Diary of starting a business

For the last Year or so I have been working on starting my own business, which is actually up and running now.

I thought it might be interesting to allow you guys to follow along with me as I go through it, and see what it is like.

Just a little background. I started a financial services company with a friend of mine, and we are both working on it in our spare time. We both have fulltime jobs and are married. He has a year old daughter, and my wife is pregnant. So, as you can see we both have our plates pretty full.

These are the players involved, and a little later this morning I will start with the details from the beginning. Any input from you guys along the way will be appreciated.

About a year ago I decided to finally take the plunge and start my own business. I had toyed with the idea on several different occasions, but I didn't know what I wanted to do. I work full time as the Controller for a medium size company, so accounting/bookkeeping seemed like a natural fit.

One of my best friends is a accountant as well, so we decided to partner up on the project. The fist thing we worked on was a company name and with it, the companies identity. After several brainstorming sessions we came up with P&L Financial, which was both of our initials, and a play on accounting terms.

One of the things I wanted from the beginning was a strong brand identity. I was talking to a CPA friend of mine, and he put me in contact with a friend of his that is a graphic artist, and she spent a couple of weeks with me and designed a kick ass logo for our company for 1/3 of the price I had been quoted at several different places. Now, I mentioned this to tell you, that one of the biggest resources for someone starting a business are friends and family members. When I say resource I'm not referring to money in this instance. They can be a huge help in finding the right people, or for bouncing ideas off of, or just for general support.

Once I had the brand in place my partner and I took some time to work out the details of our partnership and put them in writing.

We have been friends for over 10 years, but one thing we agreed on is that the details of the parthership needed to be very clear from the beginning. We put everything in writing and both signed off on it.

My initial investment was in equipment and logo work. I bought a new computer and Quickbooks software, and my partner provided office furniture, printers, copier etc, so that both of us were investing equally in the business.

I chose Quickbooks as my software, because it is the software most widely used by small businesses, which is my target market. With the software, I signed up for the Quickbooks Pro Advisor program, so I could become a registered QB advisor.

At this point it starts to get hectic. I'm working full time, putting my business together, and studying for the QB certification.

more updates please!!

good luck man, tell us how things go...

First off, GH is correct. BTW Gordon, that is some of the best advice anyone has given me. It has completely changed the way I look at building a business.

OK, so, at this point, I've got the logo design done, and I've made my first batch of cards, and I've got my software and hardware all set up.

This is where networking through your friends comes in. In college I was very socially involved, and I met lots of people, and made lots of friends. My GPA wasn't what it could have been, but I think the contacts I made were priceless. Now those contacts are starting to pay off.

I was almost through the first module of the quickbooks pro advisor certification when I got a call from a buddy of mine in Arizona. He is a CPA, and his firm had a client that needed some basic bookkeeping caught up, and they wanted to outsource the work. So, he picked me for the job.

At this point I had to put the certification on hold. I worked every night for a month straight to get the company all caught up, and hopefully I will get the go ahead to maintain them from now on (I find out in a couple of weeks) I made enought off of this first project to pay for the equipment and software I purchased.

cont.

This is very informative stuff bret...

Thanks!

All right, here is where I give you some of the downs that go with the ups.

The client in Arizona that I got caught up is out of the picture for now. It looks like they are going to go with an onsite accounting person.

Now, I know this is the right move for them at this point, and told my buddy so. So, client/project #1 is over. Now it's back to the books to finish my certification.

On a side note, I have to give a HUGE thanks to forum member WARMONGER! I was having trouble getting my business card design into the right format for the printer, when I saw a thread on the OG about Adobe Illustrator. I asked if anyone could help out, and warmonger told me to send my logo and design and he would take a look at it.

A couple of days later he sent me back my original design in the correct format, with 3 other designs he recomended. I ended up going with one of his, and it turned out perfect. You never know where help is going to come from, but don't be afraid to ask.

Gordon Hester has also been a great help. I have e-mailed back and forth with him, and even spoken to him on the phone, and he has given me some very solid advice.

Take advantage of all the sources for help you can find!

Very informative.

"Remember trading $$$ for hours = a job for life "

I must be too tired, Im not sure I get this.

Is GH saying: if you work a lot of hours, even if its for a lot of money, its not worth it?

Thanks

GH,

So you apply this to outside business ventures?

I guess, since you have to put in X hours a week for your primary job, any secondary business ventures, should not consume too much of your time. Otherwise it would be like having two primary jobs?

But in the begining, dont you have to put in a lot of time anyway? To get it started.

Thanks

Once again GH is correct(this will probably not be the last time I say that). I know that to get to where I want to be I will have to invest a lot of time and effort up front.

Today I had another example of the ups and downs of working for yourself. This time it was an up. I just received my first check for my first completed project. It isn't a lot of money, but to me it was HUGE!

My partner and I are meeting on Sunday after Thanksgiving to work on a proposal for a perspective client, which leads me to another point. There are no 9to5, five day work weeks when you are starting from scratch. The fact that we both still work full time compounds the problem, but I don't see it changing for a while.

The next big obstacle I am facing, is that we have almost everything we need in place, and pretty soon the business is going to require a full time commitment. Which means I will have to quit my current job, and just jump in head first.

yeah, as I am searching for a job now I find only teaching jobs and government jobs are 9-5, every other job that has potential for making any kind of money makes you work way longer than 40hrs with no overtime. Its just expected.

bret--

A few books that have been hugely helpful to me in focusing my business:

"The 22 Imuteable Laws of Marketing" by Jack Trout and Al Ries

"Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It" by Al Ries

"The Ultimate Marketing Plan" by Dan Kennedy

"The Ultimate Sales Letter" by Dan Kennedy

"Soft Selling in A Hard World" by Jerry Vass

and last, but more important than any others"

"The E-Myth" by Michael Gerber, AKA "The E-Myth Revisited. Gerber is an amazing small business consultant and he takes what Gordon refers to above and gives you a framework of how to achieve those goals. It is the single best business book (for small and micro businesses like yours and mine) that I have ever seen and since I've been applying the concepts in the book my real estate business has changed dramatically.

BTW--I need a bookkeeper/accountant! Even if we don't end up working together I would be happy to promote your business to other business owners. Do you have an email addy you can post?

lets hear more about brettbjj's new business.

Gordon I love that saying, "I would rather be paid for what I bring to the hour than by the hour" I will have to use that one if you don't mind.




Tripp

WOW guys! Thanks for the responses.


Brad(bdwttu)

My e-mail address is bposey@pandlfinancial.net. Drop me an e-mail, and I would be glad to talk to you about anything you want to find out. BTW, I sent this address to your MMA e-mail.

Slim,

Thanks for the list of books. I'm definitely going to pick up "The e-myth". Sounds like it has had a great impact on your business. BTW, I would be glad to give you any assistance I can with your accounting. With the internet, faxes, and cell phones, the places we can service are almost unlimited. Shoot me an e-mail, I would be glad to take a look at what you guys need. More than likely I can just point you in the right direction, and tell you what to look for if you need someone in house. You can e-mail me at the same address I gave Brad.