The last few months have been pretty mad for me. Throughout the winter I was living and working in Spain. This is where I mad the massive decision to become a solo traveller and head to Australia. This meant handing in my notice at a job I have been in for over 2 years now.
Vooba, formerly PPC Stars allowed me to continue working for them whilst I was in Spain. For this I am super grateful, they even allowed me to reduce my hours down to become part-time. This allowed me to work on personal development and enjoy the remainder of my time away. Towards the end of the trip, I realised I had caught the travel bug. I knew I really should use the momentum and confidence that gained in Spain to continue my travels.
I informed the MD of the Vooba, of my plans and he was so understanding. Not only did he completely understand, but he also held the door open for me, offering me the possibility of remote work whilst I travelled.
It has been a life-changing couple of years working for Vooba and I am incredibly grateful for everything I have gained from it. I thought I would let you in on the last couple of years and why I am sad to say goodbye.
From TSB to PPC
In the winter of 2016, I worked for TSB bank. I have mentioned in a previous blog post how this really was not for me. I was anxious and uncomfortable daily and desperately wanted to leave. This was through no fault of the company or the staff, but through my own poor choice in career direction. I made the difficult decision to make myself redundant and went into the new year as unemployed.
Fortunately, my friends were on the lookout for jobs for me. My friend Julie, stumbled across an advert on a Facebook group for a job as a PPC Account Manager. I had no experience of PPC but I was interested in a career in the digital industry. The location and opportunity to learn a range of skills appealed, so I emailed the MD. 15 minutes later he was on the phone having a chat about my experience. He offered me an interview the next day.
I obviously jumped at the chance, went for the interview and secured the job. This fast action meant I was only out of work for a week and a half. Although I was super happy I had the job I was also super nervous. I was worried about phone answering anxiety and lacking confidence in my ability. Although the ad was for PPC, as I already had a blog they offered me an SEO role. This suited me fine and my first few months were great.
Search Engine Optimisation
The Head of SEO, Enrique, is extremely passionate and knowledgeable. He taught me everything there is to know about SEO. From on-page optimisation and technical tasks to improving page performance and the dreaded backlink opportunity research. Soon after I arrived, another member of the SEO left and I was given some of his clients. This kind of meant I was thrown in at the deep end but I was really enjoying it. I was working hard and was seeing good results for my clients.
The more I learnt and the more responsibility I was given the more my confidence grew. I was still nervous on the phone to start with but the more I progressed the more I was able to call the clients and talk confidently about the work I was doing for them. After about 7 months I was account managing 6 or 7 big clients. Unfortunately, I was really struggling to get backlinks and it was putting me off.
This struggle with backlinks started to make me doubt my abilities and consider my options. I was looking for ways to make my way up the ladder financially. In the role I was in I couldn’t see a progression path that suited. Rather than specialising more I considered adding more strings to my bow.
How to progress?
I was really enjoying working on clients websites particularly the ones that were built in house. A lot of my website work involved reorganising the content and editing menu structure’s etc. I started to understand the way the web team worked and thought that I would be able to do the same. I was also considering my options in social media. Chloe, who was the head of the department at the time, was becoming a friend. I enjoyed hearing about what she was doing for her clients. Her knowledge was interesting as I would like to progress my own social media, but also thought it would be cool to do for clients.
I expressed my desire to expand my knowledge and learn new skills in other departments both, web and social. Tony offered me the opportunity to build websites in my free time to prove I could do the job before moving departments. This was great as I was able to practice the skills I had learnt at Uni and working on the sites in SEO. I was also able to earn a bit of extra money doing overtime.
Once I had proven my ability to build a decent website the process of moving to the web team began.
Moving to the web team
I joined the website team when there were 2 people based in Sussex and 2 in Spain. Andy (head of Web) and his wife Deborah (senior web designer) were in Spain. As I had proven I could build a site there was not much need for training.
Not long after I joined another member of the team left (it’s not me I promise). Our workload increased and opportunities for training were limited. I was getting on ok and the more website’s I built the more confidence I had in my design ability. I was also doing really well with customer communication. My customer service skills gained from years at Tesco kicked in and my fear of the phone had almost completely gone.
I was getting to know more of the entire team at PPC Stars and making some really great friends. I really genuinely loved my job. Unfortunately, while I was on holiday in 2018 the other remaining web team member in the UK office left. He gave no warning and left little in the way of instructions behind. So I came back from holiday to a bit of chaos. I had to take on a lot of technical jobs which I had no idea how to do. This sent my stress levels through the roof. The fact that I was still a part of a great team of people kept me going.
I was so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people. We vented to each other, motivated each other, were a shoulder to cry on or a smile to brighten each others day. I don’t know if I will ever be a part of a company where there is such a strong relationship within the team again. With the help of my colleagues, I got through the 4 weeks of handling the ex-employees workload as well as my own. We then welcomed Daniel to the team. He was a massive help and made life so much easier for myself and our Spanish team.
Unfortunately, I was scared a bit by the experience and did start questioning if web designing was the right path for me. I still loved the company, the people and the clients but for my personal progression, I wasn’t sure where to go next.
A chance at a massive project
While all this was going on the company was looking to rebrand. PPC Stars just didn’t cover the range of services we offered and the multitude of talent within the company. The person leading the rebrand was an internal member of staff. She parted ways with the company midway through rebranding. This left the baton of heading up the rebrand to be claimed. Chloe (from social) and I had expressed interest in being involved before but were not given the opportunity. This was our chance to get stuck in.
We set up a Vooba Committee (Vooba was to be the new name of the company) containing a member of staff from each department. Enrique who has experience in marketing as a whole rather than just the specialism brought us all together. I love organising, so I set up meetings took notes and made a plan for the entire project. We had to delay the launch of the new brand as we had to do it ourselves whilst continuing our full-time jobs.
It was a huge undertaking to rebrand the company from the inside. With our ongoing workloads a priority we struggled to stick to the deadline we were putting in place. We did manage to have regular meetings but a lot of the work fell on me to do as my load was not as full on as others.
I worked on creating content for the entire website, creating blogs, preparing templates for social posts, creating a tone of voice document, putting together a welcome pack for staff, writing the content for flyers, designing remarketing banners for launch, helping out with the launch video content, the list goes on. It was really great trying my hand at so many different skills. I am still not sure if everything I did was right, but it meant we got it done.
On January 1st 2019 PPC Stars relaunched as Vooba. The new website went live and we were all prepared to start the new year with a fresh perspective and a new motivation to get the right kind of clients.
Personally, I was optimistic that the new year and a slightly new structure within the company would see a change in the way we worked. I hoped the skills I had demonstrated during the rebrand would lead to new opportunities to shape and change my role. It was over that Christmas that I had decided I would be moving to Spain, so when we returned to the office in January I knew I would not have long left in the office and was excited for my time in Spain and the future in general.
Moving to Spain
On the 19th of January, I was off. I should have been excited and nervous about going but I wasn’t feeling much. Due to recent events in my personal life, my mental health was suffering a little. But I was optimistic that being in Spain in my own little bubble would give the opportunity to fix that. To work on me and personally develop, from learning new skills to really thinking about my career direction.
One month in and it was everything I wanted it to be, sunny and warm, removed from the Brexit bubble in the UK and a chance to spend some time alone. I did some online courses, spent time reading, went on some great days out and a mini break with Deborah. I felt like I was on the right path to working out what I wanted to do.
Towards the end of month two, I felt like I had achieved a lot. My confidence had grown hugely, I was creating and publishing YouTube videos, I had completed a few courses and I had some idea of what direction I wanted my career to go in. Unfortunately, I realised my time was running out and I didn’t have a clear plan of what was going to happen next.
This lead to month three becoming a bit of a meltdown month. I was still having a fantastic time, I was enjoying the weather and spending time with Andy and Deborah. However my motivation no longer existed, I was failing to get up for a run, I was sleeping in most days and I stopped filming videos. A few of my colleagues back in the office had handed in their notices and it made me realise I might be ready to move on too. I loved the company, people and to an extent the job, but I couldn’t see my next steps there. I also failed to see what they would be elsewhere.
This is when I decided that I would be going travelling and started making plans for Australia. With no relationship or mortgage ties and no clear career plan to throw away I thought now would be the perfect time to go.
So on the 31st of May, I said goodbye to my Vooba family. It was really sad to be leaving, having been with the company for a while I feel like I have gained a lot of skills, confidence and friends. I spent nearly a month back in the office before I had my last day and I really loved being back. I thought that having worked remotely with flexibility, I would struggle with getting back into the routine of commuting to the office. Instead, I think I needed the routine to help with organisation and getting ready for Oz. I was getting into work about an hour early most mornings to sort out student loans, money transfers etc.
On my last day, most of us headed to the pub round the corner for goodbye drinks and some people stayed for some food. Tony did a lovely speech and they presented me with some lovely gifts. I am so grateful for my time at Vooba and I will never forget all they have done for me and all the friends I have made along the way. Now for my next adventure 🙂