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In July, I launched my own small business after having been summarily laid off from my 37 year career in corporate America (thanks, Bain & Company). While I could claim full credit for having built my little enterprise all by myself, I couldn't have done it without [gasp!] help from the government and a bunch of other entities.

Yes, it's starting small: just me, my iPhone, and my laptop, working out of my house. No, I didn't build the house. I didn't build my laptop, my iPad, my iPhone, or my printer/scanner/copier. I didn't make the coffeemaker that fuels my work day. I didn't grow, roast, and grind the coffee beans.

I'm on the Internet all day. I didn't build that. I didn't build the phone system either, or ensure that I had a fast enough broadband connection to ensure that a household full of phones, iPads, laptops, and other gizmos could all operate simultaneously. My web site can exist in the world thanks to Internet standards and software.

Someone established the electronic standards that allow all these gizmos to interact with one another, share information, and keep track of all my e-mail, calendars, contacts, files, and documents. I can't take any credit for creating the software that I use every day without even thinking about it.

I didn't supply my home with electricity, water, sewer service, gas, or cable. I didn't construct and monitor my security system. I didn't build the street where my house is situated, nor any of the roads that I drive on when I go out to get office supplies or drop off a Fedex shipment. I don't run the US Postal Service, Fedex, or UPS. I don't run the office supply store. I didn't build the airports that enable me to meet with clients in person. I don't fly the planes. I don't manage the hotels.

When I launched my business, I incorporated it and registered it as a foreign corporation in the states where I plan to do business. State governments oversee the operation of corporations. I filed with the IRS as an S Corporation, and manage by business in compliance with federal and state tax regulations.

The federal government and state governments also promulgated and enforced regulations that require my prospective clients to undertake certain actions that trigger a need for my services. Sure, some of them might step up and spend millions of dollars that could otherwise go to capital improvements, bonuses, or stock dividends without being compelled to do so by government agencies. Most, though, are responding to regulatory drivers.

Some of these clients are also government contractors, so the money they'll be using to pay for my services comes from goods and services that they sell to our government. Redistribution of wealth? Maybe. I'm okay with that.

Before becoming a member of Mitt's dreaded 47%, I paid my income taxes and contributed to Social Security and Medicare, and was grateful to be able to do so. I ploughed back plenty of my earnings into social, medical, and environmental causes that were important to me. Money, like manure, must be spread around to have any positive effect.

Mitt would rather park his money in offshore accounts while his campaign churns out "Believe in America" bumper stickers (no doubt printed in China). Sadly, many American corporations and banks would rather just hold the cash on their balance sheets than hire more workers or lend money, citing "uncertainty".

When I launched my business, there was plenty of uncertainty. Would any of my prior clients be interested in my services? Would I be up and running before I ran out of severance pay and unemployment? Could I parlay my niche expertise into a profitable business? My husband's employer was in the midst of a merger: what if he lost his job and the benefits on which we both relied?

Mostly, though, I was absolutely certain that with my expertise, my connections, my tenacity, and my entrepreneurial abilities, I had as good a chance as anyone to succeed. The clients I've contacted are enthusiastic about my new venture and I'm in discussions with two of them on contract terms. I wake up every morning knowing that the hard work I've put in over the years is paying off.

I didn't build it myself, but my company is open for business. I'll keep you posted on my progress.


Have you launched your own business?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:24:27 AM PDT

  •  Your attention to detail (7+ / 0-)

    puts my attention to detail to shame. And I am rather intense and persnickety when it comes to detail. You are not only the Queen of Limericks, you are also the Queen of Detail.

    And you have my detailed (and persnickety) admiration for it.

    curious portal - to a world of paintings, lyric-poems, art writing, and graphic and web design

    by asterkitty on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:43:19 AM PDT

  •  Entrepreneurs ROCK! (4+ / 0-)

    So... Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down!!   Worked for me!  Blessings on your new enterprise!

    Please donate to Okiciyap food pantry. . If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

    by weck on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:51:03 AM PDT

  •  I also have an internet based business (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, weck, Renee, phonegery

    Government R&D, Government infrastructure.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:52:24 AM PDT

    •  Good to hear from you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, phonegery

      Are you enjoying your work? Did you migrate to it from the corporate world?

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:55:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It couldn't be any better (0+ / 0-)

        When I started this business, I was 51 years old, and considered myself unemployable except for maybe a few companies willing to hire me in an executive position. The risk has paid off in that I can draw an excellent salary (a long way to go before I consider myself "well-off"), I work from home, so no commute and I can take a 4pm nap, and I don't have a boss.
        I worked in a corporation for 20 years. It was great for about 15 of them, but ultimately I feel I got cheated out of $1million in bonuses, and was days from getting fired with 2 weeks pay, even though I generated 100's of millions in sales. I then did a funded startup with an immature little prick, and it was a failure from every angle.  I found someone to start a company where I have significant ownership. We bootstrapped it with no pay for nearly two years, and now it is in the $1.2 million / month range (actually very small for our business sector).
        However, the work I do is not meaningful to our society or to me, so I am working on a very important medical software product. Maybe in a year I can transition to that work which is more suitable to my expertise.

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:56:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My wife took her severance, (7+ / 0-)

    our 401(k)'s and a little bit of my severance to open a child care business.  November will mark the third anniversary of our 1st paying customer.  Our first center is mostly full with over 40 kids and our second center, 7 months old, now has around 60 kids.  

    About 1/2 of our kids are on some sort of subsidized care, DSHS or CPS.  We've qualified for a USDA 'free lunch' program where we get a lot of our food expenses reimbursed if we follow meal guidelines.

    There's a lot of our blood, sweat and tears and plenty of 12-18 hr days in this business.  But, we probably wouldn't be able to provide the quality and breadth of services to these families without those government checks smoothing the way. CPS and DSHS will refer families to us because we don't limit the number of subsidized kids and we've had good luck working with troubled kids.

    Now if I could just figure out how to get those tax rebates like GE and AT&T..........

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:13:03 AM PDT

    •  Congratulations, markdd (and your wife!) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, weck, markdd

      That's a wonderful success story, again in part due to the government's contribution. The kids that get this care will have a great start, and who knows: maybe some of them will be tomorrow's job creators?

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:26:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In effect, their parents are the job creators (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There's no way on a min wage job here in Seattle to provide housing and daycare, let alone food, clothing and transportation.  So most of our single parents are able to work or go to school because of the subsidies.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:14:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck, I reinvented myself after a lay off (5+ / 0-)

    so I know a little of what you are going thru. May you have all the best.

    Conservatives supported slavery, opposed women’s suffrage, supported Jim Crow, opposed the 40-hour work week, the abolishment of child labor, and supported McCarthyism. from 'It's The Conservatism, Stupid' by Paul Waldman July 12, 2006

    by arealniceguy on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:20:06 AM PDT

  •  I wonder if these aren't more properly called (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    micro-businesses? The definition of small business is sales under 5 million which leaves a fairly big gap between what politicians say about small business and what folks envision as same.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:03:08 AM PDT

    •  I'm fine with that... the main thing is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it's a business, properly incorporated, insured, registered with state agencies, with S Corporation status accepted by the IRS, services to offer, and clients in need of and interested in them.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:22:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful post! You are going to be a great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    success.  Why?  Because of your foresight, industry, and intelligence. Please do keep us posted.

    When I got laid off for the second time I started a resume business, which I ran out of my house.  It was never a full-time living, but the part-time earnings certainly helped the household bottom line.

    My elder son and his good friend started a lawn mowing business that they operated in the summers to earn money for college.

    My husband, after retiring for the first time, ran a house inspection business for a while.  Then he get a job with the airlines.

    My younger son, despite working full-time and being the father of an active three-year-old, does sushi parties on the weekends.  Not every weekend, but enough to add to his household bottom line.  Sometimes just a few thou can make the difference between barely making it and a modest degree of comfort.

    So I heartily applaud your striking out on your own--that's the real American dream!  And it is beyond blissful to be in control of your own time.  

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 06:05:37 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, Diana in NoVa (0+ / 0-)

      Sounds like you have a very entrepreneurial family! Traditional corporate employment isn't the answer for many of us, and it's exciting to be out on my own.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 07:14:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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