One of the biggest risks about being an entrepreneur is that the longer you are out of the workforce, the harder it is to get back in if your endeavor fails. You've got about three years to make your business work before employers start looking down on you. Talk about stress!
Given my conservative nature, I decided to leave one unburned canoe behind. Every 4th quarter since 2012 I've rowed my boat out to whomever wanted to interview me for a full-time job just in case Financial Samurai went away.
My hope for each meeting is that I'd one day find a role that pays mega bucks, gives me 100% autonomy, allows for 25 hours of work a week, has great people, and is in a field I love. Unfortunately, I could never find that winning combination, so I never went back to work.
A Job Close Enough
Then one day, I found a random job posting for a VP of Marketing position at a startup in a field I'm most interested in: real estate. The job was in San Francisco. The founder went to the Haas School of Business for his MBA just like me. I knew their VP of Finance from my days consulting at a fintech company. And, this firm is leveraging technology to make real estate investing more accessible to the masses.
As a multi-property owner with eight years of digital marketing experience, three years of fintech consulting experience, and 13 years of corporate finance experience, this role sounded like a perfect fit! How many people do you know have this sort of background who has also built an online brand from the ground up with more than 1 million organic pageviews a month?
So of course I reach out to my existing contact to inquire.
Unfortunately, my contact mentioned that they were in late stages with one candidate, meaning the role was probably unavailable to me. Bummer! If only I had applied earlier. I thanked him for checking for me and went my merry way.
About three months later, I was perusing through the job boards again when I noticed the VP of Marketing position pop up again. By then, I had crossed out all hopes of landing such a suitable role. Further, I realized my contact had never pinged me back to let me know the position was open so I didn't want to bother him again. Maybe he was too busy and forgot. Or maybe he didn't think I was qualified. Who knows for sure.
Check out the job description for yourself:
VP Of Marketing
The $40 trillion real estate market in the U.S. is spread across millions of individual relationships between investors, borrowers, brokers, developers, and many other players. Company X is creating the marketplace and technology infrastructure to streamline real estate investing from beginning to end and open it up to a much larger audience. Our clients have already invested over $150 million on the platform.The VP of Marketing will be the strategic head and leader of the marketing organization here at Company X. Reporting directly to the CEO, he/she is a cross-functional leader who is passionate about driving growth on both sides of the RealtyShares marketplace: accredited investors looking to invest and real estate borrowers looking for capital.
The VP of Marketing will be responsible for developing the strategic vision of the company’s marketing organization, understanding and owning the company’s overall growth objectives and setting marketing priorities across various channels. He/she will also be responsible for supporting and managing the marketing team to ensure all strategies and initiatives are being executed upon efficiently and diligently. The VP of Marketing will also be responsible for working cross functionality with other leaders in the organization including across Product, Sales and Technology.
The ideal candidate will:
* Have 7+ years of relevant experience in online marketing, customer acquisition, engagement, and growth for a fast-growing marketplace and/or fintech company;
* Be a hands on leader that can iterate efficiently yet intelligently as we grow our marketing efforts and identify the best channels for both investors and borrowers;
* Be a diligent executor that demands the same from his/her team;
* Develop effective strategies for not only marketing but also help develop cross functional strategies that impact product, sales and tech.
If you want to be part of a high-caliber and collaborative team to build a game-changing online marketplace for real estate investing, you belong here!
-Health, dental, vision insurance
-Office centrally located in SoMa with amazing views of the Bay
-Monthly gym reimbursement
-Great company-wide off-sites!
Looks like a pretty sweet job don't you think? I guess the role paid anywhere between $160,000 – $250,000 in salary plus 0.5% – 1% equity worth $200,000 – $500,000 vested over 4 years. It's not mega bucks compared to private equity, but it's enough for me to be engaged.
During the three month time frame when I was softly denied the role and when I discovered the role was still open, I made up my mind to figure out a way to still work with this company because I believed in their product after testing it out myself.
I met with the CEO at a conference (who didn't know I was interested in the VP of Marketing role) and I went to their office to meet with the VP of Finance and their marketing team. Then I spent about 20 hours researching the company and writing a review post about what I learned.
The more people I met and the more I researched, the more I believed in the company. It got to the point where I was willing to invest $10,000 in one deal on their platform, and then another $500,000 in their fund eight months later.
If you haven't figured out which company I'm talking about, the company is RealtyShares. From my investments, I plan on making about $40,000 – $70,000 a year in returns over the next five years. But where I'm really making my income is as an affiliate on my online platform.
I'm now on pace to earn 2X from RealtyShares as a business partner than if I was their VP of Marketing while working less than one hour a week writing about their product! Just think about that for a moment. How is this possible? By building your own brand and platform online.
Always Bet On Yourself First
The moral of this story is to never let a roadblock hold you back. Believe in yourself and figure a way around it. Also, don't take any business decisions personally. Move on to the next opportunity! Yes, I may be too old, too opinionated, or too independently wealthy for a company to take a chance on me. But I'm not going to let being unemployable stop me from my earnings potential.
The second lesson of this story is to start your own website today (my step by step guide on how). Once you have your own platform, you become the master of your own destiny. The stronger your brand and the larger your platform, the more you'll be able to choose your business partnerships. Do what I did and start something on the side while everybody is sleeping before taking the leap of faith.
I love all entrepreneurs because they are all betting on themselves to succeed. An entrepreneur doesn't have the luxury of working with an established firm with a strong existing brand and a big budget to make them successful. Instead, it's just the entrepreneur's own grit that gets them through difficult situations. All a rational person ever wants is a correlation with effort and reward.
About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate.
FinancialSamurai.com was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.