James Holloway

Ensuring the team has plenty of chill out places and regular pizza keeps everyone happy.


James Holloway is the founder of Gooey, a white-label coding agency specialising in WordPress, Magento and HTML development.

Where did the idea for Gooey come from?

The name Gooey came from GUI (graphical user interface). We are a white label agency, so produce work that another company can rebrand as their own. In our case, we develop code for websites and emails for other agencies to deliver to their clients as though they have done it. Most of our work is frontend HTML development, WordPress and Magento theme creation, or HTML email builds. We also support agencies with bug fixes, website maintenance, and updates.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I usually like to get in around 8am, catch up with my colleagues, and make myself a coffee. No two days are the same working at Gooey, and prioritising is pretty key. I check in with the project managers to check we are on schedule. As we work on lots of different projects for a host of clients, we need to make sure we are across it all.

We usually take lunch between 12.30 and 1.30. The last Friday of the month we get pizzas in for everyone, which the team love. Our office has loads of space to chill out including a swing, pool table and a PlayStation too.

Then I have an afternoon of dev meetings and leave the office about 6pm. I’m usually on my phone checking emails from clients until 12am.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Generally, we partner with creative agencies who do the branding, design, and consult with the client themselves. As we are a white label web development agency, we act as an additional development arm. Essentially, we are an extension of your team to support you on projects as and when you require, which is more efficient than hiring in-house if your workload tends to vary in volume and type throughout the year.

We love coding, so working with agencies rather than clients allows us to just concentrate on what we love and are good at – coding!

What’s one trend that excites you?

Webpage speed, with Google and other search engines placing more and more emphasis on speed, it is high priority on new web builds. We love the challenge of ensuring we get high scores.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I would have to say exercise. It helps me relax and it’s when I have some of my best ideas! It gives me some time out and away from screens and gives me a bit of headspace which is good for everyone, entrepreneur or not.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would definitely have told myself to not fret about things you can’t control – what will be will be. It’s often easy to forget that especially when running your own business.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That we shouldn’t have pizza in the office every Friday!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Exercise, I know I’ve already mentioned it, but everyone needs to de-stress and exercising is a great way to this. It can be easily done at home so there’s no need for the gym.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Simply look for a gap in the market. We spotted that there was a need for a UK based development partner, and from this gap have grown the business consistently over 10 years.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Probably leaving it so late getting up each morning! It’s always such a rush – I end up being up and out of the house in 15 mins. You would think that after 10 years of Gooey, I would have learnt to wake up earlier but it doesn’t happen. I obviously need to get myself a better alarm!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A marketing agency for small agencies. Small agencies can’t afford to hire marketing directors, social media executives, pr executives, event co-ordinators etc etc – having an agency that could provide all these services at an affordable cost (under £1k a month) would do well, profit would be derived from standardising the processes.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently bought myself a second-hand Huawei phone and I can’t believe how good it is. I’m traditionally an Apple man but I think I may have been turned.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

As a white label development agency, everything we do is about software. We use Codebbase HQ which helps us manage all our tasks via tickets and deploy our code.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I don’t tend to read many books apart from to my children! Although I did read How To Be A Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott. It is a great guide on achieving more. It gives really clear and concise advice to be as productive as possible. One tip is to wear headphones to show that you are busy and need to concentrate without interruptions. A lot of the team wear headphones and listen to music and it works well to show when they need to get their head down in some coding.

What is your favorite quote?

“Talk is cheap. Show me the code.”
― Linus Torvalds

Key Learnings:

• Exercise is a fantastic way to de-stress. With a clear head often come great ideas.
• Ensuring the team has plenty of chill out places and regular pizza keeps everyone happy.
• If you wear headphones whilst working, people tend to leave you alone!