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Old 28 June 2015, 06:40   #1
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Escaping Birmingham

Hi All,

First and foremost kudos on a great site, the balance of good humour and advice is great and hopefully now I'm no longer a ghost member I can enjoy even more.

Now about me, Unfortunately I'm based in Birmingham and this a great hinderance for enjoying my time on the water I have been sailing and boating since I was 15, Regularly chartering yachts and sailing the south coast and IOW on usually a benetau 32' and having regular trips out on a friends rib craft 750, something I seriously enjoy!

I currently run a fairly successful Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Business after spending 5yrs working 80-100hr weeks for somebody else I decided it wasn't for me and something was missing, hence maybe thinking being the boss would improve my lifestyle and allow me to spend more time at sea and by the coast enjoying my passions. How wrong was I... It turns out I am making more money but I still have no time for myself to enjoy the things I want todo. Don't get me wrong I like my job but I feel lost.

Here comes the kicker, 3 months I decided enough was enough and I needed to make a serious change as a young lad of 24 I have a very decent amount of money in the bank but Im stuck in what I feel is a never ending cycle of doing something that pays well but gives me no real enjoyment or satisfaction and I intend to change things by moving to the south coast somewhere between Portsmouth and Exmouth and start a boat based business, something that really appeals to me is the sea safari sector and providing something that will put a smile on other peoples faces and hopefully give me a job I will relish.

Hopefully as you've read this essay you have realised Im not scared of hard work and I have pretty much sold my soul to a job I get no real enjoyment from, although it has given me the capital and potential todo something amazing.

I have done a good chunk of research and already spoken to my financial advisor and a good seafaring friend regarding the quals and insurance I will need. Nothing is set in stone but Feb 2016 is where I would like to aim for.

So my question to you ribbers is, Am I mad ? is this a pipe dream or with hard work and dedication is this something I could conceivably accomplish all replies will be appreciated greatly

Thanks again for reading.

Simon
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Old 28 June 2015, 08:40   #2
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Old 28 June 2015, 10:31   #3
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One question that always crops up in these situations is "Will working at your hobby stop you loving your hobby?" Some people seem to be fine with it, for others when they have to take paying (winging, complaining, don't do what they are told) customers out on a rubbish day that you'd never have chosen to go boating suddenly the job becomes a chore again. Suddenly you don't want to go boating. Suddenly the thing you dreamed of when work was a chore can't get you out of that hole because its the thing that put you in that hole.

There will still be all the chores of running a business - accounting , publicity, complaints, risk assessments etc to do.

There will also be far more seasonal issues that AC Work I suspect has.

There is clearly plenty of competition in the AC world, but the same applies in the boating world.

There may be more risk too. Not just a bad weather season but also things like a broken boat. Right now I suspect if your van breaks you hire one. If your tools break you can either hire major power tools or live with the fact that you may need to buy some new ones that are specific to AC work. Your boat engine dies - you loose money till its fixed. You burst a tube the same. Some thieving tw@t nicks your boat the same.

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying don't just saying beware the grass is often greener on the other side... ...mine especially... ...turns out mine is astroturf and if thats not what you are expecting then you may be disappointed...
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Old 28 June 2015, 11:07   #4
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Thanks for the reply great food for thought material ! Your right in the respect of the potential to grow to hate something I really enjoy but Im currently stuck wondering what would be worse, looking back in 10 years and wondering what if or looking back and thinking well at least I tried..

Maybe I am naive but thats why Ive come for the vast knowledge base of rib net posters.

On the topic of winging, complaining, don't do what they are told customers Id love to take you along to a few of the offices I look after, 30+ ladies in an office on a hot day with no AC is an absolute minefield and even when everything is working somebody still has to mess with the controllers and cause chaos resulting in more whining aimed at me! And when all is finally fixed nobody cares or wants to thank me for spending 8hrs in a sweaty void replacing compressors so they can answer phones and drink tea without a sweaty brow!

Thanks again for the reply and giving me those scenarios to mull over, like you say any hurdles are fairly easy to jump over at the moment in this trade and the smallest thing could be a massive problem down there.

Si
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Old 28 June 2015, 17:28   #5
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I was living in the midlands for a while and often travelling into Birmingham for work (building trade) hated the weather and decided to move to Australia.

My advice especially with the refrigeration background is to move over here and get yourself a boat

Jon
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Old 28 June 2015, 18:46   #6
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Think jonp has the best idea!take a month off & go for a look more prospects than south coast uk
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Old 29 June 2015, 04:44   #7
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Have a chat with Steve from Poole Sea Safari (250knts), his business was up for sale a while ago due to him having other comitments, not sure what status is as I haven't seen them operating this season, he could give you some advice from that angle.
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Old 29 June 2015, 07:19   #8
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It rather depends what you're actually looking for. Do you want to run a business, or just drive boats?

How about tucking your money away somewhere safe-ish, getting qualified and finding some work skippering for someone else for a while? That would help you get a feel for what you really want to do, without risking all the capital you've worked so hard for.

You may find that this actually satisfies your needs, and you can use your money for something else. If not it should give you a better idea of what to do (or not do) next.
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Old 29 June 2015, 18:34   #9
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Not sure who or if anyone still does the water taxi in Yarmouth (IOW). A mate of mine started doing it about 30 years ago to save tipsy yacht owners doing the trip in their small inflatables, many boats were moored outside the harbour during summer.

Income was almost 100% cash with some good tips too, he went on to buy a new charter boat but claimed he made enough money through summer to carry him through winter in Spain.

There may be other towns on the south coast with similar opportunities.(or move to Australia) I went from cold wet building sites to taking photos such as the one here at my new home town Narooma, South Coast NSW - Information, Tourism & Business Website¬*Official Narooma Tourism Website

JonP
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Old 30 June 2015, 03:57   #10
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Theres probably not many of us who after a bad week at work and a good day on the water haven't at least had a fleeting thought like this.

I know enough about compressed gasses and basic electronics that I could probably sit a few short courses and muddle through as an air con engineer. I'd have zero customer base, no reputation, and nothing that makes me special. The only way I could compete would be price, whilst trying to promote / market the business and fund my training, tools etc. You'll be in exactly the same boat (excuse the pun).

Many years ago there was an article in rib international about setting up this sort of thing.
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Old 01 July 2015, 12:54   #11
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Hi chaps, as you can imagine over the last few days I have been everyones favourite tradesmen with the heatwave. Thanks for everyones input I've had a great read and its amazing how much time you guys put into sending a response especially to a newbie like me with some OTT idea haha.

jonp - Is it really that great it oz ? Ive always liked the idea of moving away but Ive heard some horror stories from 2 lads in the trade who left with the grass is greener attitude but they just couldn't settle and found the work very different ? At the moment the wether is phenomenal 36deg

beamishken - I wish I could take a month off but I've trapped myself in a corner with my service contracts I'm pretty much tied into maximum 48hr response times so Im stuck good and proper..

boristhebold - Funny you should mention 250kts one of his posts was actually what lead me onto rib net, I have already sent him an email but with no response so maybe a PM on here might be worth a shot, thanks for the heads up

John Kennett - Hi John, I never expected the top man of rib net would turn up with some advice!

The idea of running the business really appeals to me, from being my own boss going back to working for somebody else is really unattractive the immense satisfaction I have gotten from building a business has been unmatched but the potential of running a marine based business where I could crew a boat would be a huge bonus!

And in the respect of the money Ive got no idea what else id do with it apart from tying it up in property its just sitting there as a cushion, I know I'm very lucky in this situation but I really feel I should be doing something I want.

jonp - haha yarmouth! I wish there was a water taxi about in 2010 when the skipper of our boat failed to hold the tender properly resulting in me taking a dip in the harbour fully clothed Defiantly maybe worth a look as another venture along side the seafari business, But I really feel I would need a business that I could expand and grow poring my heart and soul into it, water taxis are a necessity and not one I could really grow. Thanks for the reply it defiantly gave me another angle to look at.

Poly - Originally when the thoughts of a business like this spung into my head I wrote it off as a pipe dream and something i was using as an escape while having bad days but more and more I am justifying the idea, I am the biggest critique of myself in this respect.

When I started my current business I started with zero customer base, no reputation, and nothing that made me special on face value, I refused to compete on price instead offering a honest and transparent service treating my customers with the highest levels of customer service and advising the I am not the chepest but I will do a job the levels of quality they expect and I will be reimbursed a fair fee. Also pumping a huge amount of time into face to face marketing and promotion. So far this has worked out very well I have accrued a good amount of business and repeat customers, and I believe I could make an impact in this market with the same attitude, The pun did give me a chuckle

If your interested in starting a A/C business Ive got a nice sportline transporter full of all the tools you need that may be up for sale soon ? A few engineers I know have followed your training path and are doing alright for themselves

Thanks again for all the responses gents, The fact nobody has cut my idea to shreds and written me off is very positive, instead you all have provided great advice and has given more to think about, if you have anymore good or bad comments please fire away

Simon
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Old 01 July 2015, 14:03   #12
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You only have one life...don't regret it. Do it.
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Old 01 July 2015, 16:45   #13
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You're in a great position and like the last post said:

'you only get one life so do it'

but you also need to give yourself the best chance possible of making it work. For me there's one golden rule - do your research - and do it thoroughly so you know everything about the sector/market etc. I know that's what you are starting to do by asking on this forum but just with any business whether you already have money in the bank or need investment, research and a very detailed business plan is absolutely essential.

An old boss said to me once pick your winners and that's so true. Not all businesses can be successful however hard you work at them - the key is finding that out before you start.

I've run my own successful business for the past 5 years but worked in that sector and related sectors for 15 years. All businesses are different and require different approaches etc. Just because you've made a success out of one business its no guarantee that the next one will be too.


Personally my advice would be:

1. Get to know the market really, really well (great advice from John Kennett - work for someone else and earn while you learn.)

2. Put together a thorough / detailed business plan based on solid knowledge of the sector.

3. only do it if it's stacks up on paper. At the end of it all you need to make a living and hopefully a good one!!

If I was you I would get myself down to a different area to where you want to set up your business, get a job in the same/related sector and enjoy yourself for a year. You'll learn so much, all if which will be invaluable to your future business venture.
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Old 01 July 2015, 17:05   #14
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Thanks for that Chris, I think you've pretty much summed up the whole post into one reply and it really rings true with me.

As you say the best option is to run it all on paper then get some experience before jumping in at the deep end and falling flat on my face.

A previous mentor also said to me failing to plan is planning to fail, maybe its time to listen for once in my life instead of just doing what I feel like..

Time for bed now, the brummys are still going to need air con in the morning ill keep dreaming!

Thanks again mate
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Old 01 July 2015, 17:17   #15
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Not just the Brummys mate - be got 2 moaning children saying they are too hot to sleep
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