Starting A Digital Marketing Agency: Pandemic Edition
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
What a time to be alive. The year has been filled with turmoil and uncertainty – to say the least. Some months seemed to have been glued together front-to-back with no semblance of separation or change. With so much instability how is it possible to press on, much less grow and build? Which brings the question: How is it that HIFIVE was built into an award-winning agency during a pandemic, summer of racial tension, and captivating presidential race? The short answer is – pressure made us do it.
Pressure makes diamonds, they say. I think that applies here, weirdly enough. We worked through a lot of obstacles as a team during the first four months of existence. There were times where we wanted to break chairs over each other’s heads.
But, as tense as things got, the greatness of this team prevailed – we were able to focus our energies on our work and block out the tension and influence from the outside world. I think in spite of the pandemic, we actually got better. It’s funny that when the world was shutting down, we were opening up, and the distractions kind of went away. We worked long hours, we made our crummy little office the “quarantine center for content”, we all bought into this alternate form of distraction. We just put our heads down and went to work. The pressure made us do it.
“I think in spite of the pandemic, we actually got better."
From a leadership standpoint, we focused on building a strong foundation. Meaning – we set aside a percentage of our revenue for growth, we bought software that helped us automate and work efficiently, we let demand outline our services, and most importantly – we found ways to have fun and be creative outside of client work. Which was my way of tricking people into thinking that all work is enjoyable.
We had to put thought into who we are, how we were going to operate and plan for success. We were forced to focus on our core values. Both internally and client-facing. Of equal importance were certifications, education, and learning to get the gang to “award-status”. Most importantly, we focused on processes and communication. Asking a group of mongrels like us to communicate outside of a grunt was actually pretty difficult. But, pressure made us do it. A lot was learned in the first four months. All of these were identified as key areas for improvement – which allowed us all to focus on building stronger brands and connections.
"But, pressure made us do it"
That brings me to my final point – take care of your people. Talk to them, help them, educate them. Because they are your support – and you are their support. So, a big ‘thank you’ is in order to my business partner Jordan, to Aguie, Mitch, Nichole, Trent, and Adrian as well. They’ve made us award-winning and put this crummy little office on the map.
When we started this in February, no one had a clue how tumultuous the year would become for so many. I personally feel lucky to have a place to come every day and focus my attention on projects, deadlines, and the other daily routines of small business ownership. As things slowly seep back into normalcy – we look back at the fact that our team has taken a tough road and made the most of it – they bought into it, put in the time, and gave it their attention. That’s exactly what a new business needs. Attention, love, and a clear plan to execute. The pressure made us succeed because we had no other choice.