A New Year and a New Trueline: Making Remote Work, Work
Trueline has evolved many times since our humble beginnings more than a decade ago in Washington, D.C. We started with a staff of eight in a small office space in Bethesda, Maryland.
Since our founding in 2009, we’ve relocated to Portland, Maine, expanded our staff tenfold and opened several new office spaces as we’ve continued to grow. But it’s the changes we made heading into 2022 we’re most excited about. It’s a new year and a new Trueline.
The biggest of the changes was the final restructuring of our prospecting and sales teams. For years, we had many employees in one position doing many tasks. These content developers, as we called them, would locate and contact prospective marketing and branding clients. Then they would pitch services offered by our Portland-based business, which range from custom articles in trade publications to new websites. Finally, they would interview the clients before “passing” them to the next people in our process.
It was really three jobs wrapped into one. In 2021 we took the last steps needed to identify and separate the different roles. For example, we finalized the role of sales development coordinator. People in this position focus on scheduling calls with content developers. We also solidified the role of managing content coordinators, who aggregate and close on the leads who have been groomed by our content developers.
If that division of work makes sense, it’s because we spent years thinking about these shifts before actually making them. It was a massive restructuring, complemented by promotions within. Three longtime employees accepted leadership positions, too.
Also, in 2020 we closed our office in Portland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, the thought of our team working remotely led to concern about the future of our business. But ultimately, our leadership team and employees made the best of the circumstances, and we even broke—and then exceeded—many monthly revenue records and goals. We did so well that when we decided to go to a permanently remote work environment in July 2021, there was excitement, not trepidation.
When I think about 2022, it’s exciting because it’s the year all these changes will begin to mature. The focus is no longer on restructuring. It’s about enjoying what we’ve created and fine-tuning what’s there.
Why This Matters
What I’m most proud of, however, is the way these changes have happened and the way Trueline will continue to grow. None of these improvements have been top-down initiatives. Rather, it was a former employee who started a reading group where anyone who was interested read and discussed Aaron Ross’ book “Predictable Revenue.” That was the impetus for the sales and prospecting roles splitting.
And it was other employees who offered to “pilot” the roles and refine the positions. It was three new employees who created the people and culture position. And a company-wide survey led to remote work becoming a permanent arrangement.
When I set out to create Trueline, well over a decade ago, I wanted what most company founders wanted. I wanted the focus off me in order to create a sustainable and ongoing business that didn’t depend on me being there. So far, it’s taken time and reflection and lots of mistakes. There is still a lot of work to do—but we’ve made a ton of progress.
At Trueline, I want people who have the gumption and the courage and the personality to make their own path within the company. And there are many examples of that in just the past 12 months. We’ve had a writer take off and create a position for himself that encompasses more than just feature writing. We’ve had a content developer show so much promise as a leader that we made her one of our professional development directors.
And we need leaders like her. Now, with an entirely remote workforce spread across the country, a new challenge has arisen for our team: staying connected and continuing to grow our company culture.
More than a year ago, we brought on our first employee whose job was solely to recruit new talent to our company. But like so many others, that role evolved and changed over the last year, and with that came a title change to director of people and culture. It’s just another example of a person showing the forward-thinking needed to morph their position to match the moment and step up to give the company what it really needs.
The Right Frame of Mind
As we move further into 2022, I can assure you that the people of Trueline will continue to be creative in ways to stay connected with each other. We’ll continue to grow and evolve and stay ahead of the game when it comes to remote work and sustaining a strong working environment and culture, and we’ll continue to push our employees to be their own biggest advocates and make the most of their opportunities at Trueline.
As an organization, we pride ourselves on our work ethic, and we are committed to hiring only top-tier talent. That means there are many people who don’t make the cut, but that is the mark of a strong team. For those who do get to call themselves Trueliners, we want them to advocate for themselves and realize how valuable their time is and how valuable that time is to our company. It’s an act of self-love and a crucial prerequisite to a healthy employer-employee relationship.
It’s a new year, and embarking on a journey to constantly grow from a place of self-respect and self-love will lead to a more profitable work life and home life in ways not just limited to money. Don’t sit around and wait for your employer to ask you what you want to do within the company. Take the initiative, be your own biggest advocate and resolve to become a new you.
That’s what a new year should be all about.