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Anyone work for themselves?

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I'm doing some research, pretty much for my own knowledge. I would love some input from you guys.


In times of economic instability, soaring gas prices and no-mcdonalds-need-apply, don't you see this as a real depressing time? The need for Prozac skyrockets and the irony is noone can afford it.


All joking aside, I personally would love to flip this around and make it into a positive. If you have food, clothes, electric, running water and a roof, well I guess you're in decent enough shape to let your mind wander with mine for a minute...


Vrooooom....Ok, couldn't a time of such instability make you feel like you want something more? Are worth something more? I do. I've been on this planet for 23 years. It's not a long time but I guess it's long enough for me to realize, I've had enough of this whole kissing-someone-else's -ass-to-pay-me shpell. (Just from watching my parents, it turned them bitter and hateful people) I would love to work for myself, or at least start my own business. You're constantly taught from childhood to be hard working and depend on noone but yourself, picking yourself up by your non-leather bootstraps and make it in this world. And yet so many people are wasting their lives working their life away, not for themselves. For someone else. Depending on someone else. Kissing someone else's ass.


So what about doing something you love? Doing something that you would normally do every day anyway. Working to live, instead of living to work. Jumping out of the 9-5 routine and jumping into your pajamas. Sure there are risks, but is working for yourself any less stable than working for someone else? I think it's safe to say everyone employed has the same chance of being unemployed tomorrow. Maybe the ones who are unemployed have the better advantage point. Maybe being unemployed can give you the time to figure out how to make your life work for you, instead of you working for your life.


Maybe I'm just talking out of my ass because its 2am. Like I need an ungodly hour to talk out of my ass anyway.


I'm not a spoiled rich brat who doesn't know anything about the working world. Quite the opposite. I be's po and broke. Unemployed as well, though I know I'm not the only one. So, does anyone work for themselves? Are your own boss? Sign your own paychecks? If so, how did you start out? Why? What lead you to doing it? Do you have regrets?

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Well I don't know about the others here, but in many ways Robert and VeganEssentials are both self-employed, and I think they will tell you what I have heard from nearly every other self-employed person out there, that it's damn hard work and it's also damn satisfying. I am just finishing my degree (23 as well!) and I really love what you said on this. I think there are two very important things to keep in mind though. One is to do what you love. Not like, but LOVE. Anything less than love and you won't be able to do it the 60+ hours a week you will need. Second, it has to be a profitable idea. Millions of people have started their own business only to fail weeks or months later simply because no one wanted what they were selling. So make sure you have a reasonable understanding of what the market wants and how much people will be willing to pay for your product. Other than that I will only say good luck!

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My parents own their own business ( a store) and they always worked pretty hard. We couldn't ever go on family vacations because then there would be nobody to take care of the store. We couldn't ever do anything fun on Saturdays because they were working in the store. When Sunday rolled around (the one day of the week they are closed), they were so tired and wanted to relax so we didn't do much then either. It sounds like I'm whining, but I'm not. I thought it sucked when I was younger, but now I really appreciate how hard they worked. I'm just saying that they work a LOT and they certainly can't just close up shop and go on a holiday or go out of town for the weekend.


Also there really isn't any security. If sales are bad that week, you have a bad week and don't have any money to bring home. I realize that when you are working for someone else there is always the possibility of a lay-off or something of that nature, so nothing is ever guaranteed 100%.


I realize you are only 23 so benefits might not be that big of a deal to you yet, but I feel like that is a major factor in me wanting to work for someone else.


Also think about start-up costs. Depending on your business, you might need a lot of money to get started. There are loans to help out with this, but you usually need a pretty solid business plan.


I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I'm just saying that you should definitely weigh all of the pros and cons and think about the risks before deciding. As Fallen Horse said, a LOT of small businesses fail every year.


Once you have an idea about what you would like to do, your first step should be creating a business plan.

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Lol @VE no problem man take your time, just enjoy picking your brain for this.


@Lobster, I know whoever embarks in doing it would really work their asses off, whether its worth it or not would always be something thats in the back of my head, kinda why I'm really trying to research it it beforehand.


@Duncan, good luck man I hope it works out for you guys!


@Fallen, ty for the kind words and I know it would definitely be a rough road. I have several things I'm truly pasisonate about so we'll see how that works out. Congrats on working towards your degree!

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Okay, pressed for time but I'll try to get something going here -


You'll never work harder (or longer hours, for that matter) than you will for yourself. It's a pleasure that, for those that have intense drive, is a great thing, but some people do grossly underestimate what it takes to make a business work. Of course, this depends greatly on what you want to get into, as if you want to be a professional photographer, that's nothing like what it will be if you want to open a store, and vice-versa. Each industry/field is going to have good and bad you'll need to deal with, and many times you don't know all the "fun" things you'll encounter until you're already knee-deep into your new career.


My wife (then girlfriend) started our business before I met her, but things didn't take off well until we both teamed up and had two heads going into this whole thing we do. It was a very different time for online retail back then, and truthfully, I don't know if we could pull it off the same way now that we did a decade ago. Prior to the giant retailers "discovering" that they could make money on vegan stuff (Zappos destroyed the footwear market for a lot of small businesses that used to thrive on that product base, Amazon has put a pinch on food sales for small shops for those who don't mind stocking up on some things, etc.), it was a very different time then for anything you want to sell online. That's precisely why there were about twice as many online vegan shops like ours circa 2005, times were much better then, you could do plenty to get the word out without spending a lot (we didn't have Facebook/Twitter then, but the other options seemed to work even better at the time than those do for us now). Not to mention, ANYTHING that you do that relies on technology is something that will be tricky - unless you want to live and breathe learning tech stuff along with everything else you do, it means that you'll either need to have a lot more capital to start with to hire others, or, expect that doing it DIY means you may take much, much longer to move your way up in whatever game you get into. I had to cut and run from the bulk of tech stuff years ago as it became impossible to stay on top of what's new while building a business that needed full-time attention. Now I contract more out, but it sure hits the checkbook with a lot more punch to go that route. But, that's enough about online retail, back to general stuff!


You'll be FAR more rewarded by working for yourself when you know that EVERYTHING that happens which is good is a direct result of your hard work. HOWEVER....everything BAD that comes your way is also a direct result of what you do, and when you run your own show, there's nobody to pass the buck to if something goes wrong. Some people have a really, really tough time with that, they love the feelings of success and accolades, but it's having the fortitude to keep pushing when everyone is telling you that your business isn't working, or during those times when you don't know how you'll afford to eat lunch that day, THAT'S what sets a good businessperson apart from someone who can't handle the rough patches. And believe me, you'll have more rough patches than you'll ever know...


I wouldn't trade what I do for anything, but at the same time, I know that I've probably shaved a few years off my life from stress and constant worry about everything. Even when times are good, you know that they can turn quickly, so one BIG piece of advice is ALWAYS PLAN FOR THE WORST. People who take out massive loans and never have a contingency plan for things being less-than-stellar end up in terrible places, so the more you can do without having to borrow from others, the better off you'll be. It may take longer to get where you want to go, but unless you've got someone who can bail you out, taking on big debt to get things moving can be the end-all that shuts you down. Not to mention, unless you have a big savings to live off of, you'll probably want to plan to have a part-time job for at least a year or two just to have enough survival money in case the business doesn't move forward quickly. Either Courtney or myself (and at one point, both of us) had to work full-time jobs elsewhere during our first 3 years working this together, it simply could not sustain itself until we built enough of a base to earn enough to get by. We didn't draw a dime of salary for years, every cent we made was re-invested in our company because we KNEW that if we spent it on ourselves, we'd never get far and had to sacrifice a lot back then. Those were interesting times, to say the least, and ones I'd prefer to not go through again. Everyone I knew looked at me like I was crazy for keeping on trying, none of them said they'd have suffered through all the stress and "will we make our cheap rent this month" days, but it did pay off. However, for every story where one business does work, there are twenty more where people didn't get past the first year or two.


I could rant and rave about this sort of thing for hours, but I do have to pack for a flight in the morning!

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I'll share some thoughts soon too, but just going to bed now.


I've worked for myself for the past 6 years. I do work for Vega too, but I spend most of my time doing my own thing hustling in areas of deep passion and interest.


Lots of ups and downs and extreme highs and lows but like Ryan, I wouldn't trade it for something else.


Soon, I will be just writing books for a living, totally full time.


All the best to everyone who pursues the passion to work for yourself doing what you love.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I work for a worldwide Vegan food delivery service, do one on one personal training and own an eco-friendly personal training studio.


I always knew I would be happiest working for myself and not directly reporting to someone.


But the truth is, there are challenges being self-employed as well. If a client is unhappy with me, there is no one but ME to fall back on and answer to. If my studio goes under, it was because I didn't promote it enough, no one else is to blame.


But would I have it any other way? No. I love being my own boss.

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