The benefits of starting a side business

You can start a business even if you don’t have any money. You should do it even if you don’t need to earn more money.

I was blog-surfing this morning and visited the forums at Get Rich Slowly. I saw one particular post that really intrigued me. It was one person’s journey about leaving the rat race and starting her own business.

What was particularly fascinating about her experience and every person who left a comment was that they didn’t do it for the money. They opened their business because they wanted freedom.

In truth, when I opened my business I wanted more freedom too. But like most other small-business owners, I found I had less freedom — at least when it came to my time.

I work more hours as a self-employed person than when I was an employee. My business (instead of my boss) dictate what I have to do everyday. I don’t get to decide if I want to go to the office or go bowling instead. If I want my business to survive, I have to respond to the needs of my business — and that means the needs of my clients.

No, self-employment is not about having more freedom — at least as far as I can see.

Why Do I Love Being Self-Employed?

Because it allows me to express myself freely. At the end of the day, I believe this is the real pay-off for most small business owners who love what they do.

I left the corporate world in 1993 because I was tired of my boss making arbitrary decisions about what was good for my clients. I was tired of my life being subjected to the whims of some corporate executive who didn’t even know my name. As an employee, I couldn’t do what I really felt was right either for my clients or for myself — so I left.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I believe a great way for you to express your true self is to open your own business too — even if it’s not full-time.

Again, even if you don’t need the money, you should consider doing this. Having your own business will give you a new vantage point from which to live.
Sure you’ll have less free time. But if my experience is typical — and I believe it is — you’ll still have a lot more life.

How to Start a Side Business

Find your passion

Decide what business you want to start by finding your passion. To be frank, I started my career in 1984 for the money. But over time I grew to love it. I love getting to know people, hearing their stories and trying to help.

What is it that you love about what you do now? Can you express that in a side business? My advice is to start by looking in your heart. What are you passionate about? Do you love photography? Is it music? Art? Dance? Cooking? Helping kids with autism? Golfing? Blogging? What work would be the best expression of who you really are?

Get help

It might be that your passion provides clarity about what kind of business to open. In my example, I couldn’t keep my job at the bank and have a side consulting business at the same time so the decision was made for me. If you don’t have any legal or moral conflicts, you can open up a side business without burning any bridges.

If you are clear about what field you are passionate about but don’t know how to turn that into a business, I have two suggestions for you:

Connect with mentors

Identify people who are working in the field and ask them for help. Most people are only too happy to help — especially successful people. (That’s why they are successful by the way.) Don’t be deterred.

Let’s say you want to get involved in the dance field but don’t have the money to open your own studio. Who cares? Call up a successful studio owner. Tell them you are passionate about dance, you want to open a side business in the field and have no idea what to do. Just because you don’t have the resources they do doesn’t mean they can’t be helpful.

You may not be able to open a dance studio….but by meeting with these people, you might get fantastic ideas on what dance studios need. You might be able to open a business to service those studios.

Moonlight at a business that is in your “passion field”

The best way to learn is to do. Go to work a few hours each week and don’t worry about how much you get paid. You are there for the experience. You might learn that you don’t have the passion you thought you did for the business. On the other hand, you might uncover ways to get involved with the industry in ways you never thought of before.

Even if you don’t have any money, you can start a business.

You’ll have to invest time. Everything has a price. If you can’t devote time to this, don’t start. But personally, I hope you do it. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make because it’s an investment in yourself.

Have you ever opened your own business? Did you hesitate? What finally pushed you over the edge? What was your experience?

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There are 83 comments to "The benefits of starting a side business".

  1. Damsel says 08 August 2009 at 05:26

    I would add that you can take a class or two at a local community college for pretty cheap, especially if they’re online classes. These can help you sharpen your skills at whatever you want to do, as well as teach you some things about managing a business. I only say this because it’s what I’m getting ready to do!

  2. Morah Mary says 08 August 2009 at 05:47

    I opened my own business two years ago. As a supplemental (religious) school director, I was frustrated by the amount of time I was spending personnel and facilities issues compared to educational issues. Due to a family member’s illness, I also needed to establish more flexible hours.

    As a transition move, I worked with a career counselor to explore some of the options available to me.

    Two years later, my consulting business is going well – I’m making more money each year. It’s not as much as I was making before, but my expenses are much lower. We’ve also been able to get a handle on our family expenses, so the net benefit (which includes paying down our debt, eating more healthy food, etc) is greater than the financial bottom line.

    My biggest consern was finding clients. This is a “niche” market and I wasn’t certain whether there would be enough to do – or whether people would be willing to hire me to do things they were used to doing.

    Word of mouth, staying networked with former colleagues by sitting on area committees, blogging, and doing a couple of strategic pro-bono projects have helped. I love what I’m doing – the variety, the pace, the projects and the people. Can’t imagine going back to work for someone else!

  3. Chickybeth says 08 August 2009 at 06:31

    I would love to start my own business, but I am afraid to lose a paycheck right now. Maybe someday.

    I liked this post a lot because it was encouraging. Yes, you can! 😀

  4. Chiot's Run says 08 August 2009 at 06:59

    Mr Chiots and I started our own business 6 years ago and we never want to go back to the regular job world.

    I agree that you work more with your own business, although it’s much more rewarding. We work 2x as much as we used to, but we’re rewarded for that work. One think I like about working for myself is having a more flexible schedule and working from home.

    One thing I would recommend is to really take up a business that’s something you’re already familiar with and really enjoy. Also I would recommend spending some time planning it out before taking the big plunge. Saving and buying any necessary equipment before quitting your current job is also a big plus and makes the whole business start-up much less stressful. We started our business debt-free and have remained that way. Borrowing large sums of money to start a business is often a recipe for disaster (both for your business and your finances).

    I would also suggest each year to redefine your goals and wants. Every year our business changes a little bit as we diversify and build up our income streams and move into new areas. We are now fairly confident that we can weather just about anything because of the way we’ve built up our business and diversified.

    Also, make sure you build up a business emergency account just like you would for personal use. We have saved each year and have a 12-month business emergency fund to cover all expenses for a year. This makes being self-employed a lot less stressful!

    And I think most importantly: don’t make the mistake of not saving at least 20% (or more, not less) of all income to cover taxes (this has really come back to bite a lot of our self-employed friends). We actually save 25% and then roll the extra left over after taxes into a savings account or use it to buy year-end equipment. After your first year you’ll have a better idea of what percentage your business will likely incure (our tax bill each year is 19.8% of our net business income)

  5. Jason D Barr says 08 August 2009 at 07:12

    Great job, Neal. For me, I’ve found that the business wasn’t even the important thing. It’s the ability to create something of value for other people. Granted, this is a personal finance website, so money probably should be involved! However, finding the proverbial thing that you would do for free, and actually doing it, is what seems to make other areas of life click along, as well.

  6. Felipe Lopes says 08 August 2009 at 07:33

    Well, I want to start my own business, I did it twice, but my main error in both times was that I wasn’t passionated for it. I know that the third time I will be passionated, and it will go better then the other times. I am 21, and I’m feel tired of working for other people, but I want to start with a part-time own business.

  7. Anne says 08 August 2009 at 07:34

    The first time my husband and I started our own business, we had a passion for what we were doing, but not a lot of business sense. We discovered that our ideas were labor intensive which required either our time or that we hire people to do it. Since there’s only 24 hours in a day, we hired people. Then there was the people management and dealing with problems there. Bottom line – it didn’t end well.

    Take 2 – we have now started another business and this time around we’ve found something that still fits with our passions (actually even better!!) and involves minimal labor. It fits within what the two of us can handle and once it takes off should be residual income rather than exchanging our time for dollars. Best of all, it’s something that allows us to help others raise funds for their passions which is amazing to us!

    So my advice is take your passion, talk to mentors, get part time jobs in the field (like someone stated, don’t worry about the pay), and do a lot of research. Really get to understand what kind of time and effort is involved – both with the product itself (or whatever that is) and the business behind the scenes (the management and possible staff). We’re good at some things, but the things we aren’t good at, we’re eliminating, minimizing or hiring someone else to do!!

    Good luck!

  8. RB @ RichBy30RetireBy40 says 08 August 2009 at 07:52

    The best time to start a side-business is when you are employed already and don’t need the income. The pressure is off, and you are doing it for the pure enjoyment.

    I had previously sworn off going to school ever again due to the homework and pressure of getting good grades. However, when I went to get my MBA part-time at Berkeley, I had the educational time of my life! I was learning simply for the sake of learning.

    It’s the same with starting my own blog. It is so refreshing to write freely and I never knew people could make money blogging.

    Now, as I count down my 8-10 more years until retirement at 40, I realize that blogging could actually go from part-time hobby and little income, to the forefront of my finances! Anybody spending 8 years on a hobby has to develop a following and get good at it right? 🙂

    Best,

    RB
    RB30RB40

  9. Tyler@FrugallyGreen says 08 August 2009 at 07:56

    Neal,

    I think your advice is excellent, but not for everyone. I know we’ve had this discussion here before. If you’re the type of person who craves autonomy and revels in personal responsibility and seeing rewards match your efforts, then starting a side business is probably for you.

    If you can find something you love and spend 12 or more hours a day at it without thinking of it as “work,” then a side business is probably for you.

    However, not everyone possesses this mindset. And that’s ok, because we need people on both sides of the equation for society to function.

    I’ll use one of my roommates, for example. He is really intelligent, very talented, worked for himself doing theater and musical pursuits all of his youth and he’s going back to school to become a medical assistant. If you ask him what he really wants out of a career, he’ll tell you that he’d love any job that gave him 40 hours a week, a steady paycheck, and the freedom (yes, I think it can be described as freedom in this sense also) to forget about work between the end of one day and the beginning of the next.

    He’ll make an awesome medical assistant someday who will really cares about his patients and improving their lives, but he doesn’t want the responsibility of managing the “business side” of the business.

  10. Eric Burdo says 08 August 2009 at 07:57

    For good, all-around tax info for those who are “indies”. Meaning… you are an independent. (aka self employed), check out June Walker.

    Her website is: http://www.junewalkeronline.com/

    She has a book that is good for figuring out how to classify your business, how to handle taxes, what you can claim, etc. A great resource.

  11. Pizzaforadream says 08 August 2009 at 08:00

    @chickybeth No need to lose your paycheck now, just start on the side. Due to concern for my job status, I started a business on the side and in 3 years it has doubled my full-time income. By the way, I’m still working my full-time job and plan to make a smooth transition when I’m ready. You can do it.

  12. Foxie@CarsxGirl says 08 August 2009 at 08:09

    Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂 I started blogging for the fun of it, now I write about what I’m passionate about and hope to use it to capture a freelance gig or two writing in automotive journalism. Likewise, I’d like to do freelance photography in the same industry…

    But I’m studying something entirely different. Of course, the degree I picked (Finance, emphasis on Personal Finance) will allow me to either get a corporate job, join an association of planners, or work for myself. I like my options! I can always work part-time in my industry and work part-time doing what I’m passionate about.

  13. Hogan says 08 August 2009 at 08:15

    Excellent post. I agree, there are ups and downs to self-employment and paid employment. Personally, I have found the “hybrid model” to work best for me: a part-time “day job,” that gives me access to a steady income, an existing infrastructure of co-workers, equipment, and the ability to specialize, and self-employment. The self-employment work lets me be creative, flexible, not overly stressed about money, work at the business at my own pace, and learn from the ground up.

    Freedom from paid employment is not always the rosy picture America likes to paint. To me, it means more responsibility, not less. However, I like rising and falling on my own merit, not someone else’s. I have found that running my own side business and doing independent contractor work for other companies is the perfect blend for now. In a couple of years, though, I intend to switch the independent contractor work for a part-time job with benefits, so as to increase my earnings and have a steady opportunity to work with students.

  14. Mike Piper says 08 August 2009 at 08:27

    “They didn’t do it for the money. They opened their business because they wanted freedom.”

    Is there a difference? 🙂

    Excellent tips, by the way. I’m a big believer in dipping your toes into entrepreneurship before making the leap.

  15. Wendy H says 08 August 2009 at 08:31

    Great article. Thanks.

  16. Tyler Karaszewski says 08 August 2009 at 08:38

    “I believe a great way for you to express your true self is to open your own business too … you’ll still have a lot more life.”

    This theory is essentially the thesis of your post, but you offer absolutely no evidence for it at all in the rest of the article (nor do you explain the benefit of “expressing your true self”).

    “You should do it even if you don’t need the money.”

    This article certainly didn’t convince me of this. Would you still advise me to tart a side business if my job title was “CEO, Volkswagen Auto Group”, or “Starting Pitcher, New York Yankees”, or “Owner, Smith & Sons Plumbing Supply of Tyler, Texas”? Is no one exempt? If anyone *is* exempt, why? Why aren’t they considered as potentials readers of this site?

    This article basically says “everyone should have two jobs” because “it helps you express your true self”. That’s very touchy-feely/new-agey and all, but I don’t buy it, and you didn’t even offer any evidence to support it.

  17. Frugal Bachelor says 08 August 2009 at 09:43

    Neal,

    If you love being self-employed, then why are you auditioning for the position of Staff Writer, hoping to be working for the owner of Get Rich Slowly, Inc.?

  18. Ann says 08 August 2009 at 10:00

    If you love being self-employed, then why are you auditioning for the position of Staff Writer, hoping to be working for the owner of Get Rich Slowly, Inc.?

    While I don’t agree with Neal’s assertion that everyone should start a side business (even though I have one myself), perhaps he just wants to share his knowledge with and help a wider audience.

  19. QQ says 08 August 2009 at 10:02

    This is dangerous advice. As a 3-time entrepreneur, I can tell you that starting a business is not just some fun hobby you can pick up on the side, and it’s not for everyone…and we (as a people, country, community, whatever) certainly shouldn’t be trying to sell that dream to everyone.

    The real advice that you can take from this column is to substitute “business” with “passion”. In that if you have a passion, pursue it in whatever way makes sense for you, and use it as a vehicle to express yourself and find enjoyment. That is a truly accessible goal that everyone can pursue, and will hopefully find rewarding. Money, and the constant pursuit of it, can often corrupt and destroy passions (ask a lot of artists). Not everything has to be about money, and not everything has to be a business.

  20. B Smith @ Wealth and Wisdom says 08 August 2009 at 10:17

    Neal – Great post. I agree with much of what you say. I would like to point out that the very thing you say you love about being on your own is freedom: the freedom to do business in accordance with your beliefs, the freedom from painful bosses, etc…

    One common thread I see from the post and comments is the concern (and in some cases reality) that running your own business is a 12+ hour per day job. And that is exactly the problem for many small businesses. Instead of building a business that leverages business systems and labor (I like to outsource), they create a job that also requires them to spend hours on the “business” side. Michael Gerber wrote a great book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It that explains this phenomenon and how to fix it.

  21. Bear says 08 August 2009 at 10:20

    Nice article Neal. I’d like to see more specifics, but this is a good starter post for someone who is just starting to think about that direction.

    As someone who has successfully started and then sold several businesses I think your point about moonlighting is excellent. I’ve seen too many folks have impractical dreams about the reality of starting, running and actually making money at their business idea. By moonlighting you can minimize the startup risk, build up your knowledge base, increase your support network, iron out technical details like incorporating, partnerships, LLC’s, taxes, etc. And hey, if you discover what you thought was an awesome money maker barely pays enough to pay for the coffee break in the morning you can shut it down (or make it a hobby) long before you’ve sunk in your life savings!

    Here’s another short article with some quick tips: http://tinyurl.com/m8e6ud

    Or this from the SBA: http://tinyurl.com/yuwczb

    This article from Kiplinger: http://tinyurl.com/2xje8p includes a link to SCORE, a great mentoring resource!

    Finally, wikihow has a nice little starter: http://tinyurl.com/lyv7an

  22. Martine Syms says 08 August 2009 at 10:31

    My partner and I started a business straight out of college… art school! Needless to say, we’ve had to learn a lot, mentors and the library have been invaluable. We kept our day jobs for the first year, but we’ve been living solely off the business for the past 10 months, and it has been amazing. Sure we work twice as much as we did before, but we also see results immediately, and feel very rewarded. We’ve learned to be incredibly frugal, increasingly resourceful, and to think creatively. I feel happy and grateful every day, which is more than I could ever hope for. I can’t see myself going back to 9-to-5 anytime soon!

  23. krom says 08 August 2009 at 10:32

    The sticking point for me is the whole dependency on having a singletary interest. I would find such a life extremely boring. I don’t have singletary passion, I have many. If I must pick only one to focus on, I will spend the entire time regretting that I didn’t pick another.

  24. AP says 08 August 2009 at 11:09

    I agree with the comments about starting something small while you still have a steady paycheck and a safety net. Building up a decent savings account is beneficial too – helps you get through the starting up stage without panicking. 🙂

    The business we’re doing now aligns with our desire to help people who help others, is something the two of us can do on our own (don’t need staff), and has minimal overhead. Our future goals are to limit our “work” to those things that pass the “RV test” – it must be something that is not constrained to times and locations; it must be something we could do via the phone and internet while traveling the country in an RV. (Someday we’ll actually purchase an RV and try it out!)

  25. Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas says 08 August 2009 at 11:20

    Great post, full of concrete advice and examples. Well done.

  26. Pat with Smart Passive Income says 08 August 2009 at 11:59

    I run my own business from home. I have been for almost a year now ever since I was laid off, which was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

    I too, was afraid – most people are, but luckily I was laid off which pushed me to succeed, and now I’ve already earned well over 100k in 2009 already.

    @ Chickybeth #3 – I think feeling afraid of losing a paycheck is what is holding most people back from succeeding and starting their own businesses. You may be comfortable with what you have, and there is obviously risk involved, but the rewards far outweigh the risks. “You’ll never succeed and start your own business unless you try.”

    Also, a part of this post mentions moonlighting. It’s a great way to test some of your ideas out by working a few hours a week on something while still at your own job. When that income matches or surpasses the income you make from your 9-5, then you won’t be as afraid.

    As far as working 12+ hours a day while working from home, well that depends on the business model you choose to setup for yourself. If you set it up correctly and leverage the power of the internet and automation, you can easily work only 10 hours A WEEK. I do.

    Great post!

  27. Emily says 08 August 2009 at 12:23

    I started a non-profit instead. It’s hugely freeing not to have to worry about the money, aside from staying in the black. So, I teach people to can and pickle and bake. It makes me happy, my participants learn things they want to know, and we’re slowly building a community.

  28. Andrea says 08 August 2009 at 12:23

    I read this column with interest. I tried my hand at running my own business a few years ago with limited success. As it turns out, it’s a fine side business, but not lucrative enough and too time consuming to be a full-blown, one-woman business venture. I’ve recently been looking into other potential business ventures, and there are so many factors to consider that I worry I’ll overlook something. Neal’s column gave me more food for thought in an easily understood format. I’d enjoy seeing more columns in this vein.

  29. Neal@Wealth Pilgrim says 08 August 2009 at 12:31
    Damsel……great idea -re: community college. Wish I’d thought of that.

    Mora Mary – Another great idea – speak to a career counselor. Should of considered that too!

    Chiot’s Run – Having enough cash….so important. Thanks for putting the emphasis on that issue.

    Jason/Felipe/Ann, – Agreed. The passion is the most critical ingrediant.

    RB, Sounds like you’re really enjoying your journey. That’s where it starts and ends for me.

    Tyler, I love that you made this comment. You are clearly correct. It’s not for everyone…but I think it is for some people that stay away from this because of their fear. That’s what I am trying to dispel.

    Hogan, Fantastic idea. Turn it around and work part-time while pursuing the dream. I like. I like.

    Mike, I actually think there is a huge difference between freedom and money. Sometimes more money does create more freedom but money can easily create less freedom as well. That’s why the end goal is so important. If your main goal is to be a blogger (for argument sake) you might reduce your standard of living so you could afford to live your dream…right?

    Tyler,

    With all due respect, if I have to convince you of the value of expressing your true self, if that is not self-evident, then I don’t know what I could say that would make it valuable for you.

    The evidence of the benefit is detailed in my own example and the comments provided here.

    Do I think everyone should have 2 jobs? No. If you are happy and feel that you can express yourself freely and creatively in your current work, stay put. I should have made that clear and I appreciate you pointing that out.

    I do think that many people accept jobs rather than embrace freedom. And that is a shame. I feel that such a choice is unfortunate and unnecessary.

    Frugal Bachelor,

    I write my blog as well as guest posts because I love it. I do not do it for the money. This audition is in fact an example of what I am trying to say. Thanks for pointing it out.

    B. Smith,

    You are right on the money. I LOVE the E-Myth and I should write about it. That book turned my business and my life around 180 degrees.

    Martin – I celebrate your success and freedom! Yes!!!!

    Krom, Good point. Here’s my question – you have many interests, how do you satisfy them with your current employment?

    Jules/Pat, Thanks!

  30. Neal@Wealth Pilgrim says 08 August 2009 at 12:33
    Emily,

    That’s another idea I hadn’t considered. I really learn much more from the comments than from any other singular thing I do. Thanks,

  31. Tyler Karaszewski says 08 August 2009 at 12:52

    Neal:
    Your talk of “true self” implies that I’m currently living in some state of “false self”. Not just me, either — you assume that’s the default modus operandi for your whole audience. That we’re all shrouded in some giant lie imposed upon us by “the man”, and if only we could break free from the oppression of employment, we’d all be better off.

    This is insulting and remarkably presumptuous. The world is not filled entirely with Orwellian drones enslaved to Big Brother with no sense of freedom outside of the option of a second job. Even if it *were* filled with these people — why would a second job be the only way out? That makes no sense to me, and you certainly didn’t explain it.

    And the “evidence of the benefit” (of true self-expression) is *not* detailed in your own example, you hardly even provide an example, this is almost the entirety of your own story provided:

    “To be frank, I started my career in 1984 for the money. But over time I grew to love it. I love getting to know people, hearing their stories and trying to help.”

    That says absolutely *nothing at all* about self expression — true, false, or otherwise.

    Your entire article is based on two premises:
    1) “true self-expression” is desirable, but difficult while traditionally employed.
    2) A great way to achieve “true self-expression” is by starting a side business.

    You provide zero evidence for either point. You don’t even define, “true self-expression”.

  32. Neal@Wealth Pilgrim says 08 August 2009 at 13:04
    Tyler,
    “I left the corporate world in 1993 because I was tired of my boss making arbitrary decisions about what was good for my clients. I was tired of my life being subjected to the whims of some corporate executive who didn’t even know my name. As an employee, I couldn’t do what I really felt was right either for my clients or for myself – so I left.”

    What’s unclear about this?

    The premise of this article is that you can easily open a business and there are benefits which go beyond the financial arena.

    I never said you can’t express yourself as an employee. I never said that the only way to gain these benefits is by having your own business either. I think I provided examples of the benefits. I think people who left comments above share similar benefits as well.

  33. Tan says 08 August 2009 at 13:12

    This is the article I was looking for. I have a full time job right now that pays ok. Seven days on and seven day off. On my off days I wanted to do something more productive instead of playing golf all week long. I love the article and also love reading the comments. Thanks alot guys and gals. Have a good one.

  34. Tyler Karaszewski says 08 August 2009 at 14:17

    Nothing is unclear about that paragraph — it just doesn’t address any of the things you talk about. Namely, it doesn’t say anything about how opening your own business has helped you to be able to express your true self. Sure, you didn’t like your old job. You felt stifled. That’s all that paragraph says.

    I know what the premise of the article is, that’s obvious. What’s lacking is supporting evidence for that premise. You say “there are benefits which go beyond the financial arena”, but then fail to list any. You list potential possible side businesses — photography, music, art, dance, cooking, helping kids with autism, golfing, blogging. You fail to list any reason at all why these are more fulfilling as a business than as a hobby. If I get joy from photography as a hobby already how does turning that into a business provide me with additional benefits that go “beyond the financial arena”? Surely I get all the non-financial benefits already, all I add by turning it into a business is an income, and at the same time I *lose* my “true self-expression” — now, instead of photography purely for myself, I have to do what my clients want.

    You say you think you provided examples of the benefits of this, but whether you think you did doesn’t matter — the purpose of a persuasive essay it to persuade the audience, not the author. I’m telling you your article’s unconvincing, you’re telling me it is because you’re convinced. You were convinced before you starting writing the article. The other small business owners who you mention have commented started their businesses well before reading this article, so you didn’t convince them, either.

  35. Laura says 08 August 2009 at 14:28

    I loved this post! I work to support my hobby, and sometimes my hobby puts a little bit of $$ in the pot as well to support itself. It is indeed an area where I feel free to make the decisions and it is indeed an area where I have to work my butt off if I want to really succeed. There is a freedom there and a satisfaction in the achieving in the area of my hobby that feeds my soul in a way that my “day job” really does not.

    I very much enjoyed Neal’s writing style and “voice” in this post. Probably my favorite of the auditions thus far. LW

  36. friend says 08 August 2009 at 14:55

    Tyler, don’t you have your own blog?

  37. Mike Piper says 08 August 2009 at 15:13

    Neal, regarding money as freedom (or not), you say that “If your main goal is to be a blogger (for argument sake) you might reduce your standard of living so you could afford to live your dream…right?”

    Absolutely. And to me, that’s exactly what I’m saying. When you reduce your standard of living, you’re increasing your net available cash flow (your money) so that you can do other things with it. Money = available choices = freedom.

    Though as you mentioned, once you reach a certain point, that may not always be a good thing.

    Anyway, great discussion. 🙂

  38. Neal@Wealth Pilgrim says 08 August 2009 at 16:25
    Mike,

    Sorry…..hey thanks. I agree with you. I may have misunderstood your original point. When you wrote that money = freedom and asked, aren’t they the same….I thought you meant having MORE money meant having MORE freedom. Clearly, that wasn’t what you were saying.

    Thanks,

  39. Mrs. White says 08 August 2009 at 16:26

    Neal, this is an interesting article. It opens up a lot to discuss and is beneficial. I enjoyed it. Thanks for the ideas. I am sure you inspired a lot of people and really got them thinking. You’ve done an excellent job!

  40. Jennifer says 08 August 2009 at 16:30

    It’s hard to imagine a much better life than mine: being a stay-at-home mom who also works from home part-time.

    I had intended to go back to work full time after my first son was born, but I had negotiated with my boss that I would bring the baby to work with me. By the time my maternity leave was over, I had a new boss, who did not feel obligated by the arrangement, since he hadn’t agreed to it.

    So, I negotiated a part-time compromise while I figured out what to do. 6 months later I had enough clients lined up to go out on my own, and I’ve never looked back.

    The two things that I have appreciated about working for myself are: the flexibility of working from home (no child-care crisis if a kid is home sick), and no longer having a conflict between providing the best possible service to my clients at the lowest possible price and keeping my employer happy by maximizing profits.

    I am a CPA, which means I have very few costs. I really only had to buy a computer. Also, having a spouse earning a full-time income provides a lot of flexibility and mitigates risk. I’m not sure business ownership is for everyone, but it sure works for our family.

  41. Christine says 08 August 2009 at 16:59

    Relax Tyler. Don’t like the article, MOVE ON. From the comments, there have been many people (myself included) who liked the article and clearly felt they got something from it.

  42. MLR says 08 August 2009 at 17:00

    Neal —

    I think Tyler has made a lot of points that you have *not* addressed.

    MLR

  43. MLR says 08 August 2009 at 17:20

    Tyler —

    To be quite honest, you are reading a blog post way too critically.

    Obviously other commenters understood his point and answered accordingly. You don’t? Sorry. But it seems you are expecting a dissertation, not a blog post.

    I guess I understand why your blog doesn’t have any posts… it must be impossible to meet your criterion.

    I think Neal sold his point to his audience. You just happen to not be in that audience. And that is fine! Click next! 🙂

    MLR

  44. Four Pillars says 08 August 2009 at 17:25

    Neal – great post. I like your comment that the business (ie clients) still dictate a lot of things like hours/tasks etc. Some people get carried away with the “set your own hours” myth of being self-employed.

    I completely agree about dipping your toes into entrepreneurship – I don’t understand people who quit a good job to start a new business which might never make any money. I suppose it depends on the business but some businesses can be very part time and you can decide exactly how much effort to put into it. Of course less effort means less chance of success but at least you can try it on a small scale.

    Tyler – As an additional suggestion to “friend” comment 30 – why aren’t you applying for the GRS staff position? You always have lots to say and it’s all negative which implies to me that you think you can do a better job. I would love to read some posts from you – I think they would be interesting (seriously).

  45. Kevin@OutOfYourRut says 08 August 2009 at 17:28

    I think Neal is onto something with a side business as a form of self-expression.

    Can we be honest about something? Most people work in the jobs they do in order to pay the bills, and not for any other reason. There’s a nobility to that as well–we all have to make a living doing something. It’s called responsibility.

    But more often than not, while we’re doing that something, there’s something else we’d rather be doing. I know, some people will argue til the cows come in about how they love their work, and that’s great, but it’s also not typical. If it were, why are most people obsessed with retirement???

    OK, so you’re working to pay the bills, but you don’t much like what you’re doing. But you’re pretty good at it, and you can’t think what else you could do that would pay as much money.

    That’s where the sideline comes in. You’re already paying your bills, but now you want to do something you really like, maybe even if it doesn’t pay much. That’s self-actualizing, and there’s a little voice in all of us that desperately wants to do that.

    A sideline could be the perfect way to do that, and to do it with minimal risk.

    An author wrote a book a few years back–the author and the book both escape me–but he brought up a point that’s significant. He said most people don’t pursue their passions–their avocations–because avocations don’t pay enough to support a person in most cases. That’s why people take on vocations. So if you have a vocation to sustain the lifestyle you desire, it makes perfect sense to pursue your passion through a sideline.

    Passion = a sense of purpose, which makes life worth living. It’s worth going for. Excellent post Neal!

  46. Frugal Dad says 08 August 2009 at 18:32

    This was a great post, Neal…thanks for sharing! Anyone who has read my blog knows my passion for encouraging people to find a “side hustle,” if for no other reason than to hedge against a lay off in unpredictable times.

    I started writing as a side hustle two years ago now, and it sure beats other things I’ve done (lawn care, retail, a failed small home-biz opportunity, etc.).

    While there is great risk in starting something on your own, I believe there is greater risk of never fulfilling a dream many of us share to make a contribution larger than the one offered from our employer. At least that is what initially motivated me, and matches up with your call for finding a source of self-expression.

  47. Adrian says 08 August 2009 at 18:34

    I feel that this article resonates with me in particular because I too became (the term I believe Neal was searching for) a Micro-Business CEO. Micro-Businesses are small, self-contained, self-run occupations that usually tend to require little to no initial capital, can be run in an informal environment (say from home) and usually consist of three employees maximum including yourself. I too, even at 23, became disenchated with the occupational rat race, the anonimity of “the system”, and realized that starting a small business would compliment my personality, lifestyle, and provide me with time to tend to other important things in life, like helping care for my elderly parents. I think one thing that should be emphasized is that micro-businesses are NOT for everyone. You need to have a passion for it, you need to be okay with working L-O-N-G hours(especially in the beginning and even on weekends) in order to establish your comfortable boundaries and expectations. But once you have that down-pat it usually goes well from there. I believe that being a business owner works well for some, and yet others find comfort in working under management because they enjoy the financial security and benefits coverage that many occupations provide. It all comes down to YOU and what YOU value and desire in life.
    I also LOVE Neal’s personal story — he took a difficult life, expected greater things of himself, and used his skills and intelligence to overcome adversity and to create the ideal life he desired. He is truly a shining example of the American Dream. 🙂

  48. Neal@Wealth Pilgrim says 08 August 2009 at 18:46
    Four Pillars, I agree. The “toe dip” method makes this concept available to all of us. Thanks for putting the spot light on that.

    Kevin,

    That has absolutely been my experience and I appreciate you chiming in. I don’t meet many people who are absolutely thrilled with their employment but I meet a great many who love being self-employed. I think it has more to do with the freedom of expression than the actual work.

    Frugal Dad,
    Since you are my hero, these words are especially meaningful and touching. Someone said something about most people living lives of quiet desperation. Self-employment gives us the chance to change all that. At least it gives me that opportunity and judging from your comments and those of others on this post, I’m not the only one.

    Adrian,

    I wish I was as together as you are at such a young age. Bravo! And thanks for your kind words. You are very kind.

  49. Matt Jabs says 08 August 2009 at 19:38

    @Tyler #16, 31, 34: You actually raise great points assuming the purpose of the article is to persuade readers. Looking back over it, do you think the author was trying to persuade or encourage?

  50. Dave @ Debt Black Hole says 08 August 2009 at 20:12

    I absolutely agree that a side business can be a good move for some! The ‘cost’ of the enterprise is usually some combination of time and money.

    If you have a passion for something and REALLY want to do it, have you ever noticed you always find the time? The same is true, in most cases, with money. If you REALLY want to do it- somehow the money seems to become available.

    Starting a side business can also be an incredible learning experience! Even if, at some point, the venture fails or you decide to STOP doing it- you will hopefully have learned several lessons…marketing, management, leadership, accounting, systems or a number of other things.

    The overall value of those lessons learned will probably be worth much more than the time or monetary costs of starting and running the business. And those minimal costs will almost certainly be much less than it would have cost you to take classes or go back to school.

    I have started several businesses. Some of them have FAILED miserably. Others have succeeded in small or big ways. But I have learned from each of them.

    If you can handle the investment of time and money for a side business- I say DO IT. If not, then find something else to motivate you. Just be sure you don’t go into DEBT to fund your side business. Start small and let the income from it build up so it is self-sustaining.

    Fantastic article Neal!

  51. David says 09 August 2009 at 01:23

    To those telling Tyler to just skip this article:

    GRS is one of the few blogs I read where I learn as much from the comments as I do from the article. For this reason it is one of the few I actually open from within my RSS reader to see the comments, as opposed to other blogs I enjoy, like ZenHabits, where there are 100 comments saying, “Nice article, Leo!”

    So if someone has VERY valid questions and points out flaws in a line of argument, I find that very valuable, especially when its an article I wouldn’t have had time to study in-depth myself.

    Concerning the article, Tyler has hit the nail on the head, pointing at a fundamental reasoning error. Here it is again in case you missed it:

    – Follow your passions instead of money to start a side business, allowing you to express your true self. (please correct me if this is NOT what the article is saying)

    I would agree this is flawed. In fact, I would say the exact opposite is true. I would say as soon as you make your passion a source of income, expect to compromise your true self.

    Example: I play music on the side. I write songs, play at open mic nights, do it for the love. If I pursue this as a source of income, what options do I have? I could become a freelance studio musician, which means playing music written by other people the way they want it played. I could try to cut a record? Let’s say I get a record deal, I now have a record label vying for control over my album, telling me what is commercial, etc.

    Very few people have become successful in their lifetime pursuing their passions without compromise. Read How to be Creative over at gapingvoid for a pretty good explanation.

    You can do it if you find the extra income completely unnecessary, and never want it to be your main job, but this isn’t what the article says.

    Having said all that, I enjoyed this guest post. Probably more so than the others, since this one is more open for a discussion. And I do see the author’s point, that it is very possible (and even likely) that your own business will allow you more creative control than working for “the man”. Getting to decide yourself how clients should be handled is a wonderful feeling, but the sacrifices involved (even the creative ones) shouldn’t be ignored.

    Anyways, let’s try to encourage analysis of the posts instead of GRS turning into hundreds of “Me too”s, one step short of blogs where the first 5 comments all say, “FIRST!”
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

  52. Mrs. White says 09 August 2009 at 03:52

    I have to agree with what David said here:
    —————————–
    “””””- Follow your passions instead of money to start a side business, allowing you to express your true self. (please correct me if this is NOT what the article is saying)

    I would agree this is flawed. In fact, I would say the exact opposite is true. I would say as soon as you make your passion a source of income, expect to compromise your true self.

    Example: I play music on the side. I write songs, play at open mic nights, do it for the love. If I pursue this as a source of income, what options do I have? I could become a freelance studio musician, which means playing music written by other people the way they want it played. I could try to cut a record? Let’s say I get a record deal, I now have a record label vying for control over my album, telling me what is commercial, etc.”””””
    ——————–

    I am a full time housewife and have been since I got married 21 years ago. However, we have done a few things from home to earn a little extra money, mostly to keep our children occupied and to teach them skills. The last business we owned was a store (with a restaurant and gas station). All of our children worked there with us. We lived there too. However, when we sold it after four years, I was so tired, I didn’t want to start anything new again. That was two years ago. If I get an idea for a home business, I give it to one of my children. They do it without me. I would rather not have the pressure and deadlines. I consider myself to be somewhat retired. I bake, cook, clean, take care of children and sew. I do all these things because I enjoy them. I could also do all these things to earn money but I find more peace doing it just for my family. (I do babysit on occasion, however, just to have the babies around). My point? Sometimes, when you are finished earning money for the day, you would rather pursue your passions just for your own enjoyment and not to be at the demands of customers or clients.

    This is just another take on this topic. There is nothing wrong with earning money doing what you enjoy. It is wonderful. However, some of us want to do what we enjoy just for the recreation of it.

  53. Neal Frankle says 09 August 2009 at 06:05
    David, I appreciate you making your thoughts clear.

    – “Follow your passions instead of money to start a side business, allowing you to express your true self. (please correct me if this is NOT what the article is saying)”

    Yes…it’s what I’m saying within the context of my story. It may not be everyone’s experience.

    “I would agree this is flawed. In fact, I would say the exact opposite is true. I would say as soon as you make your passion a source of income, expect to compromise your true self.”

    With all due respect, I think people who feel this way don’t own their own business. Most people I know who do own their own business (myself included) don’t agree. If you read the comments from those who have their own business, I think you’ll see my point.

    “Very few people have become successful in their lifetime pursuing their passions without compromise. ”

    Now, I think your comment is a bit off the mark. Sure…everyone compromises. I’d much prefer to be in that recording studio with you (I play drums as a hobby and I love it) but I haven’t compromised my true self by doing what I do.

    My values are who I am and what I do is an extension of that. Is having your own business the only way to express your true values (true self)? Not at all. But it is a wonderful way to do it. At least in my experience and that of many people who took the time to comment here.

    I would argue that nobody has ever been successful (employee or self-employed) unless their work expresses who they are at their core.

    Someone living a lie could make a ton of money of course, but the odds are they will be miserable and therefore, not successful.

  54. Neal Frankle says 09 August 2009 at 06:08
    Mrs. White

    “My point? Sometimes, when you are finished earning money for the day, you would rather pursue your passions just for your own enjoyment and not to be at the demands of customers or clients.”

    I think you make an excellent point and I agree with you.

  55. Four Pillars says 09 August 2009 at 06:17

    You guys have brought up great points (including Tyler).

    I thought the main opinion of the article was that having a small business was a good thing to do.

    Neal’s idea for turning a hobby into a business was just one suggestion for determining what that business should be.

    It’s certainly true that turning a hobby into a business can “ruin” that hobby for you. It’s also possible that you can turn a hobby into a business and just separate the business part from the hobby side.

    For a example a photographer might do weddings every second weekend and then on other weekends they might also have their own photo sessions where they can take bird photos (or whatever they like).

    They don’t have to turn the hobby completely into a business.

  56. Neal Frankle says 09 August 2009 at 06:41
    Four Pillars….again……you are living proof that 55 heads are better than one.

    Your point is excellent and like almost all of the comments made before, unique and adds a great deal to the conversation.

  57. Kevin@OutOfYourRut says 09 August 2009 at 07:53

    Neal (53)–“My values are who I am and what I do is an extension of that. Is having your own business the only way to express your true values (true self)? Not at all. But it is a wonderful way to do it. At least in my experience and that of many people who took the time to comment here.”

    I have to agree with this. A lof of people aren’t able to express themselves in their main occupation, working under the control of others. Having your own business is a way to do this, and I think it’s something most of us long to do, and as a matter of emotional health, probably need to do.

  58. Michael@TheCardSender says 09 August 2009 at 08:07

    A side business gives you freedom. Adding multiple streams of income to your life allows you not to be dependant on one, say your main line of work. Find something you like doing, give yourself some patience to let it develop and you will reap the rewards.

  59. Kevin@OutOfYourRut says 09 August 2009 at 10:04

    Michael (58)–That’s another outstanding point. The time for multiple income streams has arrived.

    Relying solely on a single employer or even a single business in this environment might prove to be a strategic mistake. My own site is focused on this principle.

  60. Kristine says 09 August 2009 at 10:41

    This is an idea I have played with over the years. My one fear: health care. I have heard such horror stories of being taken by health care insurance companies if you do not have the baking of a large client. Any thought?
    Thanks

  61. Mike Piper says 09 August 2009 at 11:58

    Kristine, I’m self-employed, and our health insurance is BCBS, purchased through ehealthinsurance.

    I had some health issues last year that resulted in several thousand dollars of medical expenses. The process went every bit as smoothly as it would have had I still been employed by a big company.

    Not that I can promise that your experience will be the same, of course. But for my wife and I at least, the whole health insurance thing wasn’t nearly as big a change as I feared.

  62. Deb says 09 August 2009 at 12:09

    Love this post, Neal! I think it is very sage advice to keep the day job while exploring side business options, and following your passions.

    I telecommute, have fantastic job security, earn a decent wage that won’t ever make me rich, but it’s more than enough. I moved to a tiny home on 4 rural acres a year ago to follow my dream of hobby farming as a side business.

    Recently my employer offered me more hours – 40 a week instead of my customary 32. What a tough decision! I could take the big increase in pay, the extra vacation & retirement dollars, but then I’d have less time for pursuing my side passion.

    I declined the offer. It allows me to spend 1 day a week volunteering on a local organic farm with a man who has been in the local produce business for 25 years. He’s an amazing mentor, and I am gaining so much experience and knowledge that I will be able to fully utilize when I officially launch my own effort.

    I took my next step yesterday – I spent some of designated farm savings and purchased some supplies and heirloom seeds. I believe I made the right decision, and I’m extremely excited about it!

    Follow that dream, my friends – but do it with a plan.

  63. David says 09 August 2009 at 13:08

    Hi Neal,

    Thank you for your response.

    I think we both agree that in my hypothetical example, for instance, making money as a musician is far better than working in IT or whatever my made-up person would be doing otherwise.

    From this point of view, I probably don’t disagree with the article. I’m just trying to extend the discussion into the subtext not covered, that pursuing your passions for profit has its downsides, too. Or at the least that it can be a grey area.

    I look forward to reading your next article.

  64. Neal@Wealth Pilgrim says 09 August 2009 at 13:42
    Michael/Kevin, Yep. I agree with you both.

    Kristine, Mike gave you a great lead. It becomes an issue of trade-offs. The pay you get at work includes the medical benefits so you’d have to make that much more before you could take the big leap and quit. That’s another reason why I recommend the “toe in the water” approach.

    Deb, I just love success stories like yours. Bravo! Nicely done…..I hope to hear more about your success.

    David, I really appreciate you bringing up the downsides of this idea. They certainly exist. It’s important to approach this in a sober way and you certainly helped do that. Thanks. (Maybe we can jam someday?)

  65. Rich C says 09 August 2009 at 15:36

    Don’t overlook the “right” network marketing opportunities either. If you do your research and are passionate, the cost-of-entry is much less.

  66. Savvy Frugality says 09 August 2009 at 19:45

    I completely agree that EVERYONE should have their own side business. Mine is working freelance writing web content for blogs and web sites. I learned a long time ago that one should never totally depend on their employer as their sole means of earning money. What if you lose your job? What if your boss makes bad decisions and the company goes out of business? Always have a Plan B.

  67. DDFD at Defensive-Entrepreneurship says 09 August 2009 at 23:46

    @SavvyFrugality

    I couldn’t have said it better myself . . . .

  68. Matt Jabs says 10 August 2009 at 06:45

    @Savvy Frugality #66: I 3rd that motion…

  69. Kevin M says 10 August 2009 at 08:07

    I’ve considered starting my own business, but sometimes at the end of the day it’s nice to just leave it all at work and go home to see my wife and play with my son and not worry about the “business side” of it all. (I’m a CPA – networking and finding new clients is a real struggle for me.)

    So either I’m not expressing my true-self or my employer is allowing me to do so.

  70. Rachel says 10 August 2009 at 12:16

    Great article! I just have to pop in and say thank you for finally making the statement “you won’t have more freedom when you’re self-employed” I, personally, think this is the biggest myth that people believe when they go into business for themselves. And no one ever admits that it’s not true! It doesn’t mean that working for yourself isn’t more rewarding in so many ways. But if you are the only person working for your company, it’s a whole heck of a lot more difficult to take a 3 week trip overseas, yet nearly everyone I talk thinks that they will have so much more free time once they work for themselves! Drives me nuts!

    Rachel

  71. Dan says 10 August 2009 at 13:20

    I think this article really helps to show I could start a company. I like the idea of Moonlighting to really figure out if I like what I am doing. I think it is a great idea to dip your toe into the market to see what it will be like before you start and take the leap. I would like to hear more about how he made the leap and made it successfully.

  72. honeybee says 10 August 2009 at 14:19

    Would love to see more articles in GRS or elsewhere with specific pointers on how to start a business. Even if it’s a different business than the one I have in mind! I guess what I’d like to learn more about is what do I have to keep in mind when starting a business. (“Need to know what I would need to know”, so to speak.) For example I am sure there are books out there on how to start a restaurant, etc. But which ones are really good? Any great internet resources? Things that would point me in the direction of what kind of insurance one needs, how to get a storefront and how to shop for a deal on that, etc. Thanks for the article.

  73. Eric says 10 August 2009 at 15:26

    There is no time like today to start a business. As Napoleon Hill said:
    Most of us go through life as failures, because we are waiting for the “time to be right” to start doing something worthwhile. Do not wait. The time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

  74. Neal@Wealth Pilgrim says 10 August 2009 at 15:55
    Honeybee,

    I have given a great deal of thought to your suggestion. On the one hand, such an article would have to be generic in nature but certainly, there are basic steps that most everyone must take to set up their business. Great suggestion. If I get the gig, I’ll do it!!!

    (vote for Neal)

  75. Van says 11 August 2009 at 11:08

    This year I started to sell my artwork at various boutiques, galleries, and markets. The good news is that I sell multiple pieces at every venue, a feat in this economy. The bad news is that I haven’t made enough to cover my initial investment (when you count gas, rent, supplies, display equipment).

    Although I haven’t made an actual profit yet, I have re-introduced myself to my sewing machine and improving my sewing skills. I’ve applied this to my wardrobe and saved money by making repairs and changes myself instead of going out to buy new clothes. And as I improve, I hope to break out the old patterns and construct a lot of my own clothes, too. A small side business can be a good idea to hone skills long lost. Big money can be saved by doing your own home repairs with the supplies from your side carpentry gig.

    If you feel compelled to do something, it’s worth a try. Also, I’m confident I’ll make more than my investment for the holiday and when I rent tables at conventions. I’ll keep at it! Luckily for me, this is only my side gig!

  76. Kevin@OutOfYourRut says 11 August 2009 at 11:59

    Van (75)–You may not be making a profit, figuring in your start up costs, but isn’t it gratifying that a few somebodies are willing to pay for your artwork???
    That’s the highest form of acclaim!

    You’ve proven to yourself that there’s a market for what you’re producing. You need to take that in and savor it…

  77. Scott Lovingood @Small Business Coach says 12 August 2009 at 08:19

    I disagree that everyone should have a side business. Some people simply don’t want to deal with it. They would rather take a chance that their boss at work is going to take care of thigns. I wrote about the different mindsets here.

    http://www.askthewealthsquad.com/blog/is-self-employed-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/

    I do think that everyone should understand the benefits of being self employed or starting a small business. It can be set up so that it doesn’t consume your life though. I think the biggest issue we face when we become self employed or a small business owner is we take the habits we aquire as employees over to our self employment or business.

    Being successful means we have to have certain people in our business even if we wear that hat for many years. I wrote about the 7 Key people in this blog post.

    http://www.askthewealthsquad.com/blog/do-you-have-a-wealth-squad-in-your-small-business/

    If anyone has specific questions about starting or growing a business, I would be happy to answer them. Just hit me up on my contact form or sign up for my newsletter.

  78. Bridget says 12 August 2009 at 14:48

    Good article and great comments – I think many have made great points. It seems as though the viewpoints are from a younger generation – I’m going to give a perspective from someone a bit older:

    I have a profession (actually 2) which I have spent 20+ years cultivating. Due to our family decisions regarding following certain employment opportunities, I resigned from a well-paid, ‘safe’ employment and decided to start my own business (consulting). I have now been doing this for less than a year and it has been quite an eye-opener. However, there are a few things I did first to determine if this was for me:

    1) I interviewed three other consultants, two in a similar field and one in a disparate field. I asked them how they got started, what types of customers they had, what they charged, how they invoiced, how they set up their business, how they handled the finances, how they handled difficult customers, how they marketed themselves, etc. I also read extensively about how to market, how to handle business transactions, how to write a proposal, and invoice, how to collect, etc. I bought or checked out books (NoLo had a great one) on how to handle business finances, taxes, etc. Every one of the people I interviewed told me I was way ahead by asking them those questions and doing the research.

    2) As a minimum, I set up a web presence and email presence for my business. I also purchased business cards and set up a separate business banking account and credit card.

    3) I tweaked my professional network letting them know I was available for consulting jobs. You might find that the business will not come from where you thought it would, but tangentially at first.

    4) I am in the black, but I keep my expenses low – I think of it like I do my own money – be frugal. Just because you can expense it doesn’t mean you should spend at your whim. You still have to pay for it or generate revenue to pay for that expense. You will have more marketing expenses early on – I speak at conferences right now for expenses or free. This is to get me known as a consultant and not an employee of my previous employer.

    5) I was told it would take a year or so to get established – that is true – just now I am seeing a tick up in the volume of different jobs.

    6) This is one stream of income for me now. As I am starting later in my career-life, I can afford to earn less now – additionally, I am leveraging my experience and expertise over the years in my chosen profession.

    7) The comment on turning your passion into a business is correct – many people find that their passion then becomes work and they lose their desire to practice it. Not everyone is able to separate the business and fun aspect. And not all passions are considered uber-valuable in our society today – example, a lot of people love sports or music, but very few can make it a career. However, they might be able to make it one stream of income for themselves (coaching kids’ sports, teaching piano are specific examples).

    8) Finally, being in business for myself has been quite interesting and frankly I prefer it now. I have learned a lot about myself and also realize that I (everyone) does have something of value to offer and if they are willing to market it, someone will pay for that expertise.

    Thanks for the discussion-provoking post.

  79. deitch says 12 August 2009 at 15:18

    @Felipe Lopes

    I too am 21 and am starting a business, but for the first time. I seriously weighed the risks and benefits and realized that the risks of having your own business only increase with age. Now is definitely our time to go for it!

    I am launching my own business for about the amount of money my friends spend on going out in half year!

    Best of luck to you!

  80. Ron Derven says 12 August 2009 at 19:19

    With business loans so tough to get, many new businesses need to start part time. It is an effective way to overcome many of the hardships of launching a business in a recession.

    RonD

  81. Meaghan says 13 August 2009 at 15:24

    Good advice. I definitely agree with “testing” out your passion job first…don’t just quit your source of income right off before you are sure it is something you will love doing.

  82. inquirer says 22 September 2009 at 13:14

    I contribution is that time will pass regardless of what you do, so why not start a business on the side, it does not hurt and if it works then you can take it to the next level. Don’t over analyze it, just do it.

  83. Shweta Rai @ OnlineBusiness.org says 28 July 2015 at 05:28

    In total agreement with the post. Only a few of us are lucky enough to have a job they actually love to go to everyday. For the rest of us starting a business on our own is an option worth considering.

    A useful tip can be to make your friends your first few clients and then take it from there. Expand slow but steady. Good Luck!

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