What’s Next, Jamie?

When I first told my wife that I planned to submit a proposal to reorganize my business, she looked concerned. When I told her I didn’t include a box for myself on the org chart, she wanted to know if I’d lost my mind. This seems reasonable. I mean, isn’t this the worst economy in, well, ever?

Maybe the outside world isn’t going to view this as the most brilliant stroke of the pen, but I had my reasons…

The Plot So Far…

To begin with, I ran an entrepreneurial business within a business. We grew like most eCommerce businesses: huge leaps, year after year. There are a number of factors, but to make it simple let’s just say that we reached the point in scope and scale where it made sense to fold our operation in with the core business.

Writing the plan was exciting and fulfilling. This was the day we’d worked toward for years. It was bittersweet as well since I loved working with my team and we were very successful.

When most people are ready to submit a proposal like this, they take a deep breath. Exhale slowly… And then they hit the delete button.

Part of me (a rather frightened part) really wanted to hit that delete button, but instead I hit send. Of course, I was afraid. I spent years working for the company, building a record of achievement. I have a family to support. I have a child who has cancer. Anyone who tells you that they proposed changes like this and weren’t afraid to do so is either lying or insane.

Now, I’ve written this post several times. The last version went into all sorts of detail about the process of shaping the plan, and while I’m sure that kind of insight is valuable to prospective clients or employers, I’m not going into that sort of minutiae.

Besides, what would we have to talk about later?

No, instead of focusing on what happened, it’s enough to say that I did what was best for the company and it’s time for everyone to focus on the future.

So Really, What’s Next?

At the moment, I’m helping the company make the big transition. But now that I’m on the other side of this change, I find myself with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue my life’s passion… And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

My “What’s Next” is simple: I’m embracing writing with open arms.

Some people know that I write. Some people know I’ve written two novels, piles of stories, millions of words all told. Some people know that I run a little website called How Not to Write.

If you don’t know, now you do.

In addition to fiction, I have two non-fiction works tied to eCommerce and web in process. Sign up for the site emails and you’ll get an announcement as soon as they are available. Who knows, you might even get a copy for free. :)

Oh, and I’m Still an eCommerce Guru

By the way, I’m not abandoning my knowledge. How could I? I love the web and eCommerce. I love technology. I’m just shifting what I do and how I do it.

If you’re an eCommerce colleague dropping in, this is your chance to get a seasoned eCommerce executive on your team, a pro who can help you fix what’s wrong or help you develop a plan to take your business to the next level. Take a look at What Jamie Can Do For You to find out more.

If you don’t know me, let’s get introduced

Thank You

I realize this isn’t a typical “I just got laid off” message, but then I’m not your typical person.

Those of you who realize this will probably be the first to drop me a line. Those of you who don’t will probably wonder why you kept reading all the way to the end (if you did). That’s OK. I don’t expect everyone to understand, but I do want to thank you for taking the time to read this post.

This is a time of dramatic change for all of us. I’m thankful to have such great people in my life. I’m looking forward to what’s next and I hope your life is filled with good times.

Have fun! I know I will! :)


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35 thoughts on “What’s Next, Jamie?

  1. Jamie, I applaud your decision. My heart is so filled with joy right now I cannot really find the words to say what I feel. Like you, I made that same journey nearly five years ago and have never looked back. It takes courage to do what is right for the company and yourself. Others will try to lay their own fears at your doorstep, ignore it and keep a firm grip on your vision for your life. You have talent to spare and I am so glad that you are committing to yourself in the same way you committed to your company. I also look forward to working with you on the ecommerce side. Welcome to the free world!

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Quiet Whispers and Banging Drums: The Magical Mystery of Silence

  2. What an exciting new chapter, Jamie. I know you’ll succeed beyond your expectations. You have the right personality (a BIG factor for us sole entrepreneurs). We look forward to reading your success stories with before and after scenarios.

    Meryl K. Evans’s last blog post..Get in the Mood for Love

  3. Jamie!

    Congratulations on your step into the “great unknown” – it can be quite frightening when you first step out completely on your own with no one else covering your back. But the fear will quickly dissipate as the sense of true freedom of personal expression blossoms before you. Enjoy the ride, my friend – life is too short to not be able to experience this adventure. I wish you all the best. I’ll be following your stories of this exciting new trek…

  4. There’s a lot to be said for bold strokes and adventuresome leaps in a tough economy, Jamie, and even more to be said for getting more flexible than a box in an organizational chart may allow…

    And that sound you hear, beneath the clicking of your keyboard?
    It’s applause.

  5. Oh. wow. I know people use the phrase “jaw dropping” but my jaw just literally dropped. You are the first person I have ever seen write their own role out of an organization chart! Good luck with your writing and the future, you deserve every success that I am sure is coming your way :)

  6. I was hoping we’d have you here a bit longer. I have every confidence you will be magnificently successful, both as a writer and an entrepreneur. Hope to see you published some day!

  7. Jamie, you rock. (And your wife must be a saint.)
    But then again, good people with a contribution to make to the world do just that; they rock, and they have the rest of us thinking they are saints, when in fact, they work really hard, working at the right things; they Ho‘ohana while tapped into their Aloha.
    I am so proud of you Jamie, but I am not surprised at all. This is your time.

  8. Go for it! I’ve never been happier than I have as an entrepreneur. And I have – literally – written myself out of 2 org charts (after 10 years each) because it was simply “time”. It’s scary and wonderfully fulfilling to follow your passion!

  9. Jamie, Holy cow crazy man!!! I wish you all the best in this exciting new chapter of your life (I know, I know.. flog me with the Mighty Wet Noodle of Bad Puns(tm) before I make any more. 😉

    You are going to do incredible things!

    To make up for my bad pun, I’ll leave you with a good quote.

    “Fortune favors the brave.” – James Russell Lowell

  10. It reminds me of the Fool stepping over the cliff in the Tarot. The Fool trusts yet people call him a fool for all they see is with their eyes. They don’t look through the eyes of the heart. But by trusting in himself and the universe, the Fool learns to fly.
    I took flight 30 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I’ve needed to re-fuel a few times, but never been sorry for the move into the domain of my purpose and passion.
    Imua, friend…. Congratulations

  11. This is like the time I.. uh, I..

    ..okay I’ve never done anything like this. Do they clang when you walk?

    I’m looking forward to what comes out of this. Exciting, wonderful times! Will there be corn dogs and cotton candy?

  12. @Karen Thank you so much and how appropriate that you are the first person to comment here. :)

    @Meryl Thanks so much! It should be a fun and exciting time!

    @Joanna Indeed it feel great! With so much uncertainty “out there”, I think the best way forward is to be certain “in here” (he’s says while pointing to his head).

    @Dave Thanks! Now we have to get together and compare iPhone apps. Maybe there’s something unexpected to be found there. 😉

    @Jim! Thanks for dropping in! Yep, this is one of those moments in life when you have to hang on and enjoy the ride. It will be a lot of work, plenty of challenges. I’m ready though. Thanks so much for the kind words.

    @Jason :) From what I hear, the new boss is a pretty good guy to work for. At least, that’s what everyone keeps telling me.

    @Rebecca Very nice image of the applause beneath the keys. I’ll try to keep that in mind as I’m working away in my basement.

    @Chris Thanks, Chris! It’s a crazy thing, I know. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I’m ready for what’s next!

    @Connie Thanks, Ingrid. 😉 I hope to see your paintings at the Louvre some day!

    @LadyOTrout It’s certainly a rush!!! GO GO GO!

    @Rosa My wife is an amazing woman. In fact, I’m willing to place a rather hefty wager that she is the most amazing woman in the world. Thanks so much for all of your support. Can’t wait to talk to you!

    @Steve It’s always great to finish one thing and know it’s time for the next, isn’t it? 10 years ago I ran my own software business and stepping back into the world of entrepreneurship is so much fun. I love the possibilities!

    @R. Schuyler Devin Thanks! And if I make it to Clarion West, we’ll definitely get together in Seattle. It will be awesome!

    @Lara I’m glad I could brighten your day! I’m so happy to be made of awesomeness!

    @Belynda It should be pretty crazy and fun! Thanks for the well wishes! Glad to see you finally got that Kindle2 opened. Your unboxing video is great! In bocca al lupo!

    @Trinidad Thanks! Keep watching the skies, you never know when I might soar by!

    @RhodesTer LOL There will definitely be cotton candy and corn dogs. In fact, I may have to open a lemonade stand to pay the bills so those would make excellent additions to the menu.

    @Scott Thanks so much!

    @Ulla Thanks. :)

    Kip Frazier says, “My Pap told me Courage was a kind of box where a fella could pack down his Fears. If that’s true, then my Courage was about big enough to hold a cricket.” I know how he feels, but like Kip I’m pressing on!

  13. Striking out on your own is a bold move. Whether times are good or bad, the simple fact is that you’re taking on a wholly new level of risk. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t control what’s going to happen. What you will do is influence what will happen. Through right action, wrong action, or inaction, you’ll be setting yourself up for the next move. The trick, of course, is to find a way to move into a pattern of action that moves you in the direction you want.

    Starting a business is easy. Running a successful business that you’ve started yourself from nothing is hard. I have done it and it has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. And I’m hardly one to miss an opportunity to confront a challenge.

    That said, a few simple guidelines can help you to stay focused and to make a success of your endeavor. P.T. Barnum wrote The Art of Money Getting in 1880 but the advice is timeless. I think that you’ll find it as beneficial as I have.

    Godspeed.

  14. @Matt Thanks so much. And you’re so right about running the business being the real trick. I had my own web business 10 years ago and loved it, but starting it was the easiest part of the gig. Keeping it going was the real blood and sweat of the process.

    As for advice, how fantastic is PT Barnum! Folks, just take a look at the TOC from Matt’s link:

    1. DON’T MISTAKE YOUR VOCATION
    2. SELECT THE RIGHT LOCATION
    3. AVOID DEBT
    4. PERSEVERE
    5. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT
    6. DEPEND UPON YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXERTIONS
    7. USE THE BEST TOOLS
    8. DON’T GET ABOVE YOUR BUSINESS
    9. LEARN SOMETHING USEFUL
    10. LET HOPE PREDOMINATE BUT BE NOT TOO VISIONARY
    11. DO NOT SCATTER YOUR POWERS
    12. BE SYSTEMATIC
    13. READ THE NEWSPAPERS
    14. BEWARE OF “OUTSIDE OPERATIONS”
    15. DON’T INDORSE WITHOUT SECURITY
    16. ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS
    17. BE POLITE AND KIND TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
    18. BE CHARITABLE
    19. DON’T BLAB
    20. PRESERVE YOUR INTEGRITY

    Awesomeness!

  15. May I just say that you have an amazing network! Fun posts to read and contemplate.

    I am exuberant after reading all of this!

    GO FOR IT MR. GROVE. You will soar!

  16. @Kris Thanks so much. You may indeed say I have an amazing network, but that’s only because you’re part of the club! :)

  17. Without doubt this will be a different type of stress than you’re used to… but at least this is something you brought about on your own terms. You’ll do great!

    Amber’s last blog post..February 2009

  18. Jamie,
    You were/are awesome at HFC and will continue to be in all that you do. My admiration for you is huge, my man. Best of luck with your writing and all your endeavors. Looking forward to any and all projects we may work on together for HFC.

  19. @Amber Indeed. Indeed. I know it will be tough, so tough I don’t even know how tough. (how’s that for keyword density). Thanks so much for your encouragement! It means a lot to me. :)

    @Scott No, my friend, you are awesome++! Thanks though. It’s great to hear things like that as I head off on the next adventure. I’m sure we’ll have a chance to work together again, and I can’t wait!

  20. Good for you Jamie! I love How Not to Write and the style and tone of your writing. I wish you the best of luck on this new adventure. There is nothing but wonderful things in store for you!

  21. @Jenny Thanks so much! I’m happy to let everyone know that I’ll be keeping the HNTW flame alive, although some day I hope to change my twitter profile tagline. :)

  22. Saw your link from Uppington’s blog. Wow.. congrats..! I find myself facing an un-willing and unexpected layoff.. and wonder whether I should take the step you have…

    It couldn’t have been easy.. thanks for setting an example for the rest of us!

  23. I was sorry to hear that you wont be working at HFC anymore. I enjoyed working with you over the years, and wish you the best in your writing endeavors. And who knows, we may tap you for your eCommerce guru-ness sometime in the future!

  24. Hey Jamie,
    I added a couple of contacts here, and perused your site here and came to realize more of your story regarding your recent ‘realignment’ – all good. And who knew you were a writer, too?
    Another of your posts concerns heroes. I don’t have any one hero per se, but believe in heroic acts; of which even the lowliest are capable. Heroism needs to be renewed.
    Concerning your decision to uncouple from Highlights . . .
    Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. – WH Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
    I’m going to guess you’ve come across this quote before, but it’s pretty . . . heroic.

  25. @Dave Thanks for the great quote. I hadn’t come across that before, but how true. You must seek to act first, and then the universe will follow.

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