Where has 2023 gone, seriously? We’re winding down on a year that has probably been a defining one for us and has pressurised the business into making some key changes – from a new brand addition to a new team. In this blog post I’m going to try and capture the year to date and also clearly outline these key changes which are happening in 2024.
- We’re launching a sister brand ‘Climb & Conquer’ in January
- No changes to clients with rebrand
- Meet the current team
- 3 new hires in January
- We’re shutting down from 18th December until 2nd January.
After 14+ years of working for someone else and growing their businesses I thought it was the time to start on my own, 2021 I started the company and traded as a contractor / freelancer. I was in the really fortunate place of having first world problems – not enough capacity. Year one was absolutely brutal, travelling a great deal, 16 hour days, burnout, finding my feet – over promising and under delivering in a lot of areas, under invoicing and just a busy fool but a learning one.
Year two, similar story – far too much work and burnout creeping in, health starting to suffer and it was apparent that I needed some help. Considering a new member of staff, there seemed to be a great deal of comfort knowing work was being done if I had an inevitable migraine for the day – which progressed onto the companies first hire.
Meet Victor, our first hire
Victor joined the company in July 2022, his first gig doing solely SEO and has absolutely smashed it – learning SEO in rapid succession, growing all our clients organic performance and being a massive help in the business. Victor has now stepped into the role of managing all of the SEO performance for the business and training the new members of the team, alongside myself.
This has generated a signifiant problem for the business, I’m technically not a freelancer anymore but a ‘small boutique agency’, which brings me neatly onto my next point.
Operating as a freelancer has served the business really well and we’ve got some clients that we really cherish, but the time has come to fully split the business up into two component parts. At the moment all staff and clients operate under ‘Shane Parkins’ which is a bit of a branding nightmare, from January, we’ll be launching a sister brand called Climb & Conquer.
Climb & Conquer will house the team and for any existing clients, there won’t be any changes in service delivery – other than the team operating from a new email address. For new clients they will be dealing with the agency direct.
This will allow me to completely free up this website to be solely reflective of my freelance services, which I’ll keep providing on a higher direct rate and for a limited number of projects. With that being said, 80% of my time will be fully nested in Climb & Conquer.
The Climb & Conquer team
Aside myself and Victor, the Climb & Conquer team will be grounded in service delivery, we won’t be hiring any sales or account management – we’ll also stay a remote business this year to help keep our overheads low. By the sheer leanness of the business Climb & Conquer will be around 40-60% cheaper than a traditional agency on a day rate for a service that will likely be superior or like for like.
We never recruit anyone above anyone and this allows us to recruit juniors from around the UK and train them into senior roles. We’ve now got over 20 years experience collectively in the team and any juniors who walk into the team really do develop quickly and sustainably. It has also created a fantastic candidate pool for us with each recruitment drive generating well over 100 applicants. The overarching theme of Climb & Conquer is to care about the results more than a client, create a workplace environment that everyone loves to work in and be highly effective on a fair budget – basically to try and become the easiest ‘yes’ for prospects to become clients. We’ve held a solid 95% retention rate too and it feels like we’re on to something, here is a little more about the new team.
Steph is around 3 months in and is pulling up trees within her SEO career. Steph is specialising within tech SEO but is incredibly talented at content writing too. Steph currently supports 4 clients on SEO and helps support the other members of the team too with joint projects.
As I’m sure Steph’s clients will agree – she has been doing a fantastic job – raising the bar exceptionally high for any future hires in this junior role.
We’ve built up a strong reputation within SEO and earlier in 2023 we’ve really ramped up our Google Ads offering. Blanaid was our first dedicated PPC hire and has been absolutely smashing it for all her clients.
Blanaid joined us to change directions in her marketing career and is currently pulling in some serious improvements for an Ads portfolio of over £1m per year, to the point we’re recruiting for a new junior within Ads to work under Blanaid and myself – with the company fast approaching over £2m in Ads management.
Ellen has been following in the same career footsteps as Steph and Victor, recently joining the team as our new SEO executive and has absolutely stormed it. Ellen’s calibre of work, pace, proactiveness has been noticed by everyone who works with her. Although Ellen has only recently started her career within a dedicated SEO role, it’s likely Ellen will help support content more over tech SEO – which will bolster the skill set of the team.
In addition to the new hires we’ve listed above, we will also be welcoming two new SEO executives to the team in January – who have all signed the dotted line (no backing out now for them!) and we’re proactively seeking a new PPC Ads Trainee to join Blanaid.
Christmas opening hours
We’ll be shutting our doors from the 18th December until the 2nd of January – the guys will be taking a well earned rest before a manic but fantastic 2024. I’ll still be working over the Christmas and New year period, covering accounts and work for existing clients.
A final thank you from me.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported the business and me over the years. I’m in absolute debt to the team for their passion, drive and support – the ethos of the company has really been built on caring about the results more than the client and the culture is always treating people as adults; we’ve got some big challenges ahead of us but for the first time in my career, I’m so looking forward to the next 12 months and the journey of growing Climb & Conquer.
Thank you and looking forward to working with you in 2024.