On July 15, 2004 I launched my first online business, SportsLizard.com. At the time it was a marketplace for buyers and sellers of sports cards/collectibles. I remember how excited I was to finally launch the site that I had dedicated my final summer in college to building. I remember the thrill of the first dollar made (a buddy of mine in the industry who posted a handful of listings). SportsLizard has become something entirely different and it’s no longer a substantial source of revenue for us, but it is how I got my start in this crazy world of online business.
That final semester in college I remember not caring about my classes at all for the first time. I just wanted to get home and work on SportsLizard. At the engineering job I took after graduating, I never could completely focus the way I had at jobs and internships in the past. All I wanted to do was work on my little online business. The notoriety it received in 2005 gave me the confidence to quit my job in 2006. By the end of that year I had teamed up with my partners and Pure Adapt was born.
My perception of what it would be like to run an online business full-time was quite a bit different than reality, as things we desire often are. Still, the main driving forces behind why I wanted to become an entrepreneur were:
- The freedom to work wherever and whenever I wanted to. I knew I didn’t want the typical 9 – 5.
- Financial control. I didn’t want to live in constant fear that events out of my control could lead to me being relocated or losing my job (a silly notion to some in 2004 but not so much these days).
- Doing interesting, exciting, innovative work that challenges my brain. I like using 100% of my ability to solve problems.
- Doing work that makes a difference, a difference that I am able to observe. I like being able to say “that thing I built improved someone’s day”.
For the most part I’ve achieved those things, and if for no other reason than that I can call this past decade a success. It would be hard for me to part with even one of those things that have become a core part of my life. It might not have manifested in exactly the way I thought it would, but that’s alright with me. Things rarely do.
I suppose that surviving in business this long is an accomplishment in and of itself. It’s almost surreal to think that I haven’t had a “real job” since January of 2006! It’s been an amazing 10 years. I’m pumped for the next 10.