Industry Profile: Jon Hollenberg, Founder of Five by Five

Founder Jon Hollenberg

Our Industry Profile examines some of the professionals working in the Advertising, Advertising Technology, Marketing and Media industries in Australia. It aims to shed light on the different roles and businesses in the booming industry.

This week, we’re talking to Five by Five founder Jon Hollenberg.

Time spent in the company:
I started the business in my boardshorts, working out of my spare bedroom in my Burleigh Heads apartment almost 16 years ago.

How would you describe what the company does?
Five by Five is a Gold Coast based web design company and our team of 30 people around the world deliver web solutions that drive results for clients. This is achieved through stunning design, robust technology, and content that not only drives targeted traffic, but converts.

Our integrated end-to-end offering, including web strategy, web development, SEO, mobile design and website management, has enabled Five by Five to complete over 3,000 projects to date.

What do you do on a daily basis?
Having started my life in UI design, programming, sales, and project management, I don’t do any of that anymore. Instead, I surround myself with people who are much smarter than me in each of these areas.

I now take on the role of head coach, working closely with each of our team members to solve problems, drive strategy, and generally get the most out of each team member.

Define your job in a nutshell:
To fill.

I got into marketing because:
I get a huge buzz from planning, building and running a campaign. Research is an important part of what we do. Seeing a good plan put in place and generate real growth for our clients makes me smile.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
As the leader and owner of the business, ultimately the responsibility ends with me. It’s about having extreme ownership of any issues or challenges that may arise along the way. If a customer is unhappy or a team member makes a mistake, it’s up to me. These types of problems are a gift from the universe that helps us build a better and stronger business. The hard part for me is having the resilience to keep showing up everyday, taking the upper hand, and being proactive in fixing issues so they never happen again.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see overcome?
There is such a disparity between web designers. The barriers to entry are very low and calling yourself a web designer is very easy. So many times clients will approach us on their second or third attempt on a project after other agencies have dropped the ball or fallen off the face of the planet. The customers are completely disenchanted, cynical and fed up. Some type or certification or accreditation by an organization would be great to see.

Notable campaigns you’ve worked on:
We recently delivered a project for Coral Homes, one of Australia’s largest home builders, which introduced ‘real time’ pricing to speed homes from concept to completion. While “real-time” market pricing is common in industries like e-commerce, no one else is in the Australian construction industry.

In June 2021, Coral Homes’ organic website traffic grew 44% in less than three months, and its leads increased by over 58% and requests increased by 55% year over year. .

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
Very early in my career there was a man by the name of Nick Marvin (who has served as chairman, CEO or CEO of some of Australia’s biggest sports icons). It gave me my first job in the industry and got me interested in direct response marketing, personal development and leadership. On the first day of my job he sent me on my first sales call where I crashed and burned horribly. Nick kept throwing me in the deep end over and over again. I learned so much in those early years and laid the groundwork for years to come.

Any advice for someone who wants a job like yours?
Being in this type of role depends on how you present yourself every day. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are no days off for a leader as the team looks to you for advice and inspiration. Owning a business is the ultimate personal development course you can take! The universe will continue to shed light on all of your weaknesses and deficiencies until they are corrected. Put the work in you and the success will not be far behind.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would be:
In the army. I like a regimented life. Have a mission and a combat rhythm to respect. Being surrounded by a team of siblings you would do anything for in the blink of an eye. Come to think of it, this is a lot like the way we run our business!

My mantra is:
Consistency is the key. There are no shortcuts in life. Show up every day and get the job done.

My favorite ad is:
Ironically, the Not Happy Jan Yellow Pages ad. We have removed many clients from the Yellow Pages over the years, but I loved what they did with this campaign and I quote it again today when I met a ‘Jan’.

Music and TV broadcasting habits. What do you subscribe to?
Long-lasting podcasts. In-depth dives in many different subjects. I love how, with the power of podcasting, people like Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss have created successful podcasts and subscriptions.

Tell us something that people at work don’t know about you?
I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than a minute.

In five years I will be:
Doing exactly what I do but leading a much bigger team surrounded by more amazing people.

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