Spotlight on Charlie Clark
Here at Spotlight, we had the opportunity to chat with Charlie Clark, Founder of Minty Digital - SEO Agency. He spoke to us about why he started his business and gave some great advice to those at the start of their careers.
Background - into you and your business.
I'm Charlie, a 30-year-old business owner living in Barcelona. Our company Minty Digital is an award-winning SEO and Digital PR Agency that's based between London.UK and Barcelona, Spain. We operate in both English and Spanish speaking markets with the goal to improve companies visibility online to get them more customers.
The big idea
I started the business around 4 years ago when I noticed some big issues between the relationships some Agencies were having including high churn rates, high staff turnover and constant firefighting between staff and clients.
We also saw clients were having big problems with agencies like:
Lack of transparency between team and Agency,
Unclear deliverables or direction
Lack of communication or ignoring emails
Unclear reports that they can pass on to higher managers or CEOS
We saw a simple solution to this which was to deliver a great service, with good communication and clear deliverables.
In order to achieve this, we needed to make sure our staff were happy, clear on their job and not overstretched so we also have invested a lot of time and money into staff retention and culture.
We lost 50% of our business within a week of the original UK lockdown which was a real struggle! Looking back we saw this as a positive, it allowed us to realign our focus, fix our processes and really nail into what we're good at.
The end goal was to refine our company as an 'SEO only Agency' whereas before we were doing a bit of everything! Doing this has accelerated us massively and gives us a lot more clarity over our strengths, offering and even hiring. Fast forward a year our revenues have doubled and we managed to get through the whole of the pandemic to date without laying off one member of our team.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
Ensuring that our team lives a life that makes them happy. We hear horror stories of overworked agency employees doing overtime, working weekends and having unrealistic targets to hit and I couldn't think of anything worse!
We focus on people over profit and in the long run that will pay off more than focusing on pure profit. Some of the perks our team have are:
Fully funded counselling sessions
Heavily subsidised gym memberships
Ability to work anywhere in the world
Finish at 12 Fridays
Flexible working hours to fit around their lifestyle
0 hierarchy workplace (we work as a team, not with bosses)
Drive and Determination
My drive comes from how extremely rewarding it is to watch small businesses double or triple their size when working with us. Along with this knowing that we're making a positive impact on our team and helping them to live life on their terms also really drives me.
The biggest lesson that you've learnt along the way
There's too many to list but one of the main things that I've found that's contributed to our success and that I can recommend to any business owner with a team under 10 is to focus on 1 service area and really nail it down.
We're talking about the team, processes, software, the lot. When you're focusing on just one area it's a lot easier to grow your businesses as there are not so many moving parts. There's always room to diversify in future.
Tips you would give to those starting their careers
Don't be afraid to try new things: When you're younger you've got a lot more time and fewer responsibilities so it's a good time to try a lot of things out and see what you like. Don't waste your time: To add to the above, it's also important to know that time does go quickly so don't waste it by binging on Netflix and parties! There is a time and place for this but balance is key.
Focus on your health: One of the biggest contributors towards my productivity now is focusing on my health. That means exercising regularly, taking a break from technology once in a while and eating well. Since focusing on the above I've noticed a positive difference in my overall mentality towards life and it's definitely helped me to achieve what I have so far.
Advice to people who are wanting to start a business
Don't get in your own way. I've met some people that have delayed starting a business for months because they are trying to think of a name, a logo or other small details. My advice would be once you have your product/service, focus on sales and delivery. Money brings you breathing space to be able to plan effectively and bring on a good team for all the other things you need.
Advice for people aiming for leadership positions
Listen to your team and make sure you're not 'ruling with an iron fist’. Those days are gone and employees are fully aware that there are a million opportunities out there if you're going to treat them badly.
What advice would you give to someone managing a team?
Don't focus on everything and be a generalist. Choose a specific service area and be the best at it.
Processes and systems are the keys to scaling a business. Get them in place and get a good team to be able to execute them
Burnout culture isn't cool. You don't need to work 80+ hours a week to make money or have a successful business.
To what do you attribute your success?
Pushing myself one step ahead each day. Even if it moves the needle 1% it all adds up in the long run. For example, writing this post on a Saturday morning whilst on the train to London!
We're in the process of really nailing the Spanish and English speaking market in Europe. Our next stop is Miami! We have a couple of clients there already and once things open up properly there are regular direct flights there. The team is super excited about this!
Thank you Charlie for sharing your story and some brilliant advice. If you would like to keep up to date with Charlie be sure to connect with him on Linkedin and follow Minty Digital on Instagram and Twitter. Read more inspiring blogs like this on our website.