Work for the man or go out on my own?

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Continuation of this thread 

In the beginning of August, I quit my job and moved from the UK to Switzerland to live with my gf. Long story short, I am without work. I am interviewing with an IT services company that will likely offer me a manager-level position with a compensation package around 140k. My job would be split between growing the business (PreSales, Engagement Management) and Delivering (Implementation and Professional Services). It will take about a month until they can offer the job in writing, but it is pretty much mine.

In June, I was introduced by the VP of Sales from my old company to a guy in Switzerland who is looking at starting up an IT services company. He had his own company for ~20 years, however it went bankrupt about 2 years ago. Now, he's looking at starting over. We have exact opposite backgrounds, he is a sales and marketing guy, while I have more of a technical background. We have been meeting on a regular basis, and we are very much on the same page about how we would run our company. Our company would offer the same services that the larger company offers (the one that is looking to hire me). The larger company has some pretty strict requirements around minimum deal size, and we would start off by picking up whatever they weren't interested in. Once the company grows, we would eventually like to go head-to-head with the larger company on larger deals. No other company is offering these services to the Swiss market right now. There have been a lot of changes in our specific industry lately, with the big players merging, and of course an overall transition from premise and hosted systems to the cloud. However, we see both of these events as opportunities rather than risks.

I'm 29. I have ~600k net worth, and my minimum living expenses are $2-2.5k a month (number would likely double if I took the salaried job, because I want to enjoy life a little and travel). I don't know yet how much initial capital requirements there will be to launch the business, but it will be small, less than $20k. Our biggest startup cost is opportunity cost for both us. My gf was initially very supportive of starting the business, but now she's not sure. I am leaning towards going out on my own. On my last day of work, I talked with the same VP of Sales, and he advised me not to work for this that company, or any other company for that matter, rather to go out on my own. I would hate to talk to this guy 5 years from now, and find out that he started the business and made a shit-ton of money, meanwhile I am still working a 9-5.

Anyone been in a similar situation before? Which did you choose and why?

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You are young.
You have deep cash reserves.
You have no dependents.

If there was a time that this level of risk was appropriate, it would be now.

nasheedb said:   Continuation of this thread 

In the beginning of August, I quit my job and moved from the UK to Switzerland to live with my gf. Long story short, I am without work. I am interviewing with an IT services company that will likely offer me a manager-level position with a compensation package around 140k. My job would be split between growing the business (PreSales, Engagement Management) and Delivering (Implementation and Professional Services). It will take about a month until they can offer the job in writing, but it is pretty much mine.

In June, I was introduced by the VP of Sales from my old company to a guy in Switzerland who is looking at starting up an IT services company. He had his own company for ~20 years, however it went bankrupt about 2 years ago. Now, he's looking at starting over. We have exact opposite backgrounds, he is a sales and marketing guy, while I have more of a technical background. We have been meeting on a regular basis, and we are very much on the same page about how we would run our company. Our company would offer the same services that the larger company offers (the one that is looking to hire me). The larger company has some pretty strict requirements around minimum deal size, and we would start off by picking up whatever they weren't interested in. Once the company grows, we would eventually like to go head-to-head with the larger company on larger deals. No other company is offering these services to the Swiss market right now. There have been a lot of changes in our specific industry lately, with the big players merging, and of course an overall transition from premise and hosted systems to the cloud. However, we see both of these events as opportunities rather than risks.

I'm 29. I have ~600k net worth, and my minimum living expenses are $2-2.5k a month (number would likely double if I took the salaried job, because I want to enjoy life a little and travel). I don't know yet how much initial capital requirements there will be to launch the business, but it will be small, less than $20k. Our biggest startup cost is opportunity cost for both us. My gf was initially very supportive of starting the business, but now she's not sure. I am leaning towards going out on my own. On my last day of work, I talked with the same VP of Sales, and he advised me not to work for this that company, or any other company for that matter, rather to go out on my own. I would hate to talk to this guy 5 years from now, and find out that he started the business and made a shit-ton of money, meanwhile I am still working a 9-5.

Anyone been in a similar situation before? Which did you choose and why?
  

Sounds like a no brainer to start your own company.

You said in the thread that you linked to in your original post, which I just clicked on and skimmed for 20 seconds, that your girlfriend's postdoc is ending soon and she'll be looking for a job at the end of this year, and you both want to live somewhere where you both have good jobs, even if that means moving to a farflung third country:

"Towards the end of the year, she will be in a position to start looking for new opportunities either in academia or in industry.
If I can find a job in Switzerland by the end of the year, then she will look for opportunities here as well.
We would not buy a house until we both have good, stable jobs.
If plan A does not work out, plan B is to look for jobs elsewhere. The reality is that the US would most likely be the place where we can both find good jobs....
I would also be open to going someplace entirely new, such as certain Asian countries or Australia.
The chances of both of us finding good jobs and getting visas is slim.
Where ever my gf goes to next, she will likely need to stay for the next 5 years."

If she doesn't know where her next job is going to be, and she wants to work at her next position for at least 5 years --
and due to the the low academia employment rate for many new PhDs, the vagaries and political intrigues of seeking academic employment, etc., she just can't live in any city and work at any employer, so you may not want to take a big risk in your career in Switzerland to fund a startup in the next few months, as well as tying yourself down to living in Switzerland for the foreseeable future because your startup is there, if she doesn't know if she'll be able to find a job there.

I think you said that you both want to get a house and start a family, and if her career is not on firm footing right now, and if you won't be able to buy a house based on your own income stability and job permanence if you are investing in a startup, etc., that may not be a very settled time to try for children, and this might be part of why your girlfriend "was initially very supportive of starting the business, but now she's not sure".

You have the option of quickly starting a new job with a good salary, which will give you stability and continuity in Switzerland.  It is a job that you will be able to leave pretty easily if your girlfriend discovers in the next 5 months that she is unable to find a university job in Switzerland and the only job she can get in her field is in Singapore or Cape Town or Boulder or wherever.

Do you have your Hungarian passport now?
Do you have firm permission to live in Switzerland for the medium or long-term, AND to work in Switzerland, AND and to own your own company in Switzerland?
(Sorry, I haven't read all of your prior threads closely.)

Of the threads that I do recall having read --
Looking back at some of the situations you have been in where you have had prior high expectations that haven't jibed with the reality you later found yourself in,
such as how you were extremely disappointed with the town and apartment in the UK where you decided to live last year (this, after much to-ing and fro-ing and getting advice from FW including people who knew what they were talking about),
and your dismay with the poor conditions of a cheap hotel in Romania (the country your family originally hails from) that you had booked online,

I would suggest that if your girlfriend's career is at a big turning point (one of the most important transitional moments, in her type of career) in the 8 months specifically, and she might need to have the flexibility to move to another country, and then she will need to stay at her next job in that location for 5 more years,

and if you both feel it is time to settle down with your living situation and to start trying for a baby (and it is time, given your ages),

and if you are looking at the choice of very quickly having a good income, in a location that you love, with good career security, in a job that would be easy to resign from if your girlfriend's job takes her to a different country and you want to move with her to be in the same place --
versus investing in a startup (most of which fail) that gives you no job security and that ties you down much more intensively to staying in the same location and continuing to work at it for several years even if it does not pay you much of an income --
especially when there doesn't seem to be a reason that you couldn't try to start the same kind of startup in 2 years' time, after your girlfriend's job is settled and after you know where you and she are going to live for the next 5 years
(except for the fact, of course, that there is this guy in Switzerland who wants to do the startup with you right now, but maybe you could find other guys with his skills a few years from now),

and your girlfriend has told you that she is not thrilled about the idea of your starting a new business instead of taking a well-paid, salaried, secure job....

I don't think that I personally would gamble all the positives that you have on your side on this new potential startup partner and idea, given the other issues.

I'd say if you're wired to be a freelancer, to go for it now. You're only up against the opportunity cost of your current salary, and it will only get higher as you follow a career track at a company and/or start a family.

Take a shot dude. You can live cheap and have enough cash to try to make it work for a few years. It's a 10-20% chance to never have to work again. If it fails you probably set your retirement back a few years but not your career.

Not to mention you'll learn a shit load working with a guy who ran a business for 20 years. You'll be much more flexible and valuable in future positions as a result.

I'm in pre-sales and I would jump to a startup for equity if I had the level of savings and liquidity that you do.

If the start-up doesn't work out, you should still be eligible for a position at the big company given your additional experience and exposure to more parts of the business and industry than you would get in a big company.

I suppose the opposite is also true, but I think it's healthy for young professionals to try out the start-up route as a learning experience and possible career preference. Start-ups require energy and risk tolerance not always available to older workers.

Having said that, I'm not getting a good feeling about what you have described, particularly in terms of capitalization and compensation.

Capitalization

Are you saying you would put in $20K capital for half the equity and half the profits? If so, $40K is not going to last very long (particularly if you need to bring on non-billable staff right away) and there may not be profits for quite a while. I'd be concerned if the company's total capital (debt + equity) is less than mid-six figures. Start out with too little capital and you may find yourself under pressure to add more. This area is of greater concern to me than the start-up vs. established firm issue. You have plenty of time for a career detour but you don't want to put half your net worth at risk, particularly with a partner who just blew up a similar company (assuming he ran it, which may not be true). Not sure what services you are offering, but margins on consulting services are not terribly exciting for the company; the consultants can do fine but not if the company fails.

Compensation

Sometimes equity partners are not expected to take salaries until the company is profitable, and even then friction arises when one partner wants to take profits while the other wants to re-invest profits for expansion or other purposes. You can negotiate when you will start taking salary or consulting fees, but if the company is at risk, it's hard to demand income unless you are desperate. Bottom line is you may need to plan to draw down savings, rely on your SO's income for a while, or both to make this work. Most importantly, you need to really believe it makes sense to hitch your wagon to this partner. You need to believe in his financial wherewithal, background, acumen, energy, health, temperament, demonstrated effectiveness, integrity, communication, network, etc. Zero red flags. Same for you. If one of two partners fails, the business probably fails.

Let me put it this way: it is rare for two people who don't know each other very well to go into business together as equity partners and succeed. There are ways to mitigate the risk, but you need to realize many things can go wrong.

FYI my background includes several roles similar to what you have described including big companies and start-ups. I've also put equity in a small business and it did not go well.

Here are some facts:
1. The overwhelming majority of new businesses fail within three years
2. Running your own business is a difficult, stressful, life-absorbing task, involving many late hours, worked weekends and forsaken vacations
3. Life is short.
4. The amount of money required to live a good, healthy, comfortable, fulfilling life is actually surprisingly small.
5. As an average taken across the population, a person will make more money, in less time, with less stress by working for someone else than by running their own business.

At the end of the day, it's all about the averages.  The Michael Dells and Larry Ellisons of the world are outliers.  By definition, the chances of you being one of those guys is very, very low.  So you should only strike out on your own if you are 100% positive that you are an outlier, and that you have the background, skills, knowledge and LUCK to make it big.

Unfortunately, if you DO believe that, you're probably wrong.  The numbers don't lie.  Good luck.

Dude!

Do they have any Starbucks out there? You could try getting a job there until you find more work for yourself. If you can make a go of it independently, I would say go for it. You don't have to be a Michael Dell or a Larry Ellison... if you were to make 5% of what they made... that would still be fantastically successful, no? Just keep something in your back pocket that you can fall back on if it doesn't work out or takes a little longer.

oppidum said:   You said in the thread that you linked to in your original post, which I just clicked on and skimmed for 20 seconds, that your girlfriend's postdoc is ending soon and she'll be looking for a job at the end of this year, and you both want to live somewhere where you both have good jobs, even if that means moving to a farflung third country:

"Towards the end of the year, she will be in a position to start looking for new opportunities either in academia or in industry.
If I can find a job in Switzerland by the end of the year, then she will look for opportunities here as well.
We would not buy a house until we both have good, stable jobs.
If plan A does not work out, plan B is to look for jobs elsewhere. The reality is that the US would most likely be the place where we can both find good jobs....
I would also be open to going someplace entirely new, such as certain Asian countries or Australia.
The chances of both of us finding good jobs and getting visas is slim.
Where ever my gf goes to next, she will likely need to stay for the next 5 years."

If she doesn't know where her next job is going to be, and she wants to work at her next position for at least 5 years --
and due to the the low academia employment rate for many new PhDs, the vagaries and political intrigues of seeking academic employment, etc., she just can't live in any city and work at any employer, so you may not want to take a big risk in your career in Switzerland to fund a startup in the next few months, as well as tying yourself down to living in Switzerland for the foreseeable future because your startup is there, if she doesn't know if she'll be able to find a job there.

I think you said that you both want to get a house and start a family, and if her career is not on firm footing right now, and if you won't be able to buy a house based on your own income stability and job permanence if you are investing in a startup, etc., that may not be a very settled time to try for children, and this might be part of why your girlfriend "was initially very supportive of starting the business, but now she's not sure".

You have the option of quickly starting a new job with a good salary, which will give you stability and continuity in Switzerland.  It is a job that you will be able to leave pretty easily if your girlfriend discovers in the next 5 months that she is unable to find a university job in Switzerland and the only job she can get in her field is in Singapore or Cape Town or Boulder or wherever.

Do you have your Hungarian passport now?
Do you have firm permission to live in Switzerland for the medium or long-term, AND to work in Switzerland, AND and to own your own company in Switzerland?
(Sorry, I haven't read all of your prior threads closely.)

Of the threads that I do recall having read --
Looking back at some of the situations you have been in where you have had prior high expectations that haven't jibed with the reality you later found yourself in,
such as how you were extremely disappointed with the town and apartment in the UK where you decided to live last year (this, after much to-ing and fro-ing and getting advice from FW including people who knew what they were talking about),
and your dismay with the poor conditions of a cheap hotel in Romania (the country your family originally hails from) that you had booked online,

I would suggest that if your girlfriend's career is at a big turning point (one of the most important transitional moments, in her type of career) in the 8 months specifically, and she might need to have the flexibility to move to another country, and then she will need to stay at her next job in that location for 5 more years,

and if you both feel it is time to settle down with your living situation and to start trying for a baby (and it is time, given your ages),

and if you are looking at the choice of very quickly having a good income, in a location that you love, with good career security, in a job that would be easy to resign from if your girlfriend's job takes her to a different country and you want to move with her to be in the same place --
versus investing in a startup (most of which fail) that gives you no job security and that ties you down much more intensively to staying in the same location and continuing to work at it for several years even if it does not pay you much of an income --
especially when there doesn't seem to be a reason that you couldn't try to start the same kind of startup in 2 years' time, after your girlfriend's job is settled and after you know where you and she are going to live for the next 5 years
(except for the fact, of course, that there is this guy in Switzerland who wants to do the startup with you right now, but maybe you could find other guys with his skills a few years from now),

and your girlfriend has told you that she is not thrilled about the idea of your starting a new business instead of taking a well-paid, salaried, secure job....

I don't think that I personally would gamble all the positives that you have on your side on this new potential startup partner and idea, given the other issues.

  
My gf has a guaranteed job until August 2017. She can most likely have her contract renewed for another year, but it depends on whether the university has funding or not. In the next 6-12 months she will be at a point with her research where she will be ready to move on. If her contract is renewed, this gives her a 12-18 month window to find a permanent job in Switzerland. If I start the business, I should have a pretty good idea by this time whether it is on the path to success or failure. Then we can make a decision what to do from there.

I see 4 possibilities:
1. She finds a job here, and the business starts gaining traction. Ideal situation
2. She finds a job here, and the business is failing. I go out and find a job. I don't think it should be too difficult, especially with the experience I gained from running the business.
3. She is unable to find a job here, and the business is failing. We both pack up and move on, most likely back to the US.
4. She is unable to find a job here, but the business is gaining traction. This is the most difficult situation, and I don't have a good answer for what would happen.

cleanbeat said:   Capitalization

Are you saying you would put in $20K capital for half the equity and half the profits? If so, $40K is not going to last very long (particularly if you need to bring on non-billable staff right away) and there may not be profits for quite a while. I'd be concerned if the company's total capital (debt + equity) is less than mid-six figures. Start out with too little capital and you may find yourself under pressure to add more. This area is of greater concern to me than the start-up vs. established firm issue. You have plenty of time for a career detour but you don't want to put half your net worth at risk, particularly with a partner who just blew up a similar company (assuming he ran it, which may not be true). Not sure what services you are offering, but margins on consulting services are not terribly exciting for the company; the consultants can do fine but not if the company fails.
 

  
We haven't calculated out the capital requirements. Whatever it ends up being, I will put in 50% and my partner will put in 50%.

We are basically reselling two different companies' products. We make our money on the implementation (not much, since they're both cloud products), customization and on-going services. For the first few customers, I will be able to perform the services all on my own. If there is difficult customizations that are required, I have friends who work as freelancer developers who I can outsource a portion of the project to. We basically wouldn't need to hire salaried staff until we have so much business that I cannot handle it all on my own, and by this time, the business should have sufficient revenue to pay for the salaries. We would like to use near-shore employees, most likely in Romania or Bulgaria to do some of the development work later on.

The way I see it, is we can start the business just the two of us with minimum initial capital. If we see that the business is gaining traction, then we may need to invest additional capital to hire salaried staff. For the initial learning experiment, we will need very little capital.
cleanbeat said: Compensation

Sometimes equity partners are not expected to take salaries until the company is profitable, and even then friction arises when one partner wants to take profits while the other wants to re-invest profits for expansion or other purposes. You can negotiate when you will start taking salary or consulting fees, but if the company is at risk, it's hard to demand income unless you are desperate. Bottom line is you may need to plan to draw down savings, rely on your SO's income for a while, or both to make this work. Most importantly, you need to really believe it makes sense to hitch your wagon to this partner. You need to believe in his financial wherewithal, background, acumen, energy, health, temperament, demonstrated effectiveness, integrity, communication, network, etc. Zero red flags. Same for you. If one of two partners fails, the business probably fails.

Let me put it this way: it is rare for two people who don't know each other very well to go into business together as equity partners and succeed. There are ways to mitigate the risk, but you need to realize many things can go wrong.

FYI my background includes several roles similar to what you have described including big companies and start-ups. I've also put equity in a small business and it did not go well.


I think we are on the same page. We are both interested in growing the business. All I would like is to draw a $2.5k a month salary so I can live off of it, but we both understand that the money will be made later, once the company gets big.

So far there have been zero red flags about this guy. I feel pretty comfortable moving forward at this point.

OP
I was at the same fork 13 years ago. I went out on my own. It is one of the best decisions I ever made.
If you are good, even if your business fails, IT world would absorb you. And you will be back at a 9-5 job.

People
It is true that you hear only about Dell/Larrys of the world. You don't hear about many others who failed. But you also don't hear about those who had moderate success. They made lot more money than a 9-5 job. And they were far more happy to be their own boss.

There are a lot of other factors to consider besides just financial. Do you prefer to set your own schedule? Are you ok never really having time "off"? You will also be taking on a lot of other tasks and solving problems you didn't have to when you were wearing one hat as an employee. Some people fit better in one role than another.

I've been lucky that I've never had an issue with any of the people I've partnered with, but it's important that everyone is on the same page and everything is spelled out in advance. How do you provide compensation if one person works more, or has a more valuable role than the other. Plan for an exit strategy. Discuss your roles, not only your critical IT roles, but other aspects like legal, tax, HR, etc. Did you talk to the potential partner about timelines and goals, and what he needs to get from the business to continue to be a partner?

You sound like you're in a great situation to try this out, and if nothing else it will be a great learning experience. Good luck!

I started and sold a Managed Services company, exiting in 2014 and I sold for about 1.5 times revenues. It is a lot of work and requires several factors to make it worthwhile. Some quick thoughts.

1. Customers pick small IT companies only if they believe in you personally - So this nonsense about "picking up" stuff is not going to scale meaningfully unless you hire marketing folks and pick up work fast that way

2. Once you reach even a moderate size, keeping the pipeline full to pay your employees becomes harder and harder. Unless of course all you want to do is is hire the equivalent of 1099s in which case you are nothing more than a staffing agency. And the valuations for staffing companies are quite terrible so any exit is practically meaningless unless there are special circumstances (which you don't have).

3. Everyone is correct about the long hours and the angst/stress etc. Please keep that in mind. It is real and can actually cause sleepless nights. I still cannot get a good nights sleep and it has been 2 full years since I exited. It is getting better however.

The big advantage for you - which is why you should do it - is that you really have nothing to lose and the experience is worth it. You don't make much money and so you can easily get a IT job in your discipline when your adventure fails in a year or two.

4. 2 is a bad number for partnerships. Please ensure you have all the legal paperwork drawn up correctly and have a mechanism for withdrawals, drawdowns etc. Just read ksuwldkat's post carefully - better yet, pin it above your desk to ensure that you don't forget those critical points.

OP: Did you ever get permission to work in Switzerland? Don't see that answered here, and without that, the rest is a moot point.

Scaling tech workers is extremely difficult. Competency is hard to find and retain. Nothing will attract and more importantly keep solid IT workers long term to your startup firm without above average comp. MSPs can't maintain pipelines with workers to fill demand. This is a fact. The best IT guys go to work at great companies, or well funded startups. Everyone else and third tier is who you will get. When the gigs find out that the on-site guy is subpar the whole thing falls apart.

If I remember the last thread you were completely bounced on your work visa with a company last year.. so is the current company sure they can do what the other firm spent a good bit of money trying unsuccessfully? I am not aware of the Swiss changing their opinion of Romanian workers.

Add to that if you go out on your own you have an even harder fight to get work status. Normally as an "investor" you can get around a lot but you aren't investing that much.

Really your big expense if you go the startup route is your living costs - you will be working a lot and not making a commensurate salary until the company takes off. One thing you didn't mention was how "localized" the job was - there is no reason you can't telecommute if you are doing the technical side. So if the missus gets a job in France or Belgium (or anyplace else in EU) you can always work semi-remote. On the upside you are not fronting that much, 20K plus the differential income -- you can always walk away. (upside for business and a downside for immigration)

rismoney said:   Scaling tech workers is extremely difficult. Competency is hard to find and retain. Nothing will attract and more importantly keep solid IT workers long term to your startup firm without above average comp. MSPs can't maintain pipelines with workers to fill demand. This is a fact. The best IT guys go to work at great companies, or well funded startups. Everyone else and third tier is who you will get. When the gigs find out that the on-site guy is subpar the whole thing falls apart.
  
Actually with his comment about near-shoring I think that part is manageable.  Either Romania or Ireland has plenty of workers whose scale is much lower than Switzerland, and can work remoted.  Start up a legal company as a bridge and you can pay above market and still be half of Swiss salaries.  If they are still at "home" then they don't WANT to migrate for work.  If you find a really good guy who wants to work from home in Donegal IE then you can afford the overhead of a staffing firm too.

Telecommute will get you better employees than money.  They take a different management style, and you can even pull in US or Asia for night coverage if needed without anyone working nights.  (that is when/if you get larger)  I knew a guy that managed/wrote a lot of software for SwissRE from Canada.  He started as a cog and ended up being a lever.  


Encouraged By Others To Take Risks
Disclaimer
Here's an article about how people tend to encourage others to take risks because they themselves are not risking anything: http://thefinancebuff.com/encouraged-by-others-to-take-risks.htm...

Hire me! I'd love to move to Switzerland.

nasheedb said:   
oppidum said:   You said in the thread that you linked to in your original post, which I just clicked on and skimmed for 20 seconds, that your girlfriend's postdoc is ending soon and she'll be looking for a job at the end of this year, and you both want to live somewhere where you both have good jobs, even if that means moving to a farflung third country:

"Towards the end of the year, she will be in a position to start looking for new opportunities either in academia or in industry.
If I can find a job in Switzerland by the end of the year, then she will look for opportunities here as well.
We would not buy a house until we both have good, stable jobs.
 

  
My gf has a guaranteed job until August 2017. She can most likely have her contract renewed for another year, but it depends on whether the university has funding or not. In the next 6-12 months she will be at a point with her research where she will be ready to move on. If her contract is renewed, this gives her a 12-18 month window to find a permanent job in Switzerland.
 

The way you described the scenario the first time (which I think you wrote quite recently) , it sounded like a lot was hinging on the end of this year.  Now, it seems that is not the case, and your new description makes it sound like you two have a couple of years with a lot of security in Switzerland before you have to figure it all out. 

You didn't answer the questions about your passport, your right to reside in Switzerland, your right to work for others in Switzerland, and your right to own a business in a Switzerland (not to mention your right to employ people in Switzerland); each is probably a different issue in Switzerland.

Perhaps you ask so often for people's thoughts here in order to shore up your confidence in the path you have already decided to take.  Any path you take will provide learning and growth, and I'm sure you'll keep the site updated on your career.

Youth and time are often of the essence when trying for a baby, as many women of my acquaintance can attest (many were unable to, after waiting for their partner to feel ready, and for many other pieces of life to fall into place), so I hope that happens one day for your girlfriend if it's part of her life goals.

Mickie3 said:   OP: Did you ever get permission to work in Switzerland? Don't see that answered here, and without that, the rest is a moot point.
  
Not yet, however, the rules changed in my favor recently. I have a temporary work residency permit that allows me to also work, however that will be converted into a 5-year work permit as soon as I have a work contract. I can also get a work contract as self-employed if I have a business plan and show proof of startup capital.

RedWolfe01 said:   If I remember the last thread you were completely bounced on your work visa with a company last year.. so is the current company sure they can do what the other firm spent a good bit of money trying unsuccessfully? I am not aware of the Swiss changing their opinion of Romanian workers.

Add to that if you go out on your own you have an even harder fight to get work status. Normally as an "investor" you can get around a lot but you aren't investing that much.

Really your big expense if you go the startup route is your living costs - you will be working a lot and not making a commensurate salary until the company takes off. One thing you didn't mention was how "localized" the job was - there is no reason you can't telecommute if you are doing the technical side. So if the missus gets a job in France or Belgium (or anyplace else in EU) you can always work semi-remote. On the upside you are not fronting that much, 20K plus the differential income -- you can always walk away. (upside for business and a downside for immigration)

  
The rules changed at the beginning of June:

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/switzerland-opens-its-la...

Now Romanian workers get treated just like Germans, French, Dutch, etc.

I have a small issue. The big company is moving much quicker than expected. First interview with them was last Friday. Monday morning they called me to schedule a follow-up interview. The follow-up interview was today. After the interview the HR guy said they may have an offer ready by early next week.

I talked to my business partner about it. He encouraged me to go ahead and take the offer when it comes in. We would still like to do something in the near future, however, he would feel more comfortable if he already had a couple of deals in the works before we started doing this full-time. I will need to be careful about my involvement with the business until I quit, as it could very easily create a conflict of interest and potentially violate the non-compete clause that my work contract will almost certainly have.

nasheedb said:    I will need to be careful about my involvement with the business until I quit, as it could very easily create a conflict of interest and potentially violate the non-compete clause that my work contract will almost certainly have.
 

 As I was reading, I was thinking the same thing.  It sounds like your business partner (having gone through bankruptcy previously) is looking out for your best interest and is being conservative, which I think reflects well on him.

To me this really boils down to how risk averse you are and I'm talking deep inside, not the "shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll be amongst the stars" type memes people post on Facebook but never really follow through with.  If you pass up this opportunity to open this business, will you look back on it years down the road with regret?  If you know deep inside you will regret not taking a chance, then go for it because I will tell you from experience, regret is a hundred times worse than failure.

Based on your current income and how aggressively this company is targeting you, it sounds like you have very marketable skills.  In other words, it doesn't sound like you'll have a great deal of trouble finding another job if it comes to it.  That, and factoring in your age, net worth, and lack of dependents makes this a good time to take the leap if that's what you really want.  This is one of those occasions where you really need to go with your gut.

Have you pumped a lot of [pro]pane down in New Orleans?

Crazytree said:   Have you pumped a lot of [pro]pane down in New Orleans?
Proud Mary keep on Bern-in'...

(because Switzerland)



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