Interview: Ven Marketing Agency
Web Designers and SEO Superstars
We don’t like to play favourites but we do love our mates at Ven – Steve, Andy and their team. They are web designers and coders, graphic designers and SEO superstars in Melbourne. They are one of the reasons our Chaddy crew has such a good time in the office. We had a chat with the boys about their business, and how Future Advisory has helped them along the way.
How did you get into web/ SEO/ design?
Steve: Before founding Ven Creative, I was formally the publishing director for multiple wealth magazines in London for 8 years. I always loved the design and coding aspect of the job and worked closely with design teams to produce visually stunning websites and publications.
After leaving the publishing industry to pursue a career in web/design, I took up study at RMIT in Design for Multimedia Systems and Digital Marketing in Vietnam, which is where I met Andy. I started Ven Creative in 2014 when I came back to Melbourne. Andy was still in Vietnam at this point, setting up our operation there. Andy then moved to Melbourne in 2015 to manage the business with me here.
Andy: Given the fact that at least 75% of clicks go to the first page of the search results, SEO was a natural step from website development, because it is highly integrated with the way we code our websites.
Why the decision to start your own business?
Steve: I remember sitting in an office in London, looking out the window, wishing that I was laying on a beach controlling who and what could get through my bubble in paradise. And here I am!
It turns out my beach dream did not eventuate after I tried it once and the glare from the sun on my laptop screen was blinding so I decided I need a more practical workspace. That idea of working from anywhere in the world has never left our sight though, and we regularly try to expand our reach and work from new places like Byron Bay and Vietnam.
What’s the hardest part of being a small business owner?
Steve: Difficulty of obtaining a work-life balance. Most nights we don’t finish until past midnight so it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance that is difficult to maintain long term. You have to constantly keep your eye on your vision and remember why you’re doing things to make sure you don’t lose that sense of purpose.
Andy: Growing past the small start-up phase is really tough. It’s hard to accept that we are now responsible for another person’s wellbeing and livelihood and understanding the pressure that comes along with that. Taking the plunge into hiring your own staff and moving out of your home office, the comfort zone is also hard!
What’s the best part of being a small business owner?
Steve: Collaborating with other small businesses and entrepreneurs who share a common vision, goals and aspirations for the future. Finding your place in the sphere of small businesses and making sure that your work contributes to the world in a positive way is really enjoyable.
Andy: Being able to set your own company values; which for us has meant we can live by what we feel is most important. Honesty and authenticity are the most vital components of a successful small business.
A great piece of advice for anyone looking to enter the digital industry?
Steve: Don’t do it if you need more than 6 hours of sleep a night- I imagine this is what parents with a newborn feel like. The first two years of small business is like having a baby; no sleep and shit everywhere.
We have built our business off exceptional service for all our clients, no matter what the request. You have to be prepared to think outside the box and creatively problem solve because you’re going to face new challenges when dealing with very diverse companies and clients.
Andy: Make sure you want to work with good people because that pays off more in the long-term than the immediate cash rewards of some clients who you may doubt from the start. The digital industry is run by the companies who can establish lasting relationships with their clients and prove they can go the extra mile, without compromising product quality.
One of the best lessons you’ve learnt about the financial/ accounting side of things?
Steve: Keep everything online. We have always used online financial service/accounting systems but we’ve learnt that integration with financial/accounting systems is the best way to integrate it into our daily productivity and task management, which ensures we’re always on top of it.
How has Future Advisory helped you and your business?
Steve: Future Advisory has helped us to realise that you need to treat your accountant well. In fact, treat them like your family! They are inspirational to us in terms of how we want to build our business.
Andy: Trust what they tell you and have faith that they know what they’re doing. Our account, Jason, is in our phones as ‘Life Coach’ and the financial and accounting advice we have received from him has proven his extensive knowledge time and time again.
Finally, give us some incredible website inspo you’ve seen lately?
We are loving anything clean, great use of parallax and big beautiful imagery. One of our current favourites is The Sill.