Every journey has to begin somewhere. And a start-up company isn’t any different.
I’ll try to keep this part short: Born, raised and schooled on the East Coast. Moved to California after college. Worked in the entertainment industry for 6 years. Fell in love. Got married. Agreed it was best that one of us stayed home to raise the babies. Got pregnant. Quit job. Raised two kids. For 8 years straight. Then, my youngest graduated from preschool and suddenly, I realized my children would be gone from 8 am – 4 pm. That was a long time to be home alone. It was time to get back to my career. So I pulled out my resume. And gasped.
I’d spent 10 years out of the paid-workforce and while full-time childrearing was the hardest job I’d ever had (and the only one in which I didn’t get to take long lunches at nice restaurants), there was a gaping hole in my resume. My last position was in 1999. I had not worked in over a decade. No one would hire me at my last level. And for sure, no one would give me the promotion that the last 10 years fine-tuning my household management skills warranted. And consulting? With a case study of only two, it was hard call myself a Childhood Development Expert. My options were limited.
I could go back to the Entertainment Industry but that would require business breakfast, lunch and dinners, networking, showing up at an office regularly. Although my children were in school full-time, I wanted to greet them at the bus stop, help them with their math homework and inspect their tooth-brushing job before they went to sleep. You see, I’m a control freak. And I’d read too many childrearing books to know that children thrived in an environment with involved parents. A traditional desk job wouldn’t work for me. I had only one option left. I figured I’d write.
Novelists make their own hours. A completed manuscript was their resume. I’d written a book while
I was pregnant with my first child (yes, I’m the ambitious sort). It was terribly written and in desperate need of editing. I could rewrite my soon-to-be-best-selling novel, get it sold, get it made into a movie and voila, I’d have a hyphenated career. Writer/Producer. We’d shoot the movie over the summer. Great experience for the kids. That was my plan. As unrealistic as it sounded.
Then, one evening at the end June, I was talking with my girlfriend and she mentioned a problem she was having while shopping on the web.
The conversation went something like this:
“Don’t you just hate it when that happens?” my friend said.
“Oh I hate that,” I said. I’ve told you about my idea, right?”
“No, what idea?” she said.
“The one where I fix that problem?…” I babbled away for a good 10 minutes, explaining my solution to our web shopping problem. My friend didn’t interupt me. She is very patient that way. Finally, I stopped to take a breath.
“That’s a brilliant idea,” she said.
“Really?” I said. “You think so?”
“I know so!” she said.
The next day, I replayed the conversation to my husband, adding “I think it might make a good company, you know?” He smiled and said, “Why not? Every company has to start somewhere.”
So, cut to a few weeks later. I couldn’t stop thinking about my idea. I thought about it more than I thought about my characters in my book. Finally, I gave myself the rest of the summer to decide: start a company or rewrite my novel.
And well, three months later – and this is how the decision worked out.