I Sold My Business, and It Left Me Feeling Empty | Inc.

– I remember waking up the next day subsequently feeling very empty and very depressed because that big moment
that I had been chasing ever since I was a kid left me empty. (calming guitar music) So I got to New York at 22 years old and started my first
business six weeks in. It was a digital media company. And I remember very specifically about the culture that we had created because it was very much
a sales oriented culture, it was very much focused on this notion of dialing for dollars and nothing was rewarded more so than actually landing a new client or driving top line revenue. And I remember the day
that I sold the business and waking up the next morning thereafter feeling very empty for
a couple of reasons, number one the money didn’t change and didn’t fill that hole
that I had inside of me or inside of my heart, and I couldn’t necessarily share the victory with every single person that helped get me there, and it was about three years after, I had an opportunity to really hit the pause button and take some time and think through, okay, if I’m going to start a new company, and if that company is gonna be based on my core values, and if that company is going to do some good in this world,
how am I gonna execute against that and when I thought about an industry to do that in, I wanted to find one of the most human industries that existed on the planet Earth, which of course was food. And so in building and
pizza, I was extremely nervous going into an industry that I had zero experience in and then going into an industry and changing policy, basically doing the opposite of what most companies in that industry have done for the last five or six decades, the business model was completely upside down because we were paying too much, we were providing ingredients that didn’t
make sense economically, and I remember when we opened up our first pizza shop we had
one of the most inflated both food and labor costs
I’d ever seen, right, in an actual restaurant because we were paying a living wage, we were literally making everything from scratch from the highest quality ingredients that we could find, but fast forward to six months later, the word got out in the community that there was this really cool pizza shop led by an amazing group of people that really cared about wage and humanity and community and what it meant to be a good neighbor and the lines started forming, and then the line started
going around the block and all of the sudden we couldn’t make enough pizza to sell, and that was the springboard to what brought us from a single location, 8th street northeastern Washington D.C., to well over 35 locations
and six different markets, doubling the size of the
company for the next 18 months was the fact that we did the right thing and we got rewarded for
it not just internally but externally, and nothing makes me more proud to tell the story because I want to share inspiration to others, it’s worth
doing the right thing, it’s worth putting a tremendous amount of humanity into a company. Because what you get out of it, is you get the day in day out reward of feeling good, and the day in day out support of all of your people wanting you and wanting the company to win and having your back through thick and through thin.

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