I'm Thinking about Starting a Small Business, and I Need Your Help

Jim_in_PA

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Stuff that has to be considered:

* Insurance
* Accounting
* Legal Organization, ie LLC or S-Corp (yes you can be a sole proprietor, but it's risky and has less tax benefits since changes to the tax code a few years ago)
* Funding to provide enough income to live on for a period of time until you have cash flow that doesn't have to go directly back into the business
* Local demand for the products/services you intend to provide
* Local competition

Etc.
 

nickmsmith

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Seems more like a side gig more than a full business opportunity, unless there is huge demand for your services, and you live in a major metro area. A lot of others who do this, supplement by selling guitars, too.

Really tough to make that a livable wage business unless you have a great reputation and a client list that gives you regular work.

But nothing is stopping you from going into it! At worst, it could be a nice way to make extra money with little overhead.

You just have to have a lot of work to make it go as a full business, since the income per job isn’t huge.
 

bottlenecker

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I listen to a podcast called Luthier On Luthier, where the host interviews luthiers. Usually you get some version of their life story. I listen more for the talk about life decisions, and how they manage their time, which there's a lot of. I think I like listening to luthiers talk because I can relate to them and what they do, but it's not my actual job.
Most of them build, but they talk a lot about the importance of repair work.
 

Boreas

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I have watched dozens of Mr. Woodford's videos, and with his skills and knowledge, one would think he would be partying with the stars and driving Bentley's. But this video which addresses some of the issues he deals with in order to be independent, is eye-opening for many. It is work, work, work just to keep your nose above the water. Do something you love for the love of doing it. Don't expect to profit by it or everyone would be doing it.
 

Flat6Driver

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I'm going to send you a PM of a local guy that has built up such a business over the past 8 years or so. He started buying junk guitars off Craigslist and fixing them up to sell for his kids band. Moved on to doing work for many musicians in the area. I'm sure if you paid him a little for his time he'd talk you through his career arc as you're not in the same market.
 

telleutelleme

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What kind of business? I do think people underestimate the behind the scenes workload and pressures of ownership. Btw 🍻 Astros!
Data processing company supporting the O&G industry. Maximum 50 employees, office in Houston and the UK. Started with an idea and 3 people. Most stressful and scary part of my life. 7 days a week working. Proud of my accomplishments, but way too hard on my family. Glad when it was over.
 

effzee

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TL;DR: I'm thinking about starting a guitar repair buisness. What HELPFUL advise can you give me?
The TD;LR goes at the top of the message, so ppl don't have to read the whole thing to get the gist 😇

I don't have any specific tips except that turning a hobby into a business often fails specifically because the person continues to approach it as a hobby. They want to have the same fun they had before, but think money will magically follow them around. They'll waste their minimal resources on materials that are not critical to the running of the business. Don't start out by investing in expensive workshop equipment. Every single dime you spend should have a solid business reason behind it.

Once you're firmly established and your income is steady, customer base growing, you can reinvest your profits into your business.

Learn basic bookkeeping 👍🏼
 

sax4blues

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Couple of concepts I've heard often on Shark Tank

- The sharks are first evaluating the presenter as a business person, then the product. The thought being a good business person is a good business person regardless of product. Are you a good business person?

- The sharks really don't like someone who is running from something, ie; I don't like my job/boss/etc... I believe this is because having your own business is way more difficult than going to work, slaving for 8 hours, then coming home. Possibly the most sucessful person will be one who is fine with their job, but wants to move toward the increased work of business owner.
 

beyer160

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I've been around small businesses my entire life, and the thing that gets most small businesses in trouble is not understanding that operating a business requires a completely different set of skills from whatever it is your business does. Being a business owner means doing a lot of paperwork, even if you pay people to handle most of it.
 

Linderflomann

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I don't really see the point of starting a business that is essentially just going to be another job. A business you start should involve taking on risk but having a potential upside, like the potential for massive growth and retiring early, or at the very least massively outearning your regular job.

This just sounds like you'll be doing manual labor for a handful of customers while taking on the added responsibilities and stresses that come with trying to gain and maintain a clientele plus the administrative headaches that come with being a business owner.
 

Nightclub Dwight

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I haven't read all the responses yet, but I thought I'd chime in. There is a guy who advertises set ups on our local craigslist. I've seen his ads for a few years now. In the summer of 2021 I sold an Epi Casino, and the buyer mentions that he uses the guy from craigslist for set ups. I think he said its $50. The last time I saw his ad, I noticed that he had my old Casino featured (there is a distinctive mark on it.) I'm not sure if that helps, but it seems this guy is making a go of it through this form of advertising.
 

Fretting out

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Having been self employed in the past, my best advice is to create a realistic business plan;
Stick to the business plan;
Advertise (x10);
Have a sufficient line of credit.
I can tell you our business failed because we kept changing our business plan, quit advertising, and did not have the funding to follow through with our plan.
What they don't tell you is that is costs as much to go out of business as it does to start one.
Not trying to scare you, but there is more to consider than renting space & putting an OPEN sign in the window.
I would also give serious consideration to a business or accounting class at your local community college.
Best wishes to you and I truly wish for your success.
On the cost of opening Especially a niche business like guitar repair is going to hurt

I’d realistically expect to be in the negative for a year or more

If the op can handle that more power to him and I hope he can do what he really wants
 

loudboy

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In NY, there's a state program where retired executives coach people who are starting new businesses.

They are usually numbers guys, and will insist you have a solid business plan, and do extensive market research before you even consider opening up. If the numbers don't work, you're just going to slowly go out of business.

I was forced to open a business doing VO recording at 55, when the company I worked for was acquired and then shuttered.

Fortunately, overhead was low, I had a good roster of clients who were with me from Day One, and some great talent. I had a decent run, made enough $ to get me to retirement, and then sold it off to my assistant, who is still going with it.
 

Skyhook

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1. How do I asses if my local market needs another guitar tech (I live in a college town with only one music shop)?
I'll reply to the only one I can be HELPFUL with. ;)

That guy will of course not want more competition so it's not like he's gonna give you his books to
look through. However... you can get the lay of the land pretty well by booking a job with him.
Put up some guitar there for a setup or a pickup replacement or somesuch.

If he says it'll be done by this afternoon or tomorrow, then he's probably not swamped, which in turn
means that you'll be getting half of that slow business at best(you haven't made a brand for yourself yet).

On the other hand, if that setup/pup-swap job will take a couple of weeks for him to get done.
Then he might be swamped and you could easily catch his overflow.... or... he might be slow otherwise
in which case you can provide a faster option for would be customers(make sure that's in your ads).
 

Trenchant63

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All work brings some level of stress, just different types. Running your own business brings with it the fact that you never really ‘leave work’ unlike a corporate gig because you are accountable for customer sat, employee issues (a big one today) and payroll, balancing selling along with ensuring you can deliver and getting paid timely, expanding the business and marketing, and all of the related planning to that. Some folks really thrive in that, others struggle with that responsibility. Good luck OP and wish you success.
 

deepintheblues

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No business advice but I can relate to the panic attacks. I had my meltdown on the 22nd October 2020, with over 20 years of policing it had been a long time coming.

So after the therapy, the anti-depressants and a change in mindset I’m not all better just better than I was. The point of my little story is - just keep going - wether the business works out or not. One foot in front of the other. Good Luck.
 

Frontman

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When I was young I never thought I could get a good job or make good money, and never believed I could own a business. But I was lucky enough to meet and work for a successful, self-made man who rose from alcoholism and homelessness to millions.

I really hated this guy for paying me little, but loading me down with unwanted criticism and advice. He always made it sound like making money wasn’t that hard, and if I couldn’t do it for myself, I must be lazy and/or dumb. (He was right.)

He had a home on the beach, a home in the city, a home on the lake in the countryside, and even a home in Hawaii. He rarely “spent” money, because for him money was more important as a tool than something to buy toys.

In those days I lived in a horse trailer on one of his properties, doing menial work like painting fences, cleaning boats, and driving him around.

Today, 30 years later, I am no worse off than he was. Our home in Hawaii is nicer than his, and our beach home is much nicer.

But it took time, patience, and persistence. Nowadays I think much the same he did, and can see opportunities everywhere I look, things which were invisible to me back then.

If you put your mind and body behind a good idea, you can take it very far. A “good” idea doesn’t have to be a new idea, you can easily do something lots of other people are already doing, you just have to try and do it better.

Before you start a business, think honestly about how many hours you have in a day, and how much money you have to make in those hours to pay your overhead and support your family.

How much exactly does a particular guitar repair cost? How many can you do in a day? How many people live in your area who need their guitars fixed? And if you have to count on people outside your area to give you enough business to make it all work, how do they find you?

My business is online retail, which I started on eBay many years ago, then spread to other platforms before I set up my own retail site. I linked my eBay and other stores to social media accounts, and after germinating a few years, these began to grow and catch traffic. What is really funny is that instead of paying these places for advertising and exposure, they pay me.

Important points:

Be realistic. Do the math. If it doesn’t add up, come up with a better plan.

Don’t spend money if you can help it. Spend only on what you need, not on what you merely want. Remember that the idea of a business is to make money grow; buy low, sell high. Each dollar you spend frivolously loses many dollars that one dollar could have grown into.

Go to work every morning even if there is no work to do. If there is nothing on your bench, think of ways to put something on it. Beethoven didn’t sit on his backside waiting for inspiration to come to him, he sat down in front of his piano every morning at 8 o’clock and worked.

Be social, make friends, build a network. You would be surprised at how many doors this can open. These doors can lead to surprising places. Go to church, join the Rotary Club, or whatever, anywhere you can meet people.

“Stay hungry” as Steve Jobs liked to say. One thing leads to another, what you learn doing one thing well can be applied to other potentially more profitable things. Don’t get comfortable, if you aren’t growing, you are dying. If things start to feel easy, turn up the heat.

Be patient, and think of things from a perspective of value, and increasing that value. Your experience has value, your services have value, remember that money is nothing but a medium to exchange value. When you feel the itch to spend, don’t think about the dollar cost of what you want to buy, but the hours of work it would cost to earn those dollars.

Don’t think you need a lot of money to start. I began by selling something I bought at a flea market for $10 and auctioning it on eBay for $200. That original $10 has grown into millions.

“Profit” is not a dirty word. The positive returns you make on your labor and what you produce is value added to yourself and your community. But be generous, good deeds are rewarded with interest. “The bigger you give, the bigger you get.” If you learn something valuable, teach it to others.
 

1stpitch

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I haven't yet read all the replies, but the best advice I got was, go find a good attorney and a good accountant, and LISTEN to them both.

Also, don't start out without enough money in the bank to sustain yourself AND the business for at least a year.
 

Ted Keane

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I read most of this.Did you mention a shop where you will work out of?I have had a few businesses,and it's alot of work to work for yourself.Paperwork,phone calls,texts and emails all take alot of time away from the job.And a shop is needed for storage,work,ect.You can rent a climate controlled storage area,but it's more money.Good Luck.I say go for what you want.
 




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