It’s crazy to think that two years ago, we started out on this little adventure called 7Roots Creative. Having worked together, some of us for almost 10 years, we had some ideas, some dreams, and thoughts of what we could accomplish. For a baby start up with only one client, we’ve had the opportunity to serve over 50 clients in just about every sector. We’ve learned a lot. You have to. We push ourselves. You have to. We know we need to keep learning, doing, and taking our skills to the next level.
Here are just a few of the things we’ve learned over the last two years:
When we first started this adventure, a seasoned businessman told me, “Never start a business with your friends.” To be honest, that never sat well with me. I mean, I get it on one level, but these people were more than just my friends. We were a team that became friends. We had been on the front lines together. Everyone was hired on at our previous employer as individuals and we became a cohesive unit. I remember when we were losing our jobs and I went to all of them and asked if they were interested in going on an adventure with me, they all said, “Yes.” I tried to convince all of them that this was not going to be easy. In fact, it would unpredictable, hard work, and at times maybe the worst. They had more faith in what we were about to do that I probably did. I knew we had professionals that had been working on crafting their skills and talent. I knew they worked hard. They knew what we could accomplish.
One of the best things about starting with people I knew, deeply knew, is that I could trust them. I could trust them to have the company’s best interest in mind. I could trust them to not bail at the first sign of trouble. I could trust them to get creative and figure out solutions. We were able to hit the ground running because we had already worked for years in earning each other’s trust. And that trust extends well beyond the company – it extends to their character, their desires to push the envelope, and their care and concern for each other.
I’ve been involved in new businesses before and I know that we all worked hard to make it happen. People will ask me how I’m doing, and I realized about a year ago that I wasn’t sleeping. I would lay awake at night concerned about meeting payroll, finding new clients, all the things. And then a dear mentor of mine said to me, “Fires will always be waiting to be put out. Put out the ones you can, sleep, and then get at it the next morning.” Don’t get me wrong. I still worry (it’s a natural state for me), but she was right, there’s going to be a new fire the next morning. Might as well be rested so you can be clear headed on how best to fight it. I used to buy in to the adage that sleep was for the weak. I’ve learned that a good night’s sleep is actually my dearest friend.
Sometimes people look at an owner of a company and assume that they must be the expert at what their company does. Here’s the truth: I am not. I am surrounded by a team of people who are far more talented, creative, and smarter than me… on purpose. If 7Roots was left up to just me, it would be called “The Stump.” This team brings in skills and perspectives I will never have. Each of us approach challenges differently and the results of bringing those perspectives and approaches is how we achieve the best outcomes. When I’m with a client, the first thing that goes through my mind is, “So and so can do that,” or “We actually have someone on our team who’s passionate about that.” Our company has seen growth and quality because of our team. And for that, I am deeply grateful.
It is a true gift that I can bring a new project to the team and it’s regularly met with, “I can do that.” One of the best things about having been a full-service marketing team with a limited budget, is that we have figured out how to be multifaceted, efficient, and have a high standard of excellence. We have yet to encounter a client or a challenge that we said, “we can’t do that.” In fact, our new challenge to ourselves is to say, “What do we WANT to be doing?” When you have skills in almost every area, it’s easy to take on projects that aren’t always in your wheelhouse because you know how you can get it done. It’s a discipline that we’re still learning about choosing the right projects for us.
I think everyone, especially anyone in a small business can agree. In all of my plans, a world-wide pandemic was not in mine. Virtual calls are great. Being able to have a couple of projects that we can work on from home is great. However, I am deeply missing our time together, our shoot days, our trench work, our same room collaboration. This pandemic has impacted us financially and we’re doing everything we can to come out on top. But it has also impacted us relationally. I miss my team and can’t wait to be in the same room again. I can’t wait to celebrate two years of this adventure together.
One of the best things in being a new start-up, is connecting with other companies who are using their brand, product, or service to not just benefit themselves, but to do good in their corner of the world. Every client that we’ve had the privilege of working with this past two years has some arm, or even their whole company is dedicated to making the world a better place. I was concerned when we started our company that having worked in the non-profit sector for so long, that we would lose touch with companies who are driven by principle. That has turned out to just be silly. I am so thankful for the companies that have invited us in to partner with them. We are honored to be a small part of the worlds you are changing.
Have you started a business? What are the things that you learned in your first couple of years? I wouldn’t trade the 7Roots experience for the world. Here’s to 2 more and then 2 more after that and so on.