22 months ago, I joined Nathan at Building 13 as a minority partner. This was the culmination of a goal established while I was an undergraduate at the University of Dayton – to own (or co-own) a design business at some point in my future career. While it was happening earlier than I had anticipated, the idea of being a business owner was extremely exciting. Partnering with a longtime friend and someone who I greatly respect and admire on myriad levels was the salted caramel icing on the proverbial cake. We hammered out the details, acknowledged the risks we both were taking, and talked openly and freely about what we needed to do to keep B13 moving on the steady upward trajectory Nathan had established the two years prior as a sole proprietor.

The acclimation to becoming a business owner was definitely a learning-on-the-fly situation. After nearly 7 years of my only responsibilities being delivering creative ideas and design, I was now trying to learn all the other responsibilities of business ownership on a 2 year delay from my partner. I give Nathan all the credit in the world for being patient with me as I attempted to learn about B13’s existing processes, and we worked together to form new ones as well. The juggling act of day-to-day business tasks with idea creation and design execution was a welcome challenge.

I understand that this next part is probably going to sound like some boo-hoo, woe-is-me, my-life-is-so-hard type shit. It’s me admitting that sometimes life overwhelms, mindsets change, and priorities shift.

The birth of my beautiful daughter in Sept 2012 brought even more responsibilities to my life’s plate that felt like it was starting to overflow. Reflecting back on it, that was the beginning of my mindset starting to shift in the direction of wanting B13 to be just work, a job where I could live out the aphorism “do what you love.” The tedium of proposals and estimates and taxes and new business generation and x-y-z started to wear on me. I don’t think I fully realized that was the case until a year later, in the fall of 2013. In between, I tried to work hard and push through, even taking the reins completely for a month while Nathan went on his much deserved Epic Road Trip.

My naiveté about what it would actually take to run and grow a successful business coupled with major life changes all led to where we are now. Building 13 and I will be amicably parting ways as of today. Ultimately, B13 doesn’t fit with what I want professionally and what’s best for my growing family anymore. I absolutely don’t regret this experience. Being able to work alongside a great friend that is as driven and talented as Nathan has been tremendous.

Thank you, Nathan, for giving me the opportunity to help grow B13. I will always be proud to consider you a colleague and a friend. We may not have set the world on fire, but at least we survived mixing business and friendship, which in itself is no small feat.

One thought on “Fin.

  1. nathan

    Keith, we had a helluva run for nearly two years. You have been a great business partner, and an even better friend. I hope the latter never changes.

    Good luck with all your future endeavors.

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