For those who are not familiar, can you tell us a bit about how Go Live HQ got started?
After marrying my husband Brian in 2009, I decided to skip out on the corporate world and go out on my own as a freelance graphic and web designer. Following the rapid success and high demand, I assembled a design team in 2012 and we began hosting in-person events to help creative entrepreneurs by the masses to build, design, and launch their website in two days flat.
As the team started expanding, I felt like it was appropriate to move the name from Promise Tangeman Creative to something that people would want to join and work for. We adopted the name Go Live HQ because I love that we started with our workshops and launched quickly - something really needed in the industry. It really became our MO and way of operating here.
Now, in 2018, the business has transformed into a website template shop and custom site design resource. We create tons of resources and education for entrepreneurs and small business owners on our blog and in the form of Clarity Calls.
Did the vision for Go Live HQ change as the company grew? Is there anything that surprises you about how the company has evolved over the years?
The vision for Go Live has remained the same: to launch quickly. I will say that it has been interesting to see our clientele group grow and expand. Originally, we did start off working with a lot of work for photographers since that was the niche I started off in. Now, we’ve grown in a huge way working with small businesses, bloggers, coaches, authors, you name it! And that’s really just because the internet has expanded to be able to create online businesses for just about anyone.
It’s also been fun to work with influencers and big names in the business as we’ve grown and gotten more and more attention. We have found that designing for big-name clients with an influence is the best way to continue to get clients and customers. It really trickles down.
Can you describe the philosophy behind your business?
We believe in serving creative girl bosses quickly so that they can get out from behind the launch and the setup that holds them back from doing what they were made to do. Launching quickly means you can be in business faster and get to doing what you love faster. Our designers are dedicated to the client full-time for the entire Design Week - clients will get that one-on-one attention that gets them a site within 5 days. When we sell a Website Template, we are empowering someone to completely change their lives, have more freedom, and ultimately do what they love.
Most other design firms take 6 months to a year to brand and design, and honestly, we don’t believe in waiting for that in 2018. Your website is your digital front door. You can’t wait that long to open. Our fast process is what sets us apart.
What does a typical day in the office look like?
Is there a typical day?? As the CEO and Creative Director, I’m most often managing my team as they kill it from all corners of the continent, and that can look so different depending on what we’re working on! If I’m working with my Brand Strategist, Danielle, we are working with our custom clients and our designers and moving them through our intake and onboarding process. If I’m working with my Communications Strategist, Hunter, we’re working on blog, social media and marketing content for the whole year! I also take on Clarity Calls with people who need more direction in their business, so I block out one afternoon a week to take those call to talk design, marketing, and business strategy. Oh, and then there’s that pesky email inbox.
How do you create a positive office environment and team culture while keeping everyone motivated through big projects?
Easy **holds up a glass of wine** :)
We always have good music playing in the office, for one! But, in order to have a team culture that you love working in, don’t hire lazy people! I need to have do-ers on my team. I hire people who I know will work hard and take responsibility for their tasks. I also make sure that none of us are above any task. Since we’re a small business, we believe in having all hands on deck if necessary even if that may seem “below” your position or not in your wheelhouse. We just work to get the job done! At the same time, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
I’ve also found in managing a team that I’m really not a manager. That’s not my leadership style and it’s not my passion to monitor and manage people. I’d rather hire people who feel like they are working WITH and ALONGSIDE me than for me. My biggest tip in finding people like this is to hire people that you would want to work for.
When you work with clients, do you typically see repeat clients or do you tend to only work with them once? Why do they hire you? What kind of projects are you working on?
People who hire us are typically looking to pull the trigger. We’ve heard people who go through a year or more of branding and design and then don’t even end up loving the final product, or by the time the final product is finished, it already needs changing. We believe in the words of Amy Poehler, “Great people do things before they are ready.”
Most often, we work with clients on a one-time basis as we don’t offer website maintenance. We specialize in a fast 5-day design week that gets the client launched and live within a week. We will, however, have clients come back to us a few years down the road who are looking for a rebrand or a brand lift as their business, target market, or product offerings have changed. We love taking on these projects because, in the world of web, you do have to expect to almost constantly be changing and adapting.
At the end of the design week, we always have a website training session with the client - no matter how big they. As an entrepreneur in today’s world, you have to have the power and the wherewithal to change your website in the moment and to make edits as your business grows and expands.
I really loved working for GirlBoss and Workparty. Not only was the design process fun, but we love working with people, companies, and movements like this. They really champion women in business and women entrepreneurs and that’s exactly who we work with.
When you design a custom site for clients, what does the workflow look like?
We love workflows at Go Live! We just have been in the process of refining and buttoning up our client processes with Dubsado.
Typically, a client will contact us via a contact form on our website, and we’ll get in touch with them for a call to make sure we’re a great fit for them. Once we have determined that we are a good fit, they start the party with our 5-Part Brand Assignment. For clients who need more direction, we have them hop on a strategy call with Promise to figure out the best way to position their brand or business. They fill out everything we need to know to create their site from their business name to what they want on their menus to their copywriting to their photos.
After they complete the Brand Assignment, our Brand Strategist checks out all of their submissions. Once that’s completely ready to go for the designer, we set up our client with one of our amazing in-house designers. They start the week with a complimentary wordmark logo and a mood board to get everyone on the same page, and then move onto the big task of the homepage. After client approval, we move onto the interior pages and finish out the design week.
What do you think the 3 most important aspects are to a successful business?
Only 3?? This is tough. I’ll go with 5.
Mission - the heart of your business had to be right and worth it
Integrity - you have to treat people the way you want to be treated and do things the right way
Hard Work - especially in those early days, you have to work hard and hustle to get your dream off the ground
Scalability - this is a more technical thing, but you need to make sure it’s feasible for your business to expand and grow beyond just your time. If your business is only custom work, your business will reach a stopping point because you aren’t able to expand your time. Maybe that’s selling smaller, templated products like we do, or selling some other form of byproduct.
Uniqueness - You either have to be unique or find a unique niche to sell to