Like for any company, the last five years has had its share of ups & downs. Those ups and downs hit a little closer to home when you run your own business. As challenging as it can be, however, the rewards are absolutely worth the extra challenges when bringing your vision to life. Here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way since starting my own company that I thought I might share.
Failure is Temporary + Necessary
Here at MSD, we have made a ton of mistakes and had our share of failures – we even had an entire quarter that was a failure! But failure is temporary, and has pushed us to try new tactics, strategies, and ideas. We’ve learned to get right back up after we fall, and we almost always get up stronger, more informed, and armed with the right knowledge to push ahead and succeed. At MSD, flops are not incidents in the past that we try to bury, but rather moments towards the progression of getting it right. Failure is how we know we are trying and doing something different, and it helps to push us to greater heights.
You Can Improve the World
MSD has made a commitment to serving clients that are serving the world. The era of a separate CSR division unrelated to the rest of a company’s work is over. Social impact is no longer just a perk for today’s consumer. Now, it’s a must that should be woven into the DNA of your company. By working with our impact brand clients and delivering their goals, we’ve proven that you can indeed perform as a business while working for the world. We are thrilled to see that more of that impact is becoming a part of businesses’ backbones, and hope this positive trajectory continues. Everyone, and every business, can make a meaningful impact to the community around them.
Haters Are Great Motivation
This lesson in particular took me some time to learn. At first, I thought the haters might be right and that I wasn’t capable of building my own company. However, I was going to try anyway because I needed to know for myself whether or not I could. If I didn’t have people that doubted me, I may not have worked as hard to prove them wrong and may not be where I am today. Channel their energy and make it work for you, rather than against you. You are capable of anything you set out to do, so thank you haters!
Choose Clients Wisely
Cindy Gallop, under whom I worked at BBH, used to always say that anyone she hires has to be nice AND smart. This, for me, also applies to our clients. In our industry, there is no reason to work with a client that doesn’t respect your time and talent, and most importantly, the time and talent of your team. There is opportunity everywhere, and their fee isn’t worth the morale of your team. You can fire clients too! Say, “no, thank you” to clients that don’t treat your team well.
Learn from Every Industry
In such exciting times, there are so many amazingly innovative people and companies across all industries. What’s even more exciting is that founders and thought leaders are divulging all sorts of insights on what they’ve learned, what worked, what they tried, and so much more. Learning is mandatory to MSD culture. Once a week at MSD, the whole team gets together for that specific purpose. Learning is a shared responsibility that everyone at every level in the organization needs to participate in, since none of us know everything. Because of this time, we’re able to come up with highly creative ways to improve our clients’ businesses and often find ways to improve our own company structure.