Big Radio escorted me to the exit door ten years ago as part of a “cost-cutting” measure. We had been growing the digital business nearly 20% per year, but that wasn’t good enough. Budgets are budgets, and when you miss them, you’re probably on the way out. That happened to me twice as radio tried, and failed, to reposition themselves for the digital world.
When you’re working for corporate media or technology, particularly in a high salary position, job cuts are always in the back of your mind. The sense of insecurity creates anxiety. I feel for the families experiencing layoffs right now. The uncertainty is tough on families, particularly the kids. Ten years ago I pledged to never be beholden to big media or big tech again. Financial and career uncertainty was going to be on my terms, where I could control outcomes. It was time to become an entrepreneur again.
From 1997 – 2005 I was a digital advertising entrepreneur, first in Seattle, then Bellingham, WA. The dot-com bomb and 9-11 were extremely humbling. In Q4 2001 we lost most of our accounts, all our employees and my business partner exited. We sold our house in Seattle just to survive. The only thing I had left was a supporting wife, two young kids and one loyal client – thank you David Hall at SeattleDiamonds.com.
My second attempt at building a digital agency has been more successful. I worked countless late nights and weekends to bootstrap the agency into profitability. When COVID shut down the world I didn’t panic. Having survived the dot-com bomb I knew how to batten down the hatches, plot a straight course and trust in our abilities. I got on the phone and had long conversations with clients, colleagues and friends. It paid off and Royle Media revenues doubled in two years. My gratitude list is long. Over the next month I’ll be reaching out and thanking the people who have supported Royle Media the last ten years. Even better, call me I’d love to catch up.