When I started my first Business Communications Agency.

(I think it was a Creative Agency.

Or a Design and Marketing Agency.

I’m not sure).

I was 30.

It was 1998.

I was really good at attracting really good people to join me.

Team members, I mean.

And they stayed.


You know what my most vivid memories of the early years are?

It was fun.

I smiled a lot.

My face still remembers the smiles.

How the smiles felt.

And I was really interested in people.

I was interested in everybody.

I didn’t compare because I genuinely wasn’t really bothered what the ‘Proper Agencies’ were doing.

I genuinely thought that because they were so much better than we were.


There was no point in comparing.

I was just having a nice time.

And all of a sudden.

We were selling a million pounds worth of what we did each year.

The First Ten Years.

In the first ten years we grew to 30 people.

And still they stayed.

But the last 5 years were different.

The Last 5 Years.

In the last 5 years I think we were a ‘Proper Agency’.

And it wasn’t so good any more.

I wasn’t so good any more.

I didn’t speak to my team much.

Things worked so I just let them run.

And only really intervened when things broke.

I’d butt in.

And moan.

Because now I ran a Proper Agency I had much more important things to do.



Employing big people.

With big names.

And big salaries.

And weird things started to happen in my Proper Agency.

I was employing people I didn’t actually like.

I didn’t know how people actually felt any more.

How they ‘were’.

Across the team, I mean.

And I didn’t interface with so many clients, either.

I cherry picked.

And I also think I said things to individuals in the team that were unkind.

Or at least inconsiderate.

Or flippant.

Or thoughtless.

But whatever it said.

It was wrong.


I could analyse what was really going on in the last 5 years – forever.

And still not know.

Maybe I’d had enough.

And I was sabotaging.

Maybe I thought I was better than other people now that I had a Proper Agency.

So I was just less interested in some people than others.

I’m not sure.

What I am sure about though is that I’m not a bad person.

I bet I did bad things though.


Whatever was going on.

The Proper Agency that I’d created wasn’t fun at all.

I didn’t smile so much.

I wasn’t so interested in people any more.

Pondering instead such things as productivity.

Billed hours.

Client retention.


Forgetting that high-level performance all those areas required.




Very soon after.

I’d closed all my agencies.

They were gone.

That happened almost ten years ago as I write this.

Amazing how time flies.

And I’ve been compelled to write this because only now do I feel that I am in the right place to reconnect.


With people.

In business, I mean.

To share.


To care.


I’m just more relaxed.


Less urgent.

Back to not comparing whatsoever.

And I do mean that.

I just do what I do these days.

And it feels nice.


But I’d better be careful.

Really careful.

Because if I ever do get ‘Proper’ again.

If I ever do work out what I am doing.

If I ever do get past this ‘making things up as I go along’ phase.

If I ever do get past this ‘winging it’ stage.

If I ever do get past this ‘fun’ stage.

I might just fuck it all up again.

1 Comment

  1. …just stumbling upon your website via LinkedIn and so glad that I did. Your words/journey are just the lift this (almost) 50 year old needed. Refreshing. Thank you. Inspired to write a bit more and share again (perhaps). For that…I’m grateful.

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