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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Jul 1, 2010

The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Belltown Pull Apart

I was in downtown Seattle last week where I met the owner and proprietor of Belltown Pull Apart, a used bike shop on 4th Ave.
Eric started out working on Pedal cabs, the once ubiquitous three wheeled transports that worked the waterfront. His alleyfront shop specialized in fixing and fabricating the rides. Today he has the front and back of the building. In open hours, 5 or 6 bikes line up for sale along the sidewalk and the shop dogs amble fatly in and out of the open doorway.
Inside, sexy refurbished bikes hang from the walls and form neat rows for easy access on the floor. The guys who hang out in the store also work there, and there’s a refreshing feeling of realness. Eric and his cronies love bikes, and belong to the growing ranks of the self-employed.
When I went in last Saturday to pick up the cheetah print handlebar grips I ordered, Chicheron, the rotund Chihuahua was helping himself to somebody’s half sesame bagel smothered in cream cheese. The last I saw him he was being chased into the back of the shop with half a bagel gripped in his jaws. That morning I got a chance to talk to Eric about why he took the entrepreneurial plunge. His answer was simple, “I can’t work for other people… I’m a terrible employee.”
I feel you dude! Most of the folks I know who are ready to take the plunge are Eric. I've heard it before. Here’s the checklist:
  • Passion for the organization’s mission wanes.
  • The persistent feeling of being underappreciated weighs on you.
  • The commute—no matter how short—gets longer every day.
  • The work is unfulfilling.
  • At least 20 % of your work week is spent planning your escape route (i.e. looking for jobs, updating your resume, reading up on how to ship anthrax thru the mail, etc.)
  • Stress builds from Sunday night to Monday morning, and continues until Friday at 1pm .

My hat’s off to you Eric.  If I were a Seattle native, I’d make Belltown Pull Apart my second home.


    Bobby G said...

    Don't forget: "You're talent exceeds your boss's and you are making her too much money."

    I went into business for myself this year, I too was sick of it all & tired of looking for a job that doesn't exist. I've never been happier and my work is better.

    I have a few pieces of humble advice for the raw entrepreneur: The pressure of working for a shitty company/boss is way worse then the stress of starting your own business. Set yourself a work schedule and try to stick to it, don't spend you life working. Check your email/social media < 10 times a day (you'll be twice as productive, which translates into more $$). And don't forget to have fun.

    Anonymous said...

    It sucks having to 'pay your dues' constantly and never getting the keys to the club.

    Kathy C. said...

    This economy drove me to hitch my star to my own wagon. I feel so much better about working nights, weekends, and overtime now that it's for me!