What’s the price of doing what you like?

I preferred my startup to earning 54k per year

Carlos Hernández
Apr 6, 2017 · 4 min read

Madrid, April 6th 2017

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A morning, after being up until 2am working, with less than 6 hours slept. I am, one day more, in front of my computer, thinking about the many things that I have to do today. I check my mail, and I see something calling my attention:

How does this sound to you?

The email’s clickbait, I guessed. But I’m weak, and I’m always falling for this stuff. I opened, expecting some marketing offer, or some sort of silly shit. The surprise came when I saw a work offer. Not the typical generic LinkedIn offer, but one really for me: They’ve contacted with people I’ve worked with, they’ve seen things I don’t have published with my name, they’ve checked out my social network profiles… Definitely, they have done their homework. But there was nothing about the work they offer, nor the place, nor the money.

I couldn’t stop my curiosity. I answered, sure. I gave them my congratulations for their research, but I also told them that I couldn’t give an answer without any information. The answer came fast and with a lot of details: CTO in a startup in Barcelona. The money: 54.000€ per year. After taxes, about 2.800€ per month, plus extra perks. A lot of money for a 21 year old.

I had been working on Gamify for about one year. The offer came in one of that moments when life feels like a purposeless cycle, in which every day seems like the same infinite routine with not much to do. Without a cent, because I was 100% committed with my startup, that didn’t give (nor gives today) any money. In that moment, the offer sounded really loud in my head. We exchanged​ a few more emails. They, telling me how incredible things were there. Me, doubting about what I was going to do with my life.

I told my parents. My father told me to accept it, that “never in my life I was going to see another offer like that one”, and if I rejected it, I was losing a unique opportunity. My mother didn’t say anything.

I told my friends. If they were me, they would have accepted it, they said. It seemed to them an incredible opportunity, not only for the money, but for the curriculum and contacts I would make. And yes, Barcelona is far away from Madrid, but with that money I could travel every month if I wanted to.

I told my co-founders. I told ’em I didn’t know what to do. They told me “do what you have to do. It is a very good offer, we won’t get angry if you accept it. And that was the most fucked up moment. I expected them to get angry only for telling them that I may go. I expected them to tell me that I was abandoning​ them, or something like that. But no. They understood it and accepted it perfectly. And that was the strangest thing: I expected them to get angry.

In that moment I realized why I was doing this. Why I left everything and jumped into this project at 100%. Why I’ve decided to follow my way with my two partners, instead of still working as a freelancer, or for any other company. Why, even today, I’m still working in Gamify, trying to change the way I find motivation, succeed in my challenges and share my life achievements.

Because, at the end of the day, the frustration, the exhaustion, the amount of work, the discussions, the tons of money I could be earning… There are not comparable with the feeling of knowing that what you are doing is for you. Of knowing that what you are doing makes you happy, that you are following your dreams, and fighting until the last breath to achieve your goals.

Even today, my father doesn’t understand that. My mother is happy to see I’m following the path I want to take. My friends love that I still living in Madrid, but not that I’ve not become “the friend that pays for the first round of beers”. One of my partners left us after six months. The other one still fighting by my side.

I wrote the company, telling them I wouldn’t accept the offer. That it had been a very difficult decision, and I gave them a lot of thanks for the trust. I’ve received some other offers from there (my father was right, never even close to the first one), and I’ve also said no. I’m still surviving with small odd jobs to pay bills until Gamify generates money (soon, I hope). In the end, that situation taught me that doing what I want to do, has no price.

Tetuan Valley is a Startup Accelerator, in which Gamify is incubated. It’s rockstar program, the Startup School, is a six week formation program for 0€ and 0% in which you learn all the skills you need to create an startup. If you have an idea, a project or something that might be a business, possibly there’s no better program in Europe.

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Carlos Hernández

Written by

Programador. Proyecto de muchas cosas. No me hagas mucho caso. @CodingCarlos

Tetuan Valley

Tetuan Valley’s strongest attribute? Its community. The Tetuan Valley team, along with its outstanding alumni, mentors, and startup enthusiasts ….

Carlos Hernández

Written by

Programador. Proyecto de muchas cosas. No me hagas mucho caso. @CodingCarlos

Tetuan Valley

Tetuan Valley’s strongest attribute? Its community. The Tetuan Valley team, along with its outstanding alumni, mentors, and startup enthusiasts ….

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