Employed to Self Employed?

Munzz

Active Member
Evening All,

A bit of a different one this but keen to hear from those of you that have made a career change, specifically, moved from an employer or “just a job” to doing something that you enjoy/are passionate about and making money from it.

I’ll be 30 next year and I’m chomping at the bit to establish my own business and generate my own streams of income. I work for a National employer, earn an average salary (enough to pay the bills, food and fun) but can’t see my experience or industry paying good money.

I look at friends who earn much more money than I do doing things they enjoy (an example of this is someone that makes bloody cakes and flogs them on; he’s inundated and can’t keep up with the demand).

Has anyone on here got experiences they can share? What did you do, what do you do now?
 

BB3Lions

Distinguished Member
Can you start and build the business part-time with minimum investment? From there see how to unfolds.

Not knowing what your bringing in week after week is too much for some.
 

Munzz

Active Member
Can you start and build the business part-time with minimum investment? From there see how to unfolds.

Not knowing what your bringing in week after week is too much for some.

Absolutely, I’d be able to do that. In my current role I work from home and I’m fortunate that my employer is really flexible so I have enough time to make things work.

I guess it’s just making that jump, and also deciding on what to do!
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
It's no secret you'll never (well, rarely) become rich working for someone else, but for many it's the easier option. For me, I don't think I'd want to be self-employed. Sure, a few perks like making my own hours and working to my own schedule, as well as the increased "pay" (provided the business is successful of course), but the risks involved and the gamble just outweigh them for me. Couple the fact the only thing I'm skilled in is in an industry I tried for so long to get out of and hope to never go back to (also an industry that it's very difficult to get established in and even if successful, it won't make you rich. So take low pay and a job I don't want to do, and add them together = no thanks!)

I switched jobs for the money. I finally got an out from the industry I was in (windscreen fitting) and ended up bus driving which wasn't a bad job at all (if you can live with the hours and rota patterns). But it's low paid, so I (luckily) switched to the London Underground for the money (and the pension, provided the gov don't screw us over with that) and whilst it might not be the best job in the world (and for many it's not even considerable due to the hours/times worked) it pays me more than just a survival wage and hopefully will generate a good pension at the end of it.
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
a few perks like making my own hours and working to my own schedule
Entirely depends on what your business is...but most have to work to the schedule and hours of their customers. You don't just get to work when you fancy :)
 

Nexus04

Active Member
It`s been a good few years since I went self employed and there are many pros and cons. I think that the op means by saying making his own hours and schedule is that when you are self employed you are not tied to set hours and days. For example if you have steady contracts and regular work you could schedule to work for 7 days a week for months at a time. This is particularly handy if you have something to save for. You are also not tied to taking a 2 week break when it suits your employer. In my example I can take extended breaks to visit family who have emigrated abroad.

This obviously depends on what industry you are in. The cons are not having a steady income if that is what you are used to and like to budget your money.

Having said all the above the present time is probably the worst time in recent years to switch. For me my income has fallen off a cliff this year. The company that has provided me with most of my work for the past 5 years has gone under so I have had to try and get work from other sources. So all in all the last few months have been pretty stressful, but as they say there is always someone worse off than me.

The bottom line is it is your decision. It depends on what line of work you are in and what contacts you have etc. I certainly wouldn`t be thinking of opening a shop at the moment. But if you think you can make a go of it I would say go for it especially as you can carry on your present employment and develop your business at the same time.

Good luck with whatever you decide and I hope that 2021 is better for all of us.
 

Munzz

Active Member
Thanks for the input guys!

On reflection I suppose I’m interested to hear of anyone that started a side hustle which has resulted in that becoming a main source of income. I’ve been reading a lot on Amazon selling, buying from China etc and flogging on Amazon.

Inspiration is needed, I can’t be stuck doing dead end work for the rest of my life!
 

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
Every single multi-millionaire businessman I've ever chatted to - and there have been plenty - have all said the same thing about becoming successful.

You absolutely have to 'love what you're doing', as to make a real go of it, you'll be consumed by it 24/7 - every moment awake, you'll be thinking of 'what's next' and finding ways to stay afloat/expand.

If you don't love it with a passion, then you'll become another casualty rather than truly wealthy.

That's not to say you couldn't make a decent living from being self-employed (many people do) - but if you want the riches and rewards of the top players - the effort has to be 100%, and then some! It certainly doesn't just happen!

I have a reunion with a few mates most years from my early flying days - those of us that stayed in aviation are the 'paupers', those that struck out on their own are the 'financially' better off. Most have professional qualifications of some sort (law, engineering, medicine) and built up a lot of experience of being an employee before they set up their own businesses - only a couple are what I would call entrepreneurs, and their respective businesses are managing sports professionals (well known names), and supplying/maintaining gym equipment to council run gyms around the country. The others all set up versions of the companies they were employed by (if you do this, be aware of any non-compete clauses in your contract).

I have a very good mate who runs his own business, and makes frequent foreign trips to oversee factories around the world; he has a small collection of classic cars, travels everywhere First Class - and he had his first heart attack aged 46; bought on by the stress of managing the business through a tough spot a few years back!

Shrouds don't have pockets!

TL;DR

Find something you are absolutely passionate about and find a way of making money from that. Having said that, I used to be absolutely passionate about flying, but now it's just a way to feed the family - though I have my present employer to thank for that! At least working for yourself, you're more likely to remain in love with what you're doing!
 

Nexus04

Active Member
As above, the problem with Amazon or ebay or whatever is that there are hundreds of thousands doing it. I know a couple of people who have tried the buy from China cheap and re sell for profit but got fed up with the amount of effort for small profit for each item, and they eventually gave it up. But there are plenty who do make a go of it.

Relating to what The Dreamer said, to make a real go of it you must be prepared to let it take over your life. One of my older brothers had a really successful electrical installation business a good few years back. The trouble is he and his business partner were flat out non stop. When they were not working they were surveying jobs, pricing jobs, chasing invoices and dealing with customers complaints like your guys have not turned up today and things like that. And his phone literally never stopped ringing.Then his business partner had a heart attack and died in his forties and my brother could not deal with it on his own and eventually folded the business and went back to working for someone else. Even though he was on a great salary as a project manager, working for a company will never make you rich

If you can get through the first few years until you can afford to employ others to work for you its all good.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
I know a few people that have made a go of going 'solo'. Some very successful (in weird niches like farm animal nutrition) and some less so. A common theme is that people often start a business because they enjoy doing the 'fun bit' - e.g. maybe making something particular. But then running a successful business comes with a lot of 'non fun' bits - like marketing, accounts, planning and forecasting, staff (maybe), equipment purchase and hire, and so on. These all need doing regardless of how fun or not they are. And as a one-man show, anytime you are doing one thing, there is zero progress being made on all the others. Take a trip to the post office to send some products, nothing else is happening while you are gone. Unless of course you take on staff early on, but that will require some non-trivial expenditure and risks. You need to be pretty honest with yourself about the appetite for doing all the bits needed to run a successful operation, or hire people to do those things.

I'm a software developer, and while not 'rich', am very comfortable. Decent house in London with mortgage paid off in my 30s, funding a family of six with a decent surplus each month. Getting rich very slowly I guess. I can mostly just do the 'fun bit' - i.e. designing software and writing code, and mentoring. There are a few mandatory non-fun bits, but they are only a few days a year, and anything else non-fun (like Project Management) I can hire someone to do it - and do it better than I could into the bargain.

What I can't do as an employee, which a business owner could, is start to 'multiply up' my income - e.g. I can't open another shop, hire a manager and boom a new income stream. Or buy more machines to make more thingies. I turn up - I do an hour of work - I get an hour of pay. This is the fundamental limitation of being an employee.
 

Ruperts slippers

Distinguished Member
If you have a partner, just make sure they're on board with whatever you're planning, businesses can often take you away from family commitments. Become consuming, a lifestyle.

Personally, I've kept my business small as I prioritise my partner and family over the demands of the business. A friend has grown his business, 7 days a week. He called me crying his wife had given him an ultimatum.
He decided to save his marriage.

My business phone is currently off.

Personal one is on.

Another point is, make sure you do your research, past, current and future trends.
I lost a lot of money on an idea that turned out to subject to technological changes that put me out of business within months.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
Entirely depends on what your business is...but most have to work to the schedule and hours of their customers. You don't just get to work when you fancy :)

Not what I was inferring. I was referring to the difference between working for yourself and working for someone else. In my job, it's all timetabled. For example, I start work at 19:57 this evening. Tomorrow 16:44, Thursday 16:31. If I am even 5 minutes late, that's a big deal (and usually requires a visit to the Operations Manager). My days off are picked for me, as it my holiday/annual leave. If I worked for myself (say in the windscreen fitting industry I was previously in) and needed a day off, or say a morning off for a doctors appointment, dentist, optician, etc, it's not hard for me to do that. It's difficult to do that in the industry I work in now: I'd probably have to find someone to swap a duty with (so I do their later start one and they do my earlier starting one - and with that comes a new set of constraints as I'd need to find someone that a) wants to work an earlier start and b) didn't finish too late the day before to do it, as we have to have 12hrs between duty finish and duty start). It's not as simple as just asking to swap a rest day with "the office". Likewise, annual leave - I need to find someone else to swap with as all the AL is divided up and scheduled as much as 18months in advance (although we only usually get told it 12 months in advance). There's no such thing as being able to finish half an hour early one evening/afternoon to meet a personal commitment - in fact you can't even bank on finishing on time as there's all kinds of things that can delay a service, getting you back late to where you're relieved by the next driver. But if I was self employed and needed to finish early on a Thursday to do something I needed to do, much more likely I could do it.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
Not what I was inferring. I was referring to the difference between working for yourself and working for someone else. In my job, it's all timetabled. For example, I start work at 19:57 this evening. Tomorrow 16:44, Thursday 16:31. If I am even 5 minutes late, that's a big deal (and usually requires a visit to the Operations Manager). My days off are picked for me, as it my holiday/annual leave. If I worked for myself (say in the windscreen fitting industry I was previously in) and needed a day off, or say a morning off for a doctors appointment, dentist, optician, etc, it's not hard for me to do that. It's difficult to do that in the industry I work in now: I'd probably have to find someone to swap a duty with (so I do their later start one and they do my earlier starting one - and with that comes a new set of constraints as I'd need to find someone that a) wants to work an earlier start and b) didn't finish too late the day before to do it, as we have to have 12hrs between duty finish and duty start). It's not as simple as just asking to swap a rest day with "the office". Likewise, annual leave - I need to find someone else to swap with as all the AL is divided up and scheduled as much as 18months in advance (although we only usually get told it 12 months in advance). There's no such thing as being able to finish half an hour early one evening/afternoon to meet a personal commitment - in fact you can't even bank on finishing on time as there's all kinds of things that can delay a service, getting you back late to where you're relieved by the next driver. But if I was self employed and needed to finish early on a Thursday to do something I needed to do, much more likely I could do it.

This is more down to the nature of your particular work than being self-employed or not. I work an office job, an employee - but I have no fixed holiday dates (even bank holidays) and have total flexibility for any personal stuff like doctor visits, unplanned picking up kids, take a few hours out to see a school play and make it up another day, etc

Anything where you are providing a front line service (driver, doctor, nurse etc) clearly 'not turning up' is less of an option.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
I understand - I've worked in many different (employed) jobs where I can pick my own holiday etc. I'm talking about my situation now, which is what I understood the thread to be about. so my initial post was saying that there are a few perks that would be of benefit: for example, picking my own hours/times and schedule (as opposed to the imposed hours/times and schedule I adhere to in the job I do now)

I didn't realise it would cause such a rift and I'd need to be corrected so much by other people that know about my situation better than I do! Blimey
 

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