I determined to attempt to make the move to a business that seemed like they would be ready to ride out the approaching recession in May of 2008. After being released from that organization, I wasn’t sure what to do, especially since the organization was supposed to have had the type of customers who would not be hit so hard by the down economy. I had always wanted to start my very own organization, however didn’t think I had enough knowledge at the time. I had also not known of any single-owner Civil Engineering company that had been around for a considerable amount of time. After speaking with a friend who had a government position (public works) as well as other former co-workers, I determined why not dip my feet into the craziness that is known as the building industry. I was able to get in contact with a Civil Engineer who by chance was about to close up his shop because of unforeseeable events. The perfect storm brewed into what would be my first business.
The business did well from the start as I had constantly kept in contact with everybody that was of importance to myself along the way. We had job recommendations coming from various directions as we built up our brand awareness. We even started gaining a great status with recurring customers. All of this, with a brand new business that was less than one year old during the “Great Housing Depression Part 2” in Southern California. Then the business started to become shaky. A partner had some situations where he had to depart the State and take care of his individual life.
With 2 partners left, the falling apart of the LLC started. Now there wasn’t that third viewpoint, that we initially had, on what we would bill or how we would deal with projects. We made the decision to drop a pair of sizeable Downtown Los Angeles jobs, and then started to propose fees that were too large for brand new work. This strategy rather quickly decreased our earnings! This is where I discovered that not all engineers make great business-people. We basically ran ourselves into the ground even though we had this great reputation and client base. Not to mention the Architects we were working with favored us to competitive Civil Engineering businesses in the region.
After dissolving the LLC, I wasn’t sure what I would do. I was pretty stressed out as I put my all into the one Civil Engineering firm. I spent almost 18 hours a day 6 days a week trying to do something I could to discover more business, work on plans, and generate more cash. Fast forward about a number of months later with some pretty dark times in between and no real path, I decided why not go for my very own company once again. I told myself that the end result couldn’t be any even worse. Plus I had a great friend that has his personal Mortgage Company, telling me that it takes several business attempts before you are effective. I learned a lot, observed a lot, and needed to make sure that I would not duplicate the same blunders from the initial organization. So here I am today, one Civil Engineering company dissolved that I began at the age of 29, starting up a brand new endeavor at the age of 32, keeping very optimistic that my previous errors will not be duplicated.
I intend this scenario gives hope to all of those who have struggled so hard in this challenging environment.