One Year and Three Days Ago

One year and three days ago, I lost my last job.

I wasn’t fired – I was told that everyone at the company loved my work; nobody had a bad thing to say about me – but they couldn’t afford to keep me. I remember the day well – a cold, dreary November Wednesday. A casual “Can we talk for a minute”? leading to “We have to let you go”. Cleaning out my desk and walking out, shocked. Angry. Worried and sad.

I drove home and sat on my couch for the next two days. Half the time I don’t even think my TV was on. I stared at the blank screen and worried. What had I done wrong? What would I do next? What could I do? How would I pay rent? I’d gone from completely reinventing the look for a multimillion dollar company, establishing their social media presence and bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in partnership deals to being told they didn’t need me anymore. I’d never been in this situation before. For days, I didn’t tell anyone. After I finally left my couch, I began scouring job listings, looking for anything, anywhere. I needed money, I needed a job, now. I looked and applied for dozens of positions, but didn’t feel excited about any of them, other than the money they might bring in. I thought of reaching out for a few more freelance projects as I’d been able to do for years, but could I really live off of that? I’d done it for a few years when I was just starting out, but could I do that now? I doubted it, I doubted myself, and applied for some more jobs.

It took a conversation with my dad to finally kick me into gear. I told him what had happened, and how low I was feeling. I half-heartedly mentioned how I was considering finally starting my own business, as I’d wanted to do for over ten long years. How it had always been a goal, but I’d never focused or worked on it as I was always busy working for someone else. I don’t know what I was expecting, but my dad did what every great dad should do, and he told me to chase my dream. To go for it. Stand up, stand proud and go after what I want. Would it be hard? Of course. Would I regret it if I didn’t? Absolutely. My dad told me to chase my dream and know that my family was behind me, supporting me however they could. It was time to make the best of my situation, to seize the time I was given and put my brand in the stone.

I stopped looking for job listings that day and started building my company instead. I went back to school, taking a crash course on starting and running a business. Taxes, legal process, marketing and more – I drank it up. There is so much I didn’t know about what owning my own company was about – it was overwhelming at times. As time progressed, I began getting a few new clients. I told my close friends about what I was doing, and was grateful for their support and excitement.

I worked hard. I struggled. I had sleepless nights and weeks wondering where my next pay cheque was coming from. I sent out emails and had meetings and got silence in return. I worked on my own product more. I defined my company and I built what I want its brand to represent. I reached out to some of the most talented people I know and got their support in building the company even further. With their help, the company website was launched. Then social media platforms, business cards and even company t-shirts. Through it all, fear was always sitting on my shoulder, waiting for me. What if I can’t do this? What if people and businesses don’t want what I have to offer? What if… what if?

What if I didn’t try? What if I didn’t do this now – would I regret it 20 years from now? Would I regret it tomorrow? Yes.

There will always be a What If waiting for us all. I chose to ignore the fear, ignore the doubts, and ask What If this works out, and my dream does come true?

One year and three days later, I’m still working harder than ever, and still struggling. I haven’t made my first million yet – far from it – but I’m working toward it. This is my dream, and if I don’t work for it, I know I’ll only be working for someone else.

It took a long time and it took some bad times, but my dream is building. One year and three days ago, it all officially started. I hope you’ll all join me on this journey.


Jason Toma
Founder, Ambition Branding Inc.