Taking the Leap – My Journey to Vedavoo
Ever since I started the evening program at Babson, the same question has been asked at the beginning of every entrepreneurial focused class: What stops people from becoming entrepreneurs? There are a number of answers, but the one that always had the most relevance for me was, “It is scary.” Lets be honest here, no one starts a business or joins a start up with the mindset that it isn’t going to be around in a year or two. When the commitment to that company is made, there has to be a 100% buy in or things will get tougher than they already are for any new venture.
The “scary” factor is what stopped me from taking the leap over to a life of an entrepreneur a few years ago. In the winter of 2010, I met Vedavoo founder and Babson Fast Track Alumni, Scott Hunter. We sat down for coffee and discussed the goals I had in somehow breaking into the outdoor industry. My idea at the time was to open an archery pro shop with a unique twist. In that conversation we learned that we had a lot in common and shared many of the same interests and a friendship was born.
A few months later, Scott approached me and asked if I wanted to join Vedavoo through an internship. He wanted to explore the world of fly fishing (to date Vedavoo was primarily rock climbing and hiking) but didn’t have the time to really dive into it. I was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity. I finally got my foot in the door.
I was also working full time in finance and was making a decent paycheck at the time. The problem was, I lost all interest working in the financial industry after one year of being there; year four was right around the corner. I wanted to leave and pursue something that I loved doing, but I was too scared to make the leap. I wanted to expand my role with Vedavoo, but coming on full time meant that I would need to sacrifice an income for a while. The trouble was, I recently got engaged so me leaving would directly impact my fiancé as well.
As it turns out, hating your job can also directly impact relationships. The more time I spent hating my job in finance, the more it came home with me. My fiancé could see how miserable I was and it was hard for her as well. After a lot of conversation regarding our future goals we decided that I needed to take to the leap and pursue something I truly believed in. My last day of working in finance came in June 2012. It was the best decision I ever made.
Once I got beyond the idea that everything was about money it was like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Of course my goal is 100% to make a nice income, but I will never again make a living doing something I hate. Since joining Vedavoo full time there have been nothing but positives as the company continues to grow. We are now beyond the startup stage and are a growing small business. 2013 is shaping up to be a great year!
The bottom line is Babson has amazing resources for entrepreneurs. Go to the Blank center, speak with advisors, and reach out to piers. There are a lot of students and professors doing some really great things. I know for a fact there are a lot of students that are in the same boat that I was in. You want to try something, but its scary. If you are thinking about taking the leap to pursue a venture you truly believe in, do it. The experience you will gain will be invaluable and if anything you will stop thinking, “what if”. Taking on any entrepreneurial venture is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it in the end!