This month the company I helped launch in 2009 was ranked #120 on Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies in America. It’s a wonderful accomplishment. Especially when you consider that we started out with a rendering and a two-page website back in 2009. Oh, and no advertising budget. We grew the company on branding and storytelling via social and digital media channels. Exclusively. And now we’re one of the fastest growing companies in America. Woo-hoo! Hurray for–the past. You see, the list recognizes growth during the years 2010-2013 (when we grew something like 3000%.) Growth like this isn’t easy. And sustaining this kind of momentum requires more energy than starting it. Five years ago I agreed to come on board with a goal to help grow the concept of Boxman Studios into a global brand. With the Inc. 500 news, and some of the biggest brands in the world as clients, I guess I can say “mission accomplished.”
I’m proud of what we’ve done at Boxman and feel privileged to have worked with such amazing people these past 5 years. Especially David Campbell, pictured below. The concept for turning shipping containers into mobile, semi-permanent, and permanent real estate was his. I just sprinkled the fairy dust. Innovative thinking and a desire to do great work is contagious. I highly recommend surrounding yourself with people like this.
But here’s the thing–I don’t know what to do with this accomplishment. Put it in my portfolio and parley it into notoriety? Write a book about it and roll that into speaking gigs? Get business-famous on how to effectively grow a new brand in a new market segment during a recession with almost no budget? I suppose. If only I cared about that stuff. I wrote a post a while back called The Billygoats of Marketing. Read it. I believe that there are some people who just do the work–not talk about doing it. Do I have valuable information to share with people who might replicate the marketing model at Boxman for their own benefit? Yes. Do I want to spend time and energy traveling that road? Not really. Crazy, right? Some guys would be riding this kind of thing all the way to Linkedin Superstar status. But turning this into something about Jim just seems, well, awkward. Hell, the idea of marketing my first novel (due later this year) terrifies me because of how narcissistic it might feel. I’m one of those people who just does the work. Build the brand. Solve problems. Write the book. If ever there was a candidate to thrive on an island, you’re looking at him. Notoriety is for people who want want it (and frankly, those people scare me.) I’m ok with anonymity. Mostly. Which is to say that I have to pay the mortgage like everyone else.
So yes, Boxman Studios was recently bestowed with some amazing news, and I’m proud to be part of the company’s growth. It’s just that I don’t know what to do with this news–except keep doing the work.
6 CommentsLEAVE A COMMENT
Aug 29, 2014
How many new jobs has Boxman created since 2009? How many new service sector jobs did Boxman create as an indirect result of your success so far?
As a Charlottean, I follow Boxman and I am thrilled to see this success recognized in a bench-marked fashion by Inc. 500. This is what we need more of here – strong entrepreneurially run companies up to big things that create relevant jobs – for the creative class right through all the positions you employ for!
Being employed in a great job (as you know) can change a life. Perhaps that is another way in for you to reflect on this and the lives you contributed to making different, probably better.
Aug 29, 2014
You’re right, Marilyn. I don’t think about that enough. I’m just so focused on ‘doing the job’ that I rarely have time to stop and reflect. I am proud that my work has directly contributed to the benefit of others. Thanks for the reminder.
Sep 2, 2014
Now What!?!?! Become a self-pimped WebCock, or just Do More Good Work? I think you know the answer. I would look back on the last 5 years and reflect on which pieces of that were the most rewarding to YOU, Jim Mitchem. If there’s still more of that road to be driven at Boxman, go for it. Getting named to an Inc. list certainly doesn’t mean that Boxman has jumped the shark. If it requires starting from scratch again in a totally different direction to get your itch scrached though, do that instead.
But keep build something, not a web persona. You know well that we already have too many of those prancersizing and posing around.
In any case, congrats to all at Boxman and keep keeping it real.
Sep 4, 2014
Sometimes I get excited about something awesome I’ve been part of, and then when I think about the next steps – all the ones you listed – I get tired. Literally. My eyes get heavy, my whole body feels like it’s under one of those X-ray aprons, and I can’t get my brain to think anything other than “Aw, fuck it.”
Congratulations on a pretty cool milestone in your life, and thank you for sharing it here.
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