This reminds me of how I felt (and still feel) about WooThemes.
Woo was never going to be an unicorn or close to it. Even when WooCommerce took off and became the most widely used eCommerce platform on the web, I always felt that there was going to be a ceiling of some kind.
It wasn’t the sexiest or easiest business ever and we had to work hard for every dollar in sales that we generated, because only a tiny percentage of revenue was recurring, which meant that scaling both new product development (to fuel new revenue) and support was always going to be tricky.
This did however not make Woo a bad business. In fact, it was a fucking amazing business that not only levelled up my financial security and freedom, but it also opened up so many doors and created so many peripheral opportunities. Not to even mention the many friendships it sparked.
Was I frustrated at times when we couldn’t suddenly accelerate growth or when we didn’t have a clear exit path in mind? Yes.
Did I ever get pissed off when mainstream tech media turned a blind eye to our success? Of course. That always sucked.
And now — approximately 2 years since I sold out of Woo — I understand the value of the business with much greater clarity. It wasn’t high profile or instantly-viral; yet it was profitable in the way in which it helped a specific type of person by providing a quality product over and over again.