Building Something

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about his job hunt.  It’s not that he doesn’t like his current job per-se, but that he feels like it isn’t offering any growth opportunities – financially or otherwise.  We discussed how frustrating it is to go to a job every day and feel like you aren’t accomplishing anything important.

I know the feeling.  I felt it at my job, and by all normal measures I had a very good job.  Unfortunately, my advice in situations like these isn’t always the best.  I can’t just say “do what I did – quit and start a company.”  For many obvious reasons, that’s not sound advice for most people.  Maybe they don’t want to run a business, maybe they don’t have the discipline, or maybe they aren’t at a point where they can take the financial risk.  I realize I’m in the minority – most people will never get to write a blog post the day they quit their job to go run a web company.  I’m very thankful that everything in my life aligned correctly so I could take the risks that I did.

Since that discussion though, I’ve continued to think about my friends situation.  I sort of veered off on a tangent and asked myself the question “what if their entire career continued like this?”  And then I realized that for many people, that’s exactly what happens.  They either stay in a job they despise or jump from job to job never quite feeling like what they’re doing is important or brings them any sort of satisfaction.  It’s certainly not everyone, but it’s not no one either.  It’s very sad when you think about it.

It all just makes me remember how lucky I am.  Through all of the long hours, sacrifice, and stress, at least I can lay my head to rest every night knowing I am doing something that I enjoy. Everyone’s definition of  “meaningful work” is undoubtedly different, but for myself, starting and growing a successful company with strong values is very meaningful.

We’re building something.  Every day our company grows and gets a little better.  We can see the progress not only in our bottom line, but in the feedback we get from our customers.  Not to mention that the once seemingly vast warehouse that we operate out of seems to have less and less open space every time I go in.  Sometime later this year, we’ll see it when we hire our first employee and someone is able to support themselves and their family with a job at Pure Adapt.  How cool is that?  It’s an awesome feeling to have.

And then there is the purely financial way of looking at it.  When I quit my job I got paid out for my vacation days and that was it.  I think it was something like $2,000 that I got.  If for some reason I was to leave Pure Adapt tomorrow, I’d have my 25% stock to either cash in or keep (we have a protocol for this in our by laws, but it’s not worth getting in to).  Even if things soured, I’d at least have a relatively large pay day for my hard work in growing the company.  At 26 we each already have an asset that’s bigger than a decent size starter home (according to my guess as to what our company valuation will be, which is done yearly in December).  It’s an asset that most people will never have.  Certainly not the reason I do it, but an added perk that a regular job doesn’t offer.

Entrepreneurship – it’s not for everybody, but I’m glad it’s for me.

4 comments on Building Something

  1. Joseph says:

    Hey Adam,

    Great blog! I really enjoyed reading this blog about “Building Something.” Especially where you write, “We’re building something. Every day our company grows and gets a little better. We can see the progress not only in our bottom line, but in the feedback we get from our customers.” I really can associate with what you write about. Keep up the great work!


  2. Adam McFarland says:

    Thanks Joseph – glad you’re enjoying the blog!

  3. Travis says:

    Hey Adam,

    I love this post. Back when I was in college the tag line of our Entrepreneurial Society was “Start Something”. Truly it is better to be proactive and take your career into your own hands then to be handed a pink slip time after time.

    I would also love to hear more about your partnership agreement with your partners. I am in the middle of trying to start a business and my partner and I are working through putting together a partnership agreement. What are some things you would reccommend considering based on your experience.

    I am nervous to openly blog about it on my blog yet since I am still employed and don’t want my employer to get wind of the project.

    Also another topic could be about starting a small business during these recessionary times. Is it a good idea or not?


  4. Adam McFarland says:

    Great comment Travis. I’ll try to hit on all of your points.

    I love the “start something” mentality for a whole lot of reasons…particularly because it emphasizes that the most important part is actually starting something. I feel like too many potential young business owners never start something for one reason or another. Any action is better than no action. If you fail, you learn and try again.

    As far as the partnership stuff, definitely get a lawyer experienced in writing partnership agreements. It cost us less than $500 for a great lawyer to incorporate us and put together the partnership agreement. The piece of mind is well worth every penny. You can probably get a good referral if you just ask around a bit.

    As far as being cautious, I think you’re definitely correct. As long as you’re at the job you want and need the paycheck. When you do finally leave, you want it to be on your terms…not because they fired you for blogging. If you can, take a look at some of the company rules for blogging and for running outside businesses. Some are fine with it, others require an approval process or downright disapprove. You don’t want to get blindsided if they do find out.

    As far as whether or not it’s a good time to start a business, I definitely think it is. But that’s a whole post in and of itself 🙂

    Feel free to drop me an email if you’d like to discuss anything privately in more detail (adam [at] adam-mcfarland [dot] net).

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