This isn’t an early April Fools prank, I swear.
I felt like if I didn’t preface with that, you probably wouldn’t believe most of what is coming next.
Yes, it is true: I am leaving the world of self-employment and joining the corporate life. As of March 23rd, 2017, I have accepted the position of Director of Marketing over Kegconnection.com and CMBecker International, effective April 1st, 2017 (fitting, right?).
How did this happen?!
Great question, friend. Allow me to provide some backstory BUT do it in as quick a way as possible (which will probably not be quick at all): 9 years ago (May 2008), After a variety of retail jobs, I was working for a non-profit in San Marcos and looking for a higher paying job as my wife was finishing up school and we were recently married, trying to pay our bills and living check to check.
I responded to a job listing I found on Craigslist that read “KEGCONNECTION: new online retailer in the draft beer equipment industry, opportunities to grow!” I was 22 and enjoyed beer so I emailed their contact and an interview was scheduled.
At the interview, I was informed that it was an entry level position and would be manual labor intensive. When they mentioned in the ad “new retailer”, they weren’t kidding. It was a very small operation run by the owners, Todd & Liz, and one salesman (who was also fulfilling all of the orders), Ben, out of their backyard shed. If hired, I would become the second employee hired (that wasn’t an owner of the company) and I would be primarily washing homebrew kegs all day and maybe help pack orders for Ben. Honestly, it didn’t sound appealing even in the slightest but the pay was better than what I was making at the non-profit and I figured I could use the workout every day. I pleaded my case to Todd & Liz that “I am probably going to be awful at the manual labor side of this job (which happened to be the entire job I was applying for…) BUT I would love to start working for you now in the hopes that as you grow I can be moved to a different position and help you with the online components like web design and graphic design” which is what I was interested in at the time.
Thank God that Todd & Liz took a chance on me because, 1) I WAS awful at washing kegs and 2) that chance they took changed the course of my life and professional trajectory!
I worked for Kegconnection for 5 years; first as a ‘keg washer’, then as someone on assembly and packaging, then I moved into the office for half the day to do promotional graphic design for the company, then eventually worked myself into a position that focused mainly on website development and graphic design. All of this happened because of the tremendous amount of growth the company experienced over those 5 initial years. We went from the backyard, to a large warehouse space in east San Marcos, then Todd & Liz moved the company closer to their family ranch (where they now reside) up in north-west Texas.
When the company initially moved, I stayed behind in the Austin area and I would also stay on the payroll as an employee for almost 18 months but then decided to pursue the freelance life at the blessing (and encouragement) of the owners, Todd & Liz.
Fast forward (to cover some ground) and I’ve still been doing all of the promotional design and most of the web development for Kegconnection, just as a contract laborer and NOT as an employee. Also since my first departure from the company, they’ve continued to grow at a fantastic rate AND the owners purchased a second company in the beverage industry; the German-rooted, CMBecker International.
I then picked up CMBecker as a client of mine and managed all of their promotional design needs and web development needs as well.
Recently (like, 5 days ago!), it was brought to my attention by Todd that he would be forming a new in-house marketing department and would be hiring someone to fill the full time position of Director of Marketing over both Kegconnection & CMBecker. The reasoning was that his companies needed to increase efficiency and overall company productivity, primarily in their marketing efforts. Remember, I’d just been providing artwork and design services for them as a freelancer, not managing any department or making executive decisions over their marketing strategies.
He explained the job to me and how it might affect the current role I was in as a 3rd party consultant to the company. I wasn’t scared as much as I was inspired. “Why shouldn’t I step up for this role?”, I thought… so, I did. I threw my name in the hat and, once again, found myself making a case for why Todd & Liz should hire me for a role I might not be 100% qualified for at the current moment but, hey – at least it wasn’t manual labor this time!
I never thought I would find myself in this position again but I am proud and thrilled to experience yet another moment where Todd & Liz agreed to take a chance on me. 🙂
What does this mean for you and your family?
First and foremost, it means a higher and more stable income! Beyond that, not a whole lot is changing. We aren’t moving (sorry Kyle, TX folks – you’re stuck with me!) and I’ll still be working primarily out of our home. The President of the companies and I came to a fair agreement on how many days per month I’d need to be a physical presence at the HQ and, honestly, it doesn’t appear to put me on the road much more than I already have been the last several years. Christy gave me her full support on this as we both see this as a huge opportunity for our entire family!
What does this mean for WE THE CREATED?
So, I think it’s obvious that I won’t be freelancing anymore as I need (more importantly, WANT) to invest my complete attention to this position. WE THE CREATED has ‘changed formats’ a couple of times since I founded it in 2010 and I think of this as another format change. To be very clear, I will NOT be taking any side jobs or freelance gigs going forward and I’m working with current clients that use me on a regular basis to transition them to other companies that offer similar services.
WETHECREATED.com isn’t shutting down though. I’m going to keep up the blog and will still be using this as an online portfolio of my work! The only catch is that all of the new work I post about will be for and focused on the beverage industry!
What about the Pearl Media Network?
Ah, yes… I almost forgot! To catch you up to speed (in case you aren’t already familiar), the Pearl Media Network is the podcast network I created for the various shows I produce and/or host. The good news is that shows like Homebrew Happy Hour (and an upcoming show I’ve yet to release) will still be produced and published on a regular basis. In fact, Homebrew Happy Hour is about to be woken up from it’s hiatus and we (myself and my co-host, Todd – yes, the same Todd mentioned above) are very excited for the future of the show. The bad news is that some of the shows I was producing for other companies will be coming to an end. Again – it all comes down to time management and I will be needing to invest all of my ‘work life’ to this new adventure.
What about all of the other sites you run or manage?!
I won’t make a list here but it’s true that I have a part in managing a variety of websites ranging from blogs to affiliate type landing pages. For the most part, these are all automated and nothing will change. I already don’t invest but a few hours per month on these sites and, unless it becomes a distraction, I don’t see a need to shut these sites down as none pose as a conflict of interest to my new position. One site worth mentioning though that I’m not sure about what to do with is KyleLife.com – a website that publishes news and events relevant to the city of Kyle. It’s pretty well automated in regards to textual/article based content but I do produce an audio podcast for the site that I’m unsure if I’ll continue or not. I truly enjoy meeting with local business owners and other residents of my town, so I’ll miss doing the show if I do end up shutting it down (it wasn’t a regular production anyway). I’m also considering ‘handing off’ or flat out selling the site if any interested parties arise but that’s a whole different blog post!
Cheers to the future!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know I absolutely LOVE Disney World. The song above is from one of my most favorite attractions, The Carousel of Progress (bring it on, haters!). I think it’s fitting to post it here because I believe it to be relevant to this change in my life. The future is looking amazing to me – a new career opportunity, baby Hannah is coming in a handful of weeks, my family is healthy and loving and growing… God is good my friends and I’m undeservedly blessed.
THANK YOU to everyone who has helped get me to where I am today. I joke (waaaaaaaaay too often, according to some people… *cough*my wife*cough*) a lot that the best thing I ever did was drop out of college. I’m not going to elaborate on that as much as I’ll say this – it’s amazing to look back at the course of events and personal/professional decisions that eventually led me here and I wouldn’t change a single component of my journey thus far.
Sure, this news kinda goes against the shtick I’ve kept up for so long of being the lackadaisical anti-authoritarian you’ve all come to know and love, but this is truly an exciting time for me and my family and I can’t stress enough how much I look forward to being a closer and more integral part of Kegconnection and CMBecker’s market growth in the US and abroad!
P.S – I change my mind about my celebration song. The gem below is what I’ll actually be jamming all day! 🙂