Written on the 9 January 2015 by Karen Rickert
FORMER magician Ben Bradshaw has performed a feat of a different kind, transforming SponsoredLinX into one of Australia's leading providers of search engine marketing.
Two-time Guiness World Record holder Bradshaw has clocked the fastest escape from a straitjacket, as well as the fastest escape with the same trick under water.
He turned to online marketing and Google AdWords to grow his magic business, with fellow entrepreneurs asking how they could capitalise on the benefits.
Bradshaw eventually hung up his straitjacket and launched SponsoredLinX in 2006, assisting small to medium sized businesses with search engine optimisation, social media management, web design and mobile marketing.
The multi-million dollar business now boasts a team of 70 employees and manages more than 2000 client accounts.
"We've had one of our biggest years ever in terms of growth and we're well above 30 per cent," Bradshaw says.
"The business is almost 10 years in and to still be growing at that 30 to 40 per cent mark is impressive, it definitely surprises me. Overall we're maturing as a company and getting a lot smarter."
SponsoredLinX has plans to enter the New Zealand market and it sees Facebook management as a key growth area.
Bradshaw was also one of the few candidates from Australia to be selected to tour Googleplex Headquarters in Silicon Valley.
As part of the Google Partners AllStars Summit in August, he participated in training sessions and accessed the latest suite of products during their testing phases.
Impressed by the creative environment, Bradshaw has further expanded SponsoredLinX's company culture with special food vans and extracurricular activities to boost morale.
It's not all personal training sessions and ice cream though, and Bradshaw says it's important to foster a social conscience within the team.
"As our resources get bigger and we take on more employees and bigger clients, we definitely want to make an impact in any way we can," Bradshaw says.
"We support a lot of things throughout the year and I've joined the board of not-for-profit, AidArena that blends e-commerce with charity."
Bradshaw has also co-created an anti-bullying Facebook page, The Fight Against Bullying, which has more than 130,000 likes.