Evolution into an Agency - From Eric Hersey Web Design to Strong Minded Agency

Evolution Into an Agency

What a wild few years it has been.

I remember sitting at my computer in July 2019 and writing my first promotional blog for my newly opened web design company. Just months earlier, I was told by our accountant that I was running a business and no longer just a freelance web designer. I decided to create a website and do exactly what I was telling my clients to do - write. Over 100 blogs later, I'm sitting at my computer, giving myself the same advice...

But this time, it's for a new company.

The Next Website

StrongMindedAgency.com is our new website. It's our new brand and ultimately a new company (I have the new EIN to prove it). But it wasn't the next website I built after EricHersey.com.

EricHersey.com Homepage

After writing several new articles per month on EricHersey.com, I started to realize that I was really combining business "how to" articles with "things going on in my life" content. This wasn't a horrible thing, but EricHersey.com was really branded as a 'one-man show'. Not just a website from one-persons perspective, a website developed around a freelance web designer who spoke authentically about anything and everything.

I tried to make the majority of the articles dealing with digital marketing, but sometimes I would go on a tangent about Adam the Woo (YouTube personality), professional wrestling, or Walt Disney World. These articles did fairly well in search, but they just didn't quite belong. I enjoyed writing these articles - so I didn't want to stop. Instead, since I'm a web designer and these things come cheap to me, I would just create a new website.

Welcome EricHerseyWeb.com.

EricHerseyWeb.com Homepage

This website would be exclusive to just web design and digital marketing. Launched in April of 2021, this blog was formatted more like a web design company. Yes, I still kept my authentic voice and quirkiness, but it was designed with the customer in mind (a little less about me and more about them).

I continued to write. My goal was to get EricHerseyWeb.com to outrank EricHersey.com for web design searches. At the end of the year, my two websites were usually on the first page of Ohio Valley web design searches. Not too bad.

EricHersey.com would slowly become the home of my personal opinions. This would be my personal branding blog. But...I couldn't just remove everything about web design. Having those two websites on the first page was paying off with new leads each month.

Growing Beyond Web Design into an Agency

Loaded with two websites and a quality work ethic, I trucked along making websites and helping with search engine optimization. My butt woke up each week and attended our local BNI meetings, fraternized with local business owners at events, and overdelivered with my current clients. I was getting referrals from friends, family, and Google. It certainly helps that Wheeling is a small community where word travels fast. I made friends with some great networks and was inundated with new website builds and monthly digital marketing clients.

Yes, they came to talk about websites but they left asking about social media, SEO, and everything in between. And that "everything in between" stuff, that's when I realized "we weren't in Kansas anymore".

I've always had freelancer help to finish out projects, but I had to really lean into help for social media, content writing, and graphics. Clients were asking for help and I always "had a guy" that we could use. We started creating videos, podcasts, buying media, and creating GoogleAd campaigns.

EricHerseyWeb.com, a website devoted to a local web design company, was now a bit outdated - and inaccurate. We did a lot more.

Our First Hire

Our freelancers were (and continue to be) great. We've partnered with skilled, dedicated, and trustworthy individuals. But there was one thing that was missing - a true partner in crime. In a world full of emails and tasks, my freelancers couldn't help divide and conquer like an actual employee could. In a crazy turn of events, an opportunity fell right into our lap (or actually a LinkedIn message).

I will save the origin story for another day, Eric Hersey Web Design hired our first full-time employee. Natalie Jeffers joined the team in January 2023 and immediately made an impact. Not only were we striking off items from our to-do list, we were able to handle bigger and better tasks.

Eric Hersey and Natalie Jeffers of Strong Minded Agency working on client document

Want a television commercial? We can do it.

Locked out of a Facebook account? Let us negotiate with Meta.

Feel like releasing a series of YouTube interviews? No problem.

Things were looking great....except...

I absolutely hated having Natalie tell people she worked for "Eric Hersey Web Design".

Yes, car dealers and attorneys have employees all working for their "branded name" - but this just didn't sound right. Eric Hersey Web Design sounded like a single-person company - or even a freelancer. That just didn't fit with the brand.

We needed to correct this.

Finding a New Name for the Agency

To be honest, I had the idea of changing out the name of my company for a while. It wasn't until I gave Natalie a @erichersey.com email when I realized I needed to move forward.

Over the years, my wife Lauren and I would brainstorm names. We could never find something that really fit - or was unique and creative enough. One day, we just looked at our individual brands and it clicked.

Lauren created a personal branding blog called Strong Female Boss and was very active for several years.

The Eric Hersey brand was always around a brain - being able to utilize the right and left sides of the brian to create creative and analytical masterpieces.

And one thing we both believe - mindset is vital for success.

Strong Minded was a perfect name for the agency.

Adjusting the Brand for the Agency

How do you rebrand a company without disrupting the operation? In our case, slowly.

Mind you, we didn't change anything about what we were doing. If anything, we were actually just being more descriptive and vocal about what we could do. And since no one was really asking us to rebrand, we didn't have a tight deadline or artificial dates that we needed to get things done.

But, we did need to get a website up on the internet so Google was aware we existed. Oh, and it would help if we created a logo (and all of that jazz).

Hear me out, I'm not saying there was a ton of equity in the Eric Hersey Web logo - but I am saying that I had a lot of shirts and product made with that logo already embedded. Okay, truth, I did not decide to keep our logo based on how many t-shirts I had made. Actually, I just really love our logo.

A brain and a speech bubble really does help tell the story. As an advertising agency, we are helping you get the word out about your business. We make data-driven decisions to help you with your marketing. A brain and a speech bubble fits the bill.

Not to mention, we did add a pretty cool looking logo for just the name Strong Minded Agency.

Adding More to the Team

Natalie and I were really trucking along. We knew that we would be rebranding - but wasn't quite sure when. We would wait for a break in the action, but as life has it, there is never a break in the action. Natalie and I knew we would have to double-down and just work on our own stuff in the night as we hammered out client projects in the day.

But before we got too far along, another twist of fate happened. And yes, this origin story will also be held for a later time. Next thing you know, a text (again, to my wife) brought us the very talented Jenny Snyder. And it was perfect timing. The next week we had our team photoshoot scheduled.

Eric Hersey and Jenny Snyder

Natalie, Jenny, and I were ready to take on the world - with a new name.

Launching the Brand

When's the best time to launch a website? Yesterday.

When's the second best time to launch a website? Today.

Okay, our website was officially live for quite some time. Google has recognized us and has our pages all in the index. Let the leads come rolling in, right?

But of course it's not that simple. We still have plenty of work to do. Right now, EricHerseyWeb.com and EricHersey.com are probably kicking our butt with "web design services near me" - and rightfully so. But, that should change as we develop more content, shake more hands, and kiss more babies.

Eric Hersey Web Design will slowly transition everything into Strong Minded Agency. It might not be today or tomorrow, but before long, you will see us ranking #1, #2, and #3 - and that's by design.

Strong Minded Agency - Natalie Jeffers, Eric Hersey, and Jenny Snyder

If you want to learn more about Strong Minded Agency and what we offer, give us a call or send us a message. Websites, Social Media, Digital Advertising, Media Buying, and more - Think Before You Speak.

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