Adam Kornfield had everything going for him--a great salary from his hedge fund job, a brand new Manhattan apartment, and the opportunity to travel all over the world. Still, he felt incomplete.
Kornfield and his friend Joey Cofone, a graphic designer, had been working on a side project--endeavoring to create the perfect paper notebook. Naturally, they had no idea if it would ever amount to anything. After all, paper? Isn't that supposed to be passÃ©? But as Kornfield said in a recent LinkedIn post, "That's half the fun."
They spent months meeting with designers, making prototypes, and taking pictures in the hopes of creating a better paper notebook: the Baron Fig Confidant. With the help of thinkers from around the world, they created a notebook that opens flat, and has smart dimensions and quality paper.
They made what Kornfield called a "killer video" showcasing their notebooks in action and posted the project to Kickstarter, with an initial fundraising goal of $15,000. They hit that goal within the first day. After 30 days and some media mentions, they had more than $168,000 in pledges for 8,760 books.
They were shocked. Kornfield asked himself, "Was it a fluke? Did we have a real business? Could we really make a business selling paper notebooks?" But the real question was, would he quit his "comfortable finance job with benefits, a nice salary, and stability to do Baron Fig full time?"
As a 2006 college graduate, Kornfield did have time on his hands, and thanks to the cushy finance job, he had some savings. Plus, he notes, the opportunity to work on the project with Cofone--whom he became fast friends with when they met in 2010 at an entrepreneur meetup in New York City--proved too hard to resist.
So without discussing the decision with anyone--and with the knowledge that having his own business would require significant work--Kornfield quit his job in January 2014.
He writes, "It was scary and nerve-racking, but I believed it was the right decision. I knew it would be an adventure and that was just the start."
His story has resonated with commentators across the Web. One LinkedIn user writes, "Congrats Adam on following your passion. I think your story should be shared at all colleges and with recent grads. Work hard, network, build meaningful relationships, keep your options open, and follow your dreams early."
Another LinkedIn user comments, "Thank you for taking the time to share the process and highlighting how the different personalities can benefit a growing startup."
On Reddit, some took the opportunity to ask questions such as, "How did you adjust financially to the change (I suppose you are, at least at the moment, earning less than at the hedge fund. Sorry if I'm wrong)?"
To that, Kornfield replied: "You're totally right. It is a rough transition in many ways. The financial part, you have to be ready for it. The best advice I can give is to save as much as possible while you're working. It will give you a cushion, which you're likely going to need. I think it's probably best to start dabbling on the nights and weekends before you jump full time into something."