Should You Find A Cubicle and Benefits or Take a Different Road?
Note from Caleb: This is a special guest post from my close friend Drew Baillon of Memovia Studios. Drew and I met in the same MBA program and we are both using our education in unconventional ways as we work for micro Internet-based business. In this post, Drew lays out why he decided to turn down the comfortable paycheck and benefits of a traditional career for the harder, but more rewarding path: entrepreneurship. Take it away Drew!
As I was nearing completion of my MBA studies I was faced with the question of "what next?" Since I live in Washington there are a wide range of amazing companies to work for (including a few video game ones) and going to work for them was certainly an intriguing option. The other option given to me was to take control and run a photo/video editing startup called Memovia.
What Memovia does is create slideshows. However these are not your basic pan and zoom slideshows. Memovia takes your photos and turns them into elaborate videos in a variety of styles including 3D. The music video for "Float On" by Modest Mouse was one of the first places I had seen the effect. Admittedly they are hard to describe and are best seen to fully "get-it".
Weighing My Options
I would basically be "the man" and be in charge of a wide range of decisions including everything from video reviewing, customer service, marketing, social media, and much more. I would even get to work and essentially manage a team of eight editors based in India. Lets look at the positives:
- Opportunity - I'd put to use the knowledge I had gained through school to use. Instead of utilizing a small selection of knowledge sets, I would be employing many. Whatever it took to succeed.
- Creativity - I would have a lot of freedom and it would be up to me to decide what were the best options to not only have this small business survice but succeed. I would get to shape and mold this business.
- Passion - I would be promoting, handling, critiquing, and viewing a product on a regular basis that I was passionate about.
- Luxury Company Car - Okay, not really. However I wouldn't have to commute each morning and put miles on my car.
- Challenges - Each day would present a new challenge. This sounds incredibly corny, but I expected each day to bring something new to the table for me to tackle. This would not be a standard "day at the office" desk job.
There were some drawbacks to going down this path.
- The salary would be significantly less than what I would make at a larger company. I was about to get married and this lower salary would mean less of a financial contribution for my family.
- Health care/other benefits would be less as well.
- Fewer social interactions - I would be on the phone and on my email frequently, but I would not have the "normal" workplace interactions.
After many nights of thinking and discussing with my soon-to-be wife I choose the path of the entrepreneur and now almost two years later I have not regretted that decision.
I ultimately decided that I shouldn't be scared, that those other companies would always be there, that my wife and I could still live a fulfilling life at the lower salary, and the opportunity to be so free and creative and run my own business (one that I fully believe in and am excited to work for each day) was an opportunity that I could not pass up. I simply had to live my dream.
Fantastic Voyage - Better Than A Coolio Song
These two years have been an amazing adventure. I have seen our photographer/videographer client list grow from a handful to well into the double digits. We have worked on a wide variety of projects - weddings, vacations, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, corporate videos, and even work for a grammy nominated artist. Along the way the videos have gotten more advanced, yet they are are requiring less revisions before we deliver the final version to the client.
I am still amazed each time I open a first draft from the editing team. It is incredibly rewarding to be a part of such creativity. I have seen Memovia win awards at Wedding Photography tradeshows and watched as our recognition and respect grow.
It still seems crazy to me that on any given day I can put in motion an idea I've had to give Memovia a chance to grow.
Life is full of opportunities, some with more risks than others. Could I have been happy going to work for another company? Absolutely. However, I would have regretted not taking advantage of the chance to essentially run a business.
Ultimately, an important question to ask yourself when life gives you multiple paths is: Will I regret not taking this one?
Drew Baillon is the customer care director at Memovia Studios (though at a startup organization - work is plenty and titles are somewhat meaningless). Memovia is a photo and video editing company that is working with photographers and videographers to evolve the standard photo slideshow.