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HAE Holiday Party 2021

HAE Holiday Party 2021

HAE DJ and Joseph Gerstel

Welcome HAE Members and How I Built GetSomeClass

Hello HAE members and thanks for asking for more info about GetSomeClass.

The “It Was A Pleasure” Thing 

It was a pleasure to see many of you at the HAE Jingle & Mingle party we ran last Wednesday night.

We had a blast! (Pics way down below.)

What I’m Going to Do in This Message

I like to be a bit out there – I was practicing (tax) law at the beginning of this year, but the itch to do something a bit more … uhh …  colorful was getting unbearable.

Our policy is life is too short to be boring, and I am committed to lacing levity, fun, meaning, and thoughtful richness into everything we do.

Now, I could do the typical thing and tell you about all the programs we offer, yada, yada, yada, and try to gin up some sales…But you’re bright Harvard people, and that’s the kind of thing that boring corporates with no imagination do.  So I’m not gonna do that.

Since you’re all interested in entrepreneurship, why not write about what you’re interested in reading, and I, in writing?

So in here, I’m going to tell you the story of how I left my lawyer job and built what we have so far.

In the next message, I’ll tell you about where we’re headed and why. Then I invite your thoughts on whether you think it’s a good place to be headed, what else we should be thinking about, or who we should be talking to.

How I Left the Law and Started GetSomeClass

I believe a job should be a data point, not your destiny. I left law school in 2017 and learned quickly at my new flashy firm job that a long-term career in the law was not for me.

I wasn’t particularly enchanted with some of the other go-to, fancy-schmancy-pants professional directions like consulting and finance.

I wanted to have fun, control my life, and be creative and independent.

I also wanted to start living my own life and needed some space to figure out what that should look like.

But I had no idea how to do that.

Then Covid came along, and, as Littlefinger (a devious schemer from Game of Thrones) likes to say, “Chaos is a ladder.”

Well, Covid sure created a whole lot of chaos, and the good thing about chaos is that no one knows what the hell is going on. (It’s been taking “them” quite a while to figure it out too….)

I was in the same who-knows-how-the-thing-works, brand new remote world, as everyone else was.

So (skipping just a little) I found a US chess champion, put together a fun virtual tournament program and a cool chess package (hat tip to my sister-in-law there), then did a demo for the events team at my firm.

Which brings us to…

Lesson #1: You don’t have to know where you’re going to get started, just take tiny exploratory steps one at a time and let the world teach you.

Well, surprise surprise, they liked the program (and the cute package)!

Okay, now what?

So I came up with a (clever!) company name, created an LLC (it’s an S Corp if you’re tax minded, but I regret that), grabbed a domain and a business email, and put another demo on the calendar. Then I invited like 50 events personnel from top US law firms.

Beginner’s luck. About 20 of them showed up on Zoom. Two weeks later, a top 20 law firm asked me to do the event for a small group. Boom, I was revenue positive and profitable in month number 1.

There’s nothing like a sale to motivate you and so I “quickly” came up with our Coral Creations environmental art painting program and our Steak Out cooking event. (Allright, it wasn’t so quick, but this is just a story, okay?)

(Now you should probably pause and check out Coral Creations’ artist Nikolina Kovalenko’s coral reef series – it’s really something.)

Figuring out an art package was one thing (though it’s a really cool art package); shipping raw meat around the country was quite another. Let’s just say I spent some time on Instacart ordering replacement steaks for some people. (Gotta do right by the customer!)

Here’s Lesson #2: Be very intentional about choosing a logistics heavy business. Logistics requires a lot of time and oversight with a lot of room for error.

Sometimes though, it’s just a matter of generating enough demand before you can outsource or automate things, so I’m still learning here, and will have to update you!

I was beginning to think seriously about jumping ship but needed something to push me off the 22nd floor (sorry, that’s just where my office was).

Sometime around late January, I landed two bookings for our Queen’s Gambit program with the Boston Consulting Group and Oliver Wyman.

And that was it folks. I figured if I was getting such awesome customers as a side gig (out of my bedroom office), I’d find a way to make it work. I was done.

I left my job in March … in style, attaching this little custom sand art video to my departure email.

You only live once, you know.

What We’ve Done Since and Where We’re Headed

In the next email, I’ll tell you about where we’re headed and why.

If you enjoyed this, I’d love to hear back from you on what you enjoyed and anything else you’d like me to write about, so drop me a line.

In the meantime, here’s another fun pic from last week’s HAE Jingle and Mingle Holiday Party!

Yours,

Joseph Gerstel

Founder and CEO

HAE HQ Jingle Holiday Party Libary Pic