There are two reasons why I finally decided that renting an office is the best way to go:
I personally held off against getting an office for over a year. I imagined paying for the rent, electricity, water, internet bills and so on – and it didn’t make sense to me. “I’d do it cheap and just run things home-based” I thought.
However when the work got a little too serious that continuity became extremely necessary, the decision got easier.
You see, operating SEO Hacker as a remote team consisting of outsourced individuals meant that it was hard to ensure continuity. Outsourced individuals naturally have a high turn-over rate.
Asking an outsourced individual to commit to your company is like asking a young, liberated individual with multiple relationships to commit to you as your girlfriend/boyfriend. It just doesn’t make sense.
And if commitment is low then turnover is high, and if turnover is high then continuity is low. SEO Hacker’s clients would feel uneasy that they were communicating with different individuals every quarter.
At the back of their minds they are most probably already thinking “SEO Hacker is in trouble – that’s why they have different people handling my account every so often.”
And I can’t have my clients thinking that. SEO is a long term partnership between us and our clients. If our clients are starting to believe that SEO Hacker operates on a short-term basis with our team, they might feel threatened that it’s also how we will operate with their business.
The other reason why I rented out an office is Legacy.
I did not want to have a team that’s just like “any other team”. I wanted SEO Hacker to have the best team it can possibly have. And that means building a culture like no other, a camaraderie that is unbelievably tight, and a leadership-driven upper management.
I don’t see myself being the CEO of SEO Hacker twenty years from now. By then, my vision is to be a venture capitalist and a public adviser and consultant to numerous start-ups and scale-ups. And if that vision were ever to come true, I would need to leave a very strong legacy – and the strongest legacy is the one carried out by the building blocks that make a company – the team.
Building the team meant having a place to cultivate the right culture that I wanted to have. What kind of culture? I didn’t know for sure. All I know is, I want it to be fun, hard working, client and success oriented, value-driven and highly relational.
How to direct the culture in that way, I have no real, hard blueprint to follow or to give.
What I did know is that the company culture starts with a DNA – and the DNA almost always starts with the founder. That’s me.
That DNA will be built based on how my core team perceives the:
1) Way I work
2) Way I handle stress during crunch time
3) Way I communicate with the team
4) Way I prioritize our clients
5) Way I hire, fire and train people
Each individual in my core team has to perceive this in a way that will influence the company culture positively. Therefore I need to give my best during these times because my team is watching me constantly.
So if I wanted to leave a strong legacy in SEO Hacker, it would be carried on by how I build, strengthen and lead my team. I didn’t see it happen any other way than to finally build an internal, full-time team working in one place at the same time.
So I set out to hunt for our first office.
There really wasn’t a lot of choices down at BF Paranaque so I went with an office that’s closest to my home back then.
It was a cozy 38sqm office with shiny red tiles and a private comfort room. It had a terrace where we subsequently placed the split-type air conditioner’s compressing unit.
There was also a very small room that connected the comfort room and the common area of the office. The small room was probably 8sqm in size – that’s where I placed my desk.
It’s not much but that office saw through the first 11 hires of the SEO Hacker team. We stayed there until we could no longer fit.
Things went on from there – since then, we relocated to a bigger, better office twice.