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Old 8th July 2011, 03:46 AM   #1
Earthdome
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Default Start Business Or Go To School ?

Hello, I am having a tough time deciding if I should try and start a business screen printing or if I should go to school for something that will bring in the money and build my business up on the side.

Right now I have a disability, and I am being offered help in paying for schooling or starting a business. The way they help with the business is they do a feasibility study to see if the business is feasible, but they fallow through with the whole process, and hire whoever needed to help succeed through marketing etc, (to the extent of 31 months!), but you don't get help with funding until the plan is approved.

A little history about me, I have been struggling to find work a little because of my disability, but also have a felony (acquired about 6 years ago) that has pus a serious damper on being able to get jobs.

The field I have been in (call center/sales/bill collector)I can't find jobs in because of the felony now. And the factory jobs around I really dont have a lot of experience to excel in (at least not rappidly)

As it sits, I have
4 Color 4 Station Atlas table top press, Flash dryer
one heat presses, one hat press
Home made UV exposure unit.
Graphtec CE-3000-60 (24"
Illustrator/Photoshop,Fast rip,
Also like 150 mixed size black shirts
And over 200 different kinds of hats.
Ton of different inks, squeegee's
screen storage racks, pressure washer,makeshift washout booth.
all in a full basement.

*Not to mention Access to my aunt's embroidery shop (ten miles away) that is well
established, and she does sublimation also, industrial sewing etc.

I have a strong sales and customer service background, and my mom is an accountant so she could help me run the business side of things.

Right now, my struggle is should I fallow my heart and passion and try the business thing? I understand it's a lot of work, but think it might be worth it. Also I think schooling might be the better choice because I would have something to always fall back on. I am just so undecided as to what to go to school for, hvac? auto mechanic? graphic design? ... Scared to do a field I have no experience in (hvac or auto) but think I may be interested enough to stick with it.

Just looking for opinions, any one screen printing wish they never got into the business, or know of a better way to make money in the business or think I should start something else ? Or should I go back to school and save my screen printing for the side, even though I am unsure what field would suit me well, and given my felony status.

Any input greatly appreciated.

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Old 8th July 2011, 12:44 PM   #2
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Go to school!

Why? Because there is plenty of time to start a business. You can start a business any time, but the more knowledge you have, the more likely will be your business success. Haven't you noticed that so many super-successful business started recently in a Harvard dorm room, or Stanford, etc? - Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Google....

Could you turn a screen printing business into a multi-mllion dollar business? Probably, but I don't know of any that are that big.

Go to school. School isn't about what you learn there - it's about learning to learn. So that throughout life you will know how to be a learner. The future will be won by those who can learn new things as the world changes.

Gone are the days of learning a career or starting a business that will last you until you retire. Today's students will have 3, 4 or more careers or businesses in their lifetimes. You are going to need to be a good , fast learner and now is a good time to learn that skill.

Go to school!

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Old 8th July 2011, 04:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Spider View Post
Go to school!

Why? Because there is plenty of time to start a business. You can start a business any time, but the more knowledge you have, the more likely will be your business success. Haven't you noticed that so many super-successful business started recently in a Harvard dorm room, or Stanford, etc? - Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Google....

Could you turn a screen printing business into a multi-mllion dollar business? Probably, but I don't know of any that are that big.

Go to school. School isn't about what you learn there - it's about learning to learn. So that throughout life you will know how to be a learner. The future will be won by those who can learn new things as the world changes.

Gone are the days of learning a career or starting a business that will last you until you retire. Today's students will have 3, 4 or more careers or businesses in their lifetimes. You are going to need to be a good , fast learner and now is a good time to learn that skill.

Go to school!
Thanks a lot for your input Spider. As painful as it is ... I think you're right. It's just been so hard for me to decide what to go to school for.

The hvac trade appears to not be the greatest right now, and have been informed it is rough work with minimal pay , and also seasonal so I wouldn't know when I would have work. Plus I am not sure I am willing to invest two years of my life into something I am not experienced in and not sure I even want to do, or if I want to compete with more experienced "non felons".

The best thing I can see right now for a felon is maybe cnc machinist, or welding. These would both be diploma (not degree) programs, but think they would get me working the quickest, and there is an aggressive market for both, especially for cnc's in my area. I guess I could do either, likely the cnc.

But at the same time I don't want to sell myself short, and would like to complete a degree, and also utilize the free schooling that is being offered to me.

I am very attracted to the Graphic communication course, they deal a lot with illustrator, in design, and dreamweaver.. also digital photography, and about half the classes I would really like. But the other half is general's or unrelated stuff, and the outlook for employment is pretty grim as the field is saturated and the pay sucks if I was even lucky enough to land a design job being a felon, unless I did freelance work.

Thanks again, any further suggestions greatly appreciated.

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Old 8th July 2011, 07:36 PM   #4
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Given your circumstances, I would start the business.

Not that I don't value learning. And there are definitely a lot of tasks that require very specific studies (I would like to believe my doctor studied hard).

But unless you have a very specific goal, like becoming a doctor, or setting yourself up for a corporate ladder that requires a degree, I don't believe you will learn as much as you would with the equivalent real-world business experience.

I have no knowledge of legal troubles, but I doubt that a degree would outweigh your record if you were attempting to climb the corporate ladder.

Having to prove the business viability to get the financing will force you to do a thorough business plan. The real value of the plan, aside from the investors wanting it, is to force yourself to ask all of the tough questions, and force yourself to research all of the answers. No college course can prepare you for business better than that.

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Old 8th July 2011, 10:29 PM   #5
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First thing - what's your name? I don't like wasting time on a blank space. I shall call you Earl because that uses the first three letters of your username. You are a person and I want to treat you as such. Help me, here.

Second thing - stop identifying yourself as a felon. You have used that word to describe yourself six times in two posts. Are you proud of it, or something? You will be what you believe yourself to be. If you keep calling yourself a felon, I can guarantee you will eventually go back to that way of life. Is that where you want your life to lead? If you don't care, then it doesn't matter whether you go to school or go into business, because eventually you will go to jail! In this conversation, Earl, I don't want to hear that word again - okay?

Okay - back to the topic. Going to school. It doesn't matter what you study, Earl, study something. It is the studying that matters - learning to learn. Listening. Absorbing. Soaking up information. Thinking problems through, using logic, arriving at conclusions. Of course, it would be good to learn something that you can use later but what you will use most is the ability to learn. The world is changing so rapidly now what you will be working on the future hasn't been invented yet, so all you can do right now is prepare yourself to learn new stuff when it turns up.

Also, I want you to stop selling yourself short. I am hearing throughout your posts, "I am not good enough." Why on earth would you consider diploma courses when degree courses appear to be available to you? If you are mechanically inclined then go for something green - green technology, invironmentally-conscious engineering will be big in the future. Maybe HVAC will be a good path to that. If you are artistic, the graphics course sounds like a good choice, if it is at degree level. Believe me, they don't just stick unrelated crap into degree courses just to make up time - the half you think you won't like is likely to be the stuff that will be of most use to you in the future.

Actually, I can relate to this - because I was good at art, when I was at middle school. My art teacher wanted me to go to art college. My mother - smart cookie, my Mom! - said there's no money it, go to building college and use your artistic talent to become an architect. I went to building college and learned architecture, but I discovered something there - I was good at math. Never liked math before but suddenly the mathematics of building construction made sense and I became a cost engineer. Which led me to a fantastically successful career - in plumbing! See how things can shift. I learned to learn - and that is what you must do.

I hope that has given you something to ponder.

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Old 9th July 2011, 12:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider View Post
First thing - what's your name? I don't like wasting time on a blank space. I shall call you Earl because that uses the first three letters of your username. You are a person and I want to treat you as such. Help me, here.
My name is Mario Frederick, hehe... not Earl, you just like saying Earl I suspect.

Anyways nice to meet you Frederick .. and I sincerely appreciate your input.

[quote=Second thing - stop identifying yourself as a felon. You have used that word to describe yourself six times in two posts. Are you proud of it, or something? You will be what you believe yourself to be. If you keep calling yourself a felon, I can guarantee you will eventually go back to that way of life. Is that where you want your life to lead? If you don't care, then it doesn't matter whether you go to school or go into business, because eventually you will go to jail! In this conversation, Earl, I don't want to hear that word again - okay?[/QUOTE]

To be 100% honest I copy and pasted a few details from another forum.(shows how desperate I am to be sure I do the right thing) (and I am running out of time).... but that is why it may be a little redundant,

And NO I am NOT proud of my status, and I do care! Was a stupid weed charge from 6 years ago.... I would love to forget about it if it wasn't directly affecting my livelihood.

I HAVE TO seriously take my "status" into consideration! Unless you have lived it, you have no idea how hard it is to land a decent job (with the recent work experience I have) and in this economy.

You're right, I don't want to dwell on it..., but I would be making good money right now if it was not for that. The jobs I do get offered are Temp factory jobs that I end up losing because of lack of experience or because my hand is seen as a liability (the reason I left factory jobs in the first place) (crushed hand by punch press)

[quote=Okay - back to the topic. Going to school. It doesn't matter what you study, Earl, study something. It is the studying that matters - learning to learn. Listening. Absorbing. Soaking up information. Thinking problems through, using logic, arriving at conclusions. Of course, it would be good to learn something that you can use later but what you will use most is the ability to learn. The world is changing so rapidly now what you will be working on the future hasn't been invented yet, so all you can do right now is prepare yourself to learn new stuff when it turns up.[/QUOTE]

Of course it matters what I study... don't I want to get up every day to something I enjoy? and am passionate about ? This quote makes me want to got to school for graphic design. May have a chance at a decent freelance income plus learning something I like that applies directly to what I want to do (screen printing) But know that field is saturated and not sure if I can sustain myself financially through it all... or if not something I want to do then not sure if I could make it through 2 years at all.

[quote=Also, I want you to stop selling yourself short. I am hearing throughout your posts, "I am not good enough." Why on earth would you consider diploma courses when degree courses appear to be available to you? If you are mechanically inclined then go for something green - green technology, invironmentally-conscious engineering will be big in the future. Maybe HVAC will be a good path to that. If you are artistic, the graphics course sounds like a good choice, if it is at degree level. Believe me, they don't just stick unrelated crap into degree courses just to make up time - the half you think you won't like is likely to be the stuff that will be of most use to you in the future. [/QUOTE]

I never implied that i'm "not good enugh" just know if a field (like HVAC) it seems they want people who have more on the job experience, or at least a technical background. (I am technically inclined) just havn't had a whole lot of construction, (or related experience). However, I do feel I am tech savvy and good at troubleshooting.

I considered the diploma courses because I need to get something that is going to get me to work right away, and not sure I could sustain myself financially or keep with it if it's not something that interests me.

As far as a graphics course most tell me the field it tough right now... I know I could do freelance, but as far as getting a job in Graphics... I don't mind if I was the low man on the totem pole, at least i'd be doing something I like.

[quote=Actually, I can relate to this - because I was good at art, when I was at middle school. My art teacher wanted me to go to art college. My mother - smart cookie, my Mom! - said there's no money it, go to building college and use your artistic talent to become an architect. I went to building college and learned architecture, but I discovered something there - I was good at math. Never liked math before but suddenly the mathematics of building construction made sense and I became a cost engineer. Which led me to a fantastically successful career - in plumbing! See how things can shift. I learned to learn - and that is what you must do.[/QUOTE]

See, my Mom, is the one telling me "you just need to get to work"! Which is true. I mean maybe I am just looking at this for the fact that I want to take advantage of whats "free", or what is being offered to me. Perhaps I could go out and get a decent job if I was willing to travel more and be more persistent about it, and not dwelling on the negatives so much. But right now I think it would be wise for me to accept one or the other, for the sake of me and more importantly my SON and his future.

I like what you said about "Learn to learn" , because who knows I could like HVAC or whatever? But I do feel quite limited.. I mean, I can't consider half the fields out there strictly because of my "status" . I like tinkering on cars and think I might be hireable in that field, but is it really what I want to do? Have car dealers treating me like crap ? Plus I feel I would be starting too late in the game, I mean .. I don't have a 10k tool set, and I havn't grown up working on cars. But I need to look at work that is most available.... and will provide income regardless. I am trying to not go into this blind, I have talked to mechanics, and HVAC people.... I just want to be certain!

And how can you be sure getting $ to help start a business (of which I have 80% accomplished on my own) wouldn't be a better way to go ? I think it could be successful (if well thought out) ,and if they help every step of the way. I don't know, I think having something to fall back on is probably safer.



[quote=I hope that has given you something to ponder.[/QUOTE]

Yes, and than you Frederick you have given me much to think about...

Thank you very much, much appreciated !!

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Old 9th July 2011, 12:29 AM   #7
Earthdome
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Originally Posted by jgbreeden View Post
Given your circumstances, I would start the business.

Not that I don't value learning. And there are definitely a lot of tasks that require very specific studies (I would like to believe my doctor studied hard).

But unless you have a very specific goal, like becoming a doctor, or setting yourself up for a corporate ladder that requires a degree, I don't believe you will learn as much as you would with the equivalent real-world business experience.

I have no knowledge of legal troubles, but I doubt that a degree would outweigh your record if you were attempting to climb the corporate ladder.

Having to prove the business viability to get the financing will force you to do a thorough business plan. The real value of the plan, aside from the investors wanting it, is to force yourself to ask all of the tough questions, and force yourself to research all of the answers. No college course can prepare you for business better than that.
You know, that a good way to look at it. I am reading into this one. I think I just came to the realization of how I want the outcome of this to be.

Go back to School, why ? When I can always go back to school ! Why not live out my dream and go at it full force without looking back. I have been studying and researching this business and collecting equipment for more than 10 years now. I think it's time it paid off !

And since WHEN is a person given the opportunity to get all this help and guidance through the whole process ! I mean they will pay for me to go to a specific class training for specifically "Screen Printing".

They can help up to and over $25,000 in assistance (pending approval)
They go through a rigorous feasibility study ( to determine profitability) , but also pay for any mentoring, training, business study or basically whatever services I need to acquire to accomplish my goal. All the while they will be making sure all the bills are paid, rent is paid, all I have to do is network, continue learning what I love to do, and I will have to NOT let ANYTHING get in my way of being successful. I already have a plan in place that would make my shop unique and attractive in comparison to the competition.

Shoot, I don't know what I've been thinking !?, I think the answer has been staring me in the face the whole time ! All my ducks are in a row, I have 10+ years marketing and sales experience, 10+ years of research into this business, I have a friend who can build me a kick a$$ website, my aunt owns an embroidery shop so I can instantly start taking the work she's been farming out to another screen printer. AND assistance in paying for everything!? Shoot I can even get a business adviser to MAKE SURE the business DOES NOT FAIL! , Plus who doesn't need a t-shirt ? I think I have been looking at this all the wrong way!

How can I even compare this to the (chance) that I will be walking the streets with a sign looking for work, OR laid off for some stupid a$$ reason, OR not able to get a job once out of school, OR not even making it through school, OR worrying that with my felony I might not get hired, OR realizing 6 months down the road I went to school for the wrong thing, or worrying about my boss(es) looking over my shoulder, or that someone will see my injured hand as a liability (this is how I lost my last 2 very good career potential jobs), OR the fact that there is likely a very small percentage of people who graduate who actually get jobs. I could probably go on and on. How am I going to sustain myself through 2 years of school ?? (building this business plan at least I will also be able to work and not drug down by homework all the time.

I think it's a "no brainer" .... I mean I am being given the chance of a lifetime to succeed and even if I don't .. who says that federal student loan won't be still waiting there for me ?? I think I need to make this my baby, sell the farm, and shoot for the moon.... even if I miss I will still land in the stars!
I will then also have something to pass onto my son and he can even help learn it with me... just the thought of that makes me so happy. And to be able to show all the people who have doubts in me, and all the unseen efforts and time I put into this will finally come to light !


Last edited by Earthdome; 9th July 2011 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 9th July 2011, 10:02 AM   #8
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Good! The best of luck to you.

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Old 9th July 2011, 01:37 PM   #9
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Hi Mario,

I was reading through this thread and was very encouraged to read your last post. Like you said...it seems like you've been building towards this new business venture and you've got so many assets in place...it almost seems like a no brainer.

However, I also recommend looking at both sides of the coin. I've been working on figuring out how to get my business started for a long time....and there is one heck of learning curve involved. It's a huge investment of time, energy, knowledge, and cash.

You've got that program there to help you, so you have a good support structure in that. But, also take some time to make sure you want to run a business.

I highly recommend reading E-Myth Revisited and E-Myth Mastery by Micheal Gerber. I'm not sure how much time you have before signing on the dotted line and make real commitments. But, if you got some time, you'll want to learn the proper mindset going in.

The major thing you'll learn in those 2 books is that whatever business you are starting...don't start the business to do the work of the business. You don't want to be running press machines, cleaning equipment, or even selling shirts. Those are things you want to hire or outsource.

You're job is to grow the business. Get involved in the creative part...coming up with design ideas, creating new products and services, etc. In the beginning you may have to a lot of stuff yourself, but make sure you have a plan to get people into those positions as quickly as possible (design, sales and marketing, etc). You want to use your experience in those areas to create business systems and to train other people on how to do them

Quote:
Plus who doesn't need a t-shirt ?
That's an error in logic :-). Yes, many people need and buy t-shirts...but when someone is in the market for a t-shirt...where do they go? Walmart, Kohls, JC Penny, plus tons of others. You said you have a unique shop idea and that is a step in the right direction. But, you also have to identify a market.

What about designing T-shirts for companies (the company I currently work for has a special t-shirt designed every year for all of their employees...for about 130 employees). Or, perhaps you could design t-shirts for special events....there are all kinds of events all over the country.

Also, don't limit yourself to just T-shirt designs or one type of T-shirt design. You mentioned an interest in photography. Create shirts with people's photos on them. Customize t-shirts with someone's name, nickname, or special phrase or saying that they like. Create a whole stream of possibilities and then work through ways to make it convenient and profitable.

More important, once you identify the target markets you'll go after, get them to tell you what kinds of products or services they want or need. Do some market research that defines exactly what people will buy and at what price. Then you can do your projections and business plan and determine if you can even make a profit...which you must do before you ever commit to starting the business.

From everything that you've said so far, I would say your business idea is the best thing you've got in front of you right now. Whatever you decide, make a commitment to see it through and always keep smart business people around you that can give you advice and guidance.

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Old 9th July 2011, 03:44 PM   #10
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Hi Mario....

I started reading these posts... and it was getting a little boring (sorry). By the way, you answered your own question in your post.

That is, you said:

Right now, my struggle is should I fallow my heart and passion and try the business thing?

Your passion... you will succeed.

School?? Yes... go to school and take programs that will help you succeed in business. That could be accounting (and save your Mom for cookies and muffins) or other related topics. You also claim to be good in sales/marketing or on the phone... so you're built for this.

Go into business... follow your passion. I always end my e-mail newsletters with 'Live, Love and Profit from your Passion... otherwise, it's just another job!'

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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