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Day One On My Own

I shot my mouth off last week and told a few folks that I would blog about my experiences starting a new venture from scratch, so here I am to see if I can follow through on that promise...

And, yes, it is 4:30 in the morning of "Day One" as I sit down to write this first entry. After staring at the ceiling for the last hour plus, I figured I might as well sneak downstairs and do something productive. Difficulty sleeping is, thankfully, not something I have experienced much of in my life, so I'm hoping it will remain a rarity (due to an ill-timed late afternoon Grande Iced Latte perhaps) as opposed to a regular artifact of the anxiety of venturing out on my own. We'll see...

Anyway, let's start with a brief background: yesterday was my last day as Vice President of Technology and Services at Elance after officially resigning last Monday (July 31). I joined Elance over 2 years ago in November of 2003. Despite my resignation, let me be very, very clear that I think Elance is an absolutely brilliant and timely concept. In a nutshell, it is a global online markeplace for services. Service providers (such as graphic artists, software developers, writers, etc.) bid on projects (e.g., "Design my company logo", "Build an e-commerce Web site", "Write a company newsletter", etc.) that are posted by buyers (typically small business owners, ummm - like me!). I won't go into a lot of detail here now, but suffice it to say, it is an incredibly cost-effective way to access a broad array of skills and talent. I have used Elance often for a variety of projects related to some of my extra-curricular activities (like Pepperwood Preserve and WillToons), and I am certain I will be using it heavily for my new venture. I'll talk about it more as I do...

Let me also say that I will miss working day-to-day with many great friends at Elance. I wish you all the greatest success.

So, now perhaps you are thinking: "If Elance is such a great idea and such a promising opportunity with such great people, then why in the heck did you leave?" Well, that is a really, really, really excellent question. (Perhaps that nagging question has something to do with my being up in the middle of the night!) Some of the detail is fairly personal, and I'm not a big fan of blathering on about personal stuff on the public Internet, so I'll leave most of that for private conversation. The key thing is that, for a variety of reasons, I felt the time was right to go out and see if I could accomplish something I have wanted to do for quite some time: to build a meaningful software-related company from scratch. I think I have all the necessary skills, ideas, and passion to pull it off, so, at 43 years of age, it is pretty much time to put up or shut up as they say. Time to take some risk. Besides, as Lorenzo at Elance gently pointed out to me last week, I'm currently being outdone on the entrepreneur front by my 11 year old son (see WillToons), so I definitely think it is time to take action before my brain and my programming skills completely atrophy.

Is this a mid-life crisis? I don't know - maybe. But it seems all good to me. It is very invigorating to break out on my own and force myself out of my comfort zone. After just a few hours on the new job, I've already learned a number of new things (BTW cool site recommendation: StartupNation) and I am sure it is just the very tip of the iceberg. I figure, at minimum, I'll emerge from this wiser than when I entered. Also, since the central concept behind my new venture revolves around encouraging responsible, philanthropic behavior in families and their children, I feel confident that I can make a positive impact on the planet. At minimum, that impact will be felt within my own family (a captive audience with no opt-out chance); at maximum, who knows - we'll see as this unfolds...

Well, it's 6am now (time flies!) and the house is actually starting to stir as the cell-phone alarms go off for an early Saturday AM activity...

So, in closing on my first post, as I told the family last week, the good news is that I am now President and CEO - quite the bigshot; the bad news is that I am President and CEO of nothing and nobody. Oh well, it still feels good to be in charge ;-)

1 comment:

DONMAC17 aka The Blog Post Author

Let's see... hmmm... I've done what you just did one, two, three... four times, Bill, and I will say this: fraught as it is with uncertainty, self-employment beats the hell out of any other type of employment. Being your own boss is far superior to having to answer to morons and counterproductive idiots who, if left to their own devices to support themselves, would likely starve to death.

Best of luck, and very likely, Bill, you won't need it.

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