A Return to Escaping the 9 to 5: Documenting a New Startup Adventure

The Escapingthe9to5 blog started almost a decade ago, and though I was greener than green to the world of business, I had figured out how to start and grow a profitable jewelry business through eBay.

The idea of documenting my journey appealed to me—partly it was the vanity of youth, assuming everything we do is new and unique. Partly, I loved the idea of sharing my experience with others—maybe to motivate, maybe to make friends, maybe just to be heard. This blog was started as a simple online journal to document my attempt to escape a traditional nine to five job. I have never had any love for cubicles, or mid-level managers, and they’ve never much taken a shine to me.

maren kate 2011
Riding the train, in 2010, between Reno, Nevada and San Francisco, just trying to get an idea off the ground… and clearly feeling EMO.

Nothing about my background, except the hard workers on both sides of my families’ genetic lineage (Armenian, Irish and Syrian), indicated that I would, or could, hack it in the business world. I wasn’t a star student, and had dropped out of college three classes short of graduating.

Yet, with some luck, and a lot of serendipitous relationships along the way, I’ve been able to clear my own path in the business world.

Alongside my co-founders, we grew a startup to a ten million dollar run rate, and 400+ people. I’ve raised over five million in capital (which is a crazy experience) and have been blessed to belong to strong networks of inspiring people in both San Francisco, and New York.

Now, after some intense personal and professional struggles, a decade older, hopefully wiser, and definitely much happier, I’ve begun again…

My new company, AVRA, has blended all the things I love together: helping people find meaningful work, being part of an amazing team, having the freedom to work from anywhere and being rewarded for results, versus optics.

And because I’ve been through the startup-inferno, and back, I want to start documenting again. This time my goals are clearer.

I want to inspire other people, from “non-traditional” backgrounds (like myself) to be bold, to start things, and to know that you may fail spectacularly—but if you rise up on the other side: you’ll be so much better off.

Also, selfishly, documenting a company from the ground up is a great way to generate awareness of said startup… and AVRA has big goals. What grew out of my own consulting work, has now blossomed into a business model that is set to disrupt the traditional Recruitment industry.

By focusing on aligning ourselves with our clients and truly understanding their unique company culture, and the specific goals of each open role, we can confidently represent their employer brand and attract great candidates.

And by leveraging a dedicated hiring team, versus an individual Recruiter… we’re able to hire faster and minimize bias with our thorough vetting process. We partner with founders, and HR managers, to scale up and down depending on a company’s talent needs, without the financial bloat of added in-house headcount.

It’s only 10-months since we signed our first client, but the testimonials are incredibly encouraging, and we’ve already experienced companies coming back to us time and again. If you’re interested in learning more about what AVRA Talent Partners does, either to join our growing team or because you need to fill roles—fast—please drop us a note here.

So thus starts a new chapter in Escapingthe9to5. I’ve never been as excited to build businesses, to chase dreams and lead a life that positively impacts others, as I am today.


For in real time updates follow the journey on Instagram or Twitter.


Peace, love and pigeons,


Maren Kate