About Lonely Viking.
Let’s just put it out there. There are tens of thousands of freelancers and agencies who do what we do. You can get any one of them to build you a website, plan a digital marketing strategy or design a logo for you. You’ll get a product or service at the end of the day, but what you won’t get is the Lonely Viking team invested in the success of your business.
You see, we know that we produce stellar work and provide exceptional support and service. And that does set us apart somewhat, but does that really makes us different? Anyone can tell you what they do. ‘What’ is easy. Why we do what we do and who we do it for is where the real magic lies. Are we a good match? That’s the best question and you should find your answer further down this page.
Are we right for each other?
We don’t work with just anyone. That’s because we find great joy in what we do so we seek out clients who we know we will love working with and who we are pretty sure will love working with us. Relationships are very important to us so we try to make sure we work with people who are awesome.
Knowing what we believe in might help you to know.
Sound like we're a match?
The Lonely Viking team.
The Lonely Viking Story
I am Shane Rielly. I started Lonely Viking on my own some years ago. Let me tell you the Lonely Viking story.
To get the whole story we need to go back a little bit.
Straight after leaving school I started a surf culture clothing brand and clothing manufacturing business. I did that for about 8 years before getting married. Once I got married my wife, Lindsay, worked in the business with me and together we also started a graphic design and video production business.
That is when I started building websites. We had a client who we were designing a logo for and he asked if we could build a website for him. I told him we could and then immediately ordered some books from Amazon and began spending my nights learning HTML, CSS and PHP. I built a site for that client and knocked it out the park. He was stoked with the site and so began my journey as a web designer and developer.
After a few years of running those businesses together Lindsay and I decided that we wanted to travel so we moved to London. While we lived there I worked as a web designer at a company called Chillisauce and maintained some of my favourite clients as a freelancer. We lived in London for a couple of years, travelled a little and saved a bunch of money and then decided it was time to settle down and make some babies.
We decided to blow all of our savings on an epic holiday around the world and to see if there was anywhere we wanted to live. We travelled to several countries over the span of six months before deciding to set up camp in South Africa and start our family.
Back in South Africa, and after working a ‘normal job’ in London, I decided I wanted to freelance again. I picked up more work doing logos, book designs, and websites as a freelancer and began to grow my business again. It was time to set up a real business and do some brand building.
I needed a name.
I had been trying, for weeks, to think of a name for my business and I was failing badly. I had all the usual suspects flying around my brain. All the thoughts of names incorporating ‘studio’ or ‘creative’ were annoying me to the point where I decided I wanted a name that broke the rules, was unusual, and memorable. Nothing came. Until one day I was driving in the car thinking about how I was building this business all alone. So the word ‘lonely’ started flowing around my mind. My mind jumps around like crazy so my next thought was about how my friend Jon Reid had taken incredible photos of Iceland and how much that made me want to go there. That led me to think about how I have some Scandinavian blood in me and that made me think “hey, imagine I was a Viking”. And then it hit me “Lonely Viking“. It was perfect.
It broke the rules of how a name should tell people what your business does, it sounded so damn cool, and it was definitely memorable. I knew it would make people want to know more. And I was right. I get asked about the name and where it comes from all the time! So now my shortened version of the story is “I am of Scandinavian descent and I started the business alone so Lonely Viking just made sense”.
As soon as I got home I told my wife I had finally thought of a great name. She agreed and I immediately got started on designing a logo. And that is the most fun I have ever had designing one. I still love the logo years later!
After a few years of running Lonely Viking I started to get very frustrated with the business model and the service I was providing. I did great work and built great looking websites for my clients, but I became increasingly dissatisfied with the fact that most of the sites I built didn’t get much traffic and that my clients were, more often than not, not seeing any returns on the money they had spent to have a website designed and built. This is when I started asking myself questions about how I could bring more value to my clients and how I could help them to use their websites to get more leads and more business. The thought of a website being nothing more than an online business card killed me and it still does today. I wanted my clients to make back the money they spent getting a damn good-looking website from me and, even more than that, to keep making money from it.
I started to refine my processes, further develop existing skills and learn new ones. I started to add to my knowledge of SEO and digital marketing by taking courses and devouring content online. I joined think-tanks and mastermind groups for agency owners and developed friendships with people from all over the world. Interacting with these new groups and people started to really change my mindset even more and open up mind to new possibilities. That was when I fast began to realise that this thing was going to be much bigger than just me.
I have always had a lot of ideas. Some genuinely great ones and, admittedly, some terrible ones. Coming up with creative ideas and solving difficult problems in creative ways has never been a difficult thing for me. I am an intense problem solver and I think about problems unrelentingly until the solutions come to me. It’s a great skill to have and I love it but where I have to admit that I have not been so great is in the staying on track and seeing it through bit. I get bored very easily once a problem is solved and move very quickly onto the next one. Don’t get me wrong, I got all my client work done well and on time, but it was a struggle at times.
I met Martin just short of four years ago. At the time he worked for a major African bank as a senior developer in their mobile banking app division and built websites for his own clients as a freelancer. We developed a friendship and started sharing business ideas and discussing strategy and processes a lot. Over the years we have learned a lot from each other and realised that we have very complimentary skillsets and characteristics.
Martin is a full-stack developer with amazing coding skills. He is also amazing at process design and implementation. Most importantly, he gets things done. We got talking about the vision of Lonely Viking and how together we could do some incredible work so we worked on a few projects together.
Martin and I decided to merge our two businesses. Because Lonely Viking had some traction as a brand and, frankly, because it’s a damn cool name we made the decision to work together under the Lonely Viking brand.
So here we are today. We are building a small, dedicated team and we are crazy excited for the future. We’re so pumped we’re building websites for our clients that we know they can see a return on and that they can use to grow their businesses. We also have some awesome new things we are developing and some exciting ideas for the future which is looking pretty bright.
Did you love that story? Meet your new design & Marketing team!
Your success is worth investing in.
If you had an internal design and marketing department they would have the success of your business at heart, right? They’d always be committed to clearly communicating your brand and your values and consistently focused on generating new leads and new business for you.
The success of your business matters!
It matters to you and it matters to your design and marketing team. Because when they win, your business wins. And when your business wins everyone involved wins.
Lonely Viking is your new team and your success matters to us! When you win we win. And we love winning and making winners.