Conceived in the airport
Right at the beginning of our story, imagine two late 20-somethings, sat at a departure gate ready to go on a snowboarding holiday. My friend Dan was having entrepreneurial urges in the entertainment industry. I was unhappy in my job. I’d started SEOgadget, an SEO blog that scratched an itch for actionable, how-to content for SEO enthusiasts. We were both invincible.
“F**k it, I’m starting a business”
Sat in the airport, we talked over some opportunities. Dan had some potential business lined up with talent bookings (think: real popstars) and my little SEO website had started to generate the odd lead.
As it happened, Dan had a potential client for me. This was enough to guarantee my future.
I immediately called the HMRC to change my status to “self employed”, all from an airport before going on holiday. This was the very beginning of Builtvisible. I spent the next six months or so working on my own, quietly beavering away and going slightly stir crazy in the spare room (which, as my team know oh so well, had no working central heating). As it happens Dan called the HMRC at precisely the same time.
The bit between that moment and now is a long story, full of lessons learned, successes and failures. I’m delighted to say there are many more successes than failures!
When I was thinking about this article, I decided I wanted to thank everyone who has, at various stages in Builtvisible’s history, played an important role in furthering our cause. If you’re not in this list it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you. You know who you are and how you helped. Thank you.
We’re 10 years old and probably wouldn’t have got so far without…
My good friend Dan Pamment who went on to build his own successful business and who inspired me to take the leap and go it alone.
Daniel Butler, our very first hire, a close friend and an exceptional technical SEO. Dan’s achievements at Builtvisible are too many to list.
Amy Greenacre for taking a leap and becoming our second employee, taking a job in a freezing cold church building.
Tom Critchlow, who I met for breakfast and a game of chess every Monday for the first year of the company.
Liam Fisher and Oliver Archibald, two absolutely stand out guys who were with the business for so long – we’ve shared so many laughs, wins and losses together.
Geoff Griffiths, without whom there wouldn’t be a Builtvisible today. Geoff, as Managing Director has completely re-engineered the way the business works. As a result, Builtvisible’s inner workings are almost unrecognisable to me. Geoff has developed the business into a highly professional digital agency with a client roster we could have only dreamed of just a few years ago. The team he has built is an exceptional group of people and deserve every success that is coming its way.
Builtvisible senior management. A weaponised group of people that strike fear into the hearts of our competitors.
Jon Quinton, who ran the operational and sales side of the business for many years, added millions in top line revenue and has always been a great friend. We’ve had some times together indeed! Jon went on to found Overdrive Digital, who Builtvisible has since engaged very successfully to run all of our paid social media marketing campaigns.
Claudia Hohmann, our Financial Director who brought order to chaos when she joined us back in September 2014. Claudia brought Builtvisible’s financial integrity, forecasting and capacity planning to a level that would make agencies 10 times our size look amateurish.
Builtvisible staff past and present – all of the team, everyone who has ever worked with us who I wish well on your journeys. You’re all missed, some of you have an open invitation to come back and a few of you still work with us as clients and in other capacities. Thank you.
To the Builtvisible team of today, I always really look forward to my time in the office and really enjoy being around you guys. I don’t know a nicer, more talented group of people. Thank you for being part of our team.
To our clients – far too many great names to list – thank you for allowing us to innovate and trusting us to deliver.
Rob Kerry: Rob has taught me so much about SEO, where to look, how things really work and much more. It’s good to have a sounding board and Rob is one of those people who has given very generously with his time. I look back fondly (and with a slight headache) at our nights out in the very early days, with Carl and the original Ayima team in tow. Great days.
Rand Fishkin: As independent as we are today, Rand gave me a kickstart that made the early business so very much more possible. Thank you for SEOmoz and those early days, and the opportunities that came from Moz.
Will Critchlow – I remember our lunches fondly, down to the fierce agreement on the need to “just do it” when you’re starting a business. I wish you and Distilled all the success in the future.
Conference organisers who took a punt on me back in the day including SMX (London), SES (London), Mozcon (then SEOmoz Pro).
And finally to the many supporters who have shared our blog posts, recommended us to colleagues over the years, you all know who you are and I want to say thanks to all of you for your support.
Builtvisible is a company I am immensely proud of. And it’s not just about the business itself, it’s the people. The awards, the parties, the case studies, the support to local charities, the support they give each other, the values – there’s so much to this company today it’s impossible to sum it all up in one article.
I’ll just leave this here with a simple sign-off: here’s to whatever comes next, I’m certain it’ll be big.