Monday, August 17, 2009

An Open Window

I appreciate everyone's kindness last week when I spilled my guts about Andrew losing his job. Besides the nearly 100 comments and dozens of private emails I got there were those who mailed gifts and someone even sent me their blogging paycheck to be used towards a new camera (I won't give more details for fear of embarrassing the thoughtful givers) but the point is, there are a lot of very kind people out there.

And us? Well we've reached a few decisions.

We looked at our options and figured Andrew had a couple things he could do. He could look for another corporate job like the one he had. Not bad, nice hours but to be blunt it's terribly dangerous. They tend to use you up and spit you out and the last thing we need is to go through this cycle again in another five years.

He could go back to a law firm and do the typical attorney thing but then he never particularly liked being a slave to that billable hour and the thought of being back at the bottom of the ladder as if the last dozen years were nothing seemed depressing and pointless.

Which left the final and perhaps scariest option. He's always wanted to own his own business, has always been the kind of person who wanted the freedom to implement his own unique ideas and has always been more businessman than attorney so we chose Door C, "Start up Your Own Business."

I know it sounds rather crazy to lose your job, face life without a paycheck and then decide to invest money in starting up something completely unproven but after discussing it thoroughly we both felt quite firmly and solidly that this would be the best thing. Of course those of you who have been in this position know what I suspect--that though this may prove the most satisfying, creative and lucrative in the end, it's going to be very hard and time consuming to say nothing of scary.

So I have mixed feelings about it all. I'm quite sure it'll be the right thing for us and I think things will be okay in the end but it's going to mean quite a tightening of the belt around here to get us through this one to three year period (dare I say five??)

Of course a little tightening never hurt anyone (well, almost anyone) and it'll be good for us. I'm not that attached to "things" and "stuff" to resent the lack but I am very nervous about the unknown because I am a huge planner and organizer and stepping into the darkness is what I tend to fear the most.

Compliance and Ethics ConstultingAs I said, it'll be good for us. Right?

So I'd like, with a large drumroll, to introduce you to our new baby . . . Vellum LLC.

My husband's work is in corporate law--contracts, leases, things like that, but at his last job he was also responsible for creating and setting up a corporate compliance and ethics program (yea, let those jokes roll in about hiring an attorney to be in charge of your ethics program) which, if I may say so, was amazing. Now he's setting up Vellum to do this on a contractual basis for others.

It's already been a blessing in one big way--it's given him something to work for. While he's been putting out the resumes and applications this past week he also set to work renting office space, incorporating and setting up the business. He even set up the Vellum website for his compliance and ethics consulting. which is not only a feeling of accomplishment but a sign of some concrete progress.

So now it's Monday morning and he's actually "going to the office" where the real test starts. As I say, I'll keep you posted.

Sponsored by Unique Wedding Invitations by Dependable Printing.

64 comments:

illahee said...

good luck, to all of you!!

Peruby said...

I'll bet a lot of great business endeavors began this way during the depression of the 30's. It sounds to me like the both of you have good old horse sense and I am guessing this will probably be the best years of your family life to look back on and recall with pride.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh wow! I hope this is a great new path for him and your family. Here's to the open window, let the fresh air
come in!

Steph

Carina said...

Sound fantastic, and while I don't understand a single bit of what he's doing, I think it's a wonderful idea and I wish him the absolute best.

Lucy said...

Sounds wonderful! I love the enthusiasm.

Mom24 said...

Very exciting. I wish you all the best.

patty w said...

Hooray for Andrew! Wishing you all the best in your new adventure !

Will keep you in our prayers!

Lots of hugs and wishing you much success and happiness along the way !

Naomi said...

Wow! You're a family of do-ers, apparently... good wishes for the new venture.

Joanna said...

Starting a business is a scary step, when there's not another income to fall back on. My husband started classes this week with the intention of being out on his own in 3 or 4 years- and putting out the money for the classes seemed like a symbolic way to start on that path, full of unknowns.

Thanks for sharing your heart on this journey you guys are on- keep us updated on the progress!

LLG said...

Congrats on the new business. Good luck!

Jill in MA said...

Well, I must say, his ability to get this company set up and going so quickly bodes well for his success. I just looked at his web site and it is really amazing, professional, and well written. Your support, help, and encouragement go a long way to ensuring his success. Good luck to you both. I'm looking forward to hearing more about Andrew's success and your success as a family getting through this tough time. You, Michelle, are an inspiration to all of us that read your blog. (And yours is still my favorite blog about motherhood -- I'm a dedicated and daily reader!)

Allysha said...

That is rather exciting and daunting! What an adventure. It will be fun to read about your progress, etc! I'm sure you two can pull it off.

Amber M. said...

Your family has been in our thoughts and prayers since we heard the news. I was so thrilled to read your post this morning...best of luck to Andrew and to YOU!!

Loves!

Reno said...

I wish you all the best in this new adventure that you're beginning. I suspect that things will turn out great.

Mina Jade said...

Sorry! It must be hard for you all. My dad was between jobs for years and for me, finding my way was not easy. Good luck to you!

Sage said...

I admire you, it is a new adventure and a new/old name... vellum was used for correspondence and legal use as far back as time imemorial what a perfect name for Andrews new business...

Karen said...

Wow! Good for your husband for being proactive! Good luck to both of you!

Heather said...

How exciting and scary! Good for you both for not letting fear stop you from reaching for your dreams.

mannequin said...

It's true; what mama said. Sometimes, things happen for the best.
I'm so happy for you this morning! You're goina be just fine.

Robin said...

It really is true - sometimes that window opens wide and the sun comes streaming in.

I've been away so I missed your earlier announcement. I hope this is the start of a wonderful new journey for your family, and that the uncertainty remains at minimal and manageable levels.

Maddy said...

Blimey that was some pretty fast work. Very impressive.

angie said...

Definitely sounds like an open window....a blessing that wouldn't have come about any other way, perhaps? :)

Heather said...

Best of luck to you all on this new venture! The website is amazing (well organized, clear and to the point, great flow and easy to navigate) as I'm sure the business will be. You'll do great! You can tell that your expactations are realistic and that a lot of thought was put into this.

Headless Mom said...

That sounds fantastic! Scary maybe, but you'll get through it. Best of luck!

Roo said...

Best of luck to all of you. It will be a family effort.

I'm in the corporate world and will definitely keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities.

Liz@thisfullhouse said...

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, always, my friend!

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

Please pass along our congratulations to Andrew for stepping out in faith and beginning his own business. I am sure besides all the scary unknowns, and self doubts, running through you head, I am confident you have quite a man in the one you married.

I believe he will succeed at this endeavor and here's to see it through.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Chris said...

You are both blessed to have skills to pull this off!!

Deb said...

Even Seth Godin thinks this is a good time to start a new venture. Plus you already know everybody online who knows anything worth knowing to start a new business. You're halfway home.

Tamara said...

Good luck with your new adventure! I had a friend start a new business after he lost his job a few years ago. He never would have done it if he had had to quit his job. Now he has a very successful business with three different stores across the state. Job loss can be blessing in disguise.

Danielle a.k.a Yellie said...

Good luck on this new endeavor! I said a little prayer for you guys.

M said...

Wowsa! Good for you guys. My husband (dentist) couldn't stand working for a dental corporation. (We had the rug pulled out from under us a few years back.) He looked at a lot of practices to buy an decided he needed to do it "his way" ie. the right way in his own, new practice. Its scary and A LOT of work. We are at year 2 and it feels like its been a long road. Hopefully we only have one more to go before things stabilize! (I don't even consider 5 - too depressing.)

Best of luck!

Andrea McMann said...

Good luck! My husband lost his job two weeks before our first baby was born. The following two years were extremely difficult,him working some of the time and me working the rest, but we made it through. My husband ended up with a better, more stable job than we ever could have hoped for during those times, and he came by it in a very coincidental way. That's why I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Good luck with your new business venture!

Blog O' Beth said...

My husband and I did the same thing several years ago when we found both of us out of work. It was a bit scary, but the excitement far outstripped the fear. It was nice to be personally vested in something. For two years we worked side by side until the market improved and we could each find full-time jobs. The result, we were stronger, and far more confident in our skills. You won't regret this decision.

One Big Happy Family In Utah said...

Good for you all!

I work for a large financial company who is up to their eyeballs in ensuring our compliance and ethics programs are sound and meet the tough (and getting tougher) regulations steaming down at a firehose pace. So I for one, welcome smart, talented folks with integrity in to this arena.

I'm afraid I'm in your camp of being a little frantic. I know when we've had devasting financial news in the past such as reduction in salaries, on top of decrease in benefits capped off with car engines going out with a price tage of $8K+ I start to run around a bit and dwell on every purchase we've ever (well not quite ever, but close) and begrudge did we need that, can I sell that on ebay, what else can I divest myself of and how can I never let this happen again - mode!

Luckily, my husband shares nearly no similar traits to my nervousness and so he's able to talk me off the ledge to more rationale albeit temporary thinking.

Keep up the good fight!

perilloparodies said...

Congrats and blessings on the new venture!!!

Karen Olson said...

This sounds like a great idea, and perfect. Yes, it will be difficult at first, but it seems that he's marketable and has connections. I wish you good luck with the new endeavor, although you may find that your practicality and think-through-edness will get you places you never dreamed.

Jen at Semantically driven said...

When I read the post about Andrew being laid off I wondered if something like this might happen. Sounds like you've both got what it takes to succeed. Good luck.

Beth said...

My prayers are with you! My husband has started, let's see....FOUR companies in the 11 years we've been together. He sold the first one to a competitor, then worked for them in a different role, then became a general contractor, and now owns a tanning salon. (His degree? Biology. Go figure.)

It will be a roller coaster ride, but it's usually worth it!!!! Good luck!!

Bonnie said...

Congrats to you guys! I'm sure that in the end, you'll see exactly why you were so confident this was the path for you. Owning your own business has its challenges, but Jake and I have said over and over that if we had a choice now, we'd take self-employment any day. The pride you get from making your own success with your business is awesome. Good luck! :)

warmfuzzies said...

good luck!!!

Mommy Cracked said...

I think it's incredible when people have the courage to seize an opportunity like this. I wish I were so brave! Wishing you all much success!

Jane Hamilton said...

Hi Michelle,

Sorry to hear Andrew lost his job, but really happy that you guys are taking this big step!

That takes a lotta courage! My Best Wishes and Prayers are with your family always.

TC

Jane Hamilton said...

Had a look at Andrew's website and his blog. Pretty good! Wish him lick from us...

Ina in Alaska said...

We wish Andrew all the success in the world!

InkMom said...

Lucky you . . . I get my internet back up and running and yours is the first place I comment.

That's because we've done what you're doing right now -- it was three years ago, in May. My husband is a clinical practitioner of medicine (nothing more specific, sorry, just protecting anonymity) and when it came time for him to either buy into the practice he was with or move on, we decided to move on. With twins who were just over a year old, and another baby on the way. And not a whole lot of savings to speak of because he'd only been out of school a few years then. But the situation he was in was less than satisfactory and we knew that together, we had the skills to make it work. So now he sees patients 3.5 days a week in his practice here, has almost every Tuesday off, and moonlights in another town the remaining day -- for cash, which keeps us eating when cash flow at the office is tight. I keep the books and pay the bills and get ulcers worrying about money; he hires and fires people and gets ulcers worrying about patients and staffing issues. And it works. And the rewards are immeasurable. Still, we're not using cash for kindling, but we pay the bills both at home and at the office and when times are a good, we save aggressively so that we can still afford to meet our personal obligations when our personal salary (which is the bill to pay of least priority at the office) falls off the bottom and doesn't get paid.

Good luck. It's hard, but it's worth it. Oh, how it's worth it. Good for you for taking a risk. Hope it pays off for you as well as it has for us -- is more important, intangible ways than just the money.

Stephanie said...

Sometimes the scariest, riskiest, most stressful endeavors end up being the best.

Remember Theodore Roosevelt's famous word: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

Daisy said...

congratulations on the new "baby!" Good luck to Andrew and to the entire family.

The LIbrary Lady said...

My dear friend, my daughters' and my ballet teacher, lost her place of work through something stupid that was NOT her fault.
She's gone out on her own, found a place to set up her classes and is doing well. In fact, she's loads happier than she was in the original place!
(And I am relieved because I encouraged her to do it and am Webmaster for her site!)

Here's hoping that by one door closing, the door has opened to a new and better path for your husband!!

jubilee said...

What a wonderful, thrilling adventure! Proves once again that when God closes a door, He opens a window.

So, swing open the window wide and let the blessings flood in.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Good for you guys. I think a lot of people take chances they have always wanted to take when the rug is pulled out from under them.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your new adventure!

Laurie

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I am praying for you and your family as your husband starts this new venture.

Good luck!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I don't even know you guys IRL, but I mean this sincerely -- if anyone can make this work, you can.

Best of luck to you!

Mimi said...

some states (like Maine) actually provide funding and training for people to start up businesses when they get laid off. you should see what is available in Alaska. Just a suggestion.

Lori said...

You are an inspiration to our marriage! We want to start our own business as well.

lifemoreabundant said...

Congratulations. Small business is the backbone of our economy! It will be worth all the work, and one day you'll look back and say, "I'm so glad he lost that job in 2009!" :-)

Christie O. said...

some of the most amazing things happen when jobs are lost and the creative juices start to flow. when otherwise we would have let the opportunity pass, we're forced to dare to realize a dream. my blessings to your family on success and dreams come true. all the luck in the world!

Alice Wills Gold said...

OH MY HECK...you are joining my world. I don't really know what to say, except when you need a good cry I am here for you. We are 18 months in and things are really starting to take off...bet it won't take it more than 2 for the two of you.

You sound like you are going in with very real expectations and so that will help your sanity.

It is amazing to build something together, but be prepared to be the unpaid help, and you can NEVER escape.

But it really is the best to be your own boss...well, I hope it will be. When we can actually afford to do something and take some time off to go somewhere.

The side consulting thing is ingeniuos.

I am not sure if Andrew will want to get on any court appointed lists, but this has really helped us bring in a steady line of pay.

Oh man, I could talk to you all night. E-mail me if you have any questions, or your hubby can call mine any time. E-mail me if you want his number.

But, really, overall..it's way exciting! And if nothing else, it's gonna forge a greater bond between two blogging wives.

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I have no idea what bubble I've been in, but I missed Andrew losing his job. Sounds like he has it all on the upswing now though. Glad to hear it, he obviously knows how to make lemonade. I'll keep you all in my prayers.

Von said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of starting a business from scratch! My husband and business partner started an insurance office from nothing just over 13 years ago. We had almost zero dollars coming in to our household for six months and, of course, I got pregnant with baby #7. God blessed our frugality and hard work and we now have four offices in our area. Not that we're rich, but at least we can afford orthodontics for the kids, lol!

Blessings on you all as you begin this new adventure!

Goslyn said...

Good luck to your whole family on this venture. If Andrew is even half as dedicated and organized in his business as you are in your blogging, then Vellum will be a huge success.

Hair Salon Bangkok said...

Yes i hope for you and your family this is a good opertunity...

Janet said...

Dang - I'm so sorry I've been neglecting blogging lately. I had no idea you guys were going through this!
I checked out the Vellum website. Obviously I've been out of the office too long because I'm not sure I follow all of it. But it sounds like something quite promising!