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nakomi
New Recruit
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Does anybody on TWW have entrepreneural experience? Any resources (in Raleigh?) or anything you wish you knew about starting off? kinda overwhelmed ATM, I've found a lot of contradicting advice and can't seem to get started

[Edited on February 8, 2020 at 7:30 PM. Reason : lol]

2/8/2020 7:28:39 PM

synapse
play so hard
59560 Posts
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I realize this thread is about starting your own business....which I do not dispute. Hear me out, maybe I can offer some insight.

I am in outside sales, which is currently salary+commission, but will move into straight commission starting at the beginning of July 2010. I have been in this position since July 2009. I have competition from several direct manufacturing sales reps, large distributors, and local distributors. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Direct Advantages: Immediate knowledge of new technology, no middle man mark up, one shipping bill (paid by manufacturer or buyer of goods), access to larger range of non-commodity items, control inventory, have access to many distributors that can effectively sell their goods which increases market share, and set prices of commodity they manufacture.

Direct disadvantages: Typically have 1-3 sales reps per region (i.e. southeast, mid-atlantic, northeast, etc.) limiting the number of accounts they can successfully manage/cold-call, lack physical customer service or physical technical service available to or affordable for smaller users or altogether, are sometimes not trustworthy because they will go in behind their distributors that sell their commodity to one account in large quantities (i.e. they missed a big account, and have found out about it through a distributor selling their particular product) which leads to the distributor not selling their product anymore, have too many distributors selling the product ultimately driving the set price down through deviations, possibly rely on distributors to actually sell the product, and competition from other direct sources.

Large distributor advantages: have access to other commodities that go hand in hand with other manufacturers (poor example- grocery stores sell milk as well as cereal), get direct pricing, many locations regionally or nationally easing the shipping burden of buyers with multiple locations, personal service either customer or technical, many sales reps that are able to cover a broader territory, access to multiple manufacturers of the same commodity allowing to keep prices in check, service programs that smaller companies can't offer and direct providers can't match in price or value, and experts of many many commodities as opposed to one or a few.

Large distributor disadvantages: smaller local distributors creating price wars (think Michael Scott Paper Co vs Dunder-Mifflin), direct mfg's going in behind and stealing business, limited access to all of the mfg's (you won't find Harris Teeter name brands in Food Lion and visa versa), can't truly set prices because it's based on both supply and demand, territory management, and tough growth prospects in slower economies (this is true for direct as well really)

Local distributor advantages: Typically a good ol' boy setting where the seller and the buyer know each other for years (this does happen at all levels, but mostly at the local level), local folks are right down the street and can be used in emergencies, if the local guy buys at high enough volumes then there is no shipping charge to the end user, and access to both direct mfg's and large distributors.

Local distributor disadvantages: easily beaten in price, array of commodities, array of technology, lack of trained staff, low cash flow, etc etc etc.

This is what I have noticed in my six months, I am sure there are plenty more that need mentioning. The way I am setting myself apart as a sales person is this: I go after the big accounts right now while I am new. The big accounts, if I land them, will take care of me while I am new and building a customer base. The money made off of those allows me to focus free time on smaller accounts that get me higher margins. I build up big accounts, I would like to have 5-10 of these, then get 20-30 medium accounts. If I lose 1 or 2 big accounts, the 20-30 medium accounts keep me afloat while I go after new big accounts. I don't really waste time on small accounts simply because they basically pay for breakfast or something really small.

I will say this, if you can't get a big account in the first 6-8 months (assuming you have cash flow that you can ride this long) you could be in a world of trouble. If you can get one, it will really make going after the others a lot more enjoyable and less stressful. It's simply just very exhausting wasting any time on anything other than big accounts in the very beginning. You work just as hard on the medium sized accounts and see 1/3 to 1/36 of the money in my situation.

If you have any other questions, you can PM me. I hope this helps in the slightest!

2/8/2020 8:28:22 PM

NCSUStinger
Burn It All Down
61418 Posts
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Say goodbye to you social life, family, anything outside of work etc.

But don't worry, it will all work out, or it won't.

You will probably be very rich or homeless soon.

Good luck!


Seriously though don't be afraid to get help anywhere you can, it's a lot of work for very little payoff for awhile, but it can be very rewarding.

Talk to others who have done it, most will tell you the mistakes they made early on. ( Do not pay money for advice, those people didn't make money from a business, they made money giving advice, and then they upsell the next " lesson")

And of the ship starts to sink badly, bail, don't let every part of your life sink with it.

2/9/2020 12:41:37 PM

A Tanzarian
drip drip boom
10313 Posts
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Quote :
"And of the ship starts to sink badly, bail, don't let every part of your life sink with it."


Have an exit plan/criteria before you start.

2/10/2020 4:36:44 PM

horosho
All American
1867 Posts
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I created LLC to manage all of my side hustles under. My philosophy is to pursue things that I'm interested in that way its, at worst, an expensive hobby. I love travel and live in a tourist hotspot so I focus everything around that. Leverages my knowledge with my interest while making money at my own time. I wan to go into the hotel/hostel business when i retire so this is all good experience towards that.

Turo: This is probably my best side hustle in terms of short-term profit. All star host and getting ready to add a 3rd luxury vehicle. They get rented out every weekend and about 2 weekdays per week. Gotta buy unique/high demand cars at a sweetspot, get insurance, and place them in hotspots. The only work is maintaining the cars and keeping them clean/taking pictures. Its mostly automated/remote with turogo. Once I get to 4k/month for the whole business, I can access real capitol and get a fleet of self driving teslas. By then, they should be fully automated which will revolutionize the industry.

Airbnb: Its supersaturated. Everything is either booked or vacant. I struggled to break even for a while but maintained perfect reviews. After regulations kicked in, decided to just rent the place out to someone i trust for 60% market rate. Still breaking even.

Vending: My next venture is putting vending machines up in hotels and transit centers with travel items. Just an idea right now in research phase but I think it could be great if I get it going. They make smart vending machines now where you can track sales and inventory online. They can also be rented.

2/10/2020 10:57:13 PM

wdprice3
BinaryBuffonary
45829 Posts
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^needs to be longer if you want that to be meme-worthy.

2/11/2020 10:28:42 AM

Walter
All American
6412 Posts
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I started a sex toy rental app/business, similar to the Lime/Bird scooter and bike rental model. I currently have an inventory of around three dozen dildos, pocket pussies, and inflatable sex toys (girl, man, sheep, etc.). The model is pretty straightforward...each piece of inventory has a built-in GPS and computer unit. I place the various dildos/pocket pussies/blow-up dolls around town in public areas such as bus stops, parks, near museums (you get the idea) and people can use my proprietary app to rent each device in 30-minute increments. When finished, you simply leave the item at designated pick-up locations where my team will collect the item, inspect it, and sometimes clean it depending on how dirty it is. We then place it back out for rental.

Each item has been personally tested by myself, and is proven as such by a “Walter Seal of Approval” scratch-n-sniff sticker located on the item. Do not trust any knock-off competitors. If it does not have the sticker, it’s not the real deal.

[Edited on March 18, 2020 at 12:47 PM. Reason : .]

3/18/2020 12:40:14 PM

ncsuallday
Sink the Flagship
9794 Posts
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I started a consulting firm with a friend that ended up being pretty successful. There are a ton of advantages to having an LLC alone.

3/19/2020 4:00:17 PM

horosho
All American
1867 Posts
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What would you say has been the biggest LLC advantage you've experienced?

3/19/2020 4:32:39 PM

ncsuallday
Sink the Flagship
9794 Posts
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It'll vary by business and your own interests, but tax write-offs and being able to expense things like equipment. So, hypothetically, if you were an analytics and digital media consulting firm, you might be able to justify the need for a state of the art computer. It may also be that the machine in question is also able to run the most demanding video games on the market at max settings. Neat coincidence. You can also expense meals and entertainment as long as there's a business rationale, so maybe you take a prospective client to a Canes game, or to a meal at a steakhouse, etc.

Certainly have friends that are able to get vehicles and other stuff like that completely written off. It just really depends on what you do, how your company is doing, and the things that you like.

3/19/2020 5:20:57 PM

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