After 13 years as CEO, I’m no longer running my company

Earlier this year, I made a massive decision. After 13 years at the helm, I chose to step down as CEO from the company I founded. My entrepreneurial friends saw this as a benchmark moment — the end game! Passive income has arrived! But here’s the truth: the needs of our business were no longer my areas of strength.

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“We bootstrapped to nearly $10M in annual revenue.”

Our Story

You see, in 2006 my brother and I founded a social enterprise with a radical “remote team” model that we bootstrapped to millions of members and nearly $10M in annual revenue.

Our very first customers included the U.S. Army, Oracle, and The Walt Disney Company. It was a lot easier in those days to get a SAAS product in the door with these big name companies, and there was a lot of momentum to leverage. My brother and I like to say that I was always the “idea guy” and he, as a software developer and graphic designer, would shape my crazy vision into reality. …

There is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work.

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If history proves anything, it’s that nothing man-made is permanent. Leaders come and leaders go. Nations rise and nations fall. Businesses open, and businesses close. Ideas succeed, and ideas fail. People live, and people die.

In the past, this always struck me as a depressing reality. But as I get older, I’m finding that there is beauty, meaning, and peace in the fact that life goes on, regardless of the outcome of any particular situation.

It’s important to remember that this rhythm of life is compounded by competing storylines. There’s a global storyline affecting the world, a national storyline shaping our culture, and a personal storyline impacting what is most precious to us, our families, our households, our spouses, and our children. …

“For it is in giving that we receive.” — Francis of Assisi

If you’re keeping up with my series on Social Entrepreneurship, then you know that my personal mission to find more meaning at work became the foundation of a powerful community within my company; but it took a leap of faith to get us where we are now.

I want to give every leader the chance to experience the transformational power of a purpose-driven team and the joy that comes when you put the needs of others above your own. …

And How We Made Over a Million Dollar Impact For Our Cause

My first “real job” was in an outside sales role. My boss gave me a lot of freedom and creative control. I was surrounded by great people and I quickly grew into a leadership position with a lot of responsibility. But in a few short years, I couldn’t figure out why I was working so hard. Ultimately, when times got tough, making “good money” wasn’t motivating enough for me.

So, in 2006, my brother and I launched to bring Fortune 500 perks to companies of any size. From the beginning, we knew we wanted our business to stand for something more than the products and services we would deliver. …


Brian Roland

6x Inc. 5000 Founder, #OnMission as a distributed team builder, social entrepreneur, bootstrapper; husband & girl dad; coffee nerd, trumpeter, drone pilot

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