Start Own Business

Not sure best place to post this. Sorry.

So I’ve been thinking of starting my own freelance/consulting business for a while.

I know it’s not easy but it’s something I’m passionate about and really don’t want to be bound to a 50-60 hour week in office with boss.

I understand there will be a lot of working hours when working for myself.

My current situation/status.

I’m 49 yrs old, married with a 2yo.

My wife does not work.

I’ve been in the union for 23 yrs.

I make about $175k yr.

Health insurance is very good.

I have about $800k in 401k.

I own two houses.

One has $300k equity

The other has $400k equity.

We have $80k in debt.

I have commitments from prospective clients that if I went into business it would generate about $17k month immediately. That’s without getting new business which I would absolutely do.

I think I could easily do $20k month.

I know it doesn’t make financial sense( I guess) to go into business on my own but it’s not all about the $.

I understand I would need to purchase health insurance.

I’d be foregoing 15 more years of pension credit if I remained in union and wouldn’t have lifetime medical when I retire if I left union now.


$20k a month minus full self-employment payroll taxes minus health insurance and other benefits would mean you are earning less than you do today. Not a good idea! Especially if there end up being worse months every now and then … and it WILL happen. Also, psychologically, if you’ve been union with those good benefits and nice salary for 23 years, it will be very difficult to adjust to being “on your own”.

A better bet (as discussed on the other thread at the METAR board) would be to buckle down, cut your expenses to the bone for a few years, pay down that debt as fast as possible, and then save save some more so you can have a very comfortable retirement funded by 4 sources - pension (~$6k/mo), social security (~$3k+$1.5k/mo), rental income (~$500/mo), and income from retirement savings (variable as you choose to take it)

Unfortunately, the LBYM board (this one) is pretty much dead at this point. As are most of the “social” boards. It used to be a fount of helpful information and LBYM ideas/tips.

Instead you would be in the office with your boss for 60-80 hours a week. This is shamelessly stolen from a friend that left company employment for self-employment a while back. He also says that his boss is sometimes an a$$hole that often makes him work nights and weekends.


Don’t give up on your dream, just plan it out a little better.

Owing $, spouse not working, and having a 2yo isn’t the best way to start going out on your own.
You could try doing a little freelance work on the side while you pay off your debt. Once you don’t owe any $ and have a nice emergency fund you can start to follow your dream.


Agree with the others about cutting/getting rid of debt first.

You don’t say what your business/profession is so not sure if it is possible, but maybe try consulting “on the side” with one small customer first.


Thanks…maybe this can be moved to a busier forum??
I’m an electrical estimator.

Like JLC and others say, FIRST, get rid of some debt.
A common tactic is to pay aggressively on the debt with the highest APR. Typically CC debt.

Once the highest APR debt is gone, aggressively pay off the next highest APR debt.

“Compounding” is currently working AGAINST you.

Start a journal. Explain to yourself WHY you want “x”.
Include your wife’s POV, too.
Later on, you’ll at least have some notes on which to look back, and understand your past thoughts.
Include an assessment of your potential growth in your current job.
Assess your “own business” potential to then compare with your current situation.
Create a “conservative”, a Base, an “expected”, and an “optimistic” case.

Pick up some side jobs for two reasons:
1 the experience of “being your own boss”:
2 some extra $ to pay down some debt.

The conventional wisdom meme is that most entrepreneurs FAIL 3 or 4 times.
The “experience” in #1 above, is in book keeping, knowing how to keep “it” all together, all the myriad details of successfully running a business, etc.
Do you already have these skills?
Do you have an accountant and book keeper?
Do you plan an S-corp, LLC, or JLC?
Do you have a BUSINESS PLAN?

How do you plan to pay the bills while the business gets up and running … Until it becomes profitable?

I don’t need answers to these questions, but YOU do. Your journal might help?

Good luck :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Thank you very much. I sincerely appreciate the advice/feedback.

I would add a different angle. When I was laid off after 28 years with my employer (with a very generous package), I imagined I would go into consulting. I had the technical skills to be a smashing success (or so I believed then, and still believe now.) What I did not have was the entrepreneurial mindset to make it work. Some people have it. I didn’t.


It sounds like you’ve got a pretty good thing going right now. You are well on your way to retiring with several million at some point. That’s the time to try something new.

It it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I understand getting tired of working in the same company/union for 23 years, but everyone pretty much feels that way at some point (say mid-late 40’s - early 50’s).

Give yourself another 7 years and see how you feel. By then you’ll be financially independent unless you start spending money foolishly. Keep putting it away and enjoy your kid growing up. Both your wife and kid deserve that, don’t they? Also by then, you’ll have 30 years in and be an ‘elder statesman’ in your position and have a better pension.

BTW, you don’t have $80k in debt - you also owe the balance of your 2 houses.


It is pretty common for people in the 40’s/50’s to look around and say “Maybe I’ll try something else.” Sometimes that works, and people change careers and are happy. Often it doesn’t. If you are tired of your current job that’s one thing, and looking forward to another 15 years of the same is not enticing. OTOH, consider the downsides as carefully as you’re weighting the “change” idea.

Since I don’t know, I’ll just ask: when you lose union seniority, can you go back in 2 years if this doesn’t work out and have the same seniority & pay? Or do you go back to the beginning of the line, complete with “on call” and “last days to select vacation” status? Could you return at your current pay scale?

Is there any way to cut back on your day job and try this consulting on the side, or would that be a conflict with your employer? Could you talk with a couple of your potential customers and line them up so when you jump you at least have a parachute? That could be a conflict, if you’re going after the same customers as your current employer, so there are issues to think about.

I have not read the whole thread, but I gather there is some discussion of “debt”. Yes, get rid of it unless it is a house mortgage and you’re paying 2%. Otherwise you’re just handing the bank a dollar and if you’re lucky getting a 25¢ discount on your taxes as a deduction. Or if you’re not lucky you’re giving the whole dollar to the bank instead of your retirement fund or a grand vacation in Vegas.

Good luck. There is much to think about; second lives can be fulfilling, but not always.


Man I love you guy. Thanks.
If I left the union and went back I’d be right back where I left off. I would also be able to to make whatever the current market salary for my position is…2 years from now probably ~$200k

Your right on all accounts.


@mstrlucky74 -

I volunteer with an organization called It is a resource partner of the SBA.
I suggest that you look for a local SCORE mentor that can help you with your decision-making process and possibly help guide you with some financial analysis.

You don’t have to choose a local mentor, maybe one that is virtual and knows your industry would be fine, too.

SCORE counselors are Free and confidential. Best of Luck!