10 Years of Culture: We’ve come a long way from three dudes in a yurt

10 Years of Culture: We’ve come a long way from three dudes in a yurt

10-Year 0 Comments

Over the past 10 years we’ve hired 192 staff members. Several have left at some point along the way, and many more stayed with us year after year. They entrusted us with their livelihood, their growth and to build this community into something more than just a job.

When you think about starting a business, you usually imagine one of three outcomes:  

  1. You see a problem in the world and just can’t sit by idly. You imagine a world where that problem doesn’t exist, and your product or service is the perfect solution.
  2. You’re tired of the 9-5 grind that is uninspiring and keeps you from the people and things you love. You imagine working for yourself, making enough to get by, and having the freedom to spend your time on what you love.
  3. You know that the only way to earn the income you deserve is to start your own business. You imagine coming up with a cool business idea that will make you millions and deliver early retirement.

It’s interesting to notice that in all of these visions, most people don’t imagine being an employer. Being “The Boss” is often a sudden and surprising experience for entrepreneurs, and we were no different.

In the beginning, we hired people we liked (and could afford). They didn’t always know what they were doing, but, hey, neither did we. There was a vibe of hustle in the air. We were all just a bunch of kids “playing” at work, hanging out on the weekends and stumbling our way through. We didn’t have stated values or processes. Heck, we didn’t even have payroll. People would just tell Landon they needed some money to make rent, and he would write them a check. In many ways, it was a lot simpler when we first started. At the same time, it was also so much harder than it is today.

Over the past ten years, we turned that rag tag group of kids into real professionals with real skills running a real business. As we methodically worked towards our mission of removing the technical burden from entrepreneurs, we discovered that ONTRAPORT was something more than a software company, and we were more that just “The Boss.” We had an incredible opportunity to create a new kind our workplace where people could engage their talents in unexpected ways, track their individual contribution, and develop new skills. Our vision began to expand to more than just the business we were building, and we started to imagine our lives as employers.

Today, our ONTRAPORT culture has taken on a life of its own, led by our nine values. On any given day, you can see our team working together, supporting one another, constantly learning and growing. They are driven by a common goal to protect what we so carefully created over the past ten years. When new staff joins our team, they discover that they have instantly gained a community of people who truly care about each other, and inside this ONTRAPORT bubble, people thrive. 

About Lena Requist

Lena Requist, President of ONTRAPORT, is passionate about growing businesses and developing kick-ass business teams. She brings that enthusiasm, along with an impressive background of building startups into multimillion dollar businesses, to her inspirational and motivational talks. Lena’s talent helped grow ONTRAPORT 5,000% in three years, landing the organization at #102 on the 2012 Inc. 500 list and #96 on Forbes' list of America's Most Promising Companies. The secret to her success is the combination of her passion for business and her unique style of management, for which she received the 2012 Stevie award for Female Executive in Business. She has fostered a culture of productivity, empowerment and free thinking at ONTRAPORT, which was recognized with an Achievers' 50 Most Engaged Workplaces award.