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10am, Tuesday 6th July 2021

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HAMSTER WHEEL: One Foot In, One Foot Out

  • This is a new series where we hear from agency leaders who have stepped off the hamster wheel
  • Cain Ullah, board member and founder of Red Badger, decided to partially exit the business, going down to three days a week
  • He’ll be telling us why it was the best decision for everyone involved

When Red Badger was born, the agency’s founding fathers sat down to work out exactly what their future held.

“We set out a ten-year plan. What are we doing, and why are we doing it? How is it going to serve our lives?” says Cain Ullah, founder and board member. “At that stage, I had no thought in my mind about being a parent.”

Fast forward seven years, and they were having renewed conversations about Red Badger’s future – and by that point, everyone’s primary aims had changed.

“I still wanted to exit after those ten years, but at this point, I was with my wife and thinking about family,” says Cain. “Running a business is all-consuming, it’s extremely stressful. It wasn’t just a 40-hour-week job, I was working late into the evening, and that was unsustainable.”

“We decided a partial exit was the best thing for all parties at this time with me going down to down to three days a week, rather than fully out,” says Cain.

Now, he acts as a board member – but changing roles isn’t easy, especially when you’re used to driving all the decisions.

“It’s been interesting, and not without challenge. You assume that when you go down to three days a week, that mindset of being stressed would go away,” he says. 

“You realise it’s learned behaviour and it’s going to take a while. I’ve given myself this whole year to transition and try not to be too hard on myself.”

“It’s been the best thing for everyone involved.”

This will be an interesting one if you’re thinking of stepping off the hamster wheel. You never know – it might be the thing that inspires you to make the move.