Life Truly is Like a Box of Chocolates

by Jun Loayza on June 26, 2009


Photo by trikeratops

The door bell rang.

“Strange, why would the mailman ring my doorbell?”

He handed me a letter that I had to sign for.  Instantly, I knew the contents of the letter.  My Mom became just another victim of the economic recession…

At times I feel like I’m cheating. I see peers like Monica O’Brien who talk about how Gen Y shouldn’t be living at home with their parents.  After all, I’m a grown man – but the problem is that running an internet startup produces very little cash flow.  Sure we make enough to survive, but everything we do make gets put back into the company so that we can get to our next milestone.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see an incomplete man.  I should be the provider; I should be able to lavish my girlfriend with gifts.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my startup and the people that I work with.  What gets to me is when I see peers that are working a full-time job to support themselves and working extra hard at night to further their startup company.  That’s hustle.  That’s dedication.  That’s heart.

… My parents are divorced; we cannot rely on the financial support of a father.

“Don’t worry Mom. I’ll take care of everything.”

As the eldest, I am now responsible for taking care of the family.  I spent the next week looking for a position in social media.

I dreaded the thought of going back to the cubicle – I hate being told what to do.  I hate working for a man (or woman) who I cannot learn from or look up to.  That’s why I left my corporate job in the first place.  I’m an entrepreneur at heart; how in the world would I survive going back to the corporate world and having to pay my dues?

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do what’s best for your loved ones.

“My third interview in just 1 week.  Man I hope this guy is more impressive than the other two.”

I walked in expecting the worst, and walked out with an offer I just couldn’t refuse:  He offered me the position of President (or equivalent) of SocialMediaMarketing.com.  To be honest, this is every internet entrepreneurs dream.  I would be paid to build a company from scratch and have resources available to me that only a large firm could afford.  Though the position was amazing, the salary was way under what I’m worth.  I had to take some serious time to think about my situation, this opportunity, and the future of Viralogy.

This is seriously one of those decisions that will impact me for the rest of my life.  Do I stay full-time at Viralogy and hope that we can make revenue in time to pay the mortage?  Or do I take this amazing opportunity, step away from Viralogy, and devote my time and effort to SocialMediaMarketing.com?

One look at my Mom and brother and I knew what I had to do…

It’s been two weeks since I accepted the offer, you know what?  I love my job!

I honestly can’t begin to describe how “un-corporate” my position is.  I set the hours that I want, I hire the people that I want for my team, I set the direction for the site, I build the pricing matrix and our service offerings, and I truly have the responsibilities and authority of a leader.  Most importantly, the CEO who hired me is someone that I can truly look up to.

I can finally look my peers in the eye.  I too am now working a full-time job during the day and am devoting what I can on nights and weekends to support the startup that I love and built.  It’s extremely tough, but so rewarding.

And just like that, it happened..

“Jun, I got my job back!”

I couldn’t believe it!  My Mom says it was because of all of her praying (she is Buddhist), but I think that’s just the way life works.  It’s so unexpected and wonderful.

And then, an unexpected blow…

“Jun, I need your brand to be focused only on SocialMediaMarketing.com.  I can’t have it be associated with Viralogy.com.  It’s just too much of a conflict of interest.”

It’s completely understandable.  I know if I was the founder of a company (which I am), I would want my employees to be 100% devoted to the company, especially if the person is going to be the face of my company.  And there in lies the dilemma: I am the face of Viralogy and now I must become the face of SocialMediaMarketing.com.

I joined SocialMediaMarketing.com with the promise to my team at Viralogy that I would remain an advisor and that they would always be able to leverage my personal brand for the success of Viralogy.com.  Now I am faced with a tough decision that I must make by the end of the weekend.

The Facts:

  • Viralogy.com is my baby and I will do anything to see it succeed
  • I love my job at SocialMediaMarketing.com and look up to the CEO
  • My family no longer needs me to support the household
  • My girlfriend and Mom love the fact that I’m now making money
  • SocialMediaMarketing.com will position me to speak at major social media events and allow me to further my brand
  • Viralogy.com is doing very well and 1st hand research shows that companies will pay for our service

I value honesty and loyalty.

In a perfect world, I would be able to brand myself as the President (or equivalent) of SocialMediaMarketing.com and as the Founder of Viralogy.com – similar to what Dan Schawbel does with his company.

What should I do? I ask for your thoughts and opinions because I greatly value you as a reader.  I thank you for joining me on my journey and I hope to bring value to you with each and every one of my posts.

I will make my decision by Sunday evening.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

About the author

Jun Loayza Jun Loayza is the President of Ecommerce Rules. In his entrepreneurial experience, Jun has sold 2 internet companies, raised over $1,000,000 in Angel funding, and lead social media technology campaigns for Sephora, Whole Foods Market, Levi's, LG, and Activision. Find Jun on Google or Twitter

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Leave a Comment

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Yee June 26, 2009 at 10:50 pm

It’s a tough call. I am still too young and inexperienced to give any solid advice, but this is how I see it. If you really enjoy working at socialmediamarketing.com, you can devote your brand to the company and still help Viralogy in other ways. Maybe further down the road, you will be in a situation to build your company without worrying about money to support your family. On the other hand, you can always look for another company that would allow you to keep your brand with Viralogy. There is always a way you can make it work. From interning with you, I know you are a really talented guy and you’ll definitely find your answer. Life is always filled with a different combination of choices people can make. There is never really a right or wrong. It just depends on the person’s perception of what he or she wants. Good Luck and back to my corporate internship for the summer :)

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 8:57 am

Jason,

Thank you for your words. Though I found a job relatively easy (and it turns out this job is amazing), I don’t think I can repeat the process over and over again.

I have so many friends that are struggling to find a job, let alone a job that they love. One major point is that I’m being paid way under value; however, I feel the experience itself way more than makes up for it.

I’ll keep you updated on my decision.

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Olina June 26, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Yes, I like Jason’s answer. There are so many choices, you can either devote your branding to socialmediamarketing.com and become the behind scene hero for Viralogy, or you can find something else can support your family and but don’t care about your branding for Viralogy. That’s both good choice. Man, you are lucky that you have so many choices.

My suggestions is really look into your heart and find something your passionate about and invest your time in it. Lots of times we use time to exchange money, but later we find out there is no much way to buy time with money.

Either way you choose, I will support you! :)

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 9:00 am

Thanks Olina. Your support means a lot to me.

There are a lot of options – it’s kind of like decision paralysis for me right now.

I will spend this weekend looking into my heart and figuring out what is truly important for me.

Viralogy is my passion. SocialMediaMarketing.com seems like the more obvious, practical route. Viralogy can be a huge success, but it’s not certain. SocialMediaMarketing.com feels like it has a very high chance of succeeding.

I love risk, but I need to make sure I’m making the right decision for my family, my team, and my future.

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Tony Ruiz June 26, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Wow, thats some intense stuff. That’s why i enjoy reading your posts, you let it all out. This question is hard, I know after I graduate college I might face a similar question too. Right now, you are the face Viralogy. I know Yu-kai is CEO, but to be honest most of the blogsphere thinks “Jun Loayza” when “Viralogy” is mentioned (not taking anything away from Yu-kai and the rest of the team, I know you all work equally hard).

This is when you need to ask yourself this question, “Do I want to spend my life living someone else’s dream, or do I want to spend it living mine?” You really need to go with your gut feeling with this one. The only person that can make this choice is you, because deep down you know what you want to do. It’s just clouded up by all these thoughts of fear and “what ifs.”

Perhaps you can propose a partnership with Viralogy and SocialMediaMarkting? There has to be a way you can do both. Whatever decision you make, make it and never look back with regrets.

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:37 am

A partnership is a great idea. I would have to think of something super beneficial for both parties to make it happen.

Would I be living someones else’s dream at socialmediamarketing.com? To be honest, I feel that I can ultimately fulfill my own dream while at this company. I have the power, responsibility, and authority to do the things that I want to do.

Ultimately, there is no easy answer. I’ll keep everyone up to date with what I decide.

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Ryan June 27, 2009 at 12:23 am

Let me preface whatever I say with the saying, “Free advice is worth what you paid for it”

That being said, I would really recommend you stay with the job and gain that real world experience of working for someone you respect. The money you earn you can save for when you do eventually leave the job (which you will do, trust me). You are still very young and though you may think you already know a lot, I can guarantee you will look back 2 years from now and say, “Man, if only I had known back then what I know now”. Trust me I know from experience. Even if you end up hating your job (which you totally might), at least you will learn what its like to be an employee and will know how to treat your own employees eventually so they don’t get sick of their job’s. Trust me, I know from experience.

The idea of being a bootstrapped, “built in a garage” entrepreneur is very romanticized and should always be taken with a grain of salt. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that majority of these big companies (Apple, HP, Digg, youtube, etc) were started by individuals while they were working for someone else and leveraging their connections from their job to go out on their own.

Use your opportunity to network and build your connections so when your next venture comes up or if you quit and go back to viralogy, you will be able to bring even more value than you currently can now. Even better if you are successful at your job and turn socialmediamarketing.com to something huge, that’s a lot of brand equity that you can leverage.

I can almost guarantee, just by reading your posts and watching your vids, you will eventually end up leaving the job because deep down you are an entrepreneur. But don’t take an opportunity to network and gain experience while getting paid for granted.

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:43 am

I have worked in the corporate world before. It was a large, international consulting firm that had a huge name brand. To be honest, I learned absolutely nothing at the job. The corporate world did not teach me anything about leadership or how to treat employees. I just learned how to follow orders and do just enough work to get by.

Everything that I have learned has been on my own here at my startup. I learned how to hire people, treat my employees, speak at events, create a business model, write a business plan, and lead a large group of outsourced people.

The reason I got this position at socialmediamarketing.com was because of the great things I have been doing with Viralogy. My experience truly fit the role that I’m in now.

Yes, I think the experience is great, and I think the major difference is that I will learn how to drive a large company with large resources rather than a small startup with no resources.

Bootstrapping is very romanticized, but at the same time, I feel that every entrepreneur should strive to bootstrap her first company. It’s such an amazing learning experience that no corporate job can ever give you.

Thanks for your input and I’ll be sure to update you on this opportunity given to me.

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Luke June 27, 2009 at 4:00 am

Dude! Tough break…. or a blessing in disguise?

I think if you look deep down you will find the answer.

We can all offer advice but at the end of the day only you will know exactly what you need to do.

Viralogy.com or SMM.com, what will mean more for your legacy?

You said it best late last year “Never settle for the comfortable; never succumb to cruise control”

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:45 am

Thanks for bringing up that quote! It’s true, you should never succumb to cruise control.

I feel that this opportunity presented to me is not cruise control at all. I would be the driver and visionary for an amazing company. It’s seriously such a ridiculously amazing opportunity.

We’ll see. I am an entrepreneur at heart, and this position is truly very entrepreneurial. I am thankful for being presented with so many great opportunities.

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Matt Cheuvront June 27, 2009 at 4:08 am

Jun – you have reached a crossroad here and honestly, there is no easy choice. You have to outstanding opportunities. I would take a step back and think about the fact that you are 23 years old – I am the same age, and a position like SocialMediaMarketing could, and sounds like it would be an amazing opportunity to grow exponentially. Think of it as having an investor give you the keys to run a company. I have some experience here, and I’m sure I don’t have to explain it to you, that finding investment is one of the most difficult things any entrepreneur can do. You’ve been giving the funding and the freedom to turn SocialMediaMarketing into your baby – and from the sound of it, the position is a networking dream.

Viralogy is great, and it’s something that you’ve built from the ground up – but there has been a TON of faith put in you to develop and grow something that, 10 years from now, will have you doing everything you want to be and more. I honestly don’t look at it as the ‘safe’ route – I think it’s the best for you right now at this moment.

Cheers to you Jun – you know, as always, if you need to talk or bounce ideas back and forth, I’m here as a friend.

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:46 am

Thanks a lot Matt. Your comment and email means a lot to me.

Yes, it is a fantastic opportunity. At the same time, I must be loyal and true to my teammates at Viralogy.

There is no easy answer and there is no right or wrong. Ultimately, I must be selfish and do things in my best interest.

We’ll see what comes out of my meeting on Monday.

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Michael Falk June 27, 2009 at 5:51 am

Jun,
This is the first time I have read one of your posts, and to be honest, I have never heard of either organization. I have decided to not visit either site in order to offer impartial advice.
First, I would like to say that I agree with Ryan and Matt. Real-world experience is something you cannot EVER put a value on… It is truly invaluable.

I cannot say it much better than these quotes…

“Go big or go home!
Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir your blood… MAKE BIG PLANS. Aim high in hope and work.” ~Unknown

“Your life is an occasion, rise to it!” ~Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

“History is made by those who can see the future.” ~Unknown

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” ~Thoreau

“Live with intention.
Walk the edge.
Listen hard.
Practice wellness
Play with abandon.
Laugh.
Choose with no regret.
Continue to learn.
Appreciate your friends.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~Unknown

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Many would think after reading these that one would HAVE to choose going with viralogy.com, I would disagree. Sometimes God puts things in our paths in order to test us. My belief is that He will not move us past it until we have become content with our current position. You have been offered the position with smm.com because they see worth in you. Run with it! Like Ryan stated above, one day you WILL leave smm.com and just think of the wealth of knowledge you will have harvested from there.

I hope this helps…

Michael

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:49 am

Hey Michael, thanks so much for your thoughts.

Yes, I will learn a lot from SMM.com, but I will also learn a lot from Viralogy.com. The difference is that I will be learning different things:

Viralogy.com teaches me how to start a startup with no resources and build an internet company from scratch.

SMM.com teaches me how to drive a large corporation, build systems, and allocate a lot of resources effectively so that the organization is organized.

Both opportunities are great. I need to really meditate on the question:

Should I do what’s best for me now, or what’s best for me in 5 years?

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Adam Pieniazek June 27, 2009 at 8:10 am

Don’t look at it as a dilemma, look at it as an opportunity.

On the one hand, you have a chance to build a new company (something all us entrepreneurs love), without the risk of losing all of your money or the concern of not having personal cash flow. You can make mistakes and learn from them, connect with lots of other individuals and brands, all on someone else’s dime while also building your safety net and supporting your family. On the negative side, it’s not a brand you fully control, you may have been given the keys, but the car is not yours and there will almost surely be some back seat driving involved.

On the other hand, you have a chance to live your dream now. To continue to build a brand you love and fully control. But if it crashes, it’s all on you. If it crashes, there is no safety net. You’ll learn a ton from any mistakes, but you also face the huge risk of it failing completely and (to continue the car analogy), not having a way to get back out on the road.

I started two companies before my current one, one in high school, one after college while working a corporate job. Neither took off, and looking back it was because none of us could fully devote time to it. With Viralogy, you have other people who can devote time to it, so it may continue to build without your hands on leadership.

The third and current company I started was after I quit my corporate job and built up a financial safety net. Without a doubt, the fact that I could fully devote my energy to the brand and had a safety net to help me while the cash flow was built up was a huge reason why we’re now finding success. Another factor was living in the corporate world for 2.5 years and seeing what does and doesn’t work and being able to pull that knowledge into my own business.

You’re in a tough spot Jun, but you have two great opportunities. You’ll learn from either choice. You’ll likely stumble no matter which direction you go in, but mistakes can be an amazing learning tool. Knowing you from reading your blog and experiencing Viralogy, I’ve also got faith that you’ll find success in whichever direction you go in.

The biggest questions right now are what’s most important to your right now, and for the next year. Is it a stable cash flow? Is it completely owning your brand? Make a list and jot down everything that’s important to you and connect which opportunity will deliver which benefit to you.

Best of luck to you, feel free to chat me up via e-mail or twitter (@adampieniazek) or skype (the42ndestatellc). Looking back, I wish I started this third company sooner, but also am glad I built up that safety net. As someone else said, there is no right or wrong answer here, as long as you’re happy and can learn and develop from it.

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:52 am

Thanks Adam.

I will write down that list today and really take a look at my priorities.

Ultimately, I’d love to create a partnership between both companies so that I can be the face of both and there would be no conflicts. That would be the ideal situation for me.

And my work ethic is so good that I’m confident that I can handle both projects. Further, I feel that the companies have such a strong synergy that aligning my personal brand to both would only benefit the companies.

That’s my position and I feel that’ what I will be pitching on Monday. We’ll see…

Great to connect

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Carlos Miceli June 27, 2009 at 8:32 am

Dear Jun,

First of all, feel grateful, realize how beautiful life is and appreaciate the amazing things that are happening to you. This way, no decision will be the wrong one.

You are already someone that follows his passion and dreams, so I’m sure you’ll choose what you want the most (and I believe you want the new job the most, deep in your heart). But what you have to think about is this: are you being stubborn?

When people are forced to change (even though this is not the case), what’s harder for them is not to actually do it, but to realize that they have to change their plans as well. Not even an entrepreneur of heart wants to change their life plans!

What I’m trying to say is, don’t make your decision based on what your plans were, make it based on what they’re going to be. Maybe all that you thought you were going to do with Viralogy, isn’t going to happen. Instead a whole spectrum of new possibilities opens up, without having to be better or worse. They are just….new.

Again, don’t hold on to your plans just because you thought they were the right ones some time ago. Hold on to your plans only if you think they are the right ones now.

Good luck to you and your family, I’m sure everything will work out well. Take care man.

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:54 am

Carlos, I have to say brother, that is some great advice.

“Don’t make decisions based on the past, make your decision based on the present and where you want to be in the future”

I will take a look at my life right now and think about where I want to be 5 years from now. I can then decide what I want to do.

Ultimately, I would love to do both. I is possible, and I feel that I’m in a great position to make that connection.

Big things are coming Carlos, just you wait and see

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Monica June 27, 2009 at 8:44 am

Jun,

I really commend you for putting this out there. Of course, this is your decision and really only you can make it, yada yada… but since you want to know what readers think, here’s what I think based on what you’ve written here and from our other conversations.

It sounds to me like ultimately, your money situation has caused some strain on your relationships, even though everyone is very supportive. A lot of this is coming from your own head of course :). BUT having enough money to live is always an important factor in happiness and you have to take care of your money situation first. Here are some points I pulled from your post:

* Yes, your mother got her job back; but you getting a job so quickly was a damn lucky solution if she didn’t. Plus if she can lose it and get it back within a few weeks, it sounds like she could lose it quickly again.

* Almost nobody goes on an interview and comes out with an offer at the beginning of a job search in this economy. It will be tough to find any company that is comfortable with their employees having other jobs that take up substantial amounts of time, so if you need the money you have to choose one or the other.

* You love your job, it’s the perfect entrepreneurial position, and you are able to make a living. That’s what everyone is looking for right now, and it would be crazy to turn that down.

* This decision doesn’t mean you can’t still be an entrepreneur. It sounds like this job is the perfect stepping stone to truly running your own company. In fact, if you leave the job now then you may never have the cash flow and peace of mind to give your all to entrepreneurship. It’s hard to build a company with or without cash, but it’s easier to start a company with cash.

* Viralogy or any other entrepreneurship project could take 5 years to gain momentum, or could never take off. Is that something you can or want to risk right now? If you are 23 now, would you want to put off your personal life, marriage, kids, etc, until you are 28 or older?

* Maybe you could do some work on Viralogy in the background. You don’t have to be the face, but you don’t have to give it up completely.

I don’t think money is everything, but I do think it’s hard to concentrate on entrepreneurship when you are worried about where your next rent check is coming from.

I know this is a tough decision for you, so good luck making it! Please keep us updated on how it turns out.

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:57 am

Monica, have I told you you’re one of my favorites online?

I do feel lucky and appreciate the opportunities that have been presented to me. How many people are out there trying to get an opportunity like this one?

Would I be able to easily get another position like this one? Most likely not as easily, but I’m pretty confident that I can get a position in a short amount of time if I really tried.

True, Viralogy can take a very long time to succeed. This means that my girlfriend and family would have to be strong and supportive for the next 3-5 years.

Can I just do things on the backend for Viralogy? Sure, but I think my strength lies in being the front man of a company. That’s what I love and am best at.

Thank you so much for your support Monica. I think my ultimate goal is to align my brands in a similar way that Dan Schawbel has done with his. We’ll see how that goes…

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Norcross June 27, 2009 at 9:22 am

I have to make reference to something Monica said – “would you want to put off your personal life, marriage, kids, etc, until you are 28 or older?” Considering I turn 29 this year, and have a wife+kid, I know first-hand what she is referring to. I am working on my own “projects” right now, not quite a start-up, but certainly more than a hobby. At the end of the year, I am leaving my current corporate position (and the salary that comes with it) to focus on school and other things.

You’re in a very unique position, having just received a job you actually love and doing something you’re passionate about. And being able to support yourself and your family is one of the things I’ve gotten the most amount of self-satisfaction from. Will Viralogy die without you? Doubtful. You’re not the only one involved, and there are people who are willing to put in just as much effort. If you consider the fact that a paycheck can solve a lot of problems, then maybe focusing on “getting your house in order” will give you the chance to be better equipped (both financially and experience-wise) for full-time dedication to Viralogy or another start-up. It makes the slow revenue months easier to deal with when you have money in the bank.

So what’s the right answer? There isn’t one. And no one can make it for you. But know that people will support you either way, so do what’s right for you and your family.

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Jun Loayza June 27, 2009 at 10:59 am

Thanks Andrew.

Will Viralogy die without me? I sure hope not. I have spent a lot of time and energy building a marketing model that can run without me. Ultimately though, I feel that I do play a large role in the success of the company.

There is no right answer. But what is presented in front of me is a great opportunity.

All this feedback has been amazing. I think because of it, I truly understand what my next steps are.

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John June 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Put yourself in the CEO’s place: you just hired a young promising guy to be the president of the company, but he has a conflicted interest with his own project. You ask him to stop, because if he doesn’t, potentially this guy can a.) steal all your clients b.) confuse the message of the company c.) not focus on the work at hand d.) steal all the information for his own project

If you go back on Monday and propose a deal to allow you work in both places or align both companies, he will probably fire you on the spot. Pick one job.

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Jun Loayza June 28, 2009 at 11:29 am

a) I will not steal his clients. I am about integrity and honesty and that would be going against my moral values

b) True

c) I always focus on what’s need to be done and have proven to be able to focus on multiple projects at once. My SMM.com time is fully devoted to that company and when I work on Viralogy, I’m fully focused on Viralogy

d) I would never steal info from my company

He won’t fire me on the spot John. The CEO is not like that at all and we have a mutual respect for each other.

You should put a link to your blog and have a face when you comment. Then maybe you’ll try to add more value with your comments

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Ryan Stephens June 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I’m late to this party because I wanted to give it some thought. I also didn’t want to just echo what the others are saying.

Here’s my advice. Think big picture. Not what will satisfy you or your family tomorrow, but what you want to ultimately achieve in this life. While I understand that you envision that to be your own company that you built with your blood, sweat and tears starting it now might not be the best approach to get you there eventually.

So here’s what I propose.

1.) Determine what option now enables you to learn and acquire the skills you’ll need to be successful at the end of the tunnel.

That maybe be heading up Viralogy or it may be leading SocialMediaMarketing.com to prominence, but think about all you have to gain from both not just for tomorrow, next week or next year, but for the rest of your life. Which position enables you to shape your story (the best) so that you can leverage it later in life when you don’t necessarily have the flexibility to maneuver as efficiently as you do now.

If that’s making money, connections and acquiring valuable experiences as a CEO for one, and broadening your range of skills playing behind the curtain at Viralogy, then maybe that’s the answer.

There are great “front of the house” chefs with the knowledge and charisma to win over customers, but the truly great ones can do that OR in a pinch put on an apron, plan the menu and cook the dishes as well. Interpret that how you choose.

2.) Trust your gut. Once you’ve made the decision, don’t look back, don’t ask what could’ve been, and don’t dwell on your choice. Follow with all your heart and use your head to proceed forth to the best of your ability. But in the interim, trust your gut.

Ryan

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Jun Loayza June 28, 2009 at 11:31 am

Thanks Ryan. I think ultimately I have to make the decision that I feel is best for myself and everyone around me. And make sure that decision is not made for the short-term gain, but for long term success.

Look forward to chatting with you on Gchat

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Elisa June 27, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Wow, I read thru your post in awe, and I certainly don’t envy you your position. It’s kinda like having your cake and eating it too (a phrase I’ve never completely understood…if I have cake laying around I most definitely be eating it!)

I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is the knowledge, connections and reputation that you can build as a principal at SMM. I know you already know how to be an employee, and while you would still be one here, it wouldn’t be like a minion working the cubicle rat race. It would position you to learn about building a company with (it sounds like) mad amounts of capital, speaking and building a reputation as a social media expert (there’s lots of talk in blogs lately on someone saying they are an expert in anything without actually being acknowledged) and meet some people in the industry that would absolutely help build both endeavors.

It seems to me that the things you could gain from SMM would in the end help with building a start-up like Viralogy. And while you cannot be the face or the brand of Viralogy any longer, there is nothing to say that you can’t help behind the scenes.

Finally, and most importantly, like any good box of chocolates we all have our favorites. Some like toffees, some like cremes, some like nuts. Once you eat all the favorites out of the box, though, there’s no way to get them back. SMM is an employed position that won’t necessarily be available if you decide to stay at Viralogy and go back. However Viralogy is something that, it sounds like, will be there. If you love it, let it go. If Viralogy is meant to be your success, you will find your way back to it.

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Jun Loayza June 28, 2009 at 11:34 am

True, there’s no reason why I would not be able to help behind the scenes, but I feel my biggest asset is being the in-front of the scenes guy. I think we all have to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and my strength lies in my ability to speak, engage, and reach out to people in the blogosphere and tell them about Viralogy.

Yes, SMM.com would give me a lot of experience, but so has Viralogy. I’m going to write a post later about this:

Most startups fail. Chances are you will fail. But when you are given that chance, you need to bet big or go home. More to come on a future post this week.

Thanks so much for your comment!

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Elisa June 28, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Not sure when you wrote this response, but it sounds to me that your heart already knows the answer to your question. :)

John Bardos June 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Congratulations on all the work you have been doing! Obviously your efforts are paying off.

Have you tried to get an equity stake in SocialMediaMarketing.com? Maybe if you were a partner in that company, the decision would be easier to make.

One thing that I can absolutely guarantee is that once you start earning a good salary and spending more money on yourself, it will be much, much harder to ever really bootstrap and sacrifice again. You are still able to live at home and get by on less, it won’t be like that in 5 years time. It is infinitely harder to start companies when you are married, have kids and a mortgage.

If you can’t get any equity in the new job, think about the non-monetary side of what you are earning with Viralogy. You are connecting with key people in all industries and levels of business success. If you can hang on with Viralogy, many, many more opportunities will open up in the future.

“Jun Loayza” is rapidly becoming a popular brand and that is why this new company wants to capture the momentum you have been building. Money is nice, but if you can get by for another year or so, you will be able to parlay your notoriety into even bigger opportunities.

In my opinion,
If you can get a little equity, take the job and step away from Viralogy.
If you can’t get equity and you are able to get by for another year like you are now, keep going with Viralogy. The worst case scenario is that you will be a social media celebrity and you will have to take another job. The best case scenario is that Viralogy kicks it and you will be rich and famous!

I have been stuck because I like the income I am receiving too much. It has taken me a long time to commit to giving it up. If I were in your shoes, I would sacrifice for a little more and then you will see a whole world of opportunity open up.

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Jun Loayza June 28, 2009 at 11:39 am

John, awesome advice!

Startups are indeed much harder after a steady paycheck and later on in life when you have a family. Is something I really need to consider.

Yes, I would have a equity stake in SMM.com.

I don’t want to get stuck. But, I don’t feel the position in SMM.com is necessarily “getting stuck.”

At the same time, I strongly feel that Viralogy is going places. I am confident that we are on the right track and that if we keep progressing the way we are, we will build a successful company.

More to come my friend

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MH June 28, 2009 at 1:54 am

Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself all the while: “Is this the conditioned that I feared?”
-Seneca

Jun,

“Life is being on the wire;everything else is just waiting”.

Good Luck with your decision, and know there will be other big fish down the road. Stick with your heart, your friends, and your baby. You have no need to start playing it safe and doing so will only lead to a slow death…

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Jun Loayza June 28, 2009 at 11:41 am

Thank you MH. I don’t know who you are, but the quote has made a big impact on me.

It’s not my condition that I fear, but rather, it’s my family’s condition. I am the eldest and am responsible for their well being.

I can live on very little money, crappy clothes, and tasteless food. But, I would never want my loved ones to live that way.

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Pritesh June 28, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Jun:

This is what I like the most about you. From your own experience you always post something which is related to everyone here and seek to start conversation.
You are on a junction now to decide which way to go and it’s a tough decision, isn’t it? There are two options for you. Either you choose Viralogy or be a face of SocialMediaMarketing.com. Let me elaborate both options from my perspective, shall I?
Option 1:
- You leave Viralogy and become a face of SocialMediaMarketing.com. I know how hard it sounds but this is an option you should think about. You joined SocialMediaMarketing.com as you faced financial difficulties in family and in business as well. Good news is your mom has gotten her job back. But there’s no guarantee bad time won’t come back. It may come the same way it came before or you might fall into other problems. The thing is, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We can only be prepared for the worse.

You have mentioned that you guys have done research and it shows that companies will pay for Viralogy service. That’s really good. But as you know this just a research and there might not be clear connection between its results and actual revenues. Apart from that, more you grow more people you need. And that way, you need more revenue than you needed earlier. What would your options then? Would you get similar chance again like you just got at SocialMediaMarketing.com? Would you also like your job the way you have mentioned about SocialMediaMarketing.com? What if you face some other kind of financial difficulties?

And I think this is what you were looking earlier when you applied for the position at Walt Disney Records. In that post, you mentioned that you were looking forward to work as a full time job and do startup in your part time. Now you are getting a chance to work full time and leverage your position to make new connections and earn money in between. As you become front face of SocialMediaMarketing.com, I am sure you’ll have tons of opportunities to brand yourself.
Option 2:
- Second option is, to do what you have been doing so far- continue becoming a front face of Viralogy. Viralogy is your baby, your own start-up, your own company and no one can imagine how hard it is to apart from it. Hard part in any start up is to actually do it and you are already half way on it. You guys are always in news and on the way to make Viralogy successful. The only remaining thing is to look into cash flow part and I am sure you guys can figure it out too. You may make a bridge between Viralogy and SocialMediaMarketing.com or do a partnership between Viralogy and other social media platforms. As long as you are into it, you can think about other options as well.

Viralogy is your baby, your own start-up, your own company and no one can imagine how hard it is to apart from it. The main thing is, I think, most of the people who have commented here including me have not ever been part of startup before. So, we may not know what actually happens and how to tackle personal and professional things. Everyone over here has said things based on own experiences. Sometimes, there’re no clear answers to most of the issues we face. Every situation is different and so, every remedy should be changed as well. As you have been in a startup for quite a long time, you know what’s good for you and what you want

As we all know what you have done so far and so, we are sure that whatever decision you do; you’ll be fine and will continue doing great things. Good luck, Jun..

Cheers..
Pritesh
http://twitter.com/mehta1p

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Kam June 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I love it because you’re straight up about how you’re feeling.

As for this decision, I’d say do what benefits YOU most. If you’re in the business of start ups to get rich, then follow the path which will make you rich, not the path that will just make you a legend. (If you can get both, great.) I don’t know what your intentions are, but you do. Just write down what you expect to gain, then figure out which path will take you there most efficiently.

Anyways man, good luck, have fun, make babies. Do let us know what you choose.

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Tip June 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Wow Jun –

Couple days late reading this, but just from your posts I’m pretty sure you’ll be fine either way.

When I left corporate to bootstrap (and move back home) a piece of advice a mentor gave me was “don’t think about what you’ll miss out on if you leave; think of what you’ll miss out on if you don’t.”

Not to say this isn’t an important decision – I’m sure it will have quite an impact on your life. But I think most here would agree that through your resourcefulness and resilience you will emerge all the better and ultimately even more successful on whichever path you choose, and I think that’s what’s important.

Best of luck on it – look forward to hearing what you choose.

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Bradley Will June 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I have been facing a similar situation. The question I like to ask myself is “Is what I am doing at this moment moving me closer to where I want to be.” If socialmediamarketing.com fits into your vision as developing you as a leader, or whatever you aspire to be…Roll with it. Find a way and come to an agreement to show how building Viralogy will contribute value to this new company. For example, your current reader base can be very similar.

You are creating something great with Viralogy and I would find a way to make it work. Is the passion there to build this new company?

~B

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Goddess Leonie July 2, 2009 at 7:53 pm

That’s a huge decision to make dude…
What would you most regret out of either decision? Would there be more regret out of one?

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scott July 3, 2009 at 9:29 am

Great article, Jun.

Will you work at home or out of an office at socialmediamarketing.com?

If smm.com has an office, a budget for employees, etc. I’d say go with that, make smm.com your primary brand, but also have a section of your site that displays portfolio companies/projects like morten lund does at lundxy.com — honestly, it’s not natural to work at home and I think an office will give you good balance.

It’s important to hedge your risk with something stable and something risky simultaneously, so hopefully you can find a creative solution.

Best of luck man!!

- Scott

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Wesley Verhoeve July 16, 2009 at 7:51 am

Tough but surprisingly similar to a situation I faced three years ago. I had started my own record label and was asked to run a start up record label for others. Through the last 2 years I have been fortunate enough to be able to transition my own label to management company instead (with label capabilities) and develop separate identities for both companies. Recently I was able to transition my role at the label I do not own away from the day-to-day management to be able to focus on my true strengths (strategizing and networking/connecting) giving me more freedom and possibilities to do well for both companies. Both are still very small and working towards profitability, and it sure has been a roller coaster ride of non-sleep, but it’s going in the right direction :) Trust from the owners was paramount of course, and I think it’s really paying off for both of them and myself. They ‘got’ that my outside activities, if handled well, would only contribute to my personal growth and position in the industry, which then shines on them as well. I’ve been able to spin a lot of exciting things happening to my own company, into positive things for theirs, and we partner up on quite a few thing as well.

I definitely would recommend an open and honest conversation with the CEO that explores the idea of partnering and other ways in which you could make it a synergy situation. Good luck!

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Kirsty July 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm

SMM might be a job you love, but it’s still a job. Viralogy is your baby.

My advice would be to stick with Viralogy and see it through. If (when) it takes off like you expect it to, it will provide all of the same opportunities as SMM, just down the line a bit more. I wouldn’t trade that for a bit of extra cash right now. Working for a guy you look up to is a great opportunity but so is working alongside your team at Viralogy.

It’s a tough one and I will be interested in your decision!

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Kevin Ho August 1, 2009 at 12:27 am

Man that is a tough choice! Isn’t it the nature of the entrepreneur to be a risk-taker. I see that you love to jump into the unknown, so I say do what you love! If all else fails, follow your first instinct, its usually the best.

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