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Would you start a business again?
Old 07-27-2014, 08:02 PM   #1
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Would you start a business again?

As hindsight is 20/20, I'm curious as to those members here who were entrepreneurs at some point . If you had the opportunity to do it over again, would you? From people I've spoken with, most say yes, but typically I'm only talking to the successful business owners.

I'm considering becoming a partner in a startup and I'm leaning towards jumping in.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
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Yes, but I would have started the business earlier than I did.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:42 PM   #3
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I was a minority partner in my 1st business......that's little more than a job with someone else still being your boss AND having your money. Many other partnership have a better relationship than I had.....the partnership lasted 4 months. Then I started my own business....no partner......did very well glad I did it and would do it again. Now......I'm a partner again, this time as a majority owner......and, I really,really, try to treat my partners fair ......as I hadn't been treated many years ago. So, be careful of partnerships, make sure you have factored in enough cash and time to make the business work......and, be ready to work harder than you have worked in your life.

Finally, you haven't given us enough info to give you specific advice. Just BE CAREFUL! and, I wish you every success!
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:20 PM   #4
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I am very shy of partnerships. My consulting company started out as one, but didn't do anything until I bought out my partner (we didn't have anything much so it was a cheap buyout). Over the years I have had off and on partnership like arrangements with others I have worked with. None have worked out. It always seems like the project is more important to one than the other. One works hard the other coasts. And often both partners think the other one is the coaster. Partnerships are like a marriage but without the sex. My own opinion for what it is worth is be the boss or be an investor, but never a partner.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:41 PM   #5
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I appreciate the feedback. My biggest concerns are with being a minority partner and not ending up as an "employee."

I'm meeting again this week to go over some of those finer details and to discuss concerns.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:28 PM   #6
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I did a one man start up internet business. Maybe if I had expanded more earlier (took on partners and more risks and more employees), I could have become a billionaire, but, I'm quite happy with the multi-millions and days off. I'm definitely not sorry I started a business though.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:45 PM   #7
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Definitely started a business. I probably would have skipped college with the right business.
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:10 PM   #8
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Absolutely! Though it was hard, that was my ticket to ER. But I really believe you have to want to do it for its own sake because it is so hard. (If you are founding something from scratch, not joining an existing successful company.) Otherwise you'll have a hard time sticking it out during the many dark moments. Also, many fellow entrepreneurs I know are divorced, both those who've succeeded and those still trying to figure out to succeed.
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:52 PM   #9
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Yes, I would have started one sooner. The tax breaks and retirement plan savings made it easier for us to ER when we did, plus I was able to work from home when our kids were school age.

I started out with a partner and ended that rather quickly, except my husband ended up working with me later on. My initial partner never made it in the field on his own and went into a regular job in a different field. In hindsight I made the right call, but there were hard feelings on his part when I ended the partnership and it took its toll on our friendship.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:33 AM   #10
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My last startup (of 3) took 7 years from initial idea to fully independent operations. I was not prepared to invest another 7 years so I retired. I would say it was the hardest job I ever worked at. But it was worth it.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:47 AM   #11
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Been a part of several including my own now. Would do it again 100x over.

I fully mirror what others say about having multiple owners. Ideally you are the sole owner/member/shareholder/whatever. I think one of the driving forces for successful entrepreneurs (especially those LBYM/FIRE types on here) involves wanting control of the business, just like FIRE gives control.

I also agree with being careful about getting all the downsides of being an employee plus all the downsides of being an owner in a minority ownership startup situation. In this situation, my advice would be to view both your work and your ownership stake as a very high-risk investment. If its value dropped to zero tomorrow, would you be devastated -- financially or emotionally? If not, then it might be worth doing. If so, run.

Partnerships (at least here in the US) are specific type of legal entity and I'm thinking aren't what you mean? You should probably consult with an attorney anyway, but especially if you are considering a true partnership where you could potentially be liable for debts of the entity beyond your percentage ownership.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:59 AM   #12
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Well, technically speaking, we would be set up as an LLC, so I would be a member and we would be taxed as a partnership.

That piece aside, we would need to draft a hefty operating agreement to hash out details of responsibilities, dissolving the business, etc.

I appreciate all the feedback. Again, it looks like most people here would jump in again given the chance. I'm interested if anyone had a less than stellar experience. As in the business was profitable, but the opportunity cost of leaving mega-corp wouldn't have been justified looking back from a FIRE perspective.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:22 AM   #13
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I have no regrets opening my own practice but it is just me. No partners. I wouldn't do it with a partner, as someone mentioned above it is like a marriage. I have seen several of my friends who had partners and ALL of those partnerships are dissolved now. ALL with bad feelings and money issues. After watching them there is no way I would ever have a partner again. Two good friends opened a practice but really only one had the client contacts and he felt he was carrying the other guy, and it caused issues and eventually they dissolved the partnership over it and actually even the friendship.

If I decide I need new equipment, or want to go after this client and not that one, it is my decision and it happens quickly. One group I know has four partners, all with equal status, so it takes forever to get a decision to buy new computers, or two of the partners want to take this project or turn that project down, and it causes issues. Each partner has a different vision of what the firm should be doing. That could be solved by having inequity in the partnership but then the junior partner feels like an employee. So it is a tough issue and not one I wanted to be involved with.

So yes I would do it again but the way I did it. Just me and me alone. I am successful but I never wanted to be so successful I had to hire employees, etc.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:37 AM   #14
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I bought into a Sub S Corp in the 1980's as a shareholder as I was a key employee. When I left 10 years later and went out on my own, I formed my company as a Sub S Corp also and had three shareholders initially. We ran it for 13 years and dissolved the corporation after two key shareholders went on their own.

I then continued the business under a contractor status (1099) with a few key clients. I would not get involved in any kind of partnership arrangement due to many of the comments in the above posts.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:08 PM   #15
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I somehow was born without the "Be Your Own boss" gene. My job, however, involved daily interactions with various business-owners. Nothing they said ever convinced me otherwise.
So be careful. And be aware that being the boss means enduring a whole lot of hassles your employees aren't even aware of.
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by chilkoot View Post
I somehow was born without the "Be Your Own boss" gene. My job, however, involved daily interactions with various business-owners. Nothing they said ever convinced me otherwise.
So be careful. And be aware that being the boss means enduring a whole lot of hassles your employees aren't even aware of.
The employees ARE the hassle! I had 50 employees when I sold and each thought he was a unique snowflake.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:37 PM   #17
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I would definitely do it again. I have always been sole owner and wouldn't have it any other way. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:06 AM   #18
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Well, aren't we? LOL.

My older siblings are the business-owning types. To hear my sister talk, her business is either very successful, or constantly about to go over the cliff...I can never tell which. Also, the worst thing about the business seems to be the unreasonable, demanding customers.

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I had 50 employees when I sold and each thought he was a unique snowflake.
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