I reread Mike McDerment’s open letter to his tribe both for its inspiration and the story he shares. It took him 10 years to become an overnight success. There was a lot of uncertainty, hard work and perseverance characteristic of entrepreneurial leaders. I love his story and his commitment to grow his vision.
Though the game has changed since his humble beginnings, he is setting another bar and putting himself out there with his customers and his team. It’s bold, transparent and a great example of leadership.
I think about his story that he shared and where he is headed and take a few things away from it:
- Have an object of affection. Loving customers, the team and the work makes the hard times worth it. You have to cling to what you love. If you don’t love anything about the venture, it’s likely a sign to hang it up. Love fuels the passion to keep taking another step.
- Know who you are. Calling yourself “Cloud Accounting” came about through much iteration and interaction with their tribe. The positioning and identity is both a calling and market identification. There is a symbiosis which helped to clarify who FreshBooks is. Our markets work this way. Keep working hard. Listen to the market. Pick up on what they think of you.
- Emphasize your core. They want to be simple software that makes sense. They work with entrepreneurs and freelancers. They want to change the world by making accounting simpler and frictionless. That has not changed and it is a mantra that keeps being stated despite continually innovating.
I am rooting for FreshBooks, not only because of their great software, but because of what they stand for and their leadership. Strong vision and apparent passion for their product and customers is an example to companies seeking to separate themselves from all the noise. If you haven’t checked them out, be sure to look into their offerings.
Thanks for making a difference, Mike.