Chris Hough

chris_hough2.jpgChris Hough, founder of Natural Ranks

Natural Ranks is an internet marketing and web development company based in Liverpool.

 We provide search engine marketing advice and support services to companies large and small; from a local fire training company to the UK & Australia divisions of the world largest insurance broker. There are two full time employees and half a dozen freelancers who work on our projects.

My reason for starting the business was simple, I found myself doing something I no longer liked. My previous role had me commuting 3-4 hours a day, and although the work was great, I couldn't' handle the drive. So I jumped ship to work for a local company and took on a new job role. 12 months in I knew that I'd gone as far as I could and was itching to get out. I started doing freelance work on the side and landed a couple of big clients. I knew it was a now or never scenario, so I took the big step of quitting my job and working for myself.

My vision for the business is not the usual schpeel that you hear from new media companies. I don't want to be a big agency - nor am I interested in awards. I just want to have a company that allows me to enjoy what I do. That gives me challenging work and a sense of accomplishment. I don't get that with every project I work on, but when I do I know I'm on the right track.

Striding Out gave me something that I needed, time for reflection. Its cliche but so true; sometimes you work in the business, not on it. Taking several Striding Out workshops and one-to-one meetings I was able to start to tease the businesses away from my person, letting it exist without me and freeing me to improve it without always having to worry about deadlines and new projects. Striding Out also challenged me to push myself in new areas, public speaking being just one of them. I did several talks in 2009, something that I've never done before and found, to my surprise, I quite enjoyed it. Thanks Striding Out!