Jim Kenefick: No More Toys
In 1995, James Kenefick found himself several million dollars richer. He wondered: How to spend the money?
Kenefick had sold Keystone Corporation, a company he had founded that provided a more efficient infrastructure for hotel telephone networks.
Maybe he should buy a bigger house? Then he looked around at what years of hard work and success had already made possible. He had a Porsche, a Toyota Landcruiser, a house in Reston, a second house in Vermont, a sailboat. There was only one thing he really coveted: time.
"It's nice to have toys, but once you have a few toys, the reality is you really don't have time for all this pomp and circumstance," says Kenefick, now 33. "People are really searching for happiness and not necessarily the collection of toys. When you run a successful company what you don't have is time. Balance of life is much more important than all the fanfare."
After the sale of Keystone, Kenefick took a few months off, using part of it to travel. He pondered his next career move.
"I was too young to not do something else," he says.
After helping some other entrepreneurs to start Epoch Networks–now the largest business-to-business, private Internet-service provider in the country–Kenefick decided to be his own boss again. In June 1996 he founded NET-tel Corporation, a full-service long-distance carrier that sells discounted services to residential users and to small and midsize businesses.
This time around Kenefick vowed to keep his work and personal lives balanced.
"The thing I tried to avoid was getting back on the treadmill. I think as an entrepreneur you should take at least four weeks off a year, one week a quarter," he says, knowing few entrepreneurs do.
In recent years he has recharged by going fishing in Alaska, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Maine. He's sailed in the Virgin Islands, hiked in Switzerland, skied the best peaks in North America.