Most free lancer always ask, why did I become a free lancer or entrepreneur.  My story is very similar to most free lancer.  It was a hobby, someone saw my work.  Offer to pay me, and suddenly my agency and position was created.  I guess you could say it was a early risk taker.  It was an Early Risk (or bet) on myself!

Early Risk

Sometimes the differences between a successful and unsuccessful person is the ability to take a risk.  Taking a risk on myself, and following an every changing journey.  While my story has been told many times, or maybe you have listen to other entrepreneurs with similar stories.

Enjoying the fruits of my hard work.  Being the first in my family to attend and graduate from college, off to Corporate American was my goal and objective.  Weaving my way up the Corporate Ladder and enjoying a great salary.  Suddenly, my safety net was pulled from under me.  Well lets talk in full detail.  Make sure you buckle up and enjoy the ride.

New Venture

After a long and successful career in Corporate America, I found myself… married, father, homeowner, and UNEMPLOYED.  Not sue how it happen, but needing to find something (to occupy my time and put some cash in our saving account was my primary goal).  After a visit to the unemployment office, and being told that the Great State of Georgia would pay for graduate school…I decided to work on my Master.  Maybe I could become a college professor.  Maybe a consultant.  Maybe write a book.  Maybe not!!!

Applying to Emory, Georgia Tech, and Kennesaw State…I was greeted with the same responses.  The fall classes were full.  I would have to wait until the Spring (or January…it was mid-August).  Since my past employer, had provide a very generous severance payment.  I decide to become a full time dad and husband.  Take the kids to school.  Clean up around the house. Do laundry. Clean the kitchen.  Cooking dinner every night.  Shopping for groceries. Going to Barnes and Nobles to check out the latest book.  Early afternoon movies.  Head to the golf course.  Play a round or practice at the driving range.  Life was good.

Scotch and Cigar (things changed)

My neighbor has been layoff a few months before me.  Deciding to stop by drink some scotch and smoke a cigar or two…and bashing my prior employers was my plan (being a stay at home dad/husband, was very boring).  Then the phone call that would change my life FOREVER. My neighbor was fussing with someone.  He was truly upset and killing my buzz.  Asking what was the matter?  He advised his web designer did a horrible job on his site.  My neighbor was creating a new start up.

“I build websites”.   (man…did I just say that), My neighbor asked to see my latest website.  I pulled up my latest project (it was just a hobby site).  Expecting to hear laughter.  I was greeted with I will pay you $2,500 to finish my site.  Okay.  Hand shake agreement.  JDS WebDesign, LLC was born as well as my life as a free lancer web designer.

My story is very similar to most entrepreneurs… took a risk, and worked really hard to make sure my dream became a reality.  This was close to 12 years ago (back in August 2007).  Business has been good and business has been bad.  But business has been a huge and early risk.

Lesson Learned

Having a nest egg, was very instrumental in my early days.  Telling newbies to save, prior to jumping out there is so important. Getting some early practice on being discipline with your finances.  Many times, I have made some huge sacrifices with regards to my finances.

If you are looking to jump ship, then having a couple months of saving will save you a huge headache.  This will allow you to grow your sales funnel. Grow your network, without having your rental/mortgage, house bills, or car note stressing you out. Also it will make you draw a line in the sand, to make sure you are hitting the ground running.  You only have a couple of months in the bank…good incentive.

Image courtesy of Ruthson Zimmerman.