This time, I will enjoy the journey

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Ever since I became a dad a little less than 2 years ago, I’ve had to re-prioritize my life and lay dormant several side projects near and dear to me–one of which is this blog. Hence, why this is the first new post I’m writing in over a year.

Becoming a father has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. I still don’t enjoy the feeling of warm poo on my hand every now and then (not mine, but my son’s), and the sleep deprivation has been horrific. But at the same time, having a child is just like falling in love, all over again. At the end of the day, my wife and I have created a brand new best friend, and our lives are way more fun and interesting.

Right before my son arrived, I sort of went into this reactionary life mode. Pre-kid, I was winging my career as an entrepreneur; however the prospect of having a child made me believe that I needed to get a steady job and that my days as a risk-taking entrepreneur were over (at least until the kid’s in college).

So, I got a job. A great job in fact, working as a product manager at Facebook.

Turned out though that it wasn’t a good fit. While I could see myself enjoying a wonderful company like Facebook at some point in my life, I still had too many ideas that were tugging at my soul to explore. I really missed startup life too.

One of my mentors, Julie Brush, told me something that re-shaped the way that I think about career: Joy at work will manifest itself as joy at home. Your family will feel a difference when you come home feeling good after a hard day’s work.

Facebook was an incredible experience, but I wasn’t feeling joy working there. As a result, I became grumpier and grumpier at home, and it was getting harder for me to switch on to my happy self when I was hanging with my wife and son. I wasn’t living up to the husband and father I aspired to be.

One day during Spring this year, my wife shook me by the shoulders and said, “You need to quit. Go back to being an entrepreneur, I believe in you.”

Her support blew me away. I couldn’t believe she was pushing me down the risky path once again!

After a series of long discussions, we decided that leaving my “safe” job was actually one of the best things we could do for our son and family. One of our family values is self sufficiency, and showing our son that we (the parents) are capable of carving out our own livelihoods and defining our own paths was an effective means to teach that lesson.

So I quit.

After taking a few months off, I was lucky to be offered an Entrepreneur in Residence role at 500 Startups (an amazing place to work by the way) and now I am back to starting new companies again.

Announcing a new project!

I’m really excited to share my latest project, which launched just a few weeks ago: Read Your Story

At Read Your Story, we make personalized children’s books featuring a child’s face and name as the protagonist. Create a book through the site and you’ll receive a physical storybook that your little one will love forever.

The project was borne out of an observation my co-founders and I had: children get excited when they see pictures of themselves, as well as hear their own name. It’s our thesis that by merging these concepts into storybooks, we can inspire children at a young age to get even more excited about reading and set them down a path of loving books throughout their lives.

It’s a wonderful business. All we are doing is making products that inspire joy and learning in children. And what makes it even better is that I’m working with a rockstar team to make this vision happen (I’m talking about you Donna, Jeanette, Jonathan, Pauline, Karim, and Jack!).

Hope you’ll check out Read Your Story.

Enjoying the ride

This is the fourth company I’ve started. For this new project, I am taking a very different attitude about the work. I’m trying to be mindful to enjoy the journey more.

In previous projects, I was weighed down by a chip on my shoulder to prove that I could be a successful founder, from start to exit. I got a little too obsessed with hitting a big revenue run rate and hitting a big exit that would get me rich. I was very driven toward my goals, but at the same time it was difficult for me to enjoy myself because I always felt that I was coming up slightly short in some way.

I’m older now. My family and experience have given me a healthier perspective, and I don’t think I have anything to prove anymore. I just feel really grateful that I can start something new with great people and chase a noble mission.

There are plenty of challenges ahead for this new company: I’ve never run a B2C business before, nor do I have any experience with e-commerce. The learning curve has been frustrating, yet at the same time, still fun. If any readers out there can share advice on how we can blow up Read Your Story into a big business, I’d love to speak with you.

It’s wonderful to be creating again. I’m back!

11 thoughts on “This time, I will enjoy the journey

  1. Joe (arebelspy)

    Wow. Really big coincidence moment.

    I’ve read all your posts from the beginning, and in real time back in 2014 and 2015, through RSS. Then I stumbled on your blog again earlier today, after finding a link in an old MMM thread. I looked at the latest post, which at the time of me looking was a year and three months old (Aug 2015). I thought “bummer, guess LAL is gone for good. =/ ”

    A few hours later, I see a new post by you in my Pocket (which is automatically fed from my RSS via IFTTT). I think “Oh, I must have accidentally clicked the ‘Send to Pocket’ extension earlier when on the site, and sent that old post to Pocket” and almost click to archive it, but then go ahead and open it, and BOOM, new post!

    Life has so many funny coincidences, I had to note this one, a year+ gap in posts from you, yet I happen to vist the same day (literally probably an hour before) a new post. Awesome.

    I’m glad to see you’re writing again. 🙂

    Regarding the read your story, it sounds similar to the lost my name book that has become quite popular lately. Here’s one of the first links on Google:
    https://www.lostmy.name/en-US/personalized-products/lost-my-name-book

    (I had never heard of it before 8 months ago, but my parents got one for my daughter this year, and I’ve seen ads for it since.)

    It’s a fun concept! Looking forward to reading more updates.

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Wow that is an incredible coincidence. 🙂

      Joe, really appreciate this message. I forgot how much I enjoyed writing, I hope I can do something at least quarterly moving forward.

      Thanks for the message about Lost My Name. My team is familiar with the company and we think that their products are fabulous. I hope that your little girl is enjoying her book.

      Take it easy!

      Reply
  2. Robby

    Love that you’re still at it, my entrepreneurial friend, but with an attitude that will help you stay happy and healthy through the grind. And this time, you’re putting avatars into books!
    If you want to talk to an avatar psychology researcher, I think I know a guy.

    Reply
  3. Kate Garrison

    Hi Eric
    I totally loved your story! Honestly I came on the site looking for your email to contact you regarding business and found this. I am a single mom and this is such a great idea! And you quote regarding being happy at work makes for happy home life. I love that! Thanks for the cheerful side of life and I won’t bother you with the business “stuff”. 😉 Kate

    Reply
  4. Khushbu Jagwani (@Khushbu_Jagwani)

    Hi Eric,
    The headline ‘This time, I will enjoy the journey’ is definitely the takeaway for me. For someone like me who is a first time entrepreneur, the hustle of growing the startup and numbers is always there. Your article comes as a reminder to keep enjoying the journey as well. Wish you all the very best for ‘Read your story’.
    Cheers
    Khushbu

    Reply
  5. Financial Samurai

    Congrats on being a dad! I just became with myself this year and it is wonderful, wonderful experience. I’ve been up since 10 PM and it’s 5 AM now doing the midnight oil shift.

    Can you tell me more about the entrepreneur in residence? What is the job actually entail? It sounds pretty good with a stable salary grams but a lot more freedom to do entrepreneurial stuff? Is this something guy like me who runs a lifestyle business, could potentially do as well? I’m always looking to learn and do new things.

    I started my site, Financial Samurai, into thousand and nine and I left my day job in 2012 so that my wife and I might one day be able to have the freedom to work at home and raise a family. Finally, our dreams have come true. Although I have never had a mega exit like you mentioned in your post, I’m happy to be free and making it up to live a comfortable life in San Francisco.

    Good luck with your new company! It makes sense.

    Sam

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Hey Sam,

      I think we actually met two years ago at Hustle Con. I’ve been a reader of your blog for a while, it’s great to see your comment!

      I can speak to my experiences at 500 Startups as an EIR. There are really two primary roles for EIRs–helping to source companies as a VC investor, specifically for the accelerator program. When the accelerator batch is happening, serve as the primary POC to the companies you source, to help with fundraising, product strategy, etc. Other firms have very different EIR structures, like an expectation that the founder is going to start another company within the year. That isn’t the case at 500.

      I’d say that this kind of a role is a great fit if, (1) you enjoy advising companies and have relevant experiences to benefit others, and (2) you are interested in learning about venture capital and wish to do a few deals.

      At 500, there was a salary, but no carry (profit split if big liquidity happens) for the EIR program. It was a lot of fun.

      The job is very flexible and affords lots of opportunities to speak at events and travel, if desired. I highly recommend it!

      Reply
      1. Financial Samurai

        Very cool! Thanks for the exclamation. It’s a bummer there is no Carry if you sourced a company they invested in.

        Sorry for all the typos. Voice dictation is still not that great. So what’s next full time for you after leaving 500 start ups?

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