There’s always time to do what you love and try new things – Jonathan of EmailOctopus

There’s always time to do what you love and try new things

Founded in 2014 with a London headquarters, EmailOctopus now sends billions of emails on behalf of a vast range of customers. Their small, dedicated, team works to create the most affordable email marketing platform in the world.

We spoke to Jonathan who is the founder of EmailOctopus, an email marketing software company based out of London.

About EmailOctopus

EmailOctopus is an affordable email marketing platform. Our aim is to make email marketing more accessible and easy-to-use for our customers. We provide the usual features you’d expect from an email service provider – subscriber management, campaigns, performance reports, automated emails. Our users connect a free Amazon Web Services account, which their emails are sent through. Amazon’s infrastructure is bulletproof, so deliverability is high and costs are low.

We’re a small team and we’re all learning on the job to some extent, so there have definitely been challenges along the way. We’re a skilled group of programmers and marketers but we don’t have any formal training in design, which means we inevitably slow down when building out the UX for new features.

Until we grow enough to invest in some in-house UX expertise we try to overcome that by taking as much inspiration as we can from other SaaS companies’ designs.

My Journey So far

I’ve always been interested in programming. Building websites started as a hobby when I was 8 and I set up my first business when I was 15. It was called PseudoMailer and was basically a platform for people to send prank messages – exactly the sort of business a 15-year-old would start. But it did surprisingly well and I kept it running as a side project through university, earning enough to give me extra pocket money until I was 24.

After university I worked as a developer at the Royal Opera House and then moved to a startup called CoinDesk where I worked my way up to become Director of Technology. It was a great opportunity for me to develop my technical skills as well as teaching me the benefits and challenges of working for a start up.

I’d been running my business EmailOctopus on the side for two and a half years before I finally took the plunge, quit my job and went full time just over a year ago.

How does your workday look like?

I start the day by checking my emails and making sure nothing’s gone wrong overnight – if we’ve had an issue then I’ll get working straight away to ensure it’s resolved.

Then I usually cycle the short journey to work and spend a bit of time catching up with the team when I get in. We have a stand up each morning for 15 minutes where we review what we did yesterday and set our focus for the day. Then I’ll be in the office until 7ish – the working day is a mix of developing new features, keeping our customers happy and all the usual admin that keeps the business afloat.

And I’ll always make sure I get to spend some time with Alfie, our office dog.

Your productivity & motivation secrets

I love what I do and the truth is that I never struggle to stay motivated. Solving problems, building new things for customers and working with the team is always good fun. That said, get great feedback from our customers always gives me a boost – I’ll always check in to see what people are saying about us, and that motivates me to continually do better.

Tools you use

We’re trying hard to build a remote team, which comes with challenges, so Slack is essential for keeping us in contact throughout the day. It also helps build a sense of being part of the team, even for those of us not in the office.

Trello’s great for keeping on top of tasks and we use a good old fashioned whiteboard to plan and prioritize our work.

Hiring Strategy

My background is in programming so I try to build a diverse team around me that brings in all the skills I might not have myself. But the main traits I’m always looking for are people who are enthusiastic, entrepreneurial and creative and who will be excited about working hard to grow EmailOctopus. And as we’re a small business we want people who will thrive working as part of a small, close-knit team.

There’s always time to do what you love and try new things – don’t make excuses.

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