A Founder’s Story – Taking Calculated Risks
Like most people, I was shaped by my upbringing. I was born into a very blue-collar family. Nothing was ever handed to me. Nothing was ever “free.” I fought for every job I held and worked hard for every dollar I earned. Much of this was learned by watching my grandfather. This was a man who spent his entire career with General Electric and worked his way to the top, running some of their most successful plants. Hard work, dedication and perseverance surrounded me. I couldn’t help but be shaped.
These qualities make up a large part of who I am today. My biggest strength is my drive. I’m driven to succeed and will never give up. I started an IT recruiting firm called AVID Technical Resources in 2003 from my small condo in Boston. Every morning I woke up early, “commuted” to my dining room and began making phone calls. Two months later, I landed my first client. Unfortunately, it was also during this time when I suddenly lost my grandfather. My rock, my inspiration was gone.
Life is full of challenges. However, I believe the true tests are how you overcome them and the subsequent lessons that you learn. In the face of adversity, I used his loss as a motivation. I had my grandfather there with me on every call, each client meeting. He is still here with me today, not only in spirit, but also a 5×7 picture frame on my desk.
I firmly believe that you must take risks in life to succeed. These should not be rash, careless risks, instead they should be well thought out and calculated. When I started AVID in June of 2003, I was taking a calculated risk that I had been engineering for over three years.
Nonetheless, starting a company was still a risk. I only had enough money saved to get me through a few months and did not believe in going to outside investors for assistance. I learned to stretch a dollar as well as anyone and did not spend what I did not have. The result: AVID grew one day at a time. Over the course of the first year, I took every dollar and reinvested it back into the company purchasing each item by its level of priority.
After savings and cautious spending, I finally had enough cash reserve to open the first AVID office in Copley Square, Boston. After six months we “grew” out of our 100 square foot office and “upgraded” to a two-room, 150 square foot suite just down the hall.
Three additional office upgrades, and four years later, we purchased a 3,000 square foot office condo in the middle of Boston’s Financial District. Purchasing our own office space, in a city with very few business condos, was certainly a risk. However, it was a calculated risk – we actually reduced our operating costs while building equity at the same time.
I think back to making call after call from my dining room table, then our first offices in Copley Square, Boston. These days were long, but full of excitement – an experience that I would not have been part of without having taken risks. Calculated risks.