About three weeks ago, I announced (with tremendous fan fare and a rousing opening second only to Beijing’s Open Ceremonies) that I was starting my own business. So, my dear and trusted readers are probably wondering, how are things going?
Well, so far so good, but some days I wake up and wonder if I would have been better off staying in Tibet as a yak herder. Getting out of the gate is truly difficult: the work that you put in is all expense, with very little tangible results (everything is on paper) and half the wild ideas that I’ve come up with end up going in, not the recycling bin, but the trash. Some of my original ideas were so bad, they were put on a train in contamination barrels headed for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada.
Sarcasm aside, when I stand back and look back over the last month and look at the process that has gotten me to where I am right now, I’m rather amazed at it all. Somehow, a little flicker of an idea sparked in my head, and through a rigourous process of throwing everything I could against a wall to see what stuck, has now turned a strategic and tactical plan that, if all goes well, is ready to be implemented and, barring any funding hiccups, should be live by the time we all sit down to eat Turkey.
Did you see that slight of hand? I gave you a nice gloss over in my perfect plan above. Funding! While I’ve spent almost all of my professional career in Finance, asking people for moola hasn’t been the easiest experience. On the fun scale it is somewhere between having your face duct taped to Michael Moore’s thigh on a 98-degree day in the middle of the jungle and being kicked in head by a Clydesdale. Getting funded has almost nothing to do with Finance and everything to do selling yourself–just as much as your idea, if not more so–to people who are smarter and more experienced that you (that’s why they have money) and think you might be able to make them rich.
My description above is apt, but I’ve now embraced a core piece of my personality: I really do need to embrace my inner masochist. Last year, when I was freezing in a tent at 19,000 feet ? It sucked and I might have lost half my brain cells, but I loved it and would do it again and again. As much as I whine about the funding process, and as much as it hurts starting from absolute zero, there is something really enlightening and actually <gulp> enjoyable about it. It is amazing waking up in the morning with your unrestrained creative process as your best friend and, not being able to rely on anyone else, you have to figure out a way to take all of these ideas on paper and give them life. In the Corporate world, my creative process has often gotten me into trouble, but here it is really the only asset I have.
This endeavor has also greatly challenged my views on optimism. There are so many factors flying in your face every day that tell you that this is the most highly improbable thing you could be doing for yourself. Much of my life, I’ve internally programmed my conscience to warn me of danger and to look for signs of safety. Now, I am dangling myself out on a limb with my whole net worth, which isn’t exactly Gettyian, on the line with failure a strong possibility. If I used the oh so illustrative and relevent Homeland Security Threat Level Metrics to measure the early stages of my constitution under likelihood of upcoming danger as Severe, High, Elevated, Guarded and Low, I’d be somewhere around F–ked.
Initially, the bumps in the road set me to panic as I had somehow convinced myself that mistakes along the way were going to be costly to my meager sums and that my margin of error was way too small. Now, I realize that a day without a setback is a day where I am probably not pushing myself hard enough. It is difficult, day after day, deliberately throwing oneself into the fire without support, but after you do it a few times, it becomes kind of cool. Not to say that I dance through this mine field as Fred Astair either, but somehow, my brain is starting to look beyond the clutter into the potential future. Being wound up so tightly, it took a few blows to force me to loosen my grip and understand that I can actually stear a lot better when I’m laid back in the seat, with a cold, um, Pespi in my hand (I would never condone drinking and driving under any circumstances) and Panama cranking on the radio.
Who knows how this will all turn out, but so far, the most important thing I’ve learned is I’ve found where I belong.
Heart warmning, isn’t it?
Just like Jerry’s kids, I’m just buttering you up to take your wallet. So, if you want to give me some MONEY, you know where to find me.
If not, enjoy the free Doritos, which I’ve grown addicted to in the last month.