A Journey from Discontent to Innovation
The Origin Story of Selling Lane CRM, made for the underdogs, by the underdogs.
Our origin story starts in the heart of Rochester, NY, with a dreamer, a go-getter, and a family man. His name is Jude Campbell, a Scottish immigrant carving out his American dream on the campus of RIT.
Like many smart people, Jude found himself swimming in a sea of tantalizing job offers upon graduation. And, like many young immigrants, he had his sights set on building his own company and creating an empire for his newborn child. Of course, his bank balance begged to differ. So, like any self-respecting upstarts buried under a mountain of student loan debt (seriously, he could hear the loans whispering at night), he took the ‘responsible’ route and accepted a job offer from a firm in Boston. He and his wife spent the last of their savings moving to Beantown a place renowned for draining bank accounts faster than you can say “Boston Baked!”
He was broke, with a two-year-old child at home, living the American Dream. Then he met his new boss, a pompous, self-absorbed credit hoarder, who loved to tell you how to do your job. Quickly, he felt entangled in an energy vampire cubical, helmed by a boss who could easily be the poster child for workplace tormentors.
As depression and frustration mounted and their second child was born, it became harder to resign. Not to mention, the cost of living in Boston was almost three times that of Rochester. These factors kept him tethered to his current position. “I can’t stand my boss, but I need the money,” he whined to his mom on a long-distance call one Sunday morning. “I don’t know what to do.”
What his mom said next was priceless.
“Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you. Be bold, be courageous.”
Spark of Inspiration: How Origin Story’s are Created
His mother’s words stuck in his head for weeks thereafter, but he knew he couldn’t just quit his job and couldn’t afford another move. Then, one wintry night, while changing his daughter’s diaper, Jude had an epiphany. He always had a passion for consulting and teaching people with special needs how to get along in the modern world of technology, and he saw an opportunity to start a small consulting company as a side gig.
Could he work 4 to 5 hours per week and make some extra money?
The idea was thrilling but also daunting. With limited resources and the need to keep costs down, he began connecting with his friends from RIT and back home in Edinburgh and slowly built a list of potential customers using the free version of Google Sheets.
As the business started to take off, the limitations of Google Sheets became apparent. It was an inefficient CRM at best and far from ideal for managing his growing customer base.
“I am so grateful to Google for providing so many free tools to start my business; they are a startup company’s dream, but after a while I needed specialized software to customize the way we wanted to manage our business. I was super grateful to Google for providing such an outstanding free tool, but I knew I needed more.”Jude Campbell
A Meeting of Minds
Enter Sonia Bazzi, Jude’s Lebanese cousin and talented developer whose family was exiled and moved to Portugal when she was a child. After graduating from Technical University of Munich (TUM), she had dreams of starting a travel blog to make some extra income and see the world, but her job tethered her to the Hospital de Santa Maria in Lisbon. When she managed to get away, she visited Boston to see Jude and the kids. Over drinks, the conversation turned to the idea of creating a simple CRM for solopreneurs and small business owners.
Ah, you might say, the classic underdog tale! A world filled with giants like Salesforce, wielding hefty price tags, and software platforms like Notion, flaunting their multi-tool prowess. But in the shadows lurked two brave souls, fueled by nothing but passion, a shared dream and the love of coffee.
“Why should small businesses be stuck playing Indiana Jones in the CRM jungle, armed with nothing but a machete and a compass? Where’s the fun in that—unless you’re into digital money snake pits?”Sonia
So they embarked on a noble quest, armed with common sense, caffeine, and perhaps a sprinkling of naivety. They sought to carve a niche in a crowded market, a haven for the fellow Davids in a world of Goliath’s.
“Why settle for a sledgehammer CRM when all you need is a finely-crafted Swiss Army knife?”Jude
And lo, Selling Lane, the Easy CRM was born—a testament to the idea that simplicity doesn’t mean sacrificing functionality. It was tailored for those who didn’t want to sell their left kidney for a CRM system. It was made for the underdogs, by the underdogs. Because sometimes, a focused, personalized tool is all you need to slay the giants. After all, wasn’t it a humble sling that brought down Goliath?
The two friends/cousins, each brimming with untapped potential, took one look at their dreary day jobs and said, “Enough of that noise!” They united their skills and passions in a bid for freedom and began working late into the night, powered by vision, ambition, and possibly one too many cups of coffee.
“I always thought I had no time, but then I started Selling Lane.com with my pal Jude and realized I was just binge-watching my life away. Who knew my streaming addiction was holding me back? I found an extra 10 hours a week, and now I’m the star of my own success story, and not just an extra in someone else’s drama series.”Sonia
The Birth of Selling Lane CRM
After laboring for months like a pair of mad scientists in a digital lab, Selling Lane CRM emerged into the world. Granted, it was a bit clunky at first, like a newborn giraffe finding its legs, but Jude and Sonia saw its charm. They used it daily for their businesses, watching it grow from a fumbling infant to a robust, indispensable tool. More than just a CRM, it was a monument to bad bosses vanquished, sleepless nights survived, and a friendship that could turn even the craziest idea into reality.
As the pair’s own businesses expanded, Selling Lane CRM blossomed right alongside them. They didn’t just add features like time management and menu selling; they crafted loving solutions to the quirky challenges they faced daily. It wasn’t just software; it was like an enthusiastic employee that never took a sick day. It became, in essence, a small business owner’s Swiss Army knife, without the risk of cutting your finger.
A Legacy of Growth and Expansion
By the way, I’m Vicky, and when I joined the company in January 2023, Selling Lane CRM had already become a testament to what two determined individuals can achieve when they put their minds together. So I said, what the heck, I’ll invest. So we were united by pixels, fiber optics, and an aversion to sleep. We created a testament to what’s achievable when you’ve got common goals, a shared love of caffeine, and Wi-Fi that refuses to stay connected. It didn’t matter that we were working on opposite sides of the Atlantic; with drives us, is late-night pizza, and perhaps a virtual high-five or two. Who knew making software could be as riveting as a squirrel on espresso? 🐿️ ☕️ Yep, we’re that good.
BTW, in the interview for my position as CMO (an auspicious title for a small company with fewer than 20 employees), Jude said
Selling Lane is not just a product; it’s a story of friendship, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of our dreams. We put our pants on one leg at a time, just like our customers. So essentially, we’re making Selling Lane for folks who, like us, appreciate a good leg up in the small business world!Jude Campbell
I’m not sure if Sonia and Jude felt sorry for me, but they hired me on the spot. We’ll actually, after I filled in a crap ton of forms, offered to work 24/7 and told them I’d give up sleep.
All kidding aside, I hit the ground running, helping small business owners expand and grow, just as Selling Lane helped us find their path to business success. It’s always easier to sell a product that you enjoy using yourself, but in our case, it’s the software we built for ourselves. So we are our own ideal customer. All I have to do is talk to people like us and we are instantly on the same page.
I think Sonia said it best.
“We didn’t just build a tool; we built a lifeline for small business owners like us. Selling Lane CRM is our legacy, our contribution to those who dare to dream, for those who are creating their own origin story.”
And so, the legacy continues, inspiring others to take the leap, to believe in themselves, and to create something extraordinary.
Thanks for reading our origin story, and for considering Selling Lane. May your success journey be as fulfilling as ours.
–Vicky Barry-Mercer, July 2023
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