The minute I heard about this site, I immediately thought of Steve Winwood’s smash 80’s hit Higher Love . Man, I love that song. And, I love how Higher Click is taking SEO to a higher level—it provides quality SEO services with no contracts, a focus on profitability and a history of top results. We caught up with co-founder Gael Breton to get behind the scenes of the startup and his drastically different 5-year vision for the company.
How long have you been using the Internet?
To be honest I had Internet along with my first PC at home in France when I was 11 years old using a 14.4kbps dial up connection. From that point on, I was addicted, using most of my parent’s phone credit to explore the web. I was so stuck to it that when unlimited dial up connections came up my parents lost a substantial amount of social life because nobody could call them and cell phones were not that popular yet.
I mostly spent my time exploring windows database optimization and playing online, discovering mp3, flash games and trying to hack together a bit of HTML.
What time do you usually start work each day?
I usually wake up at 10am. I’m not a morning person, but the first thing I usually do is reach out for my computer and check my emails to see if anything big happened while I was sleeping. I usually spend the morning at home catching up with the news and learning new skills and then head to the office around 12 to stay there until 7-8pm and work with the team.
Do you have an office or work at home?
We have a big office in the center of Budapest where our team of 14 people gathers every day of the week.
What do you do with your free time…if you even have any?
I keep learning, I catch up with the news, enjoy some time with my girlfriend in Budapest or simply go out with my friends. Although there is a large emphasis on learning, this is key in what we do. Right now, I spend a lot of time on codecademy.com to get my programing skills up to speed. I think every startup employee, owner or fan should go through the program, it’s fantastic.
[Editor’s note: We totally agree, in fact, we recently wrote about Codecademy.]
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? After working for 16 hours? On your third beer?
The best ideas come as I’m browsing the web without any intent– just reading around about a new company or an issue someone is facing and then a dozen dots connect and an idea is born. The first thing I do then usually is I call Mark my co-founder and see if it passes his test. We then put it in our idea box and hope we’ll have time to use it some day.
We want to know about where you spend your day! Tell me exactly what you see when you look to your left. What’s your office environment like? Is it the kind of place where everyone is bumping away to house music or is it more traditional?
Well, when I look on my left I see a white wall, when I look on the right I see seven of our employees working hard, and when I look in front I can see the gorgeous roof terrace our office has. I’d say the office isn’t overly crazy yet but this is coming! I guess that’s the daily life of startups without funding but we’re working on it.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
I’d say it takes a bit of arrogance to say you will not depend on anyone to make a living and believe in your idea. But overall I’ve worked in an agency environment before and it allowed me to compile a nice little list of the things I thought I could do better which we did. And it worked.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
Work on differentiating yourself rather than trying to catch up with the competition. It may be counter intuitive but by doing so you will appeal more than your competition to a small niche of your market right away, allowing you to kick start things.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader throughout this process?
I’m not sure we had specific cheerleaders throughout this process. I’d say a lot of our friends were not too sure of what we were doing when we started and you could see both the fear and the admiration in their eyes but I’d say we were lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of successful entrepreneurs which didn’t make what we did exceptional but also highly motivated us to catch up with the group. Jim Rohn said:
“You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”
If this is true, surrounding yourself with successful individuals is key to success.
How do you picture Higher Click in 5 years?
Vastly different. And really every startup should answer the same to that question or they wouldn’t really be a startup anymore. The fact that we have to play with 3rd parties such as Google, Facebook and Twitter will make us inherently different to what we are now in 5 years. I think we’ll still be in marketing but I’m not sure whether we’ll still be doing SEO or if we’ll still be serving clients.
I regret I didn’t start earlier :-).
Where can our readers find you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog?
I post quite a bit on our blog on higherclick.com/blog but I also use Twitter quite a bit, you can follow me @gaelbreton.
Thanks Gael! If you’re looking to give your company an SEO boost, check out Higher Click. If you want to jam out to a seriously uplifting tune, check out Mr. Winwood’s Higher Love. You’ll thank me later.