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November 12, 2011 at 5:09 am #975798::
This is going to sound lazy, but please bear with me. Everything I read here on FS and in other places all repeats the same theme about how small business owners have to work ridiculously long hours, especially in the start-up phase.
I’m really curious as to whether it’s possible to start up a business without this.
I’ve got three young kids under school age. I’ve been starting up my fledgling online business by working evenings. Often it’s 9.30pm by the time I’ve cleaned up and prepared for the next day, before I can sit down to work for a few hours, and then I’m up again with the baby at 5.30am. Sleep is fleeting. It doesn’t make me a nice mummy.
Next year, I’ll be able to work daytime hours Mon-Wed. I’m dreading doing every evening as well.
I’d love to hear from someone – anyone! – who has managed to bring in an income, albeit a much smaller one, by only working part-time? And by that I mean real part-time, not “until 1am and then all weekend part-time”.
Anyone?November 12, 2011 at 6:10 am #1076498James MillarParticipant
- Total posts: 1,738
To to achieve this I suspect the key characteristics would be (1) an online operation to simplify the sales process, maximize trading hours and minimise overheads (2) if possible digital goods / services to minimize supply chain and fulfillment logistics. If not digital goods then product that is simple to access (simply supply chain without big challenges with wholesale or importation), medium to high margin and simple to distribute / post.
That’s why daily deal sites nailed the model. No fulfillment issues at all. Good margin. The only challenge (increasing) is acquiring enough deals from merchants.
Is there such a thing as a profitable simple business that requires minimal effort to achieve growth? Depends on your expectations and what profit quantum your happy with. Plenty of people make decent small profits from eBay. If your’re after big profits and scalable business then the answer is probably no – unlikely.Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. firstname.lastname@example.org www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900November 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm #1076499JohnSheppardMember
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If you work in an area that can’t scale you aren’t in competition against people who have scaled.
I think the areas are;
– A niche small enough that it’s only big enough for your certain hours
– Unskilled service industries. They are hard to scale. If you’re a cleaner….someone, no knowledge required still has to clean and it doesn’t make a difference if its 20 hours or 40 hours.
If you are selling products….say office supplies…a lot of efficiencies are to be had by efficient processes and systems and skillful sales people. Working part time you would get creamed because there is always someone willing to do the 60 hours required to build their systems up over 10 years….because the market is big enough to pay back the investment.November 12, 2011 at 11:33 pm #1076500Dane PymbleMember
- Total posts: 227
I think it is possible by breaking your project down into bite-sized chunks. I have been building a web-based business in my spare time. The work involves includes writing small business owner focused articles, participation on forums such as this and social media and developing new product ideas.
I have outsourced the website development, seo & some of the more basic administrative tasks because these are areas I lack skill in and/or am not interested in working on.
In respect of time management I found a great, free tool called Simpleology that allows me to set the targets I want to achieve in my business and work backwards step by step through all the required tasks from achieving the target, back to the present.
This gives me a clear path to follow and I work through these tasks as and when I have time to.
My most present task is seeking out valuable products & services I can market to small business owners across my website’s article categories. I have successfully launched a business plan writing service and am working on a few other products at the moment.
The important thing is to remain focused on the task at hand. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. If you have a great idea, jot it down and come back to it later, don’t let it distract you with moving forward through your tasks towards your target.
Oh yes, and it also helps to love what you do so it doesn’t really feel like “work time”November 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm #1076501::
Thanks everyone, you’ve given me food for thought. And Dane Pymble, thank you, you’ve given me encouragement. There are a lot of people out there splitting their time between family and work, or a number of jobs, and logic tells me it must be possible. Not everyone has 60 hours a week to spend on their business. The common theme seems to be to find the right kind of business.November 13, 2011 at 5:03 am #1076502JaneBMember
- Total posts: 324
I went from full time to part time as soon as my children arrived on the scene. I was a musician working out of my home and also had a small food business. Our kids were constantly there because we homeschooled as well.
Unless you keep it manageable – which means never thinking that everything is just getting too much and you aren’t getting enough sleep – then everything will suffer: your business and your family.
Your family needs to come first – the time that you will have children in your life is just a blip. A nanosecond. Now that mine are all grown and independent it’s hard to believe how fast that time went by – but I look back and am so glad that I scaled back the home businesses when the family was literally crying for attention.
It’s better to do with less money and have a happier family than build up a business and suddenly wake up one day to find your kids have left home and you hardly got to know them.November 13, 2011 at 8:00 am #1076503Past-MemberMember
- Total posts: 1,815
I agree with Jane B – I always made sure family came first including school productions, concerts and the like. Once the kids were older (now gone) I could concentrate even more on my business. There is a time for every season.
.November 13, 2011 at 10:40 am #1076504::
Aww, thanks Jane and Karen, I think that’s what I need to hear as well!
The reason for my name “Justhinking” is I’m tossing up whether to try to start my own business (an online B2B service), or just take the easy route and get a part-time job for around $45K. At least then I’m paid for every hour I’m in the office, as opposed to unpaid marketing, invoicing, quoting etc in my own business! In the first year or so of my business I’ll make a lot less than $45k, but I would envisage that after a while I would make more.
I’m just sussing it all out, financially and logistically, and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.November 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm #1076505DanielMMember
- Total posts: 241
You need to identify what needs to be done and then break these down into sub-sections. For simple task such as graphic design etc in regards to your business you can not look past fiverr.
I find I only go into business in an area I have a true interest in, which gives me that drive to get things done efficiently.
DanielNovember 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm #1076506dextereugenioMember
- Total posts: 536
in reply to your original question, YES it is possible to start a business without doing ridiculous hours.
but this will of course be in direct relation to how quickly you want this business to be profitable.
take it easy from the get go and you might not see the results for a while. do the ridiculous hour thing and the results will naturally come quicker.
another to remember is that passion and work for many are 2 different things. if theyre one in the same for you, great, then spending the extra time wont seem to ridiculous at all. it will just be about not having enough.
why not take the easy easy route and do the PT work AS WELL as starting your online business. thats the best setup around! and because youre already earning a stable PT income, you dont have to work so much on the business freting that your not making enough money.
my 2cNovember 16, 2011 at 7:47 am #1076507AgentMailMember
- Total posts: 1,741
I knocked off early today and went to the beach for a couple of hours
The reason behind me to start a business is not to be the next Richard Branson, but to create a good life for me and my family. Work life balance is my number one driver. And tomorrow, I will go to work, probably for 10 or 11 hrs and work hard and happy, in the knowledge of this.November 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm #1076508tonykMember
- Total posts: 1,430
it isn’t how much time you spend on your business that determines whether or not it’s a success, it’s what you do with that time.November 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm #1076509GeronimoParticipant
- Total posts: 237
I started my own business so that I could work less hours. We are a single income family, with me being the bread winner, so income was still very important. The key, as mentioned, is making your time count.
I challenged myself to limit work to 6 hours a day several months ago. Start at 9 after the kids are at school, and knock off at three, when the kids get home.November 17, 2011 at 12:48 am #1076510::
Thanks Elsee, that is so encouraging, good for you! you are my inspiration for todayNovember 17, 2011 at 7:25 am #1076511Dane PymbleMember
::Justhinkin’, post: 96682 wrote:Thanks everyone, you’ve given me food for thought. And Dane Pymble, thank you, you’ve given me encouragement. There are a lot of people out there splitting their time between family and work, or a number of jobs, and logic tells me it must be possible. Not everyone has 60 hours a week to spend on their business. The common theme seems to be to find the right kind of business.
- Total posts: 227
As the Flying Solo crew say “Love your work” That quote has meaning to me on so many levels, particularly in your case @JustThinkin.
I enjoy the time I spend on Small Business Wizardry so it doesn’t really feel like work to me. Some people like watching televison or going to movies, I like building businesses:) Each to their own.
If you love what you do, you find the time, and then you will discover it is not really work but passion! Without getting too spiritual here that is really what I think life is about.
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