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How do they...?!
Old 05-17-2018, 06:58 PM   #1
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How do they...?!

I'm just musing here... but it seems like everywhere we go there are those few people who seem to have an impossible lifestyle. They have little shops that are only open 2 days a week. They have elaborate notes on the door telling you when they're in and out. They have jobs you never even knew existed. And you realize that the rat race isn't the only option out there. But wherever we travel I end up running into someone with a lifestyle like that and end up wondering, "How do they DO that?" Like the shop that's only open 2 days a week: they can't even be covering their rent. They must be actively losing money!



After a few more years in the rat race, DH and I would really like to find our own version of a unique lifestyle. No idea what that would be at this point. Anyone have any fun anecdotal stories of people with unlikely/fun/cool jobs? Jobs in gorgeous locations?
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:15 PM   #2
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Trust fund babies? I have no idea.

Sorry, can't help you! I never had a job like that. I wasn't even able to telecommute, which sounds like heaven to me.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:26 PM   #3
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I have a cousin that's a photographer. He does commercial work. He owns the building in town and works a crazy schedule but only a couple of days a week. I'm pretty sure he's still got a sign on his door to call his cell if he doesn't answer the door.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:34 PM   #4
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I have no idea. I suggest that when you see something like this, go inside, strike up a conversation with the owner. Do this two or three times on separate occasions and then ask them how they manage to be open only a few times a week.

Might be more trouble than it's worth, but if you want to find out, it's the only thing I can think of if you really want to know.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:09 PM   #5
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Sometimes a spouse generates an interest in a subject. The other spouse is working long hours. Kids are in HS or college. Working spouse encourages spouse to scratch the itch. Spouse goes to NYC sourcing goods, meeting with contractors & leasing agents. Meetings at Starbucks. Preliminary plans. Interior designers. Plumbers. Building inspectors. Code change attorneys

Any sales revenue coming in is a bonus
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Old 05-18-2018, 04:34 AM   #6
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I have no idea. I suggest that when you see something like this, go inside, strike up a conversation with the owner. Do this two or three times on separate occasions and then ask them how they manage to be open only a few times a week.

Might be more trouble than it's worth, but if you want to find out, it's the only thing I can think of if you really want to know.

It's more idle curiosity than anything. I would be fascinated to know some of these people's stories, though. I'm sure each one would be different. But every time I walk past a shop with a sign like that, it's invariably one of the 5 1/2 days a week they're closed!
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Old 05-18-2018, 04:46 AM   #7
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I was employed at an installation for 12 years, rotated all 3 shifts during that time, and required me to drive by a putt putt golf course. This putt putt golf course was impeccably maintained; grass cut, trimmed, golf course structures painted, plants trimmed and maintained, lights on during evening hours, etc.

I never saw ANYONE ever at the course, even doing maintenance. I did see one small family having a picnic under the shelter by the parking lot once. It had to be a money laundry venture.
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:02 AM   #8
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Things are not always as they seem. From personal experience, these are not stand alone/self supporting enterprises.

It's usually a hobby-job of some sort backed by family money, trust fund, the other working spouse, side income and so on. Owning the building helps (and it's better than an otherwise empty storefront).

Most times they're not profitable but make for good conversation at one's wine party but if you make money, all the better!

Have a few old classmates who are now 'artists' and run a 'gallery' in an artist colony. They're not bad but might only make $20K in a good summer. Their trust fund keeps body and soul together by shoveling another $150K their way each year but the artist title provides cover for the shabby clothes and rusty car. They sort of live the image.

Other than his own home construction projects, my 55 year old neighbor has never worked a day in his life. His family owns a small manufacturing company and he gets a cut of the profits every month.

As Scrapr pointed out, a friend of mine was a high paid executive. His wife got bored after the kids went to college. He financed her shop selling pictures of poodles! That's it: just pictures of poodles. Rent was about $4K a month in a high-end town! Never made a dime but the whole enterprise kept her busy and happy for several years.
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:21 AM   #9
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Not just for the rich.

My grandfather worked in a downtown furniture store in his small town for his entire life.

Once the kids were out of the house grandmother ran a small gift shop that was only open 3-4 days/week.

I got the impression she had it mostly as a venue to meet/gossip with her friends.

When she closed it down she kept enough inventory to give gifts to family for the rest of her life.
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:45 AM   #10
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Inheritance? Spouse/SO with a (very) well paying career?

There was a restaurant in town that was a pet project of a 30-something that lost money for the whole 5 years the place was open. She worked hard at it put in a lot of hours but she didn't have any restaurant, business or other job experience - she had a very comfortable upbringing. I think she thought if she hired the right people she didn't really have to know anything, she could just be a trophy hostess/owner. Not sure how she expected to identify and hire the "right people" with no experience, looks and schmoozing? She/they put a bunch of money into the place, but the days/hours kept changing (usually a bad indicator), and it never did enough business. She acted like the place was successful until the day it closed abruptly. Rich husband, and even richer Dad...
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:55 AM   #11
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Maybe they are ER'd

More likely they come from some money, and the shop is more a hobby/escape.

Or they have a niche and following that they can afford very minimal opening hours vs. the expense and hassle of hiring someone to manage it the rest of the time? If the window is so intriguing and they are in vacation areas, it might not be worth their time to be open on slow days?
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:46 AM   #12
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I know a couple shops like that. The majority of their business is done online and they are only open a few days a week with limited hours.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:51 AM   #13
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Maybe they are ER'd
Not a complete joke. My shoe repair guy was retired (I wouldn't say early). He ran his shop like this. Short hours that pleased him. It was a spartan shop, but he did great work. I got the story from him by asking.

The deal was he saved his equipment -- long since paid for -- and when they moved, he took it with him. After trying retirement for a while, he needed to "get out of the house" because DW was driving him crazy. So the equipment came out of the storage container and into a small storefront.

So, the shoe repair shop came back online, but with very limited hours. He missed the social interaction, as evidenced by him telling his detailed story. And he needed time away. He expected to only break even.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:06 AM   #14
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Could be doing the limited business for the tax benefits? As suggested by several before, a hobby job or spouse keeping busy type adventure. But having a legit business does provide many tax benefits, so a seeming loss on profits may be insignificant in the bigger picture? Just guessing that even a limited profit would be gone after expenses and the end result is a nice tax write-off.

I have a small home-based side business that I own and operate. It does generate small net profit, but after the home office deduction I end up with a small tax loss. Was a bigger benefit when working, but still is nice when retired.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:07 AM   #15
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Yes a friend is the wife of a trust fund kid and had a gift shop on the pier in Monterey. Occasionally made money by selling a hot item but usually just slightly below break-even. Tried two locations. More sales in the hotel location but higher rent. Hours were around her kids school times.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:23 AM   #16
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I have no idea how they do it but they must have another income stream of some sort. Let us know if you find out first hand.

I love vegetable farming (and now beekeeping as well), both of which will never make livable income even if I put 60 hours a week. So I have been working on creating passive income streams that will support my living and then I will switch to "full-time" farming and beekeeping. So when I do switch, my hours would be what I feel like!
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:30 AM   #17
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Living in the country I see this "type of thing" a lot in the small towns around here. Some are open every weekday, some are not. And very few are open on weekends. Some have signs in the door that say open "about" 9am and closed not later than 3pm. If the weather is bad or if business is slow on a particular day, they will close early. Any excuse seems to be good enough to close up shop. I've learned to call ahead before making the "trip" to town unless I need to make several stops.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:48 AM   #18
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I was employed at an installation for 12 years, rotated all 3 shifts during that time, and required me to drive by a putt putt golf course. This putt putt golf course was impeccably maintained; grass cut, trimmed, golf course structures painted, plants trimmed and maintained, lights on during evening hours, etc.
I never saw ANYONE ever at the course, even doing maintenance. I did see one small family having a picnic under the shelter by the parking lot once. It had to be a money laundry venture.
I've related this story on this site before but we had a money laundering building near us once when we lived in the city.

We moved into our first apartment together around the corner from that building in 1998. It was a two story building with empty apartments upstairs and a restaurant in the bottom.

It had an awning that read "Albanian Gentlemans Social Club"

The owner had an old tan Mercedes E class that he drove. It was the only car in the parking lot. Ever. And it was only there once in a while.

In 2000, the awning came down, the building got repainted and a new awning went up that read "Black Eagle Restaurant"

The tan Mercedes E class was there for a few days then.

We moved away in 2003. During the 5 years we were away, we came back a few times and in 2006 the building got repainted but no new awning.

We moved back in 2010. You guessed it. New paint and an awning that now read "The Golden Pheasant Restaurant"

Same tan E class Mercedes in the parking lot.

Nowadays, the building is still there, same awning, same name.
No customers.
He does seem to be renting out the parking lot now to a curbsider.

I assume the curbsider is also Eastern European mafia...
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:25 AM   #19
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Trust fund babies? I have no idea.

Sorry, can't help you! I never had a job like that. I wasn't even able to telecommute, which sounds like heaven to me.
Not to hijack, but not everyone understands that telecommuting is still work, and adds challenges that don't happen in the office -- one being that most communication is via instant message or email -- phone calls seem to take longer. I did this for several years.

Another is that many people don't realize that you still have a full day (or more) of work to get done. Some seem to think you watch a lot of TV, do laundry, have time to run their errands during the day when you are supposed to be working. Several times I was asked to drive 30 minutes to check on so-and-so who is not answering her phone -- you have time because you are working from home today, right?

Sorry for the rant.
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:06 AM   #20
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A few decades ago, a nearby historic grain mill was converted into a hotel and shopping area. The shops were all sorts of small boutique-y things....needlepoint, eelskin wallets and handbags, leather boots, ladies clothing, etc. Initially, there was a lot of traffic simply from folks curious to see what was there. Over time, there was a fair amount of turnover, yet some shops persisted. I kept wondering how they survived. Eventually someone said "rich husbands supporting their wives' hobby businesses" and it all made sense.

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