So what’s it like to wind down a company that you founded and invested 15 years of your life in? A lot of people have been asking this question and inquiring “What’s next?” for me, since I decided to close Renaissance Creative two weeks ago.
Let me tackle the first question, first.
It is a physical (logistical) and emotional challenge. My brain hurts. My body hurts. Imagine breaking down an 8,000 square foot office- the furniture; displays; computers; file cabinets; the stuff in the file cabinets; actually paying attention to the stuff in the file cabinets to see if it needed to be saved, tossed or shredded; backing up and storing digital files; listing and selling things on Craigslist; all, while still working with clients transitioning their accounts to those who will be carrying on.
Oh– and saying “goodbye” to good friends.
Great people. People overflowing with talent, intelligence and character who are like family to me, who helped create something meaningful that wasn’t able to survive the crushing weight of its own good fortune and growth, ultimately falling victim to the bursting of the real estate bubble, to which we were so vulnerable based upon our strong focus in the sector prior to 2007.
Needless to say, there were a few tears, but in the end, more laughs and great memories.
Some interesting tidbits about the “final countdown”:
- We began moving over a 2-week period, a little bit each day.
- I worked hands-on in the middle of it, just as I always have in the professional work of our agency.
- I’m guessing I must have literally filled at least (4) large dumpsters with ancient paper records, samples, etc. I was definitely feeling like a tree-killer. Thank God the world continues to go digital.
- We had (5) super-sized boxes filled with nothing but awards. You know the saying, “You can’t take it with you”? I get it now. At the end of the day, what purpose do they serve? I almost tossed them, but considered it thoughtfully and decided that if my Partner and some of our former Team Members can carry on successfully with reduced overhead, they may wish to have them available in the future. Worst case– my daughters open the boxes one day in the future and think, “Damn- Dad was pretty good!”. And, then they can throw them away.
- “Final Friday” was difficult. A lot of work, with a final lunch of pizza, beer and story-telling… and some more hugs and tears.
- The actual move occurred over the weekend- a full 12-hr. Saturday.
- To add insult to injury, that same afternoon amidst the move, Maria Coppola stole my Foursquare Mayorship to the incredibly obscure (but extremely good) Ling’s Alterations in Sawgrass Village! How did she even know it was there, let alone think to check in?!! Hey, thanks Maria! : )
- And the day following the move? Well– now half this $%#’s in my house!
So, I’m slowly getting things organized here at home and beginning to take some time to reflect on what might be next for myself and my family. And I’m starting to get excited about that.
As difficult as this whole thing has been, I can’t repress my own inner desire to get on with something new– to throw my broad experience and passion for marketing into new challenges and see what’s next. I think it was Walt Disney who said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
I’m curious, too.