It was a Friday in March 2014, and Steve and I were $40K in debt. Despite relentless networking, endless coffee dates, and 16-hour pavement-pounding days, we hadn’t closed a client for our branding services in three months. We were on the verge of becoming another statistic: a failed business at exactly the three-year mark.
The following Monday, we let our only two employees go. We we’re trying to build something, and it was falling apart in front of us—out of our control.
Fast-forward nine months. I stopped networking completely. I had my weekends back to myself. We were projecting $500K in revenue from our branding services by working just three days a week.
How did we do it? Simple. We built a Badass Brand.
Our story isn’t one of burning failure or ridiculous success. It’s about our desire to create, to financially thrive—and still live and work the way we always wanted to.
Like most entrepreneurs, we were always hell bent on doing things our way. In fact it’s how we actually define success. So if we go back to the the beginning, we founded our company in 2011 and named it Worstofall Design - Steve’s badass, ballsy moniker.
(If you’re wondering, yes it was difficult to introduce myself as “Worstofall Design” to a bunch of suits at 7am in midtown... But I was Mrs. Worstofall, so I had to make it work!
From Owning a Job to Owning a Business
At the one-year mark, we hit $100K in revenue. We were rich!!
But after reading Michael Gerber’s classic business book Emyth, our excitement dwindled. We had no employees, so we didn’t own a business. We owned a job.
Circle back to our two employees, who we hired despite doubled overhead costs and not enough incoming business to cover them. Before we knew it, we found ourselves back to that Friday in March.
Then, we embraced our badassery.
We were always Worstofall, and we always created with edginess. But to climb out of our hole, we had to dare to be different; to fully embrace our Memorable, Noticeable, Sharable, Badass Brand—in not only our messaging, but our business model and services. Modeling our company off of other agencies and hiring employees wasn’t working. So we listened to our guts--and blazed our own path.
For us, being a badass brand is about being unashamedly who we are, doing our own thing despite advice to the contrary, embracing irreverence, and getting shit done. As we grew and refined our unique branding process, we found businesses in every industry has a badass brand inside them, too. They just have to find it.