This morning I read that yet another company is laying off 7% of their labor force. Like all other kinds of bad news these days it hardly caught my attention, but I paused for a moment to think about the folks who will go into the weekend on a rollercoaster of emotions, ups and downs. And I think about the people who are left, the ones who will be tasked with shutting down initiatives and duct-taping the ones who are left. Nothing about these times is a win—win for anyone.
This year I have talked to a handful of studio owners that have enjoyed a decade or more of stability and solid growth. Every one of them has had to reduce their labor in response to rapidly dwindling pipelines that are taking much, much longer to close. And that’s if the project still exists after months of assurances and waiting. We talked about tough times in the past, but 2023 is on another level. One of these owners, a long-time friend wrote:
This time 100% feels different than the 2008 recession…and that actually felt like the perfect time to have a boutique agency, the budgets were decreased but the amount of worked needed to be done was increased, so small teams operating more efficiently could clean-up.
But this time, it's like budgets are decreased, ideas and aspirations are increased, but projects are stagnate or on-hold. I feel like it's the 12-month long limbo of "are we in a recession" or "are we not in a recession" and everyone just kind of wants to wait and see.
While indeed 2008 was different for boutique studios, one thing remains the same, the world is in a state of change and when the dust settles—and it will—those who are nimble and ready will be able to pounce. Another similarity to the previous deep recession is that businesses, despite having billions in the bank, will not rush to build back up to what they were. They are reconfiguring how to get things done and that includes headcount vs. vendors and consultants.
After the last couple of years of having been laid off from InVision and treated like I was fired after submitting my notice to the last company I worked for, I’m not eager to be an employee again. I have zero trust that accepting a role provides any more security than doing the same work as a consultant. Job security only exists as a facade.
Not everyone can consider a different path and I respect that position. But for those who can, I want to help as many folks as I can avoid returning to an office. To apply their experience, education, talent, and skills to start their own company. To invest in themselves and their future. It’s not easy. Owning a company that succeeds never is, but I’d prefer to bet on myself than the whims of another hiring manager or the slot machine of leadership that proliferates in the corporate world.
I know there are many others out there who want to do something different, to go out on their own but they are unsure about what to do next. They want to invest in themselves but also need to avoid risking it all to do so, and that’s where Jump Ship comes in. Ryan and I have created a program that will take anyone through the process of validating their ideas, and their path, before ever having to quit an existing job, taking out a loan, or seeking venture capital investment.
Our initial prototypes have been a huge hit. The conversations we’ve had with others about what we’re doing are all met with positive enthusiasm and support. I can’t wait to get this cat out of the bag and show you what we’re building. Follow along because you’re not going to want to miss it.