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7,300 days later! Graham Goodkind looks back on the lessons learnt in the 20 years since he co-founded Frank

A few things happened on day one of Frank’s life, on September 1st 2000, which I didn’t realise that I’d look back at 20 years later and realise were actually signs, metaphors and guiding principles that I’d take with me throughout the next two decades. Who would have thought that that first day would have taught me so much?

Fall down, get up. Repeat.

On my commute in I managed to fall off the bus near our new office, land awkwardly and sprain my ankle ligaments. It really bloody hurt. I popped by the chemist, stocked up on ibuprofen, washed my grazed bloodied hands, dusted off my clothes and went about day one as if nothing had happened. After 20 years in agency-land, there are plenty of setbacks, disappointments and kicks in the teeth that I’ve been on the receiving end of. You’ve got to roll with the blows, be confident in your ability and pick yourself up and get on with it as best you can. There’s no point in feeling sorry for yourself.

It’s OK to be a bit scared

I remember sitting in the office on the first day looking at Andrew, Nadia and Leigh, employees 2, 3 and 4 at Frank respectively, and thinking ‘shit, I’m now responsible for three other people’s livelihoods and mortgages!’ I’d persuaded them all to come out of their nice, safe jobs to a start-up agency and the sudden weight of having to make the business successful, for their sakes, dawned on me. They believed in my vision, I now had to make it happen. And as the business grew and more people came on board, I never lost that fear of failure and letting people down.

Do a job you love

I can remember spending most of the first day smiling and laughing, loving every minute. We had a big open plan office, the banter was flying around, we were having fun, we were going to build something special, it felt like the world was our proverbial oyster. That evening I was so excited about going back into work again for day two. I don’t think I’ve ever lost that feeling of really looking forward to what the next day has in store and creating an environment where people really enjoy, and can be, themselves. If people love what they do they’ll do better at it and it’ll never feel like actual work.

Never lose that creative spirit

We spent a lot of day one brainstorming; mainly for readymade ideas that we could pitch to potential clients to hopefully add them to our roster. Anything was possible, we had been unleashed on the market. Looking back I guess we had that naivety of youth: we hadn’t had our own agency before, we didn’t place any restrictions on what we thought we could do. We lit a creative candle that day that I’ve tried my hardest to keep burning for 20 years.

Got home for bath time

My twins, Dexter and Summer, had just been born in March 2000 and I hobbled to the bus stop to get home so I could be involved in the bedtime preparations. As hard as I have worked since, I’ve always made sure to put family first and respect the boundaries between work and life. It is so important to do that. Now I’m older and the kids are all grown up, I can’t really remember the tens of thousands of hours that I spent at the office and what happened a lot of the time but I can still remember giving them their baths. So can they.

Article written by Graham Goodkind, Chairman and Founder, Frank.

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