For years after graduating high school, I was a pizzeria manager. I adamantly believed during that time period in my life that I would one day own a pizzeria, and that was about it for me.
But it certainly didn’t end up that way.
Here’s a little bit of my journey as a millennial entrepreneur, and what inspired me to make the dive into starting and operating my own businesses.
Looking for Change, Not a ‘Job’
As someone from little Cape Cod, Massachusetts, you don’t often get to see the wide world “over the bridge”. Boston, only around an hour away, might as well be Texas in the cold northeast winters. It’s certainly not a tech-friendly place, and if it wasn’t for my older brother inspiring me to quit drinking and move to California, I maybe would still be making pizza there.
Not to say the restaurant life is bad for everyone, I know some very successful people who own restaurants, but for me, it was rough being in the industry. I drank too much, I smoked cigarettes, and I now realize I was depressed at my inability to grow as a person. Through years of mediation and training to be more self-aware, I now realize that as I stifled my creativity and growth, while my physical and mental state deteriorated.
Becoming a Life-Long Learner (and Owning It)
As a very independent and creative-minded person, I always loved being challenged and constantly learning new lessons and techniques. I always dreamed of creating amazing things for the world, and helping not one or two people, but hundreds, thousands, and one day millions (Muahahaha… Cue the Dr. Evil pinky). My favorite book is A Short History of Nearly Everything, I think it tells a lot about me, as it’s just a nonstop 700+ page review of the history of the world from the Big Bang onward. It’s painstakingly comprehensive, scientific, clever, and engaging, exactly how I prefer to operate and learn internally and act externally.
From ‘Pizza Boy’ to Kickass Entrepreneur
As soon as I got out to San Diego, I knew that California was the place for me. I managed a pizzeria to put myself through a small nonprofit tech school, and I learned how to type, fix computers, then network computers. I then moved on to security and websites, and eventually dropped out for startups and marketing.
That learning growth pattern from pizza dough to keyboard warrior to now owner of a successful website and marketing agency was maybe over the space of 6 years. It was tough at times. I lived in a garage with no bathroom, bums sleeping up against the door, and I had to ride a BMX bike uphill 8 miles to school at 6am, then back again at 10pm most nights. But, I wouldn’t take any of it back- no regrets.
Every flat tire was a challenge thrown at me to be conquered, every client that wasn’t satisfied – I took the money hit until they were successful.
Unemployable, Inspired, and Free
Every step taken in my journey had one goal with three pillars.
1. Work for Yourself
2. Never Stop Learning
3. Help People
Working in pizzerias was fine to pay the bills, but I never liked being told what to do. I was never disrespectful, and I always worked my ass off, but I never, ever liked having someone else be the boss.
I could only make so many people happy with pizza per day, while now with websites I can reach hundreds of thousands per day with my positive influence. I’ve had a few opportunities for really awesome 6 figure jobs in online marketing (which is crazy considering I never got my degree, and only have startup/my own business experience). I’ll be honest, they have kept me up at night, but I could never do it. I have invested too much in my skillset, my company, my clients, and my self-motivation to give it all to a company. I’ve shown myself that I can double, triple my yearly salary while doing it all in my pajamas.
“I can’t help your company, I’m sorry. Not unless the pajamas, dogs, cannabis, 2 hour lunches, 10am start times, 1am finish times, and more can come too.”
Trade all that in for a suit, commuting, boxed lunches, no dogs, performance reviews, deadlines, and job interviews?
No thank you! I’m unemployable by choice.