The Decision - My journey to self employment

 

                It’s been a long time coming but the decision to jump out of the corporate world was an up and down mental battle. Any decision comes with risk but taking my future into my own hands was something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time and it’s finally happened. I’ll take you through my history, thought process and how I came to choose to be my own boss.

                Going back in time I started with a company called MTM Technologies which is a system integrator helping clients with application virtualization and datacenter rollouts. I also got my hands in the networking world because we were a Cisco partner that helped clients with routing and switching. I didn’t know back then that I was given a gift to be in the channel, I just thought I had a great job and was lucky that I had an opportunity right out of college. The experience working with MTM gave me a nice foundation for the telecom world moving forward in my career.

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                When I left MTM I joined Cogent Communications and I was helping enterprise clients across the country with internet circuits at competitive pricing. The big take away with them was that I learned how to be accountable when it came to making my calls and emails and logging all my activity religiously in the CRM. Back then it was Siebel. I never thought about jumping out to be my own boss then as I was still figuring out what the heck I was trying to do with myself. Baseball was still a part of my life and I wanted to get picked up to go into independent ball at some point. That didn’t happen clearly.

                Fast forward I was lucky enough again to join one of the best telecom companies in the country TW Telecom. I thought I knew how to be successful from my experience with MTM and Cogent and I brought that intensity to the new job. It was way different because we were selling voice products that I had to figure out how to sell in a hurry and of course fiber internet and mpls networks. I was trained by a couple of the top guys in the office that taught me how to approach building out fiber networks and working with property managers. Then I trained with them extensively on reaching out to clients and calling again and that helped me be one of the better sales guys in the office.

                In the book “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger one of the things that really stuck with me was when he described in early puritan American how young men and women would run away from home to live with the native Americans in the wilderness. This is after they were somehow captured and lived with the natives for a while and were placed back with their families. When the men or women found an opportunity to run back away to their “captors” they did, and nobody knew why? There is something to be said about being a small group that works well together, gets things done and everyone knows what their job is. There is also healthy competition in the group and you become more entrenched in that small community. This is how I describe the team I was on at TW Telecom, a small group of guys just made things happen, we looked out for each other with deals, we got better together and won as a team.

                I have made lifelong friends, colleagues and partners from those days at TW Telecom. When Level(3) acquired TW, things changed with the dynamics of our team, something shifted and we all eventually left after about a year. I ended up joining a small regional fiber provider called Wilcon and I was impressed with the direction we were going with building out the network. It was TW Telecom all over again. Here at Wilcon is where I woke up to building my own personal brand if you will. I started writing about what I know and that is fiber and building out network. I also started to look at doing video messages as well that helped my small audience as well. The thinking here for me was and still is to share what I know because not everybody knows how or where to buy internet let alone what goes into building out network to buildings. I had a great two and a half year run with Wilcon and I achieved a modest level of success with the company. Wilcon was eventually acquired, like all up and coming fiber providers are, by Crown Castle.

                During my tenure with the company, I took a new path in my own education in sales, negotiation, podcasts, motivation and business skills. All of which played an influencing role in me deciding to leave my current position at Crown Castle. I didn’t make the decision in haste though, I thought and went through all the risks and outcomes of being a self-employed guy. A year and a half process. First thing that came to mind was losing out the salary and benefits, but I thought I could dedicate 100% of my time in my new role and make up for it.

                Another risk was the life style I created with the success I had last year. I saved up a nice little chunk of change and I thought I can take the risk as the reward would be much greater in the long term. It was not about staying for the money, I did not care too much about the salary towards the end of my time with Crown Castle. I also took on way more responsibility as I recently asked a question to my significant other where I got the green light on. I had to clear it with her, but I talked about it at length with her repeatedly and without that support in the background it probably wouldn’t have been a slam dunk decision.

                The most difficult part is actually making the decision to act, it’s nerve racking but I did it as there is no turning back when you have it in your heart and mind already. Another reason for jumping out was to get back to the small group setting with my new partners who I’ll be joining at AtlasIP. I wanted to be back in that small group setting as in a tribe where we all pull for one another and each individuals success is the entire tribes success. This feeling is strong, and I wanted back in.

               Security under the umbrella of the corporate setting is strong, you could be with the same company for 20 years and then you realize that you haven’t taken the risks you should have when you were younger. I thought about this at length and didn’t want to fall into this mentality, I sought out difficulty and took the risk without any guarantee of a successful outcome.

                My role with AtlasIP will be to grow the business and help enterprise clients with the outcomes that they need. This will include internet circuits, Unified communications, SD-WAN and datacenter/cloud solutions. It has been a long time coming to finally join my partners and I’m going to take the business to the next level!

                Any comments or suggestions let me know in the comments!

 

Daniel Macias – Telecom Consultant