Last Monday my Co-Founder and I started what already feels like is going to be a long (and exciting) journey. We launched Gripped, an inbound marketing agency for B2B SaaS businesses.
We first talked about the idea itself about ten years ago and it's been in the making ever since. Steve and I spent a few years working together at Star; an ISP turned Managed Services provider. Cloud was new and was rapidly changing the way in which Star's customers were purchasing technology and software services. The way in which Star had to generate demand and educate its sales team was also changing on a weekly basis. In a business surrounded by more senior people who had 'always done it that way,' the emphasis Steve and I wanted to place on educating our market and internal stakeholders coupled with the pace at which we wanted to do it was largely overlooked. He and I had endless conversations about how we could take our approach to a wider audience through our own business and 'do things our way'.
Fast forward ten years, in a dive bar in Williamsburg, NY, we finally came to the conclusion we would quit our jobs and start doing things 'our way'. We sealed the deal with a handshake and far too many whisky sours than I'd care to remember. The very next morning, bleary-eyed and with a slight thumping inside my head, what had meant to be a quick check-in with an old contact from my network led to a verbal agreement on our first engagement. Gripped was born.
If the last paragraph sounds a bit wanky, I make no apology for it. It's where we happened to be, it's what we happened to be drinking, and although in another ten years time the fact we got a verbal on some work less than six poorly slept hours after shaking hands sounds like it was made up, it wasn't. I already think it's a great story and do you know what? I'm hanging onto it, because if last week is anything to go by, being able to look back and tell that story is what's going to make all this hard work feel worthwhile.
So here we are. Week one was a rollercoaster of emotions. The Friday before had been my final day earning a salary, with Saturday and Sunday spent pondering if I'd done the right thing. However come Monday things felt extremely positive, in both the context of the personal reaction we had to our launch and getting stuck into working with our first client. However, one thing that immediately occurred to me is my salaried job came with rhythms and routines. Something which has gone out of the window and I know I must work hard to bring them back quickly. It’s become extremely apparent that the fine line of building a new business pipeline and executing on what we’ve won will be a tight balancing act.
So what have I learned one week into Gripped?
Context switching has the potential to be a killer. To avoid feeling like my brain has too many tabs open I'll need to segment and dedicate time to growing Gripped and to working with our existing clients.
Friday afternoon in a loud pub is not the ideal location for an end of week review, especially when your co-founder is exceptionally hungover after a Christmas party the night before.
My desire to see this thing grow into something much bigger than it is today, as quickly as possible, is much stronger than I first thought.