Written by Josh Womack | @LaughStaff
We’ve all heard the stories of those leaving the corner office for the coffee shop. The ‘new’ American dream is that of branching out on your own, being your own boss, and sticking it to ‘the man’. Small businesses are what drive this country forward. With the recent release of The Founder, which chronicles Ray Kroc and the rise of McDonald’s, it seems that the life of an entrepreneur is tugging at all of us, either in a big or small way. When I co-founded Laugh Staff, I never thought it would land me in corporate America. Or insurance nonetheless! Here’s how it happened and more importantly, here’s how you can use your own skills to move through careers.
It Started With Stand Up
I tell friends, family and aspiring comics that stand-up is both the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. It’s the best because it’s allowed me to have opportunities I never thought I’d have. It’s also the worst because since 2007 when I took a comedy workshop at the Cleveland Improv, my brain has never really shut off. Comedians view the world in a different way. Even if the punchline isn’t quite there yet, a comedian will see potential in the premise. Recognizing the premise, or idea, is the first step.
Stand Up For Others
When my co-founder and I were conceptualizing Laugh Staff, we looked at it as writing stand-up sets for others. We both knew our own material inside and out, but now it was time to use our customers’ information and life experience to craft individualized wedding toasts. Our thought was that a best man or maid of honor speech is probably the closest opportunity many people will have to perform comedy. Writing another person’s set was a matter of putting ourselves in their shoes. There are funny stories in all of us, but how hard are you willing to dig to find them? Ask if what you’re doing can benefit others.
Can it solve a problem?
Honor The Process
While doing Laugh Staff, a good friend of mine e-mailed me and said, “You ever think of being a copywriter?” I then googled what a copywriter was. I thought it was something in my wheelhouse and that with a little bit of practice I could do and get better at. When I was hired on as a copywriter at Progressive’s in-house agency, 96 Octane, my boss said he felt that copywriting was where my career was headed. Light bulb moment! I never really paid attention to it before then, but stand-up paved the way to Laugh Staff and Laugh Staff paved the way to copywriting. Take some time and review how you got to where you’re at, and where you think realistically you can go. I love what I do at my full-time job and love my small business, too. Everyone takes a different path, but now more than ever; the traits of entrepreneurs are even more valued in the workplace. Your startup (or idea) is valuable. It can also start up a world of possibilities.
Josh Womack is the head writer of Laugh Staff where he writes funny wedding toasts. He’s also a copywriter for Progressive Insurance.