Change can be hard. Some people hate change. Others say they love change. Change comes in many different forms. A change of physical location, a change of the people surrounding you, a change of your major money strategies such as job or business, and then there’s the change of life- aging. Life is always changing. I’ve always said that I liked change and yet I’ve lived within the same 100 mile region my entire life. I’ve experienced job change, marriage change, the change of having children and I’ve experienced the change of starting and selling businesses.
In 2014 I made a big change, I sold a company that I’d started and owned for nearly ten years. The company was a trade show production company that I owned with my best friend and had dearly loved. So what changed? What brought me from the place of loving the company to choosing to sell the company and move on?
First, the company had grown into its own. When you start a business it’s generally all you. As the business owner YOU are the company. I was fortunate to have started the business with my best friend so it wasn’t just me, but the two of us. However, it was still the two of us. We did it all. We created the product, sold the product, marketed the product. We managed the money, took care of taxes, figured out insurance and our corporate status. We did it all. And then we hired employees and those employees left and we hired different employees and those left and we hired yet again until we reached a place where we had a good team and understood how to hire and keep employees, how to motivate and manage. When I sold the company I knew it had come unto its own. We had a sales manager and an event manager who had been with the company and are to this day. We had a good sales team and a marketing manager. We didn’t have to do it all anymore. I knew that if I left the company it would continue on.
I was tapped out. The creative juices that had once swelled for this company were dwindling. The fire that had burned, the passion and excitement were gone. It had become a job. I didn’t feel I was doing my best to be the leader I longed to be. I was tapped out. I had gone to my well for inspiration and excitement so many times that I felt it was now depleted. I didn’t feel that I had any great concepts or ideas that would have positive influence on the trajectory of the business.
I realized selling the company was an option. When starting a company there is always the hope that selling your business will be possible, but many are unable to sell their companies. I realized that what we’d built was sellable. I realized I had options. To that point I felt that I was forever chained to the company and truthfully had been happy with that bond. However, when I realized I could, I did.
I was ready for a change. Businesses go through cycles as do people and the business had gone through a cycle and I was ready for a change. I was ready to spend my days thinking of new things. I was ready for a different obsession.
The people in my life changed; my mother passed away. And in that moment everything changed for me. Life will of course be forever different on earth, but my passion and zeal for life and the business was gone. I needed a break from the consuming tasks of business ownership. I needed space to reflect on life and needed a new path. I had to break the path I’d been on in order to start a fresh. I needed a fresh new look at life. The company needed me to sell. It needed me to move on to new opportunities. I had given it my all and there was no more to give.
This past weekend, I visited a trade show that was held by the company I sold. I was a bit concerned that I would have feelings of regret, or that I would see the trade shows weren’t being run as well as they should be run. However, what I found was just the opposite. The trade show looked fabulous. It was well put together, organized, beautiful and even better than when I sold the company. And as a founder isn’t that what you want to see? Don’t you want to see that what you started is continuing on? I was so happy. And regret? There was no regret. I didn’t have a longing to be back in control or in charge. I was simply happy that it was all doing so well!