(This post by our CEO Dave Kerpen is part of our Likeable Love Stories competition taking place this month until February 21st.)
This morning, it was snowing so much they canceled my kids’ schools. I pushed my way through the wind and snow, arrived at the train station to board my train to work just on time, and sat down to write this. I listened as passengers complained about the weather, and about their jobs, and about their bosses, and about anything they could think of to complain about. And I just sat there smiling. Because I’m in love with my business, Likeable Local. And I couldn’t wait to get to work to start our day and week.
My days not always filled with joy and happiness. But they’re always filled with excitement. Running a startup or small business is most certainly a roller coaster. There was the time when we barely made our payroll. There was the time when we couldn’t figure out exactly how many customers we had. There was the time we had to let go of an employee who was using cocaine in the bathroom. Yes, there are definitely hard times in running a small business.
But the story of my latest business is most certainly not a horror story. It’s a love story.
Our first business, Likeable Media, literally began with a love story. I married my wife in a sponsored baseball stadium wedding that led to so much buzz and media, our sponsors asked us what we could do next for them. We couldn’t get married again, so we started a marketing company instead. Six years later, I woke up one morning and I wasn’t excited to go into work.
I had grown increasingly passionate about helping small businesses, but as a growing social media agency, Likeable Media could no longer work with small businesses, instead working with global brands who could afford to pay bigger bucks. I had begun more and more impatient and frustrated about this, and one spring day in 2012, I just decided. I’ve always been taught, (and believed) that the day you’re not happy and excited to go into work is the day you should find something new. In many cases, this is easier said than done, but in every case, this is worth doing. Time is too precious to waste on anything you don’t love.
I was incredibly fortunate to have built some relationships that would serve me well in building a new business. I had become friends with Dr. Ed Zuckerberg, a dentist in New York and the father of the founder and CEO of Facebook, a guy you’ve probably heard of. An early employee had left me to go to work for Henry Schein, a Fortune 300 company and the largest company in the world that sells to dentists. And so Likeable Local, six months later, was born with Likeable Dentists.
A year into the latest roller coaster known as business ownership, we’re serving hundreds of dentists, and thousands of small businesses. We’re helping make social media easy and effective for small business owners around the country and planet with our software. Our mission is bold, and our goal is audacious: Likeable businesses on every Main Street in the world. But I’m blessed with a great team of people who are as passionate as I am about what we’re here to do.
And yes, I’m in love with my business.
I love when our customers call and email us to tell us how much we’ve changed their lives and businesses. I love it when I get thank you cards from employees who feel grateful for what they do. I love it when our development team builds something new. I love it when my business allows me the freedom to go visit my daughter’s school and dress up. I love our business on good days, and yes, even on bad days. I love our business in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, til death (or acquisition) do us part.
I’ve written before about how my career highlights won’t be on my tombstone, and how ultimately our children and family is our most important legacy. But we still spend more of our waking hours with our work than with our family for most of our lives. So, I figure, in addition to being in love with my family, I ought to be in love with my business.
Are you in love with your business, or job? If yes, tell me your story here! If not, what’s stopping you from falling in love?