Look Mom, I Started A Company!

It was about Christmas time. I thought it was the opportune time to sit my parents down and tell them I quit my job.

“Hey Mom & Dad, I quit my job and started a company in my apartment!”

The words any proud parent would want to hear.  Truthfully, I started consulting years ago, quit my job months ago, and we already hired our first employee by the time I told my parents.  We started a digital agency on our off-time, going to client meetings during lunch breaks and after-work drinks.  The side gig turned REAL after a year or so of hustlin’. 

“Mom, don’t worry, I can still pay the rent.”

Parents from the baby boomer generation embrace security over all else.  Pensions, property investments, the same job for 35+ years, the same partner for 35+ years.  They don’t understand the gig generation – even if they do love Amazon Prime.  The idea of income and employment uncertainty is their retirement planning nightmare.  That is why it is important to ease them into major life changes of your own.

“Mom, things are going well, honestly.”

We grew our client base by five multiples in our first year.  This past year to be exact.  My parents are still trying to figure out what I’m on about with this AdWords, Facebook Ads, and Google Analytics.  However, I am sure every week that passes, without asking for money, helps provide a little more reassurance.  They have even come up with a surprisingly succinct explanation to their friends of what I do.  I am grateful for the subtle nod of approval. 

“Hey Mom, this is kind of fun.” 

The uncertainty is the best part of starting a company.  When you have a full time job you know what your assigned tasks are going to be, along with when and where you are supposed to be.  When you start off on your own, the uncertainty is the motivation.  You don’t know what challenges you will face OR whether you will succeed or fail.  The fun is in not knowing what will happen the next day.  It is in learning and improving facets of yourself when under extreme adversity and fuelled by interspersed successes. 

“Hey Mom, everything is going to be alright, I swear.”

Whether our company thrives for years, or crumbles into the dust; the ride has been thoroughly enjoyable.  I don’t know if I could ever go back to a conventional job at this point.  After you get past your own self-doubt and that of others around you, you realize the risk is worth it.  You start to appreciate that every day the lights are on is a fantastic day.  And that even if they went out tomorrow, you learnt a hell of a lot and will surely rise to the next challenge.

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