The day I quit my job to start my own agency
Much to the chagrin of one of my bosses, I put my notice in. I was one of their two top performing consultants, despite the fact I more often than not showed up hungover or in some state of obvious disrepair.
They had offered me shares in the company (which I later learned, as I suspected, to be of negligible value) but this wasn’t what I was interested in.
It wasn’t about money.
I had 2 paydays remaining as I had 2 months notice to work. After that, I had a few grand saved up.
It was enough money to last me 6 months if I spent it efficiently or 3 months if I spent it carelessly.
So it was imperative I made a success of my fledgling company within 3 months.
I had a crappy old PC laptop and my office was the kitchen of the flat I shared with 5 people at the time. One of which was a girl who despite my best efforts to be amiable, hated me with admirable dedication.
I had a basement room with no natural light. The novelty of this wore off quickly.
It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t great either.
Living in a middle-class neighbourhood in South West London isn’t a sob story worthy of a ‘transformational, life-changing’ webinar, but a) This isn’t a webinar and b) This is what actually happened. If those sob stories inspire you, please do your level best to imagine my circumstances as being far darker than they were.
I wanted to get out of that place as I had enough of sharing a flat with 5 people. (1 of them in particular). I wanted my own place.
This provided me with yet further motivation to make my new endeavour work.
Within 3 months, I hit 16k per month in retainer revenue and had won some decent sized project work for good measure.
I found a 2 bed flat, put down a deposit and moved in. (My first flatmate, Heather, would come to work for me within a month of moving in, but more on that another time.)
How did I do that?
I had been doing digital marketing since I was a teenager.
I had been closing deals for 4 years.
I had results to talk about.
I knew how to put a pitch deck together.
I knew how to close deals.
One problem, I didn’t know how to cold open.
Up until this point, every agency I’d worked at had sales guys do all the opening and I’d go in with them and help close them.
It turns out something I’d been doing without any real reason would pay off massively.
For 4 years, I added every single client, supplier, freelance and colleague I met to LinkedIn, so long as I liked them.
For those who were not on LinkedIn, I had their email address stored in my Gmail contacts or I had their business card in my draw.
I regularly message people at random without any specific goal in mind, as some of you in this group will attest.
The day I quit my job, I contacted every single one of those people and told them I was starting my own agency.
Not just the clients, but the suppliers, the freelancers, the colleagues and anyone else I’d met in those 4 years.
For a while those leads sustained me.
If you know my story at all well, you’ll know eventually those word of mouth leads dried up and that led to another interesting story involving rum, a ferret in fancy dress and my tipsy decision to email Chief Marketing Officers at some of the world’s largest brands with great success.
But the first move I made was to send a warm email to people I knew well and a lukewarm email to people I knew less well.
That was enough for me to get out of the flat, hire our first part-time employee (my old pal, Hannah) and enable my brother (and fellow company director) Gary quit the job he hated so he could move to working full time for our business.
It’s been fun reminiscing. I have a lot of stories.
Many of them I am still reluctant to tell, despite them being entertaining.
If you’d like to hear these stories, please reward this post a like or comment.
Owing to my addictive personality and complete lack of impulse control, I may not be able to resist the likely dopamine spike.
(The picture is taken from around this era. This was the first pint I had after I had stopped drinking for 3 months. Good times.)