View Full Version : Burning Ambition - making the break

07-01-2003, 11:36 PM

To put things as briefly as I can Iím a 21 year old Male who desperately wants to break away and work for myself. Itís a very very scary thought but I want to prove to myself that I can do it.

I left school in 97 and worked for a large German (Lansing Linde) forklift company. Here I did a Modern Apprenticeship and trained as an electrical engineer. Serviced starter motors, alternators. Repaired and overhauled forklift batteries and charging systems. Looked after a fleet of around 150 cars and vans making sure all communication and security systems were fitted and functioned correctly. I spent 5 years here, the company started to loose money rapidly and I got fed up feeling cramped with no future - not the one I vision for myself anyway.

From there I went and worked for Renault in Teesport. Here I fitted out the new Laguna range with alarm systems before they entered the dealership network. I really enjoyed this job but it was a temporary contract and alas came to an end.

I then worked for a 'one man band' guy who had a car security business. I was shocked at what I saw and without sounding big headed didnít realise I have the skills I do posses. We fitted numerous alarm systems to varied makes of car. He claimed to customerís etc to have a workshop but we actually fitted the alarms on his own house drive. It wasnt his fault, he had never been trained properly on even the simplist of things like how to connect wires securely etc. Considering the way he conducted his business he was still fairly secure financially. It was this experience that made me realise 'why canít I do that but try better?'

Now I work on a flowline in a factory and am deeply unhappy. I was offered this work before Christmas and accepted it. Since then ive fallen into the routine and desperately want to break away.

I would like to run a business concentrating on car auto Electrics. Id try to steer clear of alarm systems as this is a dying market and there are a lot of people out there fitting them poorly for little money. Id rather concentrate on Starter Motor, Alternator and also get involved in GPS tracking systems aswell as Specialist in car entertainment e.g. TV's in the headrests, Playstations, DVD, CD, stereos etc. Also fit parking sensors, handsfree kits etc. Probably in the future get some training and move onto technical fault finding etc. The equipment and training for this is however very expensive.

The problems I have to put it bluntly are a lack of confidence and not really knowing where to start. Where can I obtain Ďtradeí suppliers and secret trade information? Where can I find suitable training for large projects I may encounter in the future? Do i start from home or get a workshop?

How can i obtain good market research?

What do I do now to get this whole thing off the ground? I have the 'on the tools' knowledge but donít know how to put it into practice. Would it be wise to go and do a basic business studys course etc?

I want to run a professional straight specialist business and leave all the low end alarms etc to others. Sounds kinder nasty I know, but I hope you know what I mean.

Perhaps even scrap this whole idea and look for a good business doing something completley different. Who knows the opportunitys could be endless!

Anyhelp, advice, anything much appreciated.



08-01-2003, 02:42 AM

Lack of confidence to make the break from paid employment to self employment is the biggest barrier most budding entrepreneurs face. So, don't worry you are not the first!
You have overcome the first self confidence barrier - you know you have the skills to make a go of it, which is a big step.
To gain even more self confidence you have to get out there and research the market - find out if there are potential customers, how much they will pay etc.
If you can satisfy your inner voice that there are people willing to pay, then go for it!
Many people try and start a business while still holding down a full time job - don't know if this is possible for the line of business you want to go into. It's a good way of risk-free testing.
The bottom line is that at 21 you can afford to take 6 months to a year off to test out your idea (from a career point of view - depends on your financial position).
Go and see your local business link and talk it through. Hopefully you should be spurred on to do more research.
I have put together a series of free guides looking at some of the issues to setting up in business - check them out at www.smallbusinesssuccess.biz/steps_to_setting_up.htm

Best of luck
Small Business Success

08-01-2003, 02:13 PM

With regard to your comment about leaving out the low end work. I agree unless it leads to other things there is no point in working 70hrs a week to make a fiver and then have all the hassle of running your own business as well.

Do not know anybody which directly supplies car electrics, but if of interested know a company very well who does car body styling etc (Such as in Mags as Max Power, Fast Car). I can supply you with their details if you want. Normally they require you to buy into their product range. Even so they may be able to help you out. Send me an email if wanted ion_star@keep-trying.com

Home V Workshop. Working from home assuming you have a garage to start with would probably be a lot cheaper. Though be aware of planning regs on this/insurance. Plus upsetting you neighbours! However you may be a able to get a good deal on a local industrial unit.

Recommend having good insurance on this. Have seen a car go up in flames because of an electric problem. You may be able to get the insurance company to split the premium over 6/12months.

As with the previous poster at the age of 21 if it is not viable over 6-12mths and you wish to go back to a full time job. You can put it on your C.V. Shows initiative, something I always hope/look for in a prospective job candidate. With any luck however by the time you are 25 you will be employing half a dozen people or more.

Problems/advice post here, someone is bound to give an opinion.

Good Look



08-01-2003, 03:08 PM

"The field is never ploughed by turning it over in the mind!"

You've identified your strengths and have some proof that a market exists.

I think the sat nav market is a niche you can definately develop. One of the big ones being upgrades and support. People who invested in old style systems (such as the Philips Carin) will soon be looking to upgrade them.

Get yourself some low cost flyers printed, get on your bike and get round some of the private estates near you. This is the time of the year for alternators and batteries to play havoc on old cars, and it's also the time of year when people look to change cars so if you offer a cheap sat nav they may opt to have one installed.

You could also speak with a few local dealerships and put yourself down as a contractor when people want them fitting/upgrading.

Check out you indemnity cover and the like, but don't wait for someone else to do it.

Stay great.


08-01-2003, 07:38 PM
I completely understand where you are coming from with regards to your confidance. The best advice i can give is to really just bite the bullet and get on with it.

I left uni 3 years ago with a degree in business and marketing management but i really had no idea what i wanted to do so i found myself stuck in a dead end job, knowing deep down it wasn't what i wanted but not really having the courage to do anything about it. I'd been thinking for a number of years about setting up my own business just a week ago i finally made a move and handed in my notice. I can honestly say it was the best thing i've done in ages. I've not felt this positive in a long while.

I'd suggest firstly something as simple as looking throough the phone book for suppliers, there may not be many but they may be able to help put you in touch with someone who can.

Also try the search engines, you'll probably find a lot of stuff thats no help at all but theres very often a jewel in there!!

good luck

08-01-2003, 10:48 PM
its not necessary experience in the trade or going on courses on running business the real point which will decide if a business will fail or me successful is you will have to me a great salesman and being able to manage money and people I think the biggest barrier to running a company is managing risk all businesses carry a risk most new business fail within the first year what hold most people back is there fear of losing http://gates211.homestead.com/gates.html

09-01-2003, 01:06 AM
You could give him dome advice on starting up an affiliate scheme couldn't you paul? He could earn a living out of that surely!?!?! :-)

09-01-2003, 05:21 PM

09-01-2003, 09:26 PM
I will take a look then paul!


09-01-2003, 09:45 PM
Id like to say thanks to everyone for the friendly advice, positive comments and links.

Ive stumbled on another product tonight that can be used by fleet managers to monitor the use of there vehicles. Looks great and pricing is very reasonable. Another thing that i can look into!

Theres lots of things im mulling through my head at the minute and the future could be quite exciting! (Although im preparing for a few knockbacks)

Just gotta cross that confidence issue and get out there and *DO* it!

Cheers :-)


10-01-2003, 09:58 AM
Well, with regards to your services you want to offer. I want to get parking sensors (rear) fitted to my new vehicle. It is a bit big to park and I need help so parking sensors is the obvious solution. It is a 120" limousine for your information :)

10-01-2003, 01:53 PM
Ha Ha Ha, you finally bought your limo? How is the hire company going?



10-01-2003, 02:02 PM
Well, I don't have it as yet. But I have the cash for it. I have the limo I want in my sights but it comes down to whether it will be worth it and I want to go ahead. At the moment I am swaying to not doing it as I am would prefer to launch Warrior-Pig, my design company officially first to see how it goes. Then move onto bigger things :)


10-01-2003, 02:10 PM
Good luck then! I like your enthusiasm for business and people like you will be the ones that succeed!

10-01-2003, 02:50 PM
Thanks for your support!