Love stories have a way of becoming convoluted over the years. Details are forgotten, as are some of the early pitfalls that come with all relationships. The true bliss of starting my own advertising agency and having it become successful is nothing short of a love story.
Not to say that my previous ‘relationships’ with other companies were bad ones but the one thing about being married to your own company is that you never, ever break up.
Just over eleven years ago, I applied for a job to be the LSM at Channel 3 News here in Phoenix. I felt pretty good about my chances and was assured that the job was mine… but when I came ready to get my rose, the offer was terminated due to a significant internal change in upper management.
Oh, to be a lover scorned.
It was 2008, the economy was in the dumps and I was president of a national, TV-centric ad agency that was seeing others behind my back … (literally and figuratively). The one thing I had going for me was the two employees I had recently brought on. They were young, talented, hard-working and most importantly, naïve … essentially perfect for starting a business relationship in the midst of a historic economic downturn.
As with many love stories, we didn’t have much in those days. A few borrowed desks, an equal number of uncomfortable chairs and one small client to keep us busy. We did, however, have each other and the three of us put a lot of effort into making it work.
It only got better as we scraped by with little or nothing to sustain us. Our love for one another grew (literally and figuratively) until we had ourselves a full-fledged list of clients and a little thing that I like to call revenue.
Ain’t love grand? (wipe tear)
But alas as most love stories go, I was called away. Our fledgling relationship hung in the balance as a career in sports marketing distracted my attention. We didn’t break up but our relationship was long distance. I was ‘exclusive’ to my new relationship but did my best to send fresh flowers of encouragement to those I had abandoned. I was living a dream of big meetings with big people (literally and figuratively) but as love stories go my hot, young job was cheating on me the whole time. My new relationship was a sham … I was heartbroken.
My life became a Michael Bublé song. I had scorned my true love to chase a dream, but I still looked good in a sportcoat and had the chops that only a poorly shaven, Canadian-Italian singer could boast. For greater effect, click here while you read the rest of the blog.
Since I technically still owned the company, I was able to talk the agency principal into an interview for an internship position. Seems we didn’t have the payroll to support the job I actually wanted. I wore my best navy-blue closing suit, two well-placed drops of Visine and just a dab of Old Spice for confidence. Lo and behold I still had it. My fine-tuned negotiation skills landed me the internship and the rest, as they say, is history. I worked my way up from intern to the role of president over the years; now I head our strategy and acquisition efforts.
If you love something, set it free. If they give you an internship when you come back, it was meant to be.
Here we sit in February 2020 on the eve of the day in which we celebrate love and romance… I can say with a great deal of certainty that I’ve found my match. ReThinc, you had me at hello.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ed Olsen is the owner and agency president of ReThinc Advertising. He loves his company and doesn’t look all that great in a blue sportcoat.