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Hub Masters. 1 Year Old Today

I started working on Hub Masters in January 2020 because I knew it was time to go 100% all-in on HubSpot. I’ve been a HubSpot accredited partner for more than 5 years, but it’s taken until now for me to pinpoint my position inside the HubSpot Partner ecosystem.

So I've written this blog post to share with you some of the things that have worked, what I'm still struggling with, and what I’ve learnt so far.

Right now I can see HubSpot becoming a more powerful B2B IT/tech vendor as it moves more deeply into enterprise level IT operations. Marketing is digital. Digital is technology. And technology is IT right? So marketers are going to need ops support to design systems and workflow processes that enable them to work effectively. I’m really excited about the opportunities ahead for Hub Masters.

Looking back to January 2020, my initial positioning statement was built around helping companies grow by building inbound websites.

I set out the purpose:

”To help Tech, Manufacturing, Health Care and Life Science businesses increase awareness, leads and sales by building inbound websites that attract and convert visitors.”

As 2020 rolled on I was able to dig deeper into my personal mission and my position shifted:

“Hub Masters is a technology solutions provider. We Use HubSpot to help companies who have long or complicated sales cycles scale their sales & marketing operations.”

Our position is now based around simplification and transformation in order to bring about improvement because the customers I seek to work with are focused on digital transformation. They want to create better ways for their teams to work, better experiences for their customers and bring about efficiencies that allow their business to scale.

What about the ‘us’?

Being fully remote, truly global and connected by technology is working great so far. I like the disruptive approach to running a business in this way. It feels right for me at the moment. I am still thinking about how to align everyone on the team around the vision of “a desire to make something better.”

We’re in slack and use zoom to chat and having all our work inside HubSpot means that we have fewer distractions.

My focus here is to build a team culture so that everyone understands the mission and feels their contribution is valued. And it would be kind of cool to show our customers who’s working from where in the world, and how they are doing it, so I'm thinking about that too. I have recently set up Confluence and will start putting company the docs into it so everyone can easily access what they need.  

We are currently trialling PSO Hub for finance management, and have an account running on Click Up for task management which is proving to be just so amazing to work with. Click Up workflows are being sent into Slack so it's keeping everyone up to date. Click Up is a solid win for the whole team.

Growth Driven Design.

Growth Driven Design (GDD) is still a challenge for me. I've built 100’s of websites I know that the old way of delivering a set and forget website doesn’t work any more. Agile development suits the way I think and work so GDD is perfect. But I don't think its right for all clients, especially if they don't understand the concept of a launch pad website.

Sam and I started out with a GDD strategy. We used the lean labs strategy kit to map out our jobs to be done, have re-evaluated customer personas and have so far documented Marketing Mike's buyer journey. You can see this in Google Slides right here.

I have started thinking about the focus metrics that should be tracked so that our website will bring more value to our visitors.

Where I struggle with GDD is the tracking and reporting framework which I believe is so crucial to getting GDD done right. I still see other companies offering GDD but I’m not confident that they can manage the complicated agile framework to truly deliver a GDD service with deep focus. I am working on a Growth Driven Design service page because I would like to start a GDD project, once I identify the right client.

I follow Lean labs and I learn a-lot from their GDD expertise.

Books.

I do read a lot, but here are a couple of books that I would like to share.

Story Brand - Donald Miller 

Reading this book has helped me to clarify Hub Masters brand message. It’s something that I think about each day almost, but learning from this book has helped me to look at the brand message through the eyes of a customer. The customer is the hero, not us. We are merely a guide.

Seth Godin - The Practice

I loved this book. It helped me to understand that the process of creation is more important than the outcome. I never realised but as an entrepreneur I have always enjoyed the practice of making something for someone else regardless of outcome. The process is where the reward is.

My current reading list is here.

Sprocket Rocket

This was a big game-changer. I’ve built many websites using different HubSpot themes, but Sprocket Rocket from Lean Labs is just way ahead of anything else out there.

Let’s face it, most websites sort of end up looking the same…. Header, banner, body text, three columns, some pull out quotes, contact forms, a footer. A fairly standard responsive website layout.

To me it makes no sense to try and re-design/build this from scratch each time. It’s time consuming and expensive. Sprocket Rocket lets us set out a website using HubSpot CMS very quickly, then customise to client needs. We can launch quickly, then use real user data and look at how to make regular improvements to the site over time. This is GDD in action.

The current version of the Hub Masters website is built using Sprocket Rocket Free. I plan to use it to build websites on HubSpot CMS and for us to become a recognised Sprocket Rocket partner agency.

We are about to start on a new website project moving a client off WordPress over to HubSpot CMS, so that's February 2021. I’m now looking to bring on one new client per month for the rest of 2021.

My thanks to Miles and the team at Lean Labs for helping me get up to speed with Sprocket Rocket.

Ship it as soon as it’s good enough.

My natural way of thinking and working evolves daily. So I have made more effort to get stuff out there as quickly as possible. I like the fact that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is liberating to be free from the perfection trap. Good enough is good enough, and everything can always be better, but I enjoy the process of continual improvement now that I can let go earlier.

Blogging and social media.

Starting blogging was originally quite scary for me. Staring at a blank screen is something I really don’t like. But I've embraced the this and risen to the challenge. I’m now getting more comfortable with sharing my thoughts. It’s early days, but I will continue to share my own personal story and hopefully someone will find value in this.

Blog images

I started out last year thinking I would commission a bespoke illustration for each blog post that we published, but I have realised that this seriously slows us down. Our illustrator has produced a series of backgrounds that I can now use to build dynamic blog images on the fly using placid.app. Massive efficiency win!

Since I started looking more seriously at blogging and sharing on social media I have noticed a clear spike in website traffic. I’ll try to keep a running update on these metrics.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

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