The Bridge Turns 5

Did you buy us something wooden? Five years ago today, the first Bridge website, launched. Months earlier we established the company and our Facebook page, but we made June 1, 2012 our de facto birthdate since everything revolved around the site, where we (and our members) were literally uploading videos around the clock.

Ten thousand videos and countless events later our mission hasn’t changed. But like any startup, we tripped, evolved, scratched, adapted – and made it. It hasn’t been easy, and won’t get any easier, but now we’re prepared for new challenges.

An absurd percentage of small businesses fail in their infancy. Few survive the first two years, especially tiny businesses without employees. We were shocked to learn that it’s normal practice for a business owner to not pay her or himself for the first two or three years! “Five years,” we were told. “You have to stick around for five years before you enter the public consciousness.” That’s when people look for the open sign on your storefront, recognize your logo, and have expectations.

Having never run a business before, we were told by dozens of fellow small business owners, as well as countless friends, family and supporters, to do our best to stay the course. It didn’t take long to realize the cards are stacked against small business owners, especially in this day and age. Creating something from nothing – like cash flow – ain’t easy. We absorbed all the encouraging words and cautionary tales. Still do.

There were times we thought of packing it in, but honestly, failing wasn’t an option. We kept chipping away just to get established. We crossed that threshold. We became legit.

We’re not bragging. In fact, we’re extremely humbled. A lot of good friends with solid plans, practices, and genius ideas have lost their businesses since we began. The line between success and failure is paper thin. All it takes is one bad season, a divorce, a pregnancy, an illness, an asshole landlord, and everything you worked for is gone forever. Goodbye dream. Goodbye bank account.

So, we aren’t taking this anniversary lightly. We’re celebrating. We’re proud of our work and reputation, blessed with our friendships, and indebted to your support over the years. The list of folks who helped us get here is incredibly long. Maybe someday we’ll make the time and space to acknowledge each and every one. If we start that list today, perhaps we’ll finish by Year Ten. That’s seems like a good goal. Plus, it’ll give you time to look for something metallic.

Back to work.