The first paragraph was originally posted on my Instagram account on August 17, 2016
What a year 30 has been! One year ago, I had just gotten back from Costa Rica with a new thirst for travel and adventure, and was dreaming of a simpler life. Back at work, I would wear bracelets from my travels to show off my individuality. I didn’t need a fancy watch. I changed my photo in the corporate directory to one of me surfing. An executive started calling me “dude”. It was fun. I was cool. Until I realized I had a mountain of credit card debt, a car payment, student loans, and a mortgage. I better take this shit-eating grin off my face and start cranking out reports before I get fired. I felt stuck. It’s not that I wasn’t happy. I enjoyed the people, the work. But ultimately, I wanted to be building stuff. I wanted to be creative and solve interesting and complex problems.
I was going through a particularly hard break-up at the time. I needed a distraction and although I felt like I was generally in a pretty good place in my life, there was room for improvement. I worked hard, cut my spending, paid off my debt, and taught myself how to code, something I’ve attempted multiple times since middle school. I was determined this time. I would get up at 5:00 am and code for a few hours before work. I followed a few tutorials and as my first project, I started building an app for climbing gyms. The next Facebook? No. But I called a few gyms to see if anyone was interested. One responded and one was all I needed. I had my first client. I started using vacation time to code, sometimes 70 hour weeks while my friends were out camping. I loved it. It brought something out in me that I wasn’t getting at my job. It never felt like work to me and that’s when I knew I had to make the jump. A few weeks later, I had my first face-to-face meeting with the gym to show them what I had built. It went well and that next Monday, I told my boss I was leaving to pursue this full-time.
I didn’t really have a plan other than to code, but I was in a great place in life to be able to do this. Single, no kids, no debt, and a mortgage that’s paid for by renting out my spare rooms. I figured I could do this for six months and have enough skills to be able to get a job as a programmer. I could start driving for Uber if I really needed the cash. I gave my boss two months notice. Maybe a little long, but I needed the extra paychecks and he needed a few more Tableau reports out of me.
So here I am, my last week in the corporate world, finishing up my career in finance and venturing out on my own. I have no idea what the future looks like, but for once in my life, I’m not worrying about that. I should also mention that throughout this entire process, my family has had my back 100% and that’s made things a heck of a lot easier. A few weeks ago, the gym owners approached me, offering to partner up and take this thing on the road. Apparently, I’ve built something they think every climbing gym should be using (and paying for). Whoa! I believe Sir Richard Branson once said that if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure how to do it, say yes and learn later. So that’s what I’m doing. 31 will be a year of many firsts for me. My first app. My first start-up. My first seat on a board of directors. Heck, I hired my first lawyer. But also my first time as an adult where I don’t have to report back to work on Monday. Where will I go? What will I learn? Who will I meet? What will I see?
It’s going to be a rad year! I’m creating this blog to share my experiences, thoughts, ideas, and also because I enjoy writing but never had anything all that interesting to write about regularly. And hey, maybe if anyone reads this other than my Mom, this might just spark a change in their life too (Mom, you’re awesome; don’t ever change).
’til next time, Cheers!