Ian Long is the Co-founder of specialist WordPress web development agency Feel Created, which is based at the grounds of Nostell Priory, Wakefield.
Feel Created develops B2B and B2C-facing WordPress CMS websites for clients, offering services which also include digital marketing, hosting and maintenance. It also has a strong focus on sustainability, offsetting non-avoidable emissions.
Long has 17 years of experience in web development, and also has decades of design experience, launching Feel Creative in 2012.
We found out how a recent week in Ian’s life looked.
Monday morning starts well ahead of the school run. After the kids are ready, my laptop is usually open between 7am and 7:30am until I drop my children at school.
Even though they attend the same school, dropping them off has become more challenging during the last couple of years of restrictions. I generally make it into the office at the Nostell Estate around 9:15am, ready to catch up with the team.
My morning is spent discussing urgent issues with the team, checking in on emails, and ensuring that all projects are on track for the week ahead. Our work is based on cutting-edge web design and technical web development excellence, so we talk through everything from new trends to troubleshooting.
After a quick bite to eat around noon, I take my chocolate lab, Pickle, for a walk around the Nostell Priory (National Trust) grounds. Our team enjoys being a part of a close-knit rural office community. It does inspire a sense of wellbeing, benefitting from such great surroundings.
The afternoon is time to get stuck into some project work. I’m currently working on design layouts for a new sixth-form college website as Creative Director. Our clients have a high level of access to our designs and developments throughout our projects, so we aim to make updates quickly and accurately.
I leave around 5:30pm, ready to spend the evening with my wife and children and catch up on any smaller day-to-day bits owning a small business entails.
My start to the day is the typical 7:30am, but we have a presentation to pitch today at 10am. So I choose to go back home and work remotely to make sure I’m not late for the video call. Along with me, our Head of Marketing Vicky and Lead Developer Dan are also on the call. We spent a couple of days last week preparing for the pitch, creating a visually impactful presentation and a detailed spec document.
With any pitch, a lot of pre-emptive work is carried out free of charge. Free speculative work is just a part of the web design and development industry – and I’m sure many other creative sectors! However, it does go well, and we’re happy to receive invitations to a couple of meetings the following week to discuss further details.
The afternoon is spent working on other pitches and design projects we’re involved with at present. Early 2022 has been particularly busy in terms of interest in our services. We’re specialists in custom WordPress Gutenberg development – a block editing feature that allows content marketing teams to update content easily.
I enjoy cooking, so I’m cooking dinner for my family this evening. We sit down together to eat most nights.
I’m back in the office. Most of today is taken up with client and partner calls. One of them relates to an exciting project we’ve just picked up involving the development of digital assets for a 360-degree immersive experience. We get a demo of the screens, and I speak to our video partners about how we’ll execute the project.
I also sit down with Vicky at on-site café Meridian to discuss our marketing strategy and upcoming projects. Last year, I decided to add marketing services into the mix. It gives us the freedom to provide SEO optimised content, copywriting and launch campaigns to help our clients maximise their web spend.
I prefer not to spend evenings and weekends working if I can avoid it. Still, the reality of growing a small business dictates otherwise fairly often.
If pitches need to be submitted or end of project deadlines met, I make sure that happens on time and in full. This evening, I finalise the design layout for a return client looking for a web refresh. I end the day listening to thought-leading audiobooks. As any small business owner will relate to, it’s difficult to completely switch off from the business.
We’re all in the office today, as we are most days. It’s easy for us to work remotely as a team, and we’ve done a mixture of office and home-working – as restrictions allowed – throughout. But we all prefer the one-to-one interaction that comes with being in the office.
We use ClickUp and Slack tools to keep projects on-track, regardless of where we are that day. Alongside ongoing projects, today I’m writing more proposals. Vicky sends through blogs, articles, press releases and so on regularly for final approval before they go to clients or onto our website.
Working across a wide spectrum of sectors – predominantly in the education and charity sectors at present – we have to ensure that everything meets the standards of the businesses we work with and their funding partners.
Our workday routine is fairly steady, but I’ve had many lunchtime meetings this month – highlighting how busy we’ve been on calls. As an agency, we’re big on sustainability, so we do everything we can as part of our daily shut-down routine.
I usually work from home on a Friday to cater for after-school pick up. But this Friday, I meet Vicky at a networking event at the Nostell Estate from 8:30am to 9:30am. It’s a great opportunity to meet as a group and learn more about what other businesses on site are doing.
We talk through ways to support each other and suggest site improvements. The ethos of the business estate is in tune with the friendly, informal, yet professional culture we foster at Feel Created. The success of this approach seems to be reflected in feedback from our clients – they appreciate the approachable nature of our team.
After a full day of working through ongoing projects and chatting through next week’s requirements with Dan, I leave around 4:30pm to pick the kids up. Friday is takeaway night. I have some work to do over Saturday and Sunday, but I’m looking forward to a bit of a rest and some family time over the weekend before getting straight back into it on Monday!