Going into business for myself, part 2

Earlier, I wrote about the possibility of going into business for myself. That idea is gaining traction.

This is uncharted territory for me. I’ve thought about being self-employed before, but I lacked the knowledge, motivation, and focus about how to approach it, not to mention that the timing just didn’t feel right. Well, now that I’ve reached a possible crossroad in my professional career, the moment now feels right to attack this.

I will mention that there is a precedent within my own family for this. My parents — who are both now retired — owned their own businesses, as do my siblings. I guess it runs in the family, and now it’s my turn!

Last night, I had a meeting with a friend who’s in the business of consulting small businesses. Her website is here, if you want to check it out; I’m listing it here both (1) for my own reference, and (2) to send referrals her way. Drop Lisa a line, and tell her I sent you!

Per her advice, she told me to hire a CPA. It just so happens that I have a friend who’s a CPA. I have a phone appointment with him later this morning.

I spent yesterday afternoon writing up a business plan. I looked into articles about writing business plans, and came across this. I used this (note: link downloads a Word document) as an example to formulate my own. After running my plan past Lisa and asking for her feedback, she gave me suggestions for improving it. I’m still tweaking it as of this morning.

One question that I had: as an individual business owner, how much can I pay myself from my business? I Googled the question, and as it turns out, the question is not as uncommon as I think.

I’ve started working on a website for my business. It’s currently a work-in-progress; I’ll reveal it once it’s closer to completion.

I even have my first client already lined up! I told my friend (and client-to-be) what I was doing, and he had some advice (he, himself, is also a small business owner) and words of encouragement for me.

I will say that, even though I’m looking into doing this, it’s entirely possible that my endeavor might not be enough to pay my bills (at least not at first). So as I’m pursuing this course, I’m still hunting for new employment.

So, the ball is rolling on my endeavor. If the pieces fall in the right places, it’s entirely possible that my new employer will be… myself!

The #Coronavirus chronicles, part 5: The fate of small business owners #COVID19

Chinese Takeout - Taste Buds Kitchen

The other day, for lunch, I got a takeout order from a small place around the corner from my house. I struck up a conversation with the people working behind the counter (while maintaining the requisite six-feet social distancing, of course). I asked them how they were holding up through this crisis, and they said okay, although things were rough. The manager told me he knew of restaurants that said they would likely not reopen after the crisis was over.

This was on top of a 60 Minutes article I saw last Sunday evening about the fate of small businesses throughout this crisis. I thought about that article as I spoke to the restaurant manager.

My father was a small business owner, as is my brother, so I can empathize with these small business owners and workers who are struggling.

I am one of the lucky ones. Through this crisis, I still have a job, I am still working, and I am still receiving a paycheck. Like everyone else, my normal routine has been disrupted — no gym, band rehearsal, or any other extracurricular activities, so I’ve been largely stuck in my house. So far, however, I’ve been lucky enough to withstand the financial storm gripping the world. That said, I also feel for those who are not so lucky.

In the past, I’ve had friends of mine tell me that, rather than spending $18 for a haircut, they bought a hair clipper and just use that on their heads. For that matter, I’ve even heard rumors of Flowbees making a comeback. Personally, I’m willing to spend the $18 each time to get my hair cut. The people who work in barbershops and hair salons need to eat, too.

When this ordeal is over, or even before it’s over, go out and solicit small businesses as much as possible. When it comes to our economy, they are unsung heroes.