7 Digital Entrepreneurs Talk Business

I love a good business-focused post, so I thought it would be nice to reach into the business minds of seven fellow digital entrepreneurs and find out about their approach to business.
Here are the interviewees:

Matthew Taylor – Owner of www.31marketing.com – a digital marketing agency.

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Rachel McCombie – Freelance Copywriter at rachelswritings.com

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Alex Moss – Online Marketer, WordPress Developer and Director at firecask.com

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Shelli Walsh – Creative Content Strategies, Owner of www.shellshockuk.com

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Steve Morgan – Freelance SEO Consultant at morganonlinemarketing.co.uk

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Tony Dimmock, Provider of Internet Marketing services at www.dimmockwebmarketing.co.uk

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Dawn Osolinski – Independent Designer at www.bakecreative.co.uk

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Q1 – Do you sell your services under a brand, or do you use your “personal brand”?


Matthew:
 I sell my services under my brand, 31 Digital Marketing. I know it is popular in the industry to see yourself as a brand, but if you’re trying to create a scalable business then you can’t really do this using your personal brand. It also makes it more difficult to “sell” your business at a later point.

Dawn: I run Bake Creative, a small design studio in Leeds. I used to work by myself as a freelancer, though as the work piled up, I needed to meet the demands and I now work with other freelance designers and developers who frequently help out on projects.

Shelli: I predominantly use the brand ShellShockUK but recently have been questioning whether to convert and use Shelli Walsh as a brand on social media so I can apply this to all the projects I work on.

Steve: A combination of the two. I’m trading as Morgan Online Marketing (MOM) but I’ve done a fair bit of networking locally over the years and so people just know me by name. Then there’s my blog – SEOno – which some people know better than MOM. Whatever the case, people know it’s just me, and so it’s all associated with my personal brand. What’s interesting though, is that various business advisors have told me that I should act as though I’m a big company (e.g. that I should say “we offer…,” not “I offer…” on the website), but I disagree with that – it feels misleading and it’s basically lying…

Tony: Some work with Dimmock Web Marketing through referrals and word of mouth, other business is picked up via my own personal social networking efforts on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Alex: Both 🙂

Rachel: It’s mainly under my personal brand really. My website is called ‘Rachel’s Writings’, but that’s not really a brand name – it’s more because nobody can spell my surname!

Q2 – Do you tend to work with locally-based clients? Have you targeted overseas clients?


Rachel: 
Virtually all my clients are locally-based, within an hour’s drive, with one exception being slightly further afield. No overseas clients as yet.

Steve: Almost all of my clients are South Wales-based, mostly in Cardiff. Other than that, I’ve had one in Portsmouth and one in Oxfordshire. I like to keep it local because I like to have regular face-to-face meetings where I can, plus I especially like the idea of helping South Wales-based businesses (i.e. helping the business community where I’m from and where I live). I’ve only had a couple of overseas enquiries, but I’ve turned them down – due to legal differences from country to country, if a non-UK client doesn’t pay you, you’re screwed (or so I hear)…

Mathew: My client list is local at the moment as there is a lot of opportunity and low competition in my area. I prefer relationships where I’m able to communicate face-to-face or go and see the client to work with them on projects. While it would be nice if that meant heading to Hawaii, it doesn’t make it terribly practical. Also, from another practical point of view, it makes everything that bit harder if you are billing in multiple currencies (prices/profit can change on currency fluctuations) and operating in multiple legal areas.

In the future I think expanding overseas makes more sense than opening another UK office, and obviously at that point, I would look to build/buy an international customer base before expanding.

Dawn: Though in recent months I’ve begun to work closely with local clients, on the whole, I work with both national and international clients. Initially I thought it would be a challenge, however with Skype and project collaboration tools it’s actually a breeze.

Tony: We’re an internet marketing company, so location is irrelevant!
We do get a number of local leads, due to our exposure on Google and social. We’ve never targeted overseas clients but have worked with a few, mostly American firms.

Shelli: I work with clients worldwide so am not location specific, which was a large part of the motivation for the way I work. I want the flexibility to be itinerant. Lately I am doing more networking in London but I would attribute that more to liking the energy that London has – I always come away enthused and inspired after visiting.

Alex: Overseas clients usually come to us via our own exposure. Some WordPress development clients come to us specifically because of my personal skills in the niche.

Q3 – What’s the typical length of a business relationship for you?


Rachel:
 I’ve only been freelance for a few months, and most of my clients have been with me since the beginning. None have left yet so can’t comment on longevity.

Matthew: As I have only had my company a few months this is a difficult one. I am yet to lose a client in my first four months, but this isn’t much of an achievement really.

Operating with local/smaller companies can be difficult as it can represent a significant investment for them and results can be achieved quickly which means the need for on-going work may disappear. However, I am aiming to build long term relationships with them and would be disappointed if i wasn’t working with the majority of my current clients in some way in 18 months time.

In my previous role I had a good retention rate, with most clients staying for years. These are the type of relationships I would like to build as you can then employ longer term tactics and relationships become more effective.

Alex: This is varied as we cover both search and development. Development can be anything from one day to 3 months dependent on spec. An average search client will be with us for 2 years.

Tony: Our approach is to work with clients until they no longer need our help, so we don’t have a set timescale in mind. I think if we did, our mind-set would come across in our communications with clients.

However, if a client requires consultancy or training only, then the relationship would obviously be shorter than a client who asks us to work with them on longer-term campaigns.

Dawn: While I love building long term relationships with clients, I’ve also worked with a huge number of short term clients. However, many of them do get back in touch after a couple of months to discuss a new project.

Steve: As long as is necessary, whether that’s decided by me or the client. I ask clients to sign up for a minimum of 3 months, but after that, they’re free to stop the work at any time. A lot of them realise that SEO is on-going and shouldn’t be stopped (or you risk your rankings slipping over time), so they’re in it for the long haul, with a view to reducing the workload amount to a ‘maintenance’ plan later on.

Shelli: I work on an ongoing basis with clients, sometimes projects are a one-off but mostly I build relationships with them. I am in a position where I am now reducing the number of clients I work for and being much more selective about who I want to work with – having fewer clients of a higher quality.

Q4 – What size projects are you taking on, compared to previous roles (in house/agency, freelance)? 


Rachel:
 Definitely much smaller projects now that I’m freelance than I had when I worked in an agency. However, I’ve had a couple of big website rewrite projects, and a steady stream of regular work.

Matthew: I am taking on smaller projects at the moment, probably the bottom end or just below where my previous agency would work. I came out of a very top-end agency with a great client list and big budgets, so it would be difficult to replicate straight away.

I am still trying to establish my own agency, so I don’t have the track record or resources to target the same size projects and it would be hard to get my foot in the door to even pitch.

Having said that, I enjoy smaller projects and clients. You can be a lot more hands-on, things get done quicker and clients are a lot more open to trying new things. It would be good to have a couple of massive clients, but I would never not want to work on smaller projects.

Steve: The projects I’m taking on are reminiscent of my first agency role, where I mostly worked with small businesses. My second agency role saw me working with big national or global businesses, of which I’m not doing any work for at the mo (although I’m in talks with one)…

Tony: Projects can be big or small, short or long term. It really depends on the client and their goals, objectives, level of understanding and budgetary criteria.

I’ve always been the MD of Dimmock Web Marketing as I formed the company, so unable to compare to a previous life.

Alex: We take on varied projects. Sometimes we compliment a larger in-house team with content or consultancy, but others require a lot more work where development is involved.
Search budgets – we usually start from £1,500pcm unless there’s a reason that ROI can be achieved with a lower budget.

Dawn: When I started freelancing I wasn’t taking on a whole lot of work because I was also working full-time. I’m now working on a large number of projects, due to recommendations and marketing my services.

Q5 – Be realistic – who or what is your ideal client?


Tony:
 Great question!

  1. They have serious desire to grow their business and improve their profit – you’d be surprised how many times we find potential clients who just wants “more traffic” or “better rankings” without consideration for how it will affect their business;
  2. They already know that the internet can help them build their brand or exposure online – how is where we help;
  3. They’re willing to listen to (and follow) advice – without this key element, migraines ensue;
  4. They have a viable business in the 1st place – it’s not our job run their business for them. It is our goal to help them succeed using online marketing.

Alex: I have 2 things I always wish for in a client – punctuality with communication (and payment) and being religious to the development spec agreed.

Shelli: My ideal client is prepared to let me have autonomy over a project without the need for changing things for change sake and a client who has a realistic budget. I am also now thinking much more about how the brands I work with resonate with me, so ideally it would be a tech brand. My favourites are currently MailChimp (fantastic branding) and Buffer.

Steve: A big music company! I’m in talks with one at the moment, someone who I’ve considered a dream client for years (and even considered working for in-house at one time). I even own and use their products, so it’d be ideal. Fingers-crossed!

Rachel: An ideal client would be in the travel sector (I have lots of experience in this sector and love writing about it), and would give me a steady stream of regular work, mainly blog posts and webpage copy. They would give me pretty much free rein over what I write about and would trust me to deliver the work without micromanaging me. And they would pay promptly 😉

Matthew: I have just been looking at this myself, as it happens.
I have spent a lot of time working with SaaS tech providers and so have a great list of contacts and know my way around the industry, so this is my ideal client at the moment as I am more than confident that I can deliver.

Also, I really like the industry, especially the smaller providers of more niche products, and they tend to have great internal resources and they are always open to new ideas. It can be really exciting to collaborate with newer companies.

Having said that, I have worked in so many industries that I will just as happily work with anyone.

Q6 – Digital marketing changes quickly – how long do you expect to be doing the current work you do?


Matthew:
I expect to be running the company I own for as long as I work, but I think what I offer and how will invariably change over time. I think the technical on-site part of SEO will always be around, as will PPC, but I think some of the other areas will disappear.

I personally don’t see a long term future for most of the link building that is being done at the moment, but I can see it being replaced with other content channels and social. I think there is a lot of scope for businesses on YouTube, for example. If you look at some of the massive lifestyle or makeup YouTube channels and how fashion and makeup brands are making use of sponsorship, I think there is similar scope for other sectors.

I also think SEO and PPC will become more integrated into traditional marketing and potentially PR. I would expect my company to develop in a similar way.

Steve: For as long as I continue to enjoy it. SEO sometimes does my head in and there have been a couple of times over the years where I’ve considered a career change, but for the time being, I’m happy as I am.

Rachel: Indefinitely – I think there will always be a need for copywriters. Not many people can write well, and it’s not something that can be automated, but businesses will always need writing of one kind or another.

Shelli: I constantly evolve the proposition i offer to stay in business. This year, ShellShock Ltd has been incorporated for 11 years. I achieved this by watching trends and acting.

Tony: We haven’t changed the way we work since we started in 2009, as we’ve always focused on helping clients building their brand and gain leads or sales.

Thankfully, we’re not a consultancy that chases search engine tails or has to re-do everything every time a new algo hits. This is one of our key selling points when speaking with potential clients – the work we do stays done and we build layer upon layer of digital marketing building blocks on top.

Alex: 2-5 years.

Q7 – If you could have one technical skill given to you instantly with no cost, what would it be?


Rachel:
 I would love to be able to do web design, but I just don’t have the right kind of brain for it! It would be quite a nice skill to sit alongside copywriting because then I could design the website and write the copy straight into it.

Matthew: Web development. 100%. I studied web design as it was more interesting to me at the time, but sites have become a lot more technical and so I couldn’t really build the stuff that I want to anymore.

I think web development allows you to create some truly great content, for example, this page from the NY Times. I think the report would not have been as interesting, laid out in a different way.

I also think that the way sites and technology is developing, there are some really exciting times ahead if you have the skills. It would be either that or programming. I have so many ideas for tools to build, but no skill to do it, sadly.

Tony: To have stronger technical skills in website development. Not technical SEO skills as I’m fine with those, but a 10x better understanding of coding and programming knowledge.

Alex: I’d love to know as much about Magento as I do about WordPress.

Shelli: To be able to code like I had been hacking since I was a kid and to touch type (I’m so frustrated with not being able to keep up with my thoughts).

Steve: The ability to fully understand .htaccess files, haha!

Q8 – If you could have one business skill given to you instantly, what would it be?


Matthew:
This would definitely be sales. I have a background in it but I was terrible at it! More precisely though, lead generation. If you put me in a room and with someone who is interested, I think I will close a really high percentage, but getting to that point is the bane of my life.

Rachel: To be better at the sales side of things. I’m fortunate to have lots of business from word of mouth, but if things got quiet for some reason in the future, then I would find going out and selling myself quite daunting. That said, I am confident in the high quality of the service I’m offering.

Steve: The ability to close sales without feeling like a stalker (with the amount you have to chase some prospects sometimes).

Shelli: Being better at maths so I can figure out profit calculations and other figures in my head. Also being able to read balance sheets and company reports for investing purposes.

Alex: Ability to delegate better. Although I’m a Director, I still do get involved in trench work. Although I do enjoy this, I know it’s not always the best use of my time.

Tony: To be much better at planning longer-term. This Christmas just gone, I spent almost a week developing a business plan for 2014 – maybe with more acumen, it would have taken me less time – who knows?!

Q9 – Is the barrier to entry too low for an individual to offer his services as a digital marketer?


Matthew:
Definitely. I worked in an agency environment for almost 4 years with some really great digital marketers and did a year of web design prior to that before I thought I was capable of starting my own company. But if I had wanted to, I could probably have put a website up 4 years ago and learnt at the expense of my clients.

I won’t complain about the low barrier to entry as I have benefited from it myself, but at the same time it has led to a lot of the bad reputation digital marketing has. Realistically though, there is little that can be done to change it, as anyone with a laptop and a vague understanding can offer it.

Dawn: It could be argued that there is way too much competition out there, but in all honesty, if you get out there and tell people what you know and how you work, it’s not such a tough world after all. It’s not an easy ride, there is a huge amount of “leg work” involved, but if you’re passionate about the industry, it will be worth the effort.

Steve: Yes and no. While anyone can say that they offer those types of services, I think business owners are getting savvier about digital and realise if they’re talking to someone who’s inexperienced or someone who’s able to do the job properly. I don’t mind competitors who are inexperienced but eager to learn (we all have to start somewhere) – it’s the ones that are basically con artists that infuriate me…

Alex: I’d have said no before the Google algo updates in the past couple of years. Now, it’s harder for low budget clients to gain a return. This doesn’t make it impossible for success, it just makes it much harder.

Shelli: I think the great thing about the internet is that it has levelled the field and given everyone an entry point if they want to take it. There are always ways to make money – you just have to find the right audience and have the right proposition.

Tony: No, not at all. BUT… they need to know what they’re doing and have a good understanding of the pitfalls, trials and tribulations business face, at the very least.

They also must be willing to learn, work themselves hard and take constructive criticism on the chin and leave their ego outside – can’t stress this enough!

Lastly, they need to choose a niche area and own it – not be everything to everyone. This way, early success will help build their confidence.

Q10 – Is outsourcing a requirement for producing work on time and ensuring you can deliver results?


Matthew:
I am a big fan of outsourcing, but it has to be done right. I am a firm believer that you should do the stuff you are expert in and hire experts to do the rest.

If you imagine most agencies will produce content for use in lots of different sectors, there is no way that you could have in-house experts to produce it all. And that is just looking at content.

I think part of running a digital marketing campaign is being able to identify and manage the correct team. I think outsourcing has negative associations, but this is mainly because it is done badly. When it is done well, it can create great results. The key is finding experts, not finding the cheapest possible way of outsourcing.

It isn’t the only way to get results, but it is the best way to ensure great results.

Steve: It’s not a requirement, but it certainly helps if you lack the skills in a particular area. For example, for me personally, the only thing I outsource is copywriting, and I make that clear to clients. However it’d be a little dodgy if I claimed to do everything myself but outsourced it all instead (which some companies do)…

Dawn: If you can’t commit to the timeframe and you’re content with a freelancer’s quality of work and level of commitment, then outsourcing projects shouldn’t be a problem. Obviously, it’s down to personal preference on their location, rates and how you collaborate on the project.

Shelli: I do outsource some aspects of my work and am now looking at building a team of a few more key people. I have just found a good coder, which took a long time. Finding people with a high enough level of skill and the right aptitude is a challenge. I have very high standards!

Alex: Depends on the requirement but we’re usually able to handle all work in-house

Rachel: Not for me – I have never outsourced and probably never would, because I would never be able to find anyone who would do the work to the standard I want. I know (from having hired freelancers when I was in an agency) that I would spend so much time rewriting their work that I might as well have just written it myself in the first place!

Tony: No, better time management is! Besides, outsourcing can become a real time stealer if you’re spending too much time checking someone else’s work. Low-cost outsourcing can cause real quality issues if not checked and monitored frequently.

Q11 – What’s the best paid tool you use for your work as a marketer? Why?


Steve:
 This is a toughie, but it has to be Moz. IMO there are better backlink analysis tools (i.e. Majestic SEO and ahrefs perform better than OSE) but it’s handy for the Keyword Difficulty Tool and Followerwonk, to name just a few of their tools that I use regularly. However I want to give a shout-out to Screaming Frog, which has also been very handy on a number of occasions.

Tony: There’s a few: Moz, SEMRush, Screaming Frog, MajesticSEO and more. Although ultimately, the brain is the most powerful tool we have and I’ve seen too many SEO’s automate so much that they don’t need to use theirs! Unfortunately, common sense isn’t very common!

Dawn: Oh definitely Photoshop and Illustrator. Sure, there are alternatives but honestly, I would not work with anything else. I use Adobe Creative Cloud, which is pretty much Adobe on Pay as You Go. Because of this it made upgrading to Adobe CC a breeze without having to pay over the odds for new software.

Shelli: Offline, I would say illustrator for design work and Excel for being efficient and organised.
Online, Hootsuite and Buffer which enable me to curate content on social media channels.

Alex: My best tool isn’t paid for. In fact, the free tools I use are better than the paid ones.
Free tools I use: Trello, Google Docs, Trello, Toggl, Trello. Did I mention Trello?
Also social networking. Sounds odd to some people but we have won clients from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Rachel: I don’t use any paid tools. As a copywriter I don’t really need to – all I need is an email account and Google Docs.

Q12 – What’s the best paid tool you use for business admin? Why?


Matthew:
I use Sage One Extra for my accounts. It is a great piece of SaaS software and has some really useful dashboards to help me keep on top of my finances.

Alex: CurdBee (soon to be called Hivage) is great for accounting. We pay for premium options although it can be used for free with basic options.

Dawn: PipelineCRM – I’ve tried and tested nearly all the major CRMs but as I’m pretty much a design snob, I wasn’t thrilled with the UI on the others. Besides looking great, Pipeline works like a charm too. I store clients and leads, as well as files, quotes and emails.

Tony: The best tools I use for admin are free: Excel, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Email, Word, Power Point and other free tools.

Steve: I don’t really use any. The one that springs to mind is Google Apps For Business, simply because I wanted to use Gmail with my business email. It’s dirt cheap, too (only £2.75 per month).

Rachel: Again, I don’t use any paid tools. Unless you count an accountant.

Shelli: Excel is such an amazing tool and custom spreadsheets are unbeatable. My accountant builds a lot of amazing sheets for me and he uses Quick Books for the accounts. I have trialled project management tools like Basecamp and if I was a bigger agency I am sure it would be essential, but personally I cant beat a piece of paper and pencil for to do lists. I also like white boards and sticking things on the wall and I also use Evernote for keeping notes on the go.

Q13 – What happened on your worst or best day so far?


Alex:
Best day: professionally – winning a large client within a few days without any sales process. It’s great to know someone chooses you on top of other agencies due to the merits of your existing work. Personally for the team – the Christmas do 🙂

Worst day: Launching and then the server going down.

Steve: Worst day: Going into a client meeting with a smile in my face, expecting them to congratulate me on a job well done with their AdWords restructure, to find them telling me off because they didn’t brief me properly (and/or I didn’t ask the right questions) because it missed out a crucial area that they told me was low priority and therefore I was going to add in later.

Best day: Bumping into a developer I used to work with (who I look up to and deem to be one of the best in Wales) and hearing him tell me that he thought I was the best SEO he’d worked with, and that he’d refer work to me. I wrote about it here. He’s since referred three prospects my way, one of which became a client for some small one-off work.

Tony: Best day: received a number of emails on the same day from clients delighted with our work and to let us know how much their business has increased due to leads and sales from their website 🙂

Worst day: the days where we’ve agreed to part ways with clients (through one reason or another). When I look back at all the work we’ve done for someone, it can be very frustrating.

I had a client years ago who at the time was providing most of my business. They closed the magazines they were working on and my income stream was switched off overnight. Devastated. I never rely on one source or source of income – always spread the load.

Shelli: Worst day: I was very tired and shouldn’t have been working and managed to delete an entire client website. I sat there trying to calculate how long it would take to rebuild whilst nearly throwing up. Fortunately I retrieved a server back-up but it was the most stressful hour of my life.

Best day: landing a client I really wanted and at the time, personally, my confidence was feeling low so it was such a boost. They had contacted a wide database of suppliers to pitch and they told me afterwards that my proposal stood out from over 50 others right from the start with my professionalism and passion. That was a good feeling.

Rachel: Hard to say, as I don’t really have any best or worst days, as such. Highlights would be things like clients being really happy with what I’ve written for them, and commissioning me to write for them on a regular basis. Worse days are when clients email me wanting me to make teeny tiny changes that it would have been quicker for them to edit themselves (e.g. insert a comma on the fourth line of the seventh paragraph, after X…), or that make the copy I wrote worse.

Q14 – Working with clients can sometimes feel like you’re working for them. How do you keep yourself aware that yours is not “a job”, but a business?


Dawn:
 I find that it’s pretty easy to separate the job from the business, because I always work from my own office on creative projects and meet with clients when it comes to briefs, consultation and reviews. I also make sure that work is booked in and the client is aware of this, so not only do I keep myself aware that I’m running a business, but the client knows this too.

Matthew: I look at the bills I get from my accountants and solicitors, that brings the business part of it back into focus!!

I think the key for me is that I work with a lot of different clients and so I tend not to spend too much time in a block in one go. It is sometimes hard to have the discipline to stick to hours/tasks without going over, especially if you have something great to work on, but I definitely think having awareness of the financial reality helps.

I wouldn’t say slipping into “job” mode is always bad – it can often signal you have a great relationship with your client and you’re enjoying what you do.

Shelli: Spread the load – never become dependent on one big client. So if they walk or you walk it doesn’t take you down. My work is so much more than a ‘job’ anyway, so I never see it that way – it’s a passion and a vocation.

Alex: I remind myself that I can say “no”.

Tony: My mortgage payments and the fact that when I turn to my director to ask for help or advice, the face staring back at me is myself 😉

Steve: This has been tricky for me personally, as I’ve sorted of pitched myself to clients saying that they should treat me as an in-house employee who mostly works remotely, rather than an outsider to the business, as I thought that it would be better for client-supplier relationships. In some cases though, I just get treated like an employee, and enjoy one client who basically just scolds me all the time (I haven’t asked him yet but I’m betting money that he used to be a schoolteacher).

Q15 – Say you’re coming to a lull part of the way through a day – what do you do to quickly motivate yourself?


Matthew:
I think being your own boss, the lulls are few and far between, but i definitely like having the freedom to go and hang out with friends for a couple of hours and then get back to it later. I tend to work long hours anyway, so a couple of hours won’t hurt.

I think it is something agencies should allow their staff to do as well. As long as the work is done on time, then does it matter if it strictly between 9-5? I think you’d have a lot more motivated and productive staff. I say this now, it may be different when I have staff.

Rachel: For a start, I don’t stick to regular working hours. A lot of the advice says that you should work 9-5 as a freelancer, but I don’t agree with this at all; I left full-time employment partly to escape that. So if I come to a lull, I just stop working and go and do something else for a bit. Whether that’s hoovering the house or doing another hour of flying towards my pilot’s licence, I usually come back refreshed and ready to work some more.

Shelli: I go for a walk along the river. My office is on the edge of the city centre next to the river and I can be in the centre in 5 minutes or along the river which feels like being in the countryside in 5 minutes – it’s perfect. I rarely struggle from lack of motivation though – if I do then I take time out and go to the gym or go and read.

Alex: Work on my other project, Peadig. Although still coding, I consider it therapeutic.

Dawn: I’ve got a few methods. First is to swap projects, if the timeframe allows for it, of course. The second is to stick on some music, go for a wander or make a brew. If I feel inundated, I go back to basics, get my pen and notepad out and jot down some creative ideas, sketches or jot down project milestones.

Steve: As long as there’s no urgent, deadline-dependent work, I’ll usually switch clients at that point and do some other work. For example, if I’ve done a lot of citation checking/building for one client, I might switch to someone else where I’m managing guest blogging opportunities for them, or another where I’m looking for niche directory opportunities. And if that fails: coffee.

Tony: Listen to music, drink coffee or stub my toe – all work!

Q16 – How do you stay creative as a digital marketer?


Tony:
 This is the toughest challenge for directors or business owners, as part of my day is business building, part is running the company and part is working on projects – so I stay motivated by trying to allocate time for all three

Rachel: By enjoying life, going out and doing things, not working too much and not getting stuck in a routine.

Dawn: Honestly, what works for me is to take a break. I am at my worst when I’m tired or overworked, so I’ll call it a night or do something different, like catch up on recent blog posts and tweets.

Alex: Read blog posts by other peers and attend conferences.

Shelli: Stay curious and constantly be learning.

Steve: I like to read a lot of blogs/articles, some of which occasionally spark an idea or two. And if I spot a particular idea/opportunity for one client, I try to think if it’ll apply to others, too.

Q17 – Are you running or looking at running any exciting side projects?


Steve:
 Apart from helping out with @cdfblogs and @CardiffDigital then no, I’m afraid not. I’m pretty boring on the side-project front! I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open for opportunities though. I’d rather be patient and wait for the right one to appear rather than juggle too much and take on stuff for the sake of taking on stuff.

Matthew: At the moment no, but I am looking to start another couple of businesses once this one is up and running. I have a great idea for a consulting business which I don’t think is currently available and I have always fancied running an ecommerce site (they have always fascinated me). I am also looking to diversify into other business areas if the right thing comes along. I don’t really want to have all my eggs in one basket!

Rachel: Yes, I’m running another business, an aviation gift voucher company called Air Experiences, with my boyfriend. We are both pilots and when I went freelance we wanted another income stream in case my freelancing didn’t work out. So we founded Air Experiences and I also spend time working on that in addition to my copywriting work. I mainly take care of blogging, PR and social media, while he deals with suppliers and customer service.

Alex: As above, I am the Co-Founder of Peadig, a WordPress framework fully integrating Bootstrap 3. Not only is it mobile-first, but it has loads of customisation and extension possibilities, as well as having great onsite SEO architecture in mind.

Shelli: Yes! one is about to launch very soon but I cant mention any of them just yet.

Tony: Yes – but my lips are sealed! It’s the entrepreneur in me 🙂

3 thoughts on “7 Digital Entrepreneurs Talk Business

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