“When did you know it was the right time to quit your job and start Athletes Brand?”
The single most common question I get asked about my dream business. The answer to it is quite simple.
When I started Athletes Brand I had just accomplished stage 3 of 4 of my childhood dream.
- Stage 1) I started for my high school baseball team.
- Stage 2) I got a NCAA D1 baseball scholarship.
- Stage 3) I became a minor league baseball player.
- The only other step of that dream was to become a big leaguer.
I quickly realized after starting my company, Athletes Brand, that I had developed a new passion. Many factors had come into play in diminishing my love of baseball, so it wasn’t just the idea of Athletes Brand. Injuries, injuries, and more injuries were the culprit of almost all of those outlying factors. When you endure numbing pain for 10 straight years every single day that you do something, it’s wild to think that one can still love to do it. I’m talking about a spinal fracture I played through since middle school that got worse each and every year. It never made me hate the game, and I still loved to play even with the pain. In fact, I still looked forward to going to the field everyday and never imagined doing anything else… until I accidentally started Athletes Brand. For the first time in my life I stood on a baseball field excited to go do something else after practice, or after a game. I would stand on the field plotting my next shirt design. Planning my next business move. Never had I ever stepped on a baseball diamond with something else on my mind that I was more excited for than the game that I was playing. Never would I have dreamed that even be possible. The injuries and time on the sideline allowed me the time to discover a new passion in life. A new passion that I couldn’t keep on the sideline.
What this told me though was that I was passionate about something else now. Baseball was no longer my only option. Once I realized this, I began to think about what I wanted my life to mean. What did I want to be remembered for? What could I do for the rest of my life that would make me excited to wake up everyday? I quickly realized that it wasn’t baseball anymore. I wanted my life to mean something more. I wanted to truly make the world a better place. I envisioned myself honest to God, single handedly changing the world for the better.
I knew my company had to make the world a better place, and I had to do it through sports because sports are what I know best and are what I love most to be around. With this info, my company grew a mission statement of; “To make giving back as much a part of being an athlete as the game itself – all while helping athletes live better lives beyond the game.” I knew this was my passion. I believed this was my purpose. I didn’t care about making money. I simply understood that making money was a necessity. I didn’t care about becoming a big leaguer anymore. I simply believed that I was serving a bigger purpose in my role with Athletes Brand than I ever could have as a baseball player.
My steps to quitting my day job and starting my own company may have come slightly out of order. I had unknowingly discovered my new passion, but I hadn’t yet known what the true purpose within Athletes Brand was after trying to infuse my passion into the company.
The right time to quit your day job and start your own company is when two factors are met.
- Factor #1) You must understand the true purpose of the company that you’re starting. What problem is your company solving for its customers? Is it really a problem the customers face or is it an assumption that there is a problem? Why will customers be excited for your company and buy into it? You need to know the answers to those questions, and be real with yourself. This can also be called your mission statement. So figure out your mission statement first, and this will lead to factor 2. Often times however, like in my case, Factor 1 may come second.
- Factor #2) You know your mission statement already. Now, you need to be passionate about that mission (purpose.) Think to yourself right now… do you know for certain that you will be passionate about that mission in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? If you’re not sure right now, then it’s not time to quit your full time job and make the leap. If the answer is yes, and you feel that the answer is yes without an ounce of doubt, then it’s the right time. In my case I discovered my Factor 2 (my passion), which lead to developing my Factor 1 (the companies purpose)… which then I double checked the companies purpose after creating it by making sure I could be passionate about that purpose every day for the next 20 years. I knew without a doubt that I would be.
So, you have a purpose that is solving a real issue that your customers face, and you are full heartedly passionate about that purpose. You know that you will do everything in your power to help solve that issue for your customers whether you’re getting paid much or nothing at all. Money isn’t the driving force for you, the mission and purpose is the driving force for you. You just simply understand that the company can’t exist unless it’s bringing in money to pay the bills and the livelihood of you and your future employees. That my friends is a person on a mission and a person that will be tough to stop. When you have those two things in a business, that’s when it’s the right time to quit your job and go full time in your company.
Notice that I didn’t say the right time to quit is when you have seed funding. I didn’t say the right time is when your concept is proven. I didn’t say the right time is when you turned your first $100k in sales, or when you get your first investor. I said the right time is when you have a real purpose for your company that you can be passionate about for the next 10-20 years even if you’re not getting paid much at all. Money will come in that scenario because you will do everything in your power to make your company successful because your fighting for your purpose, not for money.
I quit baseball after 1 month because I full heartedly knew that Athletes Brand was what I was meant to do and I had a clear vision for how I was going to do it. I worked for my brothers company for a year which helped me learn the business side of things. Then one day, I threw myself in the fire by quitting that job with only $2k in the bank. That job in which was about to become a six figure job. I didn’t wince once, and never have because I’m in this for all 9 innings and willing to go extra innings if I have to to make sure that I’m successful and fully fulfilling my purpose. I quit with everything to lose, and no guarantees of success. My only guarantee was my own belief in myself, and my understanding of what and why I was doing it.
Good luck, and I hope that each and every one of you find success. Even if it’s not by starting your own company.
Written by Kyle Mauch (KyleMauch.com)
Listen to Kyle’s Podcast at: SuccessAtSuccess.com