Ten years ago, I was living in Santa Monica, California and working 2 blocks from the beach. Every other person who came into my office seeking a website was either associated with Hollywood or was an aspiring entrepreneur wanting to start up a new tech company. But, they only had a budget of $2,500. Talk about starting up on a shoestring budget.
Not only did they need a website, they also needed help branding their company, forming their company, designing a logo, developing their mission statement and initial content, figuring out their business model, and almost everything else associated with starting up a new company.
The thought occurred to me that I was helping to incubate and accelerate dot com startups – and Hollywood careers. So, I decided to create my own startup called inQbation.
This is a photo of me 10 years ago when I started the business:
To be honest, the past 10 years have been extremely hard, challenging, stressful, and worrisome. But, they have also been some of the most exciting, exhilarating, and satisfying years of my life. And, it has taken its toll. This is a photo of me now in Virginia, 10 years older – 53, 10 pounds heavier – 175:
Since our Santa Monica startup in 2007, we have relocated to the Washington, DC metro area and pivoted from serving small business startups to serving federal government agencies. Our average client budgets have grown from $2.5K to $2.5M. Our work is more complex and the demands exponentially higher. Instead of one company, we now have three: inQbation, Agileana, and Balystic.
Over the past 10 years, I have grown up and matured as a professional, entrepreneur, father, husband, friend, and human being. I owe a lot of this maturity to the challenges associated with starting up and running inQbation and taking personal responsibility for ensuring that the work gets done, customers are happy, employees are happy, and employees get paid. It has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life but also the most rewarding.
Dr. Maslow developed a concept called the Hierarchy of Needs where people’s first and initial instincts are to ensure their own personal safety and security. But, as they grow and progress, they may reach an ultimate level called Self-Actualization. It is like the peak of one’s personal growth. I have to say that after 10 years of working intensely to grow and develop inQbation and the people around me, I am nearing that peak of self actualization.
Of course, life is a never-ending journey and opportunity for learning and growth. So, I don’t plan to stop growing and maturing. But, I am extraordinarily happy with where things are with inQbation and our sibling brands: Agileana and Balystic. We have great clients, challenging work, outstanding employees and partners, financial stability, and a great future ahead of us. I thank all those who have ever worked at inQbation and the clients that we have served along the way.