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The Realistic Truth of Chasing Dreams

I’m chasing a dream. 

And,  to be perfectly blunt, dream chasing is more fun at 36 years old than it was at 18 years old.

Hard work pays off

As long as it’s hard work towards your dreams, that is.

In June of 1994 I worked 14-18 hours per day, 7 days per week. It was the summer before my freshmen year at Moody and I needed to have $5000 in savings before August 15th to pay for my first semester.

I worked on a paint crew from 6:00 am – 2:00 PM. I painted dorm rooms, locker rooms, offices, and hallways. I made $4.80 per hour, plus free summer housing. Then I’d go back to the dorm, shower, and run to my second full-time job where I scooped ice cream from 4:00 PM – close. Most nights I came home from that job between 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM. There I made a whopping $6.50/hour. On Saturday & Sunday, when I didn’t work on the paint crew, I’d often work from open to close at the ice cream shop.

I did this for the entire summer. Before the first day of freshmen orientation I picked up both my paychecks and when I made the deposit my savings balance was $5200.

Truth? This was an awesome season for me. Yes, I worked hard. Yes, it’s all I did. But I was chasing a dream of paying for college with cash. And it paid off. I was very proud of myself because I had a lot to be proud of.

In June of 2011, after a long process, Kristen and I decided to chase our current dream. I wish I could say that it is less work in 2011 – 2012 than it was in 1994. But that would be a lie.

Dream chasing is hard work. 

Practical realities

  • I work 12-16 hours 5-6 days per week. That often means going to the office from 9-5 and  then after the kids go to bed working from 9-1.
  • I’m not a fan of bookkeeping & accounting. I just kind of stink at it.
  • Working from home & co-working is funky. People tell me all the time, “You must love the flexibility.” I suppose I have a lot of flexibility. But one way or another I’ll be sitting in front of this screen 12 – 18 hours per day.
  • As our businesses grow so do the levels of complexity. Mo’ money, mo’ problems I guess. More like, mo’ money, mo’ lawyers.
  • Vacations are SUPER expensive. Sure, I’ve budgeted to take weeks off. But it can be hard to relax when you know the meter isn’t running.
  • The payoff can be great. My friends are quick to point out how awesome it is to “keep what you make.” Unfortunately, I also keep what I don’t make.
  • Taxes are no fun. Small business ownership involves a complex game of juggling taxation. Sales tax, city tax, income tax, write offs, lots of stuff you don’t think about if you’ve got a regular gig.
  • Juggling takes concentration. Working with lots and lots of people on lots and lots of projects at the same time is a rush. But it also means you always have to keep focused. Take your eye off what’s next, even for a minute, and you have 3 conference calls scheduled for the same 30 minute time block.
  • It’s all about risk management. It takes a while to get into the rythym of knowing when to play it safe and when to gamble. The simple truth is that if you never gamble a little you’ll never reap the rewards of a bet. Business ownership depends on some of your projects paying back 10x the bet. The trick is knowing when to take those risks and when to walk away.

2 Responses to The Realistic Truth of Chasing Dreams

  1. Robin Pippin June 15, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    I can SO identify with everything you’ve said, Adam. Well said.

  2. Andy Gill June 15, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Seriously love your story, and reading about the journey you’re on man. Inspiring. Can’t wait to see what’s to come about in the near and far future with the cartel. 

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