By Career Advice

From the very beginning, setting up Positive Sparks as a virtual company was all about creating a lifestyle business with a happy team culture and service excellence.

We interviewed the founder of Positive Sparks, Phil Byrne and very quickly got a sense of how passionate he is about allowing his team to work in a way that benefits their lifestyle.

As Phil explained, “giving our team members the ability to build their life as they wish is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role. It’s a new form of ‘pay’ that goes above and beyond the traditional focus of money.”

Positive Sparks_ Creating a Lifestyle Business with a Remote Team

Phil launched Positive Sparks, a web marketing coaching & consulting company, in 2014.  Initially offering a broad range of web marketing services, the company now primarily focuses on servicing the demand for Search & Social Pay Per Click Marketing and Conversion Optimisation using Data Driven Marketing.

Phil said the virtual ideology was a key concept of how he wanted to create Positive Sparks.

“I’d been working in a traditional marketing agency in the centre of a large UK city. I left that agency to try life abroad. Creating Positive Sparks to give me location independence was key.”

The company has a team of six located across the UK, France, Spain and the Philippines encompassing account managers, pay per click advertising specialists, copywriters, graphic designers, Google Analytics professionals, and admin staff.

As Phil explains, because his staff are able to work from where they are happiest, wherever that might be in the world, they are highly motivated and understand that their work enables that flexibility.

When it comes to hiring, Phil describes the ideal team member for Positive Sparks being someone who aspires to be the best at what they do and to live a life with more freedom than most. He is committed to supporting and enabling both for the right people.

Essential to every role is the ability to self-motivate and a strong desire to keep abreast in their field. A reliable and strong Internet connection is a must along with having access to the tools used by the team.

“We use Slack to allocate tasks and then Toggl to track time taken on tasks. We then review and rate quality alongside time taken.”

They also frequently use BusyBot (a Slack app), Skype and Zoom to keep in touch.

Phil sees another great benefit to having a remote team is the ability to bring people together who live very different lives with different influences. He says this enables everyone in his team to grow.

And when it comes to nurturing the company’s culture in a remote working environment, Phil says using Slack on a daily basis to communicate with everyone is a big help. He also encourages and assists team members in a regular program of training each month. The key points and benefits of the training are also shared with the whole team, so everyone can see how they’re growing stronger together.

“One day we hope to bring everyone together face-to-face … how and where is the next question!” 

When asked what the biggest challenge is to having a remote team, Phil states how difficult it can be to find the right people with the right skills and nature to fit into their team.

He explains that over time he’s learnt that personality and nature are more important than hard skills, because these skills can be taught and developed on the job.

“How someone is within the team is actually key.”

Another challenge he faced in the early days was trying to convince more traditionally focused companies to give their remote team a try. But this happens less now as both their reputation and the acceptance of remote working has grown.

The Positive Sparks team continues to thrive in their remote environment with several high profile projects under their belt. This year they’ve helped one client become the fastest growing Gin company in the UK.  They also assisted an established and well-known UK clothing brand open up a new market online, and continued the growth of a gardening client who operates the largest online UK community of hobbyist gardeners.

It’s onwards and upwards for Positive Sparks!


From the team at Remote Work Hub: A big thanks to Phil Byrne for sharing his story and embracing the remote work philosophy. We wish you and your team continued success in the future, Phil.

If you’re keen to learn more about online marketing, Phil runs a weekly podcast and monthly webinars so be sure to check out the Positive Sparks website for more information.

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