I've been wanting to write this post for months but wasn't sure how I wanted to put it. Over the last few weeks, I've gained some clarity that will help me get the words out.
Last year, I started a digital marketing company. What a first year it was – named to the “Top 50 Startups to Watch in Colorado”; named as one of the six most charitable companies in Colorado; and the winner of multiple awards for our work. However, I just didn't love what we were doing at the company.
Before even starting the company, I set a list of guidelines for the type of culture I wanted to be cemented into the fabric of the business. We weren't just another advertising agency that clients could treat horribly; we were going to be the “un-agency”. Back in December, I proved my commitment to that by firing our biggest client; I even wrote about it, hoping others could relate. I received hundreds of emails, tweets, and LinkedIn messages congratulating me. It was a very cool and exciting moment for me and team, but something was still missing. I finally figured out what it was – we were helping all of our clients build, launch, and market these amazing products; my job was to help them get rich and not necessarily doing it for myself.
I had an idea for a cloud-based software platform that I began exploring. I spent weekends building it, perfecting it, and obsessing over it. It was fun and brought on a little entrepreneurial spark that I felt was missing. Here's the crazy part: ot made me enjoy the work we were doing at my digital agency. Having this side-project keep me busy and engaged helped to actually re-engage me with our clients, as I was more in the mindset of building, growing, and thinking creatively about things.
Yesterday, we did a soft launch of a cloud-based software and marketing platform for veterinarians. In addition to running a national dog rescue and speaking at pet marketing conferences, I do as much as I can for rescue groups and shelters in my community. Our new platform allows me to disrupt an industry that has, for the most part, not embraced technology. It also allows me to be more involved in the pet industry and partner with groups that are keeping our animals happy and healthy.
What's the point of this article? A reminder to fellow entrepreneurs that you're never stuck. No one should be afraid to reimagine, reinvent, or pivot if something just isn't working. I built a company that endured overnight success and something didn't feel right. Steve Jobs's famous speech inspired me to keep working on something new:
“If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
I did that. Now, I have a successful agency that employs and helps amazing people all over the country and a pet project (pun intended) that I hope completely disrupts an entire industry. Know when to pivot, even if things are going well. Don't ever settle.