1 Year, 25 Bottles of Prosecco
A look back on the first year of Kick Point.

Sometimes I look at Dana and Sarah and can’t believe that I have to spend the rest of the day with them. But then sometimes I miss them when I go home and they aren’t on gChat.

There are times when the way a person holds their pencil (I’m looking at you, Lefty) annoys the hell out of you, and there are times when your eyes are wide in awe at that person’s nerdy brilliance. If it was all double rainbows and pop tarts, I don’t think we would see much progress. We challenge each other to do more, to do better, to BE better.

We have a policy against feeding our clients bullshit, and we carry that same policy internally. There isn’t a place for wasted time in our industry; things move way too fast. We’d be lying if we said we had gone 365 days without a reported bullshit incident, because hey, (sh)it happens. But we have gone 4 days without a raptor incident!

Back in the Day

Proud to be raptor-free
Proud to be raptor-free

Throughout the fall, we experienced moments of disbelief whenever a client hired us to do something because frankly, we were scattered. Dana was still trying to share her infinite wisdom with me and Sarah, while simultaneously handling almost all of our sales and client interactions. This created an environment of angst-ridden chaos. It was also hard for us to articulate our differentiators, because we were constantly struggling with internal issues and the black hole of having no money, instead of developing Kick Point’s uniqueness. In short, we fluctuated between moments of complete and utter brilliance combined with moments of WTF. We’ve learned from our mistakes, and continually strive to turn our “medium-okay” successes into true successes.

We have now been together long enough to know that qualities we find admirable in one another can also often be irritating, and even detrimental to the business if left unchecked. Recognizing that also means that on more than one occasion we’ve had to pony up and have some pretty uncomfortable conversations. We’re much better for them though, and grateful to have Sarah to lead us through “The Pit of Personal Growth” on a somewhat regular basis.

We have now been together long enough to know that qualities we find admirable in one another can also often be irritating, and even detrimental to the business if left unchecked.

I learned that Dana (who often seems unflappable) is a sensitive little maple leaf. When I referred to her as “a mascot we may as well stick in a wagon and trot out at big meetings” in a partner meeting, I probably hurt her feelings. Sure, the three of us can laugh about that particular incident now, but in that moment, and the moments right after… yeah… things were a bit tense. But that’s a part of this whole thing, isn’t it? Growing pains.

Before Christmas (and before Sarah and I were partners), we had a difficult discussion where it came out that Dana and I didn’t really trust each other. I didn’t trust Dana to give up control of anything at all, nor did I trust her to remember to deal with the company’s financials.

And in return, she didn’t trust me to stick around. She called me a flight risk because this was my first non-Starbucks job since graduating from NAIT. And though I protested vehemently and went on a tirade tearing that argument to pieces that day, she had a point; and I was looking around at other options at the time.

I didn’t believe in Kick Point, because I had no idea what Kick Point could actually be.

The Right Now

Well hell, look at us now. True — we aren’t on any fastest growing company lists, and we haven’t purchased a building yet, but we have grown to five people, we signed a lease on an office space that will actually meet our needs, we have a rad vacation policy, we have two office dogs, and we all get paid twice a month.

The legitimacy that comes from having survived a year and building a long list of clients we love working with has continually solidified my belief in Kick Point, in our team, and in our vision for this industry.

Plus — A year together means Sarah now officially knows when I am truly pissed off, and when I just need a snack.

Celebrating Wins, Big & Small

We celebrate a lot of wins with our clients; it’s a really great feeling to reduce a client’s Cost-Per-Lead from $300 to $20. That’s a big win for them. We try to make time to celebrate our internal successes as well, but we have let some of our small wins slip past us when we get caught up in client work and internal strategy. That’s fine, and normal, so sometimes we make up for it with “Prosecco, because it’s Tuesday!” days.

kick point partners corso 32 edmonton
kick point partners corso 32 edmonton

Have you ever had the Arancini at Corso 32? Incredible! That’s where the three of us went on Kick Point’s official anniversary; with Ashley and Emma there to celebrate with us as well. We were discussing the ‘high highs and low lows’ of the year and Sarah said, “Cheers! To high points at kick time!”

So, for those of you have mistakenly called us Kick Time, Kick Start, Kickstarter, Kickjump, Kick Point Media, Kickpoint, or any other bastardization of our actual name, take comfort in the fact that it happens to us (really just Sarah) too.

One Year & Counting, Thanks to You

To you, our families and friends:

Thank you for letting us come home and vent about all of the dumbass things our business partners said and did each day. Thanks for letting us write emails and AdWords ads in bed, and in the car while we were on vacation. Thanks for packing our lunches and buying us beer and pouring our wine. Thanks for not melting down when we didn’t get paid for months on end last year. Thanks for turning a blind eye to our aggressive J Crew,  Tres Carnales, and Prosecco habits. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to be as present and active as possible in Kick Point’s first year.

To you, our vendors and suppliers:

Thanks for reading our vague instructions and building amazing landing pages. Thanks for understanding when we pushed our meetings with you back in favor of meeting with clients. Thanks for helping put Dana on the map at Moz with an amazing slide deck, (that means you Sarah Jackson). And speaking of Moz — thanks for MozCon 2013, the Roger figurines, and the SEO tools. Thanks to our developers for not turning your backs on us when we sent coding requests that said things like, “Hey can this be ready by five minutes ago?” Thank you for the grace periods you gave us last fall when we spent all of our money on handcuffs. Thanks for the legal advice that saved us from signing a shady lease document earlier this year. Thank you for helping us build our business this year; we look forward to many more rushed deadlines with you in the future.

To you, our clients, near and far:

Thanks for choosing us even though we may or may not have sent you a proposal with a grammar or spelling error (and the wrong client name, that one time). Thanks for not looking elsewhere when our logo was made by Dana in a fit of panic and our website looked like a cheap blog template (because it was). Thanks for letting us come to your offices for meetings, because our office isn’t fit for your eyes (yet). Thanks for your kind and supportive response when we moved to a three-person partner structure from a team of four. Thanks for letting us write fun AdWords ads for you. Thanks for allowing us to try brand new things with your campaigns and content; we truly value the trust you put in us. Thanks for giving us money, to buy our things and pay our people. Thanks for working with us when we were a scrambling baby company, and thanks for sticking with us as we have grown this first year.

To you, the local businesses and people of #YEG:

Thank you to Cavern and Credo for keeping us tea-ed and americano-ed. Thanks to our insurance agency for… finding us insurance. Thanks to our Realtor for wearing nice suits and finding us a new office. Thanks to Unit B for having a rooftop we can have photo shoots on. Thanks to Laughing Dog for taking all those photos of us and not being mad when Sarah and I had five beers each. Thanks to Tres Carnales for what we can only assume was at least 100 litres of Sangria. Thanks to Paper Leaf for our logo, and to Versett for our award-winning website. Thanks to Avenue Magazine for including Dana in their top 40 under 40 at a time when we really needed the publicity. Thanks to Devine Wines for always stocking chilled Prosecco and recommending all the scotch. Thanks to Alberta Venture for putting us in their magazine twice. Thanks to that random guy in Credo who told Dana that Kick Point was “doing some cool shit”. Thanks for talking to us on Twitter and Facebook. And thank you for hanging out with us at ACE events, we look forward to many more shots in Year Two!

In Conclusion

High fives all around!
  • Janelle

    Congratulations and happy anniversary! As a client, I can say without a doubt that your team made an amazing difference in our marketing strategies and the ROI has already paid off. Plus you’re a blast to work with!

    Here’s to more anniversaries to come!
    Congrats again.

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  • Bryan Smith

    Congratulations Dana, Sarah, Jen and the whole Kick Point team on your 1-year anniversary! We look forward to hanging out with you at conferences and celebrating many more years.

    Leave a reply
  • Salamandick Jen

    Thanks Janelle – we’ve really enjoyed working with (and shopping at) Find!

    Leave a reply
  • Salamandick Jen

    Thanks Bryan, we look forward to hanging with you on the conference circuit as well!

    Leave a reply
  • Kathy Anders

    Congrats to the entire Kick Point team on your 1st anniversary! We are thrilled to be working with you on your insurance program and know your business will only grow bigger! Well done!!

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