I formed a company because I thought I was a good marketer. Forming my own company would give me the freedom to implement my ideas and strategies and take marketing to the next level. In theory, this sounded like a perfect plan. With enough time and conscious effort, I could become the best marketer in town.
When I found a suitable co-founder, we launched the company – Till it clicks. We brought success to the first couple of customers. I implemented my marketing ideas and they worked well. We decided to scale up.
When we had our first set of employees, things started changing. I realised that I was spending most of my time managing trivial administrative work like accounting, legalities, recruitment, training, retention, customer acquisition, daily operations, etc. We decided to hire for some specialists for some of these tasks, so that I can have some free time to focus on what I liked doing most. But there was always more administrative work, than the funds we had to outsource it.
In time, I realised that if I wanted to scale the company, there was no time to focus on marketing strategies for customers – the thing that I loved so much, and the sole reason why I had started my business.
On the other hand, if I decided against scaling, in a bid to keep doing what I love, our expenses would keep growing.
One year into business, we had a decision to make.
I figured that the business has now grown larger than my personal ambitions. It employs a few people, whose livelihood depends upon the business. I was enjoying the growth too. The decision that stood in front of us was no decision at all. Not scaling, was not even an option.
I bid farewell to my ambition of becoming the best marketer in town. Now the ambition was to make Till it clicks the best marketing company in the world. A huge decision as far as I was concerned.
Three years down, I am happy with what we had decided back then. The company now employs a few more people, has done extensive work in the areas of marketing, and is making progress towards that ambition. I have stopped calling myself a Marketer.
Barring a few exceptions, I don’t get to work on marketing. Of course I share my ideas with the team. But it is just not the same as working hands on. Staying in the role of a Marketer would have been easier. This was not easy. But I am extremely happy with my new role. Growing the company is a challenge that I relish and enjoy.
This is probably the reason why:
Mark Zuckerberg may have been the best programmer in town at one point of time, but now that Facebook is among the largest tech companies in the world, Zuckerberg is no longer programming.
Seth Godin is probably the best Marketer in the world, but is not running the most successful marketing company in the world.
Do you think you will relish the challenge of growing your company, at the cost of your personal ambition?
PS : I am not saying this will definitely happen, but the chances are bright. There are some other workarounds. You can choose to remain a freelancer, that way you don’t have to worry about goals larger than your personal ambitions. Or you can choose to remain an intrapreneur, inside your own company. Find a co-founder who will take care of the growth, so that you can keep doing, what you love doing.