Author Topic: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...  (Read 2252 times)

Johnez

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 637
  • Location: Southern California
Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« on: August 26, 2017, 07:15:42 AM »
A common refrain directed toward future entrepreneurs is that owning is harder than being employed. 80 hour work weeks, the heartache and headaches of no days off sick or vacation, etc.

However I know that's not always the case. What are the keys to avoiding the miserable fate that so many warn of?

Papa bear

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2017, 07:32:40 AM »
I own a business and work 3.5 days a week.  But I have a partner who works more hours and we just hired some additional help to cover other needs.

Choose a business where your required hours aren't retail or require multiple shifts and get other people to do "work" for you.

However, I could make a lot more money putting in big hours.  I just choose not to. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

khizr

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Alabama
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 08:41:08 AM »
A common refrain directed toward future entrepreneurs is that owning is harder than being employed. 80 hour work weeks, the heartache and headaches of no days off sick or vacation, etc.

However I know that's not always the case. What are the keys to avoiding the miserable fate that so many warn of?
You have to spend a lot of time not caught up in the business, but focused on execution and figuring out what you want.

IE, if you want to work 4 hours a week you have to find people and pay people enough to allow for that. You have to build and create processes to do that.

It is hard, but not crazy hard, you just have to make sure you focus one execution rather than busy work.

calimom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2017, 02:29:49 PM »
And obviously a lot depends on the type of business you choose to go into. If, for example, you have a fast food restaurant or coffee shop that's open 7AM to midnight 7 days a week, that's clearly going to involve many, many hours. Even with shift employees and a manager or two, who are they going to call when the refrigeration goes out or half the staff doesn't show up? That would be you. On the other end of the food service spectrum, you have a high end catering company with a big handful of well paying gigs a month, you'll be working hard some days, and then others might just be some administrative tasks, sales calls, website tweaking, etc., with a fair amount of time to do as you please so long as you're happy with the income you're making.

I have a small business that is for the most part, Monday through Friday. 3 or 4 weekends a year I do need to work, but it's for a fairly profitable segment of my company offerings so I don't really mind. I have 2 part time employees and outsource a bit of accounting and tax prep. Ostensibly I could do it all, and have less overhead, but it would suck the enjoyment out it for me, which I would hate. And my  schedule allows me to pick up my kids in the afternoons, work in my garden, cook dinner and have the other life/work balance I wanted for my family. This is all anecdotal of course, but in my experience, self employment has given my more money, more control (but not complete of course) of my time, as well as building long term equity. Everyone's story is going to be different.

bwall

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 314
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2017, 08:17:48 AM »
However I know that's not always the case. What are the keys to avoiding the miserable fate that so many warn of?

I'd say about half of it is mindset and the other half is cash flow.

In regards to vacations (and sick days too for that matter), for years, in my business the logic went like this: when business was up, 'I can't go on vacation, the money is flowing in too easily'. When business was down, 'I can't go on vacation, there is no money coming in'. It wasn't until I was able to delegate responsibility AND had nice financial reserves before I could go on a limited vacation. Limited meaning, I may have been in Europe for two months, but my cell phone was always on and I checked/answered emails every day. I'd be working at 10 p.m. or midnight b/c of the time zone differences. My wife expressed her displeasure on numerous occasions.

As for the work week hours: it's always there in the back of your head. Right now we have huge inventory that we need to sell. That's in my head all day, every day. No way to get it out of my head unless we sell the inventory. But, once we sell it, the next problem is 'where are the deals!?!?!? I need inventory to sell! Or is the market changing and I'm behind the curve? Are my clients buying elsewhere? How do I get new clients? What's going on?!?!?' and so goes the merry go round. No way to get it out of your head unless you get out of the business. The best way to describe it is doing a term paper in college. You have all semester to do it and you know you can do it. But, it's not done until it's done and so it's in the back of your head all the time until it's done. It's the same for me as a business owner.

At the end of the day, as with many things, it's a lifestyle. Either you like it or you don't. If you're cut out for it, then it's easy. If not, then you'll be miserable the entire time and can't wait for it to end.


SeattleCPA

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 826
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Redmond, WA
    • Evergreen Small Business
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2017, 04:58:32 PM »
Running your own small business isn't necessarily a grind. Once you know what you're doing--and learning an industry and figuring out the right business model takes some time--things work smoother and generate more profits.

A really good book to read on this subject is Michael Gerber's "The E-myth." That whole book is basically about how not to be bad small business owner.

P.S. IMHO many of the people who trash talk the life of a small business owner either haven't actually experienced it... or haven't (yet?) learned how to do it right.
My blog Evergreen Small Business
My free downloadable ebook: Thirteen Word Retirement Plan

Rubic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 845
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 11:15:19 AM »
When I was doing this -- which was most of my career -- I found the best
way to maintain a grip on overworking was to have an office separate
from where I lived.  Of course once the business grew to include employees,
the problem of having a separate office was mainly solved. But then I took
steps to mostly cut off work from home entirely, i.e. make a trip back to the
office if additional work was necessary to keep my personal time sacrosanct.

Otherwise, if working from a home office, you really need to set time
boundaries.

CargoBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 345
    • Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2017, 08:45:17 PM »
A common refrain directed toward future entrepreneurs is that owning is harder than being employed. 80 hour work weeks, the heartache and headaches of no days off sick or vacation, etc.

However I know that's not always the case. What are the keys to avoiding the miserable fate that so many warn of?


Define what you want, and then reverse engineer the process to create that.

Here's what I know:
1) I want to travel in Sweden and Denmark for 10 weeks next summer. 
2) I just signed a 2-year lease on a warehouse
3) I have a growing business, and I don't want that growth slow down while I'm gone.
4) I want to spend tons of time with my family, always.

1 & 2 & 3 - Simple logic problem.  If I want X, then I need to do Y and Z.

I need to define processes well enough that can be carried out by someone else.  I need to find someone that I can trust absolutely to do the job with no supervision. I need to be profitable enough to be able to pay this person.

I need to schedule my manufacturing, so that the big summer order comes in a month before I leave, so that all bikes can be assembled, tested and tuned, and palletized under my supervision.

Instead of generating traffic and sales from methods that require my time and physical presence (trade shows, events, touring the country), use marketing methods that can be scaled independent of my time:  Paid advertising, facebook ads, display advertising, print advertising, social media.  That, or hire a sales rep to do the travelling and events, which might be worth doing as well.


4 - Work 4 days on, 3 days off.  Take off afternoons, and replace that time with early morning and late at night work.


Generally speaking though, the hours input will be much higher upfront, and then you can scale back later as things start rolling.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 08:50:32 PM by CargoBiker »
Owner - Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles

🚲 The Bike for Urban Families 🚲

Kids in Front | Wooden Cargo Box with 2 Benches | Electric Assist Motor | 3 Wheels

Rediscover Your City Join the Tribe

www.urbantribecargobicycles.com

financialfreedom

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Age: 35
  • Location: UK
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 11:32:54 AM »
The E-myth as someone said above is very useful.

I've been in business for 15 years since leaving university and I'm still learning.

Robust systems that do the work, automation & multiple levels of redundancy (more than 1 person doing each job, more than one machine, more than one internet connection etc etc) are key.

Of course, it follows that the hardest part is growing the business so that it's big enough to support the processes and redundancies you need. Before then, you need to do a lot of the work yourself.

My wife and & work 3 mornings a week now, and can have vacations.

Smokystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2017, 12:55:56 PM »
The E-myth as someone said above is very useful.

I've been in business for 15 years since leaving university and I'm still learning.

Robust systems that do the work, automation & multiple levels of redundancy (more than 1 person doing each job, more than one machine, more than one internet connection etc etc) are key.

Of course, it follows that the hardest part is growing the business so that it's big enough to support the processes and redundancies you need. Before then, you need to do a lot of the work yourself.

My wife and & work 3 mornings a week now, and can have vacations.

I'm assuming when you say "leaving university" that means you were an instructor/faculty. If so, what was your field and what is your business field now -- if you don't mind sharing. (I'm a US faculty member that plans to leave academics soon).

financialfreedom

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Age: 35
  • Location: UK
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2017, 01:04:38 AM »
@Smokystache

Actually no, I started by business in the second year of my degree while at university (US: college).

We manufacture a bespoke product and sell online.

Smokystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2017, 06:02:35 AM »
@Smokystache

Actually no, I started by business in the second year of my degree while at university (US: college).

We manufacture a bespoke product and sell online.

Thanks for clarifying.

FIREby35

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2017, 06:57:32 AM »
Great advice from everyone.

I have lots of people who make the comment you posted about, that there is no freedom in small business and that it takes a lot of the owner's personal time.

It is true.

BUT, that is just a phase of the business growth cycle. Some people (many, actually) get stuck in this phase. These people then dislike being a small business owners, complain and discourage others.

However, the people who take the next step in the business growth cycle act strategically to free themselves from complete personal responsibility. As described above, that requires employees, systems, processes, personal and professional growth.

The problem is that a first time business owner will first receive feedback from their experience that confirms the complainers because their experience is the initial experience for small business owners. The people who have evolved will seem like they have some amazing business that is so far away from the brand new entrepeneur. You have to push past that and just create the business you want - it can happen.

E-Myth is the book that helped me evolve. I love my business now. I just took a two month vacation earlier this year and I'm scheduled for another 5 week vacation this winter. Amazing.

Rightflyer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 275
  • Location: Herefordshire
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2017, 04:25:05 AM »
@Smokystache

Actually no, I started by business in the second year of my degree while at university (US: college).

We manufacture a bespoke product and sell online.

So, curiosity has got the better of me.

What is your product?
Six is having problems adjusting to his clone status.

SC93

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 318
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2017, 09:44:24 PM »
While you are correct that most probably get lost in that phase, I sometimes keep myself in that phase because I like that phase. It probably sounds weird but I can either be in that phase or not be in that phase. I've went for a year without being involved in any of my businesses and sometimes I'm involved every second. Personally it is just how I feel at the time. I've never hated any of my businesses because of that. I've hated them for other reasons. lol But the hate usually goes away when I wake up the next day. :)

SeattleCPA

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 826
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Redmond, WA
    • Evergreen Small Business
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2017, 06:37:17 AM »
Great advice from everyone.

I have lots of people who make the comment you posted about, that there is no freedom in small business and that it takes a lot of the owner's personal time.

It is true.

BUT, that is just a phase of the business growth cycle. Some people (many, actually) get stuck in this phase. These people then dislike being a small business owners, complain and discourage others.

However, the people who take the next step in the business growth cycle act strategically to free themselves from complete personal responsibility. As described above, that requires employees, systems, processes, personal and professional growth.

The problem is that a first time business owner will first receive feedback from their experience that confirms the complainers because their experience is the initial experience for small business owners. The people who have evolved will seem like they have some amazing business that is so far away from the brand new entrepeneur. You have to push past that and just create the business you want - it can happen.

E-Myth is the book that helped me evolve. I love my business now. I just took a two month vacation earlier this year and I'm scheduled for another 5 week vacation this winter. Amazing.

+1... really good insights...
My blog Evergreen Small Business
My free downloadable ebook: Thirteen Word Retirement Plan

SeattleCPA

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 826
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Redmond, WA
    • Evergreen Small Business
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2017, 06:48:09 AM »
While you are correct that most probably get lost in that phase, I sometimes keep myself in that phase because I like that phase. It probably sounds weird but I can either be in that phase or not be in that phase. I've went for a year without being involved in any of my businesses and sometimes I'm involved every second. Personally it is just how I feel at the time. I've never hated any of my businesses because of that. I've hated them for other reasons. lol But the hate usually goes away when I wake up the next day. :)

Good comments above. Also, to continue your theme, I wonder if what's the "right" phase for a business owner depends on where they are in life? E.g., what works for some young single person is maybe different from what works for a new parent is maybe different for someone late in their work life...

I also do think, however, that "e-myth" type thinking can really supercharge a small businesses's results. In the industry I'm in, I am pretty sure that lots of small firms and solo practitioners work really hard to make profits roughly equal to what they'd make in a just above entry level accounting job. Which is fine for them as many of them will tell you.

But that top 20% or top 10% do way better.

P.S. small CPA firms (that's the category I'm in) display a power law dynamic with regard to their profitability as discussed in the blog post referenced below... one might think this is irrelevant to business owners in other categories, but I really doubt it: https://evergreensmallbusiness.com/small-cpa-firm-profitability/


My blog Evergreen Small Business
My free downloadable ebook: Thirteen Word Retirement Plan

Rubic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 845
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2017, 11:10:49 AM »
Good comments above. Also, to continue your theme, I wonder if what's the "right" phase for a business owner depends on where they are in life? E.g., what works for some young single person is maybe different from what works for a new parent is maybe different for someone late in their work life...

100% agreement.

I find myself passing up on opportunities/challenges that I would have jumped
on at an earlier stage in life.

Johnez

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 637
  • Location: Southern California
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2017, 02:18:00 AM »
Wow, quite a few great replies in here-thanks guys.

I particularly appreciate the book recommendation, E-myth sounds intriguing. 

ElleFiji

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
Re: Business owners: In response to the franchise thread...
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2017, 07:13:29 AM »
Working in private health care you have a few routes to prevent over working. The most important is fair pricing. I entered with low fees, making a subsistence living. By changing my clinic location and set up, I can charge fair fees that allow everyone connected with my business to make a good living, and also to take a few pro bono patients.

For vacation, I limit time away from my clinic to 1-2 weeks per trip, and make sure patients know and are excited for me. A colleague does long weekends, a few extra days at Christmas, and 6 weeks in the summer. Summer is traditionally slow, plus her patients know the pattern.

The third route is to have a separate income stream and less days in the office. It's my next target.

But overall, my freedom and flexibility is amazing.

I'll be looking at the e myth next