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  1. #1
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Default Do you own a business?

    Does anybody here have their own business? I've thought I'd like to have one, but I don't know like what? These days I see lots of empty strip mall spaces. The strip malls usually get filled in with tattoo parlors, vape shops and sometimes title pawns, the only things you can't buy off the internet.

    Someone told me I could get a used van and be a courier, but as I've read pointed out, someone you don't know gives you a sealed box to give to someone else you don't know. What's in there? You could be used as a drug mule and not even know it!

    I also read about being an E-bay or Amazon seller. I knew of some people who were selling children's clothes on E-bay and doing so well the guy quit his job at AT&T. What I'm reading now, though, is that it'll provide hobby income at best.

    Back in the late `80's and early `90's my uncle was supposedly raking it in with a flea market booth in Tennessee. My cousin says these days Walmart sells things for less than you could sell them for at a flea market, though.

    My great granddad had an eighth grade education yet somehow had about six different businesses going, but that was in the 1910's.

    SO...I dunno. Anybody have insight into this?

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    Atomic Punk I Coulda Hada VH's Avatar
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  4. #3
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    Being a landlord! That's another one I should've mentioned. I thought, "Hmm, what would it take to buy a little duplex and rent it out?" My Dad cautioned me against that. My granddad had a couple of rental houses back in the `40's-`50's-`60's, and Dad said he had some renters actually steal the hot water heater and disappear into the night once. My uncle also used to rent out a couple of trailers, and my cousin said, "They'll break more than you could ever fix!"

    I guess you can talk yourself out of anything. I dunno!

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    Atomic Punk bklynboy68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtyBoy View Post
    Being a landlord! That's another one I should've mentioned. I thought, "Hmm, what would it take to buy a little duplex and rent it out?" My Dad cautioned me against that. My granddad had a couple of rental houses back in the `40's-`50's-`60's, and Dad said he had some renters actually steal the hot water heater and disappear into the night once. My uncle also used to rent out a couple of trailers, and my cousin said, "They'll break more than you could ever fix!"

    I guess you can talk yourself out of anything. I dunno!
    Real estate is great depending on where you live. I can tell you that being a landlord in NYC is a nightmare. You are the enemy and you have to deal with the City of New York. It's like dealing with the mafia. Not kidding.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtyBoy View Post
    Does anybody here have their own business? I've thought I'd like to have one, but I don't know like what? These days I see lots of empty strip mall spaces. The strip malls usually get filled in with tattoo parlors, vape shops and sometimes title pawns, the only things you can't buy off the internet.

    Someone told me I could get a used van and be a courier, but as I've read pointed out, someone you don't know gives you a sealed box to give to someone else you don't know. What's in there? You could be used as a drug mule and not even know it!

    I also read about being an E-bay or Amazon seller. I knew of some people who were selling children's clothes on E-bay and doing so well the guy quit his job at AT&T. What I'm reading now, though, is that it'll provide hobby income at best.

    Back in the late `80's and early `90's my uncle was supposedly raking it in with a flea market booth in Tennessee. My cousin says these days Walmart sells things for less than you could sell them for at a flea market, though.

    My great granddad had an eighth grade education yet somehow had about six different businesses going, but that was in the 1910's.

    SO...I dunno. Anybody have insight into this?
    You start up a real business, you have to be all in and know your product/service, your competition and your customer base 100% to even have a chance to succeed. You need to offer something that can't be easily found a block away. Otherwise, you'll crash and burn in bankruptcy. Depending on the scale and scope of your business, you will have to deal with store rent, utilities, budgets, employees, book keeping and whatever city and state codes you may deal with. It can really snowball and consume all of your time.

    One of the key things owning and running a business, even something as simple as an eBay store is you will have to deal with all sorts of people. You gotta have people skills and loads of patience. There's always a percentage of people that are unpleasant, hard to please and downright looking to rip you off. The simplest business can be infinitely demanding and unpleasant because of the kind of customer base you may have to deal with.

    My example is I started up a small graphics production business in the mid-90's. It was and still is mostly just me - a one man company. I do anything that is physically made, from simple business cards to stand up retail displays, packaging, you name it. Because I was the middle man between the client and a printer, I had very little overhead. During busy times, I'd often bring in part time help, usually guys in college who had graphic design skills looking for experience but not full time work. Because I ran lean and knew my customer base and have a genuine love of this type of work, at my peak I was clearing over $100k yearly. Now, I'm semi-retired and take on projects more as favors for long time clients or referrals with interesting jobs.

    Another perspective comes from my wife. She is a manager of a major mall in LA and deals with hundreds of store owners, from the little one-person cart selling cheap toys to mom n' pop beauty and clothing stores to big box stores like Target. She knows which stores are failing and which stores are thriving. She see's people who have little idea what they're getting into and even little knowledge of the products or services they are selling throw hundreds of thousands into a new business and fail within a year all the time. Sometimes, one day they just abandon their property after months of unpaid rent.

    My suggestion is get your feet wet selling stuff on eBay. I've been doing eBay since 1999 mostly as a buyer but I've occasionally sold shit like rare records and books, art pieces, etc and have found being an eBay seller is a very good and easy example of the basics of running a small business in that you have to learn your product's demand and competitive pricing, get that product to a customer to their satisfaction and of course, deal directly with all sorts of people.

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  8. #6
    Atomic Punk
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    I could go through a list of "don'ts," but that's not that exciting.

    One thing that stuck with me talking to a business owner is that if you have a professional website, no one can tell how big or small you really are, depending upon the goods/services you're providing. To me, that's a big part of it, because the first thing most people do nowadays is go online and research the company.

    If you're prompt, honest, and reasonable, I'm likely to be a return customer. A lot of that can be lost nowadays.

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  10. #7
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    It's not yours.

  11. #8
    Good Enough Railrunner130's Avatar
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    Default

    When my wife and I got married, we each had a house. She moved into my house and we rented hers out. When she changed... They all do after they get married... we ended up having a house built. Thankfully, I was able to refinance my house to pay hers off. We ended up with two rentals for a bit. When we moved into this house, we struggled for about five years to find a decent renter for that house. I had done a ton of work to it and it was pretty nice. Finally, after the umteenth go around with crappy renters, we decided to sell it. The other rental, knock on wood, is still going strong with the original renters.

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  13. #9
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    Default

    eBay got me out of credit card debt, over ten years ago.

    I had just over 7 grand in debt, and i became savvy at "buying low & selling high."

    At work, they threw away a box of Michael Buble limited promo "snowflake" xmas
    singles/EP.

    Those things sold like fucking hot cakes, one after the other.
    I was in shock.

    But eBay was the wild west back then, where now they coach the buyer/seller of what
    the value is.

    I remember buying those early 80's/Japanese Squiers, that people thought were worth 100-150.
    I had two with the 70's headstocks, the others were smaller, but still of decent value.

    I just kept finding things, buying/selling.

    Lost my touch past six years, though.
    But i still buy stuff on there and get sick deals.
    I'm a patient pouncer/shopper.
    Graver, Walking Ed, refugee from CVH & proud tone chaser...

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  15. #10
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    It sounds like starting a business today, like in the case of the people starting mall stores for hundreds of thousands then going bankrupt, is too big of a risk for the ordinary person. A woman on my street has two vape shops, but I just can't imagine she's making any real money, or that it will last. Who knows? Do I need a vape shop, then go to a cannabis when that becomes legal? Guess I'll stay to the middle, safe path.

  16. #11
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    Lord, what can I tell you about being a small business owner. Don't? Especially the land lord thing. Laws are written to protect the tenant, and your lovely rental that you spent so much time and attention and money making lovely is nothing to them. The mom and pop landlord thing is tough. It's more of a corporate thing these days. But maybe that's just me after a particularly grueling stretch of getting punched in the tits on an almost daily basis.

    There are opportunities out there tho. But you have to love what you are getting into and I mean LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE it. Cause you are going to eat, sleep, and breath this thing for quite a while until you can come up for air. So don't dive into flipping houses cause your buddy did one and made 40 grand in 8 weeks. Cause I guarantee you that HE has a buddy who lost 40 grand. It has to be something that fits you. You have to have a real honest talk with yourself about what are your strengths and weakness and how you can exploit your strengths and over come or cover your weaknesses. Sometimes a partnership helps with that. But be careful, cause i have seen wonderful friendships and good marriages ruined. If you go that route, you need to have everything in writing and you need to stick to it without deviation cause that is where the trouble gets let in.

    And numbers. You are going to have to love numbers. Maybe not on the Dave's Dreidel level of love, but you are going to have to know your numbers on everything. You don't have to be an accountant, but in some respects you need to think like one and you need to have a good one. Curiously, not all accountants are good as business, because it takes a creative side and it also takes a crazy go for it side, and not all accountants embrace that part of themselves LOL

    Mentors. Someone else who knows the business, perhaps from SCORE. Someone who can look at what you are doing with complete detachment. Because you are not going to have that detachment because YOU are going all in on this thing and (like I said, eating sleeping an breath this thing). Sometimes it is your accountant, sometimes a trusted and skilled friend.

    Right now,the people I know who are starting business are going the franchise route. because someone has already developed a product, process and marketing pland that works. And they can be your mentor.

    I'm thinking of selling my business and doing something different and it scares me enough that I think maybe I shouldn't,maybe I should just take my little nest egg and sit on it. But I'm still young enough that I want something to DO. So in a way, I'm in the same boat as you. Yes I have a head start, but I also have a lot to lose

    To be honest, there are many days when I think about how nice it would be to go to work an have someone tell me what to do, and do it, and go home and not give one minute of thought to my work until I punch in tomorrow.

    eh, grass is always greener...yada yada yada

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  18. #12
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    I own a bunch mostly in cannabis, movies and AI. To be an entrepreneur you need to do something you will be passionate about. It is a commitment of time, capital, and especially mental energy. You need to be selling always in some way either product or your ideas to get buy in. There are no hours per se, you are always on with a start up, you have to be. It is incredibly satisfying but it is a long road and you need to push through as inevitably there will be days you want to quit. Once you get past those challenges and get to scale it is great. I love start ups but I love the act of creation and problem solving which is what the beging is all about. It is literally creating something from nothing so no its not easy. A mentor will get you through the days you want to quit and help you over the hump. Once down the road and you get the opportunity to mentor someone you realize how good it feels to pay it forward.

    So its great but an all consuming commitment. You can not half ass it. Also remember you can fix most business problems, pivot models etc... you can not fix people however so hiring is super important as is firing. You can teach people but you can not fix people so character issues you never will overcome, knowledge issues you can. If not knowledge, then put old yeller down a bad employee is toxic to a team and eats a shocking amount of your energy

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    Daisy makes a great point about mentors. Many of my most successful clients had someone show them the ropes first.
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    Thatís how I learned what I did. Had someone take the time to teach me. Formal education only goes so far.


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