Growing up I always admired the polished corporate executive and set my dreams to climb up the corporate ladder. It wan’t until I got my MBA did I finally wake up to the miserable nightmare I was in as part of corporate America.
Life was ok, pay was excellent and I had started to become complacent.
I suddenly hit 30 and my mind was on the verge of exploding from routine boredom. Mid-life crisis hit me strong. I was going nowhere in my job. I had excellent reviews from my supervisors but actually spent more than 50% of my time either working out in the corporate gym or reading 20-something startup stories and VC blogs. Anxiety hit strong.
This was amplified when I decided to support my wife in her own aspirations of leaving her horrible job and opening up a consulting business. So, I had to put off my entrepreneurial dreams for a couple of years. During that period of time, I started drinking heavily and going out with friends just to numb the feeling of nothingness. Reading about the Big Bang theory and black holes did make the experience more tolerable.
During my nights out, I saw a well known VC partner at a strip club. He was the spitting image of Waldo and I would never have guessed he would go to such places. He was probably celebrating with a company he recently funded. They came from the upstairs VIP lounge and his hair was all messed up. This is when I said to myself, I definitely need to get them to fund my startup when the time comes. I wonder how they end board meetings. Trips to Vegas?
After my wife started doing well, it was time for me to finally quit my day job.
It wasn’t all sugar and spice and all that’s nice when I quit. I am single founder and bootstrapping the startup using my own funds. I have a few clients. The pivot that I am currently pursuing has been getting traction from both users and advertisers. It is starting to look a bit brighter on the other side.
During the last few months though, it has been a very lonely ride. I would have loved to have a cofounder but the field my startup is in is not that sexy. Definitely not like Foursquare or Facebook.
Most of my time is spent developing, bug fixing and cold calling potential clients for business. I thought having a startup would be much more exicting than this. Filled with booze, women and pranks. Oh, wait, that’s what SXSW is for.
What I learned from my startup is to definitely pursue something you have experience in, have a strong passion for and already have an established network of potential customers/partners in. I think a successful founder will have at least two of those three traits. Without any of these traits, it will be hard to build something and keep going. Especially, when the original idea does not do as well as you thought and you become discouraged. Only to find out later that there might another angle to this business.
I think I will reach my goal and hopefully have Waldo on my board soon. If not, the contingency plan is to open a food truck somewhere in Hawaii and surf most of the day.