How I can help Esc members
Happy to help in any way possible. I am always up for a new adventure, expedition or business venture. Or as simple as a good chat around a beer. I would be delighted to share my experience with people considering the move or sit down with a potential future partner!
I am currently working hard to build Aubut & Sons. For the moment it is only my father and I, so we do basically everything from designing, cutting, sanding, varnishing to building the website and getting our name out there.
On the side, I am also working with Secret Compass to plan and organize the 2013 edition of the Madagascar expedition. I can't wait to go back there in May! The first time I went as I client, now I am going back as part of the team leaders of Secret Compass.
Before I escaped...
After my bachelors degree, I worked for 6 years in corporate finance across different industries while completing the CFA program. I do not look back negatively on this period. I learned quite a few things, including that you have to work hard to succeed. I also met great people and some of them became mentors.
But I always had that feeling that I wanted to do something different, something on my own. So I started to think harder about a way to escape, and I stumbled upon Esc the City in Bloomberg Magazine one day... The rest is history !
My moment of truth...
"Unfortunately" I did not have a boss who told me to sell my mom to get a promotion so I did not really have that "moment of truth"... I had been thinking of trying something on my own for a long time, but I had yet to find out what. I read so many inspiring stories on Esc. Finally after long talks with friends and family I came up with the idea of launching a woodworking business with my dad. I called him, he called me crazy and that was it. He was about to retire and he had been passionate about woodworking for the past 30 years, so I had found my partner. Three months after I called my dad, I gave my resignation and started working with my him in the shed in the back yard !
Aside from starting my own business, travelling and adventures had always been passions of mine. So when I saw what Lev and Tom were doing at Secret Compass, I had to do it too. I emailed them and things were in motion for the biggest adventure of my life.
Planning for it...
The good thing usually with corporate finance jobs is that they pay well enough. The bad thing is that 1) it's harder to leave if you are making good money 2) the more you have, the more your spend. Avoiding the golden handcuffs has been the best way to quit my job rapidly. I did not have a huge flat or an expensive car. Subway or scooter is the way to go ! Low cost of living and savings will allow you to be free. Big spending will take your financial freedom away. Of course the last few months were strictly dedicated to saving every penny before the big jump.
The worst and best bits...
- Best: Doing something because you want to do it and not because you have to do it is a fantastic feeling. The ability to leave for more than 2 weeks at a time and go on incredible expeditions or adventures
- Toughest: Changing the way you work after so many years is not always easy. All your life, you go to school or to work and you are required to do every specific task in a given timeframe. And one day, it's only you and your partner, you have a blank piece of paper and you can do whatever you want. It's exciting but you need to change your mindset.
- Worst: of course, the money. Going from a regular pay check to no pay check at all, but everything has a cost I guess. And hopefully it won't last too long!
- Seek contrary opinions: Esc the City is a wonderful source of information and inspiration, but speak to people who did not escape or don't want to and just listen to what they have to say. You need to be challenged to make sure you are making the right move.
- You will never REALLY know if you are making the best decision: it's not like those books where you can decide what the character will do by jumping pages and coming back if you didn't like it. Which brings me to my third point.
- An advice is an advice: you and only you will make the final call.
- At some point, just do it... call your boss, hit the send button, walk out the door. Or don't and assume it.
- There is always uncertainty: even after you left and started something else, you will always have doubts. Use them positively to challenge yourself, but don't let them bug you down.
Useful resources and information...
Of course Esc has been a tremendous source of inspiration and information. Reading the Heros' profile every Monday was the highlight of the week in my corporate days. I also really enjoyed following Seth Godin's blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com/.
Very refreshing thoughts when you are feeling lost. Finally, mentors are an invaluable resource. Hard to get by, but older and experienced people often provide good advice.