Today is Genius Division's ninth birthday.
I still remember the day I told my boss I was quitting to start my own agency, and that I was about to become a direct rival of his.
It wasn't the easiest conversation I've ever had in my life.
I'd been planning to speak to him for a week or so, but I'd been plucking up my courage. You'll know exactly how I felt: you've got to gee yourself up to be able to tell your boss that you're leaving.
Although this time, I wasn't just leaving, I was leaving and setting up an agency about 10 miles away from him, and stealing his only designer—me. I needed double the courage.
I finally plucked up the courage one lunch time.
"Hi Paul, can I have a word in private please?"
Paul knew what was coming. I'd never previously asked for a word in private in the last year I'd been there.
"Sure Craig, shall we go for a walk?"
This wasn't the reaction I expected, and I started to wonder if Paul thought his best course of action was to murder me instead of letting me quit.
"Erm, yeah. Why not?"
We went for a walk and discussed what was the problem. I said there wasn't any problem, and I just wanted to start my own agency. I'd always wanted to start my own agency I told him. This was true, and something I'd never hidden from any employer.
Paul was really cool about me leaving, but he said one thing that's always stuck with me.
"You know what Craig, now isn't a good time to quit and start your own agency. It's 2010. We're in a global recession, and you won't succeed. Wait until the economy improves."
He was right, we were in a global recession. Now wasn't a good time.
It was also the best time I'd ever get to quit my job and start my own agency.
I'd been freelancing with James for about 6 months at this point. We'd had a run of small jobs and finally got a job that paid well (for the time): £2000. We had £2000 in our bank and we thought now was the perfect time to quit.
£2000. We each had £1000. 1 month's wages.
We said if we didn't get any more jobs in by the end of the month we'd quit and get another job.
We've been saying that jokingly for the last 9 years.
The best job in the world
Previous to Genius Division I'd never worked anywhere for longer than 1 and a half years. I have a habit of trying new things often and I get itchy feet. I worked for a few agencies before I started Genius Division.
Honestly? I never thought I'd stick at a job for so long and still feel like I've got so much left to do. Working for yourself is every adjective you can think of, but 99% of the time it's rewarding instead of it being anything else.
I'm quick to forget how lucky I am. I work for myself. Mostly, I do what I want when I want. I work with amazing people. They've put up with me for 9 years.
Here's to another 9 years.