Knowledge Makes Career Change Less Risky

“I really want to start a business.” Luke said.  ”I’ve always wanted to start a business. I was one of those guys who had a lemonade stand at 10 on the streets of Hamden and thought about business opportunities since the age of 15.  When I was at UCONN, I had several small businesses related to making t-shirts, cleaning rooms, and helping students pack to head home in the summer. I was looking forward to moving to New Haven and starting something when I graduated at 22.  Now, I’m 32.”
Luke was not short on business ideas. Within 15 minutes, he told me several. But his path was similar to many would-be career changers: He had an idea.  He thought about it enough to get excited. At some point, he would come across an obstacle where he lacked knowledge to overcome. Then, his excitement would diminish and soon he would give up. 

Here are a few examples:  

(1) Luke had an idea for an app.  But he doesn’t know how to code. He got frustrated So he stopped moving forward. He was amazed when I showed him the ease of hiring free lance coders who will take one’s idea and build to spec.  Of course, this costs some money but Luke had enough savings to get the idea off the ground.  The simple factoid that he could hire someone quite easily as an independent contractor never occurred to him. In addition, I showed him the ease of taking online coding classes so he could understand the basics and, if he proved good at coding, he could dig in for a few years, and then create the app himself. Several online coding classes are free. Again, Luke had no idea about this simple fact. 

(2) Luke worried about health care benefits – even though his current employer in New Haven provided terrible benefits.  Regardless of your position on the Affordable Care Act, it is now easier for the self employed to get benefits.  The problem here was that Luke hadn’t done basic research to figure out what he would have to pay for benefits.  If he had that knowledge, he would know what income he would need to generate to pay for his benefits.

(3) Luke went through the salary replacement that he needed to pay his bills. Again, he was astonished when I went through the tax benefits of business ownership versus salaried employment.  While these figures obviously vary based on many factors, someone earning a $100,000 salary will likely take home $65,000.  A business owner – depending on many factors – might need $80,000 to take home the same.  (And to be clear, I mean 100% declaration of all income, including cash, – as a former criminal prosecutor, I don’t bend the law even the slightest!) 

In each scenario, Luke’s lack of knowledge had stopped him from moving forward.  Within a single hour consultation, three of Luke’s big blocks were removed.  

​What are your blocks?