How Really Good Work Is Pioneering Eco-Friendly Web Development

How Really Good Work is pioneering eco-friendly web development

The average internet user spends 6.5 hours online every day (source). Most of us don’t give much thought to the environmental impact of our internet usage, but as you’ll see in this interview, the impact is significant.

Really Good Work isn’t your typical web design and development agency. Their goal is to build sustainable websites by considering details that are often overlooked. In this interview, Drew Minns shares why sustainability should be considered during the development process and how RGW provides clients with beautiful, user-friendly, and environmentally friendly websites.

👇 Key Takeaways

  • Really Good Work creates sustainable and accessible experiences for users
  • Many of the daily online tasks that most of us think nothing about have a real and lasting impact on the environment
  • RGW started out of the need to find socially responsible ways to build effective and beautiful websites
  • Drew says the niche approach has made branding and communications more effective


Business Name: Really Good Work Inc
Website URL:
Founders: Drew Minns
Business Location: Canada
Year Started: 2021
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 3

How much revenue does the business generate? 

Around $35,000 monthly

Tell us about yourself and your business.

I took Really Good Work off the ground in 2021 after working for almost 20 years as a creative, designer, developer, manager, director, and everything in between. Often expected to define myself as either a developer OR a designer, it was time to create a space of my own where I could hone all of my skills while also fostering impactful change in a quickly evolving industry. 

The philosophy behind Really Good Work has always been to create sustainable and accessible experiences for users. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the internet, an environment we spend much of our lives in, needs to see significant changes in practices to create a greener, more inclusive digital experience for all. 

Really Good Work is focused on being the catalyst for change by educating and assisting individuals and businesses with their online presence.

Can you explain more about how Really Good Work Integrates sustainable thinking into web development?

We strive to create websites and apps that focus on optimizing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions while also educating users about responsible resource management. Although this might mean avoiding glitzy elements such as embedded videos, large photos, and heavily saturated colors, our sites will always score high on SEO, performance, and accessibility.

Billions of humans use the internet daily, and many view it as ephemeral, with no lasting footprint outside of the screen it exists in. The fact is that the energy we consume to process data on apps and websites has the same lasting effect as some of its more obvious climate change contributors, such as cars. 

Just one minute of scrolling through your Instagram newsfeed is the equivalent of driving a light vehicle for 13 meters, or 1.5g of CO2! And habits such as doom scrolling, hoarding old emails, maxing out cloud storage, loading large pictures or videos, or even ignoring the option to go into dark mode can have a lasting impact on our climate. We want our clients and their users to know they have chosen to represent themselves online while also breaking generations-long bad habits!

What was your inspiration for starting the business?

After spending time working for industry giants, it became obvious that the focus was often on maximizing the user’s experience: In the last six years, the average size of a web page has grown by almost 50% to almost 2.5MB. With all those bells and whistles, we’ve learned that the internet industry is responsible for about 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that number is growing. 

On top of that, websites have become increasingly less accessible: they are harder to browse using screen readers, longer to load, especially in rural communities, and, at times, visually and audibly overwhelming for some users. 

We saw this as a problem that needed to be solved, not one we wanted to contribute to, and it felt only right to begin exploring socially responsible ways to build effective and beautiful websites and apps.

How and when did you launch the business?

Really Good Work Launched in 2021 in Hamilton, Ontario. What began as a one-person, home-grown operation is now a growing team operating out of Hamilton’s historic Westinghouse HQ building. 

Being in the industry for 20+ years provided a large network of connections. However, after noticing such a huge gap in the industry when it came to internet sustainability and accessibility, we decided to expand our services to educate a broader audience and help individuals and businesses (big and small) ethically represent themselves online.  

How is the business funded? 

The business is bootstrapped completely. All revenue has come from one-off and ongoing engagements with partners.

Looking to the future, revenue will continue to grow from client projects. However, government grants that help support businesses that pursue Carbon neutral solutions are also being considered. 

How did you find your first few clients or customers?

It helps to have some years under my belt, so the community I built prior to starting RGW is one that I continuously fall back on. It’s because of this that our first account was a big one: Mejuri. They needed an experienced team of developers to build a brand new customer app, and through connections I’ve made in the industry, I was recommended to their product manager. 

It’s been a really challenging and fulfilling experience, and it has pushed us to seek the most efficient, creative, and socially responsible ways to build and maintain a high-traffic app from the ground up. 

What was your first year in business like?

As most freelancers know, work never really stops. Once RGW moved from my house to an actual office space, it did provide a semblance of structure. However, my laptop, notepad or imagination are always open after hours. It’s not only because this tends to be the grind that small businesses need to accept, but it’s also because, as creatives, our minds don’t turn off when our computers do. Ideas can come at a mile a minute, whether it’s business strategy, project flow, or the often occurring “eureka” moment, and I’m genuinely excited to jump on those ideas! 

I’m lucky to have landed a few contracts early on that were longer-term and required a higher level of experience (and, therefore, a higher pay expectation), so it didn’t take too long for the business to start making money.

It also helped that I kept costs extremely low for the first year: one employee, a home office, a laptop, and maybe a few software subscriptions. We weren’t starting in the red, and this is what allowed RGW to start expanding towards the end of 2023.

What strategies did you use to grow the business?

  1. I was not afraid to promote myself and my experience. After working for larger agencies and corporations and feeling as though there wasn’t always space for me to expand as both a developer and a designer, it was clear to me that the only way to feel proud of the work I do is to go on my own. This meant believing in the knowledge I have, feeling confident charging the rates I do, and taking on the projects I’ve been offered.
  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! This meant ensuring I wasn’t spreading myself too thin mentally, physically, or financially. The last thing I wanted was to take on a client only to realize I didn’t have the capacity to deliver what I’d promised. It was easy to get excited when business was coming our way, but I knew if I grew too quickly without solidifying the groundwork, I could potentially be putting my company at risk.
  1. On that note, it’s so important to establish a strong relationship with each of my clients right off the bat. Consistency, professionalism, and flexibility are three key components that not only leave a client happy but will likely allow you to maintain a long-term relationship with them or, better yet, turn into future referrals down the road. 
  1. I found a problem that needed to be solved. It’s no surprise that the world is focused on very serious social issues; two big ones being climate change and accessibility. Efforts are being made in so many industries but I was still seeing old habits die hard in the tech world, specifically online. I wanted to offer services that filled the gap of creating websites and apps while taking on a more ethical approach, with the intention of attracting clients who want to do the same. 
  1. Social media is your friend. It’s a daunting task to take on, but it pays off. We’ve generated more leads in the last month since really promoting ourselves on social media, and although the engagement rate fluctuates, it’s better than not putting ourselves out there at all. We’ve been focusing on education around sustainability and accessibility on the web while also introducing and promoting ourselves and our business.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Knowing when it’s time to delegate! I think that’s a common one when it comes to starting a new business and watching it grow, but in the end it’s always best to lean on the strengths of your employees. 

What have been the most significant keys to your business’ success?

Sticking to our guns. Yes, we can be flexible when it comes to our client’s needs, but we have a set philosophy that we will always follow, and that is to do good: To others, to our planet, to our peers, and to the industry we work in. As The Boss put it: “No one wins unless everybody wins.” 

Tell us about your team.

RGW has grown from just myself to now having one full-time employee and one freelancer. 

We hired Andy Silver as our managing director at the start of the year, and she has been flexing her creative, administrative, and interpersonal skills ever since. Her versatile background, not only in customer-facing roles but also as an artist and musician, brings a fresh perspective to the business and to our clients.

Sean Cartwright has recently joined us as a freelance creative director, and we are very excited to share what he’s bringing to the table. His work includes graphic design projects and multi-channel audio/visual art installations that have been screened at a number of festivals and galleries around the world. With his keen eye for detail, there’s nothing stopping RGW from creating some very big things. 

What was the turning point when you knew your business was successful?

When I knew we could be doing more! Recognizing that we would benefit from growing the business was really exciting, and although we’re still doing it cautiously, it still feels encouraging to know that our services have become increasingly in demand. When the vision in my head became more of a reality, then I knew I was on the right track.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned growing the business?

Trust your gut and stay true to what you believe in. There’s a reason why you saw a reason to make something better. While every day might mean something different for your initial dream, that’s just part of the process. The future is unwritten. 

What separates your business from your competitors?

We prioritize sustainability and complement how our clients service their users. Many of our contemporaries are not making sustainability a focus of their services which leaves their customers shorthanded with the products they receive.

We focus on what the clients users actually need, not necessarily what the client thinks they want. By creating experiences that are inclusive to all, we allow our clients to reach a broader audience. 

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Nothing is going to get better unless there are brave people like us that make it happen. No matter what happens, be proud that you took a risk. No risk, no reward. Even if it doesn’t work out, now you know what not to do. 

Even on the days that it feels like nothing is working out, it’s still better than working for someone else. The world needs more entrepreneurs who challenge what we accept as the norm. 

What are your future plans for the business?

Expand to a service that allows users to create sustainable landing pages by themselves. Offer a larger selection of digital services outside of websites and apps. 

Continue to change how the industry builds products and thinks about the sustainability opportunities in their businesses. This includes training, books and conference talks. 

If you had to start from scratch, where would you begin?

Feeling confident in pursuing a niche market that is close to us. We spent some time being a generic development partner but it made it difficult to be consistent in our branding and communications with clients. 

The sooner you can find your niche, the better. Again, trust your instincts and always do your best to not hurt others. You’ll never go wrong that way.

What is your favorite quote?

Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. 

The Lorax

What are your favorite books?

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