In conversation with Aaron Smith, CEO of Sageflo, on Empowering Businesses Through Better Marketing, and Remote Work Advice — Gaper

Aaron is the CEO at Sageflo. Gaper’s VP of Sales, Mustafa Najoom, had a little chat with him on the growth of company and navigating remote work dynamics in an efficient manner.

Aaron describes his professional journey as a long circuitous one. He started off as a software developer on Wall Street, then decided to start his own agency in the early 2000s. This agency, based in Seattle, was the first one during the time that was focused specifically on email marketing. After it was acquired, Aaron reignited his entrepreneurial journey and started Lift Science, a business that built effective marketing automation plugins for enterprise digital marketing teams. The business was able to grow further after joining hands with another Seattle-based company Shaw + Scott. Leading into the pandemic, the business branched out into Sageflo.

A New Journey When the Pandemic Starts

Sageflo has two lines of products: one for local marketing teams, Their services empower businesses that may not have sufficient marketing experience to send professional, brand-approved marketing messages through digital channels.

There is no way to sugarcoat it — the fact that Sageflo took off in parallel with the pandemic of 2020 was “horrible”. Such an exogenous shock forces founders to focus on what is absolutely critical for their business. It compels you to be more disciplined and prudent in how you go to market with your business. Their initial plan to enter their target market with a workflow tool for digital marketing teams had to be shelved. This idea was deemed to not have appropriate demand in the early days of the pandemic so the company moved its focus towards other, more time-appropriate services they had worked on. In this case, it was helping big brands that were in real need of services to help them sustain their business through the economic uncertainties.

The first few months were difficult and stressful, but the business made it through well and is now on a comfortable and stable footing now.

Transitioning to Remote Work: Clients, Team, Management, Culture

Pandemic or not, the 9–5 daily office routine can be a bit soul-crushing. Aaron has been doing remote work in some form and capacity for almost two decades. In 2005, he wanted to move to Seattle. He worked as a senior software developer on Wall Street and managed to convince his boss to let him work remotely — a very rare thing at the time. Shaw x Scott was also a completely remote company even before the pandemic.

In terms of actually working remotely, Aaron has a very crucial piece of advice that applies for one’s relationships with their clients, boss, as well as fellow company employees. You have to prove to your company and boss that you can still deliver results. On the flip side, you must also treat people as you would like to be treated, and give people the room to prove what they set out to do.

Mental Health and Work-Life

Office life may not be the most enjoyable thing for introverts, while the 9–5 commute is certainly the bane of existence for a lot of people. But it is also observed that remote work may start to contribute to loneliness for a whole lot of people after a while. It took Aaron two years to develop a healthy way of approaching remote work. He offers two pieces of advice:

  • Have a separate space for work in your home where the only thing you do is work. This ensures that one is able to clearly transition between the work mental state to spending time on leisure, family, etc. To further help with this, he suggests playing some music at 5pm (or whenever you are done with work) to further establish that distinction.
  • For managers, and/or leaders of people, respect your teammates and employees. Don’t ask them to do things before 9am or after 5pm. Respect their space and separation of home/personal and work time.

The Future for Sageflo

As of now, Sageflo is a small company with 10 employees. They remain dedicated to serving small businesses and organizations to fulfill their marketing needs to achieve their business aims and objectives. This client-centered strategy continues to be the primary driver for Sageflo’s team’s motivation. Their services are geared towards removing the stress associated with marketing and free up the time that their clients would otherwise spend on these efforts.

Originally published at https://gaper.io on February 23, 2022.

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Mustafa Najoom

Mustafa Najoom

Remote Hirings is the Future

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