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  1. #1

    Default Any Entrepreneurs Here?

    Are there any Entrepreneurs/Business Owners on this forum?

    If so, how did you start your business?

    What was your initial business plan?

    How did you get the seed capital?

    How did you change your plans as time went on?

    How successful is it (profitability, sustainability, providing the opportunities you wanted for yourself, etc.)?

    How do you think your Myers-Briggs type influenced/influences your behavior during the start-up and growth phases of your venture?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    since nobody has responded, ill speak up... i own my own business!

    its not a real business, just a registered one that i use as an umbrella for certain things

  3. #3
    ~dangerous curves ahead~
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    is that why you operate on a gray scale?

    Not an entrepreneur. Considered it, but decided a steady paycheck was what my family needed for now.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    ^ you did technically respond, my bad. i was referring to the initial question, "Are there any Entrepreneurs/Business Owners on this forum?"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    ygolo these are a good set of questions...I'll be watching to see if you get any meaningful answers since this subject interests me as well. I love what I do...I love the history and raw materials or else I could not sustain my drive. For me this is a vocation rather than a strict business.

    I began my career choice late and decided to get the best information I could from the top practitioners in my field. I also took a job at a retail outlet that was focused on my industry, both to learn and network. I left that job after 6 or 7 years to go to work at two separate entrepeneur run business. The first I spent with a restoration/repair shop that had been recently opened by a graduate of a 2 year technical training program...I left that for the greener pastures of a recently relocated craftsman with a more established track record in custom work and repair, where I stayed for a year until a very nice workspace near my home became available. I leased that for two years, which were tough not the least because the phone book had neglected to list me under several headings that I had requested. Ouch.

    My initial plan was a five-year plan to get the business up and self sustaining. The main engine of this would be restoration of wooden furniture. I prefer to build what I like...but that is pure speculation and a gamble. People usually always have furniture that needs repair, though I tried to limit myself to fine antiques, you take what comes through the door. Towards the end of my lease I was seriously considering supplementing the shop income with a second job to keep things afloat.

    There was no seed capital. What I made went right back into the business. My five year plan was suddenly ended when I had the opportunity to move 600 miles away and work in a well established shop (my dream job) that specialized in my area of interest...so I closed down my shop. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I have my own vision and it is a challenge to work for others when you have developed your own methods and philosophies. That lasted about a year and I moved on to another shop 100 miles further away from my original home. That went about a year as well and then I returned to Michigan where I had begun; my machinery and supplies gone, scattered or in storage far away.

    The most significant adjustment to my plans was decideding to utilize my skills on behalf of someone else rather than in realizing my own compositions for speculative sale. Early on I also added teaching to my bag of tricks which has been very helpful in a number of ways. The last few years have been a number of fits and starts that would hobble anyone....I should have stayed the course in my own shop where I had already begun to create a presence in the local market and build a solid reputation. oh well. 20/20 hindsight.

    Lack of capital for marketing and supllies really hurt. I could only be reactive when finances allowed. I could not take a proactive approach when an opportunity arose without ready funds.

    Now here I am rebuilding again, in another place. Not making a living but selling a few things. Teaching a bit to help things along. It's a challenge, but I love the work.

    I often test IStj, IStp, ISfj and I am no expert on these preferences. But I found that as long as I work alone or am in charge, things go well. When I work for another, it is challenging. I cannot accept authority from someone I do not trust as reliable. This field is very subjective. There is no standardization for results it is always opinion alone rather than true objective criteria tha decides quality. I trained up to work in a fairly rigorous high quality method and this is not the way most people run their shops. And of course all shops differ in sometimes suprising ways. I tend to want to work alone with my tools and space undisturbed. I am not too communicative when focused so I tend to alienate employers and co-workers who tend to feel that I am being aloof or condescending, which lead to suspicion and ridicule on occasion. I am first to admit that I have a lifetime of learning ahead of me, and I am always grateful to learn something that adds to my understanding of the craft. Trying to remain open to improvement while working for people who are needlessly anal, neurotic, insecure, immature, irresponsible, possibly criminal or just plain assholes is distracting from my work. In that situation, developing a meaningful dialog about the work is difficult. It is best that I run the shop for everyone and every object involved. I am often too rigid and this has a price in business. You need to be flexible in many areas so you are able to respond to opportunities and changes. And no matter how well meaning everyone is, this sort of thing is hell on a marriage. Open honest communication is necessary. Hope that helps a bit.
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

  6. #6

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    Thanks for sharing Hirsch. It was illustrative.

    Anyone else have start-up stories?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #7
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    I am a serial entrepreneur. I started a skiwear manufacturing business when I was 26. I was able to get a large contract in the first year, but no working capital, extremely tough. I grew it to about 10 mil and then sold it to one of my customers after about 7 years. In between I got married and had 2 kids.

    Started another business with my husband the year I sold the first business. Looking to sell that business now around 12 years in.

    I am currently the hired president of a large manufacturing company that is privately held. I have been asked to buy the business, as I have turned it around and it is making nothing but cash right now. Probably won't buy it as it needs major machinery upgrades as the owners haven't invested in capital assets during the past 10 years.

    I like both owning and building businesses. I hate maintaining businesses.

  8. #8
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    I own my own consulting firm and while I didn't have startup costs, my husband's income balanced out the ups and downs of mine in the first 10 years, providing a safety net.

    To get started, I actually thought writing would be the basis of my career. I did some volunteer activities so that I"d complete some writing projects, which synchronistically ended in a partnership with a well-known person in my field. We wrote some manuals together and pretty soon everyone assumed I was as much of an expert as she. But I chose my own specialty and had to work my tail off to find clients and be accepted. It's what I'm passionate about, though, and that makes it works. That's where my type plays in the most--I can delve in deeply once something becomes a just cause. Now at least half my time goes to consulting and I've never written the historical novels and kid's sci fi that I thought would highlight my career.

    I stink at the business side, though, let the finances sit around unsupervised, got taken to task yesterday by a colleague for not engaging a lawyer to look at a contract, etc. That's also about type. I assume everyone is in things for the common good (will I ever learn?) and hate taking time away from the actual consulting where I see results for mundane things like contracting...I get a bit wiser each year so maybe by the time I retire I'll know what I'm doing.
    edcoaching

  9. #9

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    Thanks atilla and edcoaching. I hadn't checked this thread in a while, and didn't realize people had posted.

    I am curious if people gave you strife for starting your own business instead of getting a "real job."

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    My parents were first generation immigrants who came from families who were business owners, so they were in fact, extremely proud that I started my own businesses.

    Some people just don't understand business owners, so I joined TEC, when my business was up and rolling just to be around other business owners who had the same concerns. Many of the initial group members have become lifelong friends.

    If I were to start all over again, I would probably join a business group right away and make sure I had more background in accounting financial statements. Right now I can run circles around accountants in accounting, but at the beginning, I was a mere babe in the woods.

    Banks in Canada offer small business owners really incredible 2 day programs on reading financials and what banks are looking for...

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