Below you’ll find our first podcast - an in depth, no holds barred description of what it’s like to take the leap. We’ve also included an article from one of our Co-Founders, Jason Little, who describes in more detail the emotions involved in starting something new, as well as a collection of views from others who have jumped before us.
It's Now or Never
Words by Jason Little
––– I forgot to have a life a while back, as my job took over my entire being, and I would all-too-often drive to work with a vacant look on my face, contemplating. Two things became obvious: We can drive quite far on autopilot. And while nobody was paying attention, many of us had slipped into working for the man.
And by the man, I mean the common belief that people sell their souls for money to perform meaningless, empty and unappreciated tasks for a person or organisation. The feeling that things could be better just didn’t want to go away.
Lately there seems to be a consensus amongst many, that independent and locally run businesses and organisations are better than multinationals and super powered corporates. Going out on your own as it were, is something many of us secretly yearn for, even when we usually take the appropriate steps to avoid it. But today, it seems we’re in the era of start-ups, and in a time of so much uncertainty, I’m certain it’s the the only way to go.
“... there seems to be a consensus amongst many that independent and locally run businesses are better than multinationals and super powered corporates.”
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t think it’s all bad under the regime of large corporates. I learned most of my skills whilst working for some large organisations. I travelled the world. Worked on some exceptional and career making projects. Collaborated with some incredible people, and learned more than I ever imagined, about every type of industry. I wouldn’t change a thing. All the experiences so far, have got me to this place.
The other day my friend’s 5 year old kid explained the reality of the corporate world when describing his first day at school. “It’s like you can’t do what you want anymore, when you feel like it”. Thank you Reese, good observation. Why continue to follow that path in our working life? There must be a better way.
How does one throw caution to the wind and head out into the brave world of uncertainty? What if your dreams are actually a delusion and you’re destined for failure, a destitute life without two cents to rub together? Or worse yet. Forced back, tail between your legs as you ask for your old job back, or another similar job with the man. Making the leap into the unknown is a tough call.
Of the many reasons that tip the scales towards starting out on your own, timing seems to be the killer one: You’ve got this brilliant idea and think it can really work; You have the feeling that It’s now or never; You’ve learned the skills and gained the experience to trust your own abilities; You’ve received some unfortunate/fortunate news, ‘Honey, i have something to tell you – those fuckers fired me today’; Or you simply can’t take it anymore, and believe there is a better way. Obviously there are more, but timing is definitely at the root of it all.
"Or worse yet. Forced back, tail between your legs as you ask for your old job back, or another similar job with the man. Making the leap into the unknown is a tough call."
Truth be told, the thought of jumping has been a concept I’ve been open to for a good few years now. Sharing the burden of uncertainty seemed ideal. And what about the financial stuff? I can’t even do my taxes, pay bills on time, or even find matching socks in the morning, let alone make any money. Serious business conversations with potential clients would be a nightmare. I’d probably end up doing work for free because it was a ‘creative opportunity’. Not entirely true, but that’s certainly what my mind tried to convince me of.
Fortunately the moment I decided to make the leap, I discovered two potential partners also believing there was a better path in life. It’s very early days, but I’m optimistic. It’s a funny thing, no sooner do you make the decision, then everyone else comes out of the woodwork full of encouragement. People want to help where they can. The scariness starts to abate. Advice comes at you from all angles. "The first year was the hardest, but also the most enjoyable of my career”, “I could never go back, I’m so much happier now”, “Welcome to the club”.
“People are not transient. They are not resources. They are not numbers on a spreadsheet. Companies are only as good as the people they employ.”
Ultimately I chose the path because it felt ‘right.’ I do see a better way. With the majority of creative companies of any substantial size, owned by larger holding companies that put money over people, there is a different option. People are not transient. They are not resources. They are not numbers on a spreadsheet. They are not disposable. Companies are only as good as the people they employ.
This is what we all seem to have forgotten. Yes we must do everything we can to make a business successful and pay people’s wages. But, people are the lifeblood and talent of any business, and we should also do everything we can to make them happy.