Who even are you?

This is the message I got last week about my videos and some of my content, I’ don’t think the person was being overly malicious I just think he was asking who the f*ck am I to preach to people about the techniques and experiences of business. I was a bit taken aback, to be honest, I wondered if I’d got myself a hater… I like to think I’m thick skinned after 25 years in business and also playing the guitar on stage in my spare time and played over a thousand gigs in my life, but no, I still get huge anxiety if people are negative towards what I am doing. Just the way I am I guess. I sent the guy a fairly swift response outlining what I had done over my career and why I think what I have learnt delivers value to other people, especially people wanting to start in business and don’t know how. I didn’t get a reply back.

Every day I see another self-help coach, a guru to help you solve all your problems, a marketing genius that can make you ‘6 figures’ in a week, a salesperson that can teach you how to get clients begging at your feet to sell you something. It seems to be the fashion at the minute to be an online superstar. I’ve taken a bit of time looking into the past of some people and it’s sketchy, to say the least, one marketing guru I read about hasn’t ever worked in a marketing function at any point in his career… hmmmm. So it comes as no surprise that there are people questioning people like myself. Am I qualified enough to even teach/preach/advise/consult?

I started doing my videos and public speaking, not for any gratuitous or narcissistic need of mine, but honestly out of sheer frustration that a chunk of the content I read or watched was absolute bollox. It was either misguided or missed huge chunks of logic that would have ended up steering the viewer in the wrong direction or at least lose faith in their efforts. I genuinely love teaching, I love sharing knowledge, I love seeing businesses grow and thrive. Since setting up my first company in 1999 I have worked with hundreds of other businesses helping them grow and become successful, not all of them I will admit, just the ones who follow the rules and truly believe in themselves. Most importantly, however, the ones who have a KILLER business idea.

I think business is very simple, I think marketing is very simple, I think most people make it more complicated than it needs to be and confuse people unnecessarily. I think people deserve to follow their dreams and get themselves out of the claustrophobia of a 9 to 5. I personally think I can help them, simple as that. If someone can take a few practical strategies away from my videos or my talks then I’ve done my job.

So who am I? Well like I said, I started my first company at the start of the internet boom back in 1999, it was called Motionlab. I worked for a top 10 London agency on the very first EasyJet website, the first TESCO e-commerce site, Lynx deodorant, comfort conditioner, Victoria Beckham, WD 40, Net in a Nutshell and hundreds more, I worked as Online Creative Director at Sony Music Europe working with Muse, Oasis, Travis and even Bewitched, I flew around Europe telling the regional Sony Music offices that downloading music was coming and we should do something about it… they didn’t listen. I moved to start a company called iMS, we built a million-pound business and very, very nearly got bought out by the UK’s answer to AOL, it was an incredibly stressful time and made me leave the business, sell up and move back to the North. I restarted Motionlab in 2004 after helping CSL (sofology) rebrand and get on the internet revolution. I got paid £1500 a month by CSL and I probably did 30 hours of work a week just to get the company going. After winning a few more clients I took on my first member of staff, a girl called Kirsty, soon after I took on Stuart to help build the back ends of website, Stuart is still with me today, Technical Director of the business. We were in a tiny room in the Watermark in Preston, we ‘pretended’ to potential clients that the board room and the video suite next door was part of the business to show we had scale to match our big claims. It worked… we’ve been going 15 years now and have never had an overdraft, never borrowed a penny and have a team of around 30 people, we help startups to billion dollar global companies generate leads and improve their marketing. We have grown companies from small acorns to sale, one of our proudest was Solidor, started with us as a small door company turning over a few million, to recently selling for £60m, we work with very, very ambitious companies that need to understand the digital climate and capitalise from it. We also have an interactive division which builds games for iOS and Android and has had over 9 million downloads. We have the most downloaded dart game in the world branded by the PDC (the professional darts corporation). We also have a software business that is developing some incredible marketing automation and lead generation analysis software for marketers and companies that run off needing enquiries. On top of that, I have part ownership of a t-shirt business, a printing company and I run my own public speaking and business help and advice company. I do talks for UCLAN, Lancashire Council, Vistage, business groups and schools and colleges as my role in the Lancashire Enterprise Ambassador scheme. Oh, and when I get 5 mins I like to play my guitar, play golf and play with my kids.

So… if you wanna know who I am. Then there’s your answer. Hope that’s ok.


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