Author Topic: Leaving Teaching and Starting a Small Business  (Read 705 times)

whitethunder

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Leaving Teaching and Starting a Small Business
« on: March 13, 2018, 09:57:42 AM »
I'm a mid-20s French teacher in Canada with about $10 000 in the bank and no debt. I don't particularly enjoy the job I have although I do appreciate the steady wages and time spent helping children. I'm considering leaving my job at the end of the year to start a small business, because I want to use my youth for a project in which I believe and I know that there are many jobs for French teachers should I decide to re-enter teaching. Am I crazy? My family would prefer I stay in my steady job, but they are also not the best with life and money. You must have had these thoughts in your 20s... Am I jumping the gun or making an intelligent choice?

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1323
Re: Leaving Teaching and Starting a Small Business
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 10:24:12 AM »
You haven't given us many details to go on, so difficult to say. What is your current salary + benefit package and how much upside growth is there? And what kind of business are you thinking of starting, and why are your reasons/motivations for wanting to go this route?

I predict you'll get basically two types of responses on this forum: 1) Awesome, life's too short so pursue your passion! 2) Are you crazy?

I tend to fall into the "are you crazy" bucket. Not because I'm an old curmudgeon (this part is true) threatened by free spirited people living their dreams (not true). No, I grew up working in a small business and ended up deciding to work for big corporations because I saw first hand that small business is not what people imagine it is.

Let's say your business idea is to specialize in selling gazingus pins. You love gazingus pins, know everything about them, would love to make a living off of them. However, you'll soon realize that less than 5% of your time is spent dealing with actual gazingus pins. Most of your time will be spent on running a business: taxes, accounting, budgets, inventory, suppliers, invoices, government bureaucracy, leases, insurance, employees (hiring, firing, training, performance reviews, HR, benefits), customers, advertising... you get the idea. If you're not good at all these things you will not survive. Also, if you're not good at things things you certainly will not enjoy doing them. Which means you'll spend 95% of your time doing stuff you aren't good at and which you hate. You will hate life even more because you will be married to the business, putting in long long hours for relatively low profit (or negative) at a minimum for the first few years until you get established. For many people there's never a light at the end of the tunnel, it's just perpetual struggle to keep the business afloat. In the end, you will likely have made less than if you put the same effort in your current job and/or side hustles. Oh, and the vast, vast majority of small businesses fail.

From what I've seen, successful small business owners are those who start out as good business people (they enjoy and are good at that list of stuff it takes to make a business go), and then go with whatever opportunities make sense in a given market. Whereas those who start with a passion for some specific type of business are often blinded by their passion and end up seeing what they want to see instead of the harsh realities (e.g. the market for gazingus pins is now owned by Amazon).

So again, I think a lot depends on what you want to do and, more importantly, why.

KMMK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1472
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
    • Meena Kestirke Insurance
Re: Leaving Teaching and Starting a Small Business
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 10:27:00 AM »
I'm a mid-20s French teacher in Canada with about $10 000 in the bank and no debt. I don't particularly enjoy the job I have although I do appreciate the steady wages and time spent helping children. I'm considering leaving my job at the end of the year to start a small business, because I want to use my youth for a project in which I believe and I know that there are many jobs for French teachers should I decide to re-enter teaching. Am I crazy? My family would prefer I stay in my steady job, but they are also not the best with life and money. You must have had these thoughts in your 20s... Am I jumping the gun or making an intelligent choice?

It depends what kind of business somewhat, but I'd recommend just starting it on the side, and/or saving a lot more money. I did just quit outright to start a business but I was 38 and had around $200,000 (A lot in RRSPs). The first couple years are rough. I have way more debt now than I ever have before/wanted. I don't like admitting that. I still think my plan is solid and it will pay off, but it's not quick.