So you're ready to walk away from your job and into your own business? You may be prepared to give up big perks like pension plans, but little things add up, too.
"It didn't occur to me how many incidentals I took for granted as an employee," recalls Sherri Fishman, who left a public relations agency in July 1991 to launch Fishman Public Relations in Deerfield, Illinois. "I knew I'd have to pay rent, and insurance and tax bills were givens. But I [didn't realize that when you] give up your job, you're also giving up use of the company's copy machine, fax and countless other indulgences."
To avoid "sticker shock" after start-up, be prepared for these changes . . . and the costs that come with them:
- Adios, assistant: If you're leaving behind a secretary, you'll be spending a surprising amount of time placing your own phone calls, drafting your own letters and doing your own filing. Can you afford an employee or temp to handle these tasks?
- So long, subscriptions: If you're used to having free access to reference books, mailing lists and magazines, get ready for a change. Can't afford to buy books or magazines? Use the Internet or the public library instead.
- Ciao, copier: If you're not ready to buy office machinery, take advantage of stationery stores, executive suites and mailing centers that offer such services.
- Goodbye, gadgets: "Memo pads, stamps, postage scales, computer disks, pens, scissors and hundreds of other gadgets totaled hundreds of dollars in expenses," Fishman says. Though inexpensive individually, these little items can add up to a substantial dent in your bottom line. Ways to save? Shop at warehouse stores or pool with other small-business owners to buy in bulk.
Paul DeCeglie is a former staff reporter for Journal of Commerce and American Banker. He can be reached at MrWritePDC@aol.com.