Turning Unemployment into Business

It was the Friday before my hometown of Atlanta hosted the Super Bowl. I was in my living room working away on a new sampling project when I received the call letting me know that I was being let go. Just like that, my life changed after five plus years working with this company. It was a small to mid-size marketing agency that was bought and sold several times during my tenure and eventually became part of a major corporation. They decided to reduce their workforce by 800 people in advance of an IPO. A term that came up frequently during this time was “it’s just business” and the truth is, it was. At the time, it did not feel like a favor, but now it may have been one of the best things that could have happened to my career.

A few weeks passed and my father-in-law told me to give axe throwing a shot after he did it with his company. I found it to be a fun activity and really something that I could see people enjoying. I’ve played golf most of my life and that’s a sport where it takes years to be just OK. Axe Throwing is an activity that after an hour, most people feel what it’s like to hit the target and hopefully many times. The gratification was similar to hitting a drive 250 yards dead center, but the time required was less than an hour.

After several months of writing and refining a business plan, we decided to go for it. It truly became a family business with every member of the family deciding to invest at some level. After months of determining what the right property was for us followed by building out the space, we finished what was nearly a year-long journey to a finished product. Along the way, I gained new skills and knowledge about business that I would have never had exposure to. Negotiating a lease or managing a commercial buildout are complex tasks. Already, the professional development that I have enjoyed because of this business has been worth the risk.

As we look to start the next decade, it is time for the American Axes brand to grow and become part of the Marietta, Georgia business community. I am excited to become an entrepreneur for the first time in my life because of the support of my family and friends. I am looking forward to breaking some boards together!