Like many professionals, I have always thought that I would one day start my own business, be my own boss and create the work / life balance that I desired. I have been relatively successful in my career so far working for both large and small companies and even had the chance to stand on the podium of the NYSE to watch our CEO ring the opening bell as the 60 person startup I had joined 5 years earlier became a 500 person public company.
The longer my career has gone on, the more I realize that I would regret not giving my own company a real go. I have even started many ventures in the past ranging from a clothing company in high school that was to be called "Toilet" (grunge was big at the time). We even created a logo and our first prototype but the road forward from there was less obvious. So like most teenagers, I got distracted by something else (booze and girls mainly).
A few years later, I paid someone to build a website that generated leads for a green energy company in Australia that a friend had a deal with. We actually generated 20 or so leads in under a month but the market for these leads dried up very quickly - I forget why but although that business was very short lived it actually generated some revenue! (About $800).
And then there have been the ideas... oh the 100's of ideas... but alas none have taken off for one major reason, I simply did not do anything about those ideas.
And having just turned 40 I realize that I am happier & wealthier than any other time in my life but I still have that itch that needs scratching...I want to think of myself as an Entrepreneur.
I know all the success stories - Jobs, Zuckerberg, Gates and Musk. I've read all the books Good to Great, Lean Start Up, 4 Hour Work Week and more. I listen to pod casts such as the Tim Ferriss Show and How I Built This and I am a big fan of all of the above - it all serves as great inspiration and helps keep me focused. But focus is not my problem - my problem is time and skills.
Most stories and advice you hear is about quitting the job and following your dreams. If you are not careful you can easily think that it's all about getting up at 5am to meditate for 30 mins followed by 90 minutes at the gym and if you are Mark Walhburg you also squeeze in a round of golf before starting your work day. You then need to work harder than everyone else for 14 hours before you repeat the process all over again the following day...forever.
That basically makes me say "Oh goooood for you!" in the way that Christian Bale said it when he melted down on the Terminator set - look it up on YouTube.
For me personally, I know this is not the answer for a number of reasons:
- I have a young family that I want to spend time with as I don't want to be an absent parent as I follow one of my career dreams. It's important to say "one of" and "career dreams" as I think it puts things into context - I want to have my own business but there is a limited cost I am willing to accept. I have goals and dreams in multiple parts of my life and this is just one of them and this should be prioritized accordingly. For me, family comes first. I'm simply not going to spend 14 hours a day on this.
- I have a job that I like and am pretty good at it. I am not in a huge hurry to burn the suit (if I wore one) and never do 9-5 again. My goal is to create something that hopefully at some point grows to a point where I need to decide between the job or the business. It would be irresponsible to abandon this income stream that provides my family with a great life.
- I'm not a developer. Most ideas I have are related to the web or technology but I can't code today. So this leaves me in a place where I either need to pay someone big money to build an app or website for a company that might not work or find a developer that wants to join me on this crazy adventure. Both of these options are not ideal - I really need to be more self-sufficient.
In short, I don't know the answer...yet.
You see this is part of the journey for me. About a week ago I set aside an hour a day and did a Udemy course for Web development, and now I can build a website - this one! I am on my way to filling one of those many skills gaps. I have found it really eye opening what you can learn and achieve in just one hour a day. This is the amount of time I can commit to this without sacrificing the more important parts of my life.
And that is the basis for this site. I am on a mission to understand what you really need to know and what you need to do in order to put your self on the path to starting that business you always wanted to. I'm also all about cutting corners and the 80/20 rule. Hopefully, I can cut through the noise and BS to get to the center of what really is important to know and do.
On this site, I'll blog about my experiences both good and bad and hopefully, over time I will discover and test some rules that others may want to think about following. I have called these the "Commandments" and there is a section of this site dedicated to these guidelines. Rather than immutable laws, they are simply going to be a collection of my most up to date learnings so no doubt they will change over time as I learn more.
The worst case scenario here for me is that I improve my web development and writing skills at a cost that I am happy to pay (1 hour a day). And this last point leads me to one of my first commandments which you can find here.