Business owner since 1994; Investor since 2009. My primary interests are currently (my son) High School football and (daughter) Girls Select (ECNL) Soccer, which is a helleva lot more fun than research. Late 2006: Housing, commercial real estate and our businesses were booming; everything was wonderful until I opened another money-losing brokerage statement; after a phone call where the broker "couldn't remember" a mutual fund fee, I had finally had it, I was done. I took my statement, and while driving to to a business meeting that morning, I saw a Fidelity store, pulled into the parking lot, walked in the door, up to the counter and drop the brokerage statement and a business card on the counter. A lady with a cup of coffee, startled, "can I help you?" "Yes ma'am, please move this over to your company. Call me when you need me to sign something.", and I turned and walked out the door. I had decided to personally re-invest a portion of our "managed" money. I spent 2007-'08 reading, researching (anywhere from 30-40 hours a week outside my regular job- listening to conference calls at 2 & 3 am- in my home office- a place my wife referred to as "the hole" back then) the economy and market. That '07 research revealed to me that a financial/economic fire storm was coming... that there was more money in packaging mortgages into securities to provide AAA 5% money to the Chinese savers than in the houses themselves. Panicked, we made adjustments to our business models that probably saved our companies. We hoarded cash, we made purchases and diversified our businesses into areas that didn't rely solely on new construction; we were able to replace older, marginal equipment with new and refi'd our building early with favorable financing in early '08. I often wonder, had that broker had made money, and I not taken up my personal research, would we have been able to change quickly enough when the economy, new construction and credit market turned south? We lost a lot of business friend and foe alike in the Great Recession. Revenue in our businesses dropped 30% overall that first year, but we made money-- not much, but we weren't in the red. Finally feeling confident after watching the '08 market drop and being 100% in cash, I started easing into market at the end of '08 and throughout '09; about pee'd my pants in March '09. My first buys were BAC, TPP,EPD, MWE, MMLP. I had to eased off research work load @ end of 2010-- too busy at real job. Cut my holdings of 30-40 companies back to 5 or 6 now. Just couldn't keep up with work required to do it properly.