13 Years and Counting…
Two very important things are turning 13 this year. Daylight and my eldest son Zach. These milestones are forever linked for me because, like all responsible parents, I chose to start a company when my first born was two months old. “Playing with papa” often consisted of him bouncing a myriad toys off my head as I—having not slept for several days working on a deadline—lay asleep on his bedroom floor. “Vacations” were always centered around one client meeting or another. Why go to Disneyland or Yosemite when you could enjoy Bonners Ferry, Idaho or Bothell, Washington? Don’t get me wrong, both are very nice, but they don’t hand out mouse ears. I’m sure Zach will eventually have many enjoyable therapy sessions revolving around his lost youth as the child of a small business owner. But I digress.
It is easy to be reflective when we come upon these types of milestones. Full disclosure, I never set out to start an agency and, no, world domination was never a goal of mine. I started Daylight because I loved the work, and I simply wanted to support my new family the best I could. I was certain that if I worked hard and was dedicated to creating things I was proud of, the work would come. I was very determined (stubborn) early on and the answer to the question of “Can you do ____?” was always a resounding yes… followed by a lot of research and long hours to figure out how to best complete what I just committed myself to delivering. Consequently the early years were filled with very interesting and educational projects for some amazing companies (many of which are still clients today).
”…And the Big Man joined the band.”
Over time the relationships developed turned into more than I could support alone. I reached out to colleagues and friends in the industry to help meet this new demand. One such friend of a friend was Dave McReynolds (now my partner at Daylight). It is often said when starting a business to surround yourself with people better/smarter than you, and I did this in spades when I convinced Dave to leave his day job and join Daylight. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for him but, for my part, I had no reservations. He is the most integral, hard working, kind person I have ever met. I may have run the company for 5 years prior, but it is safe to say that Daylight truly began in June 2007 with his arrival.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
As our client base grew, so did our team. One thing that has been proven out over the years is that Dave and I are very good at finding great employees. Not only are they good at what they do, but they are just good people in the main. I believe I am one of those rare, fortunate people who doesn’t dread coming to the office and seeing the people I work with. We laugh more than most and I sincerely believe everyone genuinely likes each other. One small story to illustrate: I was recently unexpectedly out of the office for an extended time due to a family emergency. Though I was confident our team would do well in my absence, I could not have been more proud of how they performed. People stepped up and tackled duties they had not done in the past, and didn’t just complete them, but excelled at them. Several put in extra hours and simply did what they felt necessary given the situation. This certainly would have been more than enough, but many continually asked what they could to help myself and my family on a personal level. They were already putting in extra hours to help and instead of feeling put out or complaining, they were asking how they could help more. I was moved by the overwhelming acts of selflessness and it is something I will never forget. I have no doubt that this would have happened for any person on our team.
“This is the business we’ve chosen.”
I’ll be honest. Running a small business is a constant challenge, and I’m sure it would be easier at times to work for someone else, punch a clock and leave it all at the office. However, as I sit here thinking about the past 13 years, it is clear to me that the pride I feel about Daylight coalesces around the people and relationships.
First, the relationship between Daylight and our clients. We have enjoyed a lot of wonderful project successes together over the years, and we all look forward to many more in the years to come.
Secondly, and equally as important, is the relationships between Dave, myself and our employees. Of all the things I’m proud of, I am most proud that Daylight now supports 11 families and individuals, not just mine.