The story started
My 2 Drachmas…
It’s really cool to have your work experience help your role in a company and be appreciated. Let me take a quick step back, though!
My name is Ion Farmakides, and I come from a business development/sales development/sales background. I worked as a full-time professional until about five years ago when I decided to go freelance. I haven’t looked back! Since then, I have worked on a few different projects that I’ve been proud to be a part of, and I’m thrilled to say that when meeting Deepak for the first time about 2.5 years ago, I started what I hope will be a long term relationship with Pearl Lemon Group. My role as Head of Business Development has managed to bridge the gap between being a part of a robust and stable team and working “for myself”. So much so that even though this is essentially a full-time job, it rarely feels like one or avoids the negative aspects. It’s so healthy to feel that you’re working on projects rather than clocking on and off just for a basic salary and the illusion of security it brings. It’s also gratifying (at least for me) to feel valuable while being in a position of continuous improvement and skill-honing, mainly when your development revolves around tools and services that are legitimately helping hundreds of companies worldwide. I suppose a challenge I have had to overcome is that as I haven’t been a part of such a fast-paced environment before, I have had to up my game a bit, and as anyone who knows me (and who I have bribed) will tell you; my game was already…anyway, you get the point 😉 On the other hand, what has helped me is that even though I am not the best at acquiring new knowledge, I find that I can reverse this issue when projects, services, and offerings you focus on are interesting as super applicable.
Working with Deepak and the team these past two years enabled me to contribute to developing several services. These services offer our clients more visibility online from a B2C standpoint and the ability to speak to valuable decision-makers and influencers directly on the B2B front. This has all taken a lot of hard work as not every offering “arrived” at 100% out of the box, but we don’t really stop developing our services until they reach their full potential, and even then, we keep challenging ourselves.
Another thing I love about my relationship with Pearl Lemon Group is that due to Deepak’s never-ending curiosity and commitment to progress, we are constantly sought-after by companies around the world. From bootstrappers, medium sized-players, even up to enterprise-level companies, we find that many professionals typically share common goals and pains. As a team, I admire the fact that we are dedicated to figuring out if and how we can actually help another company and then structure an offering around their actual needs rather than our internal targets. This is an approach that most of our clients appreciate. They understand that our success revolves around theirs and not the other way around. Of course, not everything is rainbows and unicorns, and innovation does come with its challenges. Trying to be ahead of the curve, we have had to try a few different services/approaches that we have discontinued.
I suppose if you throw enough moussaka on the wall…
This means that at times we have invested time and resources to get systems up and running only to have had to cut our losses down the line. Even though this has been a time-consuming endeavour, it has also forced me to widen my vocabulary and add more knowledge to the ol’ hippocampus…
We’re in a sweet spot in terms of size, allowing us to take on big projects while remaining agile and flexible enough to not only be proactive but, perhaps even more importantly, be intelligently reactive. Our ability to course correct is second to none. It is virtually impossible to get everything right 100% of the time, so taking that as a given, ensuring that you’ll be the first one at the table with a solution is vital. I also find that this is an aspect of our business that many of our clients appreciate
What’s funny is that a Fortune 500 company can reach out to us and eventually think we’re “too small”, even though we work with some absolute giants. On the flip side, some companies find us “a bit too big”, and we might have scared some people away, even though we also work with some on-man-bands.
From my experience, it is unbearably rare to practically only work with people whose opinions you respect and whose intentions you can trust. From Dee, the madman in charge, to Lydia, our indispensable backbone, to Semil, Mayur, Atit and the rest of our rocket-ship SEO team, to Prishani – our lead gen genius, to our outbound machines in Adham and his team, and our sales superstars – Dan, Jude & Co., I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people to work with!
Scheduling-wise, being part of Pearl Lemon Group is a treat: Being able to structure your day while allowing yourself a healthy work/life balance (especially when you have two kids 🙂 ) is invaluable to me. This observation doesn’t seem to include Dee, who works from 4 am until (we’re still unsure what time he switches off tbh!) At Pearl Lemon, we focus on actual work, tasks, and deliverables that truly matter versus rigid processes that allow for excessive bureaucracy rather than actual progress. This has shown me that you shouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve worked for and with several companies in the past 20 years, and I can honestly say that it is virtually impossible to observe a more beneficial structure.
Our turnaround times, our response rates, our attention to detail, our ability and willingness to put our clients first really sets our brand apart. So much so that at times we see a loss to deliver :0 I’m so proud to be a part of a team that keeps getting positive reviews weekly by companies we work with and professionals we interact with, even if we don’t end up working with them. It is so refreshing to have the ability to candidly and honestly speak to your prospects, knowing very well that if your solutions don’t match their needs, you would be encouraged to “let them go”. Through my numerous weekly conversations with our prospects, I find myself routinely telling people that there’s no pressure, there are no “sales tricks”, and no “closing tools” we use. It’s just a matter of whether or not there is a good fit, and if so, how can we work with a company to help them grow and reach their goals!