Things my mother taught me .....
and I chose to challenge! Hopefully you will learn from my lack of insight.
I had a "mid-life crisis", well I like to call it that cause it sounds so much better then: "I got a hair up my arse and decided to do something stupid". Either way, I left the business for about a year and a half. You know that saying about the grass being greener on the other side, trust me when I tell you that it is not necessarily greener. Sure, there were some great benefits to this job, insurance, paid vacation, no worries about customers/equipment and good folks to work with. Butt all in all, I could not stand the internal politics, the pettiness of management, he stupidity of some of the people working there and the fact that I would be working nights till I retired was not quite too appealing either. Many years ago, a late customer of mine whom I told that his "lawn" was nothing more than weeds, told me "Yes, but if you stand on the other sided of the road, it sure is a pretty green". Guess that pretty much sums it up. So if you are contemplating whether to leave the business or to go to work for someone else, make sure you can work for someone else, make sure you can live with working in an environment controlled by someone else and make sure you can live for the next 10-20 years with doing the type work you are wanting to switch too.
Do not jump feet first! The opportunity which presented itself to me came rather unexpectedly and required a fast decision. Had I had more time (or I should say "had I taken more time ...") to evaluate all aspects of this opportunity as opposed to remaining in the landscape field, I am fairly confident I would not have left. Jump Head first!
You have to make yourself happy first. It turns out I was not happy in this "opportunity" and as a result others weren't happy either. Yes, part of my decision was to make my wife happy so she could quit worrying about this that and the other. Turns out it wasn't worth it for either of us.
Never do business with family or Friends. Ever!!! But, hey, what the hell does she know right? I sold my company's assets to a friend, to compound matters I financed it at 0%, gave him my company phone # if he would assume responsibility, let him use my 4X8 portable custom sign located on a busy 4 lane hwy and let him use a customer owned reel mower. Can you say "STUPID"? Yes, I did have a contract and he did sign a personal guarantee. No, I did not file a UCC with the state, didn't know what that was or that I needed to, thank you Mr. attorney. So after my non-compete was up I started to gather equipment, picked up some new customers and started some marketing (I was still working on that other job) which included telling my old customers that I was re-entering the business and that if they were interested please call me, at no time did I call anyone to ask them to switch back to me and in fact my prices were slightly higher than the last price they had been paying my "friend". I have been called unethical for that btw. I did get a number of requests to resume service and shortly after I failed to get paid by my "friend". I have heard from a number of my returning customers that his wife was calling them claiming I was trying to steal his customers. Anyway, so off to the attorney, request payment and when that failed to court to get a judgement for breach of contract. He never responded and did not show for the hearing. Then with judgment in hand to collect my equipment as per the contract, except he filed personal bankruptcy an hour before he was to turn over the equipment and the sheriff would not enforce the judgement against his company without a court order, I finally got that straightened out except that right after he was notified by the attorney (!) that I was going to collect from the company, he transferred the equipment to his personal assets and claimed them as exemptions on his bankruptcy filing. I guess he's not so broke that he can't afford to pay his company for a fully equipped tandem axle enclosed trailer. Now I have to go to a hearing to find out IF I can get my equipment back!
In case you're wondering, I now refer to my "friend" as a dishonest, unethical, unprofessional and overpriced POS who is trying to steal my equipment with his Bi-atch wife. Let me repeat myself: NEVER, EVER DO BUSINESS WITH A FRIEND!!! Never finance anything you sell unless you can afford to lose the money. Bottom line here is that even with crossing your "T's" and dotting your "I's" you can do everything right as far as you know and you can still get shafted. Had I had a UCC filing this may all still have happened and I might still have to jump through hoops, but there would be no doubt I would prevail.
I also learned that customers do not want any part in getting caught in the middle of stuff like this. They'll leave.
People will find someone else if they are dissatisfied rather than confronting the owner with their complaint.
The individual who called me unethical did so on the basis of the wife telling him I was trying to steal their customers. He did so without knowing all the facts (breach of contract, default, judgment).
I know in a way this is somewhat of a rant against someone else, but you need to understand some context as to why I said what I did. Most of us are bad at accepting advice from family, maybe you'll take it from me. Been there, Done that, moved on!