When I found out I was moving to New England I began looking for the best place to raise my family. We decided on Keene, NH because of the school system and we loved the access to the great outdoors. Keene also had a vibrant small town community with many of the resources and infrastructure of a big city.
I found that there were very few internet marketing jobs in the area though. At my experience level there just weren’t any jobs suited for me unless I wanted to commute to Boston. I’d been doing website and internet marketing consulting for over a decade and began to consider starting a digital marketing agency in Keene.
With the relatively low cost of living in NH combined with a very short commute, I suddenly had the time and money to tackle the adventure of starting and growing a business. In early 2012 I founded Paragon Digital Marketing in downtown Keene. I set out to start a different kind of company and break the mold. Partially inspired by Richard Branson’s Screw Business as Usual and everything I didn’t like about working in Corporate America, I wanted to create a company that was a fun and fulfilling environment where people could learn, grow and excel. I also wanted to make sure we maintained a good work/life balance and gave back to the community. I firmly believe that we can do good while doing good without putting profit before people and planet. Being located in New Hampshire is making this possible.
There are very few businesses in the area doing what we are doing. We could have gone to Boston or another large city with a large internet marketing scene but instead chose to create a business that would become a pillar and a pioneer in the area versus just another digital marketing agency in the big city struggling to stand out from the crowd. This has created some challenges along the way. Recruiting talented people with internet marketing skills and educating businesses in the area on the value of internet marketing have been two of our big challenges, but we are finding ways to overcome these hurdles including attracting more qualified applicants through the Challenge Grant Program.
We’ve also found that having a choice between three different airports has saved us a lot of money on travel. The ride to the airport is a bit longer but being able to compare fares for three vastly different airports when we travel more than makes up for it. I think being close to Boston, NYC and Montreal will also be advantageous as we grow and expand our networks.
Today, Paragon Digital Marketing is growing faster than ever. We are currently hiring our third employee, we have a great office space in downtown Keene and we’ve created a fun and rewarding environment to work in. By the end of the year we hope to have a team of four and plan to double that in 2013. I’m glad we chose New Hampshire because we would not have been able to ramp up and grow so quickly if we were in a big city. Access to programs like Stay Work Play, Startup America and the thriving small business community in Keene have been crucial to our success. I’ve also found that it’s much easier to maintain a healthy work live balance in New Hampshire than it is in a city like Chicago.
Paragon is a Google Certified Partner and is serving Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofits all over the country. We look forward to many more years of growth in New Hampshire.
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