Update: As of early 2015, I have now exited AvitaDigital. In its place, I have now launched my new Digital Consultancy Pole Star Digital – check out the website & please get in contact if you’re interested in how we can help grow your business online.
Much of the content of this post still rings true, and I would still encourage you to read on if you’ve found yourself here…
2013 was a very emotional, yet defining, year for me. In the early part of the year, sadly my Grandfather passed away. He was a massive inspiration for me, my confidant, my idol, and my best friend. I miss him every day…
Losing my grandfather served as a catalyst for a major life decision: me making the decision to move abroad to Copenhagen, Denmark where I am writing this from now.
I relocated to Denmark so that I could make the move from agency-side to working in-house at an exciting start up. From a professional perspective, I hoped that this experience would allow me to apply the skills that I had developed to date to make a real difference to actual business objectives, something I had always felt distant from agency-side.
Over the last two years I have invested a serious amount of time in personal development, reading books like: Start It Up (Luke Johnson), The Bootstrapper’s Bible (Seth Godin), Rework (Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson), The Lean Startup (Eric Ries), amongst many, many others… In addition to this, I dedicated a large amount of time to networking, attending conferences and blogging for a number of industry-leading sites. During this time I was inspired by the books that I read, and those people that I met. In fact, I continue to be every single day. It was an ambitious objective that I set myself, and I believe that I achieved what I set out to do. I feel that my experience working in-house, combined with my years of previous agency experience, has given me a new perspective. It has also served as an incredible learning curve, utilising the skills that I have developed until now and making a genuine application inside a business.
One thing that moving to Copenhagen has permitted me is a lot of time in solitude. Time to think. Time to take a step back and look at my life from a different perspective. During this time, one thought that I couldn’t shake was the desire to start something. I have dedicated a lot of time considering my next move and trying, sometimes a little too hard, to envisage where my career will next take me. It was through doing this that at the start of 2014 I have made the bold decision to set up my own business.
“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of a competence.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
So Why Change?
Leaving the safety net of full-time paid employment in a quest to succeed as a consultant/entrepreneur may appear a big step to take, and may be seen as risky by some. This is something I have spent a long time thinking over. However, I consider myself lucky enough to have built up a great network of fantastic and inspiring individuals, many of which serve as an inspiration for me to take this step (you know who you are). It is through spending time with these people, and seeing many of these successfully ‘making it on their own’ that has inspired me to try it myself. Whether or not I could make it as an entrepreneur and step away from the safety net of salaried work, I do not yet know. But it can’t hurt to try, right?
“If you’re in a position to pick and choose when to become an entrepreneur, consider yourself unlucky. You risk becoming one of those unfortunates who find a reason to put it off for ever.” Luke Johnson, Start It Up
Believing it is the right time is one thing, but actually taking the opportunity when it is in front of you is quite another. Many may believe that I am young, however I feel that taking this opportunity is something that is best done when I am in my twenties, with no dependents to care for. This way, I can minimise the risk should things not work out as I have planned.
“…there isn’t a shortage of ideas. There’s a shortage of execution.” – Seth Godin
It is undeniable that the requirement for digital strategy is rife across Europe, many huge companies are still struggling to adapt. Denmark is somewhere where I have personally witnessed this, and I know others are the same. There is an opportunity here. While Denmark, and Scandinavia in general, has a fantastic innovative culture with Internet start-ups seeping from its historic lands, many companies require expert digital guidance in order to help them launch, and other larger corporations are struggling to adapt to the fast-paced changes happening around them. This is where I believe the opportunity lies. I have had experience in a number of fields throughout my career to date, and will primarily be focusing on SEO. However, I believe that the demand is for expert digital consultants to work integrally with the burgeoning Scandinavian innovative culture that is producing excellent, world-beating digital companies like: Spotify, MySQL, Skype, TrustPilot, JustEat, Rovio.
These digital consultants will need to harness:
- Expert knowledge of the individual marketing disciplines (SEO, PPC, email marketing, etc)
- An deep understanding of their clients business
- And the ability to combine these disciplines, advising upon and deploying those that will achieve genuine business returns
This is where I position myself. I have observed from my peers that through grit, determination and dedication, succeeding in your own right is achievable but you must be prepared to put the blood, sweat and tears in. I am, I’ve never been so ready. If you would like to speak to me about the digital consulting services that we will be offering at AvitaDigital, then please get in touch.