WHY I LEFT MY STARTUP
As you may or may not have known, I had been running the startup I founded Quicklysign for nearly 7 years. But on the 1st of August this year, I officially sold the majority of my shares and left the day to day operations. I’ve had a lot of questions around my decision to leave, so I thought I would share some light on why, what I’m working on right now and what I have planned for the future.
I must admit that even though it’s been nearly a month since I have left Quicklysign I still haven’t got used to the idea of not working every day on something that’s taken so much time, energy and I’m pretty sure years, off my life. Yip, Quicklysign has taken a lot from me. Ask anyone who has started a saas (software as a service) business and they will tell you it’s one of the hardest things trying to start and build. Not that any other business is easy, but saas can be particularly difficult. (I’ll be writing more about this in the future.)
So why? Why leave after nearly 7 years. Why leave just as things are going nicely and could start to really pick up. Why now? Well, the simple reason is I felt like my time with QS had come to an end. I believe everything has a beginning and an end and for me, this was my time to move on and explore other things. In the past, I have experienced the feeling of staying too long on a project/company/job and I decided with QS when it felt right and the opportunity came around I would take it.
So how did I realise my time had come to an end? Well, there were a couple of things:
I have an itch (or should I say burning desire) to do something new. I’m sure most entrepreneurs will identify with this. More often than not, they have a lot of ideas floating around in their head and the need to explore these ideas can be very strong. Yes, I could have tacked a lot of these ideas as side projects. (Like so many before me have done) However, for me, I really needed a new start to get stuck into something new. Although if I'm honest with myself, if this opportunity hadn’t come around I probably would have started a few side projects anyway.
I was bored. (This relates to my first point above) And, yes it sounds crazy, especially when it comes to startup life, but the reality was I was feeling mentally bored and unstimulated and needed a big change. To add to that I wasn’t enjoying the interactions with customers anymore. It felt more like a chore and that’s never a good thing. Customers or clients are the lifeblood of any business and the minute they become an irritation or a chore, it’s time to reassess.
And lastly, my vision for the company, or should I say for myself, had changed since I started the business. When I started I wanted a big business, lots of employees, fast growth and all the other shiny things that come with a startup. But as time’s gone by I've realised it’s not really who I am. Gareth of the past will probably laugh at the Gareth of today, but right now I want to have a small business that gives me the freedom and control over my own life. Yes, a lifestyle business. Which isn’t a dirty word. (more about this in a future article) Ultimately I knew that QS needed to grow into something much larger and I was starting to hold it back. I just couldn’t picture myself building the next phase of the business. Now it’s time for Rob to take it to the next level.
So that it’s. For the purposes of this article, I have kept it pretty high level to start but as the weeks go on I'll be writing a lot more in-depth about these and a lot more topics around starting and running a business and my feelings and struggles and maybe some regrets? Who knows I might feel different as time goes one? We’ll soon find out.
As for the future, well I have decided after a month off to reflect, that I need to do things that will be a little different to QS. This company Tiny Studio is a place for me to express my creativity and have some fun creating products that are a little different from what I have done in the past but feels a lot more aligned with who I am inside now. It’s time for me to be true to myself and see where that leads me. Wish me luck.
So that’s it, chat to you next time and please remember to be thoughtful and kind. The world needs it.