Today, I’m joined by Gay Gaddis, a founder, artist, and author who is best known for growing T3 from scratch to the largest independent female-owned ad agency in the U.S.
At the height of a country-wide recession in 1989, Gay quit her job and cashed in her $16,000 IRA to go all in on starting her ad agency. Soon after landing her first 3 clients, Gay signed Dell to T3. As it positioned itself on the cutting edge of internet marketing in the 1990s, T3 continued to grow. In 2019, Gay sold T3 after growing it to more than $40M in annual net revenue.
Now, Gay is a successful painter, the best-selling author of “Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business & Life,” and the founder of “Women Who Mean Business,” a women’s development program at the University of Texas.
Gay’s story is all about taking risks, figuring it out, and betting on yourself. In today’s episode, Gay shares how she bootstrapped her business from $0 to $40M+, advice for taking growth-oriented risks, and the challenges of exiting a business that has become an extension of who you are.
- “I never borrowed any money to run my company … I didn’t want anyone controlling us. And once you take money from someone, they do.” – Gay Gaddis
- “Listening to the end consumer was the king of everything.” – Gay Gaddis
- “The minute you know something’s not right and you know it in your gut, you’ve got to start making the change because it will hurt you and the business in the long run.” – Gay Gaddis
- “You don’t want to sell a business in the worst of economies. You don’t want to sell out when you’re on the downhill. Sell when all systems are going up.” – Gay Gaddis
- “You can accomplish so many things that you don’t think you can if you just push that one next step.” – Gay Gaddis
- “If you dawdle around and you wait and you’re not sure, then you become indecisive. And you also sometimes miss the best opportunities.” – Gay Gaddis