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  • Who's started their own company?

    At what point did you give up your day job? Were you starting off with 5 bucks in the bank, or did you find some funds somewhere, whether it be a bank or from family/friends/investor? I'd love to hear some stories of you self made guys. When you finally started feeling comfortable in the role, and just general stories and things you might do differently?

    Slow day, thought this would be fun.
    -Mike

  • #2
    440 has an awesome story. My dad started his own as well but it was really an overnight deal with consulting.
    Aric


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    • #3
      Did it twice. I was part time self employed in college to keep me in tuition, skiing, beer and food. It went from nothing to 7 figures in less than a year. I quit school and was self employed for 15 years when I sold the companies. Loved every second of it. Yes, I finished school after I sold. Graduate Cum Laude!
      Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.

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      • #4
        I did mine out of necessity. I was branch manager for a wheel company that decided to downsize in 2007. While networking with anyone I ever spoke to, I stumbled across a vendor from a previous company that their tire broker in my area had suddenly passed away and was looking for a guy like me. As this company handled inventory and finance, it was an easy way in for me.

        Phase Two happened during my search for a deal on wheels for the trailer for my '77. I encountered a relatively new company in the business of selling trailer accessories. After several emails and phone conversations, a discount program was developed and Now I had more stuff to sell. I developed a few other vendors along the way to provide more diversity in my offerings.

        Phase Three began when I mentioned that I had just rebuilt my Holley 4160 to a friend. He said he needed his rebuilt, and things just sort of snowballed from there.

        I had no start up funds but negotiated my way through the second two phases utilizing PayPal. I coupled a PayPal debit card to my account and can pay vendors as funds received are immediately available to the debit card.

        Having your own business is very rewarding, but comes with it's own price too. There have been some pretty lean months as with any business starting up, but I am through most of that. There are many nights I am busy on the computer late into the night working with people on the West Coast. Also the uncertain monthly income can be a little distressing upon occasion. My biggest challenge has been to set some time aside for myself so that I am not working all my waking hours. I do miss spending my employers money disguised as an expense account.
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        • #5
          Glad to see that perseverance and ingenuity are alive and well; though I think that it takes more of both now than it used to...

          ...I think this may turn into an interesting one to watch!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by neil.anderson63 View Post
            Did it twice. I was part time self employed in college to keep me in tuition, skiing, beer and food. It went from nothing to 7 figures in less than a year. I quit school and was self employed for 15 years when I sold the companies. Loved every second of it. Yes, I finished school after I sold. Graduate Cum Laude!
            Sounds interesting....what business did you have? And congrats on your academic achievement! Well done sir!
            I was njskier on here.

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            • #7
              After 8 years of managing a Goodyear store, I realized having employees was something I'd like to try and do without so I got involved in route businesses.

              1st was as a MAC TOOL distributor for 13 years. Like everything it had its pros and cons. Long hours and chasing customer for payments were the cons. Playing with different tools and equipment, having my own tool truck with good inventory and access to racing venues and drivers were the pros. Plus all the cool like-minded people I met over the years was great. Times started getting tough after 911 and business started going the wrong way.

              So, 2nd route biz...a deli meat distributor with Dietz & Watson. Great company with great products. 12 years ago my route was only doing $ 500K in sales and now I'm at $ 1.7M.
              4 day work week, no employees.

              But I'm always looking for the next challenge. At 53 I'm not getting any younger.
              I was njskier on here.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MC25 View Post
                440 has an awesome story. My dad started his own as well but it was really an overnight deal with consulting.
                I think I remember him saying something about buying an organic dog food factory before the organic boom began. What a goldmine now.

                Some cool stories so far... Neil, what did you do in college that blew up so quickly?
                -Mike

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mzimme View Post
                  I think I remember him saying something about buying an organic dog food factory before the organic boom began. What a goldmine now.

                  Some cool stories so far... Neil, what did you do in college that blew up so quickly?
                  I was awarded the bid to wash UPS trucks in a small town north of SLC. I then won the bids in Reno, Carson City, then franchised them. Won bids in KC, Lenexa, Wichita, Topeka, Salina. Along with UPS fleets we had Fed-ex and many other large trucking companies. We washed with deionized water before people really understood water purification. Less chemicals, we brushed everything instead of relying on acid for agitation to clean. I had a blast building a company. The beginning was rough, super long hours, no free time, growing pains, I made a game of business to help me succeed.
                  Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by neil.anderson63 View Post
                    I was awarded the bid to wash UPS trucks in a small town north of SLC. I then won the bids in Reno, Carson City, then franchised them. Won bids in KC, Lenexa, Wichita, Topeka, Salina. Along with UPS fleets we had Fed-ex and many other large trucking companies. We washed with deionized water before people really understood water purification. Less chemicals, we brushed everything instead of relying on acid for agitation to clean. I had a blast building a company. The beginning was rough, super long hours, no free time, growing pains, I made a game of business to help me succeed.

                    Here I've known you all this time and I didn't know that..


                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                    • #11
                      Who's started their own company?

                      I dream of running my own shop some days. However I'm lined up to take our over at some point.. So it would be pointless to start my own shop

                      As jersey Dave said.. Employees are the hardest part of our Buisness. If I knew I could hire 4 people that would work their a$$ off for me I'd start my own thing next week. Damn good help is impossible to find anymore.


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                      • #12
                        In 2010 we started with 4 employees building police cars on state of Texas contract. Today that company, Defender Supply, employs 54 and produces about 700 emergency vehicles a year. Out of that we started selling guns and ammo to LE which became public retail under Defender Outdoors with a retail store in Aubrey and Fort Worth, Texas. February 1, 2016 we will open the largest indoor shooting center in Texas just west of downtown Fort Worth, Defender Outdoors Shooting Center. Our website www.defenderoutdoors.com is now past $400,000 per month in sales and growing, fast. Through our relationship with GM as a Special Vehicle Manufacturer we have the contract to wrap every vehicle bound for export produced at the Arlington, Texas plant. 2015 MY we wrapped over 50,000 vehicles. Total employee count all companies will be over 150 next month. The one thing that I can say for sure that allowed all this to happen was easy access to cash. Cash is king.

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                        • #13
                          Didn't start mine. Grew up working in my dad's Electrical contracting business and joined after graduating college with a BSEE in '90. Took over in 2000. In hindsight I'd have done a lot of things differently. My dad and I are very good at a lot of different installations and services. Employees have not been, historically. Short story is that if I did it over, I would either market my complete scope of service and keep employees to a minimum; or market a limited scope of service, and increase volume and employees. I found out that I couldn't offer both.
                          Prior boats - (3) X14's, (3) Prostars, and a Tristar.

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                          • #14
                            Started my own financial planning business in October of 2008. 7 years later I'm now a CFP and wouldn't do anything else.

                            I had about $3000 in the bank and a $15,000 credit line when I started.

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                            • #15
                              I've been self employed for ~12 years in the coffee business.

                              First position out of school was with a global manufacture in Human Resources. The division I worked for was sold, we did all the transitional work, then I was fired. Decided that I didn't want to work in HR and put some parameters on my next position. I went to work for a multiple unit medical clinic in a 'defined contract position' for 6 months. Structured the deal so it would allow me to go on unemployment after the end of the 'contract.' That seeded my living expenses while I developed the business plan for a retail coffee shop.

                              Took all the money I had, an angle investor (family friend), a bank loan, line of credit, equipment leases, and credit cards to open the shop. I was seriously leveraged and it was incredibly risky.

                              I never considered the business plan very solid and hit a wall about 7 years in. Economy was crashing, sales were decreasing, and I knew I needed to do something else. I was asked to set up an on-site coffee kiosk at a temporary event for Harley-Davidson. That morphed into a Kiosk business focusing on events, festivals, and concerts. Essentially, we create pop-up espresso bars for multiple day events.

                              The third component of the business grew out of the Kiosk business. I started setting up espresso bars at weddings. The business plan was to get someone else to pay for the service and we'd provide the 'open espresso bar' to the guests. Turned out to be a profitable business.

                              As business grew, we discovered we offered a high end, specialized service that most didn't have the nohow or expertise to preform. Our sweet spot became intertwined with company's, event planner, and organizations that needed the sophistication as part of their brand.

                              I can honestly say without the retail shop, the kiosk would have never happened. And without the kiosk business, the catering would be nonexistent. They all tie together to create the trifecta of the whole company.
                              Hello, my name Ryan!

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