Four years ago I was sharing an small apartment in Vermont with a closeted American Idol fanboy, making a near minimum wage sewing Nike swooshes onto gym bags.
Then I poked the box.
Now I am the Creative Director of a San Franciso company, built and run an online gaming startup with thousands of users, sold thousands of copies of my own artwork, been on national TV, in national magazines, and reached the top of my own design profession as a freelancer. Oh, and I also got me an awesome wife and three amazing kids.
So how did this happen? All it took was two decisions.
1. I decided to fucking ship something. So while working in sweatshop an artwork of mine (created 4 years prior) became popular briefly on the internet. I decided then I would pull some cash together and print up a few thousand to sell. I had never sold anything before. So a few weeks later, I had a 400lb pallet of posters next to my bed, and 20 boxes of tubes in my bedroom, kitchen, and living room. I created a website and start shipping.
2. I decided that I was no longer going to let others set my limitations. I’ve always been a creative guy. While working in this sweatshop I created a 12 page report to implement an Employee Selected Music System and gave it to the production manager. Of course he didn’t read it, he didn’t care. This happened over and over until I realized that no body had bigger stake in Jess Bachman than myself. So I quit. But not before my first decision made it all too obvious. I was selling some serious posters, almost $1,000 a day, and when contrasted to my $1,200 bi-weekly wage, made working for myself an imperative. From the day I quit, my only limitation was my own capabilities. And I have yet to reach those limits.
It hasn’t been easy. I started freelancing for $15 a project. I’ve certainly eaten enough raman noodles, even as a family. But the personnel development, lessons learned, and satisfaction of where I am today, and where I can be in another 12 months, have made the ROI in Jess Bachman a gold mine from all angles.