A few weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “Startups Acquires is4profit” but then everything on my blog went quiet. Well, the story behind the headline goes a little something like this…
I had worked at the small business advice portal www.is4profit.com since late 2000, initially taking a role at the dot com startup as a Researcher but quickly becoming the company’s Web Designer as the guy in that role side-stepped to become the firm’s web developer. Within 2 short years I’d experienced first-hand the “dot com bubble” – the boom and bust cycle as the business grew rapidly but then contracted quickly again in 2002.
However, where our big-money-funded competitors ClearlyBusiness, UseColor and Work24 fell by the dot com crash wayside, the remaining is4profit business, comprised of just the Managing Director and I, survived for the next 11 years as we continually adapted and developed the firm. Moving from a hand-coded website that I (re)designed in 2001 to the Joomla CMS platform in 2006, is4profit.com served the small business sector in the UK, publishing free business advice articles for the benefit of small firms funded by ads for blue chip and corporate clients such as Barclays, BMW, BT, Lloyds, O2 and Seat, to name just a few.
In 2007 I created is4profit’s successful business news channel, project-managed an international team migration to Joomla 1.5 and became the company’s copywriter and editor before adding a small business blog in WordPress. I did SEO, social media, digital marketing, writing, journalism, blogging etc etc etc, so there was never a dull moment as I worked tirelessly to serve the UK’s small businesses.
So what’s this about goodbye is4profit?
In February of this year, after more than thirteen years at the firm, I was made redundant and the business was sold to Startups. My MD retired and that was that – nearly fourteen years of dedication to the small business community had suddenly come to an end.
My first thoughts were to swing into overdrive with my social media contacts and, with 2,500 twitter followers, a few hundred friends on both Facebook and LinkedIn, there was a strong possibility that I could have used the social networks to find myself a new job.
When it got down to it though, at the time I really didn’t feel like conducting such personal business in public. So I worked tirelessly to search and apply for jobs and, of the 20 or so in-depth applications I made in just three weeks, it was actually posting my CV online that earned me my new role.
On the fourth day of twenty one I got a call from a recruiter who had arranged an interview with CTC, the national cycling charity. With my professional web background and a love of mountain biking, this role was a pretty good match. I did keep plugging for digital marketing, copywriting and website management roles and had a few irons in the fire, particularly with some respectable big name businesses that I was excited about the opportunities of working with. BAE Systems, Rackspace and Vertu were all in the pipeline but in the end it was CTC for whom I would work.
And so it has been 5 weeks since I started working as the webmaster with the national cycling charity. I run a Drupal website, have a 27″ iMac on my desktop, work in a modern spacious office in Guildford and have a team of 25 fabulous people around me. There are some great opportunities ahead with lots of new systems and processes to learn and I am already finding plenty of room to offer my current skills to my new employer.
I am working both on my own and as part of a team. Web & IT is my department. I do no copywriting and my editorial duties are restricted to code, markup and housekeeping, however I am involved in editorial team meetings and marketing department discussions, so it’s good to keep a hand in.
I’m looking forward to migrating one site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8, plus there are others in the portfolio to look after. I’m brushing up on my Photoshop skills again, I’ll be an OS X demon before you know it, GIT, PHP, CRM and more IT skills are on the cards and there are so many other possibilities yet to be realised.
Working for a cycling charity, I know I should cycle to Guildford, but the practicalities of having an 18 month old child limit my options, so I make the 26 mile round trip by car every day. I have swapped my trusty old petrol-engined Mercedes for a newer diesel power Benz but at least I’m doing 47MPG now and not the 23MPG I was achieving previously.
So that’s what’s been happening. I was concerned about venturing back out into the world of the job seeker but fortune smiled upon my path. There is a new, incoming CEO at CTC, my team and line managers are absolutely brilliant and I genuinely love my job.
So here’s a toast to all who have known and worked with me, past, present and future. Goodbye is4profit, hello CTC. Cheers! My long term project, Wessex Digital, will need to wait.