This is an interview I did with Morgan Anderson for a Social Entrepreneurship course that she was in:
MA: To start, could you provide some background information? What were your motivations for leaving the “office”? VOG: In August of 2014, I left my full-time position as an Energy Efficiency Engineer at an Energy Services Company. It was a good time in my life to take-on the risks of self-employment. Having minimal financial obligations and no family to provide for, I saw an opportunity to take 6-months to 1-year off from work to pursue projects that I am passionate about. I expect that by pursuing these ideas, regardless of whether I succeed or fail, I will gain valuable experiences which will lead to stable employment options down the road. Over the last 7-years, I’ve been subject to working in an office environment and never really enjoyed it. I find that my productivity is stifled in the office due to the 8-hour shift, co-worker distractions, and a lack of day-to-day incentive. The monotony, minimal engagement, and lack of deadlines for my projects, left me in a constant state of procrastination and daydreaming. I was certain that I didn’t want to maintain this work routine just because it was ‘comfortable’ and everyone else does it. I needed to get outside and get my hands dirty, learn from professionals, and pursue my ambitions.
MA: What or who inspires you? VOG: I am inspired by Go-Getters. You must be a driven risk-taker to leave your routine for a more fulfilling adventure. Too often people just ‘go with the flow’ and get stuck in the monotonous rut of daily habits. I’m inspired by people who have confronted this malaise and made an attempt to better themselves and those around them through their entrepreneurship. Even if you fail in your pursuits, you’ve gained skills and experiences that will inform your approach and decision-making toward your next pursuit.
MA: What is your current entrepreneurial project and what motivates you to pursue this work? VOG: I approached self-employment as an opportunity to research, network, and collaborate. I had been dreaming of designing and building off-grid homes, camps, and disaster recovery units out of recycled Shipping Containers. I admire the simple lifestyle and low cost of living through small, off-grid, and passive homes construction, and I feel that our culture needs to shift away from the ‘bigger is better’ mentality. My research uncovered the high costs of materials and construction for off-grid buildings, leading me to pursue involvement in the Colorado Green Building Industry. I’m currently acting as an independent energy consulting among the flourishing Green Building material suppliers, developers, architects, and energy advisors across Colorado. I am motivated by the prospect of continued learning, engaging customers on a daily basis, and receiving mentorship from the companies that I work with. I also enjoy the flexibility of making my own schedule and working comfortably on whichever couch, library chair, or coffee shop stool that I desire!
MA: Any advice you’d want to impart on other (social or business) entrepreneurs? VOG: Be Flexible: Your ‘A-Plan,’ probably won’t work out. You need to be able to adjust your plan as the market changes and adapt your goals as the competition toughens. Stay Calm: Don’t try to figure everything out before you begin your plan. You will encounter many obstacles along the path of Entrepreneurship, many of which will be easily solved with the same determination and calmness that you started with. Don’t work alone: Find a mentor or partner that shares your passion. It is an invaluable benefit to have someone to be an unbiased ‘voice of reason’ for your ideas. Also, it makes pursuing your passion much more fun and enjoyable, if you are working with someone who is equally inspired.