Wife-and-wife duo CJ and Jolin Bachmann are quick to note the benefits of the 1SEO office in Bristol. The spacious employee common area includes a basketball court, foosball table, ping-pong table, pool table and other athletic and board games.
“Our job is extremely stressful,” said Jolin, the company’s chief operating officer. “You receive all of those emails. You receive all of those phone calls. We wanted to create an environment where, yes, you have the stress, but you know what? You can walk away as well. Go have fun.”
VP of Operations CJ noted that the office does not have cubicles and features “bright and inviting” colors. 1SEO also provides “unique and fun” names for offices such as the “Data Mine” for the SEO (search-engine optimization) team room and “Mission Control” as the informational-technology room. CJ refers to these aspects as “just silly little things to help us stand out.”
“No one likes to get up and go to work every day but if you like the person sitting next to you and you enjoy the atmosphere of the workplace, it makes a bad day a little less bad and makes a good day even better,” she said.
However, the company did not always have these perks. Originally, 1SEO was in a North Wales townhome where Jolin lived with her brother, Lance Bachmann, the company’s president. The brother and sister worked together in a 10-by-12-foot room from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. They conceived the idea for a company where people would buy websites from them and they would subcontract them out to designers and developers. Eventually, Jolin and Lance realized this idea was not sustainable since you have to “constantly sell to stay alive.”
Then, the company expanded its services to include SEO, paid advertising, social media, reputation management, video production, website design and other digital-marketing initiatives.
Throughout the company’s development, Jolin said she has loved meeting new people and has developed friendships with some clients.
“You meet clients internationally and it also affords you the ability to travel and take your family places that you never thought you’d get to experience,” Jolin said.
CJ added that the ability to travel is “impactful” because of where she and Jolin previously lived. CJ said their hometown of Sumter County, Fla., had a “very tiny population” and few opportunities for travel. Jolin moved from Sumter County to Bucks County in Pennsylvania to be with her family. CJ was already friends with Jolin at the time and would frequently visit her before deciding to move.
“I always consider myself the black sheep of the family because I always wanted to move,” CJ said. “I ended up taking a leap and moving up here. It really changed everything simply because it was so different.”
Jolin and CJ began dating soon after that and married on April 15, 2011. The couple now raises a 14-year-old son, Landen, and a 1-year-old daughter, Kaden, along with two dogs: a red-nosed pitbull named Jax, 7, and an English bulldog named Meatball, 2.
Since CJ moved to the area, the couple has enjoyed several business trips to meet clients in countries such as Greece, India and Italy.
“You don’t necessarily have to go visit that client but why not?” CJ said. “You’re making that connection [and] you’re visiting a new area. Those are things that the growth and development of the company allows us to be part of.”
“We also allow our employees to go with us to these different places,” Jolin added. “There are a lot of benefits we try to offer. We try to make it a great place and a fun environment.”
1SEO employees also get to enjoy this environment within the office.
“You’re not tied to your desk,” Jolin said. “At 11 o’clock, there could be people over there playing horse. At 2 o’clock, there could be people over there playing ping-pong. That’s not the norm but at any point, you can get up, walk away. You don’t clock in. You don’t clock out. You have a job. You do your job and however you go about doing that throughout the day is up to you.”
When it comes to getting away from their desks, CJ and Jolin take different approaches.
“I’ll go play basketball but none of them want to play me because I’ll beat them,” Jolin laughed.
“You never want to go to Dave & Buster’s with her,” CJ added.
CJ’s work at 1SEO involves human resources, a task she performs even when she steps away from her desk. She enjoys talking to other employees about their likes and dislikes to establish connections within the office.
“I try to spend that extra time learning a little bit more about them because at the end of the day, I’m the one that they’re going to come to if they have a problem or if someone else has a problem,” CJ said. “Understanding those individuals helps me.”
While CJ said she enjoys getting to know other employees, she also laughed about working with her wife. CJ said she initially hesitated taking on a position within 1SEO because she would be unable to “turn it off” when it comes to working with family.
“If it’s not about the children, it’s about work,” CJ said of the conversations the couple has when they go home in the evening.
However, they find ways to work around this. The two purposely do not have their offices next to each other, and they maintain a sense of humor about the situation.
“We’ll try actively not to [talk about work when we go home] but it doesn’t work out,” Jolin said with a laugh.
In their work, CJ and Jolin said neither have encountered obstacles due to their lesbian identities but have seen challenges because they are women. Jolin recalled one male client who told her he would rather work with a man. That was when Jolin’s brother stepped in.
“He said, ‘Listen, she’s my sister and she runs the company. If you feel a certain way, we’re not the right fit for you. You have a choice to accept it or go find another company,’” Jolin said.
The client ended up signing the agreement and “everything worked out,” she said.
Meanwhile, CJ said she has had to “work extremely hard” for people to take her seriously.
“I do tend to over-speak sometimes and I tend to overanalyze things and research really hard,” CJ said. “Because I know when I walk into a room, a lot of times I have to overcompensate. It shouldn’t be that way but a lot of times, it is. When I meet with someone, they don’t necessarily expect me to know what I’m doing and when I finally break that barrier, it’s no big deal. But that has always been a barrier I had to make sure gets broken down.”
However, the rewards of the work far outweigh any obstacles.
“I can think of a couple of clients who have come to us and said, ‘In six months we’ll be out of business. We’re entrusting you can do the right thing by our business,’” Jolin said. “Within those six months, they are doing extremely well and they’re happy as can be. To have someone tell you they’re going out of business in six months and now, they’re growing … in our space, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
To learn more about 1SEO and its services, visit 1seo.com.