The "Back to Business" Series
After 1.5 years of working on my own to build world-changing projects, I decided to head back to the business world. I moved from my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to join the marketing team at a tech startup in Los Angeles. I live and work mainly in Santa Monica (on the beach!), downtown L.A., Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. Life here is interesting, and this series documents the journey. (You can follow the entire series here.)
It was Monday morning when I noticed the message come across my Community Manager group on Facebook: an upstart tech company in Los Angeles needed someone who could build community around a new concept. It caught my eye because I had very recently learned that my ex-wife had decided to remain in L.A., where she had moved to be near family while the divorce went through. Since I need to live in the same city as my three kids, I was keeping a lookout for opportunities in the area.
I responded to the message, and it turns out that the woman who sent it was a member of Love Drop, so she already had a good sense of my work style and accomplishments. She sent an email introduction to the founder of the company, and within a couple hours he and I were on Skype together. We chatted for about an hour, and at the end of it he asked if they could fly me out to Santa Monica to come meet the team and interview with the principals. I said I’d be happy to, so we booked a flight for Thursday. I flew out there that morning, spent the afternoon at the office, had dinner with a local friend in the evening, then hit my hotel. I spent Friday morning with the team again, then got on a plane back home. I got the job offer over the weekend, accepted it on Monday, and began packing on Tuesday.
J$ and I had a Love Drop to do in Wichita, Kansas that Saturday, so I asked if he’d like to turn it into a 2,500 mile road trip from Milwaukee to L.A., and he was down for an adventure, as usual. You can see a little bit of footage from the fiasco that was loading my U-Haul truck here.
By Thursday everything was packed and loaded, and I was heading to pick up J$ at the Milwaukee airport. On the way I called out west to put a downpayment on the house I’d be renting. I had found what looked to be a great place online, and called the owner a couple of times, gotten a bunch of pictures, etc. I really didn’t want to spend a week or two in L.A. sitting at a hotel with a U-Haul full of stuff, so I just went ahead and locked in a place that looked good. Pretty risky, I know, especially with L.A. prices, but I was okay with it. The guy had been great over the phone, and all the pictures looked good, so I decided to go for it. Everything worked out well, and I was more than happy with the place when I moved in. You can even ask J$ – he can attest. Dude had to lug all my stuff up giant hills and flights of stairs with me, haha . . . not to mention navigate a U-Haul with a towed car through tiny, hilly residential streets.
We drove to Wichita on Friday, did the Love Drop on Saturday, drove to Roswell, New Mexico on Sunday, took some state highways to Phoenix on Monday, and arrived into L.A. on Tuesday. We hit town right at afternoon rush hour (5:00pm) and headed straight to the house, where the property manager was waiting with the paperwork. I signed everything, he left, J$ and I moved all my stuff in, and then we took the U-Haul back late that night and had a celebratory dinner. I’d pulled off the Great Life Switch of 2011 in just two weeks…
So that’s the why and how of this whole L.A. thing. I’m here to stay (at least for a good long while), and now I get to embark on a whole new adventure, which is really exciting for me. I’m cool with changing and adapting all the time. It’s stressful and scary sometimes, yes, but overall I feel that it’s a good thing.
I understand that there’s a lot of risk involved too, but I want to let you know that if you jump full-force into something new, as long as you stay true to who you are and capitalize on the things you do well, usually things turn out okay. If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear about a time you faced a big life or work challenge, how you handled it, and how it turned out for you. Sometimes events like that end up being one of the best things in our lives…
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