Starting up is hard for a Tinkerer


Lemme rephrase that title:  Starting up for over 2+ years is hard for a tinkerer.

I’ll be honest, because I’m a horrible liar.  Conferences are fun.  Conference planning is even more fun.  However, I will never see myself as a professional conference planner, no matter how many shows I do.  It’s just not in my makeup.  Yeah, I like the social aspects of it.  Yeah, I like tracking the money in and money out.  However, when it comes down to it.  I really just like the people and making sure they’re taken care of.

I’ve been working the biz for 2 years now.  I’ve also worked a FT job during that same time frame.  In addition to these 2 FT jobs, I have 2 boys to raise, a wife to love and a faith to keep active in.  As you can imagine, that doesn’t leave much time to tinker.

Last week, I had an internal breakdown.  No one knew about it.  Not my business partner, though it shouldn’t have been a surprise.  My wife found out a few days later.  Only a close friend of mine, Daniel Brunk, knows the full details of what went down.  The gist of it was though, my spirit cracked.  Not my religious spirit or ghost like thing floating inside me.  No, no, I mean more like “the little 3 yr old inside me that likes to tinker” spirit.

You see, a lot of stuff happened this past 2 months, personal stuff that just left me with no free time at all.  I’ve had 0 time to tinker and for me, that’s rough.  Very, very rough.  So rough in fact, that I was very close to walking away from the biz.  Mentally, I was minutes away from walking away and not looking back.

It seems sorta silly now looking back, and surely for those of you looking in from the outside.  But for those of you in my situation, I can see that spark of understanding in your eyes.  I can feel you relating to my pain. It seems odd that a thing like tinkering can break an entrepreneur’s spirit more so than finances, inventory, products, or any of the countless other facets of business.

So how did I overcome it?  At the moment of breaking, I played loud music really loud on the headphones.  LOL  In the following days though, I worked my tinkering into the business.  Some businesses expand for global dominance.  Some expand to take out competition.  We’re expanding for more steady income.  Now though, more importantly, we’re also expanding so I can tinker.

The Kindle of my tinkering

The Kindle of my tinkering

John and I have Kindles now.  (Well, actually, I have both, but I’ll give John his tomorrow.)  I’m a huge book guy, so I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.  I have to admit though, I LOVE it.  It’s been allowing me to satisfy my desire to tinker as well as use my time exploring new business ideas.  (You can read my personal post on the Kindle experience for more details.)

Some may see the $800 as wasteful spending on eToys for two geeky founders ($400 per person for a kindle and case).  I’m sure there is some truth to that.  We do have plans that may include the Kindle though, so it’s not pure fun.  More importantly though, this $800 has probably saved the company, because a disgruntled founder is not a productive one.  When 1/2 of a 2 man team putters out, you can rest assured that no good will come of that.

Therefore, if your a tinkerer (like me) and have been starting up for a few years (like me), look for ways to expand.  Don’t go waaaay off course.  Find something that makes sense for your business, but is something fresh.  Then go ahead and spend a little cash to let you tinker.  Trust me, it’ll be worth every penny you spend.  If you check out and possibly get a Kindle, click here and support a struggling entrepeneur.  :)

4 Responses to “Starting up is hard for a Tinkerer”

  • I LOVE my Kindle 2. Here’s why: « Tom’s Blog Says:

    […] The Kindle also saved my startup – Read more here. ▶ View 1 Comment /* 0) { jQuery(‘#comments’).show(”, change_location()); […]

  • Chuck Smith Says:

    I definitely know what you mean. If you've been reading my blog, you see that I've been going a bit crazy with my Sony Reader myself. I would've got a Kindle, but they don't sell them outside the USA. Anyway, I'm glad you could take some time out to play with the new toy and if you want to do some extra tinkering, you should download Calibre and see if it has any functionality that would be nice for your Kindle. In any case, thanks for not leaving the biz and I hope things get better for you!

  • Tom Says:

    @Chuck Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm glad I got to play as well. :) I'm loving the Kindle and will have to give Calibre a try.

    Now I'm sad I waited so long on an eReader, though looking at the other devices (including Kindle 1), I might not have enjoyed them as much.

  • Sean Voisen Says:

    I know exactly what you mean. A big part of the reason I went to grad school was to give myself time to tinker with things, make/craft things and learn electronics. I love it so much that I'm constantly thinking about how to create a post-school lifestyle that will continue to give me this time, and more importantly, time to spend with my family. I'm glad to see that you're doing the same.

    P.S. You will be getting an e-mail from me as well :)