In this episode, I talk about my decision to leave the company that I founded, and what the future holds for my entrepreneurial journey.
Clay Collins: Hey, this is Clay, welcome to Maximalist. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where my heart is at.
Recently I’ve been feeling like my mind is reeling trying to find the answer to a question and I don’t know what that question is. I’m trying to find an answer to the question that is undefined. My head has just been spinning, spinning, and spinning and spinning. I was sitting at my company’s event or at least the company that I am the board chairman of and co-founder of but no longer the CEO of, called Leadpages. We had a conference called Converted, which was fantastic. I really enjoyed it and I feel like we did a lot of good there. But I was at the conference for the last couple days and one of the highlights of my career there was I got to interview Kevin Smith who produced Mall Rats, and Clerks, and a whole bunch of other great movies. Chasing Amy, Dogma. He also produces Smodcast and Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. He’s Silent Bob but he was anything but silent on stage. But that was a highlight. Anyway, I’ve been reflecting on what is it that has me so cognitively stuck? What is this question that I keep on searching for the answer to.
I realized that what has happened, at least what I believe has happened, is that my heart is just broken. My heart is broken about breaking up with Leadpages as the CEO and as someone who’s been involved from day one. This was my choice. I decided to fire myself as CEO and work with the board to hire our current amazing CEO, John Tedesco. Like, 100% my choice. I think what’s hard is that I went through a period of about 8 months where I got up every day and started working and realized that I was no longer good at my job.
The company had a lot of success and has a lot of success and has continued to grow and do amazing things. But, I grew it along with a whole bunch of other people from nothing to over 150 people. We raised 38 million in venture capital, 50,000 paying customers, and at some point along that journey I was no longer the best person to run the company. For a period of about, I think eight months to maybe even a year, I feel like I was just doing a terrible job. And that hurt, right? That doesn’t feel good.
Nobody likes to feel like they’re not competent. Also, like when I think about some of the people that joined the company, you’ve got our VP of Product, who came to us from Intuit and ran QuickBooks online for them. Our CMO who was one of the earlier people at Backcountry and has sold over a billion dollars online. Our VP of People who ran recruiting for a startup called House which has raised over six million dollars in venture capital. Super fast growing startup. Our CFO who came from GoDaddy, right? Millions of customers.
And of course, John, who I was sitting with many of those people and realized that I don’t even think I could get hired as the Director of Marketing at this company. So, I’m no longer there and I’m glad I have this space to reflect. I’m glad I have a bit more time to sleep and less stress in my life. I’m not even sure that I can say that, as fond as I am of everything that’s going on there, it’s not like I wake up every day and I like miss it. But somehow, this kind of breakup, I do feel heartbroken.
You know, in the same way that you can be in a relationship with someone and part ways and break up and everyone knows that it wasn’t going to last and that it wasn’t the right thing. But you still feel that emptiness, right? There’s still that void. That’s the best explanation I can come up with for what I’m going through right now. But the good thing is that, one, time heals. I believe time heals all wounds. And two, I think the people that really make life work for them are the people who don’t stop when their heart is broken.
I had my heart broken in high school. I was in love with a girl and we broke up. I thought I would never date again. I thought there was no one else for me ever, right? But, that’s not true. I’m super in love with my wife and have two beautiful children and things turned out, right? So, I guess that’s the hope I have is this is just a time in my life and it’s important to learn the lessons that need to be learned here. That what I’m experiencing isn’t something that should be rushed. I shouldn’t frantically do stuff to make the pain go away. That this is a pain that is instructive and it should be felt. Perhaps it wouldn’t even be healthy if I wasn’t feeling it. So maybe the lesson here is to just kind of dive into the pain and learn everything that it has to teach me and be grateful that I’m in a place where I don’t have to just jump from leaving Leadpages into a cubicle, right? I’m an entrepreneur. I can start another company and so I have with an amazing person named Nick Gothier. We started a company called Nomics like economics.
N-O-M-I-C-S, nomics.com. I’m excited about that. I’m as excited about working with Nick as I am about the idea itself. So, Nick if you’re listening to this, know that. Anyway, I guess I’ll just wrap this up by saying that I like that I figured this out. I don’t know that I want to give advice here. Maybe I will, you know. If you, too, have or experienced heartbreak, I hope you gave yourself the opportunity to completely feel it and then, the wherewithal to not let that stop you. Right? This is instructional. Alright, world! I love you. Take care. Bye.