General discussion


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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The Excitement of Un-Employment

by Sysadmin/Babysitter In reply to Job vs. own business

Yes, not knowing when your next meal where come from is VERY exciting!
However, You have a full time job & are attending grad school. (which limits the time you spend on your part-time self-employed work).
For now, 1-Finish the grad. school coursework, 2-look for another job that combines your current position & allows additional training in your preffered field, 3-Get a personal life!!!

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Think twice

by jjlov In reply to Job vs. own business

It depends a lot on the economic climate where you are. In North Carolina and Tennessee, things are good, in Chicago, they are terrible. And there are lots of web developers out there.

Secondly, being an independent is a hand-to-mouth existence. Expect to spend about 50% of your time the first three years doing nothing but marketing and sales. Unless you like sales work (cold calling, etc.)

On the other hand, if your existing employer is a potential customer, you can at least get a running start. Regardless, never burn your bridges, they always come back to haunt you.

Best of luck!

- John

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by gringuito In reply to Job vs. own business

I live in Mexico - US born and raised, am in my 40s and have 5 children. We've learned to live cheaply here and how to take care of our own health.

I quit my IT job about 7 months ago after trying to negotiate a part time consultant position with my ex-boss. It didn't work out. The interesting thing is that the company folded recently.

I couldn't take the j.o.b. any more and my wife and kids (well, the older ones were all in agreement with the decision. There's much more to the story but basically we are an unconventional, adventurous bunch and love to learn as we go.

My wife and I are working on a few web projects from stuff we learned at as well as other non IT projects like teaching English and doing ok with great expectations for the near future. I don't miss the old schedule and office innanity in the least. Our children are learning with us and I hope they will be doing their own independant businesses by the age of 15 with our help. The only thing I regret is not having built things up a bit more before taking the leap.

You really have to be a certain type of person to do this though and I'd encourage you to take the time to ask around and learn before going for it. You need to be a generalist, disciplined and willing to study and work hard, learn from rather than getting discouraged by failure and it helps to have a system that you can follow. Also consider how badly you want/need to finish your education because this kind of adventure takes time. I'm of the opinion that the future belongs to autodidacts and formal education is of rapidly diminishing value.

I'd say that if you're single and adventurous and willing to learn, there's no reason not to try. If you have a wife and family or a big student loan, then think it through.

"If a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade." Tom Peters

Mucha suerte chavo! (Best of Luck!)

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Self-Employed or Own Business

by barry In reply to Job vs. own business

I have been self-employed as a freelance IT consultant for about 18 months. There are advantages:
You are not answerable to anyone but yourself
you can choose your own hours
freedom from company politics
Some disadvantages:
regular stream of income
can't afford to take leave
have to please the client even when they are wrong. In a 'job' you have a little more lee-way than this.
Better is to start a business that can grow and does not leave you dependent only on your own time and input. If you see the web development company growing to include more people and being able to start producing a residual income, then you are on the right track. That is a business. If you are going to simply be working as a freelance developer, then you are self employed and the benefits are limited.

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Think about the life you really want

by Matrixcsl In reply to Job vs. own business


You seem bored of your job. You are obviously not happy. You are young so why not try your business? Words of warning though - competition is intense, winning new business IS NOT easy, can you earn good money, REGULARLY? Running your own business can be great, BUT it can also take over your life, be stressful, worrying and tiresome. Are you 100% sure you can do it? Will you have the support of your family/partner? Whats makes you different from your competitors? Why should people choose you? GOOD LUCK

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What's the reason for the change?

by asherl In reply to Job vs. own business

I'm hearing that question a lot lately...

I recently left a good private sector job to start an IT consulting firm with a friend of mine in Australia. Before I did it I thought long and hard about why I wanted to start a new business.

Reasons like:

I want to make more money
I want more freedom
I want a better life style
I want to be in charge, e.t.c.

...are fine but you can achieve those by staying in an organisation and pushing through the ranks or changing jobs and joining another organisation (public or private).

My advice to you is find what you want to get out of your own business that you can not get anywhere else.

For me it turned out to be simple, I wanted (and still want) to create something that does not exist, an approach and delivery that does not exist. I could not do that in another firm.

Good luck with your decision.

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Health Insurance

by Presidio In reply to Job vs. own business

No, I haven't read all the posts so maybe this was covered -- if so please, PLEASE, tell me where.

Getting *affordable* health insurance when self-employed seems impossible.

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Are you sure?

by jjill In reply to Health Insurance

I think you should reconsider, or just take free advice from some people, who are very experinced in the branch.

I recommend you a website, check it out!

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Am there, am doing it.........

by ServerJockey In reply to Job vs. own business

Ten years ago I started building PC's and fixing computers on the side out of my basement. Word spread around town that I was good and affordable and stood behind my repairs and computers.

The best thing that ever happened to me was that a few years after that I was fired from my job as a Network Admin because the owner of the company didn't like me flexing my time. How's that saying go - When life hands you lemons make lemonade...........hehe.

I have not made one sales call in five years but I've got enough business just from word of mouth to support my five kids and wife. I don't run any newspaper ads, radio or TV - just word of mouth!! I'm sure this is my downfall but I'm not out to be Bill Gates or Michael Dell, I just want enough business to keep food on the table. (For the previous 15 years I spent in IT, I never got a vacation and I worked my way up from Help desk to MIS administrator and did enough driving to make Richard Petty look silly so this is a vacation to me!)

It's not always peachy, sometimes it gets slow and there won't be a phone call for a week and I'll get nervous and start looking for a job but that's when I always get busy again! Right when I get an interview or am supposed to start a job, I'll get a sweet contract and I have to turn the j.o.b down.

There are other drawbacks, like all the hours. The hours you put in are not always billable. Sometimes it's support that you have to provide, or sometimes it's running for supplies or quoting jobs or just holding your customers hand!

Now I have a wife with four kids and I would not have been able to do it without her support. She puts up with me leaving at 6am every day and then walking in the door at 10 every night when I'm done doing the books or inventory or training class or whatever.
I did recently start doing websites and web hosting also only because I couldn't find anyone that was reliable and dependable enough to outsource it to. Several people came and went, some of them even good friends of mine but couldn't make a go of it. Either they wanted too much money for too little website or they just didn't have a grasp on the more technical skills. (anyone can put an html site together - it's the Ecommerce site with a shopping cart and being able to accept real time credit card transactions, etc. that are the true test!!)

THe more revenue streams you have, the better!

GO here and take some of these quizzes to help you determine whether or not you are suited to running your own business!

Talk to people that are already running businesses and interview them. Ask them for ideas, tips, any contacts they might have that would be able to help you.

See if there is a business leads group in your area, I joined one a few years ago and it has been invaluable to me as I've gotten thousands of dollars of business from it and it only cost me a hundred bucks a year to join!

Go check out SCORE - see what they have to offer. The one in my area actually had a 6 hour course that I took and passed and I got a certificate for it.

Check out "Getting Started in Computer Consulting" by Peter Meyer! It's a great book. Also, "Small business for Dummies" and "Success for Dummies". They are both great books!

And now the number one thing - keep this in mind every day you wake up and start your day. This is what it's really all about. Remember when someone is talking to you and trying to sell you something or whatever, they are probably, most certainly, almost certainly, trying to f*!k you! Some companies do it outright blatantly and don't care. Others try to hide the fact that they are doing it but trust me, they are! Don't ever barter! If someone asks you, well hey you need new carpet and I need a website, tell them you're fine with your carpet, it just needs cleaned and you only accept cash!

Always get it in writing!! Don't even start a project without having everything in writing! Always get half up front to cover your "get going costs" even if there aren't any and always get the rest the day the job is finished! Make sure you let them know that you expect a check the day it's done and they accept the work! That way you won't end up with A/R up to $20k.

Don't sign a contract without letting your lawyer read it just to Cover your A**. The people that screwed me the most were the companies I trusted the most - like the phone company, long distance company, cell phone company, people in the same building as me, employees, colleagues, etc. Everyone wants a piece of your success and they will go to all means to get it!

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There is a time and place for Everything

by waithek In reply to Job vs. own business

Dont quit now keep the day job as long as you can but still work on the other. I had to quit my day job because my husband took another job in a different city.I have now ventured in the private sector by starting my own business.Sometimes the jobs are there, most times they are not are you prepared to deal with this. if so do what makes you happy.I f my circumstances were different I would have kept my day job.

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