TOTD 2/2: Jobs, hustles, and businesses

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Timsup2nothin
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TOTD 2/2: Jobs, hustles, and businesses

Post by Timsup2nothin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:12 pm

I think people would be well served to have these three different words distinguished as three different things. I'll give an example.

Three suburban houses. All have leaks from the water main where the sprinkler manifold splits off. Anyone unfamiliar with this; the main run from the water meter at the curb into the house usually has a tee right before it goes into the foundation to supply water to the valves that run the sprinkler system. When it leaks there will be a swampy area in the yard, your water bill will be strangely high, and you will see the water meter ticking over even if nothing in the house is running. To fix it you have to shut the water off at the curb, dig up the main and find the leak, and fix it by some appropriate method.

But that's not the issue here. We're going to talk about the three guys attached to the business end of shovels that we find in the three yards.

The first guy has a job. We're probably all familiar with this. The people in the house called a plumbing contractor. He came out and made a bid on the repair that the people agreed to. The plumbing contractor sent out "one of his guys." This guy gets a regular paycheck, calls the plumbing contractor his "boss," and certainly understands what politicians and economists mean when they talk about "job creators."

The next guy has a business. It might be a plumbing business, or it might be a handyman business. At the very least he has a business license. He might have a contractor's license. A convenient way to look at him is "contractor lite." He doesn't have employees, he does the work himself. On a big job he might hire one or more day laborers.

The last guy has a hustle. Maybe he also has a job working for a plumber, but he lives two doors down and is doing the job on the cheap to be neighborly. Or maybe he's a friend of the homeowner who used to work for a plumber and got laid off, so he needs the work and the homeowner is saving some money; win/win. Whatever the circumstances this guy is different from the self employed guy because he operates without a license. The consequences of that mean that he can't advertise through the usual methods. The phone book people, the newspaper, the radio; they all ask for a business license. Maybe he supplements 'word of mouth' with a sign and phone number on the side of his truck, but that's probably the limit.

The thing to note is that all three guys need a certain group of skills, that being some basics about plumbing and the operation of a shovel.

The first guy doesn't need anything else, but he lives at the discretion of "the boss." That means two things. First off, it means that he has to deal with the personality of the boss. Might be some tongue biting, or even outright ass kissing involved, or maybe not. The second thing, which some people never think about, is that his living is dependent on the skills and interest of the boss. What if the guy isn't actually very good at getting bids? What if he develops a gambling problem, drinking problem, loses his business in a messy divorce? A big plumbing corporation might be immune to some problems while opening the door to others. Bottom line, the guy could find out, at any time and with or without warning, that the job someone else created has been 'uncreated' out from under him.

The other two guys need more skills than basic plumbing and how to work a shovel. They need to know how to ask people for money in return for their work. One way or another they need to know how to navigate the local laws governing how business is transacted; either following them or avoiding them.

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So, here's the deal...get a hustle. You don't have to make a living at it, as long as you have a job. But learn how to get people to pay you for stuff. That's the most valuable skill in the world, because when you have it you don't need a "job creator" to "give" you a job.

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Cutlass
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Re: TOTD 2/2: Jobs, hustles, and businesses

Post by Cutlass » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:27 am

I did the hustle for about a decade. It was a very lean decade. But there was a reason I wasn't really willing to be looking for a real job. Thing is that I sorta fell into a situation where I was getting enough work to live on from one customer. And he happened to be my landlord, so it was a deal that worked out for both of us. But I never was able to get much work outside of that, and he didn't always have work for me. So I had a place to live, but didn't have much money.

I tried to be a car salesman for 4-5 years. Really wasn't any good at it. I could understand, demonstrate, describe, find, the cars better than many of my more successful coworkers. I just could never close the sale. Car sales is semi like the hustle. You're really making what you personally are selling. If you can't close the sale, you don't make jack squat. If you do make the sale, you really don't need to know more than that. I could work for myself, I could do the hustle, I could go into business for myself. But since I never learned to close the sale, I never made any real money on it. Just barely enough to get by, so long as I lived poor, and did little, and my landlord kept a roof over my head in exchange for having someone on call in emergencies. But I certainly wasn't going anywhere with it. Eventually, if I'm going to have any form of an actual retirement, I had to get a real job. And I may well have waited too long for that.

My brother has a business. But I think he kind of sucks at it. Now he's been getting by for over 20 years at it now. But he's not really getting ahead at anything. If it wasn't for his wife I'm betting he'd end up with even less retirement than I'm looking at. He's saved nothing in over 20 years of self-employment. In fact he's been through bankruptcy, and when selling one house he had for 15 years got not a penny of equity out of it, for he'd remortgaged it so many times, rolling his credit card debt into it. Now he works hard, he works stupid long hours, and I think he usually gets a good result. Although he's done some really boneheaded moves in the process.

But I've never felt that he was getting good money for his work. Not compared to what other people doing the same thing get. And now most of his work is subcontracted, which means that someone else sells the job, takes a cut, hires my brother, pays him less than the job pays, and pockets the profits instead of my brother getting them. And bro can't expand, for he can't hire anyone worth keeping. Since first he can't pay them well, and second because he's a piece of shit to work for. I know that because I worked for him for 2-3 years. Eventually it was like 'if I have to go live in a cardboard box under a bridge to not work for you anymore, I'm going to go live in a cardboard box under a bridge'. And I was the most reliable worker he ever got to work for him. Many of his friends ended up not willing to work for him at all for any circumstances. So since he has to work alone for most things, he can't bid on bigger jobs, he can't expand, he can't delegate.

Guess the hustle gene just doesn't run in the family.

Timsup2nothin
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Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:24 pm

Re: TOTD 2/2: Jobs, hustles, and businesses

Post by Timsup2nothin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:24 am

Like I said, there are definitely skills required if you aren't going to just have a job supplied.

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