I left my 4 year old employer on February 19, 2015. I worked for an amazing software company called Decifer, which was recently acquired by Focus Vision. I decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Why did I quit my job? Of course to follow my dream.
All my life, I have wanted to be an entrepreneur; I even studied entrepreneurship in college. I started my first company in my senior year after college, but it wasn’t paying the bills so I took a position at Desifer before I graduated.
Although I chose a great company to work with, I did not feel frustrated. I felt like I had become frustrated with my teaching and coaching staff when they worked so hard to teach me how to be an entrepreneur.
Even though I was now a full-time employee, it did not stop me from giving up my dream.
I became a somewhat serial part-time entrepreneur.
During those 4 years working full-time I started 4 initiatives. I raised moderate seed-funds for one venture and gained thousands of users for two ventures, but none of these tractions were enough to quit my full-time job.
I jumped at the chance to become a full-time entrepreneur until I co-founded my current venture Benchmark Intelligence. Benchmarks make it easy for enterprises with 10 to 10,000 locations to monitor the health of their brick and mortar locations.
After 6 months of part-time work on the benchmark, we were adopted to the top tier accelerator Boomtown. They gave us some funds, mentors as well as a place to work. My 3 amazing co-founders and I all quit our jobs, packed our bags and later moved to Boulder, Colorado where the program is located.
We’ve come about half way through the program and we can’t wait for the demo day. While Boomtown is doing everything they can to help our company succeed, success is never guaranteed. We have the potential to build a multi-million dollar company in the next few years, but we may have to find a job within 6 months.
The future is scary at the moment, but I have no choice. My team and I are looking for our own food (money) and no one is feeding us. The best part is that I couldn’t pick a hungry group to hunt. The scariest part is that we still haven’t found it all. We are constantly learning and constantly experimenting to find out what works and what doesn’t.
That’s why I decided to quit my job and pursue my dream, even though I still haven’t found it.
When you grow up, they always say that you are going to regret what you did not do, not what you did.
Leaving my job to pursue my dream was one of the scariest decisions I ever made but at the same time it was one of the easiest decisions I ever made. I was aware of what I was moving away from when I left my job, but I was more aware of what I would walk away from if I didn’t. I will walk away from opportunity for life.
Try your best to live without remorse. I know I’m doing my best to do this. Even if my company fails and I have to find a job, I will be happy to say that I tried and gave it my all because at the end of the day, whatever you can give.
Find your comfort zone
My favorite quote of all time is “A ship is safe in a harbor, but that’s not what a ship is built for”.
As human beings, we did not create our comfort zone, to stay in our harbor. We have explored, failed, succeeded and most importantly, created us to live our lives to the fullest. The elevator starts at the end of your comfort zone.
I could have been comfortable with my previous employer where I made good money for a 25 year old, but I knew that was not what I wanted out of life. I wanted to leave my harbor and float in the surging water.
Entrepreneurs survive a few years of your life like most people don’t, which allows you to spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. At this point, I’m still in the “not like most people” stage, but without a leap of faith and out of my comfort zone I will never be able to live my life “like most people can”.
Follow your emotions
I don’t think there’s been a day in the last 4 years that I haven’t thought about my entrepreneurial dream; It was an obsession I was extremely lucky to have had 3 co-founders who were just as enthusiastic.
It’s usually a good rule of thumb that if you can’t go a day without thinking about something, you should probably follow it. For me it was entrepreneurial, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone. A good portion of the population is not enthusiastic about entrepreneurs and they would rather do a job that is subtle and dandy.
However, those who are passionate about something, something they are not doing for a living, just go for it. You can’t go a day without thinking about entrepreneurship, music, acting, athletics or anything else, follow that passion and more importantly, follow your dreams.
Eric Santos is the co-CEO of Benchmark Intelligence, a suite of analytics tools for enterprise location management. He has previously founded Wishbooklet, Doubles and Socialwise. When Eric isn’t running his business or writing, you can get him traveling or lifting heavy weights.
Image Credit: www.careerealism.com