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I have started Q businesses, where Q = ...

Displaying poll results.
Zero, and don't plan to open any, either.
  7347 votes / 32%
  4230 votes / 18%
2 or 3
  2818 votes / 12%
More than 3
  886 votes / 3%
Zero, but I have plans to ...
  4234 votes / 18%
They stole all my ideas!
  2936 votes / 13%
22451 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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I have started Q businesses, where Q = ...

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  • As soon as the economy recovers, I'll be right up on that bandwagon.

    • Re:Real Soon Now (Score:5, Insightful)

      by psyclone (187154) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:14PM (#37270596)

      That's the opposite of what you should be thinking. NOW is the best time to start a business, to get all the early "business building" crap out of the way so when the economy does begin growing again, your business is in a good position to grow along with it.

      If you wait until the roller coaster has started climbing, you'll be left on the platform and not in a seat.

      • by afidel (530433)
        So you're saying he should start his business in about five years then? Because I honestly don't see us returning to normal growth levels for 6-7 years. There's just too much going against rapid growth in the developed world. I was talking to a world famous economist a few weeks ago and she said that total global work hours had returned to pre-recession levels but that almost all of the recovery had been outside of the EU and the US. Unless something dramatic happens to spur business and more importantly co
        • by Jethro (14165)

          If I have to explain it, it's not funny.

          • If it makes you feel any better, I laughed. Then I died a little inside when I saw the replies. Come on, /., you're better than this!
            • by Jethro (14165)

              Hehe. I think some people have to reply seriously even when they know it's a joke.

              • by geekoid (135745)

                Except it's correct. Cheap loans, cheap labor. There are many business that would be great to start.

        • by sqrt(2) (786011)

          10-20% real unemployment (not the sugar-coated numbers you get from Washington) is going to be the "new normal". There will be a mass of people, many with university education and job experience who will be out of work. You'll have four jobs for every five people and mathematically someone is going to be left without a chair. The question is, how do we deal with a society that requires the individual to provide for themselves almost entirely by selling their labor, and punishes them if they are unable to su

          • Re:Real Soon Now (Score:5, Insightful)

            by White Flame (1074973) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @01:29AM (#37272312)

            It'll be done as it always has been done in times of scarcity: Larger family units will stick together, pool resources, and perform services amongst each other, alleviating some of the need for external monetary exchange. Such scarcity situations do not fare well for lone wolves, and in the long view, the ability to "make it on your own" seems to be a luxury.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            First off, the government numbers are a fine measure. Stop being ignorant.
            Secondly, there is a mass amount of people leaving the work force, they are called baby boomers, as a side benefit they are creating more and more jobs in medical fields .

            "Forget about starting a business,.."
            No. Starting small business is a great opportunity for success. Something I wish I had learn 30 year ago.

            And in the last 30 years, there have been harder times to find a job.

            While I am not a libertarian*, it's not the doom and glo

        • by geekoid (135745)

          It's not really that bad. Certain news organization exploit the average person ignorance to create fear in order to see that the president gets blamed. Look at 2000 to 2011. No, it's not the same as peak growth, but peak growth is just that, the peak not the mean.


  • by sasha328 (203458) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:10PM (#37270578) Homepage

    I started a "sole trader" business for IT consulting primarily to do work "on the side" from my main paid job.

    After a while and realising it's pretty time consuming, I decided to can the idea. I did a couple of big projects, but the headaches were too much to be worth it.
    Now I manage the IT department for my current employer, and I'm loving the fact that I have a regular paycheque every month and am treated well.

    • by psyclone (187154)

      Can you not keep your side business intact, for the few clients you already have? Think of the tax benefits of internet access write-offs, etc.

      • by ThorGod (456163)

        I think the real trick would be to have his current employer hire him as a 'contractor'. (Good luck paying for all of your benefits (health insurance, etc) with whatever the contract pays, though.)

        But...I think then at least you'd calculate taxes as a business - which can be more lax (I think).

        • The countries that I've worked in (UK and NZ) have laws that stop that kind of thing. (I'd assume others would too.) If you're doing the exact same job that you were doing before, but as a contractor, in order to pay less tax, you'll end up on the wrong side of those laws.
          • by ThorGod (456163)

            I'm talking about the US. There's at least one kind of business (probably LLC and whatever the default type is) that works like you described in the US. But, half the reason to incorporate in the US is taxes (the other half is legal liability). I doubt converting a job to a contract position is illegal here...if only because the US tends to be more lax.

            • by Eskarel (565631)

              The US is only lax about extremely wealthy people paying tax, everyone else had better pay what's due or go to jail.

            • by geekoid (135745)

              You need to adhere to specific guidelines, or you can be classified as an employee. Specifically because company would hire people as contractors so they could continue and abuse employees.

          • If you serve multiple clients (as the OP was), then it's fully legit. It's only when your "contractor" income is from one very employee-like client where it becomes an issue.

            (Speaking from the USA)

        • by sasha328 (203458)

          Well, in Australia, everyone gets health cover included in their tax. Employers don't matter. Minimum payment is 1.5%, and since I earn over 50K pa, then I pay an extra 1%
          Out of my pay, a compulsory 9% (my company pays 12%) goes towards a retirement fund (super annuation)

          Sounds like a lot, but it's actually pretty good:
          Healthcre is free, medicines are subsidised and I am guaranteed a good retirement income (provided I send my super annuation to a good fund manager)

          By American standards, Australia is commun

          • by ThorGod (456163)

            Yep! Bunch of communist, convicts from way back in the day! I've heard you also have an entire town that lives in an underground mine! (That's pretty neat.)

            I'm not saying I agree with US business law/policy, in general. I just know the US tends to let things go that many other countries don't. For that matter, our tax code is an industry (if not several) unto itself.

          • by Yo Grark (465041)

            Screw you.

            I have almost 50% of my paycheque taken in taxes :(

          • by superwiz (655733)
            GP's are free. I spoke with an Australian doctor recently. And he told me that the specialists are in a two tier system. The public ones are free. The better ones cost money. I don't know if there is insurance coverage for the better ones or if people pay for them out of pocket.
            • er, that's not what its like here at all.

              doctors can have consultations paid for by medicare, normally a nominal fee of $60. so doctors can limit the consultation to 10min and make a profit, this is EXCELLENT for taking a day out of work, and not losing half your pay check that day just trying to prove you're owed the other half.

              Doctors also have the option of charging you directly at any rate and have medicare refund you directly to the amount of $60. emergency care is free, as is emergency transport (very

              • by geekoid (135745)

                dentist should be covered. Dental issues can kill you. You can get an impact infected, it swell to emergency condition, and then you get treated for the infection, not the impact. Then it comes back, rinse repeat. eventually you don't get to the ER in time and die.

                Good dental hygiene prevent certain type of heart condition.

                It's really weird how dental became it's own exception in many places. It's part of your body. You don't see an exception for 'finger Dr.'

                I am not taking about purely cosmetic issue. thos

            • by Eskarel (565631)

              For the most part, the same doctors work in the public and private health industries(I say this working in the private health industry). Generally speaking the public hospitals have better equipment(because the government can buy a multi million dollar device that only treats two people a year whereas a private company would be insane to), but the private hospitals have shorter wait times, nicer rooms, and you get to pick you doctor.

              There are pluses and minuses to both systems, but having lived in the US an

              • by geekoid (135745)

                It doesn't matte, it's better to burn the country to the ground, have people dying on the street then to have an evil socialist item~

          • yes, its even funnier that with each American / EU recession, Australia and the Pacific region (china, japan, etc.) start to economically pull away.

            I hope the recession gets worse for you lot, I want to purchase a house and don't want to pay top dollar for it, and unless the world economy tanks further our real estate bubble will just plateau instead of crash like almost all the Y - Gens are waiting for it to do.

          • by syousef (465911)

            Healthcre is free, medicines are subsidised and I am guaranteed a good retirement income (provided I send my super annuation to a good fund manager)

            By American standards, Australia is communist country for all these social benefits it imposes on it's people!

            I'm Australian Health care is free but it is abysmal. Lots of people die here on waiting lists. You can wait many hours for basic treatment for an injury too. If you opt to go to a private hospital for any reason (like your local public one has a reputation for killing people), you'll pay through the nose not just for admission but for every little test you receive in the emergency department. Until you get sick and see how bad it can be, it doesn't affect you and since young people tend to be the most prod

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        Exactly how much do you think you'd write off a year? *Maybe* $1000? Much of which wouldn't be legal if you were audited (internet access, for example, must be prorated between business and personal time). So the total tax savings for someone with a 6 figure income might be $200 to do something he doesn't want to do and which is a big pain in the ass, not to mention he'd be cheating slightly? Not worth the fucking paperwork.

    • by AntEater (16627) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:32PM (#37270736) Homepage

      Now I manage the IT department for my current employer, and I'm loving the fact that I have a regular paycheque every month and am treated well.

      Now we know you're making this stuff up.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        He said he's a manager. They are much better treated than the peons.
    • by jimicus (737525)

      I'm doing something similar myself, and I've found it's much harder than you'd think for a few reasons:

      1. There's a phenomenal amount of competition - and while you can be the best IT consulting person on the planet, your prospects can't really tell the difference between you and their nephew who "knows about computers". So they won't pay what they perceive to be an inflated cost. And when the nephew is prepared to work for a more-or-less nothing, almost anything is an inflated cost.
      2. A lot of competition

  • I could see doing a little computer repair on the side if I had to, but I like having some free time after I get off work.

    • by tylersoze (789256)

      Yeah I started doing freelance programming on the side about a year ago. Eats up all my free time, about 20 hours a week, but it now accounts for a third of my income. Was finally able to put down enough money to buy a house.

    • by mrbcs (737902)
      Poking yourself in the eyes with a sharp stick is less painful.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @09:31PM (#37271164)

    Back in the late 90's, I wanted to be my own man. I read the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" books and wanted to start my own business - that's how you get rich, right?!

    So, I did. Times were good! I made 6 figure and thought I deserve this because I worked hard and I'm worthy and anyone who isn't making six figure or more isn't working hard enough, is uneducated or is unworthy!

    Yep, I was in my early 30s and ROCK'IN!

    Then 2000/2001 hit. Business dried up. Companies were moving back to canned software again, India and whatnot made what I knew obsolete. And I found my self training more and more Asians immigrants about what a pointer was - I'm not exaggerating!

    Then nothing.

    So, I said - I'll get an MBA and move into management. Nope. Doesn't work that way. MBA degrees are worthless unless you need one to keep your job or in Government: getting any Masters is a ticket to a promotion and after speaking to several people with different Masters AND a MBA ; the MBA is the easiest Masters Degree to get - NO THESIS!

    I started several web businesses - SATURATED BEYOND BELIEF - blogs, selling things, you name it!

    Of course after several years of trying to "make it", I am now unemployable. All I have on my resume are businesses - no management references. No one will hire me. I went to Goodwill for a job today. Yep, With an MBA and ten years of development experience, I had to go to Goodwill for a $7.25 job just because I thought I could become a big shot by starting my own business and because I believed in the American myth. Yes, I'm well over 40 - that doesn't help either.

    Those of your who are saying the American Dream has come true - good for you! I thought so too at one time. It's amazing how quickly your dreams turn into nightmares. You think you're making all the "right" decisions and at the time, you are. I thought C++ middleware was the way to go - and then Java took off.

    I have an uncle who is a self made millionaire. Here's what he told me this Summer:

    I started in '69. There were a lot more opportunities back then. I've had several lucky breaks and I worked my ass off for 30 years to get where I am. I couldn't do it now. It's not just Government regulation, it's just that there isn't the opportunities we had back then. (He has kids and grandkids and he worries about them and their future) .

    As a side note about my uncle: as I said, he's self made millionaire. Worked his ass off like everyone does And he's not exactly a "class warfare" guy that the pundits like to point fingers at.

    He thinks there's too much wealth disparity in this country and the rich are destroying it.

    The destruction of the middle class is hurting him, BTW; so he's not some liberal hippie with too much money.

    • A businessman sees & creates opportunity no matter the situation. Any bozo can start a moderately successful endeavor when the economy is good, just like any bozo can (and does) claim to be a "stock picking genius" when the markets are going up. There are people starting businesses and making money in this economy; saying "I do X, so I'm going to go into business for myself doing X" isn't the summation of all business skill.

      • Let's agree then that he isn't a very good businessman. He did okay for himself when the economy was up but when the economy receded, he didn't have what it took to remain profitable. That's fine. That's just how business goes. Not every venture is going to be successful.

        That doesn't invalidate the rest of his complaint. He took a risk trying to start a business and ended up failing. It didn't just cost him the 10 years he spent self-employed or the 5 years when business was in decline. He's arguing

        • What is his complaint? When you boil it down, it's that C++ middleware isn't marketable anymore, and that a sector which used to be easily profitable got saturated and competition rolled in. I'm sorry, but that's simply what happens in business.

          This is not a failing of the entrepreneurial dream in general, it's the failing of people in over their head, who gamble on situational ease providing for them in perpetuity. Unfortunately, yes it does leave them pretty screwed, especially as he's not grown in bus

          • The fact that it "leaves them pretty screwed" presents us with a choice. We can compassionately try to reintegrate those who have tried entrepreneurship into the workforce if they decide that business ownership is NOT the right choice for them. Or we can indict the failure of their businesses as a mark of unsuitability and allow them to fall into the safety net, where they're punished by becoming an unproductive drag on the rest of the economy.

            I happen to be pretty cynical in this regard, I'll confess. I

            • by geekoid (135745)

              I'm generally not cynical, but I do wonder why every company in the US didn't push for single payer universal healthcare. It would have reduced costs to the business. Maybe its because it would be easier for the more experience(older) employees to leave?

              • by i_b_don (1049110)

                You know what... this is what gets me too.... why businesses toed the republican party line so hard when it came to health care reform. If I was running a business, I'd gladly take the money I was paying for health insurance and hand it to the government to drive health care because you know what, as a business man, I don't want to care about health care. I just want healthy workers and not to worry about picking insurance plans. Single payer, awesome. Anything but ME and my staff evaluating insurance

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      If you thought C++ middleware was a good idea, keeping you away from software development is probably the right thing to do. People who think this industry revolves around the money side of things never last either. You can't keep up with the pace at which new technology appears unless you're doing this because it's what you're interested in quite deeply. It wasn't hard to jump from being a good C++ developer to a Java one when that industry shift was happening, and there was plenty of time to do it in.

    • by AdamHaun (43173)

      Wow, looks like the other commenters out tonight are a bunch of sociopathic assholes. I can't really do anything to help you, but let me at least say that I'm sorry you've had so much trouble and I hope your situation gets better soon.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      So, I said - I'll get an MBA and move into management. Nope. Doesn't work that way. MBA degrees are worthless unless you need one to keep your job or in Government:

      Not worthless, but management is almost purely a soft skill. That you know the theory and can do it on paper on an MBA exam is a lot less valuable than a C++ exam is to writing C++. Nobody will hire you as a manager just for having an MBA. The MBA is for people that are already team leaders, small department heads and want to move up the management ladder. But you have to be on it, even if it's just the lowest rung.

    • Have you considered a different line of work? Heating/cooling repair, electrician, mechanic?

    • I see several reasons for your predicament.

      1) Market Research
      I made this mistake too, once. I wanted to do some web SaaS stuff, had some ideas, which some test audiences told me were great, but when it came down to competition and pricing, I figured out that while my solution was technically superior and offered a lot of features that were lacking from other products, there was only a sub-set of users who actually cared. Of those, many of them weren't very technology oriented and I had trouble market
    • by tverbeek (457094)

      For what it's worth you could have ended up in the exact same boat by working for other people. I took jobs I was good at, worked hard at them, and thanks to factors mostly outside my control (e.g. business going badly, bosses who suffered from ineptitude, homophobia, or general sociopathy) I've lost a bunch of them. And combined with dismal job markets at those times, I have a resume that resembles dessicated swiss cheese, a salary history that looks like the mountains of Florida, and a list of job skill

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You're just bad at your job. Sorry, but that post pretty much just screams that.

      I mean, reallym, Yuos eriosly can't transition from one language to another?

      I have people calling my up looking to interview me because of my C++ skills. even when I tell them I haven't used them in 6 years. Languages are trivial.

      "I couldn't do it now. It's not just Government regulation, it's just that there isn't the opportunities we had back then."
      that's simply an ignorant out of touch old man. There are a lot of opportunitie

  • by erice (13380) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @10:26PM (#37271494) Homepage

    I like to build things. I am good at building things. I have no desire and no particular talent for soliciting customers and investors or managing people, infrastructure and money. If I were to start my own business, guess what I would have to spend most of my time doing?

    • If building things can pay enough for you to hire others to do the sales/managing, then go for it. My issue is that everything I build or invent is for small niches. So while profitable and self sustaining, its not nearly large enough for me to hire others. Yet.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Go to angle investor meets, and business meeting. any group you can find. Look for a partner.

      Apple isn't huge because of Jobs or Woz, It happened because of Jobs AND Woz.

  • That last option is really silly. Yes it's the standard "american dream" story: have a good idea, get rich. Surely some people do it like that (the Google guys are a textbook example of course), but most other people don't start with a very special idea. Most people that run their own business do it the same way many other people do.

    For example: you could start up your moving business. Moving homes, offices, etc. It's nothing special: just a bunch of strong guys carrying stuff from a to b. But when you wor

    • by marcovje (205102)

      Google didn't start like that either. They had a search engine in times that web ad revenues were dropping, but no way to capitalize on it.

      Then later, with the purchase of Ouverture Google brought the two crucial components (search + sales of targeted ads) together.

    • by dkf (304284)

      That last option is really silly. Yes it's the standard "american dream" story: have a good idea, get rich. Surely some people do it like that (the Google guys are a textbook example of course), but most other people don't start with a very special idea. Most people that run their own business do it the same way many other people do.

      The important part is that almost everything about being a success is down to working very hard. A good idea can help, but if it's not executed well then the idea's worth nearly nothing. If you want to get rich without working, play the lottery (and don't expect to win).

  • and I'm back in a job between Helpdesk and Admin.

    my big brother made it, he was unabashed enough not to care what his actions did to other people.

    he sold a company to Nokia ( when they still had money ) and parked it in a foundation to save taxes

    as a sidejob he's moving jobs to India!

    'nuff said!

  • It wasn't a software house - it was a laser engraving business, doing custom work for businesses and individuals, and then also catering to the roleplaying gamer market. He frequently said (well, says, I imagine) that owning your own business is the second most over-rated thing in the world. The number one most over-rated thing being natural childbirth.
  • I am willing to bet that a lot of /. readers have tried, at one time or another, to supplement their income with computer consulting or repair "on the side." And why not? Having seen both sides of the equation, I would bet most /.ers would actually give out better customer service than any of the "professional" businesses.

    With the average in my area of $65+ per hour being charged by the "professional" computer stores and Staples, Best Buy, and such being (quite usually) incompetent or overcharging - or both

    • by geekoid (135745)

      If I live as if I would die tomorrow, I'd be busy killing a lot of people.

    • by Xtifr (1323)

      Supplement? I've worked full-time as a consultant. I even formed a partnership once with a friend to do consulting. (We actually met while consulting on the same project, worked together really well, and our names, "Waters" and "Sands", gave us a good name: Seashore Software, which we thought was too cool to pass up.) I've never done a side business, though. Never had a job as contractor or employee that really left me enough time for a side business. At least, not since I was old enough to have market

  • I answered "Zero" because the companies I've started were called "Radio Zero" and "Zero Mass Media".

  • I left a PhD program 5 years ago to start a business developing CRM systems for small-medium businesses. That was a huge failure, mostly because at the time I didn't know how to sell to clients (not to mention this little thing called a recession). I started my second business the next year specializing in Drupal development for designers and agencies. The first 2 years were tough because I was a noob in an industry overrun by noobs. I mostly did small projects, lots of free non-profit work, the kind of stu
  • First business (independent ISP in 1996) didn't go so well, but cashed out for what I put in. Later on it failed and some people lost money.
    Second business (Internet Consulting) also didn't go so well, belly up in 1998
    Third business sold for $10M in 2006.
    Starting fourth company now. Hope to sell it in 3 to 4 years, once the viability of the business plan is proven.

    If you have an idea, DO IT!!! Manage your risk exposure appropriately, but really - you can always start small. Just DO IT.

"Don't talk to me about disclaimers! I invented disclaimers!" -- The Censored Hacker


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