On June 3rd, 2016, I left BizStream for the last time. I walked away from a really stable company, one that is experiencing tremendous growth. It was comfortable, the office had all the amenities you could hope for, I loved everyone I was working with but something was still missing for me. My desires had changed. So what brought me to this point?
Every parent will tell you, when your child is born, something changes. Something happens to you. As my boys (4 and 2) are getting older, I began to realize how precious my time with them was. How critical our time spent together as entire family was. I was working a lot of hours. I would get into the office early, between 6-6:30am, I would come home, eat dinner and spend less than an hour with the boys before getting them ready for bed. After they fell asleep, I would often reopen the laptop and start working again. I would end the night falling asleep while "watching" a show with my wife.
This wasn't the life I wanted to live. The work was fun, rewarding and I felt good after accomplishing a task, or big feature, or project but I was starting to wonder, was it worth it? When I was with my family, I was present but I wasn't engaged. I was too tired from the long days or my mind was on something else, whether it was work, or bills or one of the other handful of things that weighs heavy on our minds. My wife and I weren't connecting on the level we once did. My engagement level was that of a cardboard cutout.
At 31, I was losing quality time with my family and I was already missing moments I will never be able to get back.
The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege. - Charles Kuralt
Making a change
I knew I needed to make a change but how? Society has setup working parents to be away from home for at least 9 hours a day or more commonly, 10-11 hours a day. The mindset for most businesses is, when you work more, you can do more and when you do more, you're getting the edge on the competition.
Most of us work 8am-5pm, if we're lucky enough to leave right at 5pm. Don't forget about your commute, go ahead and tack on an extra 30 minutes one way. So changing jobs didn't make sense. The expectation would still be the same, commute to work, 8-5, commute from work, so why I would leave a great place to work just to have the same expectations from another company?
So Kerry and I started talking. What do we do? We know we can't stay on this trajectory. This isn't a rehearsal, this is our life and the last time I checked, we only get one of these. After a lot of hard work, we were finally debt-free (besides the mortgage, of course), so we had a little more flexibility financially. We could take some "risks". This is when we started talking about quitting BizStream, my awesome, comfortable, could spend the rest of my career here job.
After taking some time to really think about it all, I knew the only answer was to leave BizStream and finally start my own company. I was terrified. But if your dreams don't scare you, you're not dreaming big enough. I could finally take control of my day. I could finally get the flexibility to meet my priorities of spending engaged time with my wife and kids. Okay, okay, and sleeping in here and there.
I learned a ton about running a web development company while at BizStream. I always carried around a business owner mindset while I was there, I always had the confidence in my skill set, so now I get to combine to the two and start working for myself. My first step into entrepreneurship.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. - Mark Twain
To Florida and Beyond
Why make one big life change when you can make two!? In addition to starting my own company, we're moving to Jacksonville, Florida! The family packs up and heads south in September to chase the sun. Anyone that knows us knows we're beach bums. We love the beach, the warm weather and that tired feeling after a day in the sun. After talking about moving for a couple of Michigan winters, we finally decided to make it happen!
While big, scary and unknown, we couldn't be more excited about the new adventures and what the future holds for the Reece family!