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Anyone start a business in ER
Old 09-16-2013, 08:42 PM   #1
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Anyone start a business in ER

Hi all. I'm thinking of ER in a few phases, as follows:

1. Age 46 (2018) - Quit the 9-5, and scout the US for a year for the (relatively) ideal spot to open a small bar;
2. Age 47 to 65 - Start the 9-9 for far less money, but enjoy my life immensely;
3. Age 65 to 75 - End the bar-running days, and spend some time gardening and traveling; and
4. Age 75+ - Wind down and enjoy the company of whoever can stand me.

At this point, it's a daydream with rough estimates of how much $ it will take. I don't want to overanalyze the chance of success of a bar, but would rather just spitball the cash it will take to keep one open for a couple of years, and lose it all while at least giving it a shot. This money will not affect my quality of life, hopefully, as I could just find some part time w*rk to get myself back on my feet.

Has anyone else done something similar? Thanks for reading!
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Old 09-16-2013, 10:22 PM   #2
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Interesting plan. I'm the same age that you are (I'll be 46 in 2018), and I've started four businesses. It's funny...for me early retirement means NOT starting a business since it can be very draining mentally, physically and financially. That said, it sounds like you're clearly going into with the expectation that it's fine if you fail, so that should help your peace of mind. A few suggestions from a serial entrepreneur:

1. Set a stop loss. It's very, very tempting to keep throwing more money into a business with the thought that the next idea you try will be the one to finally lure in customers. Don't do it. Figure out how much you'll invest total, and if you get to that point and the customers still aren't there, stop investing because eventually you'll whittle down your savings to nothing.

2. If you stop having fun, stop the business since the whole goal is to enjoy yourself at this stage of life.

3. Set it up for an exit from the beginning. Bars are notorious for doing a lot of cash and under-the-table business. If you ever want to sell it, however, it'll be very helpful to have clean, accurate bookkeeping.

Good luck!
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:56 AM   #3
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DH and I have daydreams like that as well, but the harsh reality of working 12-16 hour days, or trying to manage people to work for us for those many hours per day really wakes us up to reality way too quickly. I've worked in food service enough that I know I don't want to do it for that many hours, and I also know I don't want to deal with employees.

Have you worked in a bar, or managed employees? If those are things you're ok with, then maybe it'll work out for you.

If you end up in San Diego, let me know, as I'd love to help plan and open a bar, and might be looking for a bartending shift or two in 2019, since I'll hopefully be retired by then.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:11 PM   #4
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Come to think of it, original poster, why not just work in a bar and avoid all the risks/headaches associated with ownership?
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
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I've been told that owning a bar is a lot like owning a boat. ......the 2nd best day in your life is the day you buy it.....the best day of your life is the day you sell it.

My suggestion is to find a bar like the one you would like to start.....ask the owner if you can work a few days in it and evaluate if you really want to own one. If you do, look for a bar that went bankrupt.....the equipment will be far less money than buying all of it new. Good Luck......it may be the thing for you to do.....if it is I wish you much success!
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:49 PM   #6
Confused about dryer sheets
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Hamachi - Thank you for sharing your wisdom from past experience. Since I've never owned a business, it's really helpful to hear from others who have. I am completely with you on setting up a stop loss. I really don't want to HAVE to return to a j*b if this fails. Your points about setting up for an exit and dumping it if I am no longer enjoying it are things I didn't think about, but completely agree with. Your follow up regarding working in someone else's bar came to my mind. Ultimately, I either want to create my own ideal bar setting while working in it, or just drink at someone else's. I figure owning one could be rewarding, but not necessarily profitable.

Meekie - I have worked in a bar before, and enjoyed it. This bar, as I envision it, will not require employees other than me and DW. Think along the line of the numerous micro-breweries you're lucky enough to have scattered all around San Diego. I would love to set up shop there, but the amount of competition and high COL make it nearly impossible. I appreciate your offer to help!

Jerome Len - I have no doubt that many regret the decision to open a bar. I will hopefully be able to walk away without regrets if it no longer brings me joy, as suggested by Hamachi. I have talked to many small bar owners who have similar operations to what I would like, and most are having a blast. Not always making money, but really enjoying their decision to try. I have thought about buying someone out (or buying a closed one, as you suggested) and that may turn out to be the best path.

Thank you all for your ideas! It's giving me much to think about.
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