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Friday Digital Roundup

The Friday Digital Roundup is a witty take on the weird world of the internet. With fun stories from around the globe, it’s the only email newsletter you’ll actually read and enjoy!

We do love writing it, but clearly not as much as people like receiving it - just look at the response we got when a technical hitch meant it wasn’t sent out on time!

@roisinduffyVA @roisinduffyva

@Spaghetti_Jo
Coffee and the FDR is how I start my Friday.
Do not engage until I have devoured both

Meschi Consultants @MeschiConsult

When it comes to the end of the week, there is no better way to start a Friday than with a run around the internet with Todd and Jo in the FDR. Just don't let them know I do it from the loo!

Kathryn Lynch-Smith @KikikatSmith

@Spaghetti_Jo
My inbox is full of rubbish newsletters that Im constantly deleting😬 My VIP inbox is for 1 thing only- THE DIGITAL ROUNDUP🤠I dont read a Newspaper or the news online, I just wait for Fridays, when this lands in my inbox- then I know ‘The weekend has landed’🤗

Spaghetti Blog

Thursday 18th August 2022

Happy Birthday, Spaghetti Agency!

Wed 29th Jun 2022
By Todd

Spaghetti Agency is now nine years old!

That’s a serious achievement if you believe what the experts say about most companies failing before the first five years, that’s for sure. We’re proud we’ve made it this far. We’re also proud of the growth and changes we’ve made in the past few years, and we’re hugely proud of our team.

It seems like a suitable time to reflect on the last nine years and what’s happened, how it happened, and what Todd is most proud of in the journey so far.

So… grab a drink. We’re about to interview the cowboy…

 

Happy Birthday, Spaghetti Agency!

Nine Wild Years – An Anniversary Interview with Head Cowboy, Todd

How it all began…

What led you to start a business, Todd?

I’m not sure really. It all felt like an accident. I got into Twitter in 2010 to help promote a business I was employed by at the time, and it escalated from there. It went from tweeting about a wine merchant to gaining local and national press and it finished with me winning an award on the day I left my job.

It was almost poetic winning a local award on the day I started my business. Fate? Who knows… but it was a great place to let people know about our new business!

I say ‘our’ business because Spaghetti Agency has always been Todd and Jo. Long before the rebrand in 2015, we were Jo’s Correctional Facility, and that was the side hustle of my partner (in life and business), Jo Ciriani.

I’d met Jo in those crazy days of Twitter and we’d grown fond of the online banter and each other. We’d worked on tweet-ups and then the big Portas Pilot blog which really helped to embed me (and then us) into the local and national community.

Spaghetti Agency - Warwick Rocks

It was all for the town of Warwick – which I loved and worked in – and then one thing led to another and I left my marriage, home, job, and life to start over in Warwick with Jo and a new business.

I’ve glossed over this back story a bit but you can find it in various podcasts and online interviews I’ve done about it. Let’s just say it was the breakdown of one life and the birth of another.

In the space of 6 months in 2013 I quit my marriage, left home, sold the house, got divorced, quit my job, and started a business with the girl I’d fell in love with on Twitter. Essentially, I started a new relationship, moved to a new house in a new town and then quit the job I’d been doing for 11 years to post social media content for anyone who’d ask.

… and we’re still doing it!

Big achievements

What would you say are biggest achievements of the past nine years?

Ah man. There have been so many. It’s been a real blast to be honest. Winning the special award on the day I left my job is pretty cool. That was such a magic day. But there have been some cool moments along the way, for sure. Here’s a bit of a shortlist.

 

Networking

Networking has always been a core part of what we did to grow the agency. I do very little of it now, but the team still go out and chat to people and make connections. I love speaking at events, attending them, exhibiting at them, and especially running them.

Spaghetti Agency - 4Networking Leamington Evening

We had a top UK meeting for nearly two years in 4Networking which I’m still very proud of even though I left the network in 2019 due to differences of opinion. (I’ve never really minced my words – there’s a video out there about this, too!)

 

Laura the original first team cowgirl

When Laura joined us in 2014 it was a pretty cool moment. Laura was also someone Jo and I had met on Twitter and we’re still great friends now. Laura joined us at the kitchen table at home to help us with social media content for clients.

I was massively against the idea but thankfully Jo fought for it – and won! I was scared to spend money (I still am, but not as much) and the thought of hiring even a freelancer was scary. But Jo was right (as usual) and Laura helped us transform the business from a kitchen table to a proper agency (more on that in a bit!).

 

Claire the coach

I met Claire McTernan at my first ever 4N event just days after we went self-employed. She helped me get to grips with networking and would eventually become my regional leader and help me create that UK-topping networking group.

But Claire was more than that. She was a friend, a confidente, and a coach. Claire helped us to nearly doubled our business in our time working with her and our time together is very special to me. We even ran our own two-day event (twice!).

The Rebrand

Then in 2015 it all changed.

Jo (again) had the wonderful idea of building a new website. Our accountant told us we needed to spend a few thousand pounds on something for the business so Jo decided we’d get a new website.

… but we got more than we bargained for!

Edge of the Web told us our brand (Jo’s Correctional Facility) wasn’t fit for purpose and if we were going to build a new website we needed to create a new brand. We agreed (Jo probably more begrudgingly than me) and the wild west Spaghetti Agency was born.

Spaghetti Agency - Rebrand

Edge of the Web nailed it. The first logo and the first concept they presented is still what we have today. Although the website is on its third or fourth version and we’re gearing up for a big change this year, it’s still the same concept from 2015 but hasn’t dated.

It changed everything.

Now an agency (in brand and mind) we started to build a team. We already had Phil doing SEO on board and Laura still with us and Lou Fox was working on the team doing social media then, too. We also had Squirrel (Matt) doing our design work as well as some video. But we then took on some other people to help us continue to build.

Escape Room Coventry

Then we took on a whole new life, thanks to a big extension at home.

 

First office

Amazingly we’d coped for nearly three years running the business from the dining room table. We had proper chairs, a printer, and even plenty of coloured lever arch files (lol!), but until the builders kicked us out, we worked from home.

The house had a much-needed extension so when the JCBs moved in, we moved out and rented an office in Warwick with the wonderful Sue Turnbull-Ransford, who used to babysit Jo when she was a child!

Spaghetti Agency in Warwick

Our first office was a big change and it set a new mindset. We had a space, an address, a base, and a sense of purpose. Since then I’ve never worked from home – even in Covid times – I just can’t get the mindset of business owner at home. Jo can – and kudos to her – but I need my office!

We’ve moved twice since then and are about to move again, but that first move was huge for us.

Miss Make it Happen

In 2018 I had a 20-minute phone call in a pub garden that would give us the route to proper growth. Dee was a friend I’d met through networking and a VA I thought we couldn’t afford. But, as it turns out, she turned into a hugely valuable team member, too.

Spaghetti Agency at Hart & Co Leamington

Dee started on just one hour a month (!) and grew to someone who is now a core part of the current team. Dee took our diaries, bookings, and problems and allowed us to become marketers again. With Dee (VA), Laura (Admin), Phil (SEO), Matt (designer) Lou (Social) and Claire as our coach we really took off. Our friend Charlotte helped with PR, and yes that’s Suzee who works for us again now!

Spaghetti Agency

Finally, I could just be a marketer, a content writer, a speaker, and networker and not worry so much about how things got done. We really have no idea how we’d have got here without her. I don’t think it would have happened. Dee is such an important part of our journey.

Besties

Ah, our little Facebook Group. At the end of 2019 I fell out with 4N and left. It was a little messy, but I wasn’t alone. Quite a few people left before me, and many left after. I decided to post in my own group for a change and it turns out that lots of people wanted to do that too.

Besties (our small and sleepy group) grew into a tight and supportive place that truly amazes me every day. Now 3,000 members strong, this little business community hosts quarterly Meet-ups and supports any member who needs it. I’m very proud of this little place we get to call ours.

During Covid lockdowns it was a salvation for many and literally kept people here, on this earth. We offered a bit of friendship and optimism in otherwise bleak times. We ran an online pub for the entire time the pubs were shut and that created relationships in real life that are still strong today. It also grew a wonderful relationship between two Besties, and we couldn’t be happier for them. We now hold quarterly in-person events ‘Besties Meet-ups’ for no reason other than to help connect people and support their businesses. Oh, and to have a laugh!

The Social Saloon - The Online Pub

2020

Ah… that year! Yup, it was awful, wasn’t it!? I was in a real spin about it all, too. I was worried for our business and my new little family (our daughter Bobbi was coming up to 3-years old and was still not sleeping!). The negative news and depressing social media coverage about the new virus sucked me in.

Luckily some government support was coming and actually – as it turns out – people needed us. Nearly seven years of networking came home to roost in a big way when people realised they needed to be doing more online. But we weren’t able to do it alone…

Kevin

Jo once again made a big and important decision (are you sensing a theme here!?). Warwick ActionCOACH was offering gifted coaching sessions because of the lockdowns and awful times for SMEs, and Jo took one with both hands.

I was massively sceptical. “What does he want?” “He’s going to lock us into a contract, isn’t he!?” Well… he did.. but on our say-so, and when we were ready and able to get involved.

Kevin helped literally hundreds of businesses in that time and gave his valuable time for no other reason than to give back. That didn’t stop me being sceptical though, and I nearly walked off a session in the early days.

But now – two years on – we’re still with Kevin on his premium package. We’re all in – we do it all. BookCLUB, GrowthCLUB, weekly coaching, and daily Whatsapp messages. Kevin is always there for us, and he’s helped us double our business and increase the profits even more through sensible, proven systems and strategies that we’ve applied (sometimes slowly) and seen amazing results from.

 

Employment

Kevin also helped us employ our first full-timer – Charlie – in lockdown, and got us into the right position to employ more. We moved office (we now have the entire top floor above our second old office) and now we’re looking for more team members and more space.

Picture 13

Ah… what a fucking fabulous nine years.

Picture 14

Those are just some of the cool moments I can think of right now.

 

Plans for the future?

More growth, less slacking?!

Both Rob and Claire (previous coaches) and Kevin (current coach) will testify that I’m an oil tanker when it comes to directional change.

I. Take. Time.

Jo has made/forced all the big changes, and I need to own that and get better at moving fast.

The new office was actually my idea and my move. But the other decisions have taken waaaaay too long and there’s no time for that now.

Next, we’re growing our team with a target of around 20-25 with plans to buy and own our own office (it’ll be wild west-themed, obvs!).

Big plans. Big change. Big boy pants needed!

 

What you’re proud of?

Honestly? The team.

Not just because they’re awesome cowfolk who get shit done and do a bloody great job of it, not just because they’re wonderful people with hearts in all the right places, and not just because they’re fully behind the Wild West brand.

No. I’m proud because they chose us. They saw something in us and they chose us. The team (employed and outsourced) do a fabulous job and we’re always grateful they’re with us for the ride. They believe in us, and that keeps me going.

I’m proud that we created something that others want to be a part of, and I think in all the nine years that’s the greatest achievement. We created an agency that clients want to work with and we (largely) do a great job.

I’m proud of that, every day. It’s what keeps me going when I want to give up. (And I do feel that a lot because this isn’t a walk in the park, as any business owner will tell you)

 

Where next, partner?

Riding headstrong on horseback into the apocalypse recession by the looks of it!

This time though, I’m excited. Covid taught me that getting in a spin isn’t the answer. Kevin has taught me to lead with optimism and focus on what I can control.

It’s so easy to forget all the greatness we’ve been able to create, isn’t it? We survived, and actually thrived during lockdown and I see no reason we won’t continue to do that.

New systems, new offices, and new people are coming – I gotta go build a business for all that!

Happy Anniversary, Spaghetti Agency! #TeamSpag

Picture 15


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2 comments on this article

  • Georgi Curtis at 8:30am on July 6th 2022

    Congratulations to you and Jo and all the team x

  • LINDA at 8:23am on July 8th 2022

    Happy Anniversary! and once again a Great blog. It was fab to read about your full story and to take part in your training sessions, that gave me the confidencence all those years ago to “do” Social Media, here’s to many more years and building your “town”.

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