These days when my heart swells in overflowing gratitude for all our blessings, I cannot help but look back on our early days as a penniless, office-less independent agency.
Our first pitch was for PSBank. To make the long story short, we won that pitch on the basis of strategy and creatives. Shortly after winning, our Clients from the Marketing Department also told us that they had a lengthy discussion with the bank president and vice-president on the kind of risk they are taking by choosing us over multinationals and more established agencies.
We were then only in our second month of operations. We didn’t have an office yet because we didn’t have the money for office space, so we only worked on the pitch in malls, coffee shops and in the houses of our two officemates/co-founders. For our clients (who are risk-averse, conservative bankers), their decision to go with an agency that may potentially fold up within its first year seemed not a very wise decision.
Fortunately, they liked our work so much that they listened to their intuition. One of the VPs even said that he actually liked it that we had a mind of our own and we were bold enough to give up a stable career to venture into business. Essentially, they made a non-banker decision by officially awarding the account to us.
Another significant pitch was that of Resorts World Manila. We worked on that account while we were all in the condo unit. We used to go to work in shirts and shorts and flip-flops. And we would discuss strategies and concepts while lying down on the bed, watching American Idol (Lee DeWyze’s and Crystal Bowersox’s season) and other movies on TV. In the afternoon, some of us would go down for a swim. If we have to stay late for work, we’d cook sausages or canned goods. We were like college kids doing a thesis in one’s dorm.
But it wasn’t always fun. Starting a business was an alien concept to us. There were days when we actually thought we’d have better chances of surviving if we just disintegrate.
Two years after, we are still around. It is a tribute to our fake confidence (!) and eternal optimism that we managed to make the business profitable even without a CFO to plan our finances (we just took a short finance course and that's it!).
We have come a long way from the time when we were showing up for work in what will pass off as fashionable pambahay ;-) Those were scary times but those were also our best times, when we were able to test our tenacity and resolve to survive even in the most unpleasant circumstances.
So…..no matter what happens (let’s just say we get luckier and luckier in the future, win more blue-chip accounts, get more awards, take a more fabulous office address), I think we'd still be the same old bunch of guys who once lugged our Macbooks (we were poor but we were proud) in coffee shops, malls and a friend's apartment to do an honest day's work.
Looking back is good.