For a lot of people, 2016 was a year they were excited to see in the rear-view mirror. For me, it was filled with growth, learning, and new opportunities. I wanted to take some time here, and reflect on what was a very busy year for me, and what I’m looking forward to in 2017.
My daughter was born just 2 weeks before the end of 2015, so I started 2016 with a very complete family. I was happily married, had a 2 week old baby girl, and a 2 year old son. My wife was just starting her maternity leave, and I was about to go back to work for Climax Media.
At the same time, our town house was now looking a bit small for our family of four, and I worked at home 2 days a week. I figured we needed some extra space, so we went house shopping. Within 2 weeks, we had put an offer in on a newly detached house in the south end of Barrie, just a few blocks from where we currently were. We set a Spring closing date so we wouldn’t have to start packing for a while, and the offer was accepted.
The Spring time seemed to come quickly, and before we knew it, we were moving into our new house. At the same time, work at Climax was going full steam ahead. We were taking on more projects, and I was extremely busy. I learned a lot about leading a team during this period. I had some successes and some failures, but learnt from everything.
It was also at this time that Matt Lantz and I created Yab. Yab was our little side business for developing SASS products, and we wanted to formalize the relationship, in case one or more things took off. I wanted to use the name Yab (Yet Another Business), because of it’s generic nature. I don’t like names that tie you too much to a single market.
Holy shit! I just left my day job! That’s pretty much what I said to myself every day during the summer. Matt hadn’t left his new job yet, but things were starting to kick into high gear. We had some clients with a stretch of work, and we continued to push forward.
Around August, Matt quit his job and joined me full time. We didn’t have an official office yet, so we mostly worked out of my kitchen. We kept taking on all the work we could get, because we really didn’t want to have too little work. At one point, we were clearly over reached, and were working from 9am till about 3am, going to bed, then waking up and doing the entire cycle over again.
That went on for almost a month before we needed to slow down. When I say “slow down”, I mean working 11 hour days, versus the 18 hour days we were working. We ended the summer with a bang, and had a nice relaxing 3 day getaway up north. We had done it, taken the plunge and were still standing. We were ecstatic!
Emotions ride high, and emotions ride low. I decided to take a couple weeks off in the fall, and really focus on the business side of things. You know the saying, “Work on your business, not in your business”.
During the second week of my vacation, I broke up with our largest client. This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I realized that if were were ever going to have a balanced business, we couldn’t be completely tied to a single client. They needed full time attention, and they eventually did bring on internal staff, which was the right move for everyone.
At the same time we were doing this, we hired our first employee. Seems backwards, no? It was, but needed to be done so Matt and I could focus on more then the day to day work. The next phase consisted of growing slowing, and really building a plan for 2017 and beyond.
We finished the year with a solid balance sheet, and financial stability heading into 2017. It was an Amazing year, and Matt and I celebrated with drinks and a couple pats on the back. Of course there were ups and downs, but we both knew we did the right thing.
I decided the day after New Years, that 2017 would be the year we start zero things. We had a lot of ideas in 2016, and started a lot of things. We didn’t ship a lot of our own products, client work took up too much time. This year we will ship, and ship great things. I’m confident that just shipping out what we already have in the pipeline, will result in solid steady growth for our company.
To sum everything up, we are going to continue to go string, and stay hungry, stay foolish!
Also published on Medium.