Posted: Fri 29th Nov 2019
In just two years, Enterprise Nation member business Ecrubox Digital has grown quickly and now competes with the industry's biggest players. Self-coined an 'anti-agency,' the company provides solutions, results and creative direction for brands all over the world.
But the company's headquarters are a far cry from the agency hubs in London. The founders, Heather and Sebastian Horton, have opted for something a little different and the team has set up shop in a barn conversion on the outskirts of the Cotswolds.
Co-founder Heather Horton shares insights into her typical day and her business story.
My first alarm goes off at 6:30am and then have another alarm that goes off at 6:40am and another one that goes off at 6:45am, But after all of the snoozing I am normally awake by about 6:55am (unless one of my three littles forces me out earlier than that).! What can I say, I am a multiple alarm person in the morning.
When it comes to my ritual, my priority is my children. Normally the three year old is the first one up and then I head straight up to my 12-year-old daughter's room to try and force her out of bed. She's the one that needs to be up the earliest, but like me, she is not a fan of mornings. I'm sure she'll rely on coffee just as much as me one day, too!
Once I've gone downstairs, I normally make coffee for myself and my husband, Sebastian, if he hasn't already made it. The boys will then come down and I'll make them breakfast. I normally forget to make breakfast for myself because I'm focusing on getting Stella and the boys fed.
My exercise rituals are in the evening. I don't tend to have any time to work out in the morning before leaving for work, but one day I strive to get it out of the way early as it would definitely be easier than after a long day in the office! Normally I eat breakfast in the office when I finally get in just after nine and normally I feel like I've already had a full day before I've even sat down at my desk!
The office is only a five-minute drive from where we live in Pershore so it's a super easy commute.
We have quite a few clients in London so I commute to London at least once a week, but besides that, every day is very different. It's the beauty and also the challenge of running an agency.
I'm technically the managing director at Ecrubox Digital and my business partner and co-founder is my husband Sebastian, who looks after everything operational in the business - the finance side of things, HR and recruitment. My key role is focused on leading the team, client delivery and business development.
A recent big pitch for a new client in London. They were a fashion brand and we were up against three other agencies. The whole team came together with a really strong presentation and a fantastic pitch. Everyone was on their A-game and we got a really good response from the client.
I felt extremely proud of the message we delivered as a young agency and how we were able to stand out against more established competition in London as an outsider with a very different approach.
I have worked for corporate businesses previously where they have very instilled cultures, and if you come in and you try to run your team or your department differently than the overall culture it's very difficult to move things forward.
It's difficult to get some leaders to adjust their thinking and change and adapt as the make up of the team changes. There ends up being a lot of resistance against people who are not a natural culture fit.
Owning my own business means that I'm able to instill a culture that I'm more comfortable with. But also I'm very much a believer in the fact that the whole team sets the culture, not just the leaders at the top. And so owning my own business means that I have the opportunity to not only work for myself, but also for the people who work here to make Ecrubox what it is and really shape who we are as a company.
Pretty much everything that my business partner looks after! I'm not super keen on contracts, paperwork and the accountancy and finance side of things. He looks after insurance, finance, etc. and makes sure that we're legal and that we're ticking all the boxes that we have to tick as a business.
I don't know what I would do without Sebastian covering that part of the business because if he didn't, I think I would be far too stretched to be able to manage the team and keep our clients happy. And so I'm so lucky that I have a business partner who can look after that side.
The best piece of advice I was given came from Chris Hyland who now works at The Happiness Index, but was a co-owner of a large London SEO agency previously. He's mentored me quite a bit.
Two years ago when I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my career I went to Chris and I asked him, "Should I start my own business?
Do you think it would be successful?" And he looked at me and said, "The hardest thing is starting it. And once you've started it, everything will just go from there."
I took that advice and I started the business two days after that - announcing it to the world of LinkedIn with a website I stayed up all night to build - and I've never looked back since.