Welcome to 2013, the latest year the future has to bring us. I’m ready for a fantastic new year of growth, and I hope you are, too. As you may have noticed, we’ve upped our publishing schedule to three posts per week for the past month or so (an accomplishment that my team will tell you I’ve been pushing a long time for), and this is just the beginning!
As some of you may know, Level343 had some internal changes at the end of 2012. Finding someone to fill those shoes was not an easy task, and I’ve been looking for a strong SEO leader for the team. This year, I’ll be more involved in the growth of our international business as a global online marketing firm and solidifying client relationships. I’ll also be spending more time at conferences than previous years.
All this means that I needed someone who could take technical SEO, branding and marketing calls, and run with them. I needed someone who had the credibility, authority and expertise to take on any SEO project Level343 threw his or her way. As it turns out, I got far more than I was hoping for.
Companies Have Culture?
Did you know companies have cultures? Oh, not necessarily unique ones, company cultures can have similarities, but each company has its own atmosphere. I’ve noticed this especially in marketing agencies, whether online, offline, traditional or modern. –And, while a company “culture” or attitude can be the glue that binds, it can also be the dynamite that exploded. It’s important to bring people into the fold that “fit” a specific company.
It’s not an easy task to find the right mix of people – especially when growing a company at a faster rate than one person at a time. Yet, somehow… Level343 is starting 2013 with a strong, expanded team, all sharing the same attitudes. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the year goes!
Growing the Level343 Team
One addition I’m proud of is Donna Fontenot. When you find someone of Donna’s caliber and expertise, you can’t help but feel like your team is evolving into a definite winning team that will help you achieve successful business growth. Having been involved with web development since the mid-1990′s (back when ColdFusion was popular), Donna’s been on the Internet marketing gauntlet for quite a while.
I asked her to write her thoughts on why she joined Level343, to which she replied:
“Frankly, I think Gabriella coerced me by speaking to me in umpteen languages and, while I was in a state of multilingual confusion, she occasionally threw in words like “Cher” and “Bella” – words that I not only understood, but also made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Seriously, though, many things came together for me that made this move just ‘feel right’.
“First, I respect Gabriella. She has some qualities that resonate with my own personality. She’s direct and pulls no punches. Instead of tiptoeing around a problem, she lays it out there, exposing its bumps, flaws, and ugliness for all to see. Yet her direct style isn’t harsh or off-putting; in fact, it’s refreshing to deal with problems head-on in a ‘let’s not put lipstick on a pig’ fashion.
“Although we share a direct style of manner, luckily, we aren’t carbon copies of each other. Gabriella has skills, knowledge, and even quirks that I lack and, hopefully, I bring a few things to the table that aren’t her forte. Together, our styles, personalities, and skills end up meshing into a nice power toolset – perhaps even an online marketing steamroller of sorts.
“But those aren’t the only reasons I felt compelled to jump into Level343. One of the main reasons is because I am fascinated by Gabriella’s concept of what a company can be. Rather than hiring a fixed set of employees, who may or may not be right for every client situation, she pulls in the right people for any particular campaign from her large stable of industry peers around the world. She’s developed a network of highly skilled, dependable people who all either work for themselves or for other companies, but each one has worked with Gabriella on past campaigns; each understands the Level343 standards; and each is happy to be pulled in as needed.
“Imagine being able to create your ‘dream team’, and then imagine being able to mix and match dream teams as needed to fulfill any client campaign situation. Some clients need certain team skillsets; some others. Some clients need a larger group of people with one particular knowledge base, while others need a small but diverse team. Gabriella recognized that these various dream teams could be better built through cooperation among her large network, rather than depend on a small staff that would need to be masters of everything.
“It’s that sense of innovation in dealing with challenges that really got me excited about working with Gabriella and being a part of Level343. I love the idea of delivering high-quality work, meeting client challenges, and contributing to the world in direct, responsive and innovative ways. Who could pass that up? Especially when it’s all being offered in some beautiful foreign language that I can’t understand.”
Thanks, Bella! We’re happy to have you on board!
Another new team member is Jennifer Horowitz. Oh, she’s still the Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet, but she’s also part of the reason why we’ve been able to post three articles a week here. Another long-time Internet marketer, Jennifer has 14 years of online experience that she’s agreed to share with you, our readers, as a regular blog post contributor. She says,
“I got to know Gabrielle via Twitter and instantly liked her. We collaborated on an article, which was a lot of fun. I always like the content and vibe at Level343 so I asked if I could do a guest post. I guess they liked my post, because they asked me to contribute regularly. It’s great. I love being part of a site that focuses on getting quality info to people. It’s a great team to work with.”
Of course we liked the post! For those that haven’t, take the time to stop by Consumption – What It Is, Why It Matters, And How It’ll Help Your Bottom Line for a helpful read. It’s well worth the time!
While naming names and team members, I can’t leave out Doc Sheldon. He’s simply a marvelous addition to the team as a long time professional copywriter and a technical SEO specialist. He also serves a very important place as a calming influence. Doc brings over 8 years of online business acumen, supported by over 20 years of offline business consulting to the table, and often helping me see things in a less stressful, more positive light. He keeps my nerves calm when… well, when they aren’t so calm… by being a voice of reason.
“After having known Gabriella for a few years, we’ve had enough private and public conversations to realize that our business and personal philosophies are very similar. So it’s no surprise that we just naturally gravitated beyond friendship toward a working relationship. We use each other for sounding boards, devil’s advocates, support and constructive criticism, so working together to service clients just seemed like the next logical step. Besides, I like working with people that challenge me to be better than I am, and the Level343 team does just that. I’m proud to be part of that team and I’m looking forward to great things.”
Baby Business Steps
I’m also extremely happy about the addition of a PPC campaign that we’ll be starting this month for our International SEO audits (by the way, have you seen our new video? I’m bursting with pride here, people). We’re already ranking on a few terms and I’m confident we’ll be on skates once we kick off our quarterly campaign.
Oh, wait… am I going to make 2013 predictions? Sure. I can pretty much bet that – some time this year – someone, somewhere, will write yet another “SEO is Dead” article. It happens every stinkin’ year like clockwork. I can also almost guarantee that Google still won’t have all their stuff together when it comes to “local, local, local”. Other than that, who knows, and why bother with predictions?
Keep your nose to the grindstone and your business processes fluid. Be happy you have a healthy family, a job, and an awesome blog you can add to your RSS reader. There isn’t going to be anything as earth shattering as what we’re going to create together!