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Two years ago, I had it all. I was working for a venture-funded company, we were growing, and I was in a leadership position with a decent equity stake. Honestly, I was living the dream, and I loved it—for a while. But, something just wasn’t right. I can’t tell you exactly when or why I started to feel it, but over the course of several months, I felt increasingly anxious and unhappy. Even though I had a dream job making plenty of money with tons of future opportunity, I knew I had to make a change.
So I quit.
After almost two years of building and growing a successful startup, I decided to leave it to pursue something else on my own.
It was the right choice
Although I worked for a startup, I never really felt like much of an entrepreneur. Maybe that should have been obvious, because I wasn’t the founder. But even the founder and CEO of the company were, in a way, just an employee of our board and our investors.
That wasn’t the reason why I took a job at a startup; I got into startups because I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I know that not everyone is like me. But, I can’t help but feel that I am ultimately driven by the freedom and the passion for building. If I’m doing the same thing for too long, I start to get unhappy.
This wasn’t reality in the position I was in, so I made a change.
Finding my passion
After leaving my job, I decided to work as a freelancer. I spent several months building up my portfolio, working with other startups, and replenishing my energy. Then, I decided to get back into entrepreneurship. I launched my agency just over one year ago and I haven’t looked back since.
What I learned through this process is that my passion is about creation. It’s about taking an idea and bringing it to reality. It’s about solving difficult problems in new and interesting ways. I think this is a common trait for creative types. Most people who are creative want to be creative.
This is why they’re drawn to entrepreneurship—because it gives them a chance to dream up something new and then build it from nothing.
This is why I love the work I do now, working with clients and building businesses of all types. Each day is different, and every day is unique.
Not only are we building our company, we’re also helping to build companies for our clients. We’re constantly faced with new challenges, new opportunities and new chances to be creative. For me, this is what I wanted, and I’ve never been happier or felt more fulfilled, creatively.
Best of all, I think it’s a feeling that’s here to stay.
While the initial thrill of starting up helped me feel this, that feeling wore off as the business took shape and the days all started to look the same. It became more of a job than something I felt passionately about building. But I learned that lesson, and now I’m focused on keeping things fresh and exciting.
Here’s the best part: I’ve built my business around this way of thinking. I’ve built it to allow our team to work with exciting clients. I’ve built it to utilize the talents of freelancers, so that they don’t burn out doing traditional agency work.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the future of creative work is an agile model that allows businesses to scale up and down without friction. And with this approach, creative people aren’t tethered to jobs that feel like a grind.
I think everyone should become a freelancer at some point, or at least find a way to tap into your creativity. Entrepreneurship is a lot more fun when it doesn’t feel like just another job.