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    34 Replies Latest reply on Jul 31, 2014 1:22 PM by Moderator Cath

    New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.

    lamarlynch1 Wayfarer

      Hello all, Happy Holidays.

      My name is LaMar, owner of Pristine Clean Tampa and the Pristine Clean Team. I started my business in September this year (2012) but did not actually start looking for and filling contracts/jobs until October 21, 2012. Since 10/21/12 I have done 2 residential cleanings, placed 1 bid for a 30 unit office, 1 commercial job-which I ended up sub-contracting (the worse decision I ever made) and have 2 jobs coming up and networked with a few contractors.

       

      The thing is I still have my day job. I wish it was so easy to leave this job and chase the growth of my business, because I know the potential is out there but its hard... I have even fooled myself into thinking I can do both if I can get a lot of contracts/leads and hire people to go out and do the work, but I realized it is not as easy it sounds. You have to still be out in the field making face time, shaking hands and doing the hey "I'm the guy but the guy for the job..." dance.

       

      Anyway, I guess I am looking for reassurance and advice of how to hold on.

      I was thinking if maybe I needed a mentor/coach.

      Maybe I should be giving up and counting my blessings while taking this as another lesson learned and experience... I don't know, but for my children I push and want to try harder each day I open my eyes and my mind drifts on the idea of business...


        • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
          Moderator Cath Guide

          Hi LaMar,

           

          A mentor may just be the thing you need.  This person can offer support and advice and be a good sounding board for you as you begin to have growing pains with your business.

           

          We encourage those who might like to assist you to contact you, via your email, if they want to share their services and charges.

           

          Anyone who has some general advice is encouraged to post and share.

           

          Cath

          • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
            Robert Diffenderfer Scout

            We are in the same boat as you my friend. I own GMS Photo and Video and this is our second "official" year of business and we are growing exponentially but not enough for me to quit my day job. The problem is I find myself sitting at my desk and working on personal business issues. Unfortunately this does not go over well with those you work for and I was told that I must discontinue these actions or face the consequences. It only makes this more difficult because I know that getting that early bid in is important. I am considering hiring someone just to do the sales song and dance for me. I will pay a small salary and a nice commission as an incentive. This will cut into my business income but I am certain this is the only way I can keep the business going and growing without losing my job before I am ready to leave.

             

            Good Luck

              • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                Ranger

                I'm sure that is hard to set one job aside to focus on the job you're at!  Perhaps instead of thinking of hiring a sales pro as a cut in business income, look at it as in investment in the company's future.

                 

                Joleen

                  • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                    Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                    Thanks Joleen...

                     

                    You are correct and we do look at it as an investment however the performance of this individual will determine if they are an asset or not. I have been very successful at the sales end of my business and I need to be very careful who I hire for this which leads me into another dilemma. Do I hire someone with experience or do I find a person who I feel is very personable and I can train? The first choice will cost more but will bring sales experience with them however, it will also bring any bad habits they may have acquired from prior companies.The second choice will cost less but the experience (and bad habits) don't exist. If I get the right person here I can mold them to fit perfectly however the down side is the time that is required getting them trained will be time I will still need to monitor sales....I am still leading toward the second option. I like the idea of someone young and energetic!

                • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                  mcaulaystudios Wayfarer

                  I think your in where a lot of people are. Which is that grey area between being able to support yourself on your new business and not being able to. I think the first thing you should do is look into some low cost advertising like Google adwords/adsense. Unfortunately if you decided to run adds there then you need some place to link people to your work. So that means you will need a website. My recommendation would be to work both jobs until you get a decent website up and your advertisements start to bring you work. When that happens you will be ready to leave your full time job and be a full time entrepreneur.

                   

                  There are lots of website designers out there but this is something my company is built for. You're welcome to contact me for more information.

                   

                  Message was edited by: Mare Stern, Moderation Manager, to remove phone number since it is not publicly displayed in the  member profile.

                  • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                    Guide

                    Hi Lamar,

                     

                    I will be honest with you. There is an old saying "too many eggs in one basket will cause them to break under the pressure." If you concentrate on too many things at once you will never be successful at ONE. We went through the same thing when opening our architectural business. Speaking from experience, staying for as long as my partner did at his day job was THE WORST mistake he ever made. He finally got fired at the MOST inopportune  time (height of the recession) which caused a devastation to the family. Fortunately, it was also a blessing for the business. It forced the both of us to buckle up and throw everything we had into the business. We are still growing strong!

                     

                    Looking back, he admits he regrets not taking my advice earlier. Its very scary at first, but then it gets easier as the days pass. By the way, we had 3 very small children at the time.

                     

                    Good luck!

                     

                    Melinda

                    • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                      Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                      LaMar...

                      This is what we are trying to do while I am still working the 9-5 job....

                       

                      1. If your budget permits hire someone to help  with sales. Offer a low salary but a high commission or if you can get someone to do it as commission only that would be great. My business has a few months that are notoriously slow so we need to offer some type of salary.

                       

                      2. Set goals for where you want to be financially. We have a 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month goals set up with milestones. If we hit each milestones then at the end of month 12 I can quit my job. Doing this gives you some planning and recovery options. If you don't hit your goals you can look back and see what you can do differently and make adjustments. I need to hit my targets in three continuous periods before I consider quitting my day job. So, each time we miss one we push back another three months. That's OK with me...I have a family that relies on my income and I need to know that my planning is as close to perfect as possible and my income will be sufficient enough to pay my bills and health care.

                       

                      3. This you probably already know....Work hard! There are days I come home from my 9 - 5 job and I am physically and mentally exhausted and I have work to do. Thank God I have my wife to push me sometimes. However with all of that being send pick one day a week for yourself and take the day off. I am still trying to learn this. I get a lot of leads through my website and other lead generating websites and they all come through my SMART phone. I feel an obligation to answer them even though I know its my day off.

                       

                      4. Last but not least...Try not to run your personal business at your 9 - 5 job. You may find yourself jobless before you are ready. Difficult I know....I take my SMART phone out to my car everyday at lunchtime and handle my business as much as possible for the 1/2 hour I have. Anything that comes in between the end of lunch and the time I get off needs to wait. Sometimes I will sneak into the bathroom.....shhhhh!

                       

                      Good Luck

                      • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                        joliemartin Scout

                        Yes! It is very true, above mentioned tips really very meaningful. Advertising is also very important If are not introduce your products in market then surely your sale not increases. Marketing and Advertising are the basic and for most important tools for your business popularity.   There are a lot of marketing options, some old marketing tactics are really very useful and these old fashioned marketing. 

                         

                         

                         

                         

                        UK Wholesalers

                        • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                          Moderator Berta Guide

                          There's lot of great information and advice here! Thanks for sharing everyone. Let's keep it going.

                           

                          ~Berta

                          • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                            rpkimball Newbie

                            When you are starting a new business, you really have to get out there and market yourself. It may be necessary to keep your old job for some time before you can break away. Getting a coach would be helpful. Check into resources available to you at local colleges and universities:

                             

                            I have my own business, and I have had multiple businesses throughout my life.

                             

                            Robert

                            Music Express


                            • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                              austin1 Adventurer

                              I would suggest 3 things!

                              1. Attract new customers
                              2. Automate your marketing
                              3. Close the sales online

                               

                              Obviously these three things are far easier said than done. However it is possible. My company focuses on helping small business succeed. Once a small business is able to do these three things they are able to step aside and the company grows while you focus on the big picture and not just being a "salesman" all day long.

                               

                              For step 1 - Attract new customers: I would gather as many leads as possible. I would create a great business page on Facebook and offer great deals, promotions and offers. Focus on providing great value and getting over 100 likes. For a residential client do a promotion like "Get a free house cleaning consultation for liking my page" Make it a three step process to get the consultation. Have them like the page, give you there email address and share your page. Now you have their information!!!

                               

                              Step 2 - Automate your marketing (this is where Infusionsoft really helps!) You will want to automate the marketing. Now that you have both their email address and they have liked your page you can do great marketing to them via Facebook and sending them beneficial emails. Have the email include great cleaning tips, how to videos etc. The more value you can provide in the emails the better. In each email don't forget to provide an offer.

                               

                              Step 3 - Close the sales online. This differs with each industry and if you’re targeting residential or commercial. I would imagine you could come up with a very simple price structure that will work great for residential clients so that they can buy on your website. But then again you might want to talk to them in person to create a specific plan so have them fill out a form and you give them a call and close that deal that way.

                               

                              Don't give up. I can feel the frustration in your question. You are going through what many small business owners go through. I would suggest reading "Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy"

                               

                              -Austin

                                • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                  Guide

                                  If you choose to stay at your day job my advice to any new business owner is too hammer all of your "excess" funds from your day job away into an account to save up for when you plunge into the totally self-employed world. This can only be done if you tighten up your belt and save any way you can. Usually you are supposed to save at least a years worth of income before you even begin to venture into a new business and take the self-employment at hand. Of course we all know that life has a way of taking over our good plans and throws a wrench or two in to make life interesting. Good luck to all of you!

                                   

                                  Melinda

                                • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                  Robin Williams Tracker

                                  Hi LaMar,

                                  It is nice to establish your business while working as you never know what may happen any-time, so in my opinion it is always better to have one alternate for anything in life. I am also doing the same thing, it gives some stress, but finally you will feel better one your business is established.


                                  • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                    stuheinecke Adventurer

                                    LaMar --

                                     

                                      Have you reached out to SCORE (score.org)?  They offer coaching from recently retired business owners and executives, and may be jut the thing you need.

                                     

                                    Stu

                                    • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                      Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                                      I agree with all of you BUT...my days are now consumed completely 7 days a week. The question of WHEN to go out on my own completely is not one I am looking forward to making, as a mistake here could be extremely costly. My business is doing well and I can pay the bills and make a living at it but I am just not quite ready to let go. I know that going out on your own is a risk and if you don't take the risk you will never reap the rewards. I also know that it is not healthy to have two very full time jobs for two long. Decisions....decisions!!!!!

                                        • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                          austin1 Adventurer

                                          I guess you can also look at the flip side of the picture and realize how awesome you are that you can maintain to full time careers for soooo long!!!

                                            • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                              Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                                              Thanks....as long as it doesn't kill me!!!

                                                • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                  austin1 Adventurer

                                                  Good point. How long have you been juggling both careers?

                                                    • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                      Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                                                      About three years and the business has grown exponentially in those three years. I went from myself and one employee and now its myself and four employees. Luckily one of my employees is my wife and she handle a lot of the day to day things but I still need to stay involved with everything at this point.

                                                        • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                          Guide

                                                          Hi Robert,

                                                           

                                                          I am curious, what does your better half think? With such a solid business and a great partner holding your hand the whole way why the fear? It is better to be afraid together than alone. Not many people have this as a huge plus. Call me adventurous or brave or plan reckless, but to me the decision is easy (remember I was once sitting in your shoes). Good luck!

                                                           

                                                          Melinda

                                                            • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                              Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                                                              She believes we have at least one more year of this. We want to make certain that this year is not just an anomaly. Its not fear. There are still some financial burdens to overcome. One of them being health insurance which is quite expensive. Right now our health insurance for me is covered 100% and my wife is on my policy and I pay about 20% of her coverage with the company picking up the rest. Purchasing health insurance on your own is quite expensive. I started this business later in life and I am just a tad over 50 so health insurance is becoming more and more critical. We have grown due to the fact that we offer high quality work and lower prices. We can do this by keeping our overhead down. If I need to start paying our own insurance we may need to bump our prices up a little. We have discussed selling our services on quality and not price, which we could do, but unfortunately it has become evident that people want both and they are willing to sacrifice  a little quality to save a buck. We are right on the hairy edge of this so what we are attempting to do is lower our living expenses by paying off loans and cars. This will lower our income requirements and allow us to maintain our current price structure and pay for health insurance. It is my belief that the company will continue to grow and all of this will become a mute point......One more year!

                                                                • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                                  Guide

                                                                  Well, I can not argue with you there. Insurance is a necessary evil. That was the very same reason my partner stayed as long as he could at his first position. We had an issue with preexisting health problems to boot.

                                                                   

                                                                  A word of caution, do not make the same mistake we did when it comes to insurance. Before you decide to leave your day job, make sure you shop around for insurance and ASK about the application process for insurance.  Most companies check your health first before they decide whether or not to accept you as a client. Even though there are laws in place stating that as long as you are constantly covered by a previous insurance company and there is no lapse in policy, you can not be denied coverage. But what they don't tell you is that this is not the case if you have a preexisting condition (They have a list of conditions. Ask to see them).

                                                                   

                                                                  We shopped around and went through the process of acquiring insurance for the family (in the mean time we had cobra coverage). None mentioned the possible problem of a preexisting condition. We were denied by all of the companies we liked and ran out of time. Ultimately, only one insurance company accepted us without a health check and we were forced to pay horrific monthly fees. 

                                                                   

                                                                  One year is not that bad. Together you will be able to stay strong.

                                                    • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                      esaltarelli Adventurer

                                                      Don't give up.  Every small, start up business comes to the place you are at.  Believe me.  Here are some suggestions to consider.....

                                                       

                                                      1) join a BNI.  Not sure if it would work since theya re usually early morning meetings once a week.  i belong to one in Seminole (not far from you) and we have 50 chapter members.  Once you educate them on what a good referral is for you, you basically have a team that are looking for clients to refer to you.  In our chapter we have a carpet cleaner, electrician, plumber, etc, all good referral sources.

                                                       

                                                      2) align with a complimentary business (like a carpet cleaner) where you do not compete, but can refer business to each other.

                                                       

                                                      3) are you on social media?  Get your friends and family to help promote you.

                                                       

                                                      4) consider how long it would take you to take your business to where you could work full time.  Let's say it is 90 days.  Now save 90 days worth of living expenses. When you have the money saved, quit your full time job and devote the time in the next 90 days (while you have savings) to get your business going.  There are variations of this; take your annual vacation and devote 100% of it to making the calls to grow your business.

                                                       

                                                      5) talk to property managers of condo associations, retail locations, etc.

                                                       

                                                      6) get the Tampa Bay Business Journal.  It is a $90 a year subscription but each week you have an update of the business openings in the area.

                                                       

                                                      Good luck

                                                      • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                        esaltarelli Adventurer

                                                        BTW, I have a friend that could help you as a professional business mentor.......

                                                        • Re: New business-trying to grow while still working 9-5.
                                                          Robert Diffenderfer Scout

                                                          Well we are ready to pull the plug....We have a target date of 3/31/14. So On April 1st (April Fools day) I will be completely on my own...Thanks for the advice here from everyone and I hope that this helped others as well. We will shop insurance starting in January and will follow the advice from a previous contributor (Moderator Melinda) so thank you.

                                                           

                                                          Let the games begin....