Quitting Time

Empty Cubicle
Yesterday afternoon I shut down my iMac, flipped the switch on a fluorescent light and – for the last time – walked out of the cubicle where I had spent most of my working hours for the last 3 and half years.

I don’t have a big dramatic “Take This Job and Shove It” story to tell. I’m one of the lucky few who actually liked their day job. I had great supervisors, awesome people to work with, plenty of freedom to experiment, a decent salary and killer benefits. To top it all off, this was a state job which means I would have had to really screw up to ever get fired.

nce you get a job like this, you tend to stick around until retirement… if you’re smart anyway.

But I am a restless entrepreneurial spirit. As soon as I landed solid full-time employment, I immediately began working on side projects. Some of them brought in some decent money. Some of them were total failures. All of them were valuable learning experiences.

Hilah Cooking was the most fun of these projects to work on, even though it lost a significant amount of money for the first three years. There is no way I could estimate the amount of hours we invested. We have produced so much content that you could watch the Hilah Cooking YouTube channel for 24 hours straight and never see the same episode twice. I’m currently applying all that I’ve learned to Yoga With Adriene which is growing at more than double the rate that Hilah Cooking did.

Now that we’ve built an audience and established ourselves as creators who produce content on a reliable basis, we’ve been offered the opportunity to produce work for other companies. In the past we always turned down these offers because we intentionally wanted to grow the brand slowly. But late last year, we started to say yes to a few opportunities that seemed financially solid and creatively interesting. One of those is the upcoming travel show.

We went into production in January. By February, I had used up all my accrued vacation and personal time traveling around Texas shooting the project.

As we got back and started to edit it was clear that we were falling behind schedule and for the first time I was the bottleneck in the production flow.

Between the internet video projects and my day job, I was exhausted. It felt like I was living two separate lives but not giving either one of them 100% of what I had to offer. So… even though we’re currently walking a financial tight rope, I decided to bite the bullet and go all-in.

Two weeks ago I turned in my resignation. Yesterday I walked out the door.

It felt like jumping off a cliff, even though I have no doubt that it was the right decision. Nothing has captured my imagination like internet video. I’ve only scratched the surface. There are so many things I want to try in this medium and I really feel like this NOW the time to do it.

I want to sincerely thank everybody who has supported me during this journey and thanks to everybody who watches Hilah Cooking and Yoga With Adriene. This would all be impossible without you.

Let’s put the pedal to the floor and see what happens.

Comments

  1. Congratulations, Chris! I know it’s a scary leap, but what fun you’re doing to have! YAY! I’m super excited for you and Hilah.

  2. Congrats Chris! Sounds like the right thing to do.

  3. Congradulations and good luck Chris! You are on your way and the sky is the limit. 🙂

  4. Wow congrats, Chris! I’m so encouraged by your determination and subsequent success 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experiences – I frequent your blog
    Nate

    • Thanks, Nathan! I checked out your link… Honeysuckle Catering looks GREAT! I’m pretty sure I’ve come across the channel before. Are you involved in the production? I’d love to know more about it.

      • Hey thanks! yes I shoot and produce the videos, playing a very similar role to what you do for Hilah 🙂 We are out in the SF Bay Area and I’m constantly educating myself on best practices, new youtube products, meetups, etc. We (Dzung and I) love Hilah’s Cooking channel and are looking forward to your big project!

        • Thanks for writing back Nathan. Your videos are killer! Really awesome photography and editing! I’m running out the door right now but would love to know more about your workflow, etc. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.

  5. Nice post, Chris. Thanks offering a little insight into your juggling process. It great to see someone following a dream, and it’s especially helpful to see how you’re going about it.
    Best, Nick

  6. Man I Know exactly how you feel with trying to maintain two very separate lives at once. Being a network admin and a full time youtube videographer with 3 channels is overwhelming to say the least. I do not, however, have the cajones to quit my current job, yet… once I have a better established base of viewers as you and HJ have, Im going in deep.. I love this game ! Its a blast.
    If you ever need help at Taste made , Im just 45 minutes south, and Im a partner as well.
    Cheers brother.

  7. Rachelle Williams says:

    It’s always nice and inspiring to see someone throw caution to the wind and go out and do their own thing, especially with this whole Internet thing – it has truly leveled the playing field.

    I love the Hilah Cooking Show and I wish you much success in your new efforts. Rock On!

  8. This is very inspiring Chris! Congratulations! Getting out of the rat race… is definitely one of the objectives I’ve set for myself as well. Now almost 3 months since the big decision – I’m sure things are slowly falling into place.
    Thanks for sharing!

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