I believe that everyone has a desire to build something incredible. For me, I had a burning desire to get out of my cubicle and help build a company. I was going through Twitter the other day and remembered tweeting this one afternoon, when I literally felt trapped in my cubicle like a caged animal.
I had met Vincent a few weeks prior to this tweet and instantly knew he was on to something huge. I was trying to figure out a way to jump ship and join mHelpDesk full-time. I knew that I needed some runway money in order to survive (the amount of money I could live off of without an income). Although my risks were calculated, there was still a very short window in which I needed to make it — or I was going to be homeless. At the time, mHelpDesk was comprised of just Vincent and Khoa. I was quitting my full-time job with only $8,120 to my name and I had to figure out how long that was going to last me.
I was only able to eliminate a few of these expenses like audible, netflix, free credit report, gold’s gym, and xsport. After a few simple calculations and eliminating the unnecessary expenses, I determined that my monthly burn rate was $2,530 per month. This meant that I had 4 months until I would run out of money. In short, I knew I had to make a change.
I had been renting out my upstairs loft on Airbnb for about $30 per night. I literally threw some sheets on an air mattress, and added some curtains for privacy. I thought it was okay, but according to one of the reviews, I was wrong.
Unfortunately, the $30 only slightly helped my burn rate. I knew I needed more time, so I decided to rent out my actual bedroom. No joke, I moved up to the loft, and posted my bedroom for rent on Craigslist. I was able to package utilities and rent for a total of $850, which brought my burn rate down to $1,680. The logistics of it seems simple, but the story is actually quite ironic.
The person that replied to my craigslist ad, was actually in my fraternity at Clemson, and an old friend. Through a long email chain, we bantered about how crazy it was that we got back in touch from a craigslist ad. That’s weird, right?
The likelihood of knowing the random person that responded to my ad, is pretty slim. However, that’s not the most ironic part of the story.
Although I was maximizing my burn rate, I still needed some privacy. So, I decided to wall-off the loft. This gave me somewhat of my own room, but more importantly, a quiet place to work. What website would you use if you needed some drywall work done? None other than our beloved parent company, HomeAdvisor.
To me, this is the craziest and most ironic part of the story — using the company that later acquired mHelpDesk, so I could help build mHelpDesk.
The takeaway from this, is that if you want to go after something, you absolutely should take the chance. Figure out exactly what you need to do in order to buy yourself enough time to make it work. In my case, I knew that I needed about 4 months in order to make enough money from mHelpDesk to support my burn rate. I got extremely lucky, and things worked out, but don’t be afraid to the risk. You spend the majority of your waking hours at work and if you aren’t doing something that you absolutely love, keep looking – the upside reward is well worth the risk.
Last modified: November 23, 2016