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EnglishGolfer

Talks a good game
Oct 3, 2005
845
1
I desperately want to be self employed but there is a big obstacle in the way, I don't have any specialised skills.

I have had a go at many jobs in my time and in the last decade have tended to be mainly office based. Presently I do a bit of basic design stuff on AutoCAD but there are no prospects and I'm sick of working for others for crap money. I've done basic accounts related stuff, sales, a bit of sciencey stuff testing water supplies and more that I've forgotten about.

If anyone has any ideas I will give them due consideration and offer the relevant person a discount if I get up and running ;).

I'm not expecting a lightning bolt of inspiration to come from this MB but desperate times and all that :laugh:
 

MCDavis

The Plaid Duffer
Staff member
Moderator
Oct 19, 2006
13,588
5,170
Sanford, NC
Country
United States United States
If you're AutoCAD and drafting skills are good enough, try drawing shop drawings (submittals for approval) for construction companies. Once you start developing clients, you can set your own schedule and you can work from home.
 

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
I desperately want to be self employed but there is a big obstacle in the way, I don't have any specialised skills.

I have had a go at many jobs in my time and in the last decade have tended to be mainly office based. Presently I do a bit of basic design stuff on AutoCAD but there are no prospects and I'm sick of working for others for crap money. I've done basic accounts related stuff, sales, a bit of sciencey stuff testing water supplies and more that I've forgotten about.

If anyone has any ideas I will give them due consideration and offer the relevant person a discount if I get up and running ;).

I'm not expecting a lightning bolt of inspiration to come from this MB but desperate times and all that :laugh:

To me there are basically three ways to be "self-employed" (four if you count panhandling...)

1. Come up with a business plan, and about $50,000, which is what you will need to be able to lose in the first year of operation.

2. Put about $5,000 into marketing yourself as a "Consultant". You need to be able to offer your services to any company that is willing to recognize that you have the ability to teach them something that will save them money in the long run.

3. Invent things. A surefire path to the poorhouse for most.

It is extremely difficult to be successfully self-employed, unless you have a skill that very few have, and have the means to market it.

Any attempt to leave the mainstream world of employment and enter the world of self-employment requires capital money that you are willing to lose. Then you need to accept that you may fail and have to start over.

Our company does about $7mm annual revenue now, but back in 1991, when we started, we used $30,000 capital to rent a small office space, file the necessary gov't forms, pay lawyers, buy marketing tools, and purchase our first lot of used video equipment. It took us several years of reinvesting profit back into the company to earn enough money to pay ourselves something above a pauper's wage. I personally burned through a nice IRA I'd accumulated from my previous job, just to keep food on the table for the first few years. Eventually, things came together, we became dealers for some new equipment, and eventually grew into a very real company. It worked for us, but we've seen ten or so companies like us fail in that time.

I don't mean to sound all gloom and doom, but going down this road requires a big committment, and frankly, you need to have a VERY clear idea of what it is you intend to do.

My best advice to you would be to make a list of your unique talents, identify the talents that you feel you could market, then write out a detailed business plan. This will help you focus your energy in the direction you need to go.

Good luck (and hard work).
 
OP
EnglishGolfer

EnglishGolfer

Talks a good game
Oct 3, 2005
845
1
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
If you're AutoCAD and drafting skills are good enough, try drawing shop drawings (submittals for approval) for construction companies. Once you start developing clients, you can set your own schedule and you can work from home.

As coincidence would have it I just made a few phone calls this morning about this but was knocked back on the grounds that although I'm proficient in CAD I don't have any construction qualifications.

If you have any inside info' or advice on this I'd love to hear it. Unfortunately I'm not in a position to start doing an more qualifications for the next 2 years but I just can't wait that long plus the time taken for the qual' itself.
 
OP
EnglishGolfer

EnglishGolfer

Talks a good game
Oct 3, 2005
845
1
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
....... 3. Invent things. A surefire path to the poorhouse for most.

I think I will give the inventing a miss a my wife thought my recent idea was rubbish. Having experienced that babies don't always like bottle feeding yet not all mothers are able or want to breast feed, I thought I could take a mould of the mothers breast and then create teets to fit the bottles that are totally bespoke.

Obviously I would have to start as a one man operation so I'd be involved in EVERY part of the process, but for some reason my wife didn't like this idea.:laugh:

Seriously though, thanks for the advice. If I had enough money to get it off the ground I would definitely start developing property as I am very knowledgeable on the market in my area and I have many contacts in the building, plumbing etc trades. However I would need about £140,000 min to get off the ground (about $280,000) and this is way beyond my means.
 

DouginGA

dont tread on me
Dec 8, 2005
913
0
would be a little careful about the autocad stuff unless you have a registered copy of it. I know most engineers etc have a pilfered copy of it on their personal computers but if you start drafting for profit with an unlicensed copy you could get in real deep doo-doo. years ago autocad 14 was running about $2500 for a single licenced user.
 

warbirdlover

Ender of all threads
Supporting Member
Jul 9, 2005
19,088
5,576
central Wisconsin
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United States United States
And now "Solid Works" is being used more as 3-D views seem to be the way to go. They can also "join" the parts to make sure everything "fits".

Don't quit a job to go on your own. Build it while you're working. Whatever you do make sure it's something you love doing.

And (as you said) you won't get rich working for someone else. I had a friend I met (lived next door to inlaws) that used to work for a small outfit harvesting "weeds". Well he started his own "aquatic nursery" with an unemployment check. He knew how to grow this stuff in greenhouses and over a few years has built a multi-million dollar building where orders are filled "same day" with a McDonald's type television monitor system. His wife takes orders on the phone and their put up (in order of shipping date) on the monitor for his (now numerous) employees quickly fill them. I go to his multi-million dollar home for a party every year (a week away) where he invites a 100 people for a pig cookout and has a band and better fireworks then most cities. I found out when new buildings are built (factories) or roadwork is finished, they put the surrounding land "back into nature" by purchasing these native plants (weeds as far as I'm concerned) from the lowest cost supplier. Since he can grow it in greenhouses instead of harvesting in marshes etc he can undersell anyone. He no longer has any competition. So it CAN happen. :)

J & J Transplant Aquatic Nursery

The scoop on 'J & J Tranzplant Aquatic Nursery, LLC.'
 
OP
EnglishGolfer

EnglishGolfer

Talks a good game
Oct 3, 2005
845
1
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #8
And now "Solid Works" is being used more as 3-D views seem to be the way to go. They can also "join" the parts to make sure everything "fits".

Don't quit a job to go on your own. Build it while you're working. Whatever you do make sure it's something you love doing.


I've spent the morning looking at solidworks online as I keep hearing more and more about it. It looks good but expensive. I've thought about going on torentspy and having a go with a version from there but I don't know enough about these kind of things and I'm a bit too wary to actually go ahead and download.
 

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
And now "Solid Works" is being used more as 3-D views seem to be the way to go. They can also "join" the parts to make sure everything "fits".

Don't quit a job to go on your own. Build it while you're working. Whatever you do make sure it's something you love doing.

And (as you said) you won't get rich working for someone else. I had a friend I met (lived next door to inlaws) that used to work for a small outfit harvesting "weeds". Well he started his own "aquatic nursery" with an unemployment check. He knew how to grow this stuff in greenhouses and over a few years has built a multi-million dollar building where orders are filled "same day" with a McDonald's type television monitor system. His wife takes orders on the phone and their put up (in order of shipping date) on the monitor for his (now numerous) employees quickly fill them. I go to his multi-million dollar home for a party every year (a week away) where he invites a 100 people for a pig cookout and has a band and better fireworks then most cities. I found out when new buildings are built (factories) or roadwork is finished, they put the surrounding land "back into nature" by purchasing these native plants (weeds as far as I'm concerned) from the lowest cost supplier. Since he can grow it in greenhouses instead of harvesting in marshes etc he can undersell anyone. He no longer has any competition. So it CAN happen. :)

J & J Transplant Aquatic Nursery

The scoop on 'J & J Tranzplant Aquatic Nursery, LLC.'

That's a great success story. Yes, it can be done. One of my favorites is "Girls Gone Wild". The guy buys a bunch of barely legal women a bunch of beer, films them taking their clothes off, and makes mega-millions of dollars off of perverts like us. Only in America...
 

MGP

Clubmaking Ho
Supporting Member
Apr 21, 2007
1,996
24
I've spent the morning looking at solidworks online as I keep hearing more and more about it. It looks good but expensive. I've thought about going on torentspy and having a go with a version from there but I don't know enough about these kind of things and I'm a bit too wary to actually go ahead and download.

Take this for what it's worth but I've been self-employed as an electronics design consultant since 1986.

If you do strike out on your own, make sure you sell "value". By that I mean do something that is different from everyone else doing CAD work for hire. In the end, all you are selling is your time and if your hours are no different (or more importantly, are perceived to be no different) than say, some guy sitting in China you will constantly get beat up on price. Always strive to make your time more "valuable" than those you are competing with.

When starting, manage your money very carefully. Don't spend any money on anything that won't directly make you more money -- i.e. have an office in your spare bedroom, basement, etc. Use old furniture you beg, borrow or steal (well not literally ;)). Cash flow will be your #1 enemy until you get established.

The suggestion to start your new venture "on the side" while still working a regular job is a good one. I was lucky in that a client of my previous employer approached me with a long term contract that got me started on a solid financial road. Most people aren't so lucky and starting up is very hard when you've got to pay the rent and eat.

We use a lot of 3D CAD in my work, mostly for packaging designs but I also design instrumentation for industrial meters and medical devices. You may be able to get a fully functional demo version of Solidworks, I'm not sure. Most of my clients use Solidworks now. One alternative you may want to check out is Alibre Design - the best choice for 3D CAD software. Powerful. Easy. Affordable.. I'm using it as a lower cost alternative to Solidworks and it's a very good 3D modeling package at a lower cost. I've had very little trouble transferring designs back and forth with Solidworks. You might also check their forum and ask some questions there -- there are quite a few users there that use both programs and some that use Solidworks at "work" and Alibre Design in their "side job" or for hobby work.

Good luck in whatever you decide. Deciding to start my own business is the best thing I ever did. It's not for everyone though. It definitely changes almost everything in your life, mostly good but some bad as well. Once you are established, it's nice being the "boss" and deciding how and when you want to work. I get a lot of satisfaction being able to do most things "my way". It's also nice being able to occasionally sneak off and play more golf as well... ;)

Hmmm, speaking of which I am going to head out shortly to the practice range and exec course to hit my new irons. :D

That's a great success story. Yes, it can be done. One of my favorites is "Girls Gone Wild". The guys buys a bunch of barely legal women a bunch of beer, films them taking their clothes off, and makes mega-millions of dollars off of perverts like us. Only in America...

I'm pretty sure that basic formula for success has been used more than a few times all over the world. :laugh:
 

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
I'm pretty sure that basic formula for success has been used more than a few times all over the world. :laugh:

His genius was keeping it very soft-core and voyeuristic. The porn industry is one thing. Porn is big business all over the world, but there are so many players doing the same thing that the $$$ get diluted. Look at Maxim magazine. Huge success as a men's magazine, but never showed any nudity. So it didn't compete with anyone else, getting by on humor, and a subversive view of men. Same thing with the GGW guy. He had a new idea that people wanted, and, as you said, that's key to making any self-employment plan a winner.
 
OP
EnglishGolfer

EnglishGolfer

Talks a good game
Oct 3, 2005
845
1
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #12
...... We use a lot of 3D CAD in my work, mostly for packaging designs but I also design instrumentation for industrial meters and medical devices. You may be able to get a fully functional demo version of Solidworks, I'm not sure. Most of my clients use Solidworks now. One alternative you may want to check out is Alibre Design - the best choice for 3D CAD software. Powerful. Easy. Affordable.. I'm using it as a lower cost alternative to Solidworks and it's a very good 3D modeling package at a lower cost. I've had very little trouble transferring designs back and forth with Solidworks. You might also check their forum and ask some questions there -- there are quite a few users there that use both programs and some that use Solidworks at "work" and Alibre Design in their "side job" or for hobby work.........

Hmmm, speaking of which I am going to head out shortly to the practice range and exec course to hit my new irons. :D

Thank you very much for that advice just a shame you had to rub it in at the end though (I'm so jealous!!!);)
 

flomarilius

Nike staffer :)
Jun 19, 2006
648
0
Not really being self-employed but down here in Miami a big money item are gas stations or franchises. The guys who own these things just make a freaking killing!
 

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
Not really being self-employed but down here in Miami a big money item are gas stations or franchises. The guys who own these things just make a freaking killing!

I knew a guy who was a middle manager where I worked. He left to open a Subway franchise when they first started. Needless to say, he's done quite well.
 

DaveE

The golfer fka ST Champ
Aug 31, 2004
3,986
3
That's a great success story. Yes, it can be done. One of my favorites is "Girls Gone Wild". The guy buys a bunch of barely legal women a bunch of beer, films them taking their clothes off, and makes mega-millions of dollars off of perverts like us. Only in America...

I think he might have made a couple of mistakes along the way. :laugh:

The 34-year-old boob impresario remains holed up in county jail in Reno, Nevada, where he's awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to federal tax-evasion charges.

The judge in that case has refused to allow Francis to post $1.5 million cash bond because he is deemed a flight risk and has a case pending in Florida. Francis also faces six state felony charges, for counts that include conspiracy, prostitution and filming underage girls in sexual situations. That case will be adjudicated after the federal case, which is tentatively set for trial July 24.
 

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