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Was it worth it?

Was it worth it?

Was it worth it?

I have a question for those of you that have started your own businesses.  Was it worth it, financially?  Are you earning more, less, or about the same as what you were before you made the leap?  Or have any of you found that you are working so many hours that the per hour compensation isn't worth it?

RE: Was it worth it?

I am sure you will get very different answers from different posters on these questions, industry and location are big factors. Even more so from people who “know someone” who started up six months ago and now has the lifestyle of a millionaire, but very few know someone who failed and has lost their house and life savings.

Speaking personally and about automotive in the UK I do not earn near what I was two years ago before I started my own company. Having said that I don’t think many companies do, speaking as a rule of thumb if you quote what you got four or five years ago for a job you will be 30-40% to high, that is the market place. There have been huge redundancies and closures in the industry. Other factors come into the equation, for example it is almost impossible to be competitive in the USA with the current pound-dollar exchange rate.

Having said that I have a wonderful office in a rural location, no long drive in congested traffic and I still do what I know and love and I am my own boss, well at least to a degree, customers are far more demanding than any boss I worked for.

So to answer your question am I better off? No I work longer hours for less money and with no perks. Am I happier than I was two years ago? Certainly.

RE: Was it worth it?

I started my business 4 years ago and was in the black in the first quarter.  Last year I paid more taxes than I made in my last year working for a major Oil Company.  I'm having more fun than I've ever had in my life.  The range of projects and opportunities is very exciting and all my clients pay very promptly (never a disputed invoice in 4 years).

My biggest problem is making time for a life outside of work.  I'm really lucky in that regard in that my kids are grown and have their own lives, and my wife participates in my work (she goes on business trips to the better locations and she serves as my laborer on jobs where I need a second set of hands).  I can't imagine a better choice that I could have made when I "retired" than the one I made.

My results may not be typical, but I think they're possible for anyone willing to put in the apprentiship.  I spent 6 years in the US Navy learning what happens when a valve is cycled (and a few other things), followed by University and 23 years working for an Oil company.  During the time I was with the Oil company I was working towards this goal--I learned as many skills as I could, I wrote papers, got my PE, and participated in engineering societies (not just a member, but an officer at the local level).  The result was that the company started with a broad foundation and a very large network of potential clients.  I've been wonderfully compensated for the crap that I had to put up with to get here.


RE: Was it worth it?

David's point about participating in your local professional organization cannot be overstated.  It allowed me to gain not only valuable contacts and eventually clients, but it enhances your reputation in general, especially if you participate in community activities.

Don Phillips

RE: Was it worth it?

This is going to be a broad generalization that doesn't apply to every circumstance or person...

I have found that the people who are most successful running their own firm have an outgoing personality, are good at sales, don't mind networking, and make a decent salesperson. It seems that these people usually make far more than they did at their past job.

The people who it seems have a little tougher time are those with a more introvert personality, without a lot of connections, who don't enjoy selling.

This generalization also doesn't apply to really specialized businesses where people are actively seeking you out, but I think that overall it is pretty accurate.

Being able to get clients seems to be the difference between doing better than a full-time job and doing worse.


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