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Can You Escape Full-Time Corporate Hell To Happy Entrepreneur?

So maybe it’s not complete hell, but I’m sure plenty of you can agree, some weeks are not exactly ideal or convenient. In my world, on top of running Outlandish Apps and Money From Apps, I also work as the marketing / promotions director for a manufacturing company.

I have also been publishing apps to supplement that income for 4 of the last 8 years. Most weeks, I have a lot of control over my time and scheduling, but every once in a while it “pours” (rain) and things don’t fit into my neat little box.

This week is a great example of this and I haven’t rounded third base yet.

  • Monday was catch-up from vacation
  • Tuesday started at 5 a.m. when I headed from Columbus, OH to Ann Arbor, MI. I don’t have a problem getting up early, but in my book, 5 a.m. is too early when I am used to falling asleep at midnight – getting up at 6:30-7. So even when I tried to head to bed at 10 p.m…it didn’t work. So after driving 3 hours to Ann Arbor, I was in meetings from 8-2:30. No breakfast, No lunch. Then I headed strait from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids, which took about 2 hours. By the time I got caught up with things I turned in at 11:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday (today) started at 5:30 in Grand Rapids. I was done there at noon and headed strait to Muskegon, Mi. I was done there at 5:30. Then I headed to Kalamazoo (about 1.5 hours) and it’s where I sit right now. In a Holiday Inn restaurant / bar.2
  • Thursday will start at 6:30 (which is a nice break) and will go into the afternoon. I will end about 5.5 hours from Columbus so I started the week with a one way rental. This way I can turn that in at Detroit fly back. So after I get done tomorrow about 2:30, I will drive 2 hours to Detroit and catch a direct flight to Columbus arriving in at 6:30. If I’m lucky I can jump on my bike and get in a quick 10-15 mile ride before it gets dark.

 

Why am I telling you all this?

I’m telling you this because I think a lot of us are in the same boat. Whether it be family commitments (with kids / relatives), long hours at work, working out, working on your side business, house chores (including making dinner, yard work, general maintenance, remodels), we all are juggling multiple things that separately are pretty important and time consuming. So in the middle of all that, to find the time to get into a mindset where you can work on your apps, blog or ecommerce site..etc., can be challenging to say the least.

Let’s call these different areas our “life buckets”.

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I recently heard someone talking about this and they mentioned that it’s easier to focus on 1 bucket with everything inside it instead of leading this crazy life with 6+ roles (buckets).
Then you use time management and scheduling to work in the time you CAN commit to each thing. Then at the end of the day you get done what you needed and have no regrets.

A few other tips:

  • Find your most productive time of the day and schedule your priority items during that time
  • Write down 1 thing that you want to get done make it happen! I often do the opposite and fall prey to emails, random calls and busy work during the day so that one thing gets pushed back until…shocker..it doesn’t get done!
  • Find what makes you feel confident, happy and powerful. (for me it’s running and cycling). These things help throw positive fuel on your fire and can be great at eliminating stress or breaking up your day. For example, if I’m getting burned out on a task and can break away to go on a run or ride it goes a long way. I often get extreme clarity immediately after I complete a ride or fun. It’s a similar feeling I get after 2-3 beers, but it’s better!

 

I do want to transition to world that app development and related products is my full time job. It’s something I’m in for the long haul and am committed to figuring out a way to make this happen. However,  like many of you do too,I have financial commitments so I have to be smart about it.

This year I will be investing more time and money into learning and implementing strategies to do just that. If you are looking to try and turn your part time / side business into a full time gig, then join me on my adventure to break free.

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I will be doing a lot of case studies using our own app templates and products. I’m the guinea pig and will be showing you how it is possible to make money from apps.

Yes, even in 2016…as a smalltime indie developer.

What is my background and why do I have motivation to do this?

So sure…Sure, I want to create and publish apps full time, but I haven’t been able to make the leap.

Weeks like this one sure make me want to take that leap, but it can absolutely be a challenge if you can’t find a balance of your current commitments.

For the last 8 years I have worked for the same company I mentioned above.  I started out making 38k (salary) a year in June of 2008…great timing right? Two months later I was forced to take a pay cut to 36.5k. The catch was this job was 80 miles outside of Columbus, Oh (where I lived). I was a supervisor so not only was I learning how to cleverly manage senior employees twice my age that worked 10 hour shifts, I had to get there early and stay late. When I added in my 1.5 hour one-way commute, my days added up to 15 hours. That was 5 days a week most weeks + Saturday once a month.
So my average week was 75 hours for $36,500.

Factor in food, gas and I lack of a social life…(did I forget to mention this was 2nd shift), it wasn’t exactly my dream job after getting out of college. But hey, it was 2008 right? I should be happy to have this job.

So after a year to the day I quit.

This was my version of “just jump in”.   I mean I had a side ecommerce business that I thought had good cash flow, but I was just moving money around. I also had just read the 4-hour workweek and can I remind you I was in my early 20’s…so I had it all figured out right! The only thing I had going for me was my expenses where low.

But…overall…I didn’t think it through completely and found out pretty quick that buying your own health insurance gets expensive along with other things (being self employed in your 20’s). After about 2 months I got pushed into a corner and ended up joining the “rat race” once again.

 

Ironically, it was with the same company at another location, but instead of 1.5 hours away it was only 1 hour. This job was similar, but 3rd shift and I got it back up to $38k!!

 

So, I plugged away and did that for another year. Working about 70 hours a week. No vacation until I had a year in and that was the same as the first job I had with them.

 

Then…finally a traveling sales job opened up and I jumped on it. My salary went up to $50k and got a few perks like flexibly and well…travel rewards. My territory was about 10 states in the Midwest so I flew and drove, but the ratio was about 60/40.

 

I was in this role for 5 years and met some great people / got accustomed to the flexibility. Over the last 5 years my salary has gone up to a level that I’m happy with (within reason).  What that means is I get paid market value for what I do and nothing more.  I do like:

  • Setting my own schedule.
  • Booking all my own flights, hotels, rental cars…

Essentially, choosing who I worked with and when. Sure there is that occasional situation where you have to do things you don’t want to do and that’s ok. It’s life, but overall it was pretty good.

Then I started to get creative with my customers by running unique promotions that resonated with their customers. The promotions got bigger and more successful. With that came larger increases in sales. We didn’t work on commission, but it’s not bad to make more money for people that notice what you are doing for them. All the while I was taking care of things and one day (with no notice) some internal leadership changes took place.

I’m sure a lot of you have gone through this and understand it can be a little scary.
Two months went by and then one night before a sales meeting I was up late and wrote this long “reverse resume”. I don’t even know if that is what you call it, but it was a letter of intent. That still sounds weird.
Ok…I wrote down what I wanted to do for the company. It went through:

  • My strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • My ideas for growth

 

So it was once of those moments where I was like, “If I am going to keep working here, I have to do something fun and something I can do well…That’s the only way I will grow”.

Let me 80/20 my responsibilities. I sent this to my boss about midnight.
The next morning I walked into that sales meeting and we went over the idea that instead of using direct manufacturing sales reps from our company, we were going to bring on regional sales rep companies. They represent multiple lines and have even closer relationships. So..I covered 10 states, they might of had 1 or even ½ a state.

They didn’t really hit on the details on what that meant for me which I thought was odd. I kept doing my thing and about 2 months later I got a call from my boss. He said, “Hey, I showed ___________ your email and he liked it”. He’s already told other higher ups about it and you need to be at the offsite meeting on Friday to present these ideas”.

That was code for =

I just wrote my own job description and got the job.

A lot of the frustrating things I had to deal with on a day-to-day basis, would be the responsibly of these rep companies. Of course there would be a transition period where training would take place, but eventually…I’d be free to focus on growth by promotions and strengthening existing and new relationships.

It only took 8 years.

I laugh, but really..that’s a long time. I didn’t get a bump in pay (yet), but the overall future decrease of stress and bullshit is worth quite a bit. We get annual raises and when you make things happen you get taken care of, but more off the record. I don’t mean of the tax record, but if they do a raise outside of the timeframe annual raises take place, then it’s easier to get more.

So after 8 years and kinda feeling like I “won”, it’s really a hollow win.

Why?

Because it’s pretty clear from my story that I made the best of my situation. I found the most interesting and appealing part of my corporate job and got a chance to focus on that.
Some people would be thrilled with this.

 

Is that the same as have the privilege and pleasure of working on things in the mobile app industry full time?

 

Absolutely not.
Working on things when I work harder and smarter…I can see a direct result in increased revenue I keep. That’s where I want to live.

Funny and quick story. I was talking with my dad about 2 months ago and he asked me if I was happy doing what I was doing (corporate wise). This is after the transition to handling marketing and promotions.

I forgot to mention that this transition was for the Midwest and now the eastern US as well. So I got our entire footprint.

So again, he asked me if I was happy doing what I was doing.
I paused and you gotta know I was at a small conference at the time meeting with people. These are good people, but still. Here was my response.

“If I’m at the same conference talking the same people about the same things in 10 years…. I’m going to need therapy”.

There was a pause and I don’t think we really even talked about it, but I was honest.
As a dad I think he was just thinking internally, “I understand, but you have to get things going with your app development so you don’t have to worry about it”.

So, now you know who I am, where I’ve been and hopefully have a general idea of why I have the perspective I do.

If any of this has resonated with you, please scroll to the bottom of this post and join our email list or find my email address to send me something directly. 

Tell me anything you want. Examples:

  • Are you wanting to transition from your corporate job to apps full time?
  • Are you fed up with the rat race?
  • What is holding you back other than revenue?
  • Is there something that in 2016 that has made this transition not possible?
  • Is there something you want to learn more about?

 

2016 is my year and I will be doing anything I have to do to make this transition happen.

  • That is why I invested in going to Hawaii to meet with an learn from some of the top minds in the app industry today. Including, Carter Thomas, Having breakfast with David Reichelt (“Color Switch” game creator with 75,000,000+ downloads), Developer of the game “Bernie Sandwiches” and much more.
  • Bought MoneyFromApps to connect with like minded developers
  • Coining and exercising “App Recycling”.

 

I’m in it to win it. If you want to connect or grow with me, please send me an email:

Support [at] moneyfromapps [dotcom]

Or

If that’s not your thing and you just want to join our email list to keep up with our progress and how you can do the same, quickly join us by subscribing here.

 

Cheers,
Todd Smith

Outlandish Apps / MoneyfromApps