LEXINGTON, SC (WACH) -- When James Kirk became discontent with his career as a successful I.T. professional in Seattle, he did the unthinkable in the midst of an economic recession and moved across the country to start his own business.
For those who've dreamed of leaving the rut their career is in, they might look to the owner of Jamestown Coffee Company for motivation. Two years ago Kirk turned away the job security, high pay and benefits he had in Seattle to pursue his passion in his homeland, opening his own coffee shop in Lexington, SC.
He opened a shop that mixed the atmosphere of Seattle's popular coffee culture with the local staples of South Carolina. The coffee menu includes the Palmetto Pecan, the Southern Belle and the Gamecock.
He says of his career, his change of heart came in 2010 when a friend told him to stop what he was doing if he didn't enjoy it.
"It was a single moment in time where I decided I want to get out of the rat race," said Kirk. "I don't want to do the corporate thing any longer -- I want to do something that I love. And so that's when I packed the car and drove 4,000 miles and came to Lexington and started Jamestown Coffee."
He made the decision to move in May of 2010, he said, and by July, he was living in South Carolina.
"We thought we'd take the gospel of coffee and try to spread it in Lexington."
Kirk says the sacrifice in income and benefits is negligible compared to the freedom he has as a small business owner.
"When I was in the corporate world, I was traveling a lot, I was working a lot -- did not get to see my family as much as I would like," said Kirk. "And now I have a chance to do that -- pick my daughter up from school, get to spend more time with my family. I've got some family here in the Midlands, so that's a nice bonus."
And Kirk's advice for those daring enough to take their own leap into entrepreneurship:
"I think the big thing is that people who want to start a business -- whether it's something on the web or open up a trinket shop -- whatever it is they want to do, I think you have to realize you're gonna have to work harder and more hours probably than you ever have in your life," said Kirk. "That's not a bad thing in my opinion when you're doing it for yourself. But it does take a lot of hours, a lot of hard work, a lot of planning. There's no map to success. There are a lot of theories and philosophies out there, but there's no guide that says, 'Here's your step-by-step book for opening a coffee bar.'"
While it may be hard work, Kirk says he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I can't imagine myself working for anyone else no matter what I end up doing for the rest of my life," said Kirk.