When you first meet someone, it doesn’t take long for this question to pop up: “So what is it you do?”

In our society, we always answer this rather open-ended question with our squeaky clean and often boring job title. If a person were to answer with any other activity, let’s say “wonder at the stars” or “only eat fettuccine noodles” or “pine after my lost lover”, we’d think they were downright crazy.

If the answer is “I’m a doctor” or “I’m a lawyer” or “I rescue abandoned puppies” – life for this person must be great. He or she is smart, rich, and/or selflessly devoted to helping others. These jobs are admirable, faultless. The proper part of me wants this for myself. I would love to fit nicely into society’s mold. I normally answer the “What-is-it-you-do” question in an acceptable fashion (with my job title), but my answer doesn’t have me feeling that proud of myself. You have a college degree, and you work at a restaurant? Pssh.

Filming collegiate waterskiing in Michigan - 9/06

Since graduating college in 2008, I haven’t worked at a real job for more than a month. Most of the time that I’ve spent working has been as a server. Have I tried to get a real job? Sort of. I’ll be honest, I’ve probably applied for less than two dozen jobs in these last three years. Lots of people apply for that many in one day.

Am I lazy? I don’t think so. I put a lot of effort into things I care about. Documentary film, for instance. Sailing. Writing. Photography. Now, if I could turn what I care about into a ‘real job’ for me, that’d be the ticket.

Kirk and I have many similar interests. In fact, we share a passion for two or more of the above activities. Because of these similar interests and shared aversion for the typical 9-to-5, we’ve decided to start our own business.

Kirk and I have worked together before. In college we filmed our waterski tournaments (we both were members of MSU’s waterski team), edited the footage, then sold DVDs to other collegiate skiers across the country. In Chicago, we rehabbed a two bedroom/two bath condo – while living in it. We’ve tag-teamed photo shoots, screen-printed T-shirts, developed websites, worked on a movie set, and traveled across the world together. (Travel is work sometimes too.)

Installing the sink at the condo in Chicago - 9/08

Workday finished on LOL set in Detroit - 8/10

Now we’re doing it again. But not just “on the side” or “for kicks”. For real. For income. A real business for the real world.

Applying for a regular job carries (a degree) of certainty. There is a predefined need. A position exists that must be filled. Other people are waiting for you.

In contrast, starting a business requires you to carve out your own niche in the economic world. No one needs you. Most people don’t even know you exist. You’ve got to let everyone know you’re out there. You’ve got to convince them they need what you’re offering. Then, you’ve got to sell it to ’em.

It all seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? A lot of “ifs” are involved too. I’m not a person who thrives on uncertainty, so this whole process is rather unnerving for me. And what exactly is “this whole process” you ask? Heck if I know. We’re making this sh*t up as we go along.

This start-our-own-business idea has been molding itself in our collective brain-o-sphere for a while now. Kirk’s been hard-wired for entrepreneurial endeavors since his early years when he started his own “landscaping business” mowing his neighbors’ lawns in the summertime. As a kid, I used the family PC to create designs with stamp-art, turned them into bookmarks, and sold them – at $1.75 a pop – to neighbors and family friends. Most of this was my mom’s idea, so how much entrepreneur’s blood I actually have is debatable. But to my credit, I loathe working for anyone else. Working with someone else?

Such a tiny preposition can change everything. ☼