Making Brilliant Marketing Simple

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Our Start Up Story

Our start up and how it all began

A business start up was never a goal of mine. I (Dale) graduated from university in 2004 with a BA(Hons) in animation & design. The summer was spent writing to all sorts of companies that I desperately wanted to work for. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and persistence finally paid off and I landed a good job as a computer aided designer / draughtsman. Working for a local company in April 2005 – Mark Fenton Design Services. Following a succession of temporary jobs from September 2004. Battling through the recession, the company was finally brought to its knees in February 2010. When 2 other staff members and I had to be made compulsory redundant.

There was so little to do we couldn’t even work out the months notice.

This was a difficult time as over the 5 years I was with them. I grew. I moved out of my parents house, bought my own house in June 2007, got engaged. The hardest thing was my fiancée and I were expecting our first child in March of 2010. I worked hard for the company, and they were sad to have let us go. It was well paid and enjoyable, but times were about to get very difficult.

I had mortgage protection insurance. The financial difficulties began after I had to sign on with the Job Centre. A truly forgettable and unforgiving experience. They were very reluctant to help me, as they thought I was financially secure due to possessing a mortgage. Nothing could have been further from the truth at that point. They were very probing. Delving into my personal finances. I had nothing to hide. My circumstances were genuine. Instead of accepting this, I was called into countless meetings. Numerous ‘back to work courses’ to review my ‘job seeking’ strategies. I was in desperate need of an income, and I was trying my hardest to find work……anywhere!

I had no luck.

In August, my contribution based job seekers allowance had run out. According to some busy body in the Job Centre, me, my new family and my bills would easily get by on £58 per week?! I protested and needed more help. They weren’t interested or prepared to help. It would have been only until I had a regular income once again. I had worked since I had a humble paper round since I was 13. Summer jobs and weekend jobs followed. Quite evident and obvious I wasn’t lazy or workshy.

After painful, long and hard discussions with my parents and fiancée, it was clear that the Job Centre weren’t prepared to help.

I took radical action.

I didn’t start up a business. Instead dabbling as a freelancer. To avoid any potential of fraudulently claiming this meagre job seekers allowance and working at the same time. I went into the Job Centre and just said, ‘I don’t need you or your grief, thanks’. Handed in the necessary documents. Severed all ties from them. I was going to go it alone. Put my skills to the test and earn a living freelancing. A couple of opportunities popped up here and there, but it was still a struggle. I was in a horrible place.

Until one day……

My friend’s brother had recently graduated as a mature student. He was looking to start up his own business. By pure chance, my friend, his brother mentioned my situation. He mentioned my skills to him and he gave me a call. Our abilities complimented each other, we soon realised we had something. Specialising in the world of digital marketing, coding and programming. His skills could take my graphics to another level, and likewise.

The DM Lab was born!

Our start up improved by the day. We now had 2 individuals, each with a completely different skill set to one another. However our talents complimented each other perfectly. We soon branched out into web design, graphic design, primarily business stationery design, posters banners etc. Then into a successful digital marketing company. With 3 big clients on board ready to go on in year 2. After breaking even on year 1. Things are looking very positive. Over the past year and a half, we have worked for many different people and businesses. Both locally and nationwide, producing a huge portfolio of work. The business continues to go from strength to strength. Even looking to expand in the near future by employing our first member of staff.

We feel it’s a real credit to us, as we started a business out of necessity

In the middle of a recession when nothing was certain. It was a real gamble. We won’t say it was easy, days (and nights) were long. Cash flow was tight – but we kept our heads above water. We did all this, with no outside help. The business was funded using savings and hard work. The banks didn’t want to help us. We received no funding or support,. Just went ahead with the belief that the company will succeed. That the company now had to succeed, otherwise we would each lose everything. Everything we worked for and earned over the past couple of years. Failure was not an option. Although times were hard at points, we battled through it. With hard work and a lot of positive thinking. We are enormously proud at where we have got to today from where we were a year and a half ago.