Saturday, October 18, 2008

Are you "Joe the Plumber"?

It's an understatement to say people have been discussing "Joe the Plumber" this week in regards to United States politics, but it's not so much the tax plan references that have caught my interest.

What has surprised me most about "Joe" is that it seems a lot of people discussing him aren't aware of what small business people are capable of. And that needs to change!

(Note: whether the real Joe is actually named Joe, is a licensed plumber, or has an extra toe on each foot may be relevant in the candidate arena, but for changing perceptions about entrepreneurs, it's not our issue! My goal today isn't to sway a vote to either side, but to look at our own businesses in a positive light.)

For the sake of my point today, let's look at "Joe" as an archetype for people who may be looking to buy the business they currently work in, or start a business of their own.

I've seen people reference that $250K US is far more than what a plumber can make in a year. Is it?

If a plumber (or the owner of a plumbing company, who may have a background in business, finance, or underwater basket weaving for all we know) runs a staff of five working plumbers, and each perform two $500 jobs per day, five days a week, they generate $25K in revenue. Multiply that by the year's 52 weeks, and we have $1.3M. Remove from that the cost of goods, taxes (income and property), upkeep, vehicles, licensing, wages, and healthcare, and, just by my rough estimates (plumbing is clearly not my field!), the business could easily generate $250K+.

This also means that the worth of the business, if purchasing it, would be far greater than that! There's a lot that goes into valuation, as pointed out by this article, and you should either know what you're basing your numbers on, or be prepared to hire or barter with a professional who does.

My main point is that, as small business owners (whether plumber, voice artist, CPA, mechanic, or chef), we shouldn't let ourselves be marginalized in the minds of our public! Ask yourself, "How can I educate people as to the potential that lies within the American Dream (which isn't just for America--this is a shout out to all business owners in the global marketplace!)?". Inpsiring the children of today will create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and I'm glad that at least "Joe the Plumber" is an opportunity to raise awareness to that fact!


Ted said...


Dana Detrick-Clark from Serious Vanity Music said...

Hi Ted! Thank you for taking the time to read this today.

Really, the point I was making didn't have anything to do with endorsing either candidate, and I do prefer to keep the topics here partisan-free, because I think small business has many aspects that require a more liberal stance, and equally as many where an eye toward conservative views is better.

I'm not going to stifle your opinion, though, because I respect your input (even if I disagree).

There was a great article in Fast Company prior to the conventions that compared how each candidate had voted on small business issues. There was only one bill where they'd had differing views, and it wasn't over a major issue.

I'm sure, as business people, we'll all be fine. I only believe in "RIP"'s if we throw in the towel.