Ditch Comfort, Embrace the Unpleasant to Grow

Apr 28
Kilo Heroes

One of the things that stands out when speaking with our SEO lead Martins Groza is his ongoing search for ways to push his limits. From building up the first Latvian unicorn to making a movie to completely changing his career direction quite a few times – it feels like he is an explorer who is focused on growth and is always looking for a new challenge. 

Today, Martins devotes most of his time to his family and building up Kilo Health’s SEO department, with some woodworking and other DIY projects in between. 

How did he get here?

Early years abroad

Martins moved from Latvia and finished high school in Luxembourg. In both countries, Martins didn’t limit himself to a single type of sport. He enjoyed snowboarding, badminton, trampoline jumping, and even attempted to master scooter tricks. “Back when I was doing it, I didn’t have a trick scooter like the ones kids ride nowadays. Instead, I would have to put screws in my foldable scooter to make sure it doesn’t rattle as much or fold as I jump down a bunch of stairs,” he remembers.

After high school, he moved to the Netherlands, intending to study physics. The idea for that came from his passion for crafting and building things with his hands, but much to his surprise, physics isn’t quite the same as engineering, and unfortunately, the university didn’t offer engineering courses. So instead, he shifted his focus toward social sciences and realized he enjoyed anthropology, creative writing, sociology, and rhetoric. 

“10 years after living abroad, I decided that I wanted to move back to Latvia, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So I tried to dabble in the movie industry by writing a screenplay for a short movie,” Martins remembers.

The script he wrote together with his childhood friend for the movie Beats of the Empty Land got funding, and while filming was a fun experience, Martins realized it was not his path either. He figured that since his English was quite good, he could test his abilities in a marketing agency, where he landed a position through a friend and was first introduced to SEO.

“At that time, I was the only marketing person they had. I was doing everything – writing content, doing SEO, running Google Ads, and posting on social media. And as I was working there, I realized that SEO is one of the things that I enjoy doing the most. It combines the creativity of creating content with scientific research and my background in social sciences, working with data for qualitative and quantitative analysis.”

Building up the first Latvian unicorn

Having worked in an agency for 2 years, Martins decided that he wanted to find an in-house position where he could work on a single product long-term rather than hopping on and off projects for various clients. At that point, Printful, which later became the first Latvian unicorn, was looking for its first SEO specialist. 

Here, not only did he do all the usual tasks, but he also spent a lot of time educating all teams about the actual value of SEO. During his 5-year career in the company, he turned from the sole contributor to a manager of 18 people.

Martins remembers that becoming a manager definitely was a learning curve, and some of the biggest challenges that he had was letting go of the daily tasks and trusting others to do the work: “I had to stop micromanaging and start delegating. It took me a while to realize that, from a leader’s point of view, if I do the job myself, it actually prevents the people on my team from being able to grow and learn to their full capacity,” he says. 

Today, Martins believes that the transition from being a specialist to becoming a manager is a highly valuable experience for any manager. This is because you get to know both sides of the coin – the feeling of assigning tasks and the process of doing them.

“Toward the end of last year, I realized that if I stayed at Printful, I might still learn more things, but ultimately, I’m not going to learn as much as earlier. Everything was set up, everything was working, and it was more about small tweaks, which were not that exciting,” he remembers. As a result, he decided he wanted to find new challenges.

The next steps

Most of these challenges in his daily life come from raising his 3-year-old daughter. Surprisingly, being a dad also rekindled his passion for his childhood hobbies. Martins recently picked up playing badminton again and thoroughly enjoys a match or two in his free time. Coming full circle, after many years of not riding one, he recently bought a new trick scooter and, little by little, tries to build back his skills. 

At the same time, Martins takes pride in his DIY and woodworking projects, which can range from your typical home improvement projects to creating entirely new projects out of wood or leather. “At my job, I look at the screen and work on projects that produce results over a long period of time, so creating physical objects, something you could actually touch, brings me joy,” he says. As he says that, he shows off one of his recent creations – a baseball bat that he just created in his workshop. 

Martins’ mindset here is simple: he has two hands that need to be put to work because that is the only way his mind can properly rest. He prepares for the next day while his thoughts flow freely.

Does working with Martins sound exciting to you?

Martins chose Kilo Health because instead of working with one brand, he would work with a bunch of different products at the same time. 

“It was also an opportunity for me to prove to myself that if I did manage to create a strong department once, I could do it again – but in a different niche,” he says. “I am trying to do the same at Kilo Health that I did at Printful, which is to build up the SEO strategy, hire a team, and establish processes. Ultimately, I see that my goal is to introduce a cultural shift in the mindset toward a higher appreciation for SEO on all levels of the company.”

Martins is looking for new people to join his team and help him turn the Kilo Health SEO team into a world-class agency that supports all 30+ products in our portfolio. 

Would you like to become a part of the core team which builds our SEO department?

Kilo Health
Kilo Health is a digital health and wellness company with over 5 million customers worldwide. The second fastest-growing company in Europe according to the Financial Times FT 1,000 in 2022. The company currently has 700+ experts, 30+ products, and offices in 7 European cities.

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