My roller coaster ride as an entrepreneur

by jeffhilimire on April 1, 2014

jeff-hilimire-dragon-army-prev-president-engauge-at-startup-grind-atlanta-415x260

I was honored a few weeks back to be asked to speak at Startup Grind Atlanta. Chris hosts a great fireside chat and we had a lot of fun batting stories around.

The entirety of the chat is at the bottom of this post, but in case you want the quick version, it went like this:

Spunlogic

1998 – 1999: Fun times (carefree, exploring our passion for web design)

1999 – 2001: Hard times (credit card debt rising, no real plan for growth)

2001 – 2003: Focused times (starting to figure out how to build a business)

2003 – 2008: Fast times (doubled every year for 5 years)

Engauge

2008 March-April: Amazing times (sold the company)

2008 May – 2011: Suck times (economy tanked, unhappy, floundering from role-to-role, should have left to start my own company)

2011 – 2013: Focused times (promoted to President, re-energized, worked hard to grow the company)

2013 August: Relief times (sold the company)

Dragon Army

2013 September – present day: Fun and Focused times (learning new industry, working with passionate, inspired crew)

Yep, that’s about the gist of the last 16 years for me. Ups and downs, good times and tough. I’m incredibly blessed that it has lead me hanging out with these people all day.

  • Dave W

    If you had left do you think you would be as prepared as you are now for startup round 2? Seems with tough troubled times comes the most growth and motivation. Curious on your thoughts?

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Good question, and I’ve been asked that before. While I do think staying at the company helped me grow as a leader, it would be hard to think that I wouldn’t have grown as much as a leader with 3 more years of running my own shop under my belt.

    Additionally, the things I really learned – working with private equity partners, managing board relations, etc – are not things I hope to ever do again. The next time I sell a company my plan is to get out asap and not deal with any of that again. I’d rather leave money on the table then not be running my own shop.

    So yes, learned a lot, grew as a person, but I believe I would have done the same if I’d been off doing my own thing.

  • http://www.digitalmarketingspeak.com/ Vlad Gorenshteyn

    It’s a good thing you chose “Spunlogic” as your agency’s name. The parallel universe doesn’t look so pretty.

    What I want to #askjeffhilimire is how he came up with “Dragon Army”.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    That would be the brain child of co-founder Ryan Tuttle. He came up with the name, Dragon Army and even had to sell it on me a little!

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