If I knew then... is a weekly series of columns from small agency founders and executives talking about their experiences building their shops.
My mom was in town this past weekend. Does anything make you reflect on life choices like a visit from Mom? I don't think so.
My mom is incredible: whip-smart, thoughtful, and endlessly supportive. And she's genuinely interested in the business side of my life. So every opportunity I get, I share our agency's stories with her – our successes, our failures, and pretty much everything in between.
On this particular visit, I shared a bit about the state of our business. There was a lot I wanted to download, and Mom was my perfect audience. For a long time she just listened. And then finally, after rambling for a good 10 minutes, I paused long enough for her to get a word in edgewise. She didn't say a lot. She just smiled and said "It sounds like you guys are doing some things right."
Which was exactly what I needed to hear.
It's funny. When you start a business, it's second nature to plan for worst-case scenarios. We're taught to live by Murphy's Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. So we worry about every single thing. Are we finding the best possible people? Are we doing amazing work? Are we writing enough Ad Age op-ed pieces? Are we overpaying for pamplemousse flavored water?
It's as if the plan is…to worry.
But there's something most of us don't plan for: namely, what to do when things are going right.
Few people know this, but the name of our LLC is actually Optimism. We chose Optimism because of our very real belief, five years ago, in our future.