Our Soloist Spotlights showcase the services our amazing Flying Solo Business Class members offer to customers in Australia, and take a peek behind the curtain of their day-to-day lives. This week, meet Steven John Irwin, founder of Manage WP Australia.
You’ve got a free half hour during your workday. What do you do?
Wow! A difficult question. As a soloist I tend to spend any quiet time tweaking websites and looking for inspiration. I operate several very different businesses, so always lots to do. Putting on my dreaming hat, I would say I would use the time to do some exercise. A quick workout with weights raises energy levels and makes me feel good. If it is too hot outside I would read instead.
Who, or what, is your biggest inspiration?
Right now it is Elon Musk and Tesla. He is an absolute inspiration because:
- He is a tech guru
- He is in the space industry
- He is not afraid to dream big
The battery in South Australia was pure genius (or obvious and practical?!?). He inspires through the audacious, disruptive plans he has and the self-belief to follow them through.
When did you know you wanted to start your own business?
After 25 years in the workplace, from the RAAF to broadcast television and telecommunications, I knew that I wanted to be on my own (I can hear the hallelujahs!). Five years prior to that, I was operating a side hustle which became Manage WP. ManageWP is probably only a third of what I do but it is the most enjoyable, as I work with great customers solving their problems and ensuring they can do what they do best.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned this year?
Don’t worry about the future as it always seems to work out! I have a son with anxiety and he has been inspirational in helping me to see things through different eyes.
What’s the best bit of feedback you’ve ever had?
One of my customers who found me through Flying Solo. The company is NP Fulfilment and I look after four of their websites for them. This is the reference Rodney gave me:
ManageWP have been truly an awesome company to work with. I have been with them for almost a year and they currently manage three of our websites.
Steve Irwin, my main contact, is not just a master with WordPress, he has an amazing knowledge of the industry. He works closely with our SEO team, our data centre and our web developers ensuring that our websites perform at their best. Nothing is too hard and task requests are completed within the promised time.
I highly recommend ManageWP as provider of best practice WordPress solutions.
What’s your proudest moment?
My kids never fail to make me proud. Sorry for the cliché but it’s what drives me.
What’s your number one way to wind down?
Reading to my seven-year-old daughter. She is into Harry Potter at the moment and I think I love it more! I also like to watch kids movies (with the kids) as it gives me an excuse to be a kid at heart.
What’s your favourite film and album?
I really liked Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey – if the bookcase doesn’t spin you out nothing will. At the moment I like Diamonds by Elton John because every song was a hit.
What’s the one resource you’d never be without?
It is really basic but I must have a PC and internet. Not a smartphone or tablet – I need a PC for the processing power. When I work out how to connect the internet to my brain directly, I might drop the PC.
What or who has the most grounding influence on you?
My family (including the cat). I work from home so I can see my son and daughter before and after school. It is all about them and all my decisions include the question: “How will this affect the family?”
What’s the biggest challenge you face at work?
Balancing the many hats on my head. This is also the best part of my work, as when I am sick of one thing there is something new and interesting to do that is completely different. For example, I run Manage WP, I am also a telecommunications consultant and I sell intercoms, security, and IT equipment from one of my other businesses. Many hats!
What’s the best thing about being a soloist? And the worst thing?
Best: Being home for my family.
Worst: End of month, especially December and January …
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
As a soloist I am selling myself, so always provide the best service, especially to those that seem to be determined not to be happy. Word of mouth and reviews are forever, so make sure that there are only good ones.
Where and when do you have your best ideas?
As I am winding down before sleep at 12:30am.
What would be your advice to aspiring soloists?
Find the joy in what you do. If you don’t love it, you will probably struggle. When you deliver your service or product with passion, the customer feels it and good things happen. As a start, always answer the phone and emails with a smile.
What websites do you visit every day?
Brisbane Times and The Guardian. I like to know what is happening outside my safe office walls.
What talent do you most wish you possessed?
I am your typical left-brain logical thinker, so I wish I could be more artistic.
What would your mum say is your greatest strength? And weakness?
She would say my greatest strength is the engagement with my family, and my weakness is that I no longer do what I am told.
What’s one thing about you that few people know?
I am a seeker of knowledge about spirituality and life. What makes us happy and how do we attract more of it? Where does anxiety and depression come from and what can we do to help overcome these? I don’t have the answers for everyone, although I believe we can develop habits that will bring more happiness and inspiration into our lives, which helps with dark times.
What is the one regret you do not want to have in this lifetime?
I don’t want to look back and see that I wasted time with worry. Worry is foreseeing a future that mostly never comes, so it is just wasting time. Time is what we have, so I don’t want to regret wasting it.
What inspires you most about your work?
Assisting others to reach their goals. So many people operate businesses and try to be all things within that business. The smart operators leverage the skills of others and set themselves free to do what they do best. Watching customers set themselves free by handing over the technical stuff to me, and then seeing them soar, inspires me.
What do you wear to work?
Most of the time it is very casual as I don’t often meet with customers. If consulting, it will be business attire but mostly, it is shorts, t-shirt and reading glasses.
What do you love most about running your own business?
No commute! Being home for my family.
And now comes the plug for Manage WP Australia!
What do you do? Who for? And how does it benefit them?
At Manage WP, we apply an IT eye to WordPress management and other WordPress technical issues. We provide these services to busy businesses, web designers and site admins.
They benefit by having a secure, up to date site, with offsite backups, regular malware scans, uptime monitoring, professional firewall, and on-tap assistance.
Where can we find out more about Manage WP Australia?
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