Answer provided by: Tayo Rockson, Founder of UYD Media LLC. Previous Employment: Director of Marketing for 4 years at Smile 4 Africa and M.I Africa. 2 years of product development and account management at Bancroft Technology Group and Shareablee.
I had a corporate job. A great one… until I got let go.
“Duplication of efforts, etc…. we are headed in a different direction.”
I’m not sure how I kept a straight face, but I did. And to add insult to injury, when I went back to my desk to pack up, I saw a notification on my computer saying I no longer had access to my email account.
I enjoyed having the safety net of a corporate job even though I didn’t love what I was doing or feel like I was being used to my full capacity. So what did I do with this safety net gone? I went to work on my own business. If there was a perfect time to build my own company, it was now.
While working in the corporate world, I’d started a podcast that was getting some traction. I loved interviewing and producing content for millennials who identified with several cultures, like me.
I’m the son of a diplomat who has been posted to four different continents – I grew up everywhere and was influenced culturally by many geographical places. In addition to the podcast, I had begun to grow a following with my personal blog – showcasing how to become a better leader by communicating across cultures and thinking outside of the box.
I turned these two passion projects into a media company. What I then realized was that the reaction I’d been getting, from what I considered a hobby, was actually my first market validation. The email subscribers who read and listened to all my content and who were already my evangelists – they believed I provided value to them, so why not continue to do so?
I knew all of this but I was still fearful to get started on my own. Afraid that I would fail, as this was the first time I was in survival mode. Taking the entrepreneurial route at the age of 24 seemed so risky. I found myself asking questions like:
Am I too young? I asked this even though I had about 7 years of work experience from businesses I had run in college.
What if no one cares? But my podcast was heard in over 105 countries.
What if? What if? What if? That’s all I kept asking myself until I realized I had nothing to lose!
Instead, I started asking why not me? Even if I fail, I would learn from it and be better for it. It’s like Thomas Edison’s journey to inventing the light bulb – he failed 10,000 times!
After getting over my fear of failure, I started to focus on building UYD Media LLC. It’s been an amazing ride; I’ve learned about myself as a leader and have simultaneously become a better businessman. Since launching, I’ve been invited to speak at conferences about my company’s mission: Use Your Difference To Make A Difference, and my podcast has been recognized as the #2 business podcast in 2014 by Entrepreneur Magazine.
There is no perfect time to start up, but sometimes life will make it crystal clear.