Business Design Oddbee

Business lessons from Covid (So far)

Oddbee is fully remote. It wasn’t a conscious choice at first — it happened over time.

Oddbee is a creative digital agency specialized on branding, websites and product design for tech startups.

In the early days of the company, when I was working my way up from a freelancer to an agency, friends would sometimes refer their friends who were looking for work to me. Having lived in two countries and travelled a great deal, I naturally built a network that spanned 4 continents. Candidates would come from all over the place and I simply said yes to the best, no matter how remote. 

An introvert and an immigrant I know what it’s like to spend days and nights chatting with family and friends overseas. In my 20’s I studied, worked, partied, played Need for Speed and managed a long-distance relationship – all online. Working with a remote team didn’t scare me, but it always felt that we were missing a personal connection.  

March 1. After a month-long offsite in Playa del Carmen, tanned, fit (from frequent workouts – thanks to my accountability partner and our amazing developer Yulia👋), tired (from intense work) but well-spirited (as in good spirits and equally good amounts on margaritas in my system) we arrived back in Toronto. I had ambitious plans to grow the team, got a few projects lined up and was generally looking forward to the new year to unfold. 

On march 10 everything started to shut down.

First came fear. Uncertainty was in the air, same as the pressure to move and make decisions fast. Three of our regular (and some of most cherished) clients got hit hard – one of them went out of business soon after. I checked my bank accounts to see how far we are from running out of cash and took a deep breath. Ever since then 2020 has been a marathon. 

Now, almost a year into Covid I want to pause and reflect on this unusual journey. I’m very grateful that our industry was mostly spared but this is not to say it was an easy ride.