DETROIT -- P.J. Ryder knew making the rock club he bought a financial success was going to be a challenge. But he didn't anticipate that two years after opening, P.J.'s Lager House would still not be profitable.
"I had hoped it would happen after a year, but people told me not to expect anything for a while," says Ryder, 55.
Being your own boss sounds great -- until the bills start rolling in. At P.J.'s, that means $3,000 a month for rent. Another $7,000 for booze. Repairs and insurance typically eat up more than $1,000. Just keeping the lights on and the water running is $700.
The magic number is $26,370. That's the average monthly cost of keeping the club open. You have to sell a lot of PBR ($1 a can on Monday nights) to hit that target.
After two years of investment, Ryder is finally reaching the payoff point. "I can see light at the end of the tunnel," he says. Located in Corktown, just a few blocks west of downtown in one of Detroit's oldest neighborhoods, the bar has been steadily building up its sales and closing the monthly budget gap. Ryder thinks it's finally about to cross over into the black: "I can see where it is beginning to smooth out."
In a city with an unemployment rate hovering near 30%, entrepreneurship is an alluring career option. Can't find a job in your field?