Figured this would be a good place for my first post. Been in the business for a little over a decade, on my own since '99. Started out at $8 an hour doing mulching, plant install etc. After about five years became VP of a small company. After doing some designs for my old employer I started thinking hmmm, if people like what I do for them, I could do it for myself. Then the big day came, met my boss at happy hour, told him I was going to give it a try on my own. He was actually supportive and we're still friends today. Luckily some of the clients I had before stayed with me when I took the big leap. Within 1year(98-99) I got married, bought land, built a house and started my own business maxing out my credit cards. What was I thinking? I can't overstate the value of a supportive, patient wife. Five years later things are going alright. I due design-install for mostly upscale clients who have become more like friends, and have paid down my cards to only twice the national average. I'm 37 and my back is always sore, but I get to play in the dirt everyday and get paid for it.