Why I left my dream job at Apple to start an online business

TL:DR – I left my job at Apple so I could run my business full time and launch my very own online course on the real estate video industry.


Summer 2010

RP Plourde in front of 1 Infinite Loop, California
Week 1 at Apple: the smile says it all.

I was still smiling after I hung up the phone from the Apple recruiter. Not only was I selected to be part of the team at Apple, I was picked to do what I loved the most: facilitate training. This role (called Creative) meant that I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Cupertino (Apple headquarters location in California) to get my training. I was hooked.

As I was sitting, absorbing every second of this training (that I still consider to this day, the very best training experience of my life) I knew one thing: I wanted to do what my trainer was doing: travel the world and facilitate a one of a kind training experience.


Spring 2013

I have now been with Apple for 2 and half years. As a Creative, my day to day was to facilitate training to customers in a One on One setting (the training program was actually called One to One). I loved it. Seeing customers from various age groups discover their potential was extremely rewarding.

How many times did I hear: “I can’t do this. It’s too hard” or “You’re lucky, you were born and grew up with technology”. I would always answer: “No ma’am. I can proudly share that I am part of the very last generation who didn’t grow up with technology. I had to learn everything by myself. No YouTube videos, no online courses and if they were books, they were outdated by the time they left the printing press. If I seem to know the answer right away, at some point I spent hours searching for it. My job is to save you this time.”

No ma’am. I had to learn everything by myself. No YouTube videos, no online courses and if they were books, they were outdated by the time they left the printing press.

Anyways I’m getting sidetracked here. Back in spring 2013, after applying for the second year in a row, I was selected as a Worldwide Guest Creative Trainer (try to explain that mouthful to custom officers). In short, I was hand-picked to be the one who would train the trainers (Apple Creatives) in specific pedagogical techniques. Exactly what my very first Apple trainer was doing in 2010. Mission accomplished!

Spring 2015

RP Plourde in front of Big Ben, London, UK
Traveling to London and facilitating training was a dream come true.

After travelling to both Cupertino and London on average once per month for a week at a time, it was unfortunately time for this experience to end. Not only was my daughter born during my second year in the program, I had to give the chance to others to facilitate these highly challenging trainings. After the experience ended, I was back full-time in the store in my original role of Creative.

I remember receiving many warnings from fellow Guest Trainers that returning to the day-to-day life of in-store training will be hard, especially after living the “jet-set life” of a Worldwide Guest Creative Trainer.

Thankfully it didn’t hit me too hard because life works in mysterious ways sometimes. You see, shortly after I went back full-time in the store, the Apple Stores started selling new toys: drones.

-“How exactly do you control this?” I said to my colleague looking at the box before the store opens.
-“Left joystick is to fly up/down and left/right is to rotate.” He replied. “Right joystick is movement.”
-“Wait that’s exactly like piloting a plane in GTA?”
-“What’s GTA?”

I didn’t answer. Not because I didn’t have time to explain that my many hours playing Grand Theft Auto (GTA) would actually be useful in life (told you mom!), but I was already thinking of the untapped business potential of this flying helicopter.

Spring 2016

After many months of what ifs, my good friend Simon and I decided to finally buy the drone and together, start our very own video production company. Our goal was to aim at real estate videos for prestigious properties. For our very first contract, we filmed the most expensive property in our market (ever!). Not bad for a first project! After publishing the video online, the realtor started getting calls from potential buyers from all around the world and they all mentioned how they loved the video. Success.

Superficie Media's first video project. 7 million dollars
Superficie Media’s first video project: a $7 million property

Fall 2017

Fast Forward to Fall 2017, I was promoted to a new role in store: Creative Pro. This role was described as inspiring customers and employees to nourish their passion (video, photo, sports, gaming, etc.).

My day to day was extremely challenging.

Not only was my son born during that time (this meant neither my wife nor I would sleep more than 2 hours per night), but I caught myself doing something I couldn’t believe I was doing: sighing when getting a phone call from a client to shoot a property. I was actually upset because this meant my day off with my family was not going to happen this week. You read that right: I was annoyed that my business was growing. That’s a red flag (thankfully I realized it myself).

I was annoyed that my business was growing. That’s a red flag.

With my role, I was often “zoned” in the accessories section and I loved hanging out around the drones demo bay. I would meet curious buyers and chat with them on the amazing flying helicopters that 12 years old me would have died for. I met two types of potential buyers:

  1. Those who were looking to start their own drone business
  2. Those who were struggling to learn exactly how you operate a drone and how you can edit the footage.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t really help any of them since Apple has a very strict code for business conduct that prohibited me of offering training, free or paid. This means I never had the chance to help others who were struggling with questions I had myself when I first started.

That chapter of my professional life was extra challenging for me. Not only was I sleep deprived, but I had flashbacks in helping others during my Guest Creative Trainer era and how I felt complete when I would get testimonials from previous students that with the techniques they learned in one of my courses, they were able to challenge themselves and succeed. That feeling of accomplishment was what I missed the most in my work life.

January 2018

After New Year’s Day, I made the resolution that 2018 would be a year where I let go of the routine.

With the advice of my mentor (my brother), I started writing an online course for videographers, realtors and drone enthusiasts on exactly what makes a good real estate video. Superficie Media had its usual slow winter months, so I had more time to write (or so I thought).

I started writing an online course for videographers, realtors and drone enthusiasts on exactly what makes a good real estate video.

Every single day, I would show up to work at Apple 30 minutes early and write everything that came to mind about the real estate video business. What are the things I wish someone would have told me when I first started? I would write and had to cut my inspiration short when it was time for me to punch in. It was all I could think of.

During my lunch break, I would walk outside the store and sit in a (semi) hidden spot so I wouldn’t be disturbed, ate my lunch as fast as I could and spend the remaining time writing. This went on for 6 months.

But I was stuck. I couldn’t publish the course as long as I had a full-time job at Apple. Also, an important side note: my wife is a stay-at-home mom so this means I am the family’s sole breadwinner . You can’t just leave a good-paying job with industry leading benefits simply to publish an online course.

In early summer, I started receiving many shooting request for properties. Superficie Media was already booked for pretty much the entire season. But I didn’t see myself doing two full-time jobs again this year. This meant I had to make a choice. Great paying job at Apple or, jump full-time in my very own business plus the opportunity to record and publish my online course? It took me weeks to decide but as soon as I made the final decision to jump without a net, I felt relieved and aligned with the decision.

One week after I made the decision, I gave my letter of resignation to my manager and I have to say that all of the management team were phenomenal. All of them congratulated me on the decision and wished me luck in my new career. It felt great.

RP Plourde's last day at Apple, smiling
My final day at Apple (here’s that smile again!)

For my final day at Apple, I made a quick speech thanking the team and teasing them with an unannounced project I’ve been working on for a while. Team, if you’re reading this, my online course is that project.

July 2018

So now what? The final draft of my course is done, what’s next? Recording and editing.

I underestimated the amount of time recording and editing my online course by a lot.

-“Get your course done by July 24th.” My brother told me. “This means recording, editing and publishing your entire curriculum in under a month…”
-”You got it.” I replied, overconfident.
“No, that’s too long.” he added. “I want the course to be done by July 17th”
-“That’s in three weeks…” I said
-“Yep. Better get started.”

So there I was in front of my computer, working way more than 40 hours a week on this project and realizing every single day on how much I underestimated the work behind an online course. Full disclaimer, I’m a perfectionist so this personality trait doesn’t help in this industry.

RP Plourde's final minutes before launching his online course
July 17th, 11pm: trying to keep my eyes open after crunch time.

In the near future, I’ll write a blog post about all the unexpected events that occurred while I prepared my online course but, in the meantime, I’m glad to share that at 11pm on July 17th, my online course was recorded, edited and ready to be published online.

So why did I leave my dream job at Apple? To inspire and help others achieve the same lifestyle I currently enjoy. I poured my heart into this online course but it made me realize that now, I’m home for every single diner. I have breakfast with my family without looking at the traffic report. I started jogging multiple times per week since I have an extra 90 minutes that used to be wasted stuck in traffic. As I write this, it made me realize that running my business full time and creating an online course to help others were what I needed in life to make me appreciate what life has to offer.



Are you interested in creating drone videos for real estate? For more info on my online course and to sign up for my free video series to help you launch your drone business, head over to www.dronerealestatecourse.com

RP Plourde

Husband and father of two, likes movies, videogames and flying drones. Cofounder of Superficie Media, a drone video company. Favorite movie: The Matrix (the first one, of course)