Recently I shared the following post on my Facebook Page:
Now let’s rewind a tiny bit further…
I recall late of 2014 sitting down in Boulder, having coffee with Tim – a CEO I had just wrapped up working with – unsure if I wanted to run my own company or dive back in with another startup. He encouraged me to take the entrepreneurial path.
Tim mentioned that he once was compelled to start his own company because the people he worked for consistently told him the same things I kept hearing too:
- “You’re too young.”
- “You’re not experienced enough to take on a VP role.”
The amazing thing about Tim’s story is that he went on to start his own company, which was then later acquired by Gartner. Not bad for someone who was too young or not experienced enough, right?
As we continued our conversation, Tim’s advice hit home when he also added that the worst that could happen was I’d have to get another job if things didn’t pan out with my own entrepreneurial ventures.
At the time, I knew that no one was going to give me the opportunities I wanted; rather, I’d have to create the life and career path I wanted. Thus, waiting around for someone to give me that chance was just not an option.
Now back to the Facebook update I posted…
I recall being out on the golf course on a Sunday evening, feeling calm and excited for the next day as I snapped that photo. However, I couldn’t remember the last time I was actually excited about a Monday. What changed? In this blog post, I highlight the top five things that have motivated and inspired me to become an entrepreneur and why I no longer dread Monday’s.
1) Build My Own Dreams, Not Someone Else’s
For the last few years, getting up every Monday morning to build someone’s dreams wasn’t the ideal place I wanted to be or direction I wanted to steer my career. The only time I remember not feeling this way was the time I spent at Revolv, a Boulder-based startup that was acquired by Nest. There, I had the ability to really spread my wings and do what I love without anyone getting in my way. Tim was the CEO of Revolv, and one of his core beliefs was to provide his team with what they needed to be successful, but got out of their way when it came down to creating a strategy and executing it. Truth be told, I’ve never worked for anyone who’s been able to truly do this.
Most of the CEOs I worked for were obsessed with having full control over everything or would constantly change the strategy of the entire company. That, in itself, made it difficult for me to be successful because though I was given the responsibility, I was never given the authority. Rather than being focused on doing what I love, I was focused on consistently building what someone else wanted me to build, doing things the way someone else wanted me to do them and so on. At the end of the day, coming home after an 8-hour workday didn’t feel rewarding.
Now, having the ability to build out my own dreams opens up so many more paths for creative thinking, doing things differently and consistently testing what works and what doesn’t. I also reap all of the rewards – both large and small – of my own hard work and I love that.
2) I’m the CEO
This may sound like I have a control issue as well, but what I mean when I say “I’m the CEO” is that I now have the authority and the responsibility to do work that is rewarding as well as fulfilling. Being able to work out my weeks to accomplish minor milestones that then build up to larger milestones has helped me grow and incur new learnings along the way. More importantly, I’m no longer steered in multiple directions because someone told me I had to.
3) Time Is On My Side
My schedule is no longer run by someone else’s agenda. Instead, I spend my time on learning as much as I possibly can on the new and emerging strategies and tactics of digital marketing/business to help my clients maximize their ROI. To say I’m incredibly passionate about this is an understatement.
Further, I’ve intentionally built a business that enables me to balance work and life, where doing so becomes less of a guilty decision made, but a necessity. When I take a day off, I really take that day off and I don’t check work emails or work related items. The liberty in doing this when I worked for someone else was nonexistent.
Therefore, I say, “Time is on my side” because I choose what I want to do with my time, and how I want to spend the minutes in my days. Having the control to do so keeps me from feeling burnt out and also keeps me healthy as well as happy.
4) Happiness Is Success
In my early to mid 20s the biggest driver behind all of my decisions was money. Money to me meant success; the more I made, the more successful I was and the happier I thought I would be. Wrong! Instead, I found myself overworked, burnt out, unable to enjoy quality time with the people I love most and unable to sleep well.
Many of the mentors I’ve had have told me “Chase your passions and the money will follow.” And I’m proud to say I am doing just that. I find myself happier, healthier, and on a steady, motivated path to achieving greater goals.
5) No Salary Cap
Long have passed the days of having to negotiate my worth to someone and come up with a base salary both parties agree on. I now have the ability to make as much or as little money as I want. My source of income isn’t dependent on one company, but now I have multiple revenue streams and hold the throttle to pushing it up or keeping it steady.
In my experience, while working for someone else I was never able to proudly say I had these five things covered, I did learn a lot about what I should and shouldn’t do when it came to running my own company. So, my advice to you is to take the plunge and know that the worst thing that can happen is you’d have to get another job.