Starting a Blue Collar Business… Full-time

I know there’s  a lot of personal finance people out there, and so perhaps you guys have some thoughts and opinions. Yeah, I’m offering you that one thing that you rarely get in life — a chance to say what you think!

Here’s the dealiosky. I want to venture out and do my own thing. And what I mean is, I want to quit my job. I want to start my own business or something.

I have some financial backing (about $1K in a bank account). My wife and I have no debt except for our mortgage which should be paid off in 5 years.

This is the life!

It’s a big step that I really want to do on my own. I’m just so sick and tired of having to answer to the same people every day. I’ve talked about how I get asked to lie to clients all the time. And about 2 weeks ago my boss pulled me into his office and basically said that I wasn’t doing good enough at lying to the clients. (!) I don’t want to work that way. It gets old. I want to be my own boss. Any advice?

I have mangerial experience and merchandizing experience. I’ve got all sorts of construction experience, welding and carpentry. I would love to mow lawns and snow plow for the rest of my life. That would be awesome. I love working outside. But this isn’t the Simpsons where that can be a solid living (remember the Plow King episodes?), there’s not a ton of money in that. But I’m not looking for a ton of money.

With my merchandizing experience, maybe I could franchize a 7-11 or BP station or something. I have some connections in those worlds with an uncle of mine. He has a couple gas stations in the city, so I could get in contact with him and talk about it.

I’m just sick and tired of working for people. Especially people who want me to lie. I just fricken hate it. I don’t work well with other people unless I’m the boss (I bet I’m not the only one who feels that way). I hate people telling me what to say and how to act. I just want to be my own person!

Obviously I’m not happy in the job I’m in right now. It has its ups and downs, but now it’s been down a whole lot more.

Any thoughts or ideas on this?

My dream job for life!


Photo credit: Snow plow and lawn mowing.



Starting a Blue Collar Business… Full-time — 17 Comments

  1. That’s a great idea, TB. Congratulations on making the decision to become an entrepreneur. The best advice that I can offer is for you to check out an organization called SCORE. It caters to new entrepreneurs and has 1000s of retired executives whoa re available for free mentoring. Go to to find an office in your area.
    Anthony Thompson recently posted..Non-Profit Structure – Steps to Creating One Without All the HeadachesMy Profile

  2. TB — please don’t forget that even when you’re working for yourself, you’re working for your clients. You’re always going to have to answer to somebody, and not all clients are going to be cooperative, no matter how honest you are or how good of work you do.

  3. While I agree with Rob, I’ve been self employed nearly forever and would rather be honest with a client than work for a lying boss. No thanks.

    BP or 7-11 will ask for a minimum net worth. Much of the time, you have to have around $25k or more of capital to place into the biz for them to consider you. $1k reserve isn’t nearly enough, either. You’ll need to sink money into the biz and live off your savings for awhile. My brother had three years worth when he started his business and it still wasn’t enough.

    My best advice? Read a book called The E-Myth (Why Most Small Businesses Fail and What To Do About It). You’ll avoid some MONSTER problems with starting a business and instead be successful in a hurry. It’s my favorite business book, with one called The Goal a close second.

    I like Anthony’s advice about SCORE, although our local guys were a waste of time. Whenever I met with them they acted like I was an idiot. I’ve heard much better stories from others.
    AverageJoe recently posted..5 Summer Activities to Create Money Savvy Kids: High SchoolMy Profile

  4. My advice is to spend some time browsing the local classified websites and classified sections in the newspaper. Even look around at local community boards where small businesses are allowed to post a flyer. Get a feel for what services other people are offering and what areas you think you could excel most in. Then put some ads out there and see what happens. You’ll definitely want to create some business cards to generate return business. Ideally business gradually picks up enough that you can contract some work out to someone else or even hire some part time help. Eventually you might even want to modify this blog a bit so that it can rank well for local contractor related search terms. Then include a prominent section about hiring you.

    And don’t discount lawn mowing and snow plowing too much. Build up enough customers, especially some commercial ones, and you could do quite well.
    Modest Money recently posted..Automating Social Media MarketingMy Profile

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  6. Read this book:

    It chronicles 100s of businesses that people started with very little money. In many cases, for the exact same reasons you describe. It really is a good book and might give you the ideas and boost that you need! Good luck! Your work environment sounds toxic. I’d get out of there as soon as you can!
    Mike recently posted..I Woke Up to a Review of this SiteMy Profile

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  9. I do not want to have to work for others ll my life so I want to find a small side business that could turn into my primary income in a few years. I think I have settled on sealing driveways.

    With your experience and motivation you should be able to succeed at whatever you do.
    Poor Student recently posted..Yakezie Writing ContestMy Profile

  10. This is probably a good time to do it. Real estate is picking up across the nation, which means people are looking for renovation projects and, if your plan is to contract to developers, those guys are starting to build again.

    Here are the things I’m beginning to observe about my little business, which is finally starting to show signs of life:

    Networking is huge. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and show up at the meetings. We get almost all our business by word-of-mouth, with the exception of a couple of recent projects that came in thru’ the website.

    Website should be professionally designed and managed by someone who understands SEO.

    Check into the Small Business Administration. They have a LOT of useful stuff for start-ups and for small businesses that have been around for awhile.

    A$k and ye shall re¢eive. Don’t underprice yourself. Paradoxically, if you ask more it seems to persuade customers that you must be better. It’s weird.

    Talk to other guys who are doing something similar. One of the men in my business networking group had a renovation company that was quite successful for years — it went down the tubes when the recession-that-is-not-a-depression hit. He now has a handyman business. He’s built two sources of pretty lucrative business. One is a big condo complex for senior citizens, which itself is getting on in years and so the units need upgrades and repairs. His reputation has spread by word of mouth there, and they also let him put up a flyer on a bulletin board. The other is advertising in one of those neighborhood throw-away advertising flyers. He says ad space there is cheap, and it’s paid for itself many times over.

    If you decide to buy a franchise, get a lawyer! Be careful. Buying in to one of those chains is not a DIY operation.

    Somebody might want to clue your turkey boss that people who can afford to pay his invoices are usually smart enough to see through lies. The specific reason I selected the guy I did to install $5,000 worth of windows and doors was that, unlike his competition, he didn’t hand me a line of bull. One other guy lied outright; Home Depot tried to upsell me and in doing so did not exactly lie but certainly was misleading. You reap what you sow. 😉
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  12. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I have bookmarked yours, and I’ve enjoyed looking around. I totally relate to the desire to own a business. Recently I have gotten so tired of the working world, and I’m the one home with kids and my husband is the one who works. But we’re both getting older and some of our kids are getting very big, and I’m thinking about a family business on the horizon because I think it’s the only way to feel free and be financially independent. I am always thinking about gas stations as great businesses, although it’s probably not feasible for us – who knows, though – I’m only in the formative stages of thinking about it. If you have connections, you should explore that excellent possibility or something similar. Like you said, just about anything where YOU will be the boss, and not answering to one. I think it would be worth the financial instability and uncertainty, don’t you?

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