People ask me sometimes why I choose to do this to myself, I’m a twentysomething who works 80 hours a week for a smallish but livable income for the sake of starting a company. “Why don’t you get a normal job and work less?” Why? I have seen first hand the power of choosing to be entrepreneurial. But this story isn’t about me, it’s about my parents.
Growing up in a single parent household isn’t uncommon, but each story is varies wildly on the who, where, when, and why. When my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the mid 90’s we knew life would change. What no one expected was that he’d be over prescribed and become an addict. We’d be in and out of hospitals, mental wards, clinics, and assisted care facilities until his passing in 2009. Crazy shit happened then, I can remember numerous times I didn’t sleep on school nights because the police were at the house until 3am. Times were tough. My father would never be able to work again, and my mother spent most of her time keeping things settled until my father was living permanently in assisted care after receiving addiction help.
Here’s the kicker, in the mid 80s my mom was working an office job at the gas company, and my dad was a chemist. Both standard, respectable, normal as hell day jobs. That is until my dad was fired. I don’t know how the actual conversation went when he got home, but I’d imagine it was something like “hey, I just got fired from work. Let’s start a company instead.” In 1986 they went into business selling edible inks, and by the mid 90’s the business was successful enough to stand on its own two feet and run all by itself. Just in time.
Now, the only reason I am able to be where I am today is because of this one gigantically small choice. The decision to strive to create something better than the status quo. I don’t know what would have happened if there wasn’t an operational company helping support us in our time of need. We weren’t from a well to do family. And keeping my brother and me from being taken by child services was a full time job for my mother, she didn’t have the time to work a desk for a few years in the late 90’s.
But besides surviving, we thrived. I could have never afforded to build a 3D printer in college, let alone maybe even go to college if it weren’t for the extra cash we had from the company. Now I get to worry about the next funding round for my startup instead of worrying whether my paycheck will cover both gas and groceries. My entire life could have been drastically different due to choice, not chance.
So if you’re feeling bold, choose to be entrepreneurial. Start something crazy, do what you love. Who knows, it might just save a life.