Recently I celebrated a personal milestone—not only was it my first anniversary with Mews, but also my first anniversary of being an employee. You got that right. I was hired for my first job at 30-years-old.
Previously, I was an entrepreneur, running a business in the digital/web sphere and providing contractor jobs for over 15 years. It was definitely a unique experience, and there were plenty of diverse projects. Apart from building amazing branding solutions, we did a real 3D product showcase for the Russian direction of M&T in 2015 using WebGL (which was a huge “wow factor” back in the day). We created a high-load warehouse solution to synchronize over 150,000 products, including over 1M attributes, between clothing distributors. We worked on real estate project management and CRM, kiosk solutions for travel agencies with analytics and reservation systems, and even a United Nations web portal about the nature of Kazakhstan (which was unfortunately cancelled due to some management complications).
Our latest project was for the MyMonday.co portal, designed to match company positions with people inside the company (skill inventory) as well as people outside the company (contracting). The idea is amazingly simple. Honestly state which skills you have, and the portal uses algorithms (corrected by ML) to match you with a position that requires your skills or corresponding skills, including your skill level. There’s no need to be a rock star to get the job done well.
But I digress. This post is aimed at all the entrepreneurs who have never worked in a company. I know people say that if you are employed after running your own business, it means you’ve failed completely or you’ve “sold out”. I know people say that because I’ve heard this exact reaction from partners directly. I’m here to argue otherwise.
When you think of entrepreneurship, you imagine the freedom of being your own boss and all the decisions you would make to create a successful business. And… that’s all true.
In fact, the freedom of making decisions is something that every person chases when starting a company or business. It’s romantic and interesting, and it can be extremely rewarding. It also, however, can be extremely limiting.
Wait… freedom can be limiting? This sounds strange.
Here comes the point where I tell you the real reason behind my employment. Spoiler alert… it’s not about the money. (You can earn quite a good sum as an entrepreneur.) The main reason I left entrepreneurship is the lack of different opinions and experiences. Again, it sounds counterintuitive, but allow me to explain.
Leading a project as an entrepreneur, I seldomly had someone from the team who would contradict my opinion or suggest a different approach to the problem. Without a good contradiction or argument, I don’t believe we can grow as professionals. So, I branched out. I found an ambitious company with top-of-the-industry professionals working hard together to provide technical excellence. Being professional means to provide and receive honest and balanced feedback. Every approach is looked at. Every voice counts, and every decision can be argued in a direct and respectful manner.
I would be lying if I said there was no fear leaving the entrepreneurial life to start a job in a large company. Before this, I had secure business with several organizations where bureaucracy is served with a side of CYA policy sauce. And I’m talking about big, successful companies—the kind of companies that developers dream to send their CVs to.
This was my biggest fear—leaving behind all this security and success for the unknown.
And here’s where this company comes into the conversation. Mews surprised me in such a wonderful way.
The idea of transparency is taken to the next level. People don’t report their work; they share their work, and they’re proud of it. Did you have a hardcore fail? Cool—tell everyone so they don’t make the same mistakes. Then, we can all have a laugh because now it’s not a failure… it’s an experience multiplied.
At Mews, you are in direct reach of every (and I mean every) person from the company, and leadership is always in touch with the employees. If 2020 proved anything, some damn tough questions were asked and answered for me in a completely honest and direct way. Everyone is treated as a grown-up, which comes with its own forms of freedom (e.g., unlimited vacation time) and responsibility.
Missing the entrepreneurship?
Sure. I miss it a bit. There is that romantic feeling you get building your own business and success, but the ambitions of Mews as a company constantly surprise me and even allow me to experience a different fantasy of mine. At the same time, I have enough freedom to influence all aspects of the product, design, and architecture, so, in a way… it really feels like my own company. Minus taxes 🙂
I strongly recommend this experience to every entrepreneur out there. Learning different approaches to the organizational process and technical experience is priceless, but most importantly, you can meet a lot of great people who may turn into real friends.
All of this surely happened to me.
Worst case scenario, you get experience that you didn’t have and inspiration that could potentially move you forward. In fact, I’ve seen several people going into entrepreneurship because of inspiration they gained working at Mews, and that’s pretty amazing. You are free to craft your path in more than one way.
In conclusion, entrepreneurship is no doubt an attractive and lucrative career move, and it’s one that I’m proud of. But moving to employment at Mews, I found an ambitious, professional, and open environment that constantly challenges me while simultaneously allowing me the freedoms to live and work my best life. Happy anniversary to me.
Be water, my friend.
– Bruce Lee