I left my employer of close to 4 years on February 19th, 2015. I worked for an amazing software company called Decipher, which was recently acquired by Focus Vision.
Why did I quit my job? To pursue my dream of course.
All my life, I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur; I even studied entrepreneurship in college. I started my first company in my senior year after college, but it wasn’t paying the bills so I took a position at Decipher right before graduation.
Although I chose a great company to work for, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment. I felt as though I let my education and instructors down by becoming an employee after they worked so hard to teach me how to become an entrepreneur.
Even though I was now a full-time employee, it didn’t stop me from quitting on my dream.
I became somewhat of a serial part-time entrepreneur.
I started 4 ventures while working full-time during that 4 year stint. I raised modest seed-funding for one venture and acquired thousands of users for two of the ventures, but none of this was enough of this traction was for me to quit my full-time job.
It wasn’t until I co-founded my current venture Benchmark Intelligence that I took the leap of faith to become a full-time entrepreneur. Benchmark makes it easy for enterprises with 10 to 10,000 locations monitor the health of their brick & mortar locations.
After working on Benchmark 6 months part-time, we were accepted into the top tier accelerator Boomtown. They offered us some funding, mentorship as well as a place to work. My 3 amazing co-founders and I all quit our jobs, packed our bags and subsequently moved to Boulder, Colorado where the program is located.
We’re about halfway through the program and we can’t wait for demo day. Although Boomtown is doing everything they can do to help us succeed with our company, success is never guaranteed. There is a chance that we will grow a multi-million dollar company in the next few years, but there is also a chance we may have to look for jobs in 6 months.
Right now the future is scary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My team and I are hunting for our own food (money) and no one is spoon-feeding it to us anymore. The best part is that I couldn’t have chosen a hungrier team to hunt with. The scariest part is that we don’t have it all figured it out yet. We’re learning as we go along and are constantly experimenting to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Here is why I decided to quit my job and pursue my dream, even though I don’t have it all figured out yet.
When you get older, they always say you’re going to regret the things that you didn’t do, not the things that you did do.
Leaving my job to pursue my dream was one of the scariest decisions I ever had to make but at the same time it was a one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. I was aware of what I was walking away from when I quit my job, but I was even more aware of what I would be walking from if I didn’t. I’d be walking away from the opportunity of a lifetime.
Do your best to live without regrets. I know I am doing my best to do just that. Even if my company fails and I need to find a job, I will be happy in saying that I tried and gave it my all because at the end of the day, that’s all you can give.
Get out of your comfort zone
My favorite quote of all time is “A ship is safe in a harbor, but that’s what not ships are built for”.
As humans, we’re not built to stay in our comfort zone, our harbor. We’re built to explore, fail, succeed and most importantly, to live life to our fullest. Lift begins at the end of your comfort zone.
I could have stayed comfortable at my previous employer where I made good money for a 25 year old, but I knew that’s not what I wanted out of life. I wanted to leave my harbor and venture into the turbulent waters.
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, which will in turn allow you to spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. Right now, I am still in the living “like most people won’t” phase, but I will never be able to live my life “like most people can’t” without taking a leap of faith and getting out of my comfort zone.
Follow your passion
I don’t think there has been a day over the last 4 years that I haven’t thought about my entrepreneurial dreams; it was an obsession. I am extremely lucky to have found 3 co-founders who are just as passionate.
It’s usually a pretty good rule of thumb that if you can’t go a day without thinking about something, then you should probably pursue it. For me that was entrepreneurship, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone. A good portion of the population isn’t passionate about entrepreneurship and they’d much rather have a job, which is fine and dandy.
However, for those who are passionate about something, something that they’re not doing for a living, just go do it. Whether it’s entrepreneurship, music, acting, athletics or whatever else you can’t go a day without thinking about, follow that passion and more importantly, follow your dreams.
Eric Santos is the co-CEO of Benchmark Intelligence, a suite of analytics tools for enterprise location management. He previously founded WishBooklet, Dwibbles & Soshowise. When Eric is not running his business or writing you can find him traveling or lifting heavy weights.