Do You Own Your Own Business?

Do you own your own business? Is it profitable? Tell me all about it. Leave a link in the comments.

If you don’t have one now, do you plan to start one? Tell us about your plan.

This is my third installment of Weekend Reader Appreciation where I ask the readers to sound off about themselves.

14 thoughts on “Do You Own Your Own Business?”

  1. Yes and no. I am a writer and I want to make money doing it, but I’m having problems marketing myself. I would like to get into grantwriting and indexing, but they are both difficult markets for a novice to crack…and frankly, I’m not spending enough time trying because of full time (sucky!) corporate job and school.

    Also, husband and I are planning to a retail store here within the year. For this we are getting incorporated and working on a business plan. Between us we have more than enough experience in the field to make this a go, but we are poor starving college students so we’ll need investors, which might take a while to wrestle up.

    So, I “own” two businesses, neither of which is profitable right now, but I expect will be very much so within a couple of years.

    We figure that the only way “out” of financial stagnancy is becoming entrepreneurs. Working for others is a great way to pay the bills, but at a high personal cost (IMHO). And quite frankly, we want to be rich, really rich. No way to get there by just sitting around waiting for the paycheck!


  2. Hi Steve,

    My wife and I own a neighborhood movie theatre, the Ambridge Family Theatre. Actually, she owns the business and we jointly own the building it’s in. She wanted a theatre. I wanted to be a landlord. We both got our wish. šŸ™‚

    Is it profitable? Yes. Can we make a living from it? No, at least not right now. The theatre is small and we’re only open weekends. For a theatre you really need at least two screens to make a living. I look at it like a retirement fund.

    Is it worthwhile? Heck, yeah! I’ve learned a lot about business, people, and myself running it. Plus, we get to see the movies we want to see.

  3. My wife and I started a fishing lure business in our basement about 7 years ago….on a card table, with very little resources, but alot of ambition, and 30 years of fishing experience.

    Seven short years later, we have dealers in 13 states, customers in 47 states, and five countries across three continents.

    I have learned alot along the way…..what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do……..taught myself HTML programming, and a few thousand other things, too.

    We are small potatoes to some in our industry, but we have made an impact….and I am hungry for more.

    Like to bass fish? check us out! Will make you some custom lures!


  4. Hi Steve,
    I do own my own business – Well, technically, I am co-owner with my sister. We are still working to make this business generate income for both of us. I am working full-time on the business, but my sister maintains another day job until ipopin can support us both. In addition to selling ipopins (one minute affirmations) I am a coach, writer, and speaker. I am not seeing the income that I want yet, but things are building. I know that it takes time, tons of effort, and a bit of luck to make a business profitable. I keep saying that one of these days (even if it is years) – we will be an overnight success story. ;>

    I have to say though that I LOVE what I am doing and wouldn’t give it up for anything! šŸ™‚

  5. I launched a personal value identification and goal setting site two years ago. It is not profitable yet but a have a few thousand sign ups and receive revenue from subscribers and Google.

    Iā€™m now setting up which is aimed at corporations.

    The wife continues to be successful with and Iā€™m fortunate to have her as a guiding light for doing business on the Internet.



  6. I have, for the past eight years, been the owner of a small web application development consultancy, Gestalt, Inc.. Gestalt (that is, me all by my lonesome for the most part) develops web sites which are based on its proprietary web content-management toolkit, the Gestalt 2 CMS. It has been used as the core for dozens of larger-scale sites, foremost among them (in terms of traffic) the three sisters,,, and

    The G2 system has been incrementally developed and refined through each client project– the best of the new code rolled back into the core toolkit– which is then used in the next new project. This has allowed me to basically have an R&D cycle that began when I got out of college 9 years ago and continues today. As you can imagine, then, the system is extremely robust, and though it is written in the red-headed stepchild of web app languages, that factor is irrelevant to most of the customers who most benefit from the functionality and usefulness of the software.

    The business, such as it is, however, is not something you might start if you actually had a mind to make lots of money really quickly. Though it seems today I am on the cusp of overcoming the Godinesque “Dip” and moving into actual profit-and-goal-driven territory with my first employee, it has been a long row to hoe. My modest paycheck kept things paid and the company has bought me plenty of fun toys, but I have completely lost track of what it must be like to come into work at 9 and leave at 5 or 6.

    Had I planned it all out in advance I probably would have kept collecting a regular paycheck– but I was essentially forced into being an entrepreneur because of the sad state of affairs born from my particular dot-com-trainwreck experience. This company decided that it was more important to play favorites with the employees who went to the proper church rather than the competent ones, and so I was the last one out the door in the web development group as I was not one of the annointed, and web dev was not one of the favorite scopes of business. After the clients began to get concerned, I offered my services as a contractor to pick up the same work I had put down as an employee just days earlier. Had I not found myself in that situation, I’m sure I would be yet another salaryman somewhere and not the brave-faced capitalist everybody seems to think I am.

    The real hat trick has been to turn this from a situation that demanded a long string of reactive decisions into a series of proactive actions that take what I began with and turn it into something that does more than just eek by with the bills. And me, with an art degree and no experience when I began. I like to tell people that every right thing I do is the product of me failing that same thing several different ways in the past. I know a lot more than I did when I started, but the tuition is a doozy and I’m ready to start cashing in on the prestige of experience. That’s my current challenge… all the while providing the same level of service and project work to paying clients. It’s a difficult job when you are bootstrapping through it and have nobody but yourself to depend upon in the office.

  7. Hey Steve,

    My wife and I are looking to turn our farm into a business selling fruits, veggies, and eggs. We have been researching ways of living “green” without getting too crazy. I don’t think everything has to be Organic, to be better for you. We want to prove that without paying someone money to be called organic.

    For instance we will worm farm to keep food wastes from being thrown out in the trash, as well as sell the worms for bait, or to other farmers. Worm Castings are an awsome fertilizer. My wife want to keep bees, and rent them out to other farmers, and honey makes a tidy profit.

    Along with all this, having chickens, sheep, and goats will add to the profitablitiy of the farm.

    I also make furniture and cabinets in the shaker style, and want to someday turn that into a profit.

    We know it won’t be easy, but we are turning the TV off, and concentrating on doing something productive.

    I will keep my job because of the health bennies, and a sweet retirement plan so that by 55 I can retire, and work on my own little peice of planet earth.



  8. Hi Steve, I am new to your newsletter and I love it. I do have my own business which has just gone through a big change – from day care to private homeschool co-op with about 40 students. Had to give up the class A Day Care because I was not willing to comply with the new quality rating system being implemented by our state. They are really wanting us to invade the privacy of our parents, get into their home life and personal business and I am not willing to comply with those rules. I think they are moving toward pulling all of the 1-4 year olds into the public school system! I guess they will be drugging the children with Ritalin as young as 2 or 3 now if they misbehave!

    Anyway, my business is not very profitable so far. We have a website but I don’t even know how to get it on the search engines. Wish there was an easy way as I do not have time to research all the web stuff I need to know. I kept your post on home businesses and I am trying to follow the links and learn a little at a time.

    I have lost a lot of income in this switch but I think, if we can hang on, that standing up for what is right will prove the best choice. Thanks for your insights!

  9. Hi Steve,

    I am also a writer and working hard on getting published, sending articles and short stories to children’s magazines.

    My husband and I are currently working on a website for writers that I don’t really want to say much about yet, since it’s still fresh, it’s a new idea, and I’m really not sure when we’re going to launch it. I will test it for a couple of months first and then we’ll see.

    Also I’m working on a book that I’m hoping to self publish within a year. Keeping busy.

    Take care,


  10. Hey Steve!

    Great question. As many of your other readers I have started a business via the personal blog platform. You know my site oh too well, since you are one of my favorite guest posters at

    In the future I plan to own a chain of Dental offices. Dentistry is what I’m currently going to school for, and from knowing me you should know that I like to be my own boss =)

  11. Hi Steve, I run a graphic and web design studio Daring Escape Designs. We are profitable, but just barely. I run the business at home while taking care of our two kids (one is 2 and the other is 5 months) I am having a little trouble getting the big clients that I need, but every little bit helps. My wife teaches 5th grade and is our main source of income right now – and may I say, she is nothing like some of the teachers you have talked about in your own school experiences – she is out there making a difference in these kids lives every day.

    Thanks for all your wonderful advice on life. I get a lot of value from your blog!

  12. I own Rubberbug ( ) an animation studio that specializes in character animation. I also fill up my spare time by writing books and articles about animation, as well as doing online tutorials for The books have done a lot to get my name out in the market. I’m always surprised as to how many people I meet who already know my name from my writing. Name recognition is how I got some of the original work that allowed me to start the business.

    Yes, we are profitable and we’ve been that way for the past five years, though we’ve had a few rough spots. I never really planned to start a business, and I don’t know if I could have planned it. As with many things in my life, it kind of just happened naturally, as an outgrowth of the work I was doing. I had already started up productions for other studios, so I knew the drill. I landed a big production and decided to do it for myself this time around instead of someone else. So, the next thing I knew, I was renting space, hiring animators, and learning all about payroll, cash flow, and all the other things it takes to run a business. Since then, we’ve expanded and contracted a few times, and while that first contraction was painful, I’ve learned that it’s just part of the natural cycle of the business. It’s not about how big/small we are at any point in time, it’s about having fun doing good work.

    Your blog is great, btw…

  13. Hi Steve,

    I was a software developer and software project manager for quite a long time but has always thought of starting my own business. Couple of months ago the company where I worked bankrupted and I got unemployed. I decided that it was a great time to start by myself and the first step I made was to create my own blog.

    I still haven’t decided clearly where to go to. I want to write software, I want to consult and teach project management, I want to write a book and I want to have a Web 2.0 business.

    I still don’t have a clear business plan because I have too many ideas and I don’t know which one to start with. But while I am thinking I write in my blog and I am creating new contacts, which I think is important and probably can help me find my way.

    I like your blog and have found some great ideas here.


  14. After years in the mental health industry, I’m finally getting back to my artistic roots. This year (and particularly, this summer) I launched a professional platform as an artist, starting with I’m trying to focus my energy on developing my portfolio, and will gradually begin reaching out to the off-line market.

    Profit has been extremely modest so far, but that’s unsurprising–I know the bulk of my success is dependent on having a broader portfolio, which brings greater exposure and more opportunities for juried shows and exhibitions. For now, though, I think I’m doing alright.

    Thanks for this blog, by the way. I just stumbled on it tonight, and I’ve found it quite engaging.

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