Updated: Jul 1
| This is the 15th story of Our Life Logs |
You don’t always get what you want, unless you find a way to it. Sometimes that means you grab your courage, get out of your comfort zone, and take a step into the unknown. It may be one of the scariest experiences of your life, but once you do, it will be worth all the fear and uncertainty. When you succeed by stepping out of your normal and structured life, you will feel the reward that so few choose to grasp. I did. I’m a young entrepreneur who has once worked his fingers to the bone to get the business started. I took that dangerous risk and came out better for it.
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985. When I was one year old, our family moved to Germany due to my father’s work. We stayed there for about five years before we moved back. Growing up I was always headstrong. I wanted to make my own path through life and succeed at everything I did. I wanted to prove that there was no roadblock that couldn’t be passed without a little creativity coupled with hard work and dedication.
I think the idea of thinking outside the box for solutions started in my childhood. I was the oldest of five children in my family, and we were always having to get away with things. I remember one time in particular when we all wanted ice cream. I figured if I, as a big kid, asked, mom wouldn’t take us. So I came up with the plan to coach our youngest brother to ask for it. Of course, mom couldn’t say no to that cute little face. The ice cream was great that day, but the realization of what I could do with my life was even greater.
My passion to perform at the highest level I could has stuck with me since then. I breezed through high school and entered University of Cincinnati in 2002. I started as a Computer Science major but soon found that was not a perfect fit for me. After the first year, I switched to Economics. At the same time, I joined the US Army Reserve, playing trombone on the band. I also did food delivery for a while to earn extra money to support myself before I got my real estate license and started working as a realtor on the side. Adding all those together, I made through college without taking any help from my family. It was hard work, but worth the sweat.
After I graduated from UC, I followed my now-wife-then-girlfriend to California. It was out in the west that I faced the first true adversity in my life. I started with working for a marketing company selling advertising, but they went out of business three months after I landed. Suddenly I was left jobless. I remember it was the Memorial weekend when we were walking through the mall door by door to look for a job. In the end, I found one. A clothing shop was seeking a store manager, so I took it, but only to find myself eventually got fired from that position several months later. At the time, I was very young. I carried a lot of my ego with me. When I came to the harsh realization that the cooperate ladder was sometimes not a fair, merit-based system, I couldn’t help but air my opinion. Unfortunately, that came with a cost. I was unemployed again.
It was a stressful time for us. My girlfriend, being from Germany, was at the time dealing with an expiring visa and was not allowed to work until the paperwork was settled. With the crazy high living cost in San Francisco, it was not possible for us to stay unemployed for too long. So I swallowed my pride, walked further down the mall, and started searching for jobs again. One week later, I got a job at the shop next door.
I did what I did to survive. But deep in my mind, I knew that was not the life I wanted; I was not on the right pathway to realize my dreams. Not even close. The entrepreneurial spirit that I had since I was little was reviving in every cell of mine. It was time to introduce a change.
In 2008, we moved back to Cincinnati. I didn’t start my own business right away. Instead, I took a position at an investment company and worked there for the next seven to eight years. From that job I learned all the ins and outs of being a financial advisor. Those years of experience laid a very crucial foundation for opening my own business years later. I knew I could succeed, not because of how great I was, but because of how much work I was willing to put in.
At the end of 2015, I made a bold decision to quit from that stable job, took a jump back into the uncertainty, and embarked on a new journey of starting my own business. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was ready. The beginning, like most other startup entrepreneurs would endure, was extremely hard. I literally worked 100 hours a week for the first three months, from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week. It was a lot of work, a lot of stress, and a lot of hardship in finding our niche and creating our own market. I had to adapt, study and think outside the box at every turn. It was no doubt an exhausting and stressful period of time, but it was a battle worth fighting. My passion and desire to be a successful entrepreneur pulled me through all the moments of doubts and fear.
It has been almost two years now and the business is sustaining and growing. All those long days of grinding it out to make something of myself is finally being paid off. Though as an entrepreneur, I would say the work is never done. We should always look to grow and expand, professionally as well as personally. My philosophy in life is that if you are comfortable, that means you are not growing. Wake up early, work hard, and don’t be afraid to take the jump if that’s where your passion is. I’m glad that I did.
This is the story of Will Haase.
Will is married to a loving wife with two beautiful kids, a five-year-old and a three-year-old. He likes to wake up before 5 AM every day, work out, and start off the day in a good, refreshed spirit. In his spare time, Will likes skiing. One of his favorite books is Freakonomics.
This story first touched our hearts on June 29, 2017.
| Writer: Sean Link | Editor: MJ |