When I was 22 years old, I started pursuing my career and I was tired of waiting to start a business. I had been studying Architecture in southern California for 4 years, and was angry at myself for not just finally jumping into it and pursuing after my future.
For some reason, early on, I knew I wanted to start a business from home. One day, I wanted to get married and have kids. And the thought having to spend time away from my family to work 40 or 50 hours per week just to see them on nights and weekends was a frightening thought. I knew that the only way I could really be at home with my family was to start my own business.
In the summer of 2009, I had come back from a 3-month internship in Washington D.C. to work for a political group. That 3-months was a great experience to teach me that non-profits, and political causes, we really not as big of a passion of mine as I imagined.
When I got back home to California, I had my first crazy business-person idea, which was to start bartending for private events. I signed up for a $200 4-day bartending course (which was pretty much all the money I had at the time), and studied like crazy for the first two days. At the end of the second day, I though to myself, "I can do this already." So I built a website that evening, put an ad on Craigslist, and got my first cliente that very same evening. I was both stunned and nervous. I waited until the following morning to call them, because I was so nervous about what I might say. But as soon as they picked up the phone, they told me "Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!" Yet, to me, it felt like an eternity between when they emailed me through Craigslist and when I actually got back to them with a phone call the following day.
The prospect ultimately turned into a really successful private bartending gig for a 50th Birthday Party in Laguna Beach. And both my friend, who helped out that evening, and I got a $100 tip, plus all the other tips and fees we charged the client. I think I walked away with around $300 total for about 8 hours of work. That's almost $40 an hour! For a 22-year-old starting his first business, this was more exciting than any internship on the other side of the country.
Those first few days of adrenaline and excitement were some of the most enjoyable times for me. And I knew I was built for starting businesses after that.
The idea of being able to do something that excites you, make money doing it, and build it around your interests and lifestyle, is one of the most energizing things I can think of.
But it's not always exciting times. I am so glad that I started my official business of website and graphic design when I was in 23 on January of 2010. Because in 2013, just 3 years later, I got married to my wife Melinda. And we got pregnant with Jayden in 2014, and Josiah in 2016 - who has severe disabilities due to Spina Bifida.
If I didn't start my business almost 8 years ago with the goal of being home for my family, I don't think we would have been able to get through all the hard times as a family. For any family with a special needs child, it's hard enough even if you are doing well financially. But if you are struggling with money, also trying to take care of a fragile child, it can be completely devastating.
If you are still single, and want to start that first business, there is no better opportunity to do it than right now. And I mean literally today. Put a website together, build an Etsy Shop, get your business on Yelp, Google Business, post ads on Craigslist, do everything you can, and spend as little money as possible, and start building your career. And treat every moment of your business as a "Start-Up" phase. Always pushing to open a new door, a new idea, a new opportunity.
It's because your future family depends on you to take the risks you need to take in order to secure them. When times are tough, you'll be prepared to know how to take on the next challenge, because taking lots and lots of small risks through calculated action is the only way to care for the ones you love, and to build dreams.