Russ and the Cave House
Recently I wrote about my younger son who damaged his wrist badly, working on his own business – and how that had reminded me of the need to have a Plan B in place, in case your main source of income falls apart.
Incidentally, thanks for the good wishes for Matt's arm. I saw him last weekend and it's healing well, but having seen the pictures of the wound when it first happened, it just reinforces how lucky he has been!
However, Matt isn't my only entrepreneurial son!
When Plan A Falls Apart
My elder son, Russ, had a great job as a Network Support Engineer. He'd been there for 7 years and worked his way up to quite a responsible position in the company, with a suitably generous remuneration.
Then disaster struck, and his whole team was made redundant when the company decided they could contract those skills out to lower paid staff working outside the UK. Russ tried to get more work, but his knowledge is in a very specialized niche, and the right job just didn't come along.
So – he amazed the whole family by selling up everything in the UK and buying a “cave-house” to run as a guest house in Spain.
I haven't mentioned it before because (although he's a fabulous cook) I wasn't sure how they would fare with the tasks they have had to learn in just a few short months:
- Selling current UK property at a distance to finance the new property
- Negotiating a Spanish property purchase
- Satisfying Spanish self-employed legalities (proof needed to get onto the booking site he is using)
- Learning enough Spanish to “get by”
- Sprucing up the “two apartment cave house” to a high enough standard for guests
- Getting to grips with the Spanish plumbing system
- Presenting the property attractively to guests
- Taking online bookings and payments
- Assessing the competition and price-testing
- Last but not least – still supporting my computer network at a distance!
There are probably far more jobs than I've mentioned, but those were just the few objections I put up when he first mooted the idea.
So Has It Worked?
It hasn't turned out to be the “walk in the park” I think he'd imagined. Quote “I'm so busy I barely get chance to shave”.
But against all predictions of doom, the bookings are coming in. The first few clients have checked in, stayed, then left – having parted with money happily, and – even better – promising to come back!
And The Connection to Internet Marketing….
… is NOT that all his bookings have been generated online! Because some of the newer ones are coming from “word-of-mouth” recommendations.
The connection to Internet Marketing applies if IM would be a new business to you.
In which case, the moral of Russ's story is that starting any new business, whether it is online or offline, will involve you in learning new skills. As my logo says you'll be “Learning as you go along”.
When job prospects in the UK looked bleak, my son didn't sit on his back-side holding out his hands for benefits. He launched into something completely unknown to make a better future – and he is MAKING it work, learning as he goes along.
Update October 2019 – He is still there, with several returning guests, and has outlasted many of his competition!
The Risks of Starting an Online Business
Compared to the high risk strategy above (which to be honest still leaves me quaking at night), starting an online business is way down on the scale of low-risk.
It's a business (I assume that's what you want?) so you'll need to spend a little money:
- Domain name
- Hosting and autoresponder – save money here
- Maybe a little advertising to speed things up
- Training to get yourself started – here are some courses
Then apply yourself diligently, a few hours per day (or even per week) and focus on your new business without deviating. As Russ is now doing.
I WAS going to put “If it all goes pear-shaped you haven't lost much” but NO, that's for losers! I will re-frame that…
If it takes longer to be successful that you had hoped, you haven't risked the food bills or the housing costs – DON'T even think of doing that!!
The on-going costs of an Internet business are low enough that you can continue steadily until you get there, and every blog post you make is another step along the way.
Please comment below. Which would you prefer? The low risk of starting an online business, or Russ's “burn your boats” strategy? Hint – I'm still in the UK with my online business, so no prizes for guessing which I chose. But “good on yer” to my “Spanish” family LOL. He is working for his dream and I am SO proud of him.