As seen in Forbes.
This is the second part and conclusion of the story of crazy Dave Mayer of Clean Bottle and how he broke free from job jail.
(Oh yes, and how you can do the same. :-)
If you have not seen Part I, please go there now so you have a clue on what we’re talking about. Okay?
I will wait…. :-)
Are you back? Good. Now let’s continue with…
Key Step #3: Start your new business while you’re in jail.
By now, you better have a pretty good idea of what you want to do when you get out of job jail. But wait a minute. Why wait until you break out to start? Why not start now?
Great idea. In fact, this is what the majority of first time entrepreneurs do. Believe me, there is no knight in shining armor gonna ride up on his white horse with money bags slung over his saddle with your name on them. You know — cash to start your own business? That’s a fairy tale for most my friend.
So, in other words, you’ve got to keep your day job to keep the cash rolling in (as if you have a choice anyway, ‘cause remember, you’re still in jail).
But that’s okay. You can do it. Millions of guys and gals just like yourself are in the same boat. And Dave too. Do you think once he had his “aha” moment on Clean Bottle he just up and quit his job? Of course not. He’s got a wife. Had a kid on the way at the time. And I’m sure a mortgage to boot.
So how in the world did he do it, and how can you do the same?
Well, instead of me continuing to run at my mouth, I am going to let Dave explain it:
“So I figured out a business idea I could be passionate about. And of course I had figured out my areas of strength and weakness. Since there were all these things to be done, I knew what I should focus on myself, and what I could basically hire (outsource) other people to do. And that’s what I did. I hired (outsourced) people to design the product and I contracted with the source in China to build the product. Since I am gifted in marketing, I focused on marketing.”
Okay stop for a second here. Do you see what Dave did? And this is a hugely important point:
Dave knew his own skills and focused on those areas, while delegating the other stuff he wasn’t as good at, and maybe didn’t even like, to others.
Your ability to work on only those things of super high value where you excel, and find other people you can partner with, or hire, or beg, to do the rest, is a make or break deal. It is flat-out a key to your success. Don’t ever forget it.
Dave also wanted me to share this with you:
“If you want to develop a product or start a café or something, you can do a lot of it without leaving your job. I mean we had sold like $500,000 in products before I ended up leaving Cisco because I had said to myself: What are the sales milestones I want to hit? Who were the customers I want to sign? What is the profitability I want to reach before I can quit?
I would take all this to my wife every 3 months — “look, honey, this is what we do. Can you let me quit now?” So finally she did.
The key point would be it doesn’t have to be binary. It doesn’t have to be that you are either working at your job or being an entrepreneur. It can be both. If you work during the day, there’s still morning and there’s still evening. Just like if you’re taking a business course at school or playing on a softball league. I was choosing to spend my time working on my new business.
Also, you can hire a college intern for $10 an hour to help you. It’s pretty surprising how cheaply you can get a lot of stuff done. You’re then free to do the important stuff. And I guarantee whatever business you start; whether it’s consulting or developing a product or starting a restaurant, you can still do both for a long time.
This makes it a much less risky proposition for you because you can just go ahead and start your business while you’re working.”
Great stuff Dave. Seriously. This is a guy who did it. You might want to listen to him… :-)
Key Step #4: Break out of jail day and never look back.
Yippee. Now for the day of reckoning. You’ve been dreaming of this day for how long? Feeling a wee bit nervous in the pit of your tummy? That’s okay. Press on my friend. Reach for the doorknob to your bosses’ office; step in; and deliver your joyful news:
Yes, you need to be kind and do it with grace and humility. Have a bite of cake at your going away party (do they still do things like that in companies?). And let your heart jump for joy as the door hits you on the behind on the way out. Turn around and say: “Bye-bye job jail.”
There’s not much more to do during this step. Why? Well, ‘cause you already did the hard work silly!
Now don’t get me wrong. Still a lot of hard work to do. Ah, but pause for a moment. Celebrate this day. Although you are probably scared to death still, even with all your planning and your own company started, you did it. You escaped job jail.
Will you do me a favor? When you reach this day, let me know? I want to hear about it. Seriously. If your story is compelling enough, I may even write about it.
But at the very least, I’m gonna give you a big virtual hug and slap on the back. Well done my friend.
When I asked Dave what it was like for him on his last day of job jail, he told me this:
“When I walked out the door, it really felt like I was going from one world to another. I was thrown out of the nest and left to fly on my own and fend for myself. It was my dream to always strike out on my own and now I was doing it – but it was also very scary at the same time because there would be no steady pay check, no safety net. Now each decision I made had real consequences. It was exhilarating and scary at the same time.
But I was ready. No one dreams of being a spectator when they grow up. People don’t say “my life’s goal is to be the best fan I can be. I can’t wait to sit in the bleachers and cheer my heart out.” People want to be in the game. They want to be the ones scoring the touchdowns and making the big plays. Being in the game is scary – you could get hurt, you could fall on your face, you could fumble and mess up and everyone is there to see it, but it was what we were meant to do.
In my job working at a big company I felt like I was a spectator. Leaving that day felt like I was actually running through the stadium and onto the field for the first time. It was really like life was just beginning. I was now in the game.”
Need I say more? Except this: Way to go Dave.
Key Step #5: Once free, stay free by being bold and tenacious.
Now things are cooking. You’re rocking along as a new entrepreneur. How does it feel? Man, it should feel great! But do you put on the brakes? No. Keep trucking. You’ve got to keep being bold in your moves. Keep being creative in your decisions.
Now this is one area Dave absolutely nailed. I love ya Dave… but boy, you’re nuts.
Running around in a bottle suit at the Tour de France? Crazy.
If you’ve never seen this, you’ve got to check it out. Short clip on Dave inside his bottle boy suit running up and down the hills of France.
Why is this important to you as an entrepreneur? Because guys like Dave, who are true entrepreneurs, think and act different. Yes, just like Steve Jobs. Always thinking different than everyone else. Making bold moves. Not afraid of failure. Never giving up.
Do you see this? Do you see why this is so important?
You simply cannot succeed today without being different than every other Tom, Dick and Harry out there. You must strive to be different.
Yes, just like Dave.
Why do you think Bill Walton is such a huge fan of Dave? Go and read Bill’s email again. Here are some of the words he uses to describe Dave: “Passionate visionary.” “Brave.” “Bold.” “Creative.” “Daring.”
I asked Dave about his first encounter with Bill and he shared this story:
“I knew Bill was a cyclist and saw him on the floor at a Warriors game. I was like, well – nothing ventured, nothing gained. I thought to myself, I’m not trying to solicit him or anything. I just want to give him some bottles. So I went up to him and said, “Hey, Bill did you catch the Tour de France on TV?” He said, “Yes, of course.” I said, “Hey, did you see the giant water bottle running around?” He’s like, “Yes, the Clean Bottle. I love that guy.” Then I said, “Hey, that’s me.” I showed him a picture of it and he couldn’t believe it. That’s why I knew I had to have a picture because otherwise he’d think I was some crazy guy.
He said, “Oh, send me an email,” and I sent an email and we just got to talking and sent him some bottles. I mean it’s unbelievable how supportive Bill is. I just got an email the other day where he’s out in a bike shop in California and they didn’t have the Clean Bottles and so he’s selling them on the Clean Bottle. He emailed me and said, “Send them a sample right now.” And wow, for him to get in the bottle costume on national TV. He actually popped out of the giant green bottle right in front of everybody on “The Shark Tank”. It just warms your soul there’s a guy like that helping me.”
If you read this story, and then read it again, you will see my point here. Do you see it? Do you see how Dave is thinking and acting differently than most people?
Bingo. If you get this point; then you understand the core of entrepreneurship. Apple, and it’s founder Steve Jobs, had the slogan “Think Different” as part of their brand for many years. Would you argue with their success?
Combine this with pure tenacity and you’re on fire my friend. If this is you; thinking different + tenacity; I want to know. You’re a star worth backing.
Conclusion? Now it’s your turn…
You can do this. You do not have to be stuck in job jail anymore. Dave and I are helping you break free — right here, right now.
Will it happen overnight? No, it won’t. But that’s okay. You can start today. Go to Step #1 and start there. Just work your way through each step. One step at a time. And remember this — reaching your dreams usually happens with many small steps all connected together. It’s like each brick on the yellow brick road. Small. Connected. But when put together, leads to where you want to go.
When I asked Dave to tell me how it feels to be out of job jail, he told me this:
“I feel like I’ve swallowed the red pill from movie the “The Matrix”. You know, the pill that makes you see how cool things could be when you’re on the outside? It’s incredible. You hear these stories about working for yourself; that it doesn’t really feel like work. Well, it’s true.
I just really feel sorry for people who want to do it, but never get up the courage to do it. Because I feel like there are a lot of steps you can take to mitigate the risk, as I shared before. At the end of the day, you just don’t want to be looking back in regret. You have one life here and you just got to go for it – that’s what it’s all about.
And I’m doing it. Now I can work from home and have lunch with my wife and kids every day. You know, it’s true what motivational speakers say: Make your own life. You have the courage to just go out there and do it, you definitely can. I feel like I’ve made a life I would have never been able to have if I didn’t have the guts to try to branch off on my own.
Hey, you have a dream and you’re going to go for it. You’re not going to take no for an answer. You’re going to find a way.
Clean Bottle has definitely had its ups and downs but I feel like I’m just in the zone and the glove just fits. It’s the best feeling in the world. And no, I would not go back. Ever.”
There you have it. Good stuff to help you on your path to breaking free. Do you have more questions? Have your own story of breaking out?
Love to hear from you. I will help you however I can. Why? ‘Cause job jail stinks. :-)
Okay, do you and I need to hook up?
My name is Eric.
I’m a husband, father & life-long entrepreneur…
My email is: eric at mightywisemedia dot com.
Shoot me yours right here and let’s connect, okay?
You and I can then chat about where you are as an entrepreneur!
Can’t wait to connect with you. :-)