At just 23, James Blake, of Vindicta Digital in Belfast is the man in charge – Turning a mundane marketing campaign into digital domination through Website Development, SEO and strategy is his game. He shares his experience as founder of a tech start-up with us.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As the Founder of a company you have to wear a lot of hats. I do bits of everything. I have a strong team of developers and designers on hand for project work along with great content writers and graphic design guys. I think at the moment we’ve a total of 10 in our team including Copywriter’s and Video/Graphic guys. I oversee most of the projects and spend a lot of time out and about meeting with companies and people. A lot of our creative team work across the UK which means i’m constantly travelling and communicating on a scaled level.
What is it the company does?
Vindicta Digital is probably one of the fastest growing “Digital” businesses around at the moment. Everything has grown organic under the business model I developed, which is great and our client relationships show this.
Our HQ is here in Belfast and we’ve also an office in London however the nature of our business allows for client work to be constructed across the whole of the UK. Our main business is website development and design with SEO and Digital Marketing strategy’s also being a service we provide. This year we are moving more into the Social Media Sphere with our clients which is fantastic.
Our ethos is relationships and building them with our clients. We want to take companies from Zero to Hero online and to do this we need them to be as motivated as we are!
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
Although I’m young in some people’s eyes i have put in an absolutely insane amount of work over the last 6-7 years. In fact I can remember as far back as 12/13 years old designing “Piczo” websites and “Bebo” graphics for other kids in return for things like a football, cash or something else I was after. I was well looked after by my parents of course but always wanted more.
I’m from a normal working class background in Lisburn. I’ve always worked hard i remember having 3 jobs at once, I was working in a gym doing fitness instruction with a little bit of sales, Argos and my cousins filling station all at once. Very tiring but I learnt a lot – I also then started a Degree with the open university in Psychology alongside some of this, This was a busy/important period in my life.
I started a fitness business straight out of my A Level’s – This fitness business grew to encompass two fitness classes being run by other people for me, whilst I paid them a commission wage. I overseen the marketing and production of the classes and they completed them. I remember at one point I was training about 100 people per week without actually lifting a weight myself.
I then brought the fitness business online and that was when I discovered digital was going to be firmly lodged in my future.
Long story short I then went into the semi-corporate world of sales – Climbed my way up the ladder somewhat, worked for a Google premier partner as a digital consultant and then ended up a Director of a 10 year old digital marketing agency – I was coming 22 at this point. Something lots of 22 year olds would be over the moon about.
However that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted my own baby where I could build it around my own ethos of relationships and actually caring about clients and their businesses. Now here we are, around 1 and half years later we have worked with some global companies, done work in LA and have worked with a handful of celebrity individuals across the UK including our very own George Best’s son, Calum best.
We also now have a base in London and I’m working on building our network in the mainland as well as here at home in Northern Ireland.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
To be honest every day I come up against new challenges, I’m forever learning and that’s an amazing thing. That’s why I love running a business so much. I learnt a ton in all of my previous roles of working for other companies. I believe it’s not so much the challenge but how you react to it that will ultimately tell all.
How do you alleviate stresses that comes with running a business?
I’ve very few but very good friends who i spend time with when we get a chance. I also like to train. Very rarely i switch off fully, which is something i’m working on.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Footballer. I also remember i went through a state where i was convinced i was going to be Superman when i was older. Ultimately many of my uncles are successful in business so that was something that always fascinated and interested me.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I dislike the “up-tight” corporate style to business. Business is about people, i think becoming a robot is a sure way to lose. Show your authenticity and your unique personality, it could lead to losing some clients yes but it will ultimately lead to great relationships wth clients who will stay with you and your business for a long time – results dependant of course.
What’s important to you outstide of work?
I’m involved with a charity called the Lisburn Carers Forum on Learning Disability and have been since an early age – We’re always looking for donations and sponsors feel free to reach out to me regarding this also.
You’ll notice that my flight path wasn’t necessarily “text-book”. Ie. School..Full time University…Job – I am very passionate about the alternative, that lots of entrepreneurs tend to take and I am always keen to advise any young people or individuals who may struggle slightly academically but are sure of a path they want to follow.
I wasn’t the best in school – Not the best behaved nor was I the best academically. However I zoned in on my passion and made it my lively hood.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
I plan to expand. Everything has been organic so far and the business model is working well. I want to grow the business step by step. We don’t want to become too over subscribed as we don’t want our quality of work to suffer. It’s baby steps. Clients come first – I’m confident the business will scale massively over time.
If your interested in arranging a meting with one of our team – Feel free to pick up the phone: 08432895811
You can of course visit our website: vindictadigital.co.uk
The Start a project section on our website allows you to arrange a consultation which will include a free website and SEO test on your existing website (If you have one.)
To start a project visit here: vindictadigital.co.uk/start-project
If your needing advise, Reach out to me at anytime via email. [email protected]