Today I want to share a personal story…
20 years ago, one evening, my parents had gone out for a few hours and came back with a big box as a graduation gift.
What was contained in this box eventually helped mold my path for a career and passion in life?
What was it? It was a brand new computer!
I put it together, connected the cables and wires, powered it on and dove right in to see what this new piece of technology was all about.
I literally must have spent 10 hours a day, late nights and early mornings playing around with it, getting familiar with it.
Friends and family started noticing how good I started getting at computers and understanding the internet, etc that I would be getting phone calls every week to help them through a “computer issues”, setting up a new computer, installing a new piece of software and teaching them how to use it.
After a few more months of that, people started to offer to pay me for my time and services. (Light bulb moment!).
THIS WAS GREAT!
I was getting paid for something I was really good at!
If I didn’t know how to do something, I would quickly learn it and explain it to people in a way that made sense to them and easier for them to understand.
What I didn’t realize is that I was actually becoming a computer and technology consultant.
At that time I was working at a video store but figured since I was getting so good at computers and technology, let me try my hand at getting a job in the information technology world.
I put together a resume and sent it out to multiple places and many interviews later, I landed my first job in IT!
It was at a graduate school, great benefits and at that time some great pay!
I was able to learn so much, test out new technologies, help support the staff with issues, etc.
This was my *DREAM* job!
But…the dream didn’t last. After about 7 years the company fired me.
That was absolutely devastating. I kept thinking there was no consideration for loyalty to the company.
One of the hardest things I had to do was break the news to my wife. 😔
She cried hard and worried about what we were going to do now.
I figured since I wasn’t working, let me at least go back to consulting and so I started my own computer consulting company which helped pay the bills and bring in the income we needed to stay afloat.
I got paid more per hour than I did at my job and got to work the hours I wanted since it was my own company.
Thank God, after a few months, we were blessed with the news that we were going to be having a new child join the family.
My wife and I felt it would be better for us to join a new company again and take advantage of the insurance benefits, stable income and stable hours.
I would still be able to consult after hours and during weekends and continue to supplement my income.
I ended up joining a family owned marketing company of 150 people, only 30 minutes from our house.
The hours were great, the people were great and so were the benefits.
I was getting big company profit sharing checks once a year, generous raises.
After about 4 years into the company, things changed.
The company lost one of its biggest clients!
So what right?
Well, the big bonus checks stopped.
The generous raises stopped and we were all being offered the bare minimum, budgets were cut so no new technology could be deployed.
Worst of all, the human resources person and I had a secret meeting to let me know that they were about to terminate 50 people and that I was not one of them, but my immediate supervisor was.
I was shocked.
That day passed, people cried and many in shock of what had just happened.
Over the course of another 5 years, the company has tried to stay “afloat” and tried to “right-size” itself since.
The company terminated another 50 people during that time.
These events really changed my outlook on corporate business and in life.
What I learned from these life experiences:
* These corporate jobs that we spend 10s of thousands of dollars going to school for or the years of experience we invest in to become the “best of the best” is never guaranteed.
* At any time and for any reason, you can be laid off from your job, which ends up affecting your whole family.
* The biggest thing I can advise is that if you don’t have your own side business, you need to start something today.
* Having your own business gives you freedom, more of a guarantee of income coming in and unless you are not happy with yourself in your own business, you can’t get fired.
Since then I’ve had consulting businesses and an eBay business, and today web development and coaching/mentoring businesses.
It’s always great to have a side income, but it’s better to have your own business.
If you can, make sincere duas and work towards multiple businesses or streams of income which will always be better and you can diversify and not worry about if a market disappears.
You’ll always have your other businesses to fall back on.
Let me know in comments below if this story resonated with you and if you’re working towards entrepreneurship yourself.
Business Strategist and Mentor