OT: Carving Out Your Niche

The vast knowledge that the contributors of this group has and are willing to share is truly amazing. Grant Erwins question about a month ago "OT:
value of small business" really got some very good advise. Hopefully he will post a follow up.
I would like to hear about how you have faced a career problem and found an answer. I won't bore you with the details of my life, suffice it to say that I am unemployed for a year now and am facing a forced career change at the age of 51. I am at a loss as to which direction to go. I will say that I like metal working and building things, but am finding that without professional (paid) experience no one will hire me. I would like to have my own business, however I am a bad salesman. (Isn't that a necessity)?
I'm not asking so much for advise for my particular situation but rather how others have carved out their niche in the world. Surely I'm not the only one in this day of downsizing that could benefit.
Thanks again
Lane
lane at copperaccents dot co m
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lane wrote:

    My Dad went thru something similar. He took a mail order Locksmithing course, got a couple of progressively better jobs as a locksmith, and is now operating his second shop. He did have previous small business experience, but mostly it was his own determination and hard work that brought him his own success.
--
__
Pete Snell
Royal Military College
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lane wrote:

Being a good salesman helps but isn't a necessity to get started. What does help is a supportive wife that can help with the phones, bookkeeping and ordering parts. I've worked full-time with mine for about 7 years and I couldn't have done it without her.
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news:T_idnT1oeJdV9mGiRVn->

What do you do that she helps with? My wife has her own job, so I'll be left up to my own devices if I ventured out on my own. At what I don't know though. Lane
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lane wrote:

http://www.jkmicro.com /
I'm the J and she's the K
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lane wrote:

Bummer. I was in my early 40's when fallout from the .com crash pink slipped me.

Do you have some free time you can go volunteer somewhere you want to work? (IIRC) Charlie Casserly did that to get his foot in the door managing professional football teams. He ended up General Manager of the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans. Not bad. ;-)
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Charlie+Casserly+GM+OR+%22general+manager%22+Redskins
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Charlie+Casserly+%22general+manager%22+Texans&btnG=Google+Search

Do similar to what (IIRC) Lee Iacocca did early in his career. He wanted to improve his sales skills so he sold insurance. He improved. <g>
When I made the jump from U.S. Government worker to private industry I sucked as a salesman. But I read lots of books, listened to lots of tapes while commuting, and had good mentoring. I'll never be a "super salesman" but my skills are now reasonable. You expressed your thoughts clearly; you can learn sales skills.

Prayer, faith, biographies (*), getting off dead, dying or stubbornly wayward horses & trying to mount living ones. Not taking myself too seriously in my 4th career.
HTH. At the very least I enjoyed giving myself a pep talk. ;-)
-- Mark
(*) I got to meet and talk with a billionaire. In his 20's he was illiterate. He learned to read and eventually studied over 500 biographies. He went broke 2 or 3 times in business before he knew enough to be successful. Memorable quote: "You don't learn anything new from the 2nd kick of a horse." <g>
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Volunteering can be a foot in the door, or a dead end. Make sure you like the volunteer work in the first place. I have been teaching people to use computers at a community employment centre for years. No job resulted from it so far, not even part time. I did receive a community education award though.
Steve R.

work?
Washington
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Charlie+Casserly + GM+OR+%22general+manager%22+Redskins
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Charlie+Casserly + %22general+manager%22+Texans&btnG=Google+Search
to
you
biographies.
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My journey is a perfect example of what NOT to do. I've been doing architectural detail for 8 years this month, and I know little more about getting work now than I did 8 years ago.
I am immensely glad my overhead is low. The last 2 years have been brutal on the high end construction market. Things are picking up now, but it will take a while to get to a safe point.
Students see pictures of what I do, and say,"I want to do that."
I tell them good luck, but have a backup plan.
It is a weird business and advertising is not an option.
Funy thing is that I have been avoiding structural work for all these years, and that is exactly what is paying my bills right now.
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others have carved out their niche in the world. Surely I'm not the only one in this day of downsizing that could benefit.>
After college, I worked for 15 years in the commercial construction business as a project manager. The job was fairly high pressure and after a while I knew I needed a change. My wife and I made a plan to get out of debt, implemented it, and when that day came, I resigned. Through an evolving set of circumstances (details upon request), I have moved into self employment as a residential remodeling contractor. I've been at it for 9 years now and prior to the slump year of 2003, I was making more money than I had ever made at one of my three professional jobs.
I always avoided any thought of becoming a salesman, because I'm generally repulsed by salesman, but now find that I'm a pretty good salesman because I believe in and am competent in my services. Sales ablility will come somewhat naturally if you know your field and abilities thoroughly.
I would suggest you read the following books. They're somewhat inspirational for someone considering self-employment, and an easy read if you're not. All are a few years old and should be at the library or used at amazon.com.
Making a Living Without a Job (Barbara J. Winter) Growing a Business (Paul Hawken) Downshifting (Amy Saltzman)
I could make this a lot longer, but will stop here for the sake of "saving bandwidth" (whatever that means :)). Happy to answer other questions, just email. Gary Brady Austin, TX
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business as

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Thanks Gary, I'll take a look at those books. Lane
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It's not me, but you might check out this guy's story. started a very small ebay business...it overran his house and he paid cash to have another building erected in the yard.
http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/omaha /
StaticsJason

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On Thu, 8 Jan 2004 17:33:29 -0600, "Statics"

I guess mail order is still a very good business.
Check out this tool set for sale by him. http://www.closeoutsupply.com/closeup.asp?ID 81 Is it TiN plating OVER diamonds on those burrs?!?
-------------------------------------------- Proud (occasional) maker of Hungarian Paper Towels. http://www.diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design =====================================================
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brought forth from the murky depths:

small
I wouldn't be surprised. It seems the local junk tool houses have also discovered that drill bits that look like they were made with 50 grit sandpaper will still sell if they have a TiN coating.

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Similar situation, was able to use telephone skills picked up to start a telephone servicing business, jobs too small for the big guys. Just added another income source, selling subscriptions to the main newspaper in the state, part-time territory is away from their main area so I am able to set my own hours and find my own business. I am in a rural area, nearest town is under 1000, and it is the largest within 10 miles one way, over 25 any other direction.
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lane wrote:

Provide a turnkey service to lazy or busy civil servants, take care of the job without excessive followup/supervision. You will have to wait out your money but you can definitely get more from a local government than homeowners/small businesses.
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Do you have an example of this idea? Do you have first hand experience?
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wrote in message news:N%pLb.97402 >

the
your
That really struck me as an odd comment. In my experience, "local government" is about as cheap of a customer as you can find.
JTMcC.

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JTMcC wrote:

They can be tough to work for in some respects, especially on bid jobs, but there are a lot of firms that have maneuvered themselves into time and materials scenarios that are doing pretty well.
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lane wrote:

Yes and yes.. How about a woman who made about $5,000 last year at one municipal account walking her dogs and letting them chase geese off the fields? I believe she has quite a few accounts. That's a ridiculous example, but there are quite a few companies getting 90 to 120+ per hour for service mechanics, plus all kinds of rental charges for the equipment they use, supervisor's time, etc.. Some companies get service contracts by coming in low on the bid, but sell all kinds of off-contract services to make up for the loss. There are also smaller firms providing good value, charging most of what the big outfits would charge but with way less overhead. For example, a talented pneumatics/DDC mechanic can make pretty decent money stealing accounts from Johnson and Honeywell.
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