I found my calling: Interview with Jake Goldman of 10up (part 2)

Make a difference

You should see whatever you’re doing, no matter how small, as something that makes a difference.

Editor's note: "I Found My Calling" is a new series by CareerBuilder that highlights influencers in different verticals – people who have found success and happiness by pursuing a passion. Each week, we'll share another inspiring story. Find YOUR career calling now by visiting http://findyourcalling.com/.

Being truly devoted to a craft is something special, and you shouldn't get discouraged if your pursuits don't seem to be headed in the direction of the lofty goals you set for yourself. In fact, says Jake Goldman, president and founder of the digital content publishing and management agency 10up, if you're truly passionate about developing certain skills or learning about an industry, money should come to mind a little later than it normally does.

You should see whatever you're doing, no matter how small, as something that makes a difference. If you're building a website and you focus on how it might make someone's day easier, you're going to do a better job, Goldman says. He's found that the skills you choose to develop when you're not worried about money are the skills that become valuable later on in life. "[Those] are the things, marketplace and economy allowing, that you end up being good [at]," Goldman says.

"Be willing to put in the time and energy and effort to do it for free, for cheap, for dirt, just to grow. Don't expect to be an overnight success," Goldman adds. "Work at it."

Give, and give back
In the professional world, before you think about how people can help you in your career, find ways to help them.

"I think giving back to communities in the broadest of terms is critical. I don't think community has to mean the town you grew up in or the very traditional sense of the word," Goldman says. "Within the technology space and sector, we do a lot of work with WordPress, and I think of a very rich open source community where we donate a lot of time and [make] a lot of contributions."

Though Goldman has given back to his community by helping organize the first WordCamp in Boston, he's also given his time and a few tools of his design in the form of WordPress plugins. Despite these contributions (and saying he's not THAT generous a person), Goldman hasn't looked to publicize what he's given back or for recognition by attaching his name to the gifts he's given.

"It gives me a great deal of joy to know that there are literally thousands, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people that are out there using a piece of software that I built to make something easier that I will never meet and never have a personal relationship with," Goldman says. "There's something incredibly fulfilling to me about that – even if they never know my name."

Final thoughts:
When you begin consulting at a young age and eventually start your own business, you learn a thing or two along the way. Here's are some final pieces of advice from Goldman:

  • Treat budgets like your own money. When you get money to spend at work or on business trips, imagine that money is being taken out of your wallet rather than your employer's. "Have that respect and empathy and appreciation for the people that are trying to build a business with you," Goldman says.
  • Keep your challenges and shortcomings in perspective. Making a mistake at work may sting now and there may be consequences, but does that event really matter in the grand scheme of things? Goldman knows he won't be starting WWIII anytime soon in his line of business. "I have a well-rounded perspective for what the worst case – what the 'failure' – really means."
  • Sometimes, lessons are learned the hard way. That's just part of becoming a leader – especially those experiences that humble you, says Goldman. "There's no [better] way to learn that lesson [than] someone above you sitting you down and saying, 'You're kind of acting arrogant and pissing people off.'"
  • Start saving early. Before Goldman thought about starting his own company, he focused on his savings, and that has made all the difference. "I have a very strong safety net for myself and I think that's very freeing and empowering."

For more insights from Goldman, check out part 1 of his interview.