I realized when I was sneaking out of the corporate office hoping  that no one saw my mountain bike on the car and that is was 2 o’clock and time to do something different.  It’s not that I don’t like to work, it’s not that I don’t crave success. I really do enjoy the rewards of success.

See I also love riding in the woods thinking I will never get to the top and that my heart is going to beat right out of my chest, I love standing on the podium of a expert class race, I love swishing down a mountain in waist deep powder, I love having a long lunch with my partner.

So how do you combine all these loves and be successful at it?  For me it was, well slow, I didn’t know how it was going to happen.  At first it was the ability to “work from home”. Isn’t that everyone’s dream that is stuck at a desk in an office that you have to commute to?  I had that; the problem was I was working longer and harder than ever.   Business travel was exciting and rewarding but left very little time for anything else.  The light bulb went off and I realized that I could talk the talk when it came to sales/marketing but understood very little about the rest of the functional areas. I was pigeon holed- I was good at what I did and that’s where I was going to stay.

Four weeks later I had my applications out to business school- my goal was to attend a top 10 MBA program.  In August 2007 I started in the Executive MBA program at Emory University Goizueta School of Business.  I jumped in with both feet as I do with most new ventures; it was grueling, exhilarating, and I was hooked!

I didn’t know when or how but I knew I would create my own business.  This was when my company PoliceShift was born.  It was in a very small room at Goizueta business school with my class team deciding on a business idea that we as a team were going to structure, forecast, project, and market for the next 3 months.  I threw the PoliceShift idea out, it stuck.

Fast forward 2 ½ years and I would like to introduce myself as CEO of PoliceShift.  PoliceShift is a web enabled application that allows off duty police officers to find off duty security shifts currently operating in Georgia, California, Texas, and Missouri.  We decided to take an old way of doing something and wrap today’s technology around it with the hope of dramatically decreasing the amount of time it takes to find, communicate, schedule, and pay a police officer for off duty security shifts.  We have revolutionized the way private enterprises and individuals locate officers for private and community events.

The hours I work are dependent on what else is going on in my life.  Do I have a mountain bike race coming up and I need a long, hard effort? Is it snowing in Utah?  Do I need some quality time with my son?  Is that deal for real- Alaska cruise for $500?  Dad wants our family to visit him in Ireland?   There are days and weeks that I work a lot of hours, it may not be 9-5 but maybe 8-12, then again 9-midnight.  I can be anywhere, as long as I have an internet connection and my laptop.  We nabbed a condo in Park City, Utah after the Olympic Games in 2002 and try to spend as much time out there as we do at our house in Atlanta.  Now I’m hiding in the tree lines watching our son with his instructor tearing up a blue slope, or bombing down a technical steep slope of some mountain trail.

The Lessons

  • Let the circumstances dictate the timing of a big move, the key with this is to be aware enough to find the opportunities.  If you are moving to fast they will slip by without even a second glance.
  • Be aware of your weaknesses, face them. I knew I had many weaknesses when it came to business. I went out and changed that, for me it was formal education
  • Don’t let the business run you, don’t let email drag you down.  Read the Four Hour Work Week.
  • Push your limits and love the people around you
  • Find a mentor, someone who has been in your shoes. Mine is an angel investor, father, husband, tech guru, millionaire, and entrepreneur.  We are very different individuals; seek out people who do not have your same strengths
  • Lastly, be authentic.  The sign of strong leader is the ability to take something and create  the extraordinary

Lifestyle Design Enthusiast Jennifer Horn is President & CEO of PoliceShift

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