I Tried Everything, But Nothing Stuck... So My Team and I Built The First & Only Project Delivery System Designed For Website Experts
As website creators, we pretty much have a tool for everything and yet, with such a massive and ever-growing industry there was still nothing specific to help us manage our agency, deliver projects and delight our clients.
The average agency owner uses between 7-15 different tools, patched together to deliver a basic website project(!!!) What would you do if your accountant, for example, would have bounced you from spreadsheets to google docs to bookkeeping tools to Zoom calls to Trello to email to budgeting tools…. All within the first couple of weeks of your relationship.
No wonder that a basic website takes between 6-8 weeks, while if we built it on our own, without any distractions it takes 5-6 days.
We’re wasting 84% of the project delivery time on back and forth, waiting on the other side to take action and trying to get on the same page as our clients, that often get frustrated by the entire process.
This Is What We're Here To Fix.
Fixing Communications for Website Professionals.
Atarim tackles the 84% of the project delivery time that is not the actual build of the website.
We achieve this by following these 5 value points that are reflected in every aspect of our company:
Join a 20-minute free training to learn how to implement Atarim within your workflow
Business, Websites & Rocknroll
The Story of Vito Peleg (Founder & CEO)
I’m humbled that I get to introduce myself to you properly and share my journey with you…
I’m sure we have a lot more in common than we both realize and I want to go through what I dealt with to become a successful agency owner in 3 years in the hopes that I can pass what I have learned onto you…
This is a story about a kid from a small town, in a tiny country, that wanted to be a rockstar and discovered a passion for design, business and WordPress.
Music, business and websites
I built my first website 21 years ago on GeoCities when I was 14 years old, it was scrappy and extremely bright coloured. I made it for my skateboarding crew with my friends from school.
I remember how exciting it was to simply go online.
Back then, whenever we connected to the internet it would take over the land line for the entire family, so I was only allowed to connect for just 1 hour per day.
So I spent the days fiddling with Front Page, just waiting for my 1 hour to upload the code and share the updates with my MIRC friends (kinda like a Stone Age version of Slack).
That’s about the time I also picked up a guitar for the first time.
I borrowed a cheap electric guitar from a friend to learn on my own and impress a girl I liked.
But that first day was so inspiring I ended up sleeping with the guitar next to me in bed. It was love at first chord.
I was obsessed and quickly became pretty good (for a kid), formed a band with some friends and started performing at school and local events.
For the next decade, I focused on becoming the best rock musician I could.
I realised that a band is a business and being kind of a niche band, I knew it was up to me to do it, so I started researching entrepreneurship, marketing and design.
I read every book I could buy on the subject, got certified as a business and digital consultant, and learned WordPress and the entire Adobe suite. All while attending music college and performing in venues across the country on the weekends, AND holding a job as the youngest top guitar salesman at the biggest music shop in the country.
These years were fun but tough and despite all my efforts, the band wasn’t doing very well. After all that study, I thought I’d have my own episode on MTV Cribs already!
We decided the band needed a change.
We rebranded, wrote new stuff, this time in English to maximise our reach, and did an online launch using everything I learned.
Within a month of the launch, my local band from a small town in Israel was signed to release an album worldwide through a British label.
We were stoked!
We decided to drop everything, come to the UK and start touring Europe. And so we did!
Starting from scratch, we began building our audience at small venues and pubs, while really pumping things up online.
We went from playing to sometimes less than 10 people to hundreds, then thousands. Playing with some of the artists we grew up listening to.
It was pretty amazing, but I was still broke!
The word spread of my designs and campaigns I was doing for the band and online, people started approaching me with job offers to help with their websites and Facebook accounts.
So I started a web design business from the back of the van.
McDonalds was my best friend on the road as they always had decent WiFi. And no matter where we went, there was always one around the corner.
And then we reached a new milestone on our journey, just after the biggest show we ever played, the band split up.
I was devastated.
I gave years of my life to the guys and our music and it was kind of shocking seeing how little control I had when we were all equal partners in this.
That’s when I decided to start building a business on my own, using my rediscovered passion for the web and WordPress in particular.
I was always a ‘band kinda guy’ and I believe in the power of a driven team that works together for a common goal.
But I also knew that I needed to steer the ship and have the power to build something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
The WP community allowed me to feel like I’m still part of a ‘band’, while being in control of my destiny.
So, I was already freelancing, pretty much, full time and holding back because I couldn’t really hire anyone while I was touring. But now I could.
Within the first year I’ve reached my 6 figure goal and we kept growing since.
It took long days and nights, and I bootstrapped the entire thing, literally starting from nothing to serving hundreds of clients over the years.
So how did we scale this thing?
As the agency grew, the profit margin was shrinking.
And as we started doing bigger projects, the scope of the work grew and became more unique from one project to the other, requiring more attention and customized solutions to fit our clients’ goals and needs.
It became pretty clear that while it is doable to scale an agency, it’s pretty damn hard and very risky as I’m sure you know.
Having huge payrolls with small margins is dangerous.
A couple of months with fewer sales and you’re done.
Having monthly website care plans really help create stability to some degree but the majority of the income is still based on large projects.
My plan was to grind it out and work on systematizing things further to increase profits while working on an online course to help our clients and others like them (a lot of them are charities) with digital strategies.
Oh… I see the problem here…
As I was looking for the holes in the bucket to increase profitability, 4 main problems kept coming back.
The 4 things that put my team (and future) in limbo.
- Clients take way too long to give us the content. No matter what we do.
- Clients don’t know how and take too long to approve designs and request revisions. No matter what we do.
- Clients keep reaching out for support in all kinds of creative ways. Instead of sticking to the systems we put in place.
- Most clients don’t end up using the website as a marketing tool. Even after our post-launch marketing strategy session.
And the biggest one of all, I wasn’t managing my agency as a whole but instead, focusing on each project singularly…
This caused everything to be fragmented. We had clients contacting us from every single angle: Facebook, LinkedIn, emails, text messages, Skype, Hangouts, phone calls, calls at the office and my least favourite, WhatsApp voice messages.
You might be thinking what’s the big deal? This is merely an annoyance, it doesn’t affect your business…Well, I’m here to tell you that is completely wrong!
When you have clients sending you content in a Google Doc, one client is calling you on your phone and another one has a meeting scheduled with you at 3pm…So much time is being wasted and everything is jumbled.
When dealing with more than 1 project, it’s easy to forget where that piece of content was sent or what was said in a particular conversation about that revision round.
So we moved over to defined methods using ONLY emails and spreadsheets, but still it wasn’t good enough. I found that my team and I were wasting so much time just SEARCHING for things.
That’s when Atarim was born.
The idea was to rethink the way I managed my agency, team and clients. Instead of everything being fragmented, it needed to be all in one place.
We needed 1 tool that will be the main hub all requests and tasks that were needed to build websites and support our care plan clients.
It should have features that allow tasks and requests to be quickly figured out, assigned to a team member and organized into one place. And it should allow clients to easily submit requests which can be fed into the agency quickly and efficiently organized.
My amazing team and I have worked on this solution for a year and a half now and from purely a communication tool, we have now grown into the ONLY Agency management system, dedicated to web design and development.