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DAY SEVEN – SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2013

Erin Hopmann

How did you become an entrepreneur?

I consider it a timing thing. I’d been working at an ad agency in Chicago for the better part of a decade, and was feeling like I needed a change personally and professionally. After exploring a few options on my own, I met Jess at a party. Six months later, I quit my job to do another project with Jess – in the consulting realm. Another six months later, we had the idea for Dabble.

It was three years ago I ventured out on my own. It’s been an incredible experience, but certainly not one without sacrifices. I’ve learned so much about myself and have met more fantastic people than I surely would’ve had I stayed in my corporate job.

What would you do if you couldn’t work on Dabble?

This is a tough one. I like that working on Dabble has totally opened me up to career possibilities. In other words, it’s empowered me to take ownership of my 9-5. I’ve learned how rewarding it can be to work on a product and cause you care so much about.

So instead of defining “what would I be doing if not Dabble” by industry vertical or job title, I think my ideal alternative job would be something that would provide me with the satisfaction and fulfillment that I’ve gotten these last few years – with consistent, higher paychecks being a must.

DAY SEVEN – SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2013

Jess Lybeck

How did you become an entrepreneur?

I sort of fell into it.

When I graduated from architecture school, I got a job at SOM doing Urban Design. About a year and a half in, I got kinda bored. I realized that design alone wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I was working on 50 year plans and wanted to work on something with more immediate impact. I started planning my escape with business ideas. Every week, there was a new idea – a new thing that was going to redeem me from hating my 9-5 existence.

Then, randomly I had the opportunity to help out a friend open a boutique. At first I thought I would just help her with the store layout, but I ended up helping her with everything from the logo to how she was going to get customers in the door. The design process I learned in school helped me digest, research, plan and implement in the business world. I was hooked.

I quit my job in the fall of 2008 to start consulting with small businesses – with no formal experience, just the confidence that I knew my skillsets could help. I white-knuckled it throughout the recession by working as a tour guide and waiting tables while I got my consulting business off the ground. At the end of the day, I helped over 50 companies in 4 years.

It was a crazy time in my life – and I was lucky to find a business partner (Erin) to join me after a few years. We realized pretty quickly that consulting wasn’t something we wanted to do for the long haul. That realization opened us up to the possibility of building something on our own. Dabble was born and we haven’t looked back.

What would you do if you couldn’t work on Dabble?

Um, good question. I could go back to consulting full time but I don’t know how fulfilling that would be the second time around. It’s one thing to work on a few projects you’re passionate about, it’s quite another thing to fling yourself full-on into the world of business cards, proposals & networking again. Eesh.

I’d probably do a few things to sustain myself (build websites, etc) while trying to figure out my next big thing. I think I’m a lifer in the entrepreneurial world – I love the challenge, the passion, the flexibility. Even though a steady paycheck of working for someone else seems really appealing right about now, I don’t know that I’m employable any longer.

It made me uncomfortable to write those last two paragraphs. It would be kind of like asking someone “What would you do if someone you know dies?”. You can document the awkward steps you’d take, but it would take much longer to move on emotionally and accept it as reality. I’m still 100% focused on making Dabble work at the moment.

 

We plan on answering different questions every day. Submit a question you’d like answered by emailing 30daysofhonesty (at) dabble.co.

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