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Question for home based businesses

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by john1, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. john1

    john1 Guest

    Hey guys, I am wondering if it's just me or does anyone else with a home based business find it harder to get a steady income monthly as opposed to "getting a real job"?

    Maybe it's me but business was kicking *** the past few months and this month it's dead as a door nail again.

    One month i will be so high off the great feeling of having my business be profitable and the next i will be so low i don't even know why i am trying anymore.

    This inconsistency is taking it's toll on me quick.
  2. TyrantDesigner

    TyrantDesigner Art! Hot and fresh.

    Mar 9, 2011
    Amarillo, TX
    Every business feels like that John. The key is to use that down time creatively since you know you're not doing anything ... pound ground, grow contacts ... heck ... get around to that honey do list if you have time ... make the wife/gf/live-in/whatever happy. And as we all know ... you make the significant other happy, they look the other way when you're twiddling your thumbs.

    which is the real benefit to running out of your own house.

    Wish you luck.
  3. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    If you don't consider your sign business as a real job, then you're only fooling yourself by staying in this field.

    Running by the seat of your pants is no way to run a business. You must make plans, set up strategies, target certain customers and get yourself ready for low points.
    Someone just had a thread recently about this same thing.​
    It's far easier to say these things, then it is to set them in motion. You have a tendency to jump up and down when things aren't going smoothly.... which seems to happen to you quite often. I don't know how long you've been in business, but why don't you average out your yearly income, take home in say the last three years of your doing business and figure out what your yearly take is. Then you could pace yourself better.

    These things have nothing to do with home-based or large companies. It's all about a business plan. We're not huge by no means, but I'm always working on deals for the next year or four or five months out. I always want a 3 to 4 at least.... month backlog. When we have a 6 month, I breath a little easier. Right now, we have several large jobs booked for next year, some repeat customers I know will be around at certain times, which make the 'walk-in or phone call customers just icing on the cake.

    If you had that 'real job' with the weekly check, you would base taking the job on.... if it was enough money for you to meet your monthly bills, activities, groceries and any other frivolous bills you encounter. You do a budget and you live accordingly. Well, this is no different. You have to figure out what it is you need to make ends meet, and at least get that much going and then start adding to get your income to a level of comfort you can really do something with. Otherwise, you're just p!ssing away a good opportunity for someone.

    However, there's one small difference.... you'll only keep that weekly check, as long as you perform. Otherwise, you'll be fired and someone else will work it. The same thing goes for your OWN business.... you have to work it and make it work. You can't sit back and wait for things to happen and then when they do.... go have a party and blow it. It has to fit into your whole scheme of things.
  4. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    It happens. Even the best laid plans will have tough spots, especially during an election year.
    They way I look at it is multiple streams of income. I weld and do metal fab for hire if the sign end is slow or I'm not needed to run stickers or small jobs. Sherry knocks it out of the park with that. We design and sell business cards too. I paint Harley's, Ducati's etc...

    People will say: "That ain't sign work". I tell them I am just applying my sign making skills to different things.

    I will tell you this: After 26 years in a factory I will hang on to this business until they come to bury me.
  5. WCSign

    WCSign Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    Bay Area
    preface.. I havent had a paycheck from someone else since 1996.

    I THINK that just as a personal habit of humans, we are programmed to be go getters when its going good and be down when the going gets tough. I know that applies to me.. so when things are slow in one place, I use the time to tighten up other screws in the mechanism of my life.
  6. TheSnowman

    TheSnowman Major Contributor

    Aug 28, 2007
    Every winter I get into "Just sell the business and work for someone else" mode because it gets slow, and it's harder to keep up on payments. The fact that I'm in a store front doesn't help that. There's nothing worse than not doing a paying job in a day that you sat there just working on your own stuff all day, just being "available". If you are at home, you can at least do some stuff and not be "tied to the office".

    Spring always comes, and I'm happier, and it always works out though. I am thankful I am a one man shop, because I only have to worry about me...but I think no matter what you do for a living, you can always think the grass is greener on the other side.
  7. Fatboy

    Fatboy Very Active Member

    John,just keep on going.Everything will work out fine in the end.:U Rock:
  8. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

    Mar 25, 2006
    Mars Florida
    Has little to do with being home based. Every business has their ups and downs. Best advice is to make sure you have cash put aside for those rainy days and spend the down time finding additional revenue streams.
  9. Rooster

    Rooster Very Active Member

    Feb 22, 2008
    After 25 years of being self employed the stress from not knowing where your next pay check is coming from fades away.

    The number one way to reduce the level of stress when things slow down is ensure you have a decent amount saved up to get you through the lean times. I always make sure I keep six months of expenses in reserve in case something unforeseen happens.
  10. tomence

    tomence Very Active Member

    Feb 10, 2009
    It's summer time, lot of bosses are on vacation. My business has slowed down drastically this month but that's to be expected. Just like every other year before, this month and next month for me are slow, but that's why i had lot of work from Jan until June. The way i look at my business is how much i make yearly not monthly. If you are happy with it good, if not you go out and find more work.
  11. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    Sep 27, 2010

    Both of these. Although, I actually have a year and a half in reserve for expenses. I am way too risk adverse to fly by the seat of my pants with just 6 months (and some would consider that a good amount). But that's just the way that my mind is wired.

    This is good no matter if home based or not. Too many people, in my mind, think that a home based can be or should be operated differently then a "regular" business. You have some differences sure, but not as many that people seem to think.
  12. ProWraps

    ProWraps Very Active Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    when i first became self employed about 10 years ago, i shat my pants thinking OMFG im not going to get a paycheck every 2 weeks.

    now when i think about working for someone else, i think holly crap, i would have to get the SAME paycheck every two weeks...

    everything is relative.

    ill take making a crap load of money every time i do get paid, over getting the same terrible paycheck every two weeks any day.
  13. WCSign

    WCSign Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    Bay Area
  14. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Fort Myers
    As someone who has been in your shoes, more often than not in my life. I have come to learn one important thing. Sleep is way overrated. (I stopped sleeping more than 5 hours a night 5 years ago. It works great I have more time to work and spend with my family. I do admit I nap on saturday & sunday for 4 hours to refresh myself)

    Seriously, get a job at night if you have too and bank that cash. Deliver pizzas whatever you want to do. Use that money to pay the bills or most of them. It helps thin out the lean times.

    Also, answer your phone less. I know this seems counter intuitive but, it works. Since, I took on my day job and have been answering my phone less. I have had more actual sign and print work than I had the last 3 months. Its also been higher paying jobs. People think I am in high demand. They are begging me to do their work. I even have bid requests coming in from General Contractors for New buildings. Work I never even chased after or advertised for in anyway.
  15. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    Jun 24, 2003
    I call bullscat on this one..
  16. jkdbjj

    jkdbjj Active Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    John I would also say this. I think the type of client you go after greatly effects your income stability also. If you go after medium or even small business that are the type that value marketing, like some larger non-profit companies, they do a lot of printing throughout the year.
    It is good to simply walk in and ask for an appointment, as you never know if the current printer is just not doing the job.

    Do you have any steady clients like this? If not, maybe we can help you target some people in your area.
  17. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Fort Myers
    Sorry to disappoint you dude. I got a bid request just yesterday to put signage up on a new executive center. I don't advertise for that kinda work in anyway. I deal with Real Estate and Regular Contractors almost exclusively. The stuff you guys consider low end filler work. The phone is ringing and the work is flowing. I talked to a few of the other shops in town that are much, much bigger than me and they are turning away work. They just don't have the time or manpower to keep up with demand.
  18. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    gotta read this whole thing to interesting and uplifting not to

    John just have faith get to it this will also push you to the next level.

    Read Ginos post wow
  19. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing

    +1 for Gino.

    This is the real job.

    It takes time to figure out how to deal with the peaks and valleys. The only way you'll fail, is if you give up. On the bright side, you should probably see a nice bump in the fall here.

    Your comment reminds me when I laugh at people I talk to with their 9-5 telling me how much their boss makes. They don't mention the weeks they'll go in the down season barely doing anything but still getting that steady paycheck.

    There's no such thing as easy money. One way or another, someone gave blood for it.
  20. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    May 23, 2008
    Now Gino, don't get all big headed or anything, but I just have to say it loud and clear, I have been reading here on Signs101 a little over 4 years now, and I really enjoy reading your posts and have learned quit a bit from your knowledgeable posts, good job on this one, keep it up Sensei.


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