I never “studied” entrepreneurship in college or business school. My Mom and Dad have never been entrepreneurs. I was rather ambivalent to the idea of starting my own business when I began my career in technology in the late-90s. Out of business school, I was hungry for experience and opportunity and it didn’t matter if that was for a large or small company. It wasn’t until I was unemployed that I realized I wanted to start my own business.
After positions with Accenture and AOL during the dot com boom and then bust, I worked for a small eCommerce company. While I appreciated the experience I gained at those large companies, I really enjoyed seeing the impact of my work at a small business. Several years later in 2005, I accepted a job with a startup to run their eCommerce line of business.
I took a three day weekend before beginning the next adventure of my career. It was then that I received the news that the position I had been offered had been cut all of a sudden because the owner no longer wanted to support the eCommerce line of business. Hmm. You think they would have figured that out before interviewing for 2 months and hiring me? Even so, they treated me as well as one could expect by providing a decent severance package, especially for someone who never put in an hour. Still though, I was without a job.
Luckily, I left my last employer on good terms and they had yet to fill my position. Instead of going back to work full-time, I returned as a contractor on a part-time basis. I then picked up a couple other freelance gigs. My father-in-law was battling brain cancer at the time and it was important to have the flexibility in my schedule so I could support my wife and family. Freelancing gave me that flexibility. Back then, working remotely wasn’t as widely accepted as it is now.
Weeks and months followed and I slowly picked up new projects, but still interviewed for full-time jobs. I even received a couple offers and one really good one that was difficult to turn down. But, I really liked working for myself. Even the aspects of the business that I wasn’t so sure about were enjoyable. So over a year after losing a job that I never started, I moved forward with the idea of owning and building a small business. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’m so thankful I got laid off.