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Old 03-06-2013, 12:57 PM   #21
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Take a look at the book, The E-Myth. It's a quick read and can change your outlook on how to run a business. It can definitely help if you're looking at franchises.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:26 PM   #22
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Take a look at the book, The E-Myth. It's a quick read and can change your outlook on how to run a business. It can definitely help if you're looking at franchises.
+1 Also The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:02 AM   #23
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I went the route of a nervous breakdown....don't recommend that! I got a life coach, some intensive therapy, and once I had the plan, I waited till I had the money and then took the leap of faith. I went from highly paid gofer girl/adult babysitter for the VP/Directors in MegaPharma to a Integrated Massage Therapist. I did not go into the same field at all.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:51 AM   #24
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I'm going to jump in with my .02 based on my own life experiences. First, a little background...I'm 46, and with the exception of a couple years of my life (which I'll get to in a moment), I've worked in corporate America, specifically in the IT field. And I hate it. I don't just mean I hate my job, I hate my career. I just find IT very unrewarding and unfulfilling, and I just can't take the 9-to-5 sit-in-a-cube-all-day rat race any longer. Hopefully, I'll be able to (semi) retire in a couple years, but that's a different topic...

In 2005, I got fed up with IT, and left and got my real estate license. That lasted a couple years until I was forced to give it up because the market had crashed and didn't have enough deals closing. BUT...those two years were the best of my professional life. I was essentially running my own business, and in charge of sales, marketing, finance, customer support...everything. It was fantastic. I could visit the office when needed to meet people or prepare my marketing. Or, I could be out in the field showing homes, meeting clients, etc.

So, I would suggest go for it. If you're only 23 and already getting a negative taste of the corporate world and being "told what to do", and in many cases forced to do something "right now" as opposed to "doing the right thing" then believe me, it's only going to get MUCH WORSE the older you get.

You're young enough, and have enough reserves, that I think you could easily set some aside, leave the corporate world, and try something out without damaging your financial future.

Now, I've never tried my hand at franchising because it never appealed to me. Even as a franchisee, you're still under a corporate thumb who's telling you how to run things. Also, you have very little control (if any) on a competitor opening up nearby that steals your business, even one from the same franchise. I'm thinking specifically of the Starbucks-on-every-street-corner kind of scenario. That wouldn't interest me at all.

If I wanted to break away from the corporate world, it would definitely be running my own show. Sink or swim kind of thing.

You already mentioned landlording, but complicated by you might move in a few years. If I were in your shoes, knowing at age 23 what I know now, and having your reserves, I would seriously consider something in real estate. Either fix/flips and selling them or renting them out, or getting into residential real estate again. Both are things that could be transferred to other markets if you moved. If you invested in rentals, you could always keep them and move, and have them managed by a property management company. Yes, their fees eat away at your cash flow, but you have to factor that in. If the return is still good even after the fees, then it's no problem. Or...if you got involved in residential real estate (as I did), and you moved, just get a license elsewhere and set up practice there.

I'm biased toward real estate because from the standpoint of running your own business, it was like heaven for me. I was my own boss, ran every functional area, didn't report to anybody, no great overhead like my own building or equipment, and I didn't have to manage employees.

Anyway, food for thought. Bottom line...if I were you, I would not let me soul get sucked away by a megacorp. You're young enough and have enough reserves you owe it to yourself to go for it, and try something. Even thought I lost money practicing real estate due to the market at the time, I don't regret those few years at all - they were the best years of my career, and I'd regret NOT doing it.

Good luck to you!
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:59 PM   #25
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Even as a franchisee, you're still under a corporate thumb who's telling you how to run things. Also, you have very little control (if any) on a competitor opening up nearby that steals your business, even one from the same franchise. I'm thinking specifically of the Starbucks-on-every-street-corner kind of scenario. That wouldn't interest me at all.

If I wanted to break away from the corporate world, it would definitely be running my own show. Sink or swim kind of thing.
Took the words right put of my mouth!

Most decent franchisors have a highly-standardized method, from which franchisees are unable to deviate at all, or at least not without first jumping through all kinds of bureaucratic hurdles. If you truly crave independence, and dislike being told what to do and how to do it, I'd suggest staying clear of franchises.

Given your situation and desires, I don't see much point to hanging around your current job unless it provides the opportunity to grow your skill set and/or qualifications (e.g., becoming a CPA might open some future doors for you). I would not stay just to increase your capital base: there is an opportunity cost to delay, plus you risk becoming psychologically trapped by the paycheque. If you are determined to become an entrepreneur, might as well get started while you are still young and without dependents: there will always be risk, but currently you have the ability to recover if things don't go as well as you hope.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:30 AM   #26
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Thanks for all of your encouraging words and comments.

When I look at my scenario at a high level, the two biggest things holding me back from making any moves are primarily:


1) My indecisiveness/uncertainty on where I will live long term
2) My lack of business idea/plan

#1 above could be mitigated if I were to start an online business.

I am attracted to the idea of buying real estate, but as I mentioned, I don’t want to make a big decision and then move. Unless I put a substantial amount of cash down (more than 20%), my budget ($200-250k) only gets me a condo which are subject to HOAs, special assessments, and general lack of control. I’ve thought about buying a two or three flat (for those of you familiar with the Chicago RE market….), but those run anywhere from $500k and up. And, usually most two/three flats are older and require a lot of maintenance. There are some new construction two/three flats, but regardless (as I mentioned), they are pricey.


I’ve thought about going the condo route where I would live in the condo at first, then rent it out at a later date, if necessary. However, all of my research has shown that condos are simply not good investments (low to basically 0% cap rates). So, if I do buy a condo, I wouldn’t buy it as an investment vehicle.

As far as franchises go:

I will admit I am largely unfamiliar with the franchising business. I also am aware that you are still succumbed to corporate’s policies and processes. However, I would imagine it is not that “black and white”; I would imagine that with more “up and coming” franchises there is a little more subjectivity/lack of defined processes. For example, I have a distant acquaintance who opened up a Mexican franchise in Colorado (he is not the franchisor but a franchisee). Since there are only 5 locations aside from his, he was able to receive some sort of franchising rights over his territory. I’m not exactly sure of the stipulations, but I think it is something like he is the only franchisee allowed to open more in a specified territory; and, if anyone wants to they are either not permitted to or (if he chooses to allow it) he gets a cut of the royalties. Again I’m not exactly sure. Regardless, I think going with an “up and coming” franchise would be a little bigger of a risk (perhaps less start up costs though?) but might result in more control and potential success. On the other hand, opening a McDonald’s would probably cost more (I’ve heard their start up costs near $1m), but might result in almost guaranteed profits yet with more control exerted by corporate.
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