When I started SWD four years ago, I'd love to tell you I discovered some unmet market opportunities and had an entrepreneurial spirit, but that's all bullshit. I reached a point where working for someone else wasn't something I could do anymore. While I was really good at leading teams and organizations, I lost my sense of self. Progress in corporate life was getting in the way of my own development.
I found myself wanting to be a better dad, becoming a better partner to my wife, spending more time developing relationships that were as deep as I needed them to be, and feeling like I was doing something meaningful. It wasn't that I just wanted these things in my life, I needed them.
I had never given a lot of thought to being an entrepreneur before then. It scared the shit out of me. I didn't go to business school (I studied History), I never worked at a startup, and I had zero desire to be a billionaire because the world doesn't need billionaires. As far as I knew, that's kind of what you needed in order to be successful as an entrepreneur. That misconception led me to have lots of questions about the idea of working for myself.
- "Who am I to be a CEO?
- "How am I going to find clients?
- "How am I going to be able to make any money?"
- "Am I selfish for doing this?"
- "What am I going to do?"
ALL OF THESE questions came up while I was looking at myself in the mirror, knowing full well that working for someone else would destroy me. Working for someone else was getting in the way of the progress I wanted to make for myself. Simply put, I had to choose myself in order to keep going.
Luckily, I had some reliable skills in my back pocket that gave me the confidence to make it work. Four years later, SWD is doing pretty well. I've worked with over 700 clients, have had great collaborations with teams at Google, Zillow, DocuSign, ANZ, and more, crossed the $1M lifetime revenue mark in under 4 years, and have been spending a whole lot more time being a dad, husband, friend, and individual.
While I spend a lot of day-to-day working with my clients, I make time to have regular conversations with friends and peers too. Many of those conversations eventually land on how I've made the decisions I've made to keep going as an entrepreneur.
After many of those conversations, I noticed that many of my friends and peers working for someone else were also interested in working for themselves but had no idea where to start. Worse, they had built up a lot of preconceived notions of what they needed to start. And that is what led me to a conversation with my friend Greg.
Greg has built and looked over several small companies over the last 25 years. From Airbag to companies like Happy Cog and The Bureau of Digital. More importantly, Greg has become a good friend. One of those people I developed a deeper relationship with on a personal level. A few months ago, we had a few conversations about collaborating together.
Our conversations turned into workshopping. Workshopping turned into designing. Designing turned into facilitating workshops for some friends. Those workshops went so well that we met up in person to dig even deeper into what it might be. That's what brings us here today.
We've seen enough signals in the early days of Jump Ship to believe you can increase the odds of running your own small business. Mostly by helping you validate your ideas, finding a clear path forward, standing out from the crowd, and lowering your anxieties around 'the business-y stuff'.
Things will be up and running here shortly, but we're going to be sharing each step of our process of putting the programming together, our thoughts about the business side and client side of the work, and generally.
Every Friday, we'll share all the behind-scenes work of building Jump Ship and how our clients are Jumping Ship as a result. If you want honest, practical, effective advice to build a real business serving real people, you’ll like what we have to share.
If you're thinking about entrepreneurship or want to see what it's like when others do it, subscribe and follow along with us.