Embracing Marketing Mistakes

Navigating the Freelance Landscape: Insights, Challenges, and the Power of Podcasting with Paul Sutton

November 07, 2023 Prohibition PR Season 1 Episode 12
Navigating the Freelance Landscape: Insights, Challenges, and the Power of Podcasting with Paul Sutton
Embracing Marketing Mistakes
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Embracing Marketing Mistakes
Navigating the Freelance Landscape: Insights, Challenges, and the Power of Podcasting with Paul Sutton
Nov 07, 2023 Season 1 Episode 12
Prohibition PR

What does it take to become a successful freelancer in the world of digital marketing? Trust us, there's no one better to guide you through this journey than our insightful guest, Paul Sutton. With over 20 years of experience in the industry and a stint as a creative director, Paul has seen it all. From launching a brick-and-mortar store during the global financial crisis and transitioning into e-commerce, to founding a luxury pet accessories business, his journey is a treasure trove of real-life experiences and hard-earned lessons.

But it's not all about work. Paul also candidly talks about the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance as a freelancer. The moment he took paternity leave and the unexpected response he got from his boss, is a story you wouldn't want to miss. As a thought leader, he also shares his trials and tribulations, and the importance of believing in oneself even when times get tough. Paul's top three tips for freelancers are gold nuggets of wisdom that every aspiring freelancer should hear.

Finally, get ready to uncover the power of podcasting. Paul believes that starting a podcast was the best thing he's ever done for his business and he shares why. From the importance of promoting old episodes to the significance of consistently putting out new content, we explore the many facets of podcasting with Paul. This episode is a treasure trove of actionable takeaways, inspiring stories, and real-life experiences. So buckle up and join us as we embark on this fascinating journey with Paul Sutton.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What does it take to become a successful freelancer in the world of digital marketing? Trust us, there's no one better to guide you through this journey than our insightful guest, Paul Sutton. With over 20 years of experience in the industry and a stint as a creative director, Paul has seen it all. From launching a brick-and-mortar store during the global financial crisis and transitioning into e-commerce, to founding a luxury pet accessories business, his journey is a treasure trove of real-life experiences and hard-earned lessons.

But it's not all about work. Paul also candidly talks about the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance as a freelancer. The moment he took paternity leave and the unexpected response he got from his boss, is a story you wouldn't want to miss. As a thought leader, he also shares his trials and tribulations, and the importance of believing in oneself even when times get tough. Paul's top three tips for freelancers are gold nuggets of wisdom that every aspiring freelancer should hear.

Finally, get ready to uncover the power of podcasting. Paul believes that starting a podcast was the best thing he's ever done for his business and he shares why. From the importance of promoting old episodes to the significance of consistently putting out new content, we explore the many facets of podcasting with Paul. This episode is a treasure trove of actionable takeaways, inspiring stories, and real-life experiences. So buckle up and join us as we embark on this fascinating journey with Paul Sutton.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

Follow Chris Norton:
X
TikTok
LinkedIn

Follow Will Ockenden:
X
LinkedIn

Follow The Show:
X
TikTok
YouTube

Speaker 1:

It's terrible the amount of jargon that advertises and SEO people are the worst. I'll just touch base with you.

Speaker 1:

I think one of the biggest things is belief. I was talking to someone I know who is just setting up as a freelancer and I was trying to help her with her charging structure and what she was charging for a specific project, and she was going through this typical thing of questioning the value you're adding. So how much am I? She was going through, how much am I charging per hour? Am I charging too much? I feel a bit bad about it and I was just. You just have to believe in yourself. You really do.

Speaker 3:

And looking back then, is there one mistake or one f***ing? You think this is what I did wrong, or is it a whole amalgamation of f***ing ups and mistakes along the way? Many, many f***s.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to socially unacceptable, the only podcast for marketers, pr professionals and entrepreneurs looking to grow their brand that actually celebrates the marketing mistakes, mishaps and misfortunes. In every episode, we do our best to dive into the stories of renowned brands and expert marketers who've made mistakes and picked themselves back up from the bottom. We are doing our best to explore the failures that help them turn these brilliant marketers into the brilliant people and amazing people they are today. Every episode aims to bring you brilliant experts and actionable takeaways that you can apply immediately to your own marketing strategies. So if you enjoy the show, please do subscribe for us. You can find us at sociallyunacceptablecouk that's sociallyunacceptablecouk and anywhere where you get your podcasts.

Speaker 2:

In this week's episode we have the brilliant freelance champion self-proclaimed, I might point out Paul Sutton. Paul has been an independent digital marketing consultant since 2014, working in marketing comms for over 20 years. He was named CIPR Practitioner of the Year and PRCA Digital Journalist of the Year and is also a regular commentator on social media for the likes of ITV, bbc News, talk Radio and the Guardian. Since setting up independently, paul has worked with a diverse range of consumer and B2B organizations, including Honda, mcdonald's, axa, Macmillan, panasonic, green King, tarmac and many more. His specialisms include social media, pr, digital, seo and overall marketing strategy and, most importantly for me, podcasting.

Speaker 2:

So I've known Paul for about 10 years. I've been following him on Twitter, I've been reading his blog. We've known each other digitally for a while, but it's the first time I've actually got to speak to him. So Will and I asked him some questions about his history and he really opened up. So this episode is fascinating because Paul will take you through the world of podcasting for thought leadership purposes. He'll touch on tips for freelancing and, even better than that, he talks about his biggest fuckup of his life, and it's an exclusive to socially unacceptable. He's never talked about this and I have to say it is great. It's so nice and refreshing to hear someone candidly talk about one of their biggest fuckups. So enjoy this episode.

Speaker 4:

Welcome to socially unacceptable, from f**k up to fame, the marketing podcast that celebrates the professional mishaps, mistakes and misjudgments, while delivering valuable marketing and life lessons in the time it takes you to eat your lunch.

Speaker 2:

Do you want to introduce yourself, then, and just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Speaker 1:

Of course. So my name is Paul Sutton. I am a digital marketing consultant. I've been working independently now for nine years, coming up to 10 years. It'll be next year, which is pretty mind blowing.

Speaker 1:

Actually, prior to that, I worked in agencies. So I worked in agencies for God knows how many years before that as a as kind of your in-house digital person, I guess. My. Originally I was in PR and then I think we're going to talk about today at some stage, but I left to join the e-commerce world and basically learned a hell of a lot, so that when I eventually went back to agency land, I had all these skills that no one else seemed to have. So it led me down this career of digital marketing. Really, as it relates to comms as well, which is there's a distinct difference, I think, the way advertising people and SEO people treat certain things like social, for example, and the way a comms person comes at social. So I have that comms head, if you like, and come at things from a comms angle, and yeah, it stood me in good stead so far. So you know, fingers crossed, another 10 years and I can retire, so you we've done a bit of digging on your CV as it reaches our job.

Speaker 3:

So don't be fearful. So you started in PR about 2004,. Is that right? So was that a traditional? Was that kind of a traditional PR role, if you like?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it would have been. I mean, going back further than that. I started out my first ever job was in an investment management company, working in the marketing department wasn't PR related, but in marketing. And after that I joined a marketing agency and I was there for about five years but that role led down the PR route just by the nature of the sort of clients I had at that time, and from there on went into sort of PR and PR agencies. So so yeah, it's where I've kind of grown up and cut my teeth really is PR agency land, I suppose.

Speaker 3:

And then you took a took a kind of a move to becoming a creative director. Is that right?

Speaker 1:

Yes, so within one of these agencies that I was working for I can't remember the dates of this time but I started getting involved in things like website design and things like. At that time it was more about brochures and all that sort of stuff because the internet was there but it wasn't really huge at that time, and so I started moving in more of the creative director role in terms of that side of things and then again going back to the PR stuff, taking control over campaign ideas and the creative angles of that. So, yeah, all bled through. I was saying to someone else the other day it's a very long straight career path. You know, some people have very wiggly careers that go all over the place. Mine doesn't. It is a very linear career path, but within that, you're right, it's been PR, marketing, creative, digital. It's a wiggled around in that, if you like.

Speaker 2:

Because you've won PRCA. Digital journalist of the year. You didn't include that in your introduction. I was like you've big yourself off, so obviously, digital journalist of the year, is that for? Is that for your podcast?

Speaker 1:

It was yes, absolutely yeah, and that was a couple of years ago. I won that, and it's an award that I didn't enter either, which always means quite a lot.

Speaker 1:

Yeah nice Because I won the independent consultant of the year as well a couple of years before that, which was fantastic, don't get me wrong. It's really great to win that, but that's an award that you enter. The journalist of the year one was an award given to me which was, yeah, that was really nice because totally unexpected and, like you said, that was for the podcast as well. So how did you?

Speaker 2:

find a difference between being a PR person and a creative director, because I know we're a similar age. I know the era you're talking about. I remember when the BBC website wasn't as interactive as it is today, just like you're saying there and I got involved in web design as well. I know your pain with. Can you just move that image to there? No, is the answer to that.

Speaker 1:

I'm out. It's easy now, but then it wasn't yeah exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's much easier now. So how did you find the difference between being a creative director and somebody in PR, or was it just fairly straightforward?

Speaker 1:

For me. I would say it was quite straightforward On the PR side of things, although that's where I started a lot of my career. I guess the media relations side of things, which was very strong in those days, wasn't really of ever a great interest to me, even though I was doing it. I wouldn't say I ever had a passion for it, if you like. So to move towards the more creative side and the ideas side and doing other stuff was just something that interested me, so I found it quite a natural move.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I remember the days of just here's a list. Get into the, go into that room and ring every journalist on this list, national list, it was. It's terrifying for every PR professional out there, whoever they are. Even if you enjoy, I enjoy it, I'm good at it, I was good at it, I haven't done it since long time ago. But yeah, the campaign stuff I can imagine is more fun. So why don't you tell us then? This is the bit it's quite interesting. So then you set up a luxury pet accessories business with your wife, a brand concept called, and you can tell us what it was called and what it was about. No, you go, it was called the pet extraordinaire, extraordinary.

Speaker 2:

Extraordinary I can't even say that Extraordinary. Imagine spelling that on a website wwwpetextraordinaryuk Is that?

Speaker 1:

is that? Where is that? Where the first problem? Do you know why it wasn't a problem and the reason it wasn't? The concept behind the thing was it was very brand led. It was in my background, like we talked about, was in creative and branding and stuff and we had this concept I don't know where, where this name came from, just brainstorming weird stuff, because we wanted something. That was weird. The fact that key people can't pronounce it or couldn't pronounce it was never really an issue, because if you think about websites, you enter something into a URL, maybe, or you click a link. You don't necessarily need to be able to pronounce the word you're typing in, which I know sounds weird, but it was fine. It was never an issue. But yeah, this whole concept came from. So at the time I was working in an agency in this sort of creative role and my wife was made redundant and what did you decide?

Speaker 1:

She was actually at the same agency but in a different department. So she was running events for that agency, Right, okay? So like business awards and that sort of stuff. She was in control of putting those things in and she was very good at it, but there wasn't enough ongoing business to support her role.

Speaker 2:

Happy anniversary, by the way.

Speaker 1:

Thank you very much. 15 years, and so she was made redundant and we just decided that we wanted to do something for ourselves. It was that simple, and she was, and still is, obsessed with animals, and over the course of two or three months, we talked around this thing and decided just to go for it, which was a bit of a weird move in a way, given that I worked in marketing departments and agencies all my life and then running this pet accessories business.

Speaker 2:

So what sort of stuff did you sell and how did you set it up? Tell us a bit about what it was. Was it small rabbits, or was it big elephant saddles? What was it? Yeah, it was your main mainstream pets.

Speaker 1:

So we focused on cats and dogs and rabbits, because we had rabbits and we knew that there was this mark out there for rabbit stuff. But the idea behind it was that the products we would sell were not the sort of taps that you find in a standard pet shop. Now this is what. 15, 20 years ago there was the odd boutique if we want to call it that word, pet business around selling quite expensive stuff, and we wanted to be somewhere in the middle. We didn't want to be this cheap rubbish that you find on the high street. We didn't want to be super expensive because, you know, there seemed like a small market. So we kind of went for the middle ground.

Speaker 1:

But everything we sold was stuff that was. It might be a cat bowl, but it was designed, it looked good to have in your house. That was the idea is that everything we would sell would be stuff that you would be happy to have in your house. That was the sort of concept behind it, okay, and that ranged from I don't know dog bowls to cat collars, to rabbit toys. That were actually natural stuff, not cheap plastic stuff, and you know it was a big ranging thing. And again, going back to the concept, the concept was a high street store, but something that was more akin to. I don't know the way you might walk into a next, for example, nicely laid out shop, pleasant to be in, not your crowded, smelly pet shop, which still exist today, most of those places, don't they? So it was a very it was a different concept to anything that we could find out there.

Speaker 2:

Is this online purely, or is it in the real world?

Speaker 1:

To start with, it was real world, it was a brick and mortar store, right, and maybe we'll come onto this it didn't really work. The first problem we had, or encountered, was, I think we chose a bad Place. Location. Location, yeah, absolutely. It was in it, in a town called Wallingford, which is an Oxfordshire which has a lot of lit independence doors, so we thought it'd be ideal for this sort of thing.

Speaker 1:

But over the course of, say, six months, it became very apparent that Footfall on on high streets was Falling down, you know, quite badly, and at this time as well. Another thing that went wrong but the timing couldn't have been worse, because this just preempted the financial crash of 2008 and so the country was going through this real upheaval at that time financially. And there's us pops up with this Very different thing that people have to sort of get their head around a bit and a cat bowl that, whereas you could buy a cat for the plastic cat bowl for two quid in your local pet shop, you might come to us and it'd be, I know, 15 quid or 20 quid and most. That isn't a lot of money. It is if you just want a cat bowl, do you know? I mean, yeah, so there were multiple things that went on with it. But yeah, it was originally back to your point of bricks and mortar store and you obviously had secure jobs More you did anyway, and then so yeah, what point you were obviously planning it.

Speaker 3:

At what point did you kind of quit, you think, right, we're going all in on this. Or did you have a bit of an overlap period?

Speaker 1:

No, we just went all in on it. I don't remember the exact dates my wife was made redundant in, let's say, september, I don't know September, october time, and I quit that job Early December so that we would have a clean break in the new year. So we kind of worked our way around it for two or three months and we've been sort of playing with ideas before that. But so two or three months quit my job into this thing. Wow, okay, yeah, clean break and you and that was.

Speaker 2:

You stood straight behind the counter with the little taffod on taking money over the register. Absolutely, it was the two of us. That's exciting though right, that's really exciting setting up your own business. Bricks and mortar, totally different offer, little, sounds like quite boutique. He is that fair.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Boutique is the word, it's it's. It's difficult when you're talking about this because it sounds bit Ponzi, doesn't it? But boutique is the word. It was boutique rather than a boutique, yeah, yeah, I mean going back to the original concept was that this would be the first of a number of stores. It wasn't ever supposed to be just one standalone store. We knew that for the first year it would be Michelle and I, like you said, standing behind the counter doing ever. We'd have to do everything ourselves because we couldn't afford to hire people, and so we went in with our eyes open on that front. But the the intention was that within maybe a year, we'd have opened a second store somewhere, in which point we would be able to employ people to do the standing behind the counter stuff.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and was it self-funded or did you have investment?

Speaker 1:

We, it was self-funded. We took out a business loan to fund Parts of it, which came back to bite us in the butt later. But so we had a business loan, but other than that, purely self-funded, yeah right, okay. And again, you know, had we had investment at that time, maybe it would have gone further. Actually it was, you know, looking back, we were seriously underfunded in in what we could do with it and how far we could take it with the money we had, just just not enough under capitalized.

Speaker 3:

So at what point did you, did you, kind of realize the bricks and mortar store wasn't working? Because knowing when to quit is really important, isn't it? Yeah, and to add to that.

Speaker 2:

Was it not working? And we did you launch a digital offer because of your background in digital, or did you? Did you not? Did you just focus on face-to-face stuff?

Speaker 1:

So I would say we, we kind of realized that actually the store wasn't going to be what we hoped, pretty quickly, within six months, I would say, and from six months onwards were, I Wouldn't say, planning an exit from it, but we're aware that we might have to exit, which sounds like way too early to be thinking that stuff. But to your point, why continue to do something if you know it's not working? That's just insane. So during that time yes, then we set up a website To sell e-commerce. So for a while I would say for I don't know the exact times, but maybe for three, four, five months perhaps we were building the website and Having the store as well. So we were running both together, knowing that if we had to quit the store, if we had to shut that down, we would then have at least have a website there to you know, to put some, to put some money behind it and make work really well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because you'd have the infrastructure, the orders, that all that stuff you could just move it. Yeah, having to start from scratch, exactly, yeah, the experience.

Speaker 3:

So Family business, self-funded business, in the context of the global financial crisis.

Speaker 2:

Good time.

Speaker 3:

Hey, yeah, what was your, what's your state of mind like after kind of six to twelve months? It must have been enormously stressful for you guys, as you kind of realized I don't realize it wasn't working.

Speaker 1:

I I don't even like to think back to how stressful that time was. We opened the store, maybe February, march of whatever year it was, and, like I said, after sort of six months we're starting to think this this just isn't gonna work. I don't know what to do to attract more people. We're not getting enough people in the door. So you know that the last quarter of that year was preparing to shut this thing down, really, and building the website as well.

Speaker 1:

But, yeah, the amount of stress that that caused, and leading up to Christmas as well. Now, at that time we didn't have any kids, so there wasn't the stress of oh my god, we've got by kids, christmas presents and all that. But that year actually at Christmas, we, we set ourselves tiny little budgets of like 20 quid each. You can buy each other present, but it's got to be 20 quid is that sort of stuff. And I do remember actually, in that last quarter, before we shut the shop down, there was the odd week where we literally had 30 quid to buy groceries and stuff for the week for the two of us and that was it. It was, I mean, it was tough, it was really tough.

Speaker 1:

We went through a tough patch In the time before we closed that down and then, once we decided to close it, we had to try and negotiate our way out of the lease with the landlord who was having not a lot of it Standard landlord, yeah yeah. And then we had the pressure of this bank loan as well, which you know. We knew we were gonna have to pay back Trying to build the website business, and so the stress of it wasn't just leading up in that last quarter and leading to the close of the store. That carried on. I would say for Probably for the whole time we ran. That business, which would have been another two years, was stressful financially because we had this bank loan and we knew that we couldn't just walk away from that, you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's tough because. So when you got out of it, did you feel we spoke to, we've spoken to a few people about? And it is somebody that got investment, and he was exactly the same thing with what were you saying there, like the pressure of borrowing money off somebody. But literally as soon as he did it, he said if the day the day after, one of the investors called him and said right, you've done it. Now you fucked up, but you've taken on the. You know it's, it's failed, you failed, you can use that to learn for it. Nothing's and you know nothing's finished. He said he felt a massive sense of relief just from that one phone call. So the bank manager won't do that though, will they?

Speaker 1:

No, I've got. I wish I'd had that phone call. I really do, because I Mean, looking back now, I learned so much in that and I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. I wouldn't have won awards for it and all that sort of stuff if we hadn't done that business. But it's difficult. If I was to go back and say, would I change that? I Don't know what the answer is, because the amount of Stress and financial pressure that we felt for, like I said, not just the time of running that business and running a failed business which was failing slowly it wasn't even died, it failed slowly over the course of two or three months or years, but it took then.

Speaker 1:

Well, once we came out of it once once, once we realized the business itself was failing, not just the store, but a couple years later. So we we done a very best to build this website and it was fine, it was going okay, but it was never. We didn't have, like said, we were under capitalized, we didn't have the funds To invest into marketing it properly in order to scale it enough. So we were making a living from it, but it was kind of scratching a living. Really. It wasn't, it was never. It never reached the heights that we thought it would and we just couldn't see a way of it doing that because we Didn't have the capital behind us.

Speaker 1:

And I guess, when, when we eventually decided, okay, enough's enough, we've got to close this down. You're right, the bank manager straight on you and we had to. Basically there was a. There was a time where we could have lost the house fast because the back of the image was calling in the loan. Now, whether they'd have actually ever pressed the button to make us lose our house, I don't know.

Speaker 1:

But Living under that pressure where you think We've got this money to pay back which we do not have, it wasn't a huge amount, I think it was about 20 grand, but I mean that's a lot when you have got nothing. 20 grand is, you know, might as well a billion, to be honest. But we eventually, basically we had to take a loan from my mom dad to pay the bank back and Then pay the loan back slowly to my mom dad over the course of, I know, three or four years. So if you take that as a whole, between setting up the business, first six months were fine and then we realized this ain't as good as we should be.

Speaker 1:

So six months in the shop, two years running it further, and then another three or four years on top of that, you're probably talking the best part of six years of Instability let's put it that way and a lot of pressure. I mean we even had to. We were, we were engaged and we were due to get married one one year While we were running this business Couldn't afford to. We had to cancel the wedding because we couldn't afford to get married a Good tester for your relationship.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I guess. I mean we are, we're a super strong team and we always have been, and you would think you're right, if it's gonna fail, it would fail at that sort of time. Yeah, and I guess during that time as well we had. So we eventually did get married and we had a kid a year later, our first child a year later, and that's all in this period of financial stress. So you're right. I mean all of that together you think, well, we must be quite strong to have withstood that.

Speaker 3:

So why was there one thing that made you pull the plug? Or did it just get to the point when you thought this isn't working and could you have? Could you, and should you, have done that earlier, do you think?

Speaker 1:

Interesting question. I don't think there was one point. It was a slow, creeping realization that, no matter the ideas we had and no matter my background and learning all this digital stuff, like I said, we didn't have the money to To scale it. We just didn't, and I then had to go back to working Three days a week in an agency. So I was doing both. My wife had a young child. Well, I had a young child as well, but she technically gave birth to her. We'll cut that bit.

Speaker 1:

And I said it so you know, all of those things together was just this Darning, that we can't go on like this forever. Something's got to change. So eventually, we just came to the decision that we've got to move on.

Speaker 3:

We got to put this behind us and looking back then, is there one mistake or one fuck-up? You think this is what I did wrong, or is it a whole amalgamation of fuck-ups and mistakes along the way?

Speaker 1:

I think the first mistake was the location we chose for the store. But again I say that you know we could have gone for, let's say, oxford Centre, but it would have cost us a fortune in rent, so probably couldn't have done it anyway. But location was the first one Under capitalization. I think it's a little bit of a mistake. I think it's a little bit of a mistake. I think it's a little bit of a mistake. I think it's a little bit of a mistake. But location was the first one.

Speaker 1:

Um, didn't anticipate the amount of money that we would need and have to say fuck up on my part was that I wasted a lot of the money we did have on Advertising at that time print advertising in cat magazines and dog magazines and rabbit magazines, which it kind of makes sense, but Probably put too much into that. You know, too much advertising money in that, arguably we couldn't have afforded. Our ads were great. Well, I loved them. They were from a very. Again, like I said, this was a brand-led thing. Yeah, so again you look. You look through a dog magazine and all the ads are Pretty poor quality picture of a product Dog food with just standard rubbish. And our ads looked amazing. They didn't feature products as such. It was all brand-led about this, this boutique thing you need to go and see it sort of thing.

Speaker 1:

I'm not sure that works in that industry, you know, again, too disruptive. We tried, it didn't work. Move on. Yeah, question about whether we should have canned it sooner, I Mean the logical answer to that is yes, absolutely probably a year before we did. But you know you've built or you're trying to build something. The last thing you want to do and Is is admit defeat and admit you failed, because that was. That's the overriding sense that I had about that for years. I can talk about it now. Yeah, for years and years I had this big Sense of failure about it. Personal, really Did. There's, yeah, personal, there's nothing wrong with that you get, we look we learn through failure.

Speaker 2:

That's the whole point, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely and I totally agree with you now, but at that time I didn't feel like that at all. Yeah, just felt this, this real sense of failure about. I felt like I felt like I've let the family down as much as anything. And again, this is part of me. I take things on me. Yeah, I'm bearing in mind. I mean this with Michelle as well, so it's equally as her. But I took it on me and for years and years I used to say I sold the business, we exited the business which is not untrue, but it's not true anyway because we didn't make any money on it. So you know, I would never admit, I wouldn't have admitted to have being a failure.

Speaker 2:

Well, thanks for sure, thanks for sharing it, because it's very honest and really interesting to hear like, because a lot of people we've interviewed probably I mean, we're not as black belt in this area as you are, but we've interviewed a fair few people and some people, you know, candid and some people are quiet, they don't want to really, and you've just opened up there which and it's fascinating to hear a personal story and account of, especially bricks of mortar from a digit, because I was putting you down as a digital, you know e-commerce, e-commerce, pr. I was waiting for you to tell me all about the e-commerce side of it and actually it was more than bricks and mortar side of it that you felt location. Look at, that's why the show is called location, location, location. It is the key thing, isn't it? And if you get it right but you're right if you have a perfect location, it costs money and you need you need funding to start.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but I mean, yeah, you're right when you say you think of me as, like, a digital person. That's where it comes from, though, because Before that, yes, I've been doing creative work, but the internet E-commerce was around, but it hasn't really taken off at that time. After that, I was all in with the digital stuff, yeah, so, you know, it changed me in that way for the better, and that's why I said and you're talking about learning from failure? That's exactly what happened, but that that was coupled with this Horrible sense of and failure, you know and can?

Speaker 2:

you both still love pets?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we do. We've had you know what, even since then? We've had countless rabbits, we've got a dog, we've had cats, yeah, got chickens.

Speaker 3:

So yes, that's not impacted that Okay, good and and no regrets. Then I mean the toughest of possible times personally, for your marriage, for your finances. Yeah, no regrets.

Speaker 1:

Don't know the answer that question I honestly don't. Like I said, if I could go back and change it, would I I don't know in? In theory, if I could go back and change it, we wouldn't have gone through all that stress and financial pressure. It wouldn't have taken us years to get out of a financial hole. But would I be doing what I am now if I hadn't made that change in Korea at that time? Who knows?

Speaker 2:

possibly not, so I don't know okay, so let's move on to the next stage then. So then you Business. So then, what did you do then? You, the business, shut down. You know, yeah, you went, kicked something and then came back and we're right, I've got to start my career again when we're gonna go. What did you do so?

Speaker 1:

as I said, I'd started working part-time for a PR agency and I Think I don't remember 100% but I think I moved up to full-time, I think. But that kind of went tits up as well. Why is that I moved? I started working in this agency and the agency had a very, very strong-minded boss. The ND Big personality knew what she wanted, was not shying, telling people what she wanted and how she wanted it done. I can't relate to that. And for For the first few months, absolutely fine, got on with her like a house on fire. This was in a sort of creative director role and helping out on the bits of digital and stuff was going really well. And then I Took paternity leave for two weeks. Yeah, legally entitled, yeah, of course. Yeah, yeah, came back and it was like it would like I'd taken a dump on a office floor or something.

Speaker 2:

There's a quote.

Speaker 1:

It was it. The change in attitude was Absolutely unbelievable. To this day I don't know what happened in that two weeks. If anything happened, yeah, or whether she didn't like the fact that I was offered two weeks on paternity leave. I don't know right. But from then on our relationship her and my relationship just deteriorated rapidly.

Speaker 2:

Hmm it's a bit weird that isn't it, because paternity retell to take it as part of. I know you only get those two weeks of your life with your child Once. Yeah, like, why would you be upset about that?

Speaker 1:

I don't really. I don't know. I don't know. Like I said, I don't know that that was the case, but there was something different. When I came back from those two weeks, I Don't know what it was.

Speaker 1:

Anyway, our relationship then deteriorated and, basically, I think it was about four or five, maybe six months after I came back, I Just quit the place without another job in hand and, bearing in mind what I've just said about the financial pressures we were under, to then have to feel like I needed to quit a job without having something else to go to tells you perhaps how how bad it got. That the tipping point was actually was one evening I Was at home and an email pinged and it was an email From the boss, supposedly to someone else, but she'd accidentally put me at the recipient. Basically, Recording.

Speaker 2:

This is good brilliant, go on. What does he?

Speaker 1:

say this is gold. I don't remember the wording, but it was a loud. It was around me being super arrogant and I I can't remember what else, but it was. It was, you know. It wasn't a long, but it was enough to make me go. For fuck's sake, come on.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, recall, recall we have.

Speaker 1:

But she hadn't realized which was, which was brilliant. So I'd already been thinking about leaving because it would just got to this. You know, really bad, really bad relationship. So, you know, I talked to Michelle about it and we were like, okay, quit. So the next day, so I printed off this email and the next day went into the office and put it on her desk I'm sorry, but I'm leaving, I'm not with us anymore. And her attitude, funny enough, was not one of oh, I'm really sorry. You know, that shouldn't have gone to you. It was well, if we got on better, it would be a problem, would it? I was like are you serious?

Speaker 2:

So anyway, yeah, so left that job, so Did you just walk at that point, or did you have to do the whole? I've got to be here for three months because of a creative Like. That's so awkward. Here's here's your email. See you in three months. I'll just be so opposite you over there.

Speaker 1:

I had. I think I had a month's notice on my contract, okay, which she made me work out. Of course you did so. I'm going to the office and it's an office of maybe 15, 20 people, I think at that time, maybe 20. Yeah, something like that, but yeah, being in the same office.

Speaker 2:

Tombowede every day.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we've all been there, so one of my questions was gonna be what kind of provoked you to become a Soul trader? And you know a consultant, and you've just answered that brilliantly, so thank you. Yeah, so so the simple, the simple life now. No, no staff, just.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, I mean, at that time, you do you think actually, yeah, that that wasn't the time I did go independent. Maybe I should have. But from there I went to work for an agency, another agency, which was the agency. Funny enough, it was the agency I worked with Prior to setting up the, the, the e-commerce business, right? So I went back to that company. It was just a timing thing. They were looking for someone in digital To head up, you know, and bring on their digital people, help train in in house. Social media was really coming to the fore at that time and they didn't have any skill in that, so they wanted someone who knew this side of things at SEO. So I went in there as the, as the, as the digital guy, basically.

Speaker 2:

So and now and now you're for your freelance. Now, right yeah?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely how long have you been freelance? Nine years, okay. So the thing about being free, like I was freelance for I can't remember how many years, but I was freelance for a while and better money than I'd ever were under an agency and then nearly, nearly, like I was literally on holiday somewhere, the only holiday and I was getting. I was doing meetings on holiday, I was calling people trying to deal with client scenarios. I was making better money, but it just I was burnt out even on holiday. So how do you, how did you, how have you found balancing freelance? Because it's not just about how delivering the work anymore, it's about winning the work, delivering the work, being around doing, doing podcasts with two hilarious individuals from leads, that sort of thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah how do you balance it?

Speaker 1:

I, I, I've never really had a problem with this, but I know others do, and especially when you're new to freelancing, I think when I, when I first set up, it takes a while to get out of the being employed mindset for a start. So I would, when I was first working, I, I would be thinking okay, my, my, my working time is nine to five and I sit down at my desk, I do a nine to five day and then I have my evenings myself, like you do when you're employed. It took me quite a long time to break out of that habit. I was quite fortunate we're not fortunate, it was by design when I, when I decided to go freelance, I, I, I negotiated a contract with an agency of someone I knew who ran this agency and that again, they were looking for digital support. So I managed to negotiate a it was either two and a half or three days a week as a freelancer for them, as a contracted freelancer, and that gave me the security to be able to go freelance, because now suddenly I'm working two and a half three days a week, which gives me the same money, effectively, that I was earning when I was employed, but with two days a week where I can start developing what I want to do. You know, I can develop my business and get other clients and do that sort of stuff. So that contract lasted, I think, a good couple of years and it really set me up. It really set me going Because I didn't have that worry about where's the next business coming from.

Speaker 1:

Um, but back to your point. I think that's probably why it took me such a long time to break out of that being employed mindset, because I sort of was still employed a bit in a way. But balancing it now. I mean, like I said, I've been doing this nine years now so I'm so used to it. Balancing it.

Speaker 1:

I have no problem with it in terms of if I've got a project on that, I, let's say, I sit down to tomorrow and I want to work on a project, but I sit down and my mind is just not in it and I try and I can't do it. I have no problem then going right, I'm been in off today or this morning and I'm going to go out and do something else, knowing full well that I'll have to pick that time up somewhere else, which might be an evening or a weekend, or maybe I'll be cram into next week, whatever, or get up early, but that balance is there. I just I don't know. I work when I need to and when I can, but if I can't work or don't need to work, then I don't. But it did take a long time to learn.

Speaker 2:

If you could give somebody. So there'll be people out here listening to this. Marketers comms people if they want to go freelance. What's your like? Top three tips for going freelance.

Speaker 1:

Cool Blimey. That's a big question. I think one of the biggest things is belief. Someone I know just last week actually who is just setting up as a freelancer and I was trying to help her with her charging structure and what she was charging for a specific project. And she was going through this, this typical thing of questioning the value you're adding. So how much am I? She was going through. How much am I charging per hour? Is that enough per hour? Am I charging too much? I feel a bit bad about it and I was just.

Speaker 1:

You just have to believe in yourself. You really do. I've just started if I may do a plug here, I've just started a community for freelancers called the Hive, which is the Hiverocks everybody. But we were having a conversation yesterday about ego and I put the question to the group about whether you need an ego to be a free or how much of an ego you need to be a freelancer. Because you've got to believe in yourself. If you don't, no one else is going to. You haven't got someone, you haven't got a team leader sat up there saying oh you're great, just keep going at it. If you don't do it, no one's helping you. So you have to have a bit of I don't know if ego is the right word self-esteem, self-confidence, whatever you can develop that, but you have to have it.

Speaker 1:

And one of the biggest things is trust your gut. Anyone who is starting out as a freelancer trust your gut. What you think the number of times over the years well, again, this is the thing I've come to. I think is that now I listen to my inner voice all the time. If I've got a potential client and there's something not quite right about it and I can't put my finger on it more than often than not, I will turn that down, even if I don't know why I'm turning it down, because it doesn't feel right and it's not something you can explain to anyone. Maybe you guys have it with clients.

Speaker 2:

I don't know, I do, I do, I have that quite regularly. You just have that gut.

Speaker 1:

You know, yeah, it's absolutely, absolutely. And if you think about it, the times you haven't followed that intuition probably haven't worked out that well, it kicks you in the balls.

Speaker 2:

It does.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and then you go. Why did I know?

Speaker 1:

that. Another thing I guess I would say is that this is a difficult one. Actually. Maybe this is too personal to me, but after a while you learn to accept that if you're having a quiet month or a quiet couple of months, don't stress about it too much, as long as you keep doing what you're doing in terms of putting yourself out there and improving your website or whatever you're doing. As long as you're doing stuff, the work will come. And I know it's difficult when you're starting out, but again, it's this trust thing. I've learned that I shouldn't touch wood heavily on this. My year so far has been pretty awful. I don't know why it's probably the economy things going on and the last four or five months of my business have been bloody terrible. But I'm not sitting here panicking about it yet. This is probably the worst patch I've ever had in nine years, but I still have the belief that the work will come at some stage.

Speaker 2:

So can everyone send 10-pound donation to polsuttoncom and he'll be delighted Absolutely If you enjoyed this interview.

Speaker 3:

So that's some good advice, I think, for freelancers. So looking at the types of clients you work with then. So something you talk about a lot is the need to demystify digital bullshit. I think was the phrase you used.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I like that.

Speaker 3:

Is digital particularly bad for bullshit? What are we talking here? It's terrible.

Speaker 1:

The amount of jargon that advertises and SEO people are the worst.

Speaker 2:

I'll just touch base with you.

Speaker 1:

The amount of crap that is used to. I don't know whether it's used on purpose to cloud things or whether it's just the language that's grown up around certain industries or sectors that your everyday client doesn't know what the hell people are talking about. It's awful, and the sorts of clients I tend to get really, really appreciate straight talking. If you think something's crap, I say it's crap. I mean, I'm a bit better than that, but you know what I mean and what I don't do. I try and translate everything I do into plain English so that, if you know, I've seen, for example, with SEO, if I've seen SEO reports from SEO agencies that are 20 pages long full of stats and all sorts of stuff and the client hasn't got a faintest idea what this is saying. So if I'm doing an SEO report, it tends to be two or three pages of the key stats and then an analysis, which is just talking in English, and it's just an example of, like you said, demystifying and getting around all the bullshit that is out there because there's so much of it.

Speaker 3:

It's awful Acronym city, isn't it? There's acronym stuff. Yeah, absolutely Professional storytellers.

Speaker 2:

That's what we're doing. Yeah, that's my lea. We're telling stories.

Speaker 3:

When did that become a thing, everyone referring to themselves as storytellers?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's now moved from business sales to business growth hackers, isn't it?

Speaker 4:

Now it's biohacking.

Speaker 2:

That's another one. There's a lot of this terminology around technology and, yeah, social media was a big one and now it's AI. We've covered that quite a lot with Andrew Bruce Smith and we had Wads, who I know is on your show. So can we talk about your? I mean let's, We've not talked about it. I mean the freelance side of things you're talking about. You know, obviously you're available for work, which is great. Did you start the podcast? So your podcast is plugged for the podcast because it's very good. It's called digital download. I've been listening for years. You've been doing it for Since 2018, was it or something? Yeah, yeah, five years. So you saw the pandemic come in and you started two or three years before that, which is brilliant. That's real vision, that's foresight, isn't it? Yeah, so why did you start it? And, yeah, what were you found about doing it? Tell us a bit about the podcast.

Speaker 1:

I started it because people kept saying to me you need to have a podcast. It's that simple. I've been blogging for maybe 10 years. I would say yeah, it had been about 10 years. I've been blogging steadily all that time and people kept saying to me you should have a podcast because podcasting was starting to really take off around this sort of time 2017, 2018. But no one in the marketing comms Well, I say no one. There were very few marketing comms type podcasts around at that time, at least good ones anyway.

Speaker 1:

People were having a go doing one episode, three episodes and canning it, that sort of thing. So there was an opportunity there. I had put it off for at least six months, maybe a year, because I knew nothing about podcasting nothing whatsoever, didn't know how to record a podcast, let alone go through the process of editing and publishing and all that stuff. And eventually, as a result of being hounded about it, I just thought I should do it, because I need to learn this stuff and I'm a firm believer that the best way of learning something is to do it. And if I screwed it up, fine, no problem, okay. So I decided okay, I'm going to do one season of this podcast. How many episodes is that? See how I go with it? It was going to be I think it was maybe 10 episodes.

Speaker 1:

I lined up and it was a chance to firstly, see whether I liked doing it, secondly, see whether there would be any interest in this whatsoever, so therefore, whether I had potential for me as a you know, as a helping me with my business. And then, thirdly, it was just a chance to learn how this stuff I learned. You know, I didn't go any courses or anything. I learned how to use Audacity in order to edit a podcast together and how to plug it into hosting platforms and all this sort of stuff. I just learned how to do it and that was, yeah, five years ago, and it's just gone from strength to strength, which I mean it's pretty amazing that it's still going after five years. I've now done well over 100 episodes. It's just come back after an entire year.

Speaker 2:

I was going to say you've been doing it five years, but one of those years you haven't been doing it Not five years yeah.

Speaker 1:

So it got to last summer and, yeah, at the start of last summer, and I was going to have a break anyway, because you might find this out, once you start doing them every week or two, there comes a point where you just need a bit of a break from it. So I was going to have a break over the summer and I was intending, on coming back with a new season in September. September past, october, past, november past. I had a lot of stuff going on personally with which I won't go into, but it was causing a lot of stress and my mum and dad were ill, a lot of family stuff going on. Then, early this year, my dad died and it was just all of this stuff and I just, I just didn't want to get back to doing the podcast.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, at that time I would have thought if you'd have said to me no, you're going to pick this up again in July, or when I started doing it, I've got, no, I'm done. But again people started asking me where's the podcast going? How come? And I was like, do you know what? I really should get back to doing it, because I'd noticed as well saying I'm having a bad year. This is only a correlation thing. I can't, I can't attribute causation to it, but I believe there's a correlation between me not doing the podcast for a year and business drying up a bit.

Speaker 2:

But you say that because I was going to say you had a week, you had a year's break. Sorry, did you downloads continue going up? Because you digital, let's say digital media space was already there, so you have 90 in the can or whatever. They're still sat there building away like blog posts, indexing on all the podcast channels. You would think you'd still get inquiries and business from the podcast, right?

Speaker 1:

Possibly. I mean again, I don't know the answer to that, but you're right, just because I wasn't recording new episodes doesn't mean that people weren't listening to old episodes. But when you stop publishing new episodes, your listenership does go down, I mean quite drastically as well. It's not that it's not being listened to, but you're not doing anything to promote it. Unless you continue promoting old episodes, obviously, and not putting out new episodes means that the people who listen regularly aren't coming back to you and talking to people about it. And that's the way podcasting works. You get introduced to people who, from word of mouth, someone will say to someone if you listen to this podcast, they'll listen to it. Come back, listen to four or five episodes and then come to you and say I've been listening to a few episodes, we've got this project on that sort of thing.

Speaker 3:

Well, on that, actually, I was going to ask you why do you do it? We have a lot of conversations with our clients and everyone has different objectives for doing a podcast. What are the benefits, as an individual or as a business, of doing a podcast?

Speaker 1:

There are several, I think. I mean from a business perspective, I would say it's the best thing I've ever done for my business. Wow, and that is having gone back. Like I said, I've been blogging for 10 years. I used to use Twitter relentlessly all the time and for the first probably three or four years of my business it was the blog and Twitter that kept things getting me leads. But the podcasting kind of took things to a whole new level where, like I said, people talk about a podcast and they refer you on to other people to listen to the podcast, which then leads to business so I know I can't go on, sorry, sorry.

Speaker 3:

So you're talking lead generation as a big benefit.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I can't put a figure on it, a financial figure, but I I know for a fact. I've had many clients who have come to me having listened to the podcast. So, it's tens of thousands of pounds of financial value. Okay, from a personal level, I just love doing it. It's great to talk to people and get introduced to people and you know it's it's something I enjoy doing.

Speaker 2:

So what I I remember am I am I remembering this rightly? So I remember that you shared Twitter or LinkedIn somewhere, because I followed you for years, and it said Well, it's 70,000 downloads or something. How many was it 10,000?

Speaker 1:

downloads. I've ever exaggerated it. It's. It's around about I Don't know the figure now, maybe See, this is it. I don't keep up with my stats nowadays I should do, but it's around about 50,000, I think, which is amazing 50,000 people have spent an hour with you, listening to you and your saxophone this is it we podcasting?

Speaker 1:

people Listen to podcasts when they're out walking the dog or doing the dishes or you know it's dead time when you're doing something else, and they will spend an hour or half an hour having long your episode. They will listen to the entire thing. If you write a blog post, people will skim, read it. Even if you've write a thousand words, they're gonna read a hundred words of that. Yeah, and spend one minute with your content. With a podcast, they spend half an hour or an hour with your content. I know nothing else does that nothing.

Speaker 2:

So you had 50,000 downloads. You've got 50,000 downloads of your podcast. Say what was the biggest Game changer to get in downloads for you? When did you see the hockey stick of growth on your? Because, having started a podcast, we've seen slow growth and then gradual growth and now it's picking up every month. But when did you see the hockey stick and what was the tactic that did that? You know?

Speaker 1:

if I'm honest, I don't think there has been a that, that, that hockey stick moment, if you like. What? What I have seen? Again, I have to. I have to skip the last year and go back a year. But up until a year ago what I was seeing was steady growth. I try, I've tried all sorts of different tactics in terms of making it grow. You know, I've got an email list, I've tried Advertising, I've used Facebook advertising and LinkedIn advertising and all sorts of things. I wouldn't say there is one tactic that suddenly made it take off. It's been a consistent growth through that sort of three year, three, four year period, which I personally have been very happy with. Other people would look at that and go hang on a minute. It hasn't just rocketed you know.

Speaker 3:

So I'm curious. We've talked about podcasting from an individual perspective so far. Should companies be podcasting as well, and if so, how can you know what kind of benefits can a company get from doing that?

Speaker 1:

I firm I'm a firm believer in podcasting full stop and I do actually help a couple of companies with their podcast in terms of Production and editing and that sort of stuff. The key to it, to me, is to do something that is a bit different, and by that I mean I Mean not sounding like every other podcast out there. If you're gonna do a company podcast, it's got to, it's got to have a, an angle to it or, you know, it's got to have something Different about it. So why should I choose your company podcast over the, the five others from your main competitors? So it's, it's got to, it's got to be, it's got to have life.

Speaker 1:

I suppose I don't know how to define that word, but I See a lot of podcasts and these are the ones that generally last five or ten episodes and then you never see them again. And there's a ton of them out there, but it's because they've not put any thought to production, like you guys. Right, I've put this together, but you've gone all in on production values. Yeah, so it looks good. It sounds good. You've thought about the, the niche, if you like, of what you want to talk about. So you've thought about. You haven't just bought a microphone, started chatting to people with shit quality sound in dull tones and and you know there's so many of those things out there. If you're gonna do that, don't bother, you know. But if, as a company, you're prepared to invest a bit of time and effort into Thinking about those things and investing a bit of time and money into it, then absolutely, because I you know, the chances of your competitors Doing that are probably quite small.

Speaker 3:

And what kind of benefits can businesses expect to get from a podcast? Is it similar to an individual you know, brand awareness lead, general. Is there other benefits as well?

Speaker 1:

I Think they're the main things. I think a lot of it is brand awareness and it's to do with reputation. If you go back to PR, having a podcast is all about positioning really. So if I'm listening to your podcast, I am getting a perspective of you. Oh God, you know you, you, you was yeah, absolutely you. So you as an individual, but you as a company, I get a feeling for you right. If I listen to you every week or two weeks over time, I am, I am far more likely, when I have a Requirement for whatever it is you offer, to come to you than your competitors. I see podcasting as Almost like warming up your audience, it's credibility building, it's, you know, it's all that sort of stuff so that your front of mind when, when, when, when I need something, it's better personality as well, like because I've read.

Speaker 2:

I've got you what you were a blogger, I was a blogger and still do, and stew it.

Speaker 2:

I know, like lots of them, we've had some of them on the show and some of them are coming going to come on the show. But I think podcasting provides that extra. As Twitter did, x Provided some sort of personality to the wider long, lengthy articles, podcasting video it brings that extra level of personality and authenticity to it. So you get a feeling for that person. You think, good God, I couldn't work with willarkenden. Sadly, I've already signed a contract with himself, got to. But you know the people out there, they, they'll, they'll, they want more of this. Do you know what I mean? I totally agree with you, 100% agree with you.

Speaker 1:

You know you. You either decide you do or don't want to work with someone based on listening to podcasts. More often than not, if you do A good job, it should be. I do want to work with you. Yeah, you've been on the show.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for nice you've got you've got brilliant podcast, by the way, because I have been listening to it for a long time. If you were us, who would you? Who was the next person you'd interview on this, on this show, to hear about their biggest fuck up? Oh man, your ex boss perhaps.

Speaker 1:

Oh my god, can you imagine? I love that.

Speaker 2:

Because I take.

Speaker 1:

Oh Christ, who would I invite? I'm trying to say actually, do you know what? Who I would invite? I would invite John Brown from don't cry wolf. Do you know John, or of John?

Speaker 2:

Well, you've literally just interviewed him. Yeah, yes absolutely.

Speaker 1:

He's been on my podcast two or three times. He is one of the most erudite but funny and engaging people you will ever talk to. Seriously, I'd get him on the show next week if I could, if I was you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much for coming on, paul that was great.

Speaker 1:

We were very very welcome.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we kind of let it take its own direction, I think, and that was really good, really good.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we're gonna do a whole thing on social media strategy, but there's just not enough time. I would get you on some other time to talk about that.

Speaker 3:

What a great conversation that was. I love the interviews when we don't just talk about strategy and we actually get into people's stories. It's fascinating, isn't it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the candid guests are always the best. What a nice bloke as well. Paul's a really nice guy, Nice guy from communications, but has worked in both the SEO side, the creative side, as well as the PR side. But the real juice of today's interview, I think, with Paul was these candid. What are you laughing at? Fucking hell Juice. That's fucking lost on the flow now.

Speaker 3:

Start on the juice.

Speaker 2:

I don't want to talk about your juice, but the real interesting bit for me was when he started talking about the business that he set up in Oxford, picking the location. That was a difficult decision. They picked it, but it wasn't quite right. I literally thought he was going to talk about being an e-commerce business. That's why I thought the name, which was quite hard to say, and a pet. I'm going to have to refer back to my notes now the pet Extraordinarium.

Speaker 3:

Extraordinarium yeah.

Speaker 2:

It was quite an.

Speaker 3:

Extraordinarium story, wasn't it? He highlighted a few mistakes along the way. I can't help thinking it was partly down to the global financial crash. What an unfortunate time to be launched in the business. Perhaps he would have lasted a bit longer or been more successful had he done it five or 10 years earlier. I'm not sure. It's hard to say.

Speaker 2:

I don't think anyone. Is there ever a good time to launch a business? Yeah, If you look at now, there's people out there probably thinking of launching businesses and they're going. Oh my God, look, the economy is the worst it's ever been. Three years ago it was COVID, two years before that it's brec.

Speaker 3:

Honestly, Some of the best businesses are launched Microsoft, apple all launched in a recession. I think the first couple of years of prohibition were during a real dip in the economy. It's not necessarily going to make your business fail. It's a combination of factors.

Speaker 2:

I say invest in a downturn, because that's the time when everybody else is rescinding and pulling back. Invest. The economy is not doing as well. But for him, to be fair, and his wife, what a story. I mean having it opening a bricks and mortar store, because I do get the feeling that with e-commerce you can set up a brand, you can get it running, you can keep going and going and going and the audience can get bigger and bigger and bigger. When you're a location and you're fixed place in Oxford somewhere, you've only got, you're restricted to how many people walk outside your store, aren't you? So it doesn't matter how brilliant your brand is or how much advertising you do, there's still only the certain amount of people who, potentially, are going to walk past your store.

Speaker 3:

So it's a challenge, and self-funded business is fine. If you're a service-based business, there's limited costs. You can work at home, but the initial outlay costs on a premises on stock must have been ruinously expensive. So you can see why he was struggling for funds after the six-month mark.

Speaker 2:

I also thought it was quite interesting about him talking about difficulty working with bosses. The paternity story was quite interesting. And then, obviously, when you touched on the beauty of podcasting and how it's changed his freelance career, because he had some great tips for freelance. It is challenging to work freelance for that and people out there working on their own they'll know what I'm talking about. But the reasons behind the podcasting was really interesting as well, and he's grown his podcast to 50,000 downloads. If we get there, Blimey would be delighted.

Speaker 3:

Yes, great to speak to another podcasting advocate, isn't it? And he obviously rightly highlighted the fact that it's an incredibly effective content marketing technique, but it can and does lead to direct business as well, if you get it right. Yeah, exactly, it was good to hear multiple fuckups as well, wasn't it? I think some of our guests would just talk around one where he saw that he'd made mistake after mistake after mistake, but fascinating that he doesn't necessarily regret that period, and that's obviously led to where he is today.

Speaker 2:

Character building, I think, is what going through a tough period like that I mean anybody that's out and has a business and puts your house on the line takes a loan out you've got my full respect because you've got it. Does you have to be brave yeah, you have to be really brave to put your house on the line and risk your family and fortune and everything. And the fact that he's done that and learned from it he must have helped him build his character and he feels like he's a better marketer for that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I think if anyone's listening and they've got a similar story of failure and lessons and you're willing to talk to us in a really candid way about it, we'd love to hear from you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, always willing to hear from you guys and what's going on. So, yeah, as Will says, drop us an email or tweet us or whatever. Yeah, thank you everybody for listening this week to Social Unexceptible. Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel or subscribe to us, and you can find us on sociallyunexceptiblecouk, and Will and I will see you in two weeks.

Speaker 4:

Thank you for listening to Social Unexceptible. Please remember to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a five-star review. Don't forget to follow us on social media on Instagram, tiktok and LinkedIn at ProhibitionPR, and Twitter at SocialEUA. We would love to hear some of your career fuckups so we can share them on the show. For more information on the show, search ProhibitionPR in your search engine and click on podcasts. Until next time, please keep pushing the boundaries and embracing the socially unacceptable.

Freelancing, Marketing Mishaps, and Podcasting
PR to Creative Director & Pet Accessories
Boutique Store to E-Commerce Transition
Running a Failing Business Challenges
Challenges of Freelancing and Work-Life Balance
Freelancer Tips and Digital Demystification
The Benefits and Growth of Podcasting
Failed Business, Power of Podcasting