I started Rep Cap on December 9, 2011. When I became a business owner, I had little more than a severance check from my last employer and a strong feeling that content marketing could be much, much better.
Since then Rep Cap has grown into a thriving team that delivers expert content marketing advice and support to a client roster that ranges from solopreneurs to the Fortune 500. Our team is spread across the country, but every December we all gather in my hometown, Baton Rouge, to celebrate the year’s accomplishments, talk about what’s next in content marketing and eat a lot of cake. (Seriously — our accountant suggested it might be time to add a line item in the budget for cake.)
But 2016 has been tough. It’s been an especially trying year for Baton Rouge. This summer we were still trying to figure out how to band together and respond after the shooting of Alton Sterling and the attacks on police officers that happened in the wake of his death. Then the community was hit by major, unprecedented flooding. Our home was spared. But in one parish outside Baton Rouge, 90 percent of homes were flooded, including that of our intern, Morgan. In the immediate aftermath our local team members spent weeks volunteering in emergency shelters, entertaining kids whose schools were indefinitely closed and racing to gut houses of friends, family and neighbors before mold set in.
Business here was completely halted. Everyone was focused on survival, community and sheltering each other. I was incredibly grateful for Rep Cap’s decentralized staffing model, which helped insulate us from the worst of the economic disruption that struck many of my fellow entrepreneurs in South Louisiana. The tight-knit team I love to brag on so much came together to free up me, Mitchell and Dominique to put all of our energy into serving our community.
Life in Baton Rouge is not back to normal. People are still struggling. Many aren’t yet back in their homes. As we reach the close of the year, business owners are looking at balance sheets that aren’t anywhere close to their projections for the year. The nonprofits that usually fill so many needs in the community are facing depleted bank accounts and fatigued donors.
Like I said, it’s been a trying year. So at first I thought this might not be a year to throw a big party. Maybe this was the year to scale it back a little. I wondered if people would even be in the mood for bubbles and cake.
I almost didn’t have the party.
But you know what? We need some good news. We need a celebration, and we need to celebrate our survival as a team, a company and a community.
It’s been five years. Rep Cap is still here, and finding ways to thrive despite the external setbacks. We still work with an amazing team of writers, editors and marketers around the world. We still have the privilege of doing interesting, creative, fulfilling work with people we respect. And Baton Rouge is still here too.
So we booked a beautiful spot, called up our go-to bakery, Gambino’s, and our favorite local chefs at Goûter, and bought up all the sparkling wine that TJ’s would box up for us on the spot. We kicked up things a notch with an amazing band.
I almost didn’t write this. But I’m glad I did.
Thank you to everyone who’s supported me, my family, Rep Cap and Baton Rouge in 2016.
Onward to Year 6.