Where To Go From Here....

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by SPX, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    I'm not exactly sure why I'm saying this to (mostly) people that I don't know, but I'm hoping that those with the experience and wisdom of working for themselves, can help pass a bit on...

    As some of you may know, I recently started up my own business buying and selling vans about 8 month ago. There have been a few ups and downs, and it is getting to the point where there are a lot more 'downs' than 'ups'.

    I do have the desire to create a strong business that will trade for many years to come and I am (to an extent) making decent money, it's just that all I seem to be doing for the past month or so is selling a van to pay the bills. That might sound a bit silly from someone that is at the beginning of his career in business, but it is starting to grind me down and make me think is it worth it all? I have a wife, three children and a mortgage; what was I thinking? Money is really tight at the minute and I've financially risked everything just because I 'don't like working for someone else'. Or should I say that I've never liked the fact that I'm making someone else money.

    Is it time to knuckle down and get a job? Or do I stick to being my belligerent self and make this business work for me?

    I do have other business ideas but I need money to start these as well. I've tried speaking to my local Chamber of Commerce but there was very little help forthcoming; they are mostly only interested in getting people off the dole and hob-nobbing at social functions. Seeing as though I've never signed on, there wasn't much hope of me getting anywhere.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and any help, advice or £5million pound donations will be well received and utilised....:rock:
     
  2. BlackC55

    BlackC55 Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    Stick with it is my opinion. 8 months is nothing time wise.

    It has take me 4 years to make a decent living from what I do. Trading cars and vans will always have its ups and downs, it is just the way the trade is.
     
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  3. flango

    flango Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Olly is right 8 month is not a long time, another alternative maybe what I do and that Is I am employed but also have an active interest in our Service & MOT Centre. Maybe you could find a job that would allow you to trade vans in your free time and enjoy the best of both worlds? Just a thought
     
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  4. The G.F.P

    The G.F.P MB Enthusiast

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    i always thought you were some saucy bird!

    gutted
     
  5. Harrythedog

    Harrythedog MB Enthusiast

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    As the lads say just hang on in. I've been in business over 20 years and I've never known things as bad as they are today but I console myself with the fact that I'm the master of my own destiny (to a certain degree). Just think in these bad times you could be grafting for someone else with your P45 on standby!. At least you've got 8 months behind you so your not starting from scratch and as Olly said it's an up and down business anyway,

    Best of luck
     
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  6. OP
    OP
    SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    It's funny that, I always thought you were a dyslexic Roald Dahl childrens book.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    Maybe that's the way forward in the short term, get a job and build the van business on the side.

    How would an employer see my C.V. though? The last time that I worked for someone else was 2 and a bit year ago and even then that was sub-contracting. I haven't been 'PAYE' as it were for about 7 years.
     
  8. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell MB Enthusiast

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    There are always ups and downs. Just have to stick with it and hope an up comes along soon.

    I'm about to have the first week off in a year. Laptop Ipad and phone are coming, and I've already had two last minute curveballs to dodge. Other half not happy, but she does not always understand that the reason I keep my clients is because I go the extra mile.

    The pressure never relent, but for me there is an attraction to working from home and working for someone else is at the end of a long list...

    I got a little involved in the Chamber before going on my own, and did not see a great deal for my money to be honest.
     
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  9. dulayj

    dulayj Active Member

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    Sweetpea-thanks for sharing your thoughts with us -remember to try to have a few minutes a day of total calm and peace-this will enable you to cope better with all the stresses involved-too much emphasis on physical well being but no time for mental health.:thumb:
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    This is the thing though; how long do I risk it for?

    I can make money at this in the long term, I know I can, it's just how long will 'long-term' be?
     
  11. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell MB Enthusiast

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    I remember that you had a setback a few months ago. you must have been doing things right to survive that.

    Expect a quiet summer, take some time with the family, and relax a little. When you come back have a think about who buys the vans and what are they looking for.

    A gentle mailshot perhaps - or ring around a few of the car boys who don't touch vans. I'm sure that you are already doing this.

    A website offering to source vans - (One of my websites includes a box - 'Too busy right now? put your email address here and we'll send you details to look at when your ready. When I send one of those emails I have something like a 85% hit rate as I am already in the inbox...
     
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  12. Ian B Walker

    Ian B Walker MB Enthusiast

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    I'm with Olly here. 8 months is not long. Ups and downs, I have had my share but have stuck with the philosophy of not letting things beat me. Come close a time or two :rolleyes: but after 5 years I am still here, still working and still enjoying it. I will never be rich but who cares? I don't, as I enjoy what I do.
     
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  13. developer

    developer MB Enthusiast

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    There's a few points here Lee.

    You've started the van business in the middle of a major recession, and, assuming you can keep afloat for the duration, as D Ream said - things can only get better.

    I spent many years working for someone else, and though (in my circumstances at the time) there was relative job security and a decent salary, I needed to break free - it's sh*t having to say yes to something you want to say no to.

    Maybe this venture will turn out not to be "the one", but once you've tasted the freedom I think it will be hard to become a number on the payroll again.
    If push came to shove and you were forced back into the sausage machine, look upon it as a stopgap, until that next Eureka monent comes along.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
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  14. jaymanek

    jaymanek Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    Get a job, do a few vans on the side until you have built enough capital up to do it on a large scale.
    There just isnt enough money in cars/vans these days just to be doing a few at a time if you are trying to support a family.
     
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  15. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    Once you have a business, you will always struggle with expenses... that's the nature of the beast. I pay rent, rates, BT bills, Internet bills, electricity, mobile phones, salaries, National Insurance contribution, employer's liability insurance, public liability insurance, office insurance, professional indemnity insurance, bookkeeping and accounting, bank charges... and the full list is actually much longer.

    Always keep an eye on expenses and cash-flow. And when you say to yourself 'wow, I made 10% on this deal', remember that your margins must cover all your expenses...

    When setting-up, try and find innovative ways of reducing your overhead. Only commit to further costs (premises, secretary, etc) once the business can afford it, not before.

    I started my business in 1996 and yes it takes longer than 8 months to know where you stand. Hang in there...

    Hope this helps...
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
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  16. OP
    OP
    SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    In all honesty, I would say my biggest problem is cash-flow.

    I started this with my own money, no bank/family loans, nothing. Could be that I need to go down this route.
     
  17. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell MB Enthusiast

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    I think that would be most businesses problem.

    Too much flowing out and not enough in:D
     
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  18. The G.F.P

    The G.F.P MB Enthusiast

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    i really did

    sweetpea sounds like a name a lady would use, the first 5 letters are my surname but im not a lady
     
  19. OP
    OP
    SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    No bother, the name is from my younger days; Sweetpea as in Popeyes son.;)
     
  20. jepho

    jepho Active Member

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    The thing about doing your own work is that you are where the buck stops. If that floats your boat then paying bills is a part of that. Like many here, I don't like paying money out but when I see that another bill is paid, there is a satisfaction to that. My photographic 'business' doesn't pay all of my bills these days. Early on, I realised that having a studio which is empty is an expensive liability. These days, I have a portable studio which I can set up anywhere.

    Many people have and use a digital camera and don't use or need some of my services. I still get the occasional product catalogue or website imagery to shoot (professional so I can do it on budget and to time) but being a jobbing photographer does not bring in enough cash. I have many other things I can and do work at and I realise that having a single job for life is both an unrealistic aim and expectation. Having more than one string to one's bow provides variety and security in an offbeat kind of way.

    Dealing with the downs is a part of who you are. They affect all of us and I won't let a down get me down. I keep my demeanour cheerful and never let my clients see me as a dispirited person. Work comes to those who have work. If I sat at home, I doubt that my phone would ring.

    There you have it... no cash and not much of a philosophy but I won't work as an employee so I accept the consequences. My suggestion (I don't give advice) is to identify and hone the other skills which you possess, while waiting for the business to pick up. Find out from your clients what they like about your style and your deals. Try and plug into that and see if there is a niche which you can exploit so that people want to deal with you rather than your competition. Move forwards all of the time and try not to remain static.

    Look at what you spend on the business and see if there is a cheaper or more efficient alternative. Take advertising for example... I used to regularly advertise in several local papers to a potential audience of around 100,000 possible clients. The ads were relatively expensive, not too informative (space limits) and appeared for a single day. I realised that my potential client base would not necessarily be reading the papers that day... I concluded that I was throwing away money.

    The local buses can provide advertising on large cards and I found that I could pick the routes and have permanent ads for a few pounds per month. I did some different ads for each route and gave each ad a pin number that could be quoted for a 10% discount. It gave me a sense of where the best routes to advertise were. As my photography work has wound down over the years, I spend less on it and now I mostly do photographic stuff for clients who know and trust my work.

    I pick and choose what areas of work to get involved with and I am still my own boss. Wealthy? Not especially. Happy? Undoubtedly yes!
     
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