LimeCuda just celebrated our 10 year anniversary, read more and see some interesting stats.
I watched the founding of LimeCuda 10 years ago from afar. I was working at a CPA firm in Macon, GA when Blake and a friend from College, founded LimeCuda as part of a business plan class / competition. Blake has a great history of the LimeCuda biz plan competition win here.
Blake and I met during our early high school (translate: awkward) years and became close friends. We worked building Mountain Laurel Railings and doing construction / renovation in Murphy, NC.
My Early Years
In 2010 I started doing “web design” by helping my then girlfriend (now wife) with a website for her photography business. The coolest thing I had done was click “Publish” on my new Macbook’s iWeb. The whole world could now see something I had created.
I had seen the work Blake was doing but didn’t realize there was overlap with what I was doing. He started with a focus on “SEO” and those letters meant nothing to me. When he realized my interest in the web, he pushed me to check out this WordPress thing. I did and it became a slowly building love.
I Was A Little Naive
After doing a few projects, I naively thought “I can do this” and went full-time, self-employed at the end of 2011. I was mistaken.
As a newlywed trying to support a family in an industry and skill with which I had little experience, I floundered. I made a couple hundred dollars a month while cutting my teeth at a theme shop, web customization shop, a marketing agency, and finally a large plugin / enterprise agency.
It was a long, hard battle that we like to refer to as my “college” years for this industry. It was a real school of hard knocks as I learned what it meant to not only do the work we do but also manage clients, proposals, contracts, cash-flow – everything, on my own.
Throughout this time, Blake and I always stayed in touch and worked together on many projects. I was a contractor and LimeCuda was one of my freelance clients.
Blake and I have known each other since we were 14. We started working for his dad early on and had a very independent work ethic at that time. We’ve always had an ability to lean into each other and naturally push each other up and along whenever needed.
We already talked like an old, married couple with the best sort of open communication, and frank crotchety banter. So, we had the discussion in 2016 and decided to get hitched as partners in business.
Pushing the LimeCuda brand forward had already been my priority for a while. All my relationships and work became LimeCuda’s. Our mutual interests and skills complemented so well, I knew it was the best decision for me even before I became an owner / partner.
What We’ve Learned
Personally, and with LimeCuda, the last 10 years have brought some hard times as well as profitable times. We’ve been able to watch companies rise and fall around us and learn from those experiences.
There have been several decisions that I think have been critical to our survival:
- Keeping it simple. We’ve been intentionally slow to grow our own team. We want to be specialized in what we do while maintaining strong, professional relationships with others that are masters of the skills we lack. We’re not interested in building a large “agency” to meet momentary needs in our network.
- Doing right by people. We’ve worked hard to build great relationships with our clients. Part of that has been taking full, personal ownership over the success of projects we take on. We’re also open and honest with people when their project isn’t a good fit. Yes, we’ve had hiccups along the way, however we’ve made huge leaps in redeeming those relationships. We aim to always do right by people.
- Focusing on lifestyle & health. Money is secondary. Yes, we need to make money (and a certain amount) to support our families. However, having a healthy lifestyle has been made a priority. There is a need to have checks and balances to define what is enough when you have your own business. We could always make more and there is no one stopping us from that being the motivation. But the lifestyle is the biggest thing we can control when searching for happiness on this path compared to a traditional job.
- Trust. Blake and I have known each other more than half our lives. We built our work ethics together. Our worldviews and values were defined together. We can lean into each other as we have family troubles or illness. We can trust that the other is taking care of “their house” without worrying “are they doing enough”.
It would be naive to believe there aren’t many more lessons to be learned. But, I’m excited about the next 10 years and what the new decade has in store – good or bad.