I began down the path to the Y-WEB two years ago. My workload was overflowing, and I wasn’t seeing the growth from my position I had anticipated. My frustrations with my job were legion, however, my frustrations with the structure of the employment tradeoff was killing me bit by bit.
I was trading my time for money, and the nature of that arrangement simply isn’t equitable for me. I’d be hard pressed to tell you how much money I’ll need for the rest of my life, but I can tell you that the average human lives for about 28,800 days (79 years), a little over 12 thousand of mine were already gone.
I wanted to be free and control.
Armed with the confidence of a recent promotion, and having the experience automating several time-consuming processes, I was emboldened and decided to strike out on my own.
Over the next year, I spent thousands of dollars building and breaking websites, hiring and firing assistants, and testing and retesting products. All with little or no success at all.
I knew the systems I needed to have in place, and I knew what technology I’d need to use, I even knew where my customers would come from (if and when came up with a viable product).
What I couldn’t do was build the websites. At least not “good” websites. Sure, I could put a website together on WordPress but any further than that (think hardcore site customizations), and I was up the creek. I couldn’t make a logo. Not for myself, and most certainly not one someone would pay me for. The situation was… bleak. I knew I needed more skills.
I searched the internet for resources; my previous professional experience taught me that Google will always be my best friend during working hours. The problem was that I didn’t know what I was looking for. I was sure I could grasp the material, I simply didn’t know what material to study. I was sure I could figure that out as well, but how long would it take?
I knew that I wanted to open an online business.
I knew that I wanted to be in a position to trade my “ideas” for money.
I knew that I wanted to be in control of my time.
I knew that I wanted to be free.
Not free from bills or responsibility. But free from unreasonable stress and uncompromising time constraints. Free to spend time with my mother on any given spring afternoon. Free to get on a plane and find myself in Jamaica if the occasion called for an impromptu getaway.
I knew this reality was (is) attainable, I just didn’t know how I’d get there.
I was at the end of my rope. My financial safety net had long since run dry, none of my business ventures had made a single dime, and to make matters worse I had to move at the end of the month.
So I gave up. I packed it in and hit the road. I figured, “‘Happy’ isn’t going to happen, but I’ll take ‘content’ if the money’s right.”
I went to work at a factory in Iowa and resigned myself to a life spent attaching sidewalls to large recreational vehicles.
It was as far as freedom as the office that I’d ran from a year and a half prior, and I had no illusions of changing my situation. The school was either too expensive, or I was left mostly to my own devices.
It is with a bit of shame that I admit that if not for forces outside of my control I’d still be in Iowa.
It was the beginning of a new year, and I was back in my old hometown: Madison Wisconsin.
I’d lost my apartment, was without a job, had no employment opportunities on the horizon. My spirit was in bad shape… I needed a “win” of some sort.
I ran into a former coworker who told me he was in a program offered by the Work Smart Network. He gave me their contact number suggesting that I contact them regarding employment training programs they offer.
I was at a point in my life that I needed something positive to happen. More than that, what I needed was a reason to look forward. It was in this mindset that I set a meeting with a representative of the Work Smart program.
I met with the woman from the network the second week of February 2017. She was really well informed about her program and identified immediately that I’d be a better candidate for a program she knew of, but didn’t have a direct connection to.
She pulled out a piece of paper and quickly scribbled a few words and a phone number on it. She told me to give this place a call maybe they would have a path for me to take.
I took the paper, shook her hand, thanked her for her time, turned and left.
The next day I called the number, and asked for the suggested contact:
Julia Block, the Y-WEB Coordinator.
– Alan C. Robinson