Question: I know you've talked about living in Maine a lot, and you really love it there. But is it a great place to start a business?
E.L. Delray Beach FL
Answer Marc Charles:
My answer is two-fold. Maine is a great place to live, work and run a "digital business". But its not a great place to start a bricks and mortar type business - or anything retail.
A former governor referred to Maine as the "next Switzerland". Maine is about as far form Switzerland as you can get. The government is fat and lazy, there's almost no privacy when it comes to business or banking, the regulations are absolutely ridiculous, and finding highly skilled workers is almost impossible...unless you live in Portland or Augusta...and even that's pushing it.
When I first moved here in 1993 I traded commodity futures full time. Almost no one I met or hung out with knew what commodity futures were...they thought I sold insurance!
And so the Maine culture always come into play. Most of the people who live in Maine full time are from Maine. The people from "away" who live here are typically here part time...and tend to congregate on the coast.
There's also a segment of Maine which caters to the super-rich. These are not millionaires or multi-millionaires...I'm talking about the super-rich. These people look on Maine residents as "amusements"...kind of like going to LL Bean and hearing someone with a Maine accent.
I know of three super-rich hedge fund managers who recently built mega-estates between Lincolnville Beach and Rockport. One of these guys ruined the view of one of the most breathtaking farms in the country....in order to build his house.
I'm not ranting about the super-rich....or building homes on the ocean. But there is almost 3,500 miles of coastline, and this guy builds right in front of a historic farm.
If the focus of your business is online -- or web-based, in conjunction with phones and teleconfercing, Maine is unlike anywhere else in the world.
However, the untouched beauty is almost too good to be true. The air, lakes and woods are breathtaking, and the weather is fairly mild on the coast.
Well....I hope that helps.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.