Someone way smarter than me said something about ‘life being the painful endeavour of letting storms pass, picking up debris, and building stronger forts.’
If there’s been a time for laying low and letting the storm subside, it was March 2021 in India. We were a nation fighting for breath, as COVID-19 ran riot.
It might have been pure pluck, or pure naivety, that goaded me into cold-emailing strangers, asking if I could audit their website UX.
By June 2021, one of these yielding entrepreneurs threw me the challenge of redoing their entire website. And not the sort of websites we’re used to today. This one was a relic from the days when websites looked like Yahoo! from the era when the Internet used to be the exclusive club of nerds.
And I bit at it.
Within another month, I had incorporated, hired my first employees, and acquired quite a flaunt-worthy testimonial.
And sally forth I did thereon, hinging my hopes on the good old friends – curiosity, an eye for detail, and the confidence that I could figure out stuff I didn’t know. And so began the sprint of SeekThem, from being an experimental one-person enterprise to one of the top 20 best rated UX design firms.
And a year later, I’ve got used to the thrill of being a business owner.
At least I believe so.
If nothing else, I’ve been able to answer questions we would be too scared to face otherwise.
1. Can a design agency survive without a portfolio?
It’s tough but possible. When I was out there – cold emailing and LinkedIn messaging – with nothing more than a modest 6-page website, I found out quickly enough. Clients want a portfolio.
But it’s not the only thing they want. They also want conviction, confidence, and enthusiasm. They want to hear the right questions. And then they want work done, on time and on budget.
The SeekThem team (it started as a one-man crew and slowly grew to 12) walked the talk. 12 months later, we have friends, and more importantly, we have happy clients with whom I trade UX witticisms and research articles.
2. How do we go from 1 client to 10 clients? And 10 to 100?
I’ve spent money on Content, Strategizing, and Advertising.
I’ve travelled 100+ miles to network at UX and design conferences.
I’ve zombied across the bylanes of cold emailing groups in the hunt for secret sauces.
Nothing works better than a testimonial. The day SeekThem secured its first testimonial – from Maz Daruwala (Founder, Travel-o-deal), life became easier.
Prospects were more trusting. And one testimonial soon grew to 18.
We have an unscathed 5-star rating on Clutch.
And in 2022, 99Firms ranked us among the top 20 best UX design firms.
Also, mentioned by DesignRush in the list of top Web design companies.
I’d set out sniffing for the scent of success, and success found us before we knew it. Rumi said it. “What you seek is seeking you.”
Our goal is to clock 50+ 5-star reviews by 31st December 2022. Wish my team luck.
3. How can a UX design company aim for 5X YoY growth, and believe it’ll do even better?
Sorry, the starry-eyed enthusiasm isn’t lost on me. But I owe you the truth.
SeekThem targets 5X growth in its 2nd year. That’s because I trust in two friends. Processes, and quality.
I feel blessed to have in my team UX experts who can break down any successful UX element into a thought process.
I’m even more blessed to have been taught by my bosses, from the time of my days as a corporate employee, that quality keeps customers glued to a company, and gets them talking to their friends who need similar services.
On the shoulders of these two friends – then – we’ll continue to lean, and let Rumi’s verse be our destiny: “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”