9.30pm, Boston, USA (In Boston for a client project!)
I thought it was long overdue to write an update on my blog. I’ve actually been writing a fair bit on digital marketing and analytics, over at the Walter Analytics blog Walter Insights if you’re interested in those topics! I’ve also been writing a lot of more “personal reflection” notes in Evernote, which I might release one day, or turn into a book in five years? Who knows! =D
It’s now 2016 and while I haven’t been writing much here, things have really been moving along. It’s the 5th year of running Walter Analytics and it has been growing across most important metrics including clients, revenue, content and overall reach from our articles and the impact of our work on our clients. Since early in 2015, I have taken steps to move the company to become more focused on a core consulting team, and a range of talented contractors/other experts have joined the network. Two of our former full-time Melbourne staff have moved on to start two separate growing businesses (shoutout to Email Experts and Banting Food!), and we’ve grown our team by further contractors, adding new members from Europe and Asia this year.
We’re in the process of growing the business through a number of channels:
- Thought Leadership and content – this is initially articles, email marketing and webinars, and will morph into online courses and video content. Most of this you can find linked from the Walter Analytics Connect Page
- Online training around AdWords and Analytics through platforms such as Udemy and hosted custom learning management system platforms
- Bespoke client work in Australia and overseas focusing on the digital side of international brand expansions and other “difficult but fun to solve problems”
- AdWords management and performance based customer acquisition
- Informational marketing reports examining a businesses digital marketing performance, or providing critical insight into the competitive digital landscape
- On demand digital marketing coaching program for small and medium business owners and marketing agencies
My current personal challenge is juggling the increasing client work while providing valuable guidance for internal projects and strategy. It’s been a deliberate 12 months as one of our business coaches would say of “eating our own dog food”, and experiencing some of the pain which comes with changing the status quo and forcing difficult change. While I’ve read countless books, blog articles, daily emails subscriptions, and have a long to do list of improvements to make with the business, these changes must not interfere with sustainable growth, and I often need to remind myself to re-align my focuses and not get distracted!
Where is this all going?
In the medium to long term, my interest is in doing short 1-3 month Bespoke consulting engagements in Australia and overseas but only doing 2-3 of them per year.
Supported by passive revenue from other functions of the business, I believe this can become a “lifestyle” business and give me some freedom in where I work and live. This will free up time for further activities that don’t have to be revenue generating, such as writing, mentorship and pro bono training.
I’ve written a bit about entrepreneurship on this blog, but mostly spoken about it with various friends and other entrepreneurs over the years.
I think what I enjoy most about entrepreneurship is creation, and the concept of a “blank canvas” and being able to paint it the way you want to. I’ve repainted the canvas many times over the past 5 years, and learnt/realised things which would of been very handy to take into account several years ago but just not possible to realise at the time!
Sometimes I talk to friends about their 9-5 job, and how they’d love to start a business or earn some extra income on the side. I don’t think one path is particularly better than the other, and being an entrepreneur is certainly not superior over having a job. What I’ve realised over time is that it only matters that you know where you’re trying to get to.
It really took me at least three years to realise I wanted to work less hours but provide a multiple of value to clients vs what they were paying. I also had things to advise that would be too difficult to get across in a standard one to one consulting context, so I’ve looked to create online courses and other marketing reports and coaching that are affordable and scalable.
I’ve also had to end relationships with clients along the way as it was clear our values and shared objectives didn’t align moving forward.
The objective is not earning money, it’s providing immense value to others and helping them improve their situation now and in the future.
Money just flows as a side effect of providing the value =)