Hi everyone. I hope this message finds you well. Recently, I wrote a blog a while back about my journey into automation & smart homes and i’d like to share it as an introduction to the Blacker Pockets community. Enjoy!
As a kid, I always had a few things going for me – the biggest being a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a tactile learning style. Before I was old enough to get a job, I knew I wanted to work for myself. More importantly, I was willing to do the work required. On the weekend, I kicked carpet with my cousin and cut yards with my uncle. I saw what entrepreneurship in our community looked like up close and personal. Both my cousin and uncle have passed away since then, but that exposure shaped my life. That was my “single step” and I’m thankful.
I was lucky enough to go to a high school with a vocational program. I took 4 periods of Drafting (Auto-CAD) everyday during my senior year. That set a foundation that I would end up coming back to & I built on that foundation at Virginia State University. My major was Industrial Technology. College was a great social experience for me, but I was restless. I hated the idea of spending more time in a classroom after doing 12 years straight. Back then, I saw these “required classes” as a waste of time. As a result, I passed all of my industry-related courses and didn’t come close in other classes. After two years, I was back at home, back to the drawing board.
In 2012, after spending 5 years at a dead end job, I knew something had to change. I found my way to my cubicle & went online to find the trade that paid the most (I’m just being honest). I had already began mounting TV’s on the side to supplement my full-time income, but I knew I needed to do more. My vision was simple. Find a trade, get certified, & start my own business. It came down to becoming an elevator/escalator technician or an electrician. I figured I couldn’t go door to door fixing elevators, so the choice was simple. A 5-year commitment, 8,000 work hours, 800 school hours. Mastery.
In my third year, while working for a control company, I was introduced to automation, wiring commercial HVAC, lighting and plumbing systems. My wheels started turning, “If they have it here, why not in homes?” I thought. During an apprenticeship, you can switch companies at a moments notice. My time at that company was short, but I knew that concept was something I’d revisit. During my last two years in the apprenticeship, I worked in data centers with control systems similar to the ones we now use for Smart Home Automation. The deeper I got into the electrical trade, the more it drained me. I was a 5th year apprentice, running a crew of 7-10 guys, who all had more electrical experience than me. I hit my ceiling quick. It was no longer challenging &, in my opinion, the commercial sector is cookie cutter – no room for real creativity. It’s almost like asking a painter to suppress his genius, and paint the same picture over and over because it pays well. In hindsight, my journey was directly guided. Sometimes, you can find all of the motivation you need through reflection.
After graduating, it was time to put the next phase of the plan into motion. At that point, I had been building my side business for 5 years. It was time to make the leap. My first year in business was rough (to say the least), but I cherish the experience. After coasting for a while, business slowed down. I was not prepared for this. This drought uncovered how limited my service offerings were. If I was going to cover the six figure career I just walked away from, I had to double down. This wasn’t the “side hustle” anymore.
Shortly after this realization, I began to challenge what I was doing and why I was doing it. Roberts Greene’s “Mastery” echoed in my head (I would listen to it on repeat as I terminated panels in the data centers). Although this was a difficult time, it was in this moment of uncertainty and sacrifice that I reconnected with my purpose, my passion, and Smart Home Automation. Only now, technology had advanced and the market was rapidly growing. So here I am with a unique set of skills (built over a lifetime), ready to make my name in a brand new industry.
My advice is this, identify & evaluate your personal talents, goals, learning-style, & work ethic. Visualize what you want and what you’re willing to give up to get it. Now, take your “first step”. It may take 1 year, 10 years, or even 20, but if you’ve found your purpose in life, does it matter? See you at the top!