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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.

skainhifi

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Try leave of absence

by roda235 In reply to Job vs. own business

Have you thought of asking for a leave of absence? It would give you the freedom to try with minimal risk.

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I hope you can get it!

by WazzaUK In reply to Try leave of absence

I am in a similar position to you, except in the Private not Public sector. Great benefits, low risk, boring as ****.
I asked for a couple of months sabaticle and was turned down, they wanted my reasons which I wasn't prepared to give. I leave in July to either go for a contract or set up on my own so I know how you're thinking.
I think with the Public sector you will have a good chance of a couple of months to see how it goes, just be careful about the terms if they let you have the time.

Good Luck!

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by simon richardson In reply to Job vs. own business

I am working out on my own, and toying withthe idea of going back into employment, and have applied for a government post! - MY thoughts are
a) if you can survive for a given number of months with zero income, and are prepared to work your self very hard then go work for yourself, assuming your business plan stands up to scrutiny!
b) if your concern is pensions, health benefits anmd short term income, then stay put and get a fun hobby!

Trying to build a business alongside a job is hard becasue you cannot get to meet clients, although you can do the work at night, its the meeting people that will move the business forward and generate income.

why am I looking? - my business model did not work, I ended up taking thin margin work, and external pressures mean I need to look at short term finances, but I ain't staying - as soon as I have funding I am back out working for myself again!

try doing a personal SWAT and see what comes out, be hoest with yourself and good luck!

Simon

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Been there, done that

by bprieto In reply to Job vs. own business

I did just that two years ago, (only to launch a Linux services company, not web development, but it doesn't matter).
The best advise I can give you is to build first a network of clients who can sustain at least the minimum expenses. (And those expenses are at least double than what you can foresee now).
If you go out without a solid financial background, when times get tough you will make decisions based on the inmediate need of money, and they will be bad decisions for the future of the business.
On the other side, you don't give in your profile the most important data: are you married? do you have children? It's not the same to quit going to the pub with your friends because you don't have money than to change you children's school because you can't afford it.
If you don't have heavy family responsabilities, just do it. As time goes by it will be more difficult.

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Another thought

by svanoordt In reply to Been there, done that

My job was eliminated when my wife and I started our business so it's a little bit different situation. We contract IT services back to my former employer. What about going on your own and contracting back to the company you work for? Money comes from a different pot and it might be beneficial for you and your employer. This would give you your freedom to develop your business but still give you the steady income you need.

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Starting out on your own - BTDT

by MAST-G13 In reply to Been there, done that

I have to agree with "bprieto", without stating whether you have "hanger's on", those of us on the outside cannot really advise, but if you are a "standalone" - GO FOR IT! If you don't GFI now, you will live to regret it, because you will always wonder "I could have made it?".
BUT, one strong piece of advise: If you decide to take on a financial partner - get it in writing concerning % of $.
Even as an English female, when I decided to GFI, at nearly 50, I was still old fashioned enough to believe in the "Honour of a gentleman's agreement", i.e., a handshake. Bloody fool that I was!
Paperwork is the only thing that will keep you safe if you have a partnership.
But I still believe that if you have the chance, go for it - look what happend to Bill Gates, etc..
This is still the land of opportunity, and even at 66, if I had the chance, I'd do it again, but this time I'd have paperwork in my left hand when I put my right hand out to shake the other's hand! :-)
Good luck which ever way you decide.

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Remember to market your services all the time.

by saphil In reply to Been there, done that

The thing about getting a couple of big clients before you quit the day job (or immediately after) is really important, however it is also important to keep marketing all the time. Last year I lost my huge client and because I was settling into having a cozy relationship with 1 big client and 3 small ones, I was not marketing as hard as I coulda/shoulda/oughta. It is hard tto make up for loss of a big client, and you will lose them at times. My fault, your fault, whever's fault doesn't matter if you are scrambling to make your bills. Spending an hour every day marketing yourself is probably a good idea. An hour at least. Then remember that writing a book makes for good passive advertising. I am writing a book based on Internet security tech support questions I have received in the process of running my Internet security and support business.

Remember to come up for air occasionally, too. I have had a lot more fun since I quit the j.o.b. but I do not work any fewer hours. Some weeks I put in my 80 hours and cannot bill any of it. Updating my own web sites and working on writing are not all that highly remunerated on the front-end. I work at home so the commute is always smooth, but occasionally my wife and kids ask me, "Who are you? You look familiar but I can't remember your name."

I am sort of the other end of the spectrum from people who are thinking about quitting the job to go out on their own. I have been self-employed most of my life, and when I do get a job it is usually a strategy to help me move to a new kind of work (I will go to work doing an entry level task set to learn a new industry or to move into a new geographical area). I like to travel and I like to learn new things, and my tactics have allowed me to do that.

Before I developed this interest in marketing strategy, I ran a small pet boarding company. I had between 3 and 9 employees and supported a specialized building for the enterprise. This was basic j.o.b. in the sense that I had set hours of operation, and was there every day. It took about 5 years to be able to draw a respectable "salary" out of this work but it was as regular as clockwork. If you like the feeling of security you get from a set schedule and a set paycheck, you have to either stay with the job model you are in, or market yourself even more. My businesse ran for 15 years before I got bored with it and sold it. My "salary" in the last 10 years was pretty predictable, but I probably could have built the business faster if I had marketed it to a target market of people who needed my services, wanted my services and could pay for my services.

Now I am running the Network security company, a web design company, and a marketing company. I am still looking for a natural salesperson who loves the phone (I do not - can't get anything done when I am on the phone) and honing my presentation.

Wolf Halton

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I AGREE

by Mr pasha In reply to Been there, done that

Iam also having the same fear of family. you are absolutely right..

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Hmmm - what a dilemma!

by brian In reply to Job vs. own business

I presume you're in US?
Over here in Europe, most Public Sector bodies allow you to take a Career Break, ie you take an unpaid sabattical for maybe 2-5 years after which you can go back to your old job.
My wife did this - she could have gone back anytime in between, but it maxxed out at 5 yrs.
Would this option be open to you?

Before jumping, consider the options:
- what are the risks, what are your commitments (kids, mortgage, etc)
- what other aspects would you be giving up. Longer term do you want work to be your life or simply the 9-to-5 that funds your life.
- what are the career prospects where you are? could you become a real player within the public service and hence be better motivated.

However, if you really want to be your own boss (and there's no substitute for that!), then you're better doing it now than waiting 10 more years when your financial commitments are more burdensome.
A few years hard grafting now, particularly when you're young, will pay off well in the future.

Personally, if you're not tied down by personal financial/family commitments, I'd go for it.
If you dont you'll always wonder, what if?

Re your benefits, I suggest you find out what they would cost to buy privately (at your age they should be relatively cheap) and include these in your business plan.

Finally, with the market starting to up, now is probably the best time in the last 4 years to think about doing this.

Good Luck.
Brian.

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It can work.

by jradams1 In reply to Job vs. own business

I went independant two years ago. I love it. It teaches you how to handle cash flow and how to live within your means. Also, it gives you freedom but at a price. You may have a bad month or two so you need a nest egg or six month emergency fund to survive. One last comment. Insurance is expensive and hard to get if you have had any problems in the past 12 months. If you have a spouse that is insured then you could be covered by her policy. Hope this helps!

Jim

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