Real talk, I've been working really hard since I was about 15 years old. That's when I first realized I could make money as a turntableist / (DJ), spinning records. Yep, spinning hip-hop records at parties.

I invested in my own set-up, as a high school junior, I bought turntables, a mixer, an amp, speakers, all the cords, and - my favorite part - the records!

This was when I first realized I was an entrepreneur. Everything was exhilarating.

Talking about my set-up with my friends, lining up potential gigs, staying up all night practicing, and driving to the record stores in Detroit and Roseville.

It fueled me.

Since then, believe me, I've had many jobs that didn't fuel me. I've had many that drained the life out of me, that made me come home close to tears out of sheer frustration for the lack of productivity, the lack of passion and the incompetence around me.

I can't stand not being happy.

I can't stand not having something to look forward to.

I understand that money is important, but my second job that fueled me was my career with the Detroit Pistons from 2001-07.

I started at $26,500, and only really made it up to around $39k before I left.

It was never about money there. I loved every second of it.

My third job/venture that fueled me was my creation,, a dynasty fantasy football website that earned me the opportunity to become a nationally published sports writer.

I made around $20k - $30k a year on top of my day job.

I loved every second of NoOffseason, but HATED every second of my day job.

I had a fourth venture that fueled me around 2011, when I was hired to run a boutique web design and digital marketing agency based out of Nashville.

When the life had absolutely been sucked out of that place by others in charge 2013, I knew I needed to move on at some point.

I continued doing what I always did, since age 15; I said yes to all types of opportunities.

I pulled from my positive experiences at even the jobs I hated. I had learned skills, built relationships, and gained confidence in spite of the misery of the daily BS.

My "WHY" had formed because of both my phenomenal, positive experiences, and the bullshit, waste of time, counter-productive, inept ones.

I had built real skills by doing what I love, and I had built real skills by doing what I hated to do, but knew I had to.

So if you're like me and you hate NOT being happy, and you definitely aren't happy overall in your current job, whatever it may be, take my advice and start building new skills, saying yes to new opportunities, working longer hours and exploring more.

Because I did these things and continue to do them, I've been able to achieve my fifth fueling venture, and build my second family, Data Driven Design, an amazing group of talented people that are super productive, super happy, and able to work from anywhere in the world. It even includes the love of my life, and some of my best friends.

I'm not special, but I'm surrounded by special.

If you are like me but not yet surrounded by special or completely fulfilled, don't settle.

Sorry, but don't.

Hence the title of this blog. The phrase I told myself each time I was miserable in a job to snap myself out of it, stop making excuses for why I was doing it, stop complaining and do something to make the most of it until I could get out of it... "clearly, you love what you're doing, right?"

And if you're just starting your career, here are the top things I'd tell "Early Paul."

Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!


Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

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