I made the (scary) decision to “fire myself” as CEO of my own company. #BestDecisionEVER (IamNOTaCEO.com, Part 2)
Back in 2007, I had a “company” (a term I use loosely, hence the quotes) which was a collection of viral “Humor Hotlines” (the first/biggest of which was “The Rejection Hotline”) which were collectively reaching / entertaining / engaging MILLIONS of people and receiving huge amounts of media coverage; yet I had (half-jokingly) dubbed myself “America’s Worst Entrepreneur” because, despite the success/growth on the consumer-facing/product side, we were still losing money on the business side…
So, after much soul-searching and internal debate, I decided to “fire myself” as CEO of my own company. I brought in a business partner to be the new CEO, to run/grow the company, to handle the parts of the business that I wasn’t particularly good at (or excited about), allowing me to focus on the parts of the business that I excel at (the content, the creative, the ideas, the vision, the strategy, etc.).
That realization that “I am NOT a CEO” was absolutely the catalyst for the success of our startup! Within 6 months of replacing myself as CEO, we had raised a million dollars in funding. Within 6 months of the funding, we were profitable — after YEARS without any significant revenue! And we were a profitable 7-figure company for the next 4+ years…
[NOTE: Big thanks to Bryan! (my aforementioned CEO / business partner) … And, while I’m at it, shout-out/thanks to Dave (our lead investor)… and all (7?) of the other investors who took a gamble with us… and to Josh, our CTO… and thanks to all our employees!!! I know I’ve thanked you all before — but figured I should also do it here, ya know, for the 7 people who might actually be reading this?]
In conclusion (as I am optimistically hoping that someone is still reading at this point), my “I am NOT a CEO” lesson is one that I hope to encourage other entrepreneurs to seriously consider for themselves — not necessarily in regard to the CEO role; just regarding personal strengths, weaknesses, and self-awareness in general! And it is the backbone for how I plan to write the next chapter in my entrepreneurial career, by embracing my (few) strengths (as a vision/strategy/idea guy, a viral media specialist, and a startup-STARTER) and my (many) weaknesses (organization, operations, execution, sales, getting distracted in the middle of a