As a founder, I’ve had to make some tough decisions. Luckily for me, I had a great business partner, Ed who was a massive support during those challenging times.
But one of the toughest decisions I ever made was when I briefly returned to employment. And founders don’t always think about what is the next step when we sell our business until it gets to that point!
After I sold my business, financially I could have taken a bit of time off, but I love my work and I wanted a new challenge.
As I thought of Google as the pinnacle of amazingness I decided to apply to get a job there.
I remember reading a book about Google when I was much younger, just as it was starting out. And I decided then I wanted to work there one day.
So now without a business to run, I decided to start my long-awaited Google career.
It took me about six months of hoop-jumping and interviews before we agreed to a deal, and I was really, really pleased. I think part of it was I wanted to just know I could get a job at Google, and I had.
But when I got there, I realised that I really, really didn’t like it.
I’d been an entrepreneur, running my own business, looking after staff, doing new business, meeting clients – there was so much variety and it was exciting.
And then I arrived at Google and got pigeonholed into the gambling department. I worked with a small number of clients doing nothing particularly challenging. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how different it was to what I had expected.
It wasn’t filling me with joy at all.
I was leaving home at 7.30 am to get to work at 8.30 am, so that I could then leave at 5.30 pm to get home for 6.30 pm.
I was seeing the kids for about half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening. Doing the math, I worked out it was about 15 minutes per child per day. And after working so hard to grow a successful business, this just seemed utterly pointless. What was I doing?!
My work has always been very important to me. Normally (and now more so than ever) it brings me a LOT of joy. But this didn’t!
It was so difficult.
Everyone thought I was lucky to have a job at Google.
That I should be so grateful.
That I had the best job on the planet.
But I was really unhappy.
I had a really tricky decision to make because it’s something that I’d wanted for so long. I’d spent so long getting the job. And I was so excited.
So I was embarrassed to tell everyone I’d be leaving Google after only being there for six weeks. Ahhh!
I needed to make a decision, and although I knew what my instinct was telling me to do, I needed a way to sound it out, and be 100% sure before I handed in my notice.
I had a coach that I worked with when I owned my media agency. So I called her up from the Google offices. I remember crying because I’d put so much energy and effort into getting this job and it was such a let-down, that it hadn’t worked out.
She just listened to me and said, “I think you’ve made your mind up, haven’t you? You’ve just got to do this.” And so I did it, I handed in my notice the next day.
I have strong intuition and can make decisions quickly. From the outside, this sometimes looks like flitting about. A lack of commitment. And people comment on that.
But by talking it through with someone else, it was easier to know that my decision was right and to act on it.
That is when I saw the benefit of a coach – it was so helpful.
Now I’ve got two business coaches and I absolutely love it. It’s something I’d actively encourage founders to do. You need a coach to help you navigate the personal challenges, decisions, and stretches you’re going to face. And a growth consultant to help you plan and execute you’re scaling up.
Sinead Millard got me talking about all these things on her podcast ‘The Courage to Be‘. I talk about the courage to be a founder, to leave my job at Google and the courage to make some difficult decisions. I absolutely loved sharing my story and Sinead is a great host.
If you are at the point now where you’ve just set up your business, the thought of selling it might well be a long way off. In the meantime, check out this free PDF I have created to help you scale a profitable business and nail your digital offering.
You can download it here: The Ultimate Guide to Scaling your Business with Emmie Faust
PS. I should say that two of my great team members from Jack Media (our agency) are at Google and they absolutely love it. Honestly, it’s the best job ever for them – they’re doing so well and I am so happy. It has been an amazing career move for them.
When I look back I know the reason it didn’t work for me is that I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I love that growth stage – a big corporate is just not me. That’s why I feel so passionate about working with growing companies and supporting founders – it’s that stage of business that really excites me!