In the startup scene, I’m an outlier…
I run a profitable, multi-million dollar, bootstrapped software company, but I’m not one of the founders.
How it happened...
I joined the Thrive Themes team in 2015 and quickly became head of marketing.
In 2017, I started thinking about the next step in my career. While reading “Never Eat Alone” I had an epiphany...
You can BECOME the leader of a company without being the founder!
I’m not quite sure why it never daunted on me before. Most big businesses are led by professional General Managers and CEOs. I guess it just feels like a different game in startup-world where everyone is focused on the founder-CEOs.
But from that point on, I knew what I wanted to do… I wanted to run the company (go tell THAT to your boss :p).
Coincidentally (or not), around the same time one of the founders and CEO of the company shared his plans of stepping down and asked if I was interested in taking over the reins.
And that's what happened. Which leads me to running a 50+ people software company today.
I’m sharing this story because it gives me a unique perspective… I'm 100% part of the team.
When I think about the company I want to be part of, I first of all think about the value it will add:
- Value to the employees
- Value to the customers
While being profitable.
Not the other way around.
Value for the Employees (Including Me)
I pride myself in helping build a company culture that allows everyone to grow and do meaningful work because I myself wouldn’t settle for less.
I’m passionate about a healthy work-life balance for myself and everyone in the company. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of working long hours and sleepless nights but I believe that that should be the exception - not the norm. It’s a problem to be fixed not a point of pride.
Just like Jason Fried, CEO of BaseCamp, I believe that it doesn't have to be crazy at work.
Value for Our Customers
I’m also proud to be running a profitable, bootstrapped company.
Call me crazy or conservative, but I genuinely enjoy knowing that the reason we are profitable is because people give us their hard-earned cash and feel they get value for their money.
Do I sometimes look envious at our competitors who receive millions in investor money? Sure.
But then I remind myself of the type of company I want to be part of and count my blessings.
I strongly resonate with the idea of building a Zebra company. A company that's black AND white, profitable AND improves society. A company that focuses on sustainability and cooperation. And where the true measure is whether or not the customer likes the product enough to pay for it with their $$.
That's where I'm at today... Learning along the way.
If this resonates with you, let’s connect!