Those of you who have followed along with us over the last six years might remember our business as Simplified Solutions, LLC. Some of you may have no idea what Simplified Solutions, LLC has do with The Content Squad. Others are wondering whatever happened to Simplified Solutions, LLC. Well, let’s answer those questions in today’s post. It’s overdue.
Simplified Solutions, LLC was/is the parent LLC of The Content Squad and redmug. It was formed in the late summer of 2007 (August 16 to be exact). Originally it was established by myself, Bryce Raley, as a company to do business organization and productivity coaching. We did do that for several months, until a chance meeting with a fellow entrepreneur named Aaron Marshall. I met Aaron in a coffee shop called Java Brewing Co at Landis Lakes. He asked what I did, and at the time it was getting confusing. He mentioned digital coaching to me and it resonated, as I’d read something from Seth Godin on the topic. He suggested that I learn these tools and teach others to use them. These tools, at the time, were Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, 37 Signals suite, Google Analytics, Tumblr, MailChimp, and several others. I paid Aaron an hourly rate to learn these tools, then I began using them to market my own business.
The funny part was the reaction I got. As I began using an email newsletter, publishing blogs on WordPress sites, and connecting and teaching social media, I had people on my list (my permission list) begin asking for websites, social media training, and email marketing. At that time I made a connection with an old friend via Twitter, and he and I began working together. That old connection was Wayne Cox, who is now one of our Content Squad partners. So off we went, from business organization and digital coaching into launching WordPress websites and showing businesses, nonprofits, ministries, and churches how to use these web 2.0 tools. We made connections with the owners of the two earliest and best Premium WordPress companies, iThemes and StudioPress. Our redmug division still uses both their themes and plugins years later to help get businesses online.
As we progressed, I had to make a decision on whether to scale the business or stay small. We also couldn’t ignore something else that was happening on the horizon, and that something was a company named HubSpot. HubSpot was preaching this new online/digital marketing but they were calling it inbound marketing. They basically coined the term. They blew up the existing marketing playbook of direct mail, cold calling, TV, and radio advertising. I had found out myself that it didn’t work and cost a lot of money. I was a believer in this new way. It really made sense to me, and it made the most sense to hitch our wagon to their software and their culture. We wanted to grow beyond helping just the small business, and we wanted to provide a less disjointed solution for growth-oriented businesses and enterprises. HubSpot’s software and methodology made it a perfect solution for some of the larger small businesses we were attracting.
At this time we stopped marketing under the name of Simplified Solutions, LLC, although it remained the parent LLC and still does to this day. We established The Content Squad as a DBA under Simplified Solutions, LLC. We wanted a name that spoke content and inbound marketing. Simplified Solutions was broad enough for an umbrella company, but didn’t speak to the inbound marketing niche we were growing in. We moved into our first office in Jtown. Since then we were located in Eastpoint for two years, and we’re in Middletown. We hired our first employee, Jessie Devine, and we also brought on partners Jay Stewart and Wayne Cox that same year. Over the past few years The Content Squad has continued to grow, and our agency now includes Sarah Stewart, Joel Gerdis, Greg Ladden, Molly Edds, and Kimi Morrison in both full-time and contractor roles.
Most recently, we launched a new DBA called redmug that focuses back on those early clients from the Simplified Solutions, LLC days. We never really stopped serving that market, but we did stop marketing to that market intentionally. Now as we’ve grown and developed the team and systems to deliver for both markets, we reentered as redmug this January.
So there you have it. The progression from Simplified Solutions, LLC to The Content Squad and redmug.
This was like a trip down memory road for me. And now when I meet with new interns like Josh Ahlers, I can say hey read this before we talk. I’m always for saving time and effort.