Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ten years after

I'm not one for remembering exact dates, but it was just about this time 10 years ago that I split the corporate scene and started my own enterprise. It has gone quickly, as good things do.

Recently, a business acquaintance of mine to whom I hadn't spoken in two years dropped me a line on a social networking site. I'm not one for remembering exact dialogue, but he told me that during our last conversation, I'd talked him off the ledge and gotten him re-energized on running his own business, which he's still doing and still enjoying. (You can check out Pete Wright's work at Fifth & Main, which features his Internet producing/broadcasting/storytelling talents, and Acoustic Conversations, which helps musicians promote their tunes and stories.) I was incredibly humbled that my words could have that kind of impact.

Which led me into a cascade of thinking about the people who've influenced me and supported me along the way, including teachers, coaches, friends, teammates, colleagues, bosses, editors, clients and my family. And not the least my dad, who advised me to sock away enough money that you can tell any boss at any time to, well, "take this job and shove it," though he wasn't that delicate about it. You can never be free if you're shackled to your next paycheck. It's true if you're in the corporate world, and equally valid if you're an entrepreneur.

I hope you took yesterday off to goof off, relax and recharge. On this day after Labor Day 2009, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the people who've helped you get where you are. And then take a moment to consider the people whom you influence in the business sphere...and what you can do to help them get to where they need to be.

And if you're like me, it's time to get back to that stack of overdue thank-you notes.


  1. Congrats on the 10-year anniversary! Coincidentally, I recently noticed the date on my first freelance invoice--9/2/99--I wrote an article for Future, remember that pub!?

  2. Thanks, Steph--and that's cool that you have that invoice. (It's the freelancer's equivalent of a pizza joint stapling their first dollar to the wall.) My memory is rotten, but how could I forget Future!?! Unfortunately, the archive on the futuremagazineonline.com web site is totally corrupted.

  3. I was thinking about my first CD over the weekend. Said CD was a tyrant--I spent at least an hour a week crying in my office for an entire year (good thing we had doors!). Yet I learned at lightening speed and the copywriter foundations the CD created in me are still holding strong. So cheers to all the bullies and beasts out there, too. We got the message.

    And congrats on your 10 years, Jake!

  4. Thanks, Teenie. You know, I had included "enemies" in my first draft, and then deleted it with the intention of creating a separate post about that--so I'll include bullies, beasts, tyrants and tinpots in the next week or two.

    Certainly we learn as much or more from getting our noses bloodied as we do from having people butter us up. (Indeed, the latter is among the root causes of the entitlement mentality that generated my Sept. 9 post.)