But there are times in your life when you recognize a unique opportunity that will only come once. When you hear that knocking – you either need to go for it – or let it go forever.
So it was in 1999 at the height of the Dot Com Bubble – when an opportunity for me to join an Internet Startup knocked on the door. It took me less than 24 hours to figure out that if I didn’t do it, I would regret it forever.
So I put my business on hold and went back to a J-O-B. The commute. The office politics. The long hours of a startup.
And the excitement!
Starting a company is FUN. There are lots of decisions to make. Procedures to establish. Staff to hire. Trade shows to attend. Briefings to give. If you love the implementation phase – it’s pure heaven!
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the company that I joined was an online learning company, focused on the education market. It was exactly in my comfort zone. And I felt good about what we were doing and how we did it.
I’ve never regretted that decision. But I also wasn’t sad when our funding source pulled the plug a year later. I was ready to get back to MY business. The sunlight coming in the window of my home office. No more Austin traffic. Setting my own hours. No office politics.
So what did I learn from my days in a Dot Com Startup?
1. Go for it! If you feel in your gut that this is something you really must do or want to do, then give it your all. Don’t hold back, trying to play it safe. Make it work.
2. Look not just at the opportunity, but at who is involved. In this case, I knew both the President and VP for whom I worked personally. I had worked with both of them when they were at Apple and I knew I could trust them as people, as well as their business judgment.
Better to pass on an opportunity than to go into with people you can’t trust. (I had that experience about 15 years before this. Bad news.)
3. Don’t confuse real opportunity with a scarcity sales tactic (this opportunity disappears at midnight; you’ll never see this offer again; get in on the bottom floor this week only) thinking it’s a one-time opportunity. Many people have spent thousands of dollars on products they didn’t need or use – just because they thought it was a disappearing opportunity.
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