Author Topic: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?  (Read 1092 times)

CargoBiker

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Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« on: February 28, 2017, 03:07:58 PM »
Just throwing up a topic to get this sub-forum going.

Who here has reached FI by way of owning a business?

Do you still run the business, or was there a sale or some other exit event?


Looking back, would you have taken the same path, or would you have worked a job instead?


StockBeard

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2017, 04:58:52 PM »
Kind of. My hobby generates more money than I thought it ever would, and it now represents 30% of my expected income in ER. It also contributed to a large chunk of my egg nest over the years, although how much exactly I'm not sure... 20% maybe?

Looking back: would still have done the same thing. Note it's a hobby and I still have a 9 to 5 in parallel. I love the idea that f one of these two things fails, the other will probably still be there.

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 05:21:15 PM »
Kind of. My hobby generates more money than I thought it ever would, and it now represents 30% of my expected income in ER. It also contributed to a large chunk of my egg nest over the years, although how much exactly I'm not sure... 20% maybe?


What's your hobby?

StockBeard

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2017, 05:40:01 PM »
What's your hobby?
Video games. I run a website on some video game niche, with advertising. Think MMM in terms of traffic, although it's not making anywhere close to what MMM has disclosed this site makes. I guess the finance niche is where it's at :)

CargoBiker

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2017, 09:21:25 PM »
I guess the finance niche is where it's at :)

There is always money in telling people how to make money.

A lot of times, the better business isn't doing the thing that makes money, it's telling other people how to do the thing that makes money.

SwordGuy

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 01:12:40 PM »
I sped up my date to FI by starting a number of different businesses.

Each of them contributed in some way to increasing my income or decreasing my costs, even the ones that failed.

maizeman

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2017, 04:52:03 PM »
It's certainly speeding up the date a bit. But the frustrating thing is that the big money, if it ever arrives, would be well after I hope to be FIRE one way or the other.
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SeattleCPA

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2017, 06:45:31 PM »
To answer the original poster's question, yes...

But FI with a small business is weird. You have a great investment generating a high ROI... but it requires (probably) a certain amount of on-going work.

And then another weird element... Very possibly, owning your own business will be fun enough that you'll want to continue your involvement. I'm FI, but I still work because I really love the folks I work with... and the work I do.

Jon Bon

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 10:27:54 AM »
Most definitely.

I would still be spending 50 hours a week at work and 10 hours in the car if it were not for my small business. It set me free in just about 3 years, its been one of the best things that has happened to me financially.

That being said, yeah I do work 5-10 hours a week on it, but well worth the trade as I used to spend that much time just in the car getting to work!

Also I love this new topic!

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2017, 10:42:35 AM »
Yes!

Big work up front, then ongoing income, then another round of big work, then more ongoing income. I do some small maintenance every year, but this path was one of several that made all the difference. In my mind, key was achieving not only cash but *also* time and energy. Time and energy that could then be used for frugal living, etc. I would focus on setting up a business one can work "on not in" as many of the entrepreneurship books recommend.

Knaak

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 05:48:44 PM »
I started a business with a few other people at the end of my freshman year of college.  That was my main income source from 18-32 years old.  We hit a rough patch along the way and I finally got a j-o-b shortly after I turned 32.  I kept the business going on the side after the other owners dropped out.  Now the business is doing better and I am 100% owner, plus I have my full-time job.  I'll quit the job the end of this year, at 35 years old, since I'll be FI.  I enjoy the business (travel industry), so I'll keep that going since it doesn't take much of my time, I can run it from anywhere, and I like getting free stays at ridiculously expensive resorts.

Looking back, would you have taken the same path, or would you have worked a job instead?

Same path.  The job gave me a peek into the world of being an employee and it helped me truly appreciate the lifestyle I had as a business owner.  Even though I probably could have made more money at a regular job and hit FI a year or two earlier, I still prefer the path I took.  The end of this year will conclude 3.5 years of what I'm calling the Office Space chapter of my life.  That's just about the right amount of time to get the full experience of being a cubicle monkey, develop a better appreciation for Office Space and Dilbert, and escape before I go insane.

arebelspy

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2017, 10:18:14 AM »
Sort of.

The wife and I were teachers, which obviously doesn't pay well (first year we made 33k and 18k, respectively... final year, after 8 year's experience and adding Master's Degrees, we made about 44k each).  Yet we still retired at age 29, millionaires.

We did it via owning a lot of residential real estate.

So the reason I say sort of is that I can see the arguments why one would say "no" to the question of if we achieved FI by starting our own business.

No:
- We had normal (W2) jobs for an employer.
- We invested our way to FI (that investment being real estate).

I can also see an argument for yes.

Yes:
- We clearly didn't become millionaire early retirees before age 30 by being teachers, so it was something else that got us to FI
- The real estate investing was more like a business--run like a business, with systematic processes and time spent more like a business than an investment.

So if you consider it was our real estate business that got us to FIRE so fast, you might say yes, we achieved FI by starting our own business.

So... sort of yes, sort of no.  What do you think?  :)
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FIREby35

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2017, 03:48:21 PM »
Well, other than not being fully fire, big time "Yes." I'm 32 with a family of 5 and 3/4 of the way there though. So, I think it's going pretty well.

I'd have to echo Seattle CPA. I imagine a small law firm is much like a small CPA firm. I've been trying to systematize and get more employees involved so that it is more a "business" than a "self-employed" type situation.** The more I get it into a good, solid, systematized, small business zone, the less I can imagine leaving - it's fun! Anyway, I'll accept that as a "problem."

As for if I'd have done it differently, definitely a "no." For one, I've made more than even the corporate attorneys in my area (that are my same age, of course). I've got a higher income potential. I also have worked dramatically less hours and had more flexibility. I get to choose my cases/causes and that is priceless. What more is there to have? Finally, I briefly worked in two different big, traditional style firms as summer clerkships and saw enough to know I'd never fit in.

**Quotes because I'm not using a strict definition. I hope the distinction between a business and being self-employed is understood by everyone.

SwordGuy

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2017, 04:11:58 PM »
So... sort of yes, sort of no.  What do you think?  :)

Yes, absolutely.   Not a shred of doubt.

FIREby35

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Re: Did you achieve FI by starting your own business?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2017, 07:02:05 AM »
So... sort of yes, sort of no.  What do you think?  :)

Yes, absolutely.   Not a shred of doubt.

Agreed. Being a teacher and frugal provided you capital. Your fortune was built as an entrepreneur.