In the summer of 2007, I was hired by a FansEdge.com, a sports merchandise retailer, to manage their Google Adwords account. I couldn’t have imagined that within 3 years I would be promoted to head of all advertising while simultaneously launching my own company, Perfect Search. Yet, there I was doing it.
It was a period of significant transition during which I was regularly presented with new and greater challenges all the while learning the value of taking risks. Although these moments were some of the most daunting in my life, the changes I made because of them were essential to arriving at where I am now.
Here are two considerations I kept in mind as I was going through that transition and that still help me today as I set off to take bigger risks and accept greater challenges.
Test and change quickly
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to move quickly---especially when risk-taking is involved. Moreover, opportunity outweighs cost. That is, the cost of not doing something often outweighs the cost of taking a risk and testing something new.
Today, as an organization, we consider our laser focus on testing a differentiator. Whatever you are doing can be done better or more efficiently, it’s just a matter of finding out how. We’re currently testing messaging strategy, outsourcing versus insourcing, paid versus class credit internships, audit strategies, pricing strategy, and contract terms. These are all lessons we’re learning and growing from---and doing so promptly.
Early last year, we decided as a company to develop our core values. Of those, our first was “Take Initiative”. To us, this means being proactive, challenging one another, taking risks, and adapting.
In my first role at FansEdge, I pushed to completely revamp the company’s entire digital strategy by putting a strong emphasis on long-tail traffic. My vision was to rebuild its massive account and do so with their technology team. When I pitched the idea, they refused. My marketing team was quick to find simpler ways to achieve our goal and nothing could slow us down.
Our restructure ended up launching in October of that same year and doubled our run rate from $25 million to $50 million in a 2-week period. This was the impetus for what we today call, Perfect Search. Needless to say, this drive and determination was life-changing.
Change has offered me opportunities to take greater risks and learn more. Every day, I’m grateful to continue learning and growing from the work we do. Right now, I’m working with my colleagues to continue innovating how our company will expand how we work with clients and what we do for them. We’re hoping to take risks in our operations, performance, and more.
What risk do you plan on taking today? And how will you see them through? These are valuable questions as you set forward on your path to doing what matters to you.