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Businesses I’ve Tried and What I’ve Learned: Series Introduction

By: Steve Johnson

9/8/2008 - 43 Comments

I am convinced that the best path to wealth in America is to become a business owner, arguably defended by the fact that 80% of the wealthy are business owners.

This article is an introduction to a series of articles I will be writing this week about my experiences with new businesses. In my pursuit to become a business owner, I have started five different side-businesses over the past decade.  I have learned many things from each business.  My father taught me to go to college to get a good job as he had done, but soon after college I began to realize that I must pursue business.

If you have the opportunity, going to college is always a good idea, but globalization has forever changed the culture of employment. No longer can you rely on working for the same employer for 30 years until retirement.  Globalization has changed a lot of things, including how businesses compete with lower labor costs, which has eroded employment loyalty.  I’m not complaining, just stating the facts. The fact is that it will be increasingly difficult to remain employed in an ever changing world of economic uncertainty.

Financial Freedom is the Goal

My goal has never been to get a good job, but to obtain financial freedom – in which getting a good job has been a big part of my success. Financial freedom is the position where my expenses have been reduced to the point where my income from my business (which includes investments) is sufficient to live on without having to rely on a job.  My goal is to become self-employed. Some may think that this is an easy road, but without inheriting a family business or coming from a family of wealth, I would like to disagree.

Getting a good job has kept me from poverty, but it is not likely to lead to financial freedom.  The wealthy send their kids to college AND teach them how to start a business.  The truth is that as hard as it is to start a business, it’s just as hard and sometimes harder to climb the corporate ladder which is littered with difficult people competing for personal and political gains at every turn. 

Jobs Have Many Advantages

At the same time, working for someone else has many advantages, most importantly--leaving at the end of the day and enjoying life with your family. A good strategy is to first go to college, second work for someone and get out of debt, and third start a business with money that you can afford to lose. More than likely, the business will fail. But, don’t stop there, start another one and another one after that until you find an emerging market that will financially support your business.

Starting a business takes a lot of work, patience, money and an uncommon amount of ambition.  Most people only succeed after failing several times. This series of articles is about the many businesses that I’ve tried, failed at and what I’ve learn from each experience.  The trick is to find leverage as I have wrote about in the article; Leverage Is Everything.

In this series of articles, I’m going to describe several businesses that I’ve started and what I’ve learned. Here are the titles of each article.

Keep in mind, I was working full time for my employer while each of these businesses was created as a side-business, and I will likely remain employed until my business income becomes much larger than my job income or my job is eliminated for one reason or another.

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