This 34-Year-Old Went From A Six-Figure Corporate Salary To $100,000 In Debt Running His Startup — Here’s What He Learned

Rodney Williams left a cushy corporate gig with a six-figure salary to build a start-up that sunk him six figures in debt. Now, that business, Lisnr, has raised millions of dollars in funding, has almost 40 employees and counts the likes of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and NBC as clients.

The journey taught Williams, 34, a lot about success.

In 2010, Williams was working in the marketing department for consumer product giant Procter & Gamble selling Pampers online. He had graduated from West Virginia University in 2006 and had gotten his MBA at Howard University in 2009, according to his LinkedIn account. From there, Williams was a financial analyst at Lockheed Martin until he landed the job he didn’t know he was looking for at P&G.

“I wasn’t actually looking for a marketing job. I was actually looking for a finance job,” Williams tells CNBC Make It about how he ended up hawking diapers in Cincinnati. “But [Procter & Gamble] felt that I had an opportunity be a great marketer and to lead the thinking from a digital aspect. When I got there, I focused on what I did well, which is technology. I wrote patents. I launched brands on social. I led e-commerce. I led a lot of the digital activities.”

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