There’s the long, honest answer of how I went from day job to full-time entrepreneur, which is that it took time and effort to put the pieces into place.
It was about positioning myself for the opportunity. It was about working to create that opportunity. It was about honing my skills to take advantage of that opportunity. It was about building a network to support my seizing of the opportunity.
Of course, all of those things are connected. It’s not like it’s a linear process, at least it wasn’t for me, through which you do A, then B, then C and eventually get to E or F or whatever.
Maybe in the future I’ll lay out for you more about the long-tail version of how I went from employee to Limbertwig. It’s quite a story.
Today, though, let’s focus on the specific events which led to where I am today.
Back in November I interviewed for an online marketing position with a DC real estate brokerage firm. They ended up hiring someone else (who is great, by the way), but asked if I would help as a consultant. I’ve been doing this since December.
In February a friend asked if I would contribute some blog posts to his company’s blog. This is someone I’ve known since 2009, who was introduced to me by someone I worked with in the job that brought me from Kansas City to DC, but that’s getting into the long-tail version so you’ll have to wait.
Shortly after agreeing to contributing blog posts, I entered into an agreement to provide content marketing services to a startup based in DC that provides on-demand office space.
At this point, this was all I could handle while working. I couldn’t take on anymore work while staying in my job, which wasn’t a problem because I didn’t have any other opportunities presenting themselves.
Then the friend who hired me to contribute blog posts asked me to help him at SXSW. He needed someone who could help him network and cover a lot of ground, and the conference is so massive it takes more than one person.
It’s now March.
I’m at SXSW, and while at one of the conference’s famous networking parties my friend bumps into a couple of women from an agency that’s looking for someone they can contract to do search engine optimization (SEO) work. My friend mentions this to me, I go speak with the women, we exchange business cards, and they say they’ll be in touch.
I return home from Austin, have surgery to fix a busted ear drum, and make a ton of followup emails and calls on behalf of my friend, the main reason I went to SXSW.
One day I miss a call on my cell. It’s a voicemail from the owner of the agency needing a vendor to provide SEO work. The two women I met at SXSW had passed my info onto their boss as they said they would.
I called back, but didn’t hear anything for a few days. Then he called me a second time, but again I couldn’t aswer and called him back, leaving another voicemail. Then I didn’t hear anything for several days, so I assumed it didn’t work out.
At this time a job opportunity presents itself.
I want it, pursue it, but it would force me to take a huge paycut. Because I really wanted the job, Chad and I hammered away at our budget, seeing what we could do to make it work. In the end it just wasn’t feasible for us, but in going through that process we realized how much flexibility we really had in our finances, both in our monthly budget and long-term savings.
The day after negotiations for the job opportunity fell through, the head of the agency calls me back. We talk for an hour, he says he’d like to hire me as his SEO vendor. I agree, sign an agreement, and realize now I have to leave my job or else I can’t do all the work I’ve agreed to do for the agency and for my existing clients.
At this point I should note my employer at the time was just about to pay out our annual bonus. And because I had worked there a couple of years, I had a decent amount of vacation time saved up, and the employer pays you for vacation time you’ve earned if you leave the organization.
In other words, there was an influx of capital coming my way.
I’m ecstatic. I realize now is my opportunity to seize entrepreneurship. Chad isn’t so convinced.
He and I go to dinner, and throughout the course of what is sometimes a contentious discussion over some drinks and some Mexican food, he realizes this is my opportunity. He realizes I want this, can do this, and he decides to support me in doing it.
I give my notice at work. I work hard to leave what I was doing for my employer in a good place, and I write my last-day-of-employment post. Then I walk out of my office for the last time, immediately heading home because I already have a call scheduled with the agency for whom I’m now their SEO vendor.
And it hasn’t stopped since.
The first thing I learned about full-time entrepreneurship is how fast time flies. My very first day I started work around 8 a.m. at our dining room table, barely got up, and suddenly it was lunch time. I scarfed down a sandwich and before I knew it Chad was coming home from work.
That’s why I had neglected to give you this story, this tale of how I went from day job to full-time entrepreneur.
There aren’t enough hours in the day. And I’m comitted to maintaining a certain quality of life, meaning I go to the gym everyday. I spend at least half my weekends relaxing. I rarely work on Friday nights.
Other than this, I’m more or less always working.
And that’s the story of how Limbertwig came to be.
Some of this blog’s content strategy is now the Limbertwig blog content strategy. The book reviews and other help-for-entrepreneurs posts will move over there, complimented by guest posts focused on providing help to entrepreneurs.
This blog is going to become more of a personal voice about the lessons, trials and successes of being a first-time entrepreneur. I won’t yet commit to a publishing schedule, but it feels good to write. I need to write. So I promise to write.
Till next time…