Why we started VisualBoston and our plans for building our digital agency

    By Mark Stenquist

    July 06, 2022

    I remember when I finally convinced my co-founder Alec Harrison to start an agency with me. I had been an independent contractor for several years but eventually realized that if I wanted to grow a meaningful and successful business, finding the right partner would be a huge advantage. Plus, building an agency with someone else would be a lot more fun.

    We agreed to meet up on a Friday evening after work at restaurant near Downtown Crossing. We snagged the only two remaining seats, ordered some food and naturally began discussing some of the goals we had for the business. As the drinks and the ideas began to flow things seemed to click. By the end of the dinner we had agreed that we'd go into business together, little did we know what 2020 had in store for us.

    There was nothing quite like the experience of the COVID pandemic sweeping the world and the resulting toilet paper shortage hysteria that ensued. All this as we were trying to get our agency off the ground. Needless to say, our ability to go heads down despite the stresses of what was happening around us proved to eachother we had what it takes.

    Why it worked

    Love for all things technical and creative

    Whether it’s a cool new gadget, a sought after NFT, a beautiful piece of music, or a really well designed website or application, we love attention to detail. We believe you only get one shot for a great first impression and it's been something we believe strongly in.

    Similar age, experience and priorities in life

    We’ve found that being in similar stages of life (we both have kids) has helped us relate to eachother well. We share many of the same priorities including our families, a healthy work life balance and putting in the hard work.

    Shared passion for improving the intersection of design and development

    We’ve both been part of teams where the handoff between designers and developers fell short of expectations. The designs looked great but the end product just didn’t feel as polished as we had hoped. We both enjoy the challenge of streamlining this process and we've found that when you improve the communication between these departments, that's where the magic happens.

    Goals for building our digital agency

    • Build a diverse team of highly-skilled, professional designers, engineers and product owners that are able deliver high-quality work for our clients.

    • Create well-defined business processes that allow us to work smarter and optimize every aspect of our day to day operations.

    • Continue to go all in on remote-first work as employees expect it and thrive with the flexibility and trust in one another to get the work done.

    • Grow our unique company culture that will continue to attract and retain talent and help us become a close-knit, well-oiled machine. (e.g. we regularly share our hobbies outside of work including things like cooking, music, gardening, illustration work etc...)

    • Host offsite company trips so we can continue to get to know one another beyond just Zoom calls.

    • Work with clients that are genuine, kind and hard working with a mission that resonates with our team. We like “feel good” work and strive to work on projects we believe strongly in.

    The experience growing an agency so far as proven to me that if you surround yourself with talented people and work hard to continuously provide value to clients, the rest will take care of itself.

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