Recently, I started receiving "Congratulations" messages from my connections on LinkedIn for Marketing Keys turning "9"! I didn't really think too much about this anniversary date or prepare in advance to celebrate. Thinking more about it though, I started to realize that it's a pretty cool accomplishment for someone to build a business from nothing and be around 9 years later. Not only being able to survive 9 years later but also continuing to grow a customer base. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. Here are my 9 top memories from the past 9 years.1) Saying "I Do" twiceNot only did I say "I Do" to starting a business but at exactly the same time I said "I Do" to my wife. My wife's friends thought she was crazy that she was marrying someone who was just starting to build a business from scratch. Ultimately, I have to give my wife credit for the past 9 years. She is the one who pushed me into leaving a lucrative career in media sales to start my own business. Outside of registering for my LLC, working on my logo and doing some initial prep work, I started my business as soon as I got back from my honeymoon. My wife through her encouragement and her ability to provide health insurance for the family gave me enough of a safety net to take the plunge into these unchartered waters.2) Familiarity breeds successI couldn't have had a smoother start to my company than being able to work with (2) clients that I had a longstanding relationship with dating back to my previous (12) year stop at WLS Radio. DirectBuy and The Home Shows both showed the confidence in me to not only trust me with managing a single medium but now with multiple mediums. It helped give my company instant credibility from Day One. For that, I will be forever grateful to DirectBuy and The Home Shows.3) Get real!One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a friend of mine. Prior to starting my company, I had told her what my plans were in starting Marketing Keys. The first thing out of her mouth was, "You need to have a logo and you need to build a website. You need to be a real company and be committed." Truer words could not have been spoken. The logo and the website were the first (2) projects that I worked on for my new company. I could not have been happier with how both of them came out.4) Another all nighter?During my first 6 months or so, I would not stop working until 3 or 4 am. I was so motivated to get my company up and running. A lot of this time was spent working on my website and on my marketing pieces. When you are building a company that has your last name in the corporate name, failing is not an option.5) 3 Bedrooms and a converted office upstairsFor the first few years in business, Marketing Keys' headquarters was the converted upstairs bedroom of my house. I give that space a lot of credit for my fast start. I was not commuting 2+ hours each day so I felt like I could not have been more productive. My routine consisted of jumping out of bed around 6:30 am and jumping straight on the computer. Showering would have to wait until after 5 pm. After dinner, I would jump right back on my computer and work on my website until the wee hours of the morning.6) Luck and timingIn order to work with an ideal new account, sometimes you need luck and/or timing. In 2007, I happened to have both. Sittercity.com is a Chicago based online parent-babysitter matchmaking website. Think match.com but for babysitters and nannies. I had met them at a Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce event. This account gave Marketing Keys national recognition as I ended up planning and buying (10) markets across the country for them.7) Holding back the tearsAs good as Sittercity.com felt in 2007, Marketing Keys took a step back with some shocking news in 2013. I am still classifying this as an unsolved mystery. In 2009, I had started a relationship with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. We were responsible for promoting the statewide Illinois Tobacco Quitline initiative as well as their car donation program. Prior to Marketing Keys, I had worked with the Lung Association for 10 years as a media rep. at WLS Radio. This account launched Marketing Keys into a different stratosphere. Not only were we managing the media for the ALA but also managing the creative. I am so proud of the entire body of work that we had done for them. Some of our creative work was up for awards. Suddenly in 2013, the CEO of the ALA of the Upper Midwest leaves the organization for a major promotion. He had been my day to day contact. Within months of him leaving, the ALA made the decision to hire another firm. To this day, I never received an explanation of the reason for the change.8) Passion for sportsIn 2011, Marketing Keys had an opportunity to work with the top sports organization in the Chicagoland market from a media perspective. The Chicago Wolves are one of the most aggressive and progressive sports franchises in the area. The President of the Wolves is a fearless leader and is extremely media savvy. In my 9 years at Marketing Keys, I am not sure if I had a better working client-agency relationship than the one I had with the Chicago Wolves. Exactly one year later, Marketing Keys starts working with another client in the sports marketing world - Hooters. We start working with the company owned Hooters stores and manage sports marketing programs for them from NCAA March Madness to Major League Baseball to NFL Fall Football etc.9) Resume BuilderOver the last 9 years, I have had the pleasure of leading some of the most talented, young people in the industry. None of them were older than 25 when I had hired them. In 2010, I started hiring college interns to help me out. Some of these were so talented that they were responsible for us securing some new accounts like the Chicago Wolves. In the early years, it was challenging for me to give up control of my company. I didn't have my interns doing too much other than outbound marketing to set up meetings with prospective clients. Recently, I have started giving my interns as much responsibility as they can tackle. And, I have found out that they are up for the challenge! They don't realize or understand what they can't do. Therefore, it makes for an ideal business relationship that continues to help our company prosper.Roger Keys, the author, is Founder/President of Marketing Keys, a boutique media management firm located on Chicago's Michigan Avenue. Roger cannot be happier with the last 9 years and looks forward to many more productive years.