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Inspire me with your success stories!

(14 Posts)
wearenotinkansas Sat 02-Jul-11 07:48:42

I would love to start my own business but all the ideas I have require a lot of capital outlay and/or are retail based - both of which kind of scare me at the moment so am trying to think outside the box a bit.

Have any of you successfully started your own businesses, how did you do it? And how do you work out how much profit you can make from them. I can be broke for a year or so but after that will need to be making a reasonable income..

TalkinPeace2 Sun 03-Jul-11 21:29:52

what do you do now / did you do before kids - build on that

Helenagrace Tue 05-Jul-11 10:30:23

We were bounced into starting our main company by dh's redundancy. He now works four days a week, has double the number of holidays and earns twice as much as he did before. We often wonder why we didn't do it before.

I have three companies, two are consultancy companies and I work around the children mostly. I don't earn my full potential but right now my children are 9 and 5 and I want to be there for them quite a bit. I also have a start up which will make and market three of my own ideas. I'm doing this slowly, as I have the capital and plan to sell it quickly once it is launched as I can't see me doing it for long. Retail is not really my thing!

christmasmum Tue 05-Jul-11 11:37:58

Crikey Helenagrace - what does your husband do?! It sounds like a dream job smile

Helenagrace Tue 05-Jul-11 12:30:52

ha ha ha

He's an actuary. It's like your worst maths lesson multiplied by a thousand. It makes accountancy look exciting. It does, however, pay about £1200 per day. Probably because no one knows what the actuaries do. And they're probably too scared to ask for fear that an actuary might try to explain.

He's a regulatory financial reporting specialist and a is a wizz at Solvency II (whatever that might be).

If you fancy it, first you need a really good maths degree from a top university and then be insane dedicated enough to do about 15 professional exams.

christmasmum Tue 05-Jul-11 14:03:27

My cousin is an actuary. As I can barely count up to 10 I suspect it's not for me wink

wearenotinkansas Tue 19-Jul-11 07:56:51

I'd prefer not to do what I was doing before (lawyer) - and even if I did it would be pretty difficult to do it myself as the kind of stuff I have experience of required big multi-disciplinary teams - and lots of insurance cover! I have thought about perhaps doing a different type of law - but it would be hard to sell myself as an expert. I think something where I could sell a product rather than a service would suit me better.

Helenagrace Fri 22-Jul-11 11:58:21

What about a will-writing service?

I caught the end of a radio programme about how unregulated this area is and how unqualified people are ripping customers off. I'd have thought that a will-writing service run by a lawyer would be a good product. I'd use it!

wearenotinkansas Sun 31-Jul-11 19:43:20

It's a possibility. I have briefly thought about it before - but perhaps I should look at it seriously. It would be good to work around childcare too. thanks.

bacon Wed 03-Aug-11 12:42:07

Dont be in love with the idea of running a business before you have an idea. Its hard work, never sick, working 7 days a week, no sick pay etc, childcare, stress, staffing.....its graft and its not easier than being employed.

You say you want to make a profit in the first year - you could be falling foul here too. You want to earn a good from it too - are you saying equivelant to £30K on year 2? You could be reaching for the stars here. A good business needs re-investment and expansion and your takings need to be minimal.

Forget getting premices too you have to work from home first. We run a planthire business and lucky that we have no overheads with units etc. However our overheads are enormous with machines, fuel, staff, insurance etc. I love being in construction and being a business partner as I have the admin skills and come from a construction background with technical skills while my hubby is the worker and finds the projects. As a partnership it works well.

There are plenty of people self employed but not many I know are well off, most are breaking even especially in their infancy.

You could be looking year 5 before you reap the rewards. If it was that easy to make a good living in year 2 we'd all be doing it. Get some stats first to see how many business fail in their first year. Government portal is a first stop to get a business plan.

wearenotinkansas Wed 03-Aug-11 18:56:09

I am mostly in love with the idea of not having a boss/account to anyone else. I have technically been self-employed for the past 3 years - and am used to generating revenue etc - but in partnership with others, so a lack of real autonomy - and others getting more than a fair share of what I brought in.

I don't think I did say I wanted to make a profit in the first year - although breaking even would be good.

When did you start your business and how long did it take you to turn a profit?

midnightexpress Wed 03-Aug-11 19:08:22

Without startup funding, have you thought about:

teaching of some sort? For example, you could potentially earn surprisingly large hourly rate teaching legal English in a university to overseas students. I don't know where you are based, but if you're in London or another large city you might consider looking into that (if self-employed, you could work for a number of institutions).

Have you considered legal publishing as a possiblity? I work in publishing and am self-employed, (in a different field), but there is lots of flexibility and various opportunities, from editorial work on legal texts/dictionaries etc to writing the same. Work tends to be broken down into a series of discrete tasks too, so there is a possibility on working on fewer or more of these in any one title, depending on your availability.

If you have languages, there might be opportunities in specialised translation work too, although that would probably require further qualifications.

Not sure what kind of law you were in, but I would imagine there are lots of transferable skills such as giving presentations/writing clearly etc, which you might be able to turn into some sort of business (eg a consultancy teaching people how to write a good CV or how to present at meetings, or whatever - a variety of courses perhaps).

midnightexpress Wed 03-Aug-11 19:10:08

Though in answer to your OP, I turn a profit, but only because I have minimal overheads. Publishing, unless you are JK Rowling, is not for you if you're looking to buy a yacht in St Trop any time soon. Or indeed, a dinghy in Salcombe.

wearenotinkansas Wed 03-Aug-11 20:52:05

Thanks Midnight. Teaching legal english is actually a great idea. I practically live next door to a university! (but not in London).

I'm happy to spend some start up funding - just not sure about committing to a lease of retail/food premises for x years - which most of my other ideas have revolved around.

What's the score with publishing? Do you approach publishers directly and say I am expert in so and so ....

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