My first 6 months as Cofounder
- By Rhea Gargour
I am one of those annoying people that takes their birthday REALLY seriously. I use it to reflect on ups and downs, plan for the next year and generally have a lot of attention focused solely on me. But this year I feel differently, as a couple of days before I turn one year older, something more important than me turns six months old.
After a year of planning, researching and a lot of talking, my cofounder and I pressed the LIVE button and inextricably linked our reputations (and LinkedIn profiles) to our mission of changing the way people work.
Six months ago, we launched By Day.
We didn’t want to watch accomplished professionals navigate the limited choices available between hard earned careers and a rewarding family life.
We didn’t believe the competing messages that made it feel like parents had to have superhero powers in order to be great.
We didn’t agree with the assumption that to be a successful professional you had to do a 60 hour work week, every week.
We didn’t think businesses should hire someone who wasn’t the right fit, especially for longer than they needed to.
We knew that there was a better, more efficient way to operate and it was about time the status quo was challenged.
Frankly, we wanted to create a big change and it was really scary.
There was a part of me that knew that we had to do this. We could help businesses have the human capital to realise their potential, whilst awarding professionals who had cultivated real expertise the choice to work when it made sense. But I was nervous. Would it work? Would people get it? Would we join a long list of impressive individuals who had a good idea but didn’t manage to make it happen?
From then, every small movement forward felt like a massive milestone. Our first Consultant signing up within an hour of launch. Our first client came a week after we launched the matching service. Repeat business from an existing client. Our first Advisor (the invaluable Julien, the cofounder of MADE.COM). Our first hire.
Every high was better than the last. Our friends and family were forced to hear every step we made and were forced to celebrate with us - even when they didn’t quite understand what we were celebrating and why.
Equally, every small setback was more emotional than anything I had experienced before and instead of feeling more sure as we got bigger, it got scarier. We wanted to be an invaluable service to everyone who engaged with us: from delivering our clients the perfect consultant through a seamless service, to treating everyone who came through our doors with the respect that they deserved.
Six months on, with hundreds of hours of project work completed (with over 50% of our existing clients submitting their second project before their first was finished), I now understand the meaning behind the formerly cringeworthy hashtag #blessed. We have signed up hundreds of Consultants with unbelievable experience and have worked on exciting new projects for fantastic brands, from those that are starting out to those who are really conquering their market. Our Consultants go into businesses as the experts to lead change or as experienced hands at a problematic time. And they make a difference.
We are a community, a movement of people who believe there is a different choice. Our Consultants use their experience in a better way and our clients benefit from that. We also only hire our own Consultants when something needs doing, making our business (and our convictions) stronger every day.
Six months on I don’t have the answers to any of those questions I asked myself when we started, but I have a better idea of what some of the outcomes will be and I know we won’t do it alone. I also have a lot of other questions that will remain unanswered for the meantime.
Ultimately, I have learned a lot more than I ever thought possible in such a short space of time, including but not limited to the fact that there is so much more I don’t know, than I do. But I do now know that naming a company is hard. Really hard.