30 employees, layoffs, One Day Design hits $100k, & microwaving Peppa Pig Undies.
Before I look forward to 2023 and start planning, I like to reflect on 2022.
Last week, we recorded a podcast on the highs & lows from this past year. You can listen to it right here.
My year involved doubling headcount to 30 employees, One Day Design hits $100k, & microwaving Peppa Pig Undies every am.
Here are the 10 highlights.
1) GrowthHit Doubles in Size to 30 People (The Highs & Lows of Growth)
We hit some records this year.
- Doubled revenue from 2020.
- Doubled staff from last year.
- Doubled my stress level.
That last one isn’t entirely true. My stress is always high.
But, the company has changed and it felt a little heavier.
And I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Until, my CFO recommended Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! and it opened my eyes to the “Black Hole” companies hit.
What’s the black hole?
It’s when you have over 20 people and are between $1 – $5M in sales. This is a dangerous place to be and lots of companies just stay here or go under.
And I 100% see why.
At this stage, you need systems, processes and management to grow but you can barely afford it. So, if you have a small downturn during this grow phase then everything can unravel. Growth isn’t easy. Growth is expensive. And growth can break you.
After doubling our staff and investing into growth, we got rocked by the massive dip in the market. We had to make two layoffs but we have emerged stronger from it. Each stress test makes us better. Whether it’s the lessons learned from COVID or lessons learned from the 2022 pullback, our team loves a good comeback story!
2) GrowthHit Gets a New Site (and a New Logo!)
Does your brand matter?
The answer is not “if brand matters” but “when does brand matter?”
In the early days, not doing things because it’s “off brand” will kill you. At the early phase, it’s about speed.
But, as you build a brand it can become your moat. Then you must guard your brand with your life.
In 2019, I invested in a premium website for GrowthHit and it was 100% worth it. It better represented our work and prospects trusted us more.
But, that was 3 years ago.
It’s time for an upgrade. Out amazing team of designers, lead by Angela and Vitalli, elevated our brand with a new site and logo. What do you think?
3) Our Startup Studio Hits $100,000
Our agency launched a startup studio, Hit Lab Ventures, last year.
To celebrate, we started the $3M Challenge.
What’s the $3M Challenge?
To launch and grow 3 companies to $1M in sales each. Here are the 3 companies:
- GrowthHit (agency)
- One Day Design (productized service)
- Handsome Chaos (D2C)
We’re documenting every step along the way.
One Day Design: We launched in April and hit $100,000 in sales in November. And we’re just getting started. It wasn’t easy and it’s being neglected. We have big goals for it in 2023.
Handsome Chaos: Oh, the pain. After 14 months of pomade formulation, we (finally) nailed the product but our manufacturer walked out on us.
We found a new manufacturer and we’re launching in Feb 2023. Silver lining: This gives us more time to work on the launch plan.
Speaking of . . . what do you think of this updated landing page below? We’re hoping to hit $250,000 in 2023.
4) Learning from Other Founders
Two quotes that are overstated but 100% true.
“You’re the average of your 5 best friends.”
“If you’re the smartest person in a room then find a new room.”
Simply put, invest time and energy in who you surround yourself with because it’ll impact your mindset.
This was my first full year in EO (Entrepreneurship Organization). EO is a group where you have to be the founder of a company that’s does over $1M /yr to qualify. Each month I meet with 8 other CEOs for 6 hours.
The learnings have been impactful but the relationships are transformative. I recommend that everyone create a peer group support system.
Here are some highlights from 2022.
- Went to San Diego to do Ice Baths like Wim Hof
- Retreat in the Cascade Mountains (Leavenworth, WA)
- Boat Cruise around South Lake Union
5) Our Podcast Crosses 100 Episodes
From Navy Seals to best-selling authors, we just did our 100th podcast episode.
It’s been more gratifying than I can say and it’s the ultimate relationship hack.
To celebrate, hers is the “greatest hits” episode.
Here are the highlights.
- How ConvertKit Got to $30M ARR with No Funding #41 (Nathan Barry)
- How Kreyol Essence Got on Shark Tank #24 (Yve-Car Momperousse)
- How this CEO Funded His Bets in Startups #61 (Craig Swanson)
- How to Take over the World – #43 (Benjamin Wilson)
- How a Navy Seal & Founder Wins with Grit #49 (Patrick Dossett)
- How this Celebrity Chef Got his Big Break #64 (Joel Gamoran)
- The Power of Being Niche from a SaaS Owner #88 (Ben Jabbawy)
- How a DTC brand did 7 figures in 12 Days #64 (Brian Lockard)
- How Eric Jorgenson Got His Big Break w/ Naval #36
- How a Comedian Writes a Joke #10
- How Being a Parent Gives a Founder Super Powers #95 (Adam Weiler)
- The Nicest Thing Anyone Has Ever Done For you #2 (Tommy Griffith)
Get the full episode RIGHT HERE.
6) Speaking Gigs: From Bazooka Gum to Techstars
In 2022, I did 17 speaking engagements.
From Bazooka Gum to ExpertDojo, I got on the real (and virtual) stage and tried to not mumble, stutter or say “like.”
I mostly failed at that last one.
But, that’s not bad for a kid that had a speech impediment in elementary school.
I hate traveling from my family to speak but I love connecting with founders and marketers. This is my ideal way of doing it.
But, the real reason why I do it: Speaking keeps me sharp and forces me to learn.
7) Our TikTok Experiment Crossed 1,000,000 Views
Big shout out to my partner, Yonathan Ayenew. He came up with the idea for Damn Good Marketing.
It’s our test to see if we can crack the code on viral videos on TikTok.
And the results are promising.
This short form media brand talks about 1 thing: Examples of Damn Good Marketing.
And we just hit 1.4M views with one video.
What did we do?
We made content that was “platform-first” and we iterated. It took 21 tests before we got one to 1,000,000.
Now let’s see if we can turn any of these views into conversions.
8) I Joined the 6 AM Club
How do you stay fit?
I love basketball. But, COVID (plus my weak knees) sent my bball career into early retirement.
I was playing golf. But, golf isn’t a sport and it’s kind of boring. (Yes, I said it.)
So, I wasn’t really doing anything.
Then my wife started doing a 6am HITT workout class in our neighborhood.
I thought it was a bunch of old dudes and soccer moms. But, I was wrong.
It’s a 30 minute class and our trainers (Hey Chris and Geramey) kick our a$$ in 30 second increments.
Now, I am addicted.
I did 74 workout classes in 2022. My goals is to do 145 in 2023.
9) Girl Dad-ing (Part 5)
In 2017, I became a dad. (Thanks West!)
In 2019, I was officially let into the girl-dad club. (Thank you Wren.)
Here are some highlights from stumbling my way through fatherhood.
The Summer of Cruising:
This was the summer of bike rides. We got 2 Rad Power Bikes to help us take on the mean hills of Magnolia and it opened up our eyes to a new side of Seattle.
Plus, it’s easier to get our girls on the bike than in a car seat. Win!
I coached my 5-year-old’s basketball team this year and I have never been so exhausted to hold the attention of 12 hyper kids for 45 minutes at a time. But, man it was fun. As a bonus, I love the feeling of blocking the shot of a 4 foot tall kid. Great Stress reliever.
I did “daddy daughter” ballet lessons with my 3 year old and I felt like a boss doing twirls to the Encanto soundtrack. Tip: Always wear socks with grippers. If not, prepare to wipe out to the amusement of toddlers.
I am working on my version of a home school curriculum for my two girls as they get older.
I call it Dad University.
Yes, it leads to instant eye rolls from my oldest.
The curriculum involves me teaching them about the important things like . .
personal finance, how to bootstrap a business, how to not date d-bags, commentary on every episode of Seinfeld, making the perfect PB&J, etc.
I started my version of “Dad U” this year by doing 20 minute reading lessons every night. For my oldest, we did it from this book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I have been impressed with her progress as a little reader.
Tip: I highly recommend bribery as a way to get buy-in.
10) Family Trips
I read a stat that scared me.
When your kid leaves your house at 18 you will have spent 80% of your time with them in your lifetime.
And good luck having quality time with your kid after they are 13. They just want to hang with their friends at that point.
To sum it up, you have 12 summers to make memories and inspire them.
Well, that’s a lot of damn pressure on a dad.
As a proactive move, I decided to go all in on making memories together with epic family trips. Being in the PNW, we went all in on local trips every 3 months. Here are some of the highlights.
- Seabrook on the Pacific Ocean
- Suncadia n the mountains
- Leavenworth, WA
- Alderbrook on the Hood Canal
As a bonus, Kyle and I were able to sneak off for two adult trips to NYC and Cali. We even pulled off a day date where we went from the beach to the ski slopes within 4 hours.
BONUS: My #1 Life Hack is Having a BadA$$ Wife
The juggle is real.
Daycare drop off, work travel, bedtime negotiations, product launches, microwaving your toddler’s undies to make them “cozy.”
And I struggle to do my small part.
I would be lost without my ride or die. And I am so grateful for her.
The #1 life hack is having a spouse you actually “like” because that will make the journey that much more entertaining. I heard a funny line that said this about marriage and family.
There is a thin line between love and hate and it’s like.
That also means to make sure you’re likable as well!
Hope you have some time to reflect as well.