Author Topic: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk  (Read 1745 times)

asauer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 787
  • Location: North Carolina
Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« on: December 08, 2020, 11:06:08 AM »
I will be FI mid 2021 and plan to leave my job in early 2022.  For years I've an an entrepreneurial pull and would love to start an online business to earn vacation money.  I have an idea for it and know there's a market b/c it's part of my current day job.  However, my brain is seriously freaking out, probably b/c I was raised with the lowest possible risk tolerance.

Now my brain is telling me I'm going to die if I do this.  Like, what if I can't learn all the tech in a reasonable amount of time?  What if I pour money into it for nothing?  What if I get the financials wrong?

I need some Mustachian entrepreneurs to tell me to calm the f*ck down.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1722
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2020, 11:10:28 AM »
I mean, the worst that happens is you lose some time and money, right?  Not like youíre giving up your first born.  Or losing your house or something. 

Youíll regret not doing it more than if you do and donít do as well as expected. 

Kick itís ass and make some $$!  Good luck!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Malcat

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6362
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2020, 11:15:46 AM »
Well, are we talking about starting a business that requires you to spend a lot of money up front? If no, then who cares if it fails?

I don't get what the issue is.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2196
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2020, 11:18:17 AM »
I will be FI mid 2021 and plan to leave my job in early 2022.  For years I've an an entrepreneurial pull and would love to start an online business to earn vacation money.  I have an idea for it and know there's a market b/c it's part of my current day job.  However, my brain is seriously freaking out, probably b/c I was raised with the lowest possible risk tolerance.

Now my brain is telling me I'm going to die if I do this.  Like, what if I can't learn all the tech in a reasonable amount of time?  What if I pour money into it for nothing?  What if I get the financials wrong?

I need some Mustachian entrepreneurs to tell me to calm the f*ck down.

I started an online business in 2017, It took me about 6 months maybe even a year get a good handle on the "tech" (mechanical engineer by trade)... I still learn new things on what seems to be a weekly basis.  Things like social media advertising, google Ads, SEO, analytics... plus all the non tech stuff like starting an LLC, book keeping, order fulfillment etc.  I will say that it was easier to start the business than I thought, but much MUCH harder to acquire customers than I thought.  I have finally ranked on the first page of google results for good keywords/phrases after 3 years of dealing with hardly any organic search customers.   It's friggen depressing to have 10 visitors a day and a 2% conversion rate when you're not advertising.  There is a good reason that the Sharks on Shark Tank ask what the cost of customer acquisition is... it absolutely makes and breaks small businesses.

I'm not saying this to scare you out of your idea, I'm saying it to make sure you have the right mindset that it might not make much in the first year or two... can you handle that?  Now, you might be in a slightly better position than I was in that it's in the same space as your current day job, so you might have connections etc. that could be super valuable and make your startup more of a magic carpet ride than a grind like I experienced.  Best of luck, maybe post a few details about your idea?  You can take a look at my site if you'd like to get an idea of the scale:

www.washingtoninabox.com

I should probably update my thread about my experience sometime...

bbqbonelesswing

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 314
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Philly
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2020, 11:29:44 AM »
Calm the f*ck down.

MustachioedPistachio

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
  • Location: Memphis, TN
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2020, 01:16:09 PM »
Not to get too philosophical, but...

You may want to first try to understand why you are feeling the pull in the first place.

Smokystache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2020, 02:52:35 PM »
I agree that we need a few more details to provide more specific help/advice. But as a general comment when starting a new business- take your original idea, reduce it by 75% (or more) and focus on getting that up and running as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Need a website and everyone says to use WordPress, but you don't know anything about WordPress? Screw it. Use SquareSpace or Wix and have a website up in a day or two and let them deal with it.

You constant questions should be, "Do I really need to do this much?" and "What is a simpler/easier way to do this (even if it doesn't look perfect)?"


UpScaleRetirement

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Location: Horseheads, New York
    • The UpScale Scale
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2020, 11:52:47 AM »
I can't say I ever had a pull to be an entrepreneur, but I had several inventions that I thought we're good ideas, but I never followed up on any of them until 5 years ago.  I was about 10 years out from retirement, so I thought.  I knew I'd be filled with future regret if I didn't at least give this new idea a try.  I was working as a mechanical engineer, I knew I could design it, get it patented and manufactured.  I had a pretty good idea how much it was going to cost.  Had no idea how well it was going to sell or how I was going to acquire customers.  Everything v8rx7ugy said above about getting customers is spot on.  It's hard.

It took me 5 years to finish the design and get it manufactured (was working on it nights and weekends).  It was more complex than I originally thought it was going to be.  I was pretty close on how much it was going to cost.  I had the funds available, but it might push my retirement back another year or two.  Then covid hit.  My full time job offered me an early retirement package.  I was still 5 years out from when I originally thought I was going to retire, but I took the offer. 

Everyone needs something to keep themselves going during retirement.  My product idea is what my wife and I work on now that I'm retired.  Covid has thrown a few wrenches into our plans, but I'm glad we gave it a try.  Don't regret it at all.  If you're interested you can see our website at:

 TheUpScaleScale.com

If this is something you think you'll regret if you don't give it a try, then go for it.  Just play it smart.  Don't overspend.  You're never going to know everything you'll need when starting out.   That's alright, you'll be able to learn as you go.  Part of the fun for us is learning things we never would have considered doing before.  It's making retirement interesting and exciting.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8018
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2020, 01:43:47 PM »
My tag line has a description of the various businesses I've started or bought into.   

Some failed, some did well enough to help us move forward a bit, others did much better.
  I learned useful things from all of them.

The key is to plan to succeed and to plan to fail.   Planning to succeed is fairly obvious.  Planning to fail is not quite as intuitive.   You're not planning to fail because that's what you want, you're planning to minimize the damage to yourself and others if you do fail.  That way, there's no lasting damage to your finances.

Also, check out the Pop Up Business School.    It's free and will put you into the right mindset of how to do it with the minimum of funding.

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1108
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2020, 05:41:23 AM »
Now my brain is telling me I'm going to die if I do this.  Like, what if I can't learn all the tech in a reasonable amount of time?  What if I pour money into it for nothing?  What if I get the financials wrong?

I need some Mustachian entrepreneurs to tell me to calm the f*ck down.

You can start by putting together a business plan and have some people you
trust review it.  Think in terms of how you would sell this idea to outside
investors -- not that you want them, but if you had to bring in business
savvy people they would look for deficiencies in your plan.

Additionally be wary of falling into the trap of buying yourself a job.  I recently
dissuaded a FIRE'd yoga teacher from launching her own studio when I pointed
out all the additional stress and financial risks she would be taking on by starting
her proposed business.  And this was before the pandemic.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2196
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2020, 08:09:33 AM »
I can't say I ever had a pull to be an entrepreneur, but I had several inventions that I thought we're good ideas, but I never followed up on any of them until 5 years ago.  I was about 10 years out from retirement, so I thought.  I knew I'd be filled with future regret if I didn't at least give this new idea a try.  I was working as a mechanical engineer, I knew I could design it, get it patented and manufactured.  I had a pretty good idea how much it was going to cost.  Had no idea how well it was going to sell or how I was going to acquire customers.  Everything v8rx7ugy said above about getting customers is spot on.  It's hard.

It took me 5 years to finish the design and get it manufactured (was working on it nights and weekends).  It was more complex than I originally thought it was going to be.  I was pretty close on how much it was going to cost.  I had the funds available, but it might push my retirement back another year or two.  Then covid hit.  My full time job offered me an early retirement package.  I was still 5 years out from when I originally thought I was going to retire, but I took the offer. 

Everyone needs something to keep themselves going during retirement.  My product idea is what my wife and I work on now that I'm retired.  Covid has thrown a few wrenches into our plans, but I'm glad we gave it a try.  Don't regret it at all.  If you're interested you can see our website at:

 TheUpScaleScale.com

If this is something you think you'll regret if you don't give it a try, then go for it.  Just play it smart.  Don't overspend.  You're never going to know everything you'll need when starting out.   That's alright, you'll be able to learn as you go.  Part of the fun for us is learning things we never would have considered doing before.  It's making retirement interesting and exciting.

That is a really cool product.  Nicely done!

BicycleB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3241
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2020, 04:20:14 PM »
Hi, @asauer. Calm the f**k down - and focus on risk minimization.

More precisely - if you can rationally establish a plan for starting and running your business with manageably low financial risk, and you can reasonably expect to try the business part time without losing your pre-FIRE day job, then the adventure becomes an all-benefit no-loss situation. Trying a dream is a fantastic way to banish FOMO. It's really the only way to fill the dream. It's also a great way of determining whether the dream is a real thing, fulfillable by physical experience, or an internal mirage, accessible only through internal processing of emotions.

If you can do the project without putting FIRE at risk, your safest path is to move forward ASAP. Use the excellent suggestions upthread about keeping costs low, focusing on the smallest simplest version, and so on. Fwiw, technically skilled people often overestimate the necessary size and uniqueness needed to form a business. Focus on small and simple if at all possible. That way, you'll get the experience of Real Life Business in the fastest cheapest way. Keep commitments to a manageable size of course - remember that as the boss, you're in charge of setting the limits. Even if you end up not liking it, the fact you tried it will free your soul.

Banish fear through facts and action!
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 05:12:02 PM by BicycleB »

Kroaler

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1081
  • Location: Southeast
Re: Need an Entrepreneurial Pep Talk
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2021, 08:07:02 AM »
Just to repeat cost control / minimization.

Also check out "lean start up" and "100$ start up" for books.  A book I suggest to EVERYONE for starting a business is "one page marketing plan" - it's really simple but someone must be able to answer the questions asked to have a real shot.


All that said - fail forward and keep cost low.   Make the cost as low as possible, then cut it in half.    I'm starting a business in June that the capital investment is usually between 50-75k for the industry.   By questioning every expense and problem solving for solutions outside of the norm, myself and business partners have lowered the initial cash required to less than 5k.