If you missed part one, the headline about tacos may not make sense. If you have five minutes, you can read about it here.
If you did read part one, let me explain what happened after that infamous lunch. Like any big decision, I didn’t rush but instead followed my 24 hour rule. This situation though fell into the “sometimes longer” category. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do next, but was more convinced than ever that I needed to lead the charge on this new venture.
After a few days of going back and forth, I was sure of my path. It was time for me to go out completely on my own, move on from the consulting side and build a product business. More importantly, I needed to do it on my own terms without initial partners. The hard part though was sharing my decision the other “amigos”.
Sharing my decision…marketing partner first
I thought it would be easier to start with my marketing partner since he and I were on the same page of me leading the charge. He also had a marketing firm he was still running and deep down I wasn’t sure if he was 100% committed to this new venture.
Just as I suspected, he completely understood and agreed that he wasn’t 100% all in. He had some plans to “product-ize” his marketing business already and would concentrate on that. We both agreed that was probably the best path for him since it’s where his passion lied and it’s showed. He’s done an amazing job; his business s is thriving with a nice list of clients. Many of them are folks you see on TV today since he works with a number of food industry and celebrity talents.
I did leave that meeting with one request for him though: could he help me name this new venture (remember we had a product name in FileGuardian but still not a company name)? He’s more creative than I and that’s his specialty: marketing.
Sharing my decision…my consulting partner
Of the two, I knew sharing my decision with my consulting partner would be a bit more difficult. Not only were we “in bed” together with an existing company, but we had worked together for years prior to that. I met him when I was interning in college so I had known him for close to ten years. In fact, he was one of the few that helped me learn technology when I was starting my career. I had picked up a number of best practices and early programming techniques from him.
Since we were both actively consulting, I asked him if we could chat at the end of the day at our office. We had a small 650 square foot office space we worked at while not at a client’s site. Being away from a client’s office would be best since I didn’t think it would be an easy conversation. Plus I wasn’t sure how long of a conversation it would be.
I wouldn’t say I was nervous since I was confident in my decision but I was anxious for the conversation. It’s one of those things that you just want to happen so it’s over with and you can move on.
Like I do with most things, I was thinking about my approach. Going over and over in my head how I would share that I would leave the consulting company to start this new venture on my own. As I shared, it was a difficult decision but was made more difficult because we had two employees. I was close with them and really enjoyed working with both, but I knew for my own happiness it was time for me to chart the new course.
The conference room…the scene of the crime
Part of our small office space included a conference room. It was approximately 250 square feet where we had a table we bought from Ikea and a few small chairs. Sure I had some butterflies as we entered the room but again but I was confident in my path.
No matter how many times I practiced that day, I didn’t follow “the script”. I just blurted it out: I was going to leave the consulting company to start this new venture on my own. I didn’t share the details of the “tacos” lunch, but focused more on my thoughts and feelings. It was my dream since college to run my own company and build a great organization. Sure we had a consulting company, but that was really building something great for others not myself. I wanted something more, something “tangible”. I was ready to take the risk and go all-in even though my life was changing day by day and I was expecting another child.
Looking back now I may have been foolish and boy would it have been easier if I made the decision a few years prior. Unless you’re a parent, you don’t understand the time, effort and money each child requires. Luckily, I knew I had the support of my wife. Since day one she’s always said she trusts what I’m doing, though I keep the gory details away from her. I’m not sure she’d been 100% on board if she knew the success the consulting company was having and that I was ready to walk away from it all.
The reaction and unexpected twist
The reaction to my decision wasn’t what I expected. I knew he’d be professional, but I didn’t know he’d be so agreeable. I guess deep down he was feeling the way I did, not 100% happy. I also think the prospect of a new venture was a bit scary. See he had done something on his own before but it didn’t work out as planned. I think that experience plus the pressure of starting a family himself made the “safe” route more appealing.
One thing did catch me off-guard though and it’s the twist I’m referring to in the headline of this section: he wanted to walk away and leave the consulting company to me. He was going to pursue a full-time job, again for more security. Plus, I think deep down he had genuine concern for our two employees and he would’ve closed the consulting company if I had left leaving these guys without a job.
Most of the consulting contracts we had were from relationships I had built so it made sense on his part, but left me scratching my head since I wasn’t expecting this. Time to go back to the drawing board, clear my head and decide what I was going to do: keep the consulting company or shut it down?
What do I do, keep the consulting company?
Well this decision I now had to make wasn’t one I was expecting. What made this more difficult is that we had two employees who gave their heart and soul to us and our clients for years. Since my partner was exploring the full-time route, it was on my shoulders to keep the consulting company or close it for good.
It was another decision I didn’t want to rush into so I took a few days to mull it over. On one side it did bring in revenue since most of our contracts were open ended. On the other side though, the business was extremely profitable with zero debt and a nice sized bank account.