Just the 3 of us.

I gave myself 12 months. I stayed for 4 years.

Founder of the Design business in a Digital Marketing Startup.

  • Introduced Design as a service

  • Developed a UX playbook

  • Design team recruitment

  • Designer training & development

  • Tools & applications

  • Proposals/decks for new business

Team size 12-15

Revenue $6-7M 

After

Team size 3

Revenue ~$1M

Before

The Challenge(s)

  • Introduce Design as a service

  • Build internal Design capabilities

  • Develop Design processes

  • Implement Design tools & resources

  • Talent recruitment

The business had built momentum & reputation via their expertise in Digital Marketing, mainly SEO & SEM. 

It was time they expanded into a full-service agency. We knew the road ahead wouldn't be smooth but the advantage we had, was I immediately clicked with the founders during our initial conversations (especially during the interviews) & they reminded me of my younger self. The foundation was set as far as I was concerned. 

Where Do I Begin?

My role had no title. I had never done this before but I moved away from my family & friends because I saw a challenge & opportunity to make a difference. I knew this role would be all about people, which is my #1 passion. 

I sat down and wrote some notes. I brainstormed on my own first before sitting down with the 2 founders & creating some type of mind map. Above is a much cleaner version (you can imagine what sort of mess we created)

What Do We Know?

We knew that before we built any type of design business, we needed to agree on what 'services' we would offer. We would also need to develop processes for delivering those services. In order to deliver, we would need tools & resources.

  1. What are we offering?

  2. How will we deliver those offerings?

  3. What tools do we need to deliver?

What About Culture?

GMG began in a tiny office, large enough for 4 people. We knew that once we began hiring people, our infant culture would begin evolving. We spoke about the type of personalities we wanted to hire in order to create a healthy & lasting culture.

  1. Get to know each other on a personal level

  2. Flexible working environment

  3. Supportive & collaborative with no borders

Who Will Work For Us?

The GMG Goal Internship Program was my answer to recruit Designers. I had to come up with a solution which was cost effective & something the Founders didn't need to worry about. 

I interviewed over 40 candidates. Most of the candidates came from a traditional graphics/illustration background & were interested in learning more about Digital Design/UI/UX.

2 Designers were chosen. 

1 of the Designers ended up moving to a highly reputable UX Agency in Melbourne a few years later.

The other Designer ended up replacing me upon my departure.

Both Designers attended my wedding. They became family.

Our Ideal Model

initial

initial

V

V

UX Designer

UI Designer

FED

Account Manager

Lead UX

GMG stall at the Retail Expo

1st day in our 2nd office

GMG photoshoot session

Founders accepting a Telstra Business award

UX Australia 

At the BRW Fast Starters awards in 2013

Clients & Awards

Some of our clients...

  • Hydralyte Sports

  • CSR Sugar

  • Daiso

  • KORA Organics

  • Youi

  • NBL

  • Jo Mercer

Just a few awards

  • Telstra Business 

  • Deloitte Technology Fast 500

  • BRW Fast Starters

  • Fast Company

Interactive kiosk for REVIEW. On display at the Retail Expo

What I Ended Up Doing

Service Offering

  • Develop UX & Design product suite

  • Pricing strategy for new products

  • Proposals & pitches for new business

  • Educational material/resources 

Processes & Tools

  • Defining the UX & Design process

  • Collaborative work spaces

  • Design tools & applications

  • Design principles & standards

Build & Support a Team

  • Talent recruitment

  • Established an Internship Program

  • Process for personal development

  • Resources, training & workshops

  • Support for career development

What Did I Learn?

More than I realised

  • You CAN make a difference

  • Step out of your comfort zone, often

  • No such thing as a backward step

  • Find the WHY & purpose

  • Embrace culture

  • When you hit a brick wall, ask for a boost

  • 4 years is an eternity in an agency

  • Don't do things for money

  • When Designers grow & leave, it's a great thing

  • It's a very small world

© Copyright 2019. John Isaac. All Rights Reserved. Icons made by Flaticon