Six weeks ago, I was inspired by Chris Sacca who wrote what could have been an autobiographical account of my journey into entrepreneurship. Significant portions of this post are attributable to his words, but I have customized them for my experience into entrepreneurship.
I have been working on a remote, fully distributed, basis since leaving my job at a large company in 2019. I have hired multiple interns that I’ve never met in person, and the same goes for our legal and financial advisors. Sofer Advisors does not have an HQ in the physical sense. In a decade, I’ve only ever had one client insist on meeting at our leased commercial real estate office in Buckhead.
Without a shadow of the doubt, there is significant upside to not going into the office, the biggest being that my family has never been closer. We’ve substituted the time I used to spend commuting all across Atlanta from our home in the suburbs to attend meetings and work functions for time spent outside. Yes, I tried to make that commute time productive by listening to that great book on audible or scheduling phone calls during thattime, but I was only fooling myself. The only downside is my family can now clearly hear me (and my four letter golf words) from any floor of the house, even when I take my calls or zoom meetings hidden in the basement office. Sorry about that hunny! Can’t help being an Italian/Polish finance guy who had multiple mentors that spoke at a high volume on every conference call.
Being remote requires extra effort to stay on top of the team, colleagues, and friends. Having casual catch-up meetings with collaborators in restaurants, coffee shops and business clubs around town has been replaced with high quality time and bread baking inside our home with our 3 gremlins running around. While using Calendly to schedule 1 on 1 meetings in a conference room in a hip Buckhead or Midtown high-rise is “lit”, going on long walks like Steve Jobs and cooking and eating dinner together has created significantly more meaningful relationships. Bringing you into our chaos has shown that there is significant strength in vulnerability.
A significant amount of our work stems from the big peach city, and we are located a great distance away. There is an unspoken peer pressure in the ATL that unless you’re within a 10 mile radius of the city center, you’re just not in Kansas anymore. Even still, we left Atlanta last year BEFORE COVID-19 was ever on the radar. Commuting to an office did not make sense for our business and our family, and we have NEVER regretted the decision to be a remote company based in Suwanee. Is it possible Sofer Advisors could have more revenue if we were located in a high rise around Lenox or Phipps mall? Yes, and probable. However, this short-term revenue gain would have had long-term consequences to our health and happiness.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met plenty of people who absolutely thrive in the city and in the office. However, I do not and I know I am not alone. If I don’t get my hour to ride my Peloton and meditate then I am highly ineffective at my job. Even worse, I am stressed, which holds back my mental and physical state. This eventually spills into your work.
Before COVID, I can’t tell you how many times another service provider would hear our story and have an inadvertent look of pity with the assumption we were small time. Now that COVID has forced others into a similar setup, albeit temporarily, if you’re lucky enough to work from home you I hope you take the time to seriously consider what is best for your business. As our society reopens despite the rising positive
cases, I pray you will stay open to the idea of a fully distributed team. I have embraced it as an owner and the pros far outweigh the cons.
Making a change in the middle of a crisis is always difficult, but the time when you are most afraid is the time to make your move. Change is always frightening and the timing will NEVER be perfect. Any parent who has had a child can attest. Could leaving the big city and/or the office leave you more fulfilled, happy and healthy? Ask yourself the following: do you feel that you’re living your bucket list in real time? If the answer is no, and if you don’t make the move this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.
Contact us today to take that next step into entrepreneurship and discover the positive and negative risk factors that can impact your business valuation.