I would like to commemorate the 10th post since the rebirth of the closet blog by sharing some of the trials and tribulations I’ve encountered over the past few months. I find that sharing my thoughts not only has a therapeutic value to it, it is also something I hope you – the reader – can find useful on a personal level. So without further ado, I bring you:
Deep thoughts, by the Closet Entrepreneur
I’ve been toying around with starting a business since 2003, yet it wasn’t until the summer of 2005 when I started putting the plans in place to make it happen. Past experiences have taught me that it is difficult to work full-time AND start a business on the side AND still enjoy a ‘normal’ social life. I began looking for ways to cut back on spending and save up some money so I could be comfortable not working while fully dedicating myself to the business.
I started by trading in my car for something more economical and less expensive to maintain, and I also looked into downsizing to a condo since I had no need for a house (I was single at the time and all my possessions could barely fill a small dorm room). So I bought a small fixer upper and that’s when all the fun began.
(Click “more” to read the rest of the post)
Buying the condo wasn’t a bad idea; it was just a short sighted one. I have had a decent paying job since 2000, so I’ve become accustomed to living in a nice home and having nice things. So when I bought the condo, I decided to remodel since it was showing some major wear and tear after 23 years of use and abuse (the previous owners had used it as rental property). I began by literally tearing down the place and starting from scratch.
On the one hand, it was a foolish idea because I had no clue what I was doing. On the other hand, it was a cool experience because it is rare that you get to destroy a house without getting in some major trouble. Still, I was in way over my head and starting a business became the last thing on my mind. For a while, every moment I could spare was spent doing demolition work which was interesting because the whole reason I went to college was to not have to do manual labor. And although breaking things sounds fun and easy (which it can be), dismantling an entire condo by oneself is exhausting and progress is minimal at best.
By the time Thanksgiving had rolled around, I was already burnt out and my personal life was suffering. I had completely lost focus since the condo had become a liability and a money hog (there was no way I could sell it or rent it out), and I was tired of dealing with it because the remodeling had become such an overwhelming and daunting task. For a good 2 months, I looked for anything that could act as an escape and I could honestly say that I started feeling depressed. After a while, I just ran away and tried to hide from it all.
See the Big Picture and Make it Happen
After wallowing in my own crap and making everyone around me miserable, I began to realize that I had lost focus because I had forgotten about the big picture. I had not set out to remodel a condo; I had set out to start a business. I learned a very valuable lesson that day, and that lesson is that no matter what obstacles come your way, you can’t focus all your time and energy on figuring out each and every problem. Instead, keep your eye on the big picture and do whatever it takes to make it happen. So at the request of a loved one, I wrote down all the things I had to get done and figured out a way to just make it happen.
In retrospect, the condo was a big lesson in opportunity costs. Seeing that I was in over my head with this remodeling gig, I asked around and found a guy who focused solely on demolition and remodeling. In one day, he was able to churn out more progress than I had made in the past few weeks! In addition, the cost of hiring help was minute compared to the cost of paying a monthly mortgage on this uninhabitable heck-hole. Then take into the account the time that I spent not working on the business and quantifying the amount of income I have lost by not making use of my time for half a year, and it is easy to see why I should’ve just let someone else take care of the remodeling. Or better yet, not have purchased the condo and just found a way to curb my spending elsewhere.
Of course, every cloud has a silver lining. Luckily, Arizona’s real estate market has been crazy as of late and I could actually sell the condo at the end of it all and still come out ahead. Also, it was actually nice to learn the innards of a home, especially the drywall and electrical side of things.
Things constantly happen that assure me I’m going to be okay, and I like to take these things as ‘signs’. For example, in September I handed in my letter of resignation. My manager completely surprised me by asking if I would consider going part-time instead of leaving the company. He even went out of his way to ensure that I could go part-time before I had even given him my final decision. He could’ve just let me go, but he made a win-win situation out of it all. This was even knowing that my reason for wanting to leave the company was to start my own business.
Another interesting turn of events occurred 2 weekends ago when I called up The Junk Guys and scheduled an appliance removal. Two gentlemen showed up, and after talking with them for a few minutes, I came to learn that they themselves were in the process of transitioning from closet entrepreneurs to full time business owners. It’s interesting how on the day I’m getting back into the swing of things, I come across successful closet entrepreneurs.
I used to believe in miracles, yet now I am finding more and more that ‘signs’ occur for a reason. And when these ‘signs’ occur, you can either brush it off as a coincidence, or you can choose to believe that things happen for a reason.
Believe, Make it Happen, and Enjoy Life!
In the end, it all comes down to believing and making it happen. Regardless of what path you take, always believe that you will be successful and make it happen. Also, be sure to take advantage of opportunities and ‘signs’ because if you don’t, someone else will. And last yet most importantly, don’t lose focus of the things that are most precious to you. Having a successful company is nice, but forgetting what is truly important to you can come at a terrible cost. Make sure to take time out for the things that really matter in this life.
As for me, I still have a ways to go before I can venture out into the real world of self-entrepreneurship, yet it is nice to know that things are finally happening and falling into place.
Make It Happen,
The Closet Entrepreneur
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