“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” – Edwin H. Land
This quote is a perfect way to begin this story, which is still in progress… but I would like to share some of my achievements with you. As the title says, this is a story of how I became my own boss, but also, along the road, a leader of a great team which is hardworking and professional but most importantly – a team that believes in me! In my dreams, my goals! A great team that is growing and thriving every day! Thank you guys!
The story begins in my final year of elementary school, when I first saw, believe or not, the simple Google SketchUp. One day, I came home from school and started drawing a tennis court in Google Sketchup from scratch, using only the ideas in my head; and guess what? – I did it, even if it took me the whole day to do it. I could have played my games or watched movies, like all the other kids, but I didn’t. There was something new, something more interesting for me to learn, to do… and that is how everything started.
After that summer, I had decided to enroll in a Secondary school of mechanical engineering but not because I wanted to make amazing 3D models, deal with manufacturers, disassemble and assemble all possible devices or appliances in my household just to see what is inside and create it in 3D! No, I did that because I had heard that there I can learn JAVA and programming, so that one day I can create and manufacture my own games (which I accomplished, but we’ll come back to that later).
At one point, I’ve crossed paths with JAVA, and I have to say, it really wasn’t all that I had hoped and imagined it would be. Oh man, it was so boring. Too much coding, too many numbers, not creative at all… When I became a sophomore, I had the pleasure to get to know SolidWorks, the amazing program that changed it all! I couldn’t believe my luck, not only was the program letting me be more creative and productive but I also had an amazing professor, who is now one of the main people in my team. We started with small models, re-drawing 3D models from 2D ones. At that time I’ve learned an important life lesson too, you see, we (the students) used to compete with each other, to see who could create a model the fastest. That’s when I realized that speed isn’t important if the model isn’t good. With just 15 years I had realized that quality is better than quantity!
I’ll always remember my professors’ words of wisdom, him telling me: “If you can imagine a model in your head in 3D once you’ve seen the 2D; then you have a gift.”. I believe that’s true. Day by day, the models became more complex till then one day, in my junior year, my professor suggested me to enter a competition and, of course, I had accepted. Every single day, till the competition, I was practicing, at school and at home. I set my mind to give it my best. At that time, I had made my first complicated model. The V12 Engine with complete simulation and everything was made from scratch, all just from an idea in my head!
Competition day had past, I wasn’t the best. Honestly, my performance was quite bad… Why? I didn’t know, but I do now. There was no room for excuses and I firmly decided never to give up!
“Be better and get better for next year” – I kept saying to myself. All my hard work and practice finally paid off a year later, in my senior year. That was the year I not only took home First place at that very same competition from last year, but I was the best in the Country. Achieving that, it motivated me even more to better myself. It still keeps me motivated and devoted to what I do.
That summer, after graduating from high school, I heard of Elance – that was an important crossroad in my life. Elance is a website where people make money by completing projects they get hired to do because of their expertise. As my areas of expertise are 3D and SolidWorks, I decided to give it a try. So, one day in July I made an account on Elance, and my first job there followed after 3 months. I made a portfolio, my first website portfolio was called “PowerEngineering”. In August that year I had earned enough money so I could move into a new apartment and even buy myself a new car. Wow, was everyone surprised! I was getting into something new and was risking too much – leaving my parents, settling on my own in a new apartment, being a grown-up at the age of 18. Nobody could guarantee me that I would have enough money the next month to pay my rent or buy food for myself. But because I’m a risk taker and I believe in myself, in the following month of October, I made my record salary yet. From then on clients just kept coming my way. They saw my quality but sometimes had a hard time believing that was so young. For 3 years I had worked as a freelancer on Elance, oDesk. I was learning so much back then, I felt blessed I was able to do things that I really enjoyed and which motivated me and kept pushing me forward, made me feel alive.
After some time I wanted to bring everything to a higher level, to start my own company “X-PRO”! That was to be a life changing decision that made not only my life, but the lives of all the people who believed in me much better.
To be perfectly honest, it was very hard at the beginning. I didn’t know anything, I spent days and nights endlessly searching – how to find good clients, how to keep them, how to make them satisfied, etc. So many how’s but after some time I’ve eventually found solutions for all of them! Slowly, people start working for a “kid” who knew how to make money and find jobs … The situation often took me to the USA, to visit my clients. Travel all around the world just because of work, is there something better? Traveling, meeting new people and places while being paid to do so and as a bonus you get to do a job which you love. No man, that’s the best job in world!
I am currently in the USA and my clients are what’s keeping me here for now. You couldn’t believe it but I’m always finding new clients to keep my business successful. They are providing me with recommendations and are always calling me to come and help them, whether to bring their startup to life or simplify their business.
So, with much pride, I can say that up to now, we have more than 287 clients!388 finished projects! and 12 employees! And the “X-PRO” story, it’s just beginning. The future is in front of us and we are determined to keep growing, creating and never turn back or give up. The future is ours for the taking!