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From the Email Bag -- "Should I Go Into Business With a Wild Woman?"
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
March 8, 2012
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: My daughter has been asking me to go into an
online business with her, designing and selling tee shirts and other
clothing items. She’s a gifted artist, and would bring the design
skills and knowledge of the target customers, and I would bring the
day-to-day operational skills and “gray hair” to the
I’m a little nervous about getting involved, though. I love my
daughter and always will, but we are very different emotionally and the
way we look at the world. I’m more of a steady, linear,
“bean-counter” type, and she’s much more volatile and
impulsive and creative. I mean, basically she’s a wild woman. She
has more ups and downs in an hour than I have in a year. How do you
think we would do as a team? – Burt in Portland, Maine
Dear Burt: That’s a tough question. On one hand, you need lots of
creativity in a graphics-oriented clothing line, while a
steady-as-she-goes type comes in handy to tend to the bottom line,
complement the artistic partner and keep costs down. On the other hand,
bean counters and wild women don’t always make a good mix. And on
the third hand, would you and your daughter be working in close
quarters (a home office, for example), or would you have more oxygen
You might want to draw up a “dip a toe in the water” plan,
and say you’ll give it six or nine or 12 months to see how it
goes. (They say you never know someone until you share an inheritance
with them, but you can also substitute “business” for
“inheritance.”) Alternatively, you could offer to serve as
an informal advisor to your daughter and a non-family business partner,
and help her screen the partner, too.
Either way, we wish you luck!
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: My wife and I are retiring soon but our nest
egg won’t be nearly enough to meet our needs. We’re
thinking about launching a business based initially in a home office,
but we aren’t sure what would be best for us. Since we’re
on a budget, do you know where we could get some reliable advice for
free? – Patrick in Bloomington, Ind.
Dear Patrick: We’re great believers in Small Business Development
Centers (SBDCs). They’re usually attached to colleges and
universities, and offer business startup and growth advice for free or,
in the case of trainings, at a very low cost. They can help you with
everything from choosing a business to getting a loan to building your
customer base and beyond.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives, better known as SCORE, is
another convenient resource for small-business advice. Supported by the
Small Business Administration, SCORE also offers free and low-cost
guidance on launching and growing a small business.
Not all mentors have the same expertise, of course. Some come from
Fortune 500 management backgrounds, for example, while others are
entrepreneurs who have already sold a company or two. Some will
understand how to bootstrap a startup (grow it frugally from revenues
as opposed to outside funding) and leverage Facebook or Twitter, while
others will be adept at helping you meet substantial prospective
customers, allies or investors.
Before you go in for counseling, reflect on your business goals, too.
Do you and your spouse want to build a “lifestyle”
operation that will generate a modest monthly cash flow and not require
a heavy work load? Or are you aiming for more revenue and a sale of the
business in 7-10 years, to increase assets to leave your children or
grandchildren? These questions will also figure in to the type of
business you pursue.
For more on SBDCs, click here. For more on SCORE, go here.
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM