An Unexpected Startup

Welcome to StorkBoots - a new journal format blog about business and babies. I’m Marty - founder at Purlem.com, co-founder at Tendinc.com, husband to my biggest cheerleader, and dad to the new loves of my life - Dillon (2 years old), Emma (1 year old), and another baby girl on the way. Yep - three kids under 3 years.

A year before I started Purlem, you would have found me walking into random mom and pop stores, to sell them radio ads. I’d take appointments anywhere. Once, I found myself on the south side of Chicago, walking into a “drapery” company - which ended up being in somebody’s living room. I step out of my car, feeling incredible uncomfortable wearing a suite, and a bit scared for my life. I walk into their house, baby screaming in the background, as they proudly showed me drapes. I wasn’t sure who was selling who. They didn’t end up buying.

2006-02-18-23.49.25.jpg “MariKate and I around this time”

After about a year in the radio biz, I was recruited to work at a different radio station. I consulted with some “seniors” in the industry. I was told jumping from station to station was how people grow in the industry, and was encouraged to make the leap. So I did. I’ll never forget - It was a Friday morning. I quit and went back to my Wrigleyville apartment. I kick back to relax on the couch, and literally, the moment my feet hit the coffee table, I get a phone call. It was from the VP at the radio station. Some dude I never really knew. But he assured me that if I leave to go work at the new station, that he’d slap a non-compete on me.

The non-compete basically said that I couldn’t work for another radio station for 6 months after quitting. Now some told me that I probably could have fought this and won. But instead, I opted to take the 6 months and try to start my own business creating websites.

The unexpected non-compete ended up changing my life forever, and in ways that I couldn’t have even imagined at the time. If this did not happen, I would have certainly started working at the new station. Making more money, climbing that corporate ladder. I already had a new condo picked out. I was on the fast track into the rat race. But thanks to the non-compete, it prompted me to get out and start my own business. As far as my professional life is concerned - this was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Since then I started Purlem.com - a bootstrapped, single-founder startup that helps company track and personalize their marketing. Purlem has not only been an incredible joy to build, but it now also financially supports my family.

More recently, I co-founded Tendinc.com - another a bootstrapped (so far) startup that helps companies find out where their online customers are coming from.

I feel incredibly lucky/blessed to be able to work with Purlem & Tend on a daily basis. I’d hope to use this blog as a forum to share stories of business and family. More to come…

 
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