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Employee to Entrepreneur – My Story

I would like to take this post to let you know what brought me here… to answer some of the questions I posed to you in my last post. My hope is that my own journey from Employee to Entrepreneur resonates with you and we find our paths crossing in the weeks and months ahead.

Why have I chosen this road? As I have quoted before and is at the top of this web site, I quote again:

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for? – Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto, line 98.

My journey has been one of grasping where I was, but always reaching out for more… for what stirred my heart. It began in high school, working my first job as a cook, another shipping figurines for a pewter artist, and another as a baker. After high school I wanted out of menial jobs for minimum wage and followed my passion for music into the Marine Corps Band (the Albany Marine Band is no longer, but that is where I was stationed).

In seeking my passion through music, I found that what was one of my favorite outlets and expressions turned into a burden and even something I dreaded as I spent hours and hours a day in rehearsals, performing concerts, traveling, and practicing for the next audition. I can’t say that I was an amazing musician, even though I loved it, and I had to work hard for every audition. In the end, I was offered $60k and a tour in Hawaii to reenlist after 4 years, but knew that if I didn’t reach higher for my passion and to follow my heart, I would only live in regret.

After I finished the Marine Corps I wrapped up my degree and did some volunteer work to help Ravencrest with some foundation relations for a project they were working on. I found that giving back and supporting an organization that had given much to me was enjoyable and struck a chord in me. I also began at this time to meet different people with businesses who were struggling with managing their business and their finances. It was during this time that I first had the thought of starting my own business, but didn’t know where to start.

I felt God had opened up a door for me to work as a manager at a Target Distribution Center, and I figured that at the very least this level of management experience would only serve to benefit me in the future if I wanted to start a business. In working here for over a year, I realized that management within a large corporation was not for me, but I did learn a significant amount about business management and truly enjoyed the dynamics of managing businesses, cash flow, production, systems, and market interaction. I was passionate about these dynamics, but again found myself losing heart due to the pressures inside a competitive corporation.

I realized that management in that environment was not sustainable for me long-term and that my greatest strengths lie in my technical abilities and mind for systems, processes, and seeing and interrelating the big picture with the small details. My wife, sick of watching me working over 60 hours a week and sacrificing my health and time with family, called up an accounting firm in Colorado Springs on day and asked about a job opening they had, saying “my husband would be great at that!” I found out that night after she called that I was to send my resume, and was just shaking my head as I hadn’t ever thought about accounting as a career before. One thing led to another and we moved out to CO.

As I began working as a bookkeeper and running payrolls, I found that all the parts of my story were coming together, and that my passion, helping people through my gifts and talents, and my uncanny knack for learning the principles and application of accounting, were coming to a head around helping small business owners live their passion and their “dream job” through a small business. I grew a lot in this position and gained a significant skill set through the work there and working through half of my Masters in Accounting. However, a series of circumstances led to that position coming to an end, and I unexpectedly found myself standing at the crossroads, looking down two roads, not knowing which to take.

The choice I had to make was to stay where I was, which I found I could not do, to find another job, or to strike out into the unknown and start a business. In listening to my heart and searching out the heart of my God, I felt I needed to step out into the unknown and forge my own path. I felt that I must again reach out beyond my grasp if I was to live the life I am called to live. And I knew that I had seen all the pieces of the puzzle fall together and what I must do. I knew that people were in need. People needed help in the most fundamental and inglorious of ways… in the menial and mundane tasks of managing their business and getting their books in order. Yet for me, I realized that if I can help people with these areas that I am gifted in, I will also reach my passion and fulfill a part of the reason I am here on this earth.

This is the reason my accounting business is called Crossroads Accounting, and this is the reason why I have begun The Sum of Business Blog. And this is what brought me to where I am today, an entrepreneur setting out to make my way in this world, to support myself and my family, to take responsibility for my life, and to create something of value that I can return to those around me and to those in need.

Keep Reaching,

Mark

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