When anything in-person was put to bed last March, Online Optimism CEO Flynn Zaiger didn’t take it as meaning the digital marketing agency he founded had to stay in New Orleans. Instead, he saw a chance for growth.
“A lot of our business happens face-to-face over handshakes, at least to make initial client connections, and all of a sudden no one could shake hands,” Zaiger said. “[That meant] we could be pitching companies across the country, so we looked for where to expand.”
After establishing offices in Atlanta in 2020, Zaiger and design director Juan Pablo Madrid landed on developing a D.C. office, drawn by the talent pool and thriving tech community. Online Optimism works on everything from website design, social media and SEO optimization to content management, or in Zaiger’s words: “If it touches a screen, we tend to help people with it.” It also offers assets like a D.C. networking calendar with many of the local business groups.
Since moving here in June, Zaiger said the K Street-based company has already upped its employee count. With a new hire from Silver Spring, it just added its twenty first employee, up from 13 in March of last year (plus a barketing staff). If all goes to plan, Zaiger and Madrid hope to add up to six new employees in the next three months.
Although the company has a few locations already, Madrid said Online Optimism is specifically not intended to be a remote company, instead encouraging employees to enjoy the city culture.
“That’s why we’re explicitly opening offices in cities, because that’s how we see the future,” Madrid said. “It’s providing a flexible workspace and work environment, but also helping people work with the community and clients that surround them where they live.”
The community aspect is also something Online Optimism has been working on since June of last year. Through its Donate, Elevate — which matches employee donations 200% — and Better Our Community programs, the company has donated over $14,000 to organizations in the cities it works in. In the District, it has been working with Life Pieces to Masterpieces.
Although Zaiger said that the staff is still getting to know the area to decide how to be the best community partner, he hopes to continue the work Online Optimism has completed in other cities.
“We have a lot of learning and listening to do, but I think that’s our goal,” Zaiger said. “We feel we’ve built ourselves up as a good community partner in New Orleans, and I would love for us to be seen the same way as we move into D.C.”
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