I, Caitlin O’Hara, started working at Radar Hill officially in May 2016. I had of course been around it nearly my entire life as it began when I was 7 years old. In 2001 Dan Lundgren, Roger Whitson, and my dad Shawn O’Hara merged their respective 2 companies together to create Radar Hill Technology Inc., a business that would focus on making custom websites in Victoria. Previous to this my dad had been working from home in the downstairs office, the stereotype of the emerging IT guy. However, not being content with fulfilling this stereotype of basement-dwelling web people, they decided to rent out a proper office.
I remember Radar Hill’s first office being on the second floor of a slightly sketchy building, where you had to go up what we termed “death stairs” – the awful metal kind with holes in them. Luckily they only stayed there a few years, as they soon moved to a much better place – the top floor of a pyramid-shaped building. Many years later and they are still in that great office space that has a lift (elevator) instead of death stairs. Anyone who comes by the office gets a full tour, as they like to show it off.
Why I Work At Radar Hill
More details of my travels can be read about in this post, but this blog is to explain how it is I came to be working at Radar Hill. My first ever cheque came from them when I was about 14, and I made samosas for their open house. Finger food is of course the best thing about an open house, and being an entrepreneurial teenager I saw the opportunity to make something and sell it, and Radar Hill obliged. My samosas were a great success, and I have made them many more times for Radar Hill events. For several years that was the extent of my working relationship with Radar Hill, simply occasionally catering for them.
I finished attending university in December 2015, and did not know what my next step should be. I didn’t get my BA in History because I wanted a job in that field, it was more just an excuse to travel. I spent the first few months of 2016 in the UK, staying with friends, not thinking about future plans. When I returned to Canada, I finally decided to think about career prospects. My dad was talking about hiring a part-time person to phone clients, and after several weeks of discussing it with him, I formally put in an application, and him and Dan agreed to hire me for a few months.
My role involved initially just calling clients to ensure that they were satisfied with their website, but soon it evolved to include more administrative tasks, and more writing. Hence why you are reading this blog now – I choose most of the blog topics. However, my employment was only for the summer and part time, and so once I made enough money I went back to Europe for a couple months at the end of 2016. As much as I wanted to live in Europe, I was not prepared at that point, and came back to Canada, with absolutely no career plans whatsoever.
Getting More Involved with Radar Hill
Deciding on what you want to do with your life is stressful. I knew that whatever I chose could be changed easily and nothing is permanent, but I didn’t know what to even choose to concentrate on. My dad asked if I would be willing to come back to Radar Hill, and I accepted. In 2017 I was no longer phoning clients, rather it was more of an administrative assistant role, where I also did social media and email marketing. I learned more about their process, and what clients come to expect and appreciate from them – notably the relationship that develops, with the integrity and honesty in which Radar Hill operates.
If you are a business, having a website in the 21st century is expected. Thus being ubiquitous, it could easily be thought that a site is just a basic digital brochure where services and contact info is listed. But in this increasingly online age, a website is the engine in which a business can operate on. If properly executed, a website can increase your leads, which increases your business, which increases your income, which will transform your life.
To achieve such a transformative website, there needs to be a lot of trust and cooperation between a business and their web developer. The very core of a business needs to be examined, to know what aspects the website should focus on. Radar Hill makes websites that will work for you, and isn’t necessarily just a list of your services. Working in the office I learned just how much actually goes into a website, as there are so many components and different parts that can be added to one. No one person can be an expert on all of these things, which is why Radar Hill has expanded to now have 8 employees, plus me.
Radar Hill in Scotland
As a child I didn’t appreciate how much work my dad did, but now I see how much he has evolved his own position from website maker to now coordinating projects, and how much effort and care goes into maintaining happy clients. Client service is fundamental at Radar Hill, and those kinds of relationships are exactly what I want to do with Scottish clients.
I moved to Edinburgh in September 2017, and thought that would be it for my time at
Radar Hill. However, my dad asked if I would continue doing some things for them, and as all I would need is a laptop, I agreed. I managed to do some writing and audio transcriptions part time for several months, all the while working full time in a shop in the city. However, I did not move halfway across the world just to work in retail. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but it was not that. So I soon left that position, and decided to focus on working for Radar Hill.
Working in Scotland
Because I was doing things remotely, I thought I could do that sort of thing for other people, and the term Virtual Assistant came up. It seemed to fit everything I was doing and what I wanted to do, as it means being flexible and self-employed, while doing projects and work that is enjoyable. I soon visited a BNI chapter, as my dad has been part of BNI in Canada for years, and highly recommended that I visit a chapter to announce my new VA business, and begin to build a network in the city I just moved to.
While at a BNI meeting, it was stated that a website designer would be welcome to join the chapter. While I personally am not a website designer, I do know of a company that is an expert in it. Thus the opportunity for Radar Hill to expand to Scotland with BNI became apparent, and I am pleased to announce that I am now a member!
I am committed to maintaining the same level of client service that people on Vancouver Island have come to expect from Radar Hill. I will be the front person, the one that clients in Scotland will communicate with, and the website will be built in Victoria. Being the liaison is a new and exciting challenge, something I did not think I’d be doing when I first moved to Scotland, but I welcome the chance. This company has had a huge impact on my life, and I have seen how Radar Hill has evolved over the years, and I am so pleased to be part of their next big step.