you look.
Not being able to spot a con.
Speaking your mind.
A universe where "the color of a man's skin is no more important than the color of his eyes," to quote Bob Marley.
Taking vacation pretty much when you want to, and a nice long one at that.
Staying home when you're sick, and going to the doctor or hospital if you think you have to without even thinking about what it might cost.
Not wondering how your family will get along if you die unexpectedly.
Not worrying about retirement, and looking forward to doing it when you're still young enough to enjoy it.

If your career and your field of expertise are so exciting to you that you'd happily give up all of this for it, then go for it.

Of course, you still have to deal with the possibility that after a couple of years in the real world, you'll find that things aren't quite as exciting and dramatic as you imagined. Government work isn't as bad as it seems and the private sector is no picnic.

If you have a family, discuss the move with them at great length. Subjecting them to wrenching anxiety in order to follow your own personal dream may be terribly unfair.

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Just do it - after careful consideration!

by CIOandManager In reply to And now a word from the o ...

If you are really serious about it, you are at the age where you should be adventurous.

One of the best decisions I ever saw was made by a very bright, dynamic project manager who had been accepted into a top business school - and rejected it in favor of starting his own business. By the time he would have completed his MBA, his busines was thriving and has since grown into a multimillion dollar conglomerate.

He had the attitude and drive to do this. If you are not FULLY self-motivated and seriously driven to make a success of your business, don't do it.

If you are fully motivated and you have a good solid basis for growth of the business (it is very different to go out and get business as opposed to just letting people know that you are available for website development), don't hesitate.

One more issue... There is a lot of grinding paperwork involved in running a business, licenses, state, federal, local taxes, employee and miscellaneous consultant services etc. Make sure that you have sufficient understanding f these and most of it in place once you start your business. From personal experience, the IRS is extremely unsympathetic if you make any errors in the paperwork or submissions you may even want to budget a few thousand dollars just for accounting and business services in the firt year to avoid that.

Good luck

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I have only one thing to add...

by mungindi In reply to Just do it - after carefu ...
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by mungindi In reply to I have only one thing to ...

I am almost exactly 1 year off turning 50.
5 years ago, i was bashed and robbed of EVERY worldly possesion including:
Late model vehicle, all of my clothes (except for the T-Shirt and shorts i was wearing), all of my personal financial paperwork and records, all of my cash and cards and approx $8,000.00 worth of trade tools (builders).
I was left with nothing and 2,000Km from where i was born.
I had two choices:
A. I could join the 1,000s of other fellow humans living under bridges and in alleys, through circumstances beyond their control, OR
B. I could risk everything i had (which was nothing) and work towards Full Self Employment (which i have almost achieved).
YOU have to make the choice, either:
1. To consider your future from the standpoint of staying in your comfort zone and make the best of it (and die comfortable, but wondering...
"What if?" OR
2. Take the plunge RIGHT NOW, TODAY.
If you can't make make choice 2. FREELY, and with TOTAL commitment, STAY WHERE YOU ARE!
Only you can make that choice.
Just remember, nothing's impossible.
Best of Luck,

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Don't risk what you can't afford to lose

by gralfus In reply to And now a word from the o ...

I agree completely with DC_GUY. Running a business is a lot more than having technical knowledge. Lots of paperwork, meticulous recordkeeping for taxes, keeping business and home separate, etc. Most budding business owners want to concentrate on the product or service and end up going under because they didn't know how to run a business.

In a similar vein, investing money can bring a lot of profit. But the guideline is always "Don't invest what you can't afford to lose." This is because you can find yourself with nothing very quickly due to reasons you didn't foresee. You have a job right now, use that to prepare yourself for what you want to do, rather than simply "going for it". And include your family in your plans.

Take some business classes and talk with actual business owners to get a feel for the real world. Once you have the foundation, then you stand a much better chance at succeeding in your personal business.

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