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Feedback on my plan please **Warning: Long Post **

encsteph

New Contributor
Nov 27, 2007
30
2
9
49
Southern New Jersey
Hello all,

Here is my plan to get out of the Rat Race. Please let me know what's missing, what should be added, what is total B.S. and/or anything else you feel might help me out.

A little background:

I’m 37 years old, an IT Professional who is currently in search of a new position due to being laid off on 10/19/07. I have a beautiful supportive wife and two really awesome kids.

My parents instilled in me the desire to own my own business for which I thank them (and curse them) daily! Over the years I have tried MLM, a web design business, a used bookstore business and a few other unmentionables. Unfortunately, each venture failed mostly due to a lack of capital, a lack of a cohesive plan or a lack of cojones on my part!

I am about $15,000 in CC/personal loan debt with about $0 in savings so I am starting from scratch. I am developing my plan now to achieve my freedom and the freedom of my family.

Since I don’t have any money to speak of to start investing in real estate or paper assets I have decided to start a business to help me pay off my debt, save some money and seed my REI and Stock companies. I have lots of experience in the IT field including but not limited to web design so I am going to start a business that has two main focuses:

  • Local IT Services – Network installation, hardware install and repair, software install and upgrade as well as database design, web design, web development and web hosting.
  • Affiliate Programs – I have a website that I started about 2 years ago just because I loved the topic and have had lots of experience in the area and decided to throw a couple of Adsense blocks on some of the pages just to see if it would eventually pay for the web hosting. I haven’t looked at the site in about a year but it’s steadily bringing in about $50 a month profit! So I have an idea about putting together some sites based on some of my other interests as well as some other topics that friends and family have interest in and run some Adsense and maybe some other affiliate programs on them and see what kind of income they produce.
If/when I find a “decent†full-time job I will probably have to take it financially but I will still continue to build my business even if it means curtailing the local IT services except for the web design aspect and concentrate most of my time in the affiliate arena.

My plan calls for spending the next 20ish months working the job and the business to pay off all the debt, pocket $15k emergency fund and build some seed money for my other two ventures. 20ish months because I have decided that I want my goals/milestones to fall on my birthday which is Sept. 19. So my first “major†goal is:

By September 19, 2009 through paying myself first and my online business I will have paid off all $15,000 of my personal debt, I will have $15,000 in a Money Market Account and I will have at least $10,000 for each of my other businesses.


Once I have achieved this goal I plan on completing the assembly of my team of advisors and starting two businesses: 1) A Real Estate Investment Company and 2) A Portfolio Investment and Management Company with the seed money. I will use these two companies to invest in real estate and paper assets to build my passive income. So my next major goal is:

By September 19, 2010 I will have purchased enough Real Estate Investment properties and enough paper assets to have at least $1,000 of passive income from EACH of the companies.

Next:

By September 19, 2011 I will have purchased enough Real Estate Investment properties and enough paper assets to have at least $5,000 of passive income from EACH of the companies.

Finally:

By September 19, 2012 I will have purchased enough Real Estate Investment properties and enough paper assets to have at least $10,000 of passive income from EACH of the companies and I will completely retire from the “Rat Race†at the ripe old age of 43.


I have always been taught that the only way to succeed when setting goals is to write them down and then break them down into yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and finally daily goals. I am still in the process of doing the breaking down part and putting dates on the smaller chunks but here is a list of things I have committed doing and now am just putting them in the right order:

  • Change BS-IT program to BS in Business with a Concentration in Finance
  • Self-Education Program
    • Read All Rich Dad books
    • Read Sound Mind Investing
    • Read all books on Rich Dad Recommended list
    • I have begun reading 50 pages a day to accomplish this goal
  • Learn about what is happening in Real Estate, Business and Stock Worlds
    • Subscribe to 1-2 periodicals that cover these aspects and read them
  • Start IT Services/Web business
    • Create appropriate business entity (get some help on this)
    • Increase revenue from NJcampinginfo.com
    • Work with existing client
    • Advertise locally for IT services clients
    • Define online affiliate sites and build
  • Build team of advisors when appropriate
  • Start Investment Properties Company
  • Start Portfolio Management Company
  • Pay off $15,000 in CC/Unsecured debt
  • Save $15,000 for emergency fund
  • Attend REIA meetings monthly
  • Play Cashflow 101 & 202 monthly
Thanks in advance.

Eric
 

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phlgirl

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 29, 2007
813
174
85
Philadelphia
First of all, congratulations! Just taking the time to write out your goals/plans and post them publically is a great first step, in my opinion.

I think your idea of capitalizing on your existing skills, to start, is smart. Both the camping website and the IT consulting are concepts which require very little start-up money or prep time, which is ideal in your situation.

I am from your area and know how popular camping is in NJ. I think you have a great site name and if you can keep it current and add reviews of many more locations in NJ, I think it could be a huge hit.

As for the IT consulting work.... I have been trying to convince a few ex-colleagues of mine to do something like this for over a year now! When I left Corp America, I realized that the one thing I took most for granted was the IT support. As a small business owner (particularly in the initial start-up phase), I constantly had tech questions. I tortured my friends from my old workplace (and luckily, they were willing to help) but when they were not around, I would have gladly paid for the assistance. I spent hours and hours seaching for answers to my questions online and even tried the guys at Best Buy (geek squad?). They were never seemed to be as knowledgeable as the guys in my old tech dept, who were always able to trouble shoot my questions over a quick ST or phone call.

If marketed properly, I would have to think a venture like that would be successful, as there must be other small business owners out there, in similar situations.

By the way.... the best thing I found, as far as having some answers to my questions was this site: askdavetaylor.com (and I really think it could be done better but might be good for some ideas).

No matter what you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck!!
 

JScott

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Aug 24, 2007
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It's great that you're starting to think about your plan, and especially that you're documenting your thoughts and ideas! Congrats on that very difficult first step...

My personal recommendation is that you should focus the majority of your effort/time on a single objective at this point. And because it sounds like you don't have any savings (and you do have expenses), I would suggest that focus should be on starting a business. Whether it be the IT business or the online business (and because the IT business sounds like a more-likely short-term income stream, I would suggest that one), you should write a business plan (even just a page or two with your goals, tasks, and financial expectations) and start making progress getting that business off the ground.

Once you get some income rolling in and remove any immediate financial crisis, that's when you can start thinking about the future and what you'll do with the money.

Just my $.02...
 

Yankees338

Bronze Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
1,829
136
81
28
NJ/MD
I agree with everything JScott posted...I was about to post practically the same thing. However, I think you could successfully run at least one other website in your spare time, as long as you can sacrifice some things.

Lastly, congrats on getting started! I might have a few other things to post if I can remember them, but good luck!
 
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encsteph

New Contributor
Nov 27, 2007
30
2
9
49
Southern New Jersey
Phlgirl,

Thanks for the feedback, it was most helpful!

The camping website has been pretty stagnant now for awhile and one of my first goals is to freshen it up a bit and add lots more reviews that I have received but haven't been motivated to post. Even though I have visited almost all of the campgrounds in the state I was hesitant to post my own reviews and was really hoping for other peoples opinions. I will be working on that very, very soon.

The Geek Squad (in my opinion) are really good at installing new hard drives, memory or video cards and troubleshooting small problems. Anything more then that and they just scratch their heads for the most part.

You are exactly the target market I am going after with the IT services...small business owner who can't afford a big company but does need somebody to help them install a network, PC's and put together a decent website for them.

If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line!

I will check out the website you mention as I've never heard of it.

Thanks again for the info and best wishes.

Eric
 
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encsteph

New Contributor
Nov 27, 2007
30
2
9
49
Southern New Jersey
JScott & Yankees338,

Thanks to both of you for the best wishes and the feedback.

I will be spending most of my time pursuing and developing the IT business as I agree that it does offer the most return in the shortest amount of time.

I plan on writing a business plan, have actually already downloaded a couple of templates to start with as I agree that it will be very helpful in defining my goals, plans, tasks and expectations within the business for the next 6, 12 and 18 months.

The online part of the business (I am actually thinking of running both "product lines" out of the one company) has a very minor time commitment on a daily basis so I think I can do that later on in the evening after all other business activity has ceased. The idea I have will require only an initial time investment of 2-3 hours and only a financial investment of $12 to $20 per site.

The camping site will obviously require more time as some of the pages are dead, the links are bad, the info is stale and even the design needs to be tweaked but I plan on tackling each section of site one at a time so I can budget out the time I need for that.

Once again, thanks to both of you for the best wishes and the feedback.

If there is anything else you think of please don't hesitate to let me know as I'm always looking for info to make my plan better.

Eric
 

phlgirl

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 29, 2007
813
174
85
Philadelphia
I am embarrassed to say that I even worked in IT for 8+ years and still struggled like mad to get the whole operation up and running. Granted, I was one of those fake IT people…. background is accounting but once the company sent us all to a 5 week bootcamp…. Shazam! we were ERP software consultants! I thought I knew quite a bit from just being in the environment and working so closely with the real techies. I can only imagine what it is like for small business owners with even less experience.

Actually, I have friends/associates who run their own small business and they all call me J (poor them).

Incase you want a little insight into the head of a new business start up – while it is still fresh in my head – here are some of the issues I recall:

·PC/Laptop Selection – I had always been issued my laptop until this point and had no idea what size/speed, etc. was smart/neccessary for a small business
·Selection of Storage/Backup system and set up/scheduling of that system
·Web hosting/design/email accounts
·Linking website email to Outlook
·Linking multiple email addresses to PDA
·Set up of network and wireless printing capabilities
·Mass/bulk emailing system
·Quickbooks (this may be an entire company in itself)

When I incurred a problem, I wanted a solution NOW and I wanted it over the phone or IM. When you are in the middle of operations for a start-up company, there just isn’t time to ‘send the laptop back to the manufacturer’, to ‘bring it in to Best Buy and drop it off for a few hours’ or better still ‘Sit on hold, repeat your problem for the 18th time, and pray that the next person you are transferred to speaks the same language….’

I realize it is not always possible to do over the phone but 98% of the time, in my case, my guys were able to walk me thru it. Unfortunately, in larger companies, these people work off a script and are trained so that they just don’t think out of the box anymore.

I find it’s best if the person on the other line is calm, does not frustrate easily and does his or her best to make you feel like you really aren’t a moron (even if we are). J Jokes in between ‘red plug here and green plug there’ are always welcome as well. I told my guys I would pay them in a hearbeat (they never accepted, so I sent gift cards instead). They talked about ‘getting out’, like so many of us do but, understandably, that paycheck is hard to walk from – especially when you have a family. Perhaps you just got a big blessing in disguise.

Again, best of luck in your ventures. If you end up going this route and need small business guinea pigs to bounce ideas off, I am sure there are plenty of us here.
 
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encsteph

New Contributor
Nov 27, 2007
30
2
9
49
Southern New Jersey
Phlgrl,

Thanks!

That list was amazing. I had thought of and planned on "selling" only about half of the services/expertise you mentioned so you added some new products to my services list.

I agree that it is very hard to walk away from a paycheck and I probably would have continued in my last job except for the layoff and would not have re-read RDPD and probably wouldn't have the plan I have now.

I feel that everything happens for a reason and it's just a matter of figuring out that reason and seizing it.

Thanks again.

Eric
 

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