From Stay-at-Home Dad to Successful Entrepreneur: Navigating 12 Months of No Pay and Building a Thriving Business

That 12 months of no pay. I’m stay at home dad. I’m sitting here. I’m recording into the stamp thing. I don’t have any money coming in. My wife wondering if I wanna go back to work. Maybe I shouldn’t equip my job. Oh my God, this sucks. You’re not feeling super manly right there, right? In that time, right? I mean, that’s real. We’re just keeping it real here. I know there had to be nights where you’re just like, what the am I doing, right? I mean, right, Chris. I mean, what, I guess my point is, am I right about all that? And give some encouraging words to somebody else that might be going through that.

Yeah, so I feel like maybe we were you staying at our house during that time? Seems like you have a pretty good pulse on that. No, I mean, it that’s 100% true. I will say that was weirdly sort of the best and worst time of my life in a way because I had all this perspective.

Now what it meant to be home on what it meant to raise kids and understand the gravity of that. How much responsibility was that was and how much that is its own full time job. And suddenly instead of being stuck in meetings, I was like with my kids all day and taking them on walks. And it was great. You know, I love that part of it.

At the same time, I felt really guilty cuz I wasn’t generating any income. My wife had gone back to work full time, plus taking up all these extra shifts just to kind of fill the gap for us. And the job market was completely cold. Yeah, you know, so I was kind of in a panic and I would go back and forth every week of what am I gonna do, you know, when we’re dipping into savings, I’m kind of like just freaking out and nobody’s taking me on because nobody knows anything with Covid.

And so it was very difficult. It was also very eye opening. It was a nice time for reaffirmation that I had family that supported me. And it was nice to see the other side of things in terms of being home and having that dad life and knowing that I wanted to, from there, build a lifestyle type of business where I could be a dad first and sort of an entrepreneur second. And it motivated me to not wanna get a traditional job again. And it motivated me to double down on the little bit of consulting that I had done. And so I went back to my father in law, you know, then I went to my uncle. And then people I used to work for or work with, you know, they, I w, I did a lot of work in private equity and they owned all these portfolio companies that needed financial modeling help. And so I said, hey, I can help you with this. I can do this for you.

And those engagements started to pick up to where all of a sudden, I was actually making a little bit of actual money. And I said, okay, if I keep doing this, then I can maybe, just maybe break us even. Yeah, I wasn’t even think about a business at that point. Like, let me just get us through, maybe get the lifestyle back on track. And then it started to have success. And so I said, okay, this can actually really become a business. And so then I turned it into from a hobby or survival mechanism. And it’s something that I pursued full time by trying to do more networking and marketing to get more clients and more leads, and all of that just came out of the clarity from being at home during that time. I got you.

Then you started, finally, you started coming out of it to where you’re like, wow, this is, this could work. I can make this work. I’m making a decent living here.

And so two things happened that were really interesting. One was I had a couple weeks in a row where my weekly income was exceedingly higher than my old salary. Okay? And now it wasn’t for a full year, just a couple weeks in a row. But I said, whoa, my time is worth a lot more as an independent contractor than it a is as an employee. And so that was really eye opening for me that I my time, even though time is not scalable, it’s at least more valuable. And so I did that for a while. I built up a business for about a year and a half, and I made more income my first year than I did in my old salary. And I was thrilled. It’s a home run.

Were you slowly bumping up your hourly rate or your project rate, too? Were you edging up your prices or? No.

I was. So every new client I bumped it by a little bit until somebody told me go kick rocks basically. And I, I, my rate is tripled since I first started. That’s great. Yeah, just cuz you have to push. And I would say that, you know, one thing for anybody who’s listening, I’ll say when it comes to pricing, you just name your price and then you stop talking because the second you justify your price, you’re telling the customer the price is too high. Good tip, right? They can decide whether it’s too high or not. So I learn that lesson sometimes the hard way, right? Name your price and stop talking.