When did you know you wanted to start your own company?
Pretty much always. I studied audio engineering and gained a degree, however, I think I always knew that I didn’t want to take a role in some huge company in this capacity. I was always fascinated by SEO and marketing and I was very keen to explore this on my own terms rather than within the constrictions of another company’s guidelines. But really what makes me excited is when a client appreciates the value that is being delivered. Nothing else in the business can be so rewarding as when both parties grow their businesses. Right?
What was your original idea for this company, and are you still doing that (or did you pivot, if so, what is the new focus & why)?
The idea was to not just provide SEO and marketing but to demonstrate quantifiable results. This was important as many brands are reluctant to invest in SEO as they see it as a little ‘pie in the sky’ – my method was – and is – extremely effective in gaining new customers. As my brand has evolved, I’ve moved to focusing on high custom outreach and Digital PR projects but along with a heavy technical SEO niche as I find that, this way, I gain high value customers and consistently produce outstanding results which, in turn, attracts more customers.
How long did it take you to finally take the leap, and what was it that pushed you over the fence?
I would say that it was more of a hop than a leap as starting my business was always the goal. The main push was the fact that I spent quite some time examining the market and realised that nobody was offering the kind of service – and the kind of results – that I felt that I could achieve for clients.
Who inspired you to pursue your dream, and why do you think they believed in you?
Nathaniel Smithies, who was the Founder & CEO of PlusGuidance. Plus Guidance was the UK’s first online therapy platform which was acquired after the company grew with increasing rounds of investment over four years. The Semrush team, both “Head level” Fernando Angulo and Anton Shulke have helped me tremendously. Craig Campell and his tough killer alike feedbacks. Why did they believe in me? I assume that they believed that I would up my game at one point – they will be seeing me in some glamorous interviews 🙂 ha!
Who is your favorite mentor and why?
All of the above!
What was the hardest thing about starting your company, and what did you do to make it through the first stage?
The most difficult thing, I think for any new company, is the sense of uncertainty. Like most, my biggest initial challenge was in finding clients and convincing them to get onboard. At the beginning, there’s always the worry about paying the rent and you do, of course, make mistakes.
What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
For me, the biggest lesson was to walk before you can run. My business started to grow pretty quickly and I began to leap ahead with scaling the brand. As a result, I was offering a whole load of services and, as a result, spreading myself way too thin. Once I scaled this back and moved the focus to what I do best, I gained better results and, therefore, attracted more clients.
What has been the most amazing thing you have experience while running this company?
Realising that my name – and the name of my brand – were becoming well known in the industry. Becoming known for being great at the thing that I love doing is, I think, the ultimate rush for any entrepreneur.
What is the weirdest thing you have experienced while running this company, and how did you react to it?
Ha ha, so many. I think the strangest thing was a potential client getting in touch and telling me that he wanted to rank number one on Google for ‘biscuit news’ but didn’t want the word ‘biscuit’ mentioned anywhere in the content. Clients often have odd ideas about SEO. In this instance, I demonstrated to the client the ways in which I could incorporate the word ‘biscuit’ into the content in a natural and organic way and, that it was pretty much impossible to rank number one without a single mention.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made while running this company?
I think most of my best decisions have been in my recruitment of fantastic, forward thinking employees.
What is the biggest mistake you made while running this company, and why do you think it happened?
As well as trying to scale too fast in the initial stages, my main mistake was probably advertising on social media without fully getting to grips with the ins and the outs of this. As a result, I feel that I wasted a lot of time and money on this. Since that time, I have made a point of learning all there is to know about social media advertising and, I now use this to great effect for myself and my clients.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your company?
To be honest, I’ve been lucky as the impact has been negligible. Thankfully, most of my team was already working remotely so that wasn’t an issue. Additionally, as the entire world moved online, lots of companies were looking for effective digital marketing and SEO and, so, I’ve even managed to pick up some great new clients during this time.
What keeps you passionate about your company?
This industry never stops changing and evolving and there’s always something new to learn – or to invent. The thing that makes me so passionate about this is the fact that the opportunities are, quite literally, limitless and, I love coming up with new and innovative ways of growing my clients’ businesses.
What daily routine have you developed to help you take care of your mind, body, and soul?
I’m not a big believer in routine as such – the reason I wanted to create my own brand was to get away from the idea of a 9 to 5 job which is the ultimate routine. Having said that, I like to be up at the crack of dawn most days in order to get a jump on the day. I also take regular breaks and, during the day, talk to a diverse range of people in order to constantly gain a fresh perspective on things.
What one thing would you like people to take away from this interview?
Quite simply, aim to make a living from doing what you love. We spend a hell of a lot of time working so, rather than looking for the thing that will make you loads of money, find the thing that will have you bouncing out of bed in the morning.