Five Years In
Five years. Both a lifetime and a blink of an eye.
We hung up the Babbit Bodner "shingle" five years ago this month. Thanks to the support and confidence of client #1, Greensky, I took the entrepreneurial leap, and it has been quite the ride.
As I look back on the past five years, the amount of personal and professional growth I’ve been through is astounding. The success of the agency has been monumental. And the campaigns and projects we have created are legendary.
For any budding entrepreneurs, serial agency folks, or just those that are starting the building blocks of their “five year plan,” here are five things I’ve learned along the way.
1) Five year plans are stupid. There’s one thing that both being an entrepreneur and living through a pandemic teaches you. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Trends change overnight, and client teams are in constant reorg. Forget plan A, what’s critical is always having a plan B, C and D.
2) Relationships are everything. When I asked client #1 to come with me, their response was “we don’t know who the agency is, you’re ‘our person’ and we want you on our business.” We have built a firm based solely on word of mouth - the world is small and if you do a good job, current clients are your best marketing tool.
3) We can do hard things. Being a small business owner is hard. Being a working mom is hard. Agency life is hard. Note: this is not for the faint of heart. I have cried over business lost, staff that have left me, clients that were nasty, and partners that lost my trust. BUT, most importantly, I learned that the lowest lows are worth it because with this kind of work comes the highest highs.
4) Surround yourself with the best. Our model is to bring in best-in-class partners, consultants and freelancers to the table and complement the core team so that the client gets exactly what they need, not just service from team members with some extra time. What’s critical to working with BB? An incredibly strong work ethic, a laser focus on client service, and a great attitude.
5) Never stop being grateful. I will never forget the people and brands that took a leap of faith on us and have helped us build our business. I hope they know the impact they have made on our team, and my life personally. David Zalik, Gerry Benjamin, Liz Ward, Matt Oerding, Ken Bernhardt, Jenn Shipe, Del Ross, Jesse Altman, Christina Smedley, Teresa Caro, Loryn Franco, Tarik Sedky, Alison Hill, Ellie Summerlin, Charlotte Galetka, Brad Zeitlin, Chad Cleveland, Clay Dover, and so many more, thank you.
So, cheers to the next five and beyond!