I meant to write a post near my 1 year anniversary of leaving P&G, but it’s one of those things that just keeps on getting put aside. So here I am, almost one and a half years after I left the full time corporate world. It’s a great backdrop for reflection… I’m sitting at the pool of my apartment complex at 10:30 PM. There’s something Zen about being in the dark near a gurgling whirlpool overlooking teal blue water lit up by lights.
The first question I want to answer is this: I have no regrets about leaving P&G, despite the fact the company is offering generous severance packages right now (I would’ve been entitled to tens of thousands of dollars had I received one). My current life of working 3 days a week at a “day job” and having the rest of the days to myself has been everything it’s cracked up to be. My current financial state is exactly how I planned it, that is a steady state (i.e. no gains, no losses). My savings and retirement fund provide a cushion should the proverbial rainy day happen. If the stock market would turn around, I’d be in even better shape.
People ask if it feels like I’m always on vacation.
It’s a long answer. Yes it does. I find myself exploring coffee shops and restaurants as I would do on vacation, except a little less since I’ve now lived in this current complex for 6 months now. My vacations as similar to my work days, which is a good thing… it makes working feel like vacationing (not the other way around). I just do a few hours more work when I’m not on vacation.
How about the businesses? I’ve launched two, the Tremore Breeze Smoker with my former P&G mentor (www.breezebbq.com) and Power Pro Bathroom Cleaner (www.powerprocleaner.com). A family friend recently asked me how my businesses were doing. I answered both have revenues greater than zero. “That’s a good start,” he said. If you ask me, I would agree wholeheartedly.
What have I learned? One big thing is going from idea to business is a LONG process. That’s why one of my biggest pet peeves is people who get paid a lot (or think they should be paid a lot) for just ideas. For the smoker, the last year was spent creating a website, exploring different BBQ competitions, demonstrating for review sites, figuring out who our prime target really is, creating advertisements, learning how to ship 500 pound smokers, dealing with damage during shipment… And that’s AFTER 10 years of experimentation and design by Nathan. Oh, and right before that Nathan had an idea that he could design a better smoker.
Do I have any regrets? One. I wish I could be more productive with my time. Part of it is still getting over self-doubt, although I’m improving daily on that. I’ve trained myself to not say “I don’t have have time” because that’s not really true. Someone in my shoes who was more productive would’ve gone a lot further with these projects that I have so far. Having four days a week to dedicate to businesses can be a LOT of time if used right.
This lifestyle has also resulted in better health for me. With very little stress and time to exercise when needed, my weight has been the lowest since college. Someone told me that an acquaintance who ran into me said I looked happy and relaxed. I’m hope that this pays out in better health in the long run. I’m also able to visit my family in Milwaukee more often and be part of family festivities. My sister and my parents still live there and I’m the only one who’s away.
All in all, whenever I have a “life sucks” moment, I remember that it actually doesn’t. Not at all. Sure, things could always be better. But I’ve been given an amazing opportunity. I hope in the next year (and a half) I can make the most of it. Hopefully revenue will be a few more powers of 10 greater than 0.