Showing posts with label micro business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label micro business. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Small Business Thoughts

I caught up with a friend this weekend. As always he is busy with a side business. He is in the trades and does small jobs on the side that are losely in the same nitche. Between contacts from a family business, working and just sorta being his hustling self the guy drums up plenty of business. Enough so that he can pass the couple hundred dollar jobs onto another buddy.

Thoughts: Some jobs are a lot more condusive to side gigs than others. For a variety of reasons the trades are probably best here followed by professions like law or accounting. A manager at a grocery store or a supervisor at a box company or an executive are good jobs to have but it is kind of hard to get a little something going on the side. My gig in the Army and the skill sets I have developed unfortunately fall into the second category. For those at a place in life where they haven't chosen a path yet or need to find another one this is something to consider.

From the successes and failures I have seen it is essential to go into areas with negligible start up costs. Maybe you need to pick up a couple new tools, print some business cards and place an ad for a few hundred bucks, not a big deal. On the other hand renting and setting up a storefront, purchasing equipment, etc before a business has proven itself is risky and not smart. You can fail pretty often if it costs $300 but if it costs $3,000 let alone 30,000 or more that is not an option. Since small businesses fail at a crazy high rate this is worth considering.

Once a business gets going and you start making some cash then putting some money into it is reasonable. Buying a new piece of equipment that will let you do more jobs, going from a normal personal type BBQ to a big custom job on a trailer that will let you feed more people and thus do bigger events or whatever. My anecdotal observation is that the risk of failure in expanding a already profitable business is far lower than getting one started in the first place.

I would be really uncomfortable relying on a new venture to put a roof over out heads, food in the pantry and gas in the car. In other words keep doing whatever thing(s) you are doing now and add the new one. I realize this lack of adventuresome nature will probably mean I will never be wealthy but I will probably also never be broke trying to wrestle a living out of a business that won't get going. Once something takes off you can phase out a less optimal (fun, $ for effort or whatever) thing that you have been doing.

If you only put in a little bit of money and keep doing whatever is already paying the bills all that is really risked is time and effort. The folks who I have seen fail and have it harm them often borrowed heavily (a relative term) and or needed it to start paying out immediately.

Personally I am at a stand still when it comes to developing multiple streams of income. My job is pretty totalitarian in nature and leads me to desire more anonymity than I otherwise would. That kills most of the directions I might go into. All things considered I am pretty OK with this. We hit the live cheap side of the equation pretty hard which helps. Any energy I put in this direction is mostly about setting conditions for the future. It is still pretty interesting to observe what does and doesn't work.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Seeking Advertisers

We here at the Rantfest are actively seeking out new advertisers. If you sell firearms or firearms equipment, outdoor stuff, strait up survivalist stuff or precious metals advertising here would be a great fit. We are flexible and work with folks to meet their unique needs. Also if you know someone whose business could benefit from advertising here please suggest that they check out the blog and shoot me an email at

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Public Service Announcement- We do not Advertise for Free

I have gotten a  flurry of emails recently. Emails from people who want me to mention their site or something or another they are doing. I am more than happy to do this for bloggers who are getting started and those with interesting or useful information. I received a lot of great help this way when building my blog and am more than happy to pay it forward.

However when it comes to ventures that are primarily commercial I take a very different position. I sell advertising and thus have no interest in giving away the bread and butter of my business. I am inclined to give small semi commercial ventures (everybody is trying to make a few bucks in this economy) the benefit of the doubt. However when I click on the link and it is a store or they want me to just mention something you are trying to sell it isn't going to happen. Please just remember that we aren't running a charity. We offer very reasonable rates  for our advertising and are quite flexible when it comes to figuring out an arrangement that will suit your individual needs.

Thank you for your time and understanding.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Laundry Fun and Wonder Washer Product Review

To be honest up till just recently laundry hasn't worried me much. Mostly I think the Army has really broken any beliefs I might have that unless you put on clean clothes every day the world will end. Think my record for wearing a single pair of clothes (may have swapped socks) is 6 weeks. However we have a kid on the way. Aside from screaming little babies major pastime is spitting up or pooping on themselves. Needless to say 6 weeks in a pair of clothes would not be realistic.

Somehow or another Wifey and I got to talking about laundry in the context of preparedness about a month ago. I vaguely recalled a guest post on laundry by our pal Sam in the trailer park which has successfully evaded a tornado so I searched till I found it. I got to fiddling around on the Emergency Essentials website and came across the Wonder Washer. Wifey did some research and this seemed like a quality product which fit our needs.

This brings us to a very valuable micro (or small or even big I guess) business lesson. If there is some sort of deal you would like to make always ask. I am not going to even guess what percentage of the time you will get an unexpected "yes" but I can say if you don't ask the "no" rate is 100 percent. Anyway I wrote the folks at Emergency Essentials and they have an ad on our site and I have a Wonder Washer. It came in the mail earlier this week and I just got to really fiddling with it today.

"Assembly" is quite simple. Take the handle and put it onto the square post that sticks out of the side. The directions are pretty simple and take up just part of a standard piece of paper. I decided to test it out by washing a few random pieces of clothing; a pair of shorts and two shirts to be exact. Onto the review.

The Good:
1. It works
2. It is readily affordable
3. Quite easy to use. Just put the clothes, deturgent and water in, screw the lid on and then turn the handle which rotates the unit around in the frame washing your clothes.
4. Pretty compact, about the size of a normal BBQ propane tank

The Bad:
1. The lid seems sort of touchy. You have to get the grooves in the lid to match up with the grooves in the unit and then rotate it till the thing locks into place. Then you have to tighten the lid down with the hand screw on top.
2. If you do not get the lid all the way tight it will spill water while you "wash". Not a big deal, just screw it down until it pretty much won't screw on any more (no visible threads).
3. I followed the directions but the amount of detergent needed seemed a bit too high.  I had to really rinse the clothes to get them non soapy. Not a big deal if you are rinsing with warm water in the sink but if water conservation was important it might be. Next time I will use more like 2/3rds of what is advised.

The Ugly:
The part I found most disappointing was that the unit seemed to bounce around as you turn it. The frame is small and narrow while the washer thingie is relatively big and heavy. In order to wash I basically had it on the floor with one knee on the near side of the frame and my spare hand on the other side. If I were to be doing a lot of laundry with the Wonder Washer I would look to clamp it to a table or something so it would be a one handed operation.

All in all I found this unit to be simple, affordable and useful. Sure beats the heck out of dragging our laundry to the river to bang it on some rocks. If we planned to do laundry for a family of 6 on a normal basis then some sort of bigger and more complex washer would be worth procuring. However to just wash an outfit at a time or for emergency use this fits the bill perfectly. We could do some sort of home rigged thing but with the Wonder Washer at the very reasonable price of $49.99 I see no reason to bother. We do need to pick up a mop wringer to help with getting the water out of our clothes after washing but that is an easy fix.

Also included was an Emergency Essentials catalog. They have some really cool stuff so please go check it out.
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