Every entrepreneur has that moment–an experience, getting fired, getting desperate, getting fed up; getting lucky enough to have the right mentor–that inspired them to someday become an entrepreneur.
Get inspired with — Ali Brown, founder & CEO, Elevate story…. In 1998 I was a copywriter/account manager at a small ad agency in NYC. I liked what I did, but working in jammed quarters with ten people (and one stinky bathroom) and being told when to show up and when I could go home was getting old.
I was just twenty-seven but knew I was doing good work for our clients and that I had some talent. Then I noticed a freelancer coming in and out of the office on his own schedule yet doing pretty much the same work as me. He’d come back all tanned from the Hamptons and would do his work while he was there.
I was so envious. And then I found out he was making way more money than me.
But then I realized my envy simply meant I wanted more freedom for myself. So I didn’t get mad… I got smart. I took him to lunch, asked how he got started, and once I kind of understood the first few steps I quit my job.
I didn’t have any clients, I had never taken a business course, I was cash-poor and in over $15,000 of credit card debt. But I somehow knew I could hustle. And it was just more painful for me if I had stayed at that job and never known what would have happened if I didn’t try.
I stopped at Staples on the way home and put a new printer-fax machine on the last bit of room I had on a credit card. I printed business cards that said I had offered marketing communications services. I attended any networking meeting I could find. I asked for referrals. I met a lot of people but nothing was happening. And I was getting tired of ramen noodles.
When I didn’t have the money for my next rent payment on my tiny apartment, I was getting nervous all this wouldn’t work. But one day, after praying for guidance, the phone rang. One of the agency’s clients had looked up my number. They said they had no reason to stay with the agency if I was gone. They became my first real client–one that at least paid for my rent, groceries, and Metro card.
And from there, you couldn’t stop me.”
Highly inspirational story.