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Posted: 3/21/2017 2:37:17 PM EDT
I own an independent insurance agency.  I operate it out of a building I own personally.  I have an additional separate store front/office space in the building, 1000 sq. ft..  I will either rent the space ($1,000/mo.) or start another separate venture.  I have $50-70k I'm willing to invest or use as cash flow.

The location is on the main artery in my county (30k cars a day) and has easy entry with parking and road front signage.  We are small town/rural.  County pop of 100,000 (aging).  Surrounding counties larger within 20 minute drive.  Within 5 miles of Cabela's, WalMart, Lowes, etc.

My 1st thought was to put in a wine/gourmet shop.  The license is cost prohibitive and the PA liquor control board is the only wholesaler in PA.  So, I would have to buy product from them exclusively.

No gun shop or pawn shop.  No restaurant or food service.  Open to anything else.

Let me know what you got!

Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 3/21/2017 3:03:56 PM EDT
What else do you have knowledge and passion about?

If the answer is nothing, rent it out.

Life is too short to risk money and deal with stress for random shit you don't even like.
Link Posted: 3/21/2017 3:28:00 PM EDT
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Quoted:
What else do you have knowledge and passion about?

If the answer is nothing, rent it out.

Life is too short to risk money and deal with stress for random shit you don't even like.
View Quote
I hear you.  

I think I can and want to retire from insurance in 5 years.  I have perpetuation in place.  I'm too young not to do anything and don't want to sit around.  Just ready for a change.

Passion is reason I looked into wine.  I knew PA recently changed regulations, but was unaware they were still the only wholesaler if you want to retail.

I would love a gourmet food shop, but don't think the area demographics will support it.

I was considering buying/selling gold/silver.  Need to learn more.  Not sure that's a risk or exposure I want to take on.

I'm also considering looking into SAT/ACT prep and/or franchised tutoring.  Seems to be a need and on the rise.

I'm also worried about getting a bad tenant for the sake of $12,000/yr.
Link Posted: 3/21/2017 4:49:45 PM EDT
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Quoted:


I hear you.  

I think I can and want to retire from insurance in 5 years.  I have perpetuation in place.  I'm too young not to do anything and don't want to sit around.  Just ready for a change.

Passion is reason I looked into wine.  I knew PA recently changed regulations, but was unaware they were still the only wholesaler if you want to retail.

I would love a gourmet food shop, but don't think the area demographics will support it.

I was considering buying/selling gold/silver.  Need to learn more.  Not sure that's a risk or exposure I want to take on.

I'm also considering looking into SAT/ACT prep and/or franchised tutoring.  Seems to be a need and on the rise.

I'm also worried about getting a bad tenant for the sake of $12,000/yr.
View Quote
Those don't seem bad, i'd run the numbers and see if your area can support it.

I took bigger risks when I was younger and lost my life savings in my early 20s with a failed business. Now, i'm on a set path for retirement at a young age. I work a job and invest in a business with my family. I could invest in some businesses that have huge upside in the industry I work in. Hit a home run so to speak, but i'd rather hit a bunch of singles. The end goal is already set if I aim for singles. If I try to hit a home run I may end up bankrupt in my early or late 30s and have to try again.

It's hell of a lot easier to eat a grand a month than support a failing business. The company I just left had a bar/restaurant at one point. On good months we broke even, on bad months we lost 10 to 15k.

I'm not saying don't do it, but 5 years from retirement is possibly time to just hammer debt. I'm 9 years from retirement and I set my threshold for borrowing/expanding at 4 years from retirement. At that point i'm going to wind down and focus on whatever I truly want to do, if any. And prepare to have a blast on my hobbies.

Just my 2 cents.

Personally the wine idea sounds good, I think that would be fun but you I can see why you don't want to or think it may not work.
Link Posted: 3/22/2017 2:00:55 AM EDT
My friend opened one of those dinner/wine and portrait places. For like $50 per head you get a simple dinner and then you all sit in a room and try and paint a copy of an image. The person voted by the group with the best recreation of the model image gets a discount coupon to return for free if they bring in a group of 5 or more.

Dinner is brought in buffet tins from a local restaurant and the group can buy bottles of wine a la carte. Cost some rent (you already own your space) and a tavern license. Painting materials are not that expensive.

Daytime is full of corporate team building groups. Evening full of housewives after soccer practice.

10 people a day @ $50 each is $500 per day or $15,000 in a 30 day month gross
Link Posted: 3/23/2017 12:54:10 AM EDT
I know right where you are. That area needs a chic fil a. Not within the realm of what you're looking to do, but it would kill it there. I'd go in on that but you cannot have other business interests.
Link Posted: 3/27/2017 10:48:05 AM EDT
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Quoted:
I know right where you are. That area needs a chic fil a. Not within the realm of what you're looking to do, but it would kill it there. I'd go in on that but you cannot have other business interests.
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I'm sure you're right.  Not the second career or retirement I want...  Even if I did, I don't want to put that may eggs in one basket at my age (I'm sure it takes $500,000 liquid and more borrowed).
Link Posted: 3/27/2017 5:36:32 PM EDT
I will echo what others have said. Business of any kind is a bitch. I am of the belief that you really need a leg up on the competition in order to succeed. When I started my business I had been working doing the exact same thing for 13 years and had a college degree in that field. It was an easy transition for me with my accumulated knowledge and contact base. If you start a business that you are not an expert on you are going to get your clock cleaned by someone who is. You do insurance now right? How successful do you think some guy off the street would be if he didn't know shit about insurance, never sold it before and just opened up an insurance business?
Link Posted: 3/28/2017 9:07:27 AM EDT
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Quoted:
I will echo what others have said. Business of any kind is a bitch. I am of the belief that you really need a leg up on the competition in order to succeed. When I started my business I had been working doing the exact same thing for 13 years and had a college degree in that field. It was an easy transition for me with my accumulated knowledge and contact base. If you start a business that you are not an expert on you are going to get your clock cleaned by someone who is. You do insurance now right? How successful do you think some guy off the street would be if he didn't know shit about insurance, never sold it before and just opened up an insurance business?
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I understand your point.  However, failure is not a forgone conclusion.  I feel as my 22 years running my agency, sales experience, marketing, client service, employee management, along with doing hr and payroll would all provide a solid foundation for many other fields.  I feel confident, with the right choice, I can get a better return on my investment other than rent and market interest.  Not having to pay my self rent or needing to take any income immediately give me a leg up from the start.  I can afford to put everything back into a business for several years if need be.

I'll figure it out.  Not rushed. Plenty of time to continue to research.

PS.  You'd be surprised how how many successful start up insurance agencies are out there.  See them all the time.
Link Posted: 3/28/2017 11:58:15 PM EDT
Sounds like you have it thought out and a good plan. Just don't dive off into something unfamiliar.

I don't doubt there are start up insurance companies that are successful but I bet those people had prior experience in the field. For example they worked for another agency first and then struck out on their own.
Link Posted: 3/29/2017 8:36:25 AM EDT
What about consulting other startup ins agencies / small business owners?

Not sure of the lines you sold or if you worked w group health plans, but if you did you could represent business's and go over their benefit plans and make sure everything is compliant etc.

I have a few clients up your way. Wolfe, a logistics company etc.
Link Posted: 3/29/2017 11:31:42 AM EDT
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Quoted:
What about consulting other startup ins agencies / small business owners?

Not sure of the lines you sold or if you worked w group health plans, but if you did you could represent business's and go over their benefit plans and make sure everything is compliant etc.

I have a few clients up your way. Wolfe, a logistics company etc.
View Quote
I could continue to make money lots of different ways in or around the insurance industry.

I'm feeling burned out on/in insurance.  The whole idea is to do something different!
Link Posted: 4/2/2017 2:35:29 PM EDT
Barber shop/ gunshop.
Link Posted: 4/3/2017 12:32:53 PM EDT
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Quoted:
I was considering buying/selling gold/silver.  Need to learn more.
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Maybe combined with a jewelry store, but that industry has its own set of headaches.
Link Posted: 4/3/2017 2:48:48 PM EDT
title loans / check cashing 
Link Posted: 4/7/2017 10:10:32 AM EDT
With traffic of 30,000 cars per day, I'd open a window tint/auto detailing place with possible retail products to support the detailing side.  Then again, that is my current side gig to get me away from phones and computers so maybe I am biased.  

I also want to get my IT/Accounting consulting business going, but my local market has been in the crapper for the past two years.  If it doesn't pick up soon, I may have to go nationwide with that line of work or work exclusively for the government.
Link Posted: 4/7/2017 2:43:38 PM EDT
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Quoted:
With traffic of 30,000 cars per day, I'd open a window tint/auto detailing place with possible retail products to support the detailing side.  Then again, that is my current side gig to get me away from phones and computers so maybe I am biased.  

I also want to get my IT/Accounting consulting business going, but my local market has been in the crapper for the past two years.  If it doesn't pick up soon, I may have to go nationwide with that line of work or work exclusively for the government.
View Quote
My first career was in the car business.  Basically did a little of everything at a local used car dealer in high school and college while detailing on weekends.  Later, sold Ford trucks, fleet manager for Dodge dealer, then Toyota.  While at Toyota, became F&I guy, then Sales Manager.  Not sure if that to insurance was pan to fire or fire to pan...

Appreciate the suggestion, however, not interested in manual labor at this point.  I have considered just buying and selling used cars again.  If I did, it would just be wholesale.  Don't have any interest in dealing with the retail customers anymore.  I'd buy convertibles in fall, sell in spring.  But, I can do that anytime.  Still looking to "create" another viable business.
Link Posted: 4/9/2017 8:28:44 PM EDT
Is there a UPS/Fed Ex/USPS shipping /packaging place close by ? The ones around here do well. Many also have PO Boxes.
Link Posted: 4/10/2017 8:53:58 AM EDT
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Quoted:
Is there a UPS/Fed Ex/USPS shipping /packaging place close by ? The ones around here do well. Many also have PO Boxes.
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Not sure our demographic is right...  2 were around and failed.  Staples here, not sure if that played a part...
Link Posted: 4/10/2017 8:57:07 AM EDT
I think I'm going to look into a Supercuts...

Lots if "Salons" in our area, however, nothing that caters to men.
Link Posted: 4/10/2017 9:10:38 AM EDT
Open a party supply store. The kind that sells birthday balloons Halloween costumes.
Link Posted: 4/21/2017 1:25:34 AM EDT
Sounds like you've done pretty well in your industry, why not expand your business with new lines of product and hire some agents to work underneath you? I'm sure there are other financial service products you could pick up and move pretty well with some younger, motivated staff.

Hell the place sounds perfect for a payday loan place.
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