OK. So, I didn’t quit my job just to start a blog. I quit to start a company. To pursue an idea. To pursue my recurring dream to be an entrepreneur. I think a lot of people thought (think) I was (am) crazy to have done it.
This is not my first business. I started my first business at the age of 15. Goldman Internet Design. It was a good business. We grossed up to $50,000 annually in my best year. I ran the company from 1998 to 2003 and some vestiges of it remain. Then in college, I started LAClubbin.com with a few friends. More on that in another blog post.
Now, here I am, with a real bonafide start-up. This is my first go when I’m not a student; not depending on my parents. No, this time I am a parent and there are people depending on me. The day I left my job at AT&T, we were three people, a dog and a mortgage. Now we’re up to four people. (Yes, I knew about number four before I left.) So, why?
I’m not sure I could articulate it at the time I started, but I’ve had a lot of time to think about this during my daily drives to MuckerLab in Santa Monica, where my new company is being accelerated.
I’ve come to two conclusions to share.
First, I’ve come to believe that a happy parent produces a happy child (or children!) While I wasn’t unhappy at AT&T, I wasn’t thrilled either. Having run my own company and worked in truly small organizations before, I knew that years in corporate America wouldn’t cut it, ultimately. Topic for another blog post: why I probably will work in corporate America again.
Working for myself at a startup is extremely hard, but I can work seven days a week and not mind it. I check and respond to e-mail 24 hours a day. At AT&T, this would have made me angry. I spent time trying to figure out how to not be frustrated by my job. Now, I find this constant work cycle strangely liberating. It’s no longer some game to always be available or prove that I am not always available. I am always working and that’s OK–even expected. It’s different when you’re motivated by yourself and not by your boss/salary/raise.
Second, and I think I strangely owe the clarity of this concept to a comic, I think it is a parents duty to be the best person that he or she can be. Being a startup founder is definitely difficult on my wife and daughters. However, how can I ask and expect my children to be the best they can be, if I don’t try it myself? That’s what I am determined to be. The best parent, the best boss, the best founder and CEO. The grade on some of those may not come in for 20 more years, but let’s give it a start.