So there I was -- a control freak, a perfectionist, on the brink of 40 and the room parent for my children's classrooms. So it was the perfect storm -- desire for change and a need to solve a pressing problem.
Some people get the courage and desire to start companies much younger -- KUDOS to you! But for me, I have been the worker bee for "The Man" for longer than I can remember. Working for "The Man" (or "The Woman") isn't so bad -- good salaries, good perks, good benefits. So it was often a 50- to 60-hour per week job, but it was predictable, secure, and boring. At the end of the day, there was no real ownership, no ability to make my own destiny. With 15 years of corporate experience behind me, I finally became confident in my ability to do run my own show, which leads me to why I started my own company.
1.) I found myself. I know this is cliche, but it is true. As I approach 40, I am much more comfortable in my own skin, much more knowledgeable about my own strengths and weaknesses, and much more confident in my abilities to go after what I want. I don't really care what other people think, I know what I can do, and I am certainly not going to defer to people with less experience and less success. It took a long time to get to this state, but it feels great.
2.) Working like a dog for peanuts. I have spent my working years in both investment banking and high-tech startups. I love the excitement of high-tech startups, but at the end of the day, I was working extremely hard for the founders and the investors. The risk and hours I put in did not match the minority equity stake I received. So, I began thinking, "If I am going to work this hard, why not for something that I want to do, where I have a more significant ownership, that I enjoy?"
3.) Flexibility. I work harder than I ever have -- even when I was in investment banking. I think about my company, Qlubb, every single waking moment (which is about 19 hours a day). I even dream about it in my sleep. That being said, I am still my children's classrooms' room parent and I still volunteer in my community. Though I rely on my wonderful carpool parents to help drop off and pick my children up from school, I can ocassionally drop in to talk to the teachers, attend an event, or help out at school. This was nearly impossible in the corporate world -- no matter how "flexible" they said my job could be. My most productive hours? 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. It's quiet, cable broadband is EXTRA fast, there is mindless night-time talk show chatter, and I can interact with my Indian development team in real-time.