May 4th-8th is the SBA’s Small Business Week. It’s a lackluster, ceremonial nod to the foundation of the American economy. While the government can offer little more than loans and a few seminars to help the bedrock of our country, two young Seattleites have created a model that is making a real difference for businesses on a day-to-day basis.
We’re a completely client-funded, bootstrapped start-up that serves 200 small businesses in the Seattle area. Our team of 18 (and growing fast!) supports the continued employment of over 5,000 small business employees in the Pacific Northwest.
It all started when, at 24 years old, I decided to jump off a cliff.
I left my job and set out build a new model that would fix the broken, overwhelming, and shady industry of digital marketing. I wanted to unlock the all opportunities on the Internet for every small business, using the values for which small businesses are known: transparency, predictable costs, and direct relationships with the employees.
The model envisioned had a set monthly payment that covered regular consulting, blogging, social media management, search engine optimization, and the option for included services such as graphic design, website updates, photo shoots, video shoots, email marketing and ad management. The services would be managed by a team of digital marketing experts.
We spent two years making the model sustainable, hiring new people as we signed new clients. During the first year, all services were performed by just myself and a couple of contractors who shared the vision. Many of these early team members helped grow the company to the point where we could support them full time. The first contractor to convert into a full time employee was my wife, Norelle, on New Year’s Day 2013.
Ours is not a traditional marketing agency. Instead, we see ourselves as the chauffeur for the small business owners in this crazy digital world. We help people establish their digital portfolios across a wide spectrum of professions, from an independent Flamenco guitarist to a manufacturer of military-grade portable shelters.
Marketeering Group also isn’t a flashy Seattle startup in the vein of Moz, Porch, PopCap, or Zulily. We’re a different kind: an entirely millennial, freethinking team run by a workaholic married couple. Norelle and I are 26 and 27 – too young to be called “mom and dad,” despite what several of our employees say.
We are all foolish, young, idealistic Millennials on a mission. We call ourselves “Marketeers” because we’re pioneering a new business model, guiding our clients through uncharted digital territory, and because we have that “all for one and one for all” spirit of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.
We hire the crazy ones; people who bring fresh, new perspectives and energies to the team. Each person has their own set of skills, experiences, and personalities to make our collective group a powerful force in the digital marketing world. We’re changing how small business can work in the digital world, and we’re having a hell of a good time doing it.
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