We ask the tough questions
You’ve got a free half hour during your work day. What do you do?
If I have spare time (which usually just means I'm not sure where to focus my attention) I brainstorm new blog post ideas. I do a lot of blogging to teach businesses how to get a good deal on web design and how to market their website online. Most of my posts are on our Business Blog. One example is the Web Design Buyer's Guide, which is a six-part guide to successfully outsourcing a web design project.
Would you describe yourself as a technophobe or technophile?
Absolute technophile. My mum bought me a computer when I was eight and I've been obsessed ever since. I'm the sort of person who signs up to new web apps just to see how they work and what they are doing. While it's a huge time waster, it does mean that when someone asks, "How can I achieve X?" I can pretty much always suggest an online web app that will help then. The latest ones I'm obsessed with are Podio (an excellent all-in-one project management app) and Infusionsoft (a really well thought out all-in-one marketing automation software for small businesses).
Who, or what, is your biggest inspiration?
I would have to say Tim Ferris. I've read The 4-hour Work Week and The 4-hour Body. I really like his concept of the minimum effective dose. It's really helped me create a healthy work/life balance.
What's the biggest thing you've learnt this year?
While 2013 is still young, what I've learnt recently is that a successful business requires real relationships. Early in our business design we focused a lot on automation which meant we weren't building a good relationship with our members or clients. Plus, feedback is much harder to get when you're not right there speaking with the people who use your software and services.
What's the best bit of feedback you've ever had?
Since talking to our members a lot more we get way more feedback than we used to. I actually created a private Facebook group to help manage this process. One aspect of our business is being a lead broker. Our members were telling us that the revenue model was broken and unfair, so we reinvented it.
What’s your number one stress relief tactic (keep it clean!)?
I practise something called mindfulness. Originally it's an ancient Buddhist philosophy. It's been adapted by modern psychology to treat stress, anxiety and depression. The reason I like it is that it's evidence based. I highly recommend Russ Harris' The Happiness Trap. I really think a lot of the business community could benefit from mindfulness given how stressful running a business can be.
What’s the smartest bit of marketing you’ve ever done?
I would have to say content marketing. Content marketing is long term, builds trust and keeps providing rewards that I never anticipated.
What’s the one resource you’d never be without?
SEOmoz for keeping up to date with the latest in SEO and content marketing.
What’s the most enjoyable element of your work? And the least enjoyable?
The most enjoyable is creating a successful piece of content. A blog post, ebook etc. When these work well, they get lots of social shares, downloads and comments and ultimately generate lots of leads. The least enjoyable part of my work is dealing with technical faults with our software. Our quote comparison platform was built from the ground up so there is a never ending list of improvements to make.
What’s the cheapest, most effective bit of marketing you’ve ever done?
Again, content marketing. A great piece of content establishes trust and helps me build a list of email subscribers who are interested in the services we provide quote comparisons for. An example is the Web Design Buyer's Guide I referred to earlier. It's very in-depth and has downloadable components that require an email opt-in. When someone opts in we have an email marketing campaign which educates them, provides them with additional value (including more guides) and eventually prompts them to compare quotes.
What would be your advice to aspiring soloists?
Start early, iterate often and get feedback from as many people as possible, as often as possible.
Can you stop at just one chocolate biscuit/savoury snack?
Nope. I typically eat a whole family block of chocolate while watching a movie. But then I ride my bike every day so it pretty much evens out.
And now comes the plug!
What do you do? Who for? And how does it benefit them?
We connect businesses with local Web Designers, Graphic Designers and Online Marketers. Our website provide a quote comparison service to make it easier to find the best local designer at the best price.
And where can we find out more?
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