Author Topic: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?  (Read 1774 times)

Kroaler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« on: January 19, 2019, 01:05:05 PM »
Just as the title says.  I want to see how many people took the risk and regret it. 

Ive read several books about starting a business and the importance of keeping start up cost low.   

Ive been following MMM ways for years, I have years (Not ideal but I'm DCA ing the funds into the market) of emergency fund saved up... etc etc...   Financially stable, that's the picture I want to paint.

But everyday , week after week, year after year I spend all my time making money for someone else at MEGA-corp instead of pursuing financial opportunities that interest me.  (Ive kept a word document of every business idea or invention Ive ever had since about 2008)


My current opinion is that I'm pissing away life, too scared to take any big risk (Like leaving the same job Ive had since graduating college), with no justification for that fear. 


SOMEONE CONVINCE ME I'M WRONG!!
 - I want to hear from the people on this board who lost everything pursuing entrepreneurship and ended up with nothing and regret ever taking the risk. (I imagine I wont find many?)


MoseyingAlong

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 75
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2019, 08:26:41 PM »
I didn't lose everything and don't actually regret starting my former business. What I regret is holding on too long. When it became clear (actually when it confirmed) that I didn't want to be a business owner, I wish I had wrapped it up. Instead I dragged it out for years and am still feeling the effects, personally and professionally.

Now I am extremely pleased to be an employee and get paid for my work without the weight of the whole.business.

So...why not try it? But be aware it may not be a huge financial boon. Even MMM had a financially unsuccessful business. Your net worth might be better off with several years of steady paychecks but you also have your self worth to consider.

Drole

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 215
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2019, 11:46:07 PM »
Your bigger regret will be not trying.  Its really that simple.

Start small.  Do it on the side and see what happens.

BicycleB

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 529
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2019, 11:04:58 PM »
Speaking for a friend...

Seriously, I had a friend who started a business and went through agony. He bought a two-screen movie theater that had recently closed in the small town where he worked, and reopened it. He was convinced that with better management (him) and the sweet low lease price he negotiated, surely he would succeed. Holding on to his day job, he spent many hours refurbishing the tatty movie hall, opening for business, and doing everything from taking tickets to picking movies to cleaning the bathroom. The agony part was a combination of losing sleep from the 90 hour weeks and financially losing his butt.

As the bills mounted and failure clouds grew larger, he convinced himself that with more work, he could turn this thing around. He quit the well paying job he'd had for ten years. Two or three months later he reached the point where even he had to admit the thing was hopeless. He closed the doors, moped in depression for months, and grimly avoided creditors.

"I should have listened," he said, "when my friends who owned businesses asked if I had enough of a plan." He'd gone into the whole thing on a shoestring. Now he didn't have enough money to even declare bankruptcy - couldn't pay a lawyer. Sadly, he never again got a job that paid as much as the one he left. Despite being broke, he found a decreasing succession of lower paying jobs. Gradually he drank more and worked less until he reached the brink of homelessness. Meaning, he would have been homeless except relatives took him in for year or two until he got cancer and passed away.

Strictly speaking, he didn't say that he regretted taking the risk. It seems that he was glad he tried, just embarrassed at how badly it went. Also strictly speaking, I can't prove what he felt, because he didn't discuss it that often. He was a bit incensed later though when he found out that that same theater had closed five times before! 

I support the suggestions to have a well researched plan with limited risk. That said, your Mustachian abilities make me feel your outcome will be better than my friend's.

Then again, we will all be even when we're six feet under. So if you want to start a business, do it now while you can!!

:)
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 11:09:33 PM by BicycleB »

Malkynn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 04:56:28 AM »
You may not find many people willing to share their stories but do not mistake that for a shortage of people with entrepreneurial horror stories to share. I personally know hundreds.

That said, everything worth doing is hard and involves risk. Only you can know what level of risk you are willing to take.

Also, there's such an enormous range of risks involved. You can't make generalizations about entrepreneurial risk. It depends on what kind of business you want to start, what upfront costs are involved, in what kind of market, and how easily you could return to employment if needed.

For some, a gap in the resume can kill their career prospects, for others, their entrepreneurial endeavours may actually make them more marketable for employment in the future.

The risk can range from virtually non-existent to so-fucking-crazy-you-should-be-committed-for-considering-it.

There's a huge difference between and in demand professional deciding to consult vs someone in a highly competitive field with a 3 year gap where they lost everything in a failed artisanal pastry shop.

Assess the risks, decide from there.

MrOnyx

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 447
  • Location: East Anglia, UK
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 05:05:09 AM »
You've already had some great advice about starting small, low cost, and on the side rather than diving into it full-time straight away (which would be throwing all your eggs into one basket).

Make sure you find the MMM article where he describes his nightmare of a business/partnership failure and use it as a cautionary tale. Don't let it put you off giving it a go, though :)

Malkynn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2019, 05:58:49 AM »
You've already had some great advice about starting small, low cost, and on the side rather than diving into it full-time straight away (which would be throwing all your eggs into one basket).

Make sure you find the MMM article where he describes his nightmare of a business/partnership failure and use it as a cautionary tale. Don't let it put you off giving it a go, though :)

Even diving in full time with very little research can be low risk depending on the particular circumstances.

Starting part time is key if leaving the day job will damage their career path. If not and if they are part of a dual income couple where one salary can support their cash flow needs, then the risk of jumping in becomes negligible.

Here, Feds can often take a consequence-free, unpaid year off. I know a lot of double Fed couples where one throws themselves fully into a business knowing they have a year to decide between the business or going back to employment. 

Obviously the above scenario isn't common, but the point is that there are so many factors beyond the business idea itself that determine how best someone should approach starting a business.

westcountrybeerman

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2019, 04:02:52 PM »
I don't regret starting my own business, what I regret was picking shitty business partners/investors and underfunding it so it was crippled from the start.  I also regret hanging on too long until I felt physically and mentally broken at 30 years old.  I would absolutely do it again (and I plan to) but on my terms, with a  much better funding plan and quicker payback.  Don't just jump in, do your research and have an exit plan!

Kroaler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2019, 05:07:56 PM »
Funny you mention a 2 screen cinema.  Not anything im pursuing, but I did ponder to myself how a micro cinema might work.   Small cozy environment with alcohol and decent food?   Run classic/ older movies for a date night crowd.

I looked into the cost and hassle of obtaining new films and I dont see how any small cinema survives. . .

patrickza

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 539
  • Age: 40
    • The Investor Challenge
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2019, 02:10:33 AM »
+1 for the start it on the side advice. If that's an option of course. I've always enjoyed my job, but having a side gig I'm 100% in control of has been a lot of fun and a lot of learning. It's not always positive learning, but it's still learning!

Fuzz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 03:28:34 PM »
Take a look at the acquisition entrepreneur book. If the point is to have a good investment and make money, I would encourage you to think about something boring like buying an HVAC company from a retiring boomer that does 2M in sales, while providing the owner with $400K/year. You could probably buy that with an SBA loan and 150K down. https://www.amazon.com/Buy-Then-Build-Acquisition-Entrepreneurs-ebook/dp/B07JKM2F5Q

Like you, I day dream about starting other businesses. I probably have 20 URLs for future businesses. But as I reflect on my own experiences working with small businesses, it seems like the tremendous opportunity is to buy a dysfunctional, profitable business and then make it better.

The side projects and starting small are good for freelancing/selling a service, which is totally a viable and wonderful way to go. But it's a bit different than trying to build wealth through owning an asset.

The mistake I see my friends make when they start their businesses is that they do things other than get customers. Until you have a customer it doesn't count. My buddy spent more time picking out which van he would buy for a handyman business that never got off the ground, than actually doing the uncomfortable work of finding customers and pitching his services.

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4666
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 04:44:14 PM »
I've started or been a partner in a bunch of businesses over the decades.   I'm glad I did them all, even the ones that failed.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/entrepreneurship/swordguy's-entrepreneurial-odyssey/


But that's because I not only had a plan for how to succeed, I made sure I always had a plan for failing forward.   That means that if I failed, I wouldn't fail in such a way that it would prevent me from trying again.

I know other people that regret going into business, but most of those had their egos in the way of having a "fail forward" plan and implementing it before the business trashed their future.

eudaimonia

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 72
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2019, 04:59:33 PM »
I'll share my failed business from about a decade ago and my thoughts on it years later.

My wife and I had been consultants in an unrelated field (at a life sucking mega corp). We were pretty young and were completely tired of where we were living (LA), what we were doing (life sucking mega corp work), and decided to jump out. My mindset at the time was a whatever it took.

My wife loves to cook so we decided to buy a catering business out of state (we'd been there on vacation and liked it) with little business knowledge and some capital to buy but unbeknownst to us at the time, insufficient operational capital.

Our adventure lasted about a year: my wife ran the cooking, I ran the books and sales (we both worked on the side as well doing some consulting in old business) and I think if the year hadn't been 2008 we might have had a shot.

The big take away from the experience was that 1) certain industries are very cyclical and dependent on the economy, 2) you need a lot more working capital than you think, 3) it was hard but very fun.

Interestingly, we both pivoted well after that incident. I went back to working in the old industry but at a much better company and with a confidence for sales was quickly able to get into a much better position than before. My wife moved to teaching where she felt her efforts better reflected her values (helping others). The hard financial lessons we took (nearly went bankrupt before reselling the business to the former owner) laid the foundation for our current fiscally prudent behavior.

Overall, while it was a failure I don't regret our choice. We escaped LA, the bad jobs we were in, and reinvented ourselves (although differently than we had imagined at the time). The amount of confidence and skills you will learn as an entrepreneur are nearly impossible to replicate any other way. When you face great pressure you tend to grow and that we certainly did.

Good luck, regardless of your decision.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2019, 03:20:42 AM »
I've had a few in my time, from things that were really no more than sidehustles to a cafe and a retail store. What I've learned is you need hard work, a willingness to do the dirty work and a good business model. No matter how much of the first two you put in, you will never overcome a crappy business model. The second thing I've learned is that you need multiple sources of income. Yes, I had a cafe that made  money from food. I also rented the kitchen to another business overnights, and I was a hub for a bike courier company. Yes, I had a retail store.... but I sold online as well as to walk-ins, and I took orders to source products for people.

The guy with the movie theatre probably had a crappy business model. He could have hired out space for community type groups or churches, he could have hooked up with a video producer and shown wedding vids on anniversaries for private groups, or held graduation ceremonies or held small screenings for local filmmakers. Hell, he could have specialised in popcorn flavours that couldn't be found anywhere else except for that theatre and online sales from it's website. Could have replaced all the seats in one theatre with bean bags and become the go to place for standup comedy and beer. It's all about thinking outside the square.

Smokystache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 312
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2019, 06:39:39 AM »
The mistake I see my friends make when they start their businesses is that they do things other than get customers. Until you have a customer it doesn't count. My buddy spent more time picking out which van he would buy for a handyman business that never got off the ground, than actually doing the uncomfortable work of finding customers and pitching his services.

This. So much This. If most entrepreneurs worried about finding paying customers half as much as they worried about the paint color, the logo, the business title, the business cards, how to write-off every penny of business expenses, the carpet color.... then they would either a) be fine, or b) realize they didn't have a viable business model. Sadly, I only know this through experience and occasionally forget it.

Kroaler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2019, 06:55:00 AM »
Take a look at the acquisition entrepreneur book. If the point is to have a good investment and make money, I would encourage you to think about something boring like buying an HVAC company from a retiring boomer that does 2M in sales, while providing the owner with $400K/year. You could probably buy that with an SBA loan and 150K down. https://www.amazon.com/Buy-Then-Build-Acquisition-Entrepreneurs-ebook/dp/B07JKM2F5Q

Like you, I day dream about starting other businesses. I probably have 20 URLs for future businesses. But as I reflect on my own experiences working with small businesses, it seems like the tremendous opportunity is to buy a dysfunctional, profitable business and then make it better.

The side projects and starting small are good for freelancing/selling a service, which is totally a viable and wonderful way to go. But it's a bit different than trying to build wealth through owning an asset.

The mistake I see my friends make when they start their businesses is that they do things other than get customers. Until you have a customer it doesn't count. My buddy spent more time picking out which van he would buy for a handyman business that never got off the ground, than actually doing the uncomfortable work of finding customers and pitching his services.

I need to check that book out.  While it's great to start a side hustle trading my time for money, the ultimate goal is to manage assets that aren't mostly my time.

Kroaler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2019, 12:42:23 PM »
It was 6$ on Kindle so I got it.   Liking it so far.    In the first 20% it's addressed a dilemma I have that's been holding me back from business.

Lamancha

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2019, 08:02:32 PM »
I just recently went the route of buying an existing business with an SBA loan.  It's only been 3 months but so far absolutely no regrets.   I would caution about buying a business that you couldn't run if all of your employees quit on you on the same day.  Either buy something you can run on your own in an emergency,  or if you buy that HVAC business, learn HVAC ASAP.
Be smart about it and remember that cash is king in the beginning.

Rictelae

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2019, 06:59:23 AM »
Interesting topic. I want to do sewing handmade linen. And I think to start from the Instagram page. Ie with minimal investment. But advertising and promotion can pull a lot of expenses and time if you do it alone. A bit scary. But I want to try. This can be a good start and an opportunity to understand whether I like this kind of work.
While just starting. But I already see that there is both demand and competition. And psychologically scary.
The main thing is not to go with the sole purpose of income, but also a favorite thing.

Malkynn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2019, 12:33:26 PM »
Interesting topic. I want to do sewing handmade linen. And I think to start from the Instagram page. Ie with minimal investment. But advertising and promotion can pull a lot of expenses and time if you do it alone. A bit scary. But I want to try. This can be a good start and an opportunity to understand whether I like this kind of work.
While just starting. But I already see that there is both demand and competition. And psychologically scary.
The main thing is not to go with the sole purpose of income, but also a favorite thing.

*IF* that's your goal.

There's nothing wrong with starting a business for the sake of profit. A lot of people are very happy running very successful businesses that provide a service or product that they don't even care that much about, but they may love the business side itself.

There are also PLENTY of people who love the service/product they provide who absolutely HATE the business side of it.

It's absolutely NOT a given that everyone needs to love their business subject matter to love owning a business. It all depends on your priorities. For some, yes, it's critical, for others, not so much.

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1682
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2019, 01:45:11 PM »
I wouldn't mind managing other peoples money for a cut.   That sounds like one of the better businesses.

MJseast

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2019, 01:51:21 PM »
I just did the math and realize now that if I had just stuck with my job/general field instead of starting a business almost 10 years ago, I could be FIRE'd now. I also would have likely saved myself a lot of stress and sleepless nights.

Despite that, I don't regret it. I've learned so much more than I could have ever imagined and I absolutely love being "the boss". At least now when I make mistakes, they're my own fault and I don't feel completely powerless like I did in my old job.

Imma

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1423
  • Location: Europe
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2019, 02:26:22 PM »
I've always wanted to own my own business and finally started last year. We've around the same age. I'm doing well in my career, but not everything I'm specialized in is something I get to use in my day job, so I've started a side hustle (basically sort of consulting) where I can use all the skills I have. I'm just starting so I have no idea if this will work out or not, but even if it's never going to bring in a serious income, I can imagine it will still look well on my resume in the future: it shows I've kept my skills up to date, that I'm a self-starter with an entrepreneurial streak (to use the current buzzwords).

My ultimate dream is to quit my day job in a decade or so, when I'm around 40 and hopefully barebones-FI, and supplementing my investment income with my business income until I can or want to retire. I like what I do so I can imagine I don't want to completely quit working in this field for a long time. A day job just takes up too much of my time.

I can't imagine regretting starting this business, because start-up costs were low. I'm not against taking risks, but if you start the type of business that you need to invest a lot of cash in, you really need to make sure you are aware of all the potential consequences and make sure you never invest everything you have in a business.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 02:29:14 PM by Imma »

Fuzz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2019, 08:44:10 PM »
I just recently went the route of buying an existing business with an SBA loan.  It's only been 3 months but so far absolutely no regrets.   I would caution about buying a business that you couldn't run if all of your employees quit on you on the same day.  Either buy something you can run on your own in an emergency,  or if you buy that HVAC business, learn HVAC ASAP.
Be smart about it and remember that cash is king in the beginning.

I'd love to hear more details about how you found the opportunity, evaluated it, and pulled the trigger. What was your experience with the SBA? Did you have technical expertise in the biz you bought? Kind of a thread hijack, but you're doing exactly what OP is contemplating.

Lamancha

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2019, 12:40:47 AM »
I just recently went the route of buying an existing business with an SBA loan.  It's only been 3 months but so far absolutely no regrets.   I would caution about buying a business that you couldn't run if all of your employees quit on you on the same day.  Either buy something you can run on your own in an emergency,  or if you buy that HVAC business, learn HVAC ASAP.
Be smart about it and remember that cash is king in the beginning.

I'd love to hear more details about how you found the opportunity, evaluated it, and pulled the trigger. What was your experience with the SBA? Did you have technical expertise in the biz you bought? Kind of a thread hijack, but you're doing exactly what OP is contemplating.


Sure.  The original decision to buy a business started after working for a couple of similar businesses.  After managing these companies for several years I realized that I was really good at it.  Seeing how much money I was making someone else, and then watching them blow though it, made me finally decide to take the plunge.  Constantly busting my ass for clueless owners who drive up in brand new sports cars just wasn't working for me anymore.

I looked at several, and in the end didn't go with the one that had the best numbers,  but the one that I believe has the most potential.  It's still early,  but so far so good.

The SBA was.......exhausting.   Between the SBA, and the bank, and the attorney, and the broker it was crazy.  I REALLY started to second guess things.  Honestly there were a couple times that I wanted to back out but I kept thinking that if those clueless fools in their shiny infinitys can do it, damn it so can I.

AlexMar

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2019, 09:51:38 AM »
I think jumping ship and starting/buying a business is generally terrible advice.  It's highly risky and most businesses will fail.  Do I regret taking the risk?  No.  Because I didn't really take a risk.  I worked on my business in the evenings and weekends.  I failed at many ideas over 10+ years until finally developing enough experience to create something that works.  It took me 6 months after getting it rolling to quit my job and work full time on the business.

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner.... 

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2019, 02:19:56 PM »

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner....

This is true. However, ALL owners think they know better than employees. In fact many owners think that the mere fact of running a business also makes them experts in advertising, database design, HR, anything really. A lot of owners would hugely benefit from talking to front line staff, who very often do know more about the way the company is ACTUALLY being run than the owner. As front line staff, I've seen owners introduce some seriously dumbass processes, products and services that every employee there could have told them would fail. In some cases it has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. As owner, I always get the opinion of front line staff.

AlexMar

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2019, 03:51:07 PM »

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner....

This is true. However, ALL owners think they know better than employees. In fact many owners think that the mere fact of running a business also makes them experts in advertising, database design, HR, anything really. A lot of owners would hugely benefit from talking to front line staff, who very often do know more about the way the company is ACTUALLY being run than the owner. As front line staff, I've seen owners introduce some seriously dumbass processes, products and services that every employee there could have told them would fail. In some cases it has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. As owner, I always get the opinion of front line staff.

Management is nuanced, of course.  Some owners really are dumb.  The business was a hand me down, etc.  I think my advice, however, would be this is a VERY incorrect way of looking at things when you want to go out on your own and start a business.  The best thing you can do is learn from those who are already doing it successfully.  Maybe they don't know HR that well, so who cares... focus on what they DO know that helped get the business to where it is.  This "owners an idiot, I'm doing it myself" is so counter productive.  I sometimes disagreed with the owner when I was working, but that was never my focus.  That was minor.  I acted more like a sous chef and soaked up every little thing I could.  When I was finally out on my own, I also realized the owner was smarter than I gave him credit for.  Anyways.  If someone wants to go out on their own, then assuming the owners already successfully doing it are all idiots is about the worst approach I can think of.  I can assure you that my staff think I make stupid decisions all the time.  It comes with the territory.  My bank account and the huge success of my business suggests otherwise.  And I learned from another person who the staff thought made dumb ass decisions all the time... my view has been that of a student and having respect for those who are more successful than I am.  It's a much more productive state of mind.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 03:53:50 PM by AlexMar »

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2019, 11:05:51 PM »

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner....

This is true. However, ALL owners think they know better than employees. In fact many owners think that the mere fact of running a business also makes them experts in advertising, database design, HR, anything really. A lot of owners would hugely benefit from talking to front line staff, who very often do know more about the way the company is ACTUALLY being run than the owner. As front line staff, I've seen owners introduce some seriously dumbass processes, products and services that every employee there could have told them would fail. In some cases it has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. As owner, I always get the opinion of front line staff.

Management is nuanced, of course.  Some owners really are dumb.  The business was a hand me down, etc.  I think my advice, however, would be this is a VERY incorrect way of looking at things when you want to go out on your own and start a business.  The best thing you can do is learn from those who are already doing it successfully.  Maybe they don't know HR that well, so who cares... focus on what they DO know that helped get the business to where it is.  This "owners an idiot, I'm doing it myself" is so counter productive.  I sometimes disagreed with the owner when I was working, but that was never my focus.  That was minor.  I acted more like a sous chef and soaked up every little thing I could.  When I was finally out on my own, I also realized the owner was smarter than I gave him credit for.  Anyways.  If someone wants to go out on their own, then assuming the owners already successfully doing it are all idiots is about the worst approach I can think of.  I can assure you that my staff think I make stupid decisions all the time.  It comes with the territory.  My bank account and the huge success of my business suggests otherwise.  And I learned from another person who the staff thought made dumb ass decisions all the time... my view has been that of a student and having respect for those who are more successful than I am.  It's a much more productive state of mind.

On the whole, I completely agree. I run do any changes past people expected to enact those changes, however. I've been schooled on things I haven't thought of SOOOOO many times by doing this. The fact is that I might know the theory but I'm not doing their job. They can see much further around the corners in that regard than I can. Just taking the time has saved me so many issues down the track, as well as showing respect for my employee's jobs and experience. Of course, there's a certain resistance to change that's normal. The point is that owners and staff are doing different roles and have different priorities, and both can learn from the other.

AlexMar

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2019, 05:40:38 AM »

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner....

This is true. However, ALL owners think they know better than employees. In fact many owners think that the mere fact of running a business also makes them experts in advertising, database design, HR, anything really. A lot of owners would hugely benefit from talking to front line staff, who very often do know more about the way the company is ACTUALLY being run than the owner. As front line staff, I've seen owners introduce some seriously dumbass processes, products and services that every employee there could have told them would fail. In some cases it has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. As owner, I always get the opinion of front line staff.

Management is nuanced, of course.  Some owners really are dumb.  The business was a hand me down, etc.  I think my advice, however, would be this is a VERY incorrect way of looking at things when you want to go out on your own and start a business.  The best thing you can do is learn from those who are already doing it successfully.  Maybe they don't know HR that well, so who cares... focus on what they DO know that helped get the business to where it is.  This "owners an idiot, I'm doing it myself" is so counter productive.  I sometimes disagreed with the owner when I was working, but that was never my focus.  That was minor.  I acted more like a sous chef and soaked up every little thing I could.  When I was finally out on my own, I also realized the owner was smarter than I gave him credit for.  Anyways.  If someone wants to go out on their own, then assuming the owners already successfully doing it are all idiots is about the worst approach I can think of.  I can assure you that my staff think I make stupid decisions all the time.  It comes with the territory.  My bank account and the huge success of my business suggests otherwise.  And I learned from another person who the staff thought made dumb ass decisions all the time... my view has been that of a student and having respect for those who are more successful than I am.  It's a much more productive state of mind.

On the whole, I completely agree. I run do any changes past people expected to enact those changes, however. I've been schooled on things I haven't thought of SOOOOO many times by doing this. The fact is that I might know the theory but I'm not doing their job. They can see much further around the corners in that regard than I can. Just taking the time has saved me so many issues down the track, as well as showing respect for my employee's jobs and experience. Of course, there's a certain resistance to change that's normal. The point is that owners and staff are doing different roles and have different priorities, and both can learn from the other.

Employee feedback can be very helpful.  I agree with that!  My experience though is that the feedback is more often about making their jobs easier with very little concern for the effect it has on the business and rarely something that actually has to do with making the business more successful.  Every business is different, however, so obviously there are different circumstances where front line feedback is crucial.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2019, 11:11:54 AM »

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner....

This is true. However, ALL owners think they know better than employees. In fact many owners think that the mere fact of running a business also makes them experts in advertising, database design, HR, anything really. A lot of owners would hugely benefit from talking to front line staff, who very often do know more about the way the company is ACTUALLY being run than the owner. As front line staff, I've seen owners introduce some seriously dumbass processes, products and services that every employee there could have told them would fail. In some cases it has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. As owner, I always get the opinion of front line staff.

Management is nuanced, of course.  Some owners really are dumb.  The business was a hand me down, etc.  I think my advice, however, would be this is a VERY incorrect way of looking at things when you want to go out on your own and start a business.  The best thing you can do is learn from those who are already doing it successfully.  Maybe they don't know HR that well, so who cares... focus on what they DO know that helped get the business to where it is.  This "owners an idiot, I'm doing it myself" is so counter productive.  I sometimes disagreed with the owner when I was working, but that was never my focus.  That was minor.  I acted more like a sous chef and soaked up every little thing I could.  When I was finally out on my own, I also realized the owner was smarter than I gave him credit for.  Anyways.  If someone wants to go out on their own, then assuming the owners already successfully doing it are all idiots is about the worst approach I can think of.  I can assure you that my staff think I make stupid decisions all the time.  It comes with the territory.  My bank account and the huge success of my business suggests otherwise.  And I learned from another person who the staff thought made dumb ass decisions all the time... my view has been that of a student and having respect for those who are more successful than I am.  It's a much more productive state of mind.

On the whole, I completely agree. I run do any changes past people expected to enact those changes, however. I've been schooled on things I haven't thought of SOOOOO many times by doing this. The fact is that I might know the theory but I'm not doing their job. They can see much further around the corners in that regard than I can. Just taking the time has saved me so many issues down the track, as well as showing respect for my employee's jobs and experience. Of course, there's a certain resistance to change that's normal. The point is that owners and staff are doing different roles and have different priorities, and both can learn from the other.

Employee feedback can be very helpful.  I agree with that!  My experience though is that the feedback is more often about making their jobs easier with very little concern for the effect it has on the business and rarely something that actually has to do with making the business more successful.  Every business is different, however, so obviously there are different circumstances where front line feedback is crucial.

Again, this is true. People also tend to react against any change, good or bad. I see it as a balancing act. These are my frontline staff, my primary contact with customers. If they're not involved in decision making about things that directly impact their day to day tasks, then I open the door to resentment and the potential to lose customers rapidly. Not to mention lose staff rapidly. Explaining why and taking onto account feedback, and generally keeping staff members involved in the business is the path I choose to take. I think I've had more good ideas from staff than self-interested ideas, honestly. And you have to remember that often what makes an employee's job easier also makes the customer experience smoother. The amount of timesome little pointless tasks I've removed because of employee feedback is astounding. It's less BS for them and less time and BS for the customer.

AlexMar

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2019, 03:19:58 PM »

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner....

This is true. However, ALL owners think they know better than employees. In fact many owners think that the mere fact of running a business also makes them experts in advertising, database design, HR, anything really. A lot of owners would hugely benefit from talking to front line staff, who very often do know more about the way the company is ACTUALLY being run than the owner. As front line staff, I've seen owners introduce some seriously dumbass processes, products and services that every employee there could have told them would fail. In some cases it has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. As owner, I always get the opinion of front line staff.

Management is nuanced, of course.  Some owners really are dumb.  The business was a hand me down, etc.  I think my advice, however, would be this is a VERY incorrect way of looking at things when you want to go out on your own and start a business.  The best thing you can do is learn from those who are already doing it successfully.  Maybe they don't know HR that well, so who cares... focus on what they DO know that helped get the business to where it is.  This "owners an idiot, I'm doing it myself" is so counter productive.  I sometimes disagreed with the owner when I was working, but that was never my focus.  That was minor.  I acted more like a sous chef and soaked up every little thing I could.  When I was finally out on my own, I also realized the owner was smarter than I gave him credit for.  Anyways.  If someone wants to go out on their own, then assuming the owners already successfully doing it are all idiots is about the worst approach I can think of.  I can assure you that my staff think I make stupid decisions all the time.  It comes with the territory.  My bank account and the huge success of my business suggests otherwise.  And I learned from another person who the staff thought made dumb ass decisions all the time... my view has been that of a student and having respect for those who are more successful than I am.  It's a much more productive state of mind.

On the whole, I completely agree. I run do any changes past people expected to enact those changes, however. I've been schooled on things I haven't thought of SOOOOO many times by doing this. The fact is that I might know the theory but I'm not doing their job. They can see much further around the corners in that regard than I can. Just taking the time has saved me so many issues down the track, as well as showing respect for my employee's jobs and experience. Of course, there's a certain resistance to change that's normal. The point is that owners and staff are doing different roles and have different priorities, and both can learn from the other.

Employee feedback can be very helpful.  I agree with that!  My experience though is that the feedback is more often about making their jobs easier with very little concern for the effect it has on the business and rarely something that actually has to do with making the business more successful.  Every business is different, however, so obviously there are different circumstances where front line feedback is crucial.

Again, this is true. People also tend to react against any change, good or bad. I see it as a balancing act. These are my frontline staff, my primary contact with customers. If they're not involved in decision making about things that directly impact their day to day tasks, then I open the door to resentment and the potential to lose customers rapidly. Not to mention lose staff rapidly. Explaining why and taking onto account feedback, and generally keeping staff members involved in the business is the path I choose to take. I think I've had more good ideas from staff than self-interested ideas, honestly. And you have to remember that often what makes an employee's job easier also makes the customer experience smoother. The amount of timesome little pointless tasks I've removed because of employee feedback is astounding. It's less BS for them and less time and BS for the customer.

I could only wish it worked this way at my business!  The staff just aren't this way at all.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2019, 04:23:31 PM »

Your comments about "clueless owners" is kind of funny.  They MAY be clueless owners, but I'm yet to meet an employee who doesn't think they know more than the owner....

This is true. However, ALL owners think they know better than employees. In fact many owners think that the mere fact of running a business also makes them experts in advertising, database design, HR, anything really. A lot of owners would hugely benefit from talking to front line staff, who very often do know more about the way the company is ACTUALLY being run than the owner. As front line staff, I've seen owners introduce some seriously dumbass processes, products and services that every employee there could have told them would fail. In some cases it has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. As owner, I always get the opinion of front line staff.

Management is nuanced, of course.  Some owners really are dumb.  The business was a hand me down, etc.  I think my advice, however, would be this is a VERY incorrect way of looking at things when you want to go out on your own and start a business.  The best thing you can do is learn from those who are already doing it successfully.  Maybe they don't know HR that well, so who cares... focus on what they DO know that helped get the business to where it is.  This "owners an idiot, I'm doing it myself" is so counter productive.  I sometimes disagreed with the owner when I was working, but that was never my focus.  That was minor.  I acted more like a sous chef and soaked up every little thing I could.  When I was finally out on my own, I also realized the owner was smarter than I gave him credit for.  Anyways.  If someone wants to go out on their own, then assuming the owners already successfully doing it are all idiots is about the worst approach I can think of.  I can assure you that my staff think I make stupid decisions all the time.  It comes with the territory.  My bank account and the huge success of my business suggests otherwise.  And I learned from another person who the staff thought made dumb ass decisions all the time... my view has been that of a student and having respect for those who are more successful than I am.  It's a much more productive state of mind.

On the whole, I completely agree. I run do any changes past people expected to enact those changes, however. I've been schooled on things I haven't thought of SOOOOO many times by doing this. The fact is that I might know the theory but I'm not doing their job. They can see much further around the corners in that regard than I can. Just taking the time has saved me so many issues down the track, as well as showing respect for my employee's jobs and experience. Of course, there's a certain resistance to change that's normal. The point is that owners and staff are doing different roles and have different priorities, and both can learn from the other.

Employee feedback can be very helpful.  I agree with that!  My experience though is that the feedback is more often about making their jobs easier with very little concern for the effect it has on the business and rarely something that actually has to do with making the business more successful.  Every business is different, however, so obviously there are different circumstances where front line feedback is crucial.

Again, this is true. People also tend to react against any change, good or bad. I see it as a balancing act. These are my frontline staff, my primary contact with customers. If they're not involved in decision making about things that directly impact their day to day tasks, then I open the door to resentment and the potential to lose customers rapidly. Not to mention lose staff rapidly. Explaining why and taking onto account feedback, and generally keeping staff members involved in the business is the path I choose to take. I think I've had more good ideas from staff than self-interested ideas, honestly. And you have to remember that often what makes an employee's job easier also makes the customer experience smoother. The amount of timesome little pointless tasks I've removed because of employee feedback is astounding. It's less BS for them and less time and BS for the customer.

I could only wish it worked this way at my business!  The staff just aren't this way at all.

They weren't at first. It was very much management is the enemy!

NoCreativity

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 32
  • Location: Arkansas
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2019, 09:30:35 PM »
I didn't lose everything and don't actually regret starting my former business. What I regret is holding on too long. When it became clear (actually when it confirmed) that I didn't want to be a business owner, I wish I had wrapped it up. Instead I dragged it out for years and am still feeling the effects, personally and professionally.

Now I am extremely pleased to be an employee and get paid for my work without the weight of the whole.business.

So...why not try it? But be aware it may not be a huge financial boon. Even MMM had a financially unsuccessful business. Your net worth might be better off with several years of steady paychecks but you also have your self worth to consider.

agree totally... I'm coming out of a ~20k hiccup right now and think this is spot on. a semi expensive learning opportunity.

athomeintheworld

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
Re: Does anyone regret taking the risk to start a business?
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2019, 10:43:56 PM »
I have one business that I started with a friend that didn't work out, and I do regret it. Mostly for the loss of time that I wish I had invested in something else. Fortunately the financial loss was minimal. I have another business that is more of a side gig that has worked out really well.

Plan the best you can. Keep your costs as low as possible.