The First Four Months

It’s one of the first questions asked of me. “What have you been working on?” You see, I’ve been visiting family & friends over the holidays, and they’re all curious about what the first four months of my entrepreneurial ventures have been like. Naturally.

So here’s what I’ve been doing: adjusting, vacationing, learning, researching, and building. In that order.

Adjusting

A friend had warned me that the first few weeks would largely be a transition period, where I’d have to adjust from a corporate-directed schedule to a self-directed schedule. He was right. Settling down into a routine where each day was, and is, entirely unstructured can be a challenge. That’s also the beauty of working on your own too. Your schedule is now entirely in your own hands, for better or worse.

Vacationing

After years of working for The Man, I also decided on some R&R. So I took a trip to Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. It was incredible. This trip, along with another to Hong Kong and Tokyo earlier this year have given me some business ideas as well, wink wink. Oh, and I also did a week in Hawaii and a month in New York City. Vacationing is fun!

Learning

When I left my last employer, I adopted the philosophy of being a mental sponge. This means keeping my mind wide open and trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can, from everyone around me. Also: I read ferociously. I attended Lunch 2.0 meetings. I met new people. I talked to former co-workers and fellow ex-coworkers. And I delved deeper into the world of investing, search engine optimization (SEO), online communities & blogging, and social media marketing. It’s fun being a mental sponge!

Researching

I didn’t quit my job with a specific business idea in mind. Instead, I quit with a handful of ideas and the desire to research each for viability. Some I share online, others I share with friends. Some ideas take days to properly assess, others take weeks, especially those that involve some kind of market testing. In doing so, I’ve discovered that ideas themselves are relatively easy to come up with and sharing an idea with the right people can infinitely strengthen it. Sometimes those people will offer advice, play devil’s advocate (which is extremely helpful), or even offer to join me in making it happen.

Building

Being an ardent multitasker and workaholic, I’ve also been building a few online businesses in between vacations and everything else. I’ve been helping some friends out in various capacities, from web design & development to technical & project management. There’s nothing to announce right now, but they’re fun projects with good potential.

The Next Few Months

So what next for the next few months? Well, I’ve been debating between two fundamental business/life strategies: the Big Bet and the Four-Hour Work Week.

The Big Bet is where you throw all of yourself into that one great business idea; it’s running your own start-up; it is what most entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are doing. The Four-Hour Work Week is based on the book by the same name and is where you build up a number of passive income generators with the goal of minimizing your workload.

Over the holidays, I’ve decided on my business/life strategy. I’ve decided to do both, serially. First, I’m going to build enough passive income generators to cover basic expenses like rent and groceries. Then I’m going to jump wholeheartedly into a Big Bet.

What will be that Big Bet? Hmmm! wink wink.

Happy 2008 everyone!

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

2 thoughts on “The First Four Months”

  1. Thank you for this. I left my job two months ago (ok, I got fired), and decided to take the route of entrepreneurship. The path so far has been exactly as you experienced. Currently in the vacation mode. January 2009 I plan to research in a big way! Your article helped to lift my spirit as I was feeling down. Hope your 2008 was successful.

  2. Good luck, Dee! You’ve taken an extremely rewarding path, IMHO. It’s not always an easy one, but it is damn thrilling. And good luck on your business research too! Once you start, I’m sure you’re going to have a ton of interesting ideas. Then, one day, you’ll see an article about your company in the Wall Street Journal and think back at how it all started in January 2009. ;-)

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