Emily Jarvis, CMO at The Means explains that in some ways, our start up journey did feel an awful lot like Jedi’s fighting back the evil Empire…
When Luke Skywalker met Han Solo at Chalmun’s Cantina on Tatooine, he was an outcast. A farm boy. Obi-Wan had his Jedi skills, Han Solo had “the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs”, and Chewbacca was…a fuzzball(?)
My point is, Luke was among friends who shared the same end-goal: To kick Darth Vader butt and stop the evil Empire. They weren’t in it for the same reasons, but that didn’t matter.
What’s the moral to this story, Emily?
So I got made redundant despite doing a great job and even getting a promotion. I became an outcast. Unemployed.
In fact, the whole marketing team was made redundant on the same day. My boss and I were left to explain to members of our team how this could happen after only 2–3 months employment.
Mic had his contacts and years of journalism; Rosanna had her poetry and creativity; I had my writing, filming and mentoring; Connor had his design skills; and Niky a drive to create local events and experiences.
I was just like Luke Skywalker, I was among friends who shared the same end-goal: to start a creative agency and cut loose from the evil Empire of traditional businesses.
Reflecting on the past fortnight, I realised we all went through the same four phases of emotion, which I’m going to talk you through now.
Every start up should read this and know you’re not alone. Plus, figuratively speaking, you could turn that redundancy on its head and become one of the greatest Jedi — I mean start ups — the galaxy has ever known.
1. “I’m in”
Turns out, the idea of a start up had long been on the agenda for one of our founding partners. From the moment we received our redundancy warning letters the one thing we knew is that we wanted to stay together. I’m very proud of the team for that.
Having run a 50–50 filmmaking partnership before, I knew that buy-in to the concept was the first phase of starting an agency that works. The second is making sure there are no skills shortages and the third is making people believe in us and what we do for a living.
Buy-in was strong, each one of us brought a different skill to the table and well, the third could only be achieved with time (and some mighty good branding).
2. The “let’s go to the Winchester and wait until this all blows over” stage
Let it be no secret that working without a central hub or better yet an office is hard. With seven founding partners, finding the space and right environment for us to put our heads together was an interesting experience. It saw us gravitate towards many pubs, cafes, restaurants and other city locales that I never knew existed. All so that we could be together.
Partnership documents were laid out over drinks, and copious amounts of eggs benedict (thanks Louis’ Deli) and plans were coined over bowls of chicken wings (thanks Gonzos). We started to get to grips with the operational challenges, diving into a world of bankers, estate agents, lawyers, references, contracts, proposals, invoices, software, client meetings — and just a little bit of blogging, web design and branding on the side of course.
3. The “no seriously, what am I doing with my life?” moment
This nomad lifestyle took its toll pretty quickly. Searching for an office that would come in on our budget was tougher than we thought. The phrase “working from home” suddenly became the norm. The WhatsApp group lit up with questions “What should i be doing? Can I help with anything? Is anyone meeting up today?” Tasks started to become sporadic because we needed to be together to get them finished.
There was an outpouring of frustration. Anyone who has ever been unemployed in their life will know the feeling where left over adrenaline leaves you in a frenzy of anger, misery and despair.
Imagine this when you’re going down the start up road. Instead of getting the little self confidence ‘kicks’ you feel when productivity jerks into gear and you start applying for jobs again, it’s all on you. Everything needs doing at once, there’s a lot to get your head around and you know it’ll be tough.
You have to put on a face. It’s sometimes necessary. Put on enough face and you convince yourself to get stronger, prouder and back to forme.
I’ll let you into a little secret. My friends call me Jolly Jarvo. It’s a long story. In short, it’s laden with irony as I come across professionally as a serious person who, when in full swing, often forgets to pause and laugh if someone cracks a joke. It’s both a blessing and a curse, but one that lets me keep face in times like these.
Although it’ll be tough, the rewards will be endless as you hold onto the reality that you’ve made this all happen.
4. “People, we have seized the means of production”
I’m pleased to say, we’ve found an office, there’s contracts pouring through the door, there’s branding in progress and long-term creative ideas are brewing.
Jolly Jarvo is returning. No, really. I can’t wait to share our new website with you. I’m serious.
Communication keeps the team together. It keeps everyone on the same page fighting for the same dream — the dream to work with dynamic individuals and create top quality content that makes us proud, but also delivers what you need.
Best of all we have a hard working team of partners who made it through the rebellion and used the force to get The Means off to a powerful beginning. Even if there were some teething problems…
You could say we all had the means to make our plan happen.
If you believe in the force, then I want you to believe in us too.
Do-away with the cost and commitment of having an in-house creative team. The Means could be your ticket to the galaxy of content just waiting to be explored.
Say email@example.com and we’ll get back to you. And no, it’s not a trap.