How I escaped from Corporate Hell to Happy Entrepreneur in 15 minutes…
I wrote an original post about corporate hell back on May 11th, 2016. It was just one of those rare weeks that was kicking my ass more than usual.
For the authentic context you need to fully appreciate where I am coming from, please head over and read the original post below.
(Even if you have already glanced over it)
Fast forward…..54 days after writing that post it was July 4th and that night I made a decision in 15 minutes that is changing the course of my professional career.
Soon after, I had a beer to celebrate!
Fast forward even further to August, 2nd and I’m officially self-employed.
That’s 83 days from the original corporate hell post. At the time, it felt like I was years away from being on my own, but I must of been working at it the whole time.
Read below for the full story.
So…here we go:
I could not have predicted this transition would happened so quick or what seemed like on a whim, but it did. I’m not one to read into weird coincidences too much, but there seemed to be quite a few over the last 3 months. That.. or I was just preparing for this day all along.
I started this post wanting to mention 3 coincidences that I saw looking back, but realized that as I wrote them down, there were probably 20. I’ll try to keep it less than that though. It was pretty clear that these were not coincidences, rather persistent moves towards reaching a goal. However, at the time it didn’t seem like that. It just seemed like I was doing the right thing. That’s the kind of thing I can be proud of.
These 11 things I’ll mention fall into the category of “setting yourself up”.
(I put that in quotes because this is a line my friends and family say a lot)
The idea of putting in the effort now so you are in a position to better perform or execute something in the future.
I had been traveling a lot over the last few years for the corporate job with company XYZ and given up the luxury of any office at a fixed location….and that includes my home. I have a small 2 bedroom house and there wasn’t any room for a desk in one of those (oh…so I thought). I didn’t want to clutter up the downstairs and my basement is ancient looking because it’s a 100-year-old house. So usually when I was home, I’d be working at this small table or on the couch.
Before you throw your hands up and say, “what the hell is this guy wearing and why?”
It was a little joke one day of what I thought would be a comfortable option for corporate conferences instead of a stuffy dress shirt and slacks. Maybe even swim trunks instead of slacks?
Ok, I will be back in 20 min…Mac wants his morning walk.
Back to my lack of office situation. So as I worked on our main living room table there would always be a distraction throughout the day or issue in the evening. I’d leave papers out the way I wanted them and one way or another, things would get moved around. It just wasn’t a great atmosphere for working.
Things I did to “set myself up”. Not in chronological order.
So one day in the last 5 weeks, I decided to use an old desk setup I had back in college. I would move out a TV stand and dog bed in the corner of our main bedroom and put this here instead. It’s pretty simple. I think 2 small base end cabinets that were probably scratch and dent with a counter top. It was something I think my dad got me to use because it was perfect for the tight spaces of a college bedroom. So I found it in storage at my dad’s house, dusted it off and then brought it on up. Then I proceeded to remove all the other unnecessary distractions in the bedroom. I wanted it to look as much like a hotel bedroom in terms of uncluttered as possible.
Then I ended up going out about 3 days later and getting a new MacBook laptop to replace my tired 4 year-old 11” MacBook air. It still worked good, I was just after that retina display so I could use an external monitor if I wanted to and it would look crisp (see pic of computer and screen above). I also love the graphite color, slim design, bigger hard drive, processing power, longer battery life and full size keyboard.
About 1 week before I wrote that original blog post about corporate hell I returned from Hawaii. I went there for a small app industry event hosted by Carter Thomas over at Bluecloud solutions + a 4 day vacation after it was over. It was about 40 of us. I learned a lot, networked and really got some perspective
I learned about some new opportunities, validated some old ideas and really saw how important it is to get together with high level people like this. There were successful people who sold portfolios and generated millions along the way. There were complete beginners that hadn’t published any apps yet. There were people like David Reichelt (creator of color switch) and Ob Oberon (probably one of the most impressive app reskinners in terms of automating the process and generating revenue).
- Hiked to a waterfall in the rain with my girl:
- Hiked Diamond head with her and a friend
- Ascended / Descended down koko head trail (google it).
View from top:
View on way down:
(Back to the setups)
I started to reach out to more people who I have either worked with in the past or recently met in Hawaii. This was using Facebook, text and good old-fashioned phone calls. This was a small group the last day of the event going on a jog:
I started to plan out and do rough sketches of my top 3-5 ideas. Some were new, some were building on already successful ideas. I really dug into understanding the possibilities of marketing online and app space.
Back in April I bought the moneyfromapps.com website and started to get it updated with newer content and find out how we could better serve the audience. Many of these future ideas of free content and extras you can start to expect soon.
I sent out a survey to YOU (my audience) and asked them to complete for a chance to win one of our app templates. This feedback was very eye-opening to what people want. We later gave away a copy of Mega Jackpot Slots to a lucky subscriber that won. To buy all the extras he got would cost over $800 on a marketplace. If you haven’t signed up to receive email updates, exclusive offers and market tips do so here. That way when another chance to win something cool come up, you are ready. There is another one on standby and it’s been valued over 2k. That will be given away. Sign up above where it says “do so here”.
I signed up for 2 more events to keep learning and meet more people. One is international.
Planned a staycation (stay home vacation) to just get caught up on things around the house and with my business. This was scheduled to be 1 week after July 4th. So my vacation would be July 11-15. This was planned before my July 4th decision to leave my corporate job, but it worked out great.
I started getting up at 5:45-6:00 am to get things going. Built up a routine that I hadn’t had in the past because of tons of random weekly travel (My last 3-4 weeks of corporate job was less travel). No alarm. I would just wake up and be ready to go. Oh, I also started going to bed just a little earlier (10-11:30ish)
In addition to sketching a few old ideas for future products and services, I really dug in for about 2 weeks. Each day, I would sit down at the right time and do brain dumps of ideas. Some on napkins, some through emails to myself, some through the iOS note app, some I would drawl out on computer paper. I’d say in two weeks just a guess), the ideas generated would keep me busy for a year or more. I’m not saying they are all good. Just saying that I think a few are and they will keep me busy in a good way. It’s just like taking a picture. Usually you take 10 pics to get ½ of a good pic and then need to do it again to get 1 good pic. 20 pics for a good pic you post on social media? Ok, maybe you are better than me at taking pics, all I know…is when the creativity is flowing you ride that wave until there is no more water.
Here was a summary I did later that listed some of them:
I’ve got folders of old ideas from back in 2009 that I peak at sometimes. In fact, one of the things I mention at the bottom of this post on a new project is partly combined with an old idea that goes back years!
All of these things seemed natural at the time, but looking back they were not ordinary for me but they still happened. In the span of 3 months my world changed, but a little at a time.
If you’ve seen the movie Forest Gump, you will recognize this picture.
It’s when after years of being in these stiff braces he got them off and starting doing what he needed to do. However, he didn’t go to the doctor and ask for permission or make it some weird long process. He was just doing what was came natural and RAN out of them. I think he was running away from some kids, but I didn’t feel like I was running away from my corporate job, rather running towards my company. Big difference.
That’s how the last 3 months have been from me. I didn’t see it at the time, but can put it together more now. Still not sure how it all lined up, but feel extremely lucky.
That’s your lead up.
Here’s how it went down…
I talked to my boss on July 4th (It was a Monday, but we had it off). Normally we wouldn’t be talking about work on a holiday, but it was a follow-up to a conversation we had the previous week.
That last conversation was very short, but the general consensus was he needed to tell me about a new opportunity.
Did your eyes just roll?
I asked if that “opportunity” was a good thing or bad thing. He said it would be good long-term. I assumed like other changes, that was code for “it may not be fun for a little awhile or just not as comfortable, but long-term it will be a good move”.
So when I got into the meat and potatoes of the “opportunity”, it was simple. It really was a good opportunity IF, I hadn’t been running my company on the side for 4 years aspiring to make the jump to full time.
Here were my options.
- I could continue doing my current job with a few new responsibilities (no raise) for a while, but eventually who knows.
- I could go do something else under the same company umbrella, but it would be less flexible and probably a lot of front end work (similar pay).
In order to move up in my current role, I was urged to take option #2, because it would give me some different experiences and round me out. I agree and could work with great people. There was only one problem. When I was asked what my long term plans where at this XYZ company…I knew this was going to be tricky.
When I really broke it down, I was not planning on staying there forever because I wanted to pursue my software development company full-time…eventually. To keep things going at the company XYZ and move up, I’d have to go pursue this opportunity (Option 2 / lateral move) for 2-3 years. Again, it would have been a great growth opportunity. However, leaving in the next 9-12 months was already on my mind so was an easy choice. In fact it was a 15 minute gut decision. Fifteen minutes after I had that conversation with my boss about Option 1 or option 2, I had decided I wasn’t going to pursue option 2. So that left staying at my current job against their recommendation.
So now I was down to:
- Staying in my current role
- Going full-time with my business
What I decided to do was to write down some notes on my gut decision that night, sleep on it and figure it out the next day. So I did that, but something amazing happened. Later that night I realized that it was time. I couldn’t get out of my head that if I was going to go full-time in the next 9-12 months anyway, why not now? Sure it’s riskier from a financial perspective, but the other side of it….the timing is great. So I revised my notes, sent them to myself in an email to review the next day and had a beer.
Then I left this note for myself before I went to bed that night:
When I woke up the next morning it still felt like the right choice.
I then met with my boss’s boss (the president) for lunch and told him about the situation. I explained how the opportunity they were presenting would be a great way for me to grow as a person, but I wanted to go another route for personal and profession growth.
Specifically build up my own business. I talked a little about my company and that it’s been going sinse 2012. We’ve had a lot of losses and a few wins. The last 4 years has been an education in itself. I owe it to myself, my family and my clients to pursue that full-time. I also noted that I wasn’t able to be involved as I would have liked in my business over the years because I was busy with my first priority (the XYZ corp job). I had to pay a lot of people to keep things going and I wanted to stop watching from the sidelines.
He was completely on board and very supportive. This XYZ company is family owned privately held and he is 4th generation. They understand the excitement and drive to build something up from nothing.
Later that week, I wrote up my resignation letter and hit send.
On August 2, 2016 I was officially self-employed. My last day at company XYZ was on the 1st.
What does this mean for you?
It means we can offer you more value.
- More blog posts.
- More tips
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- Which ad networks to use
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In addition to offering what we do now + more, we will have a completely different perspective on the industry. We will also be doing more coloration and partnerships. I don’t want to give away the details yet, but we are currently working with 2 companies on new and exciting projects.
The structure of Outlandish Apps and Money From Apps will be changing for the better. A future post on all the details to come. For now:
- Moneyfromapps.com will be the home to the majority of our developer based content, products and services.
- Outlandishapps.com will serve as a hub and place to see what else we are working on + consulting / custom projects. This is where a businesses would come to get a custom project done.
- NewBlogNameHere.com will be a blog that shows all our failures and successes. Things like product and service launches, general market research, using Facebook ads to get users and leads + email marketing. How to merge your app users with a blog and your blog users with an app + niche market research. Watch for a future email on this because you will be able to subscribe.
If you want to sign up now so you dont forget and will hear when this blog launches do so here. I promise it will be worth your time.
Thank you for reading.