My Non-Compete Year

October 7, 2021

I resigned from my job last July and was excited about the next step in my career. The thought of forming a new staffing company with three great partners was something that really appealed to me. But first, I had to get through the non-compete year. Fortunately, it turned out better than I could have imagined! From getting calls for work outside our non-compete to creating a relationship with a great plant-based food company, here are some anecdotes from along the way!

Then this stuff happens

Shortly after resigning I received a call from a former candidate seeking to hire a Senior Accountant AND was outside my Non-Compete area. I looked at my future business partner, “Did that just happen?” We drove the countryside of Wright County over the next week meeting candidates, made the placement, then sat in an outdoor sauna to cap the process. Thank you for that call Jennifer!

Later, I received a call from another of the partners who tells me we have a meeting with the C level team of a fast-growing business in the twin cities. The mission? Staff corporate and plant roles in various locations, including Engineers. “Wait a minute man, we’ve never staffed Engineers before” “Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out” … He had a point. We got the job!

Observations from Rice Lake, WI (PURIS)

While staffing operations for our Turtle Lake, WI plant, our team made the trip to western Wisconsin, focusing on the Rice Lake area. My counterpart for the day was another future partner. We needed people and we were going to find them, by hook or crook. We haunted the following:

  • City Hall (Received strange looks, conversations were fun though)
  • Churches
  • Chamber of Commerce (“Sorry guys, we prefer people to work in Rice Lake”) HA!
  • Retirement home (one of the residents wanted to be considered, said there was still “tread on the tire”).
  • Stopped by several local bars to drop literature off. We didn’t want to seem rude so we ordered tap beers, partner remarks “I don’t know how many more ½ beers I can handle!!”. True statement, game plan adjusted.
  • County unemployment office

Ever try setting up a company?

The formula is simple! Make a list of all the things you think you will need to do, then multiply by 5. The best part is that you will have very limited knowledge of what you are doing at any given time. We were fumblin’ and stumblin’ but we didn’t stop runnin’. A couple of items were particularly amusing …

1.     Finding office space. An eye-opening process which provided an education. Fast.

  • “What’s CAM mean?”
  • “Our rent includes square footage OUTSIDE of our office?”
  • “Your TI won’t cover this”
  • “Thank god we’ve got a good lawyer” – Thanks Meredith!

2.     Technology. Got to have it, right?

  • “I had to reboot three times already today”
  • “Phones aren’t working, we should get old ones that dial”
  • “Scott’s got to learn JAVA to download our phone system”
  • “The wireless printer isn’t working”
  • “Why is this happening?”

Luck, gratitude, and thanks

I am a lucky guy. I have been fortunate enough to meet three other guys along the way that I am honored to call partner. One, in particular, with the vision as to how our company should be run.

A non-compete year can be tough, but this one was not. In large part this is due to a certain CEO and team giving us a chance to prove ourselves in the engineering and plant ops space. Much gratitude to PURIS.

I think I will end this with a quick anecdote from my wife, she is a straight shooter. It went something like this …

Me: “Hey Rochelle, what do you think of me resigning my job, sitting out a year non-compete, and starting up a new company?”

Wife: Looks at me with straight face and says, “Don’t f*** it up.”

Agreed. Words to live by.


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