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Old September 27th, 2006, 10:22 PM   #1
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Business proposition, what would you do?

What would you do? I currently have a stable job making 60+ with benefits and have been with this same company for 13 years. I have ran my video business on the side for that last year from my home. Now a good friend of mine, who owns a computer business, is looking to hire an assistant and has pitched me this offer. He said he wanted to hire someone he trusted and longterm and offered it to me. Now the pay is less than half of what I make but he also said that he would help me get my business going and that he has alot of clientel and contacts that he knows would need my video services. He owns a 2 story building and said he could set up my business upstairs and of course he would get a certain percent of my profit. I know there is a lot of particulars that need to be addressed but I feel that if I don't take this risk I will be doing the same job for the next 20 years. Did I mention that I work shift work which i'm not very fond of. plus my current job is just a job. not really what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So please give me your thoughts and answer me what you would do?
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Old September 27th, 2006, 10:40 PM   #2
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In no particular order,
FIRST (just a heads up) Be very careful going into business with friends and family. I say this only because everyone I know that has over the years has all sorts of horror stories. Freinds and family sometimes feel they can get away with more than a "business partner" so just keep your eyes open.

SECOND-My lawyer once told me "If it ain't in writin' it ain't" what he was telling me was in any business dealing have something more than a handshake. Write a contract. Who does what, who is responsible for what, who gets what etc. This helps keep friends friends and business partners business partners.

NEXT and last (at least for now) It sounds like you might not like your job very much, I can understand that as I've NEVER had a job in my life. For the last 35 years I have been my own boss. Now as much as that sounds great thhere can be some drawbacks. First you're giving up that weekly check of for sure money, second you might have some benefits like insurance that can be pretty costly to replace, third and this is the toughest of all, are you willing to give up working 40 hours a week for someone else to work 80 hours a week for yourself AND in the beginning make less money?! At first it sounds great but believe me, you have to be the worst boss you've ever had to be the best employee you've ever been. What I mean by that is it's hard out there in the beginning. I know a lot of folks that start put and 1 or 2 or even 3 years later their out because they can't make the money, it's too hard to keep the cash flow, they don't know enough about business to make it work and the big one I found about some people, they get lazy. The work hard for a short time but then figure they can coat for a while. It doesn't wok that way. When you own your own business you have to work hard and smart all the time if you want to keep the doors open.
I can teach my 8 year old grandson to shoot, I might even be able to teach my wife to edit but I can't teach them how to be a good (and tough) businessness person. Too many people get into any business because they're good at something and think it'll just roll in. Nope, you gotta go get it.
I'm not saying NOT to do it, you have to do whats right for you, weight out the options, look at all ends of the propostition and decide for yourself IF this is something you WANT to do and are WILLING to do. Noone else can make that decision for you.
Again I'm not telling you to go one way or another but just throwing some stuff out there for you to think about just rmemeber though, when you think about things the blood all rushes to your head and you get cold feet!
Do whats best for you!
Don
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:02 AM   #3
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I'd get myself on solid footing first, before making any serious business decisions. What you're doing right now is kind of like shopping at a supermarket while you're hungry, you're just going to make bad choices when it comes to long term goals.

I'd calculate how much money you need to survive for one year without any help. Save that up, then give yourself one year to try it out and make the business a success.

Think about it this way, if you had enough capital to run your business for one year, would that change how you look at your friend's offer?
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #4
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don, thanks for the reply and you do bring up some good points. Especially getting something in writing. He did say we could get together and write out a business plan and go from there. Also the job he offered me comes with some commision and some bonuses and that's something we need to discuss. I've have gotten used to that check every 2 weeks like you said and I also have insurance. I just feel that a door has opened up for me and this may be the only time it does. I just need to convince my wife that it's a good thing.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalo Alvidrez
... I just feel that a door has opened up for me and this may be the only time it does ...
Doors of opportunity open and close all the time. It's more important to get yourself in a position to take advantage of them, not be ruled by them.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:51 AM   #6
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"he has alot of clientel and contacts that he knows would need my video services"

Be prepared for this not to materialise. When you change carreers, like when you fall in love or when you have an idea you think is going to make massive amounts of money you are in a semi delusional state for a while. Things seem simpler than they really are, the future seems almost like a destiny.

If his company was a sure footing and paused for a growth explosion he wouldn't want you. He's want someone with qualifications he wouldn't have a twinge of guilt every time he has to mess you around to get something done in a hurry. He thinks he can pay you less and have you work more as a friend for just that 'short period of time' when he expects the buisness to suddenly take off. 'assistant' can cover a lot of non specifics, I would be unhappy with this job title unless I knew exactly what I was in for, it sounds like neither of you have a good idea. Uncertainty is the rug that all the little problems are swept under and then suddenly becomes a huge problem later.

Lastly, he may well not be knowingly lying about the contacts needing video services, but he is almost certainly being wildly optimistic. These deal sweetners appear all the time and then never materialise due to 'unforseen' problems like a company not willing to risk its buisness by severing ties with their current supplier in order to take a wild chance on a single man startup, or the contact in the company not having the power or willing to risk his job over a friend of a friend. I can't guess at the real circumstances but if the video work was real, you really can do it and he really is a friend, why hasn't he been pointing it in your direction allready?
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Old October 5th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #7
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Great advise. I would like to add measure twice, cut once. Why would you trade a nice paying staff job for a lower paying staff job? I am sure I am missing some details but this doesn't sound like a good business decision. I am in a similar situation but I love my "job" and I am really passionate about it. Passion goes a long way. Are you looking through rose-colored glasses? Will you find passion in this new position for less pay as an assistant while waiting for your business to take off?

As for side work, I am in the position to pick and choose my clients. Can you work and maintain both your full time job and the side work until you maxed out (60-80 hours/week) before making the jump? Does your wife mind you working 60-80 hours a week?

"he has a lot of clientele and contacts that he knows would need my video services"

"...of course he would get a certain percent of my profit."

Why doesn't he produce these clients now? You can make these videos on the side and split profits or offer a percentage. See, he will already be looking for his cut of the video money. Is this net or gross? Will you be paying rent for the office space? Will your wife pick up the medical? How many billable hours in a week do you think you will have, 25? What is your exit strategy if your relationship goes south in 6 months, 18 months? Will his clients see you as his employee or as an independent contractor? Just because you are good at video, doesn't mean you are good at business. Do you have a mentor besides your friend?

I am not saying don't make the jump. I am saying measure twice and cut once. You have a lot of soul searching to do. Let us know what you decide and I wish you all the success.
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