A couple of years ago I was looking for a developer to carry out some update work on a Magento website as part of a bigger SEO and digital content marketing project, that I was attempting to win. during my search, I came across a website for Online Media Direct and gave the owner, who turned out to be Garry Pickles, a call.
Garry Pickles and Online Media Direct
We met up a few days later in Lancaster, along with the third party to the deal and we all seemed to get along quite well. Ultimately I didn’t win the work, but I did find that Garry had access to a network of real live bloggers (as opposed to some kind of dodgy private blog network or PBN) that seemed quite extensive. I made a mental note to keep that resource in mind!
Life chugged on, and we didn’t have much contact for over a year as we were both busy with a variety of projects and none of my clients at that point ever seemed willing to invest in developing backlinks to their websites. Indeed, they were reluctant to even develop decent content on their own websites, that anybody would think worthwhile linking to! Funnily enough, these websites would develop great visibility locally, over a whole range of search phrases, but never really made the grade beyond the boundaries of Cumbria.
Clients Bite The Digital Content Bullet!!
Then suddenly, a couple of clients came about through another new contact, Chris Wilcox of Light Bulb Web Design. At last, there were clients who could see beyond the mere cost of the work, to develop backlinks as part of an SEO strategy. I started contacting some people in the North East who I had met through my time in 4Networking and more recently in Choice Networking. I also sent Garry an email to see if he was able to help me reach out to some of his bloggers. These writers were in a couple of different niches.
He was, and we’ve worked together on a few projects since then. While we’ve been discussing project related matters, we were also discussing ways of generating decent fresh material for our websites. It spurred me on to make an effort to restart my own blogging efforts, hence this article. I also got the impression that he was in business for a little more than cash! He’s really quite keen to encourage young people in his area into some more entrepreneurial choices!
Digital marketing & The Entrepreneurial Outlook
Garry is based down in Lancashire in an area that is in some ways very similar to Cumbria and I was curious about how he got into digital marketing after being in sales. As the conversations developed over the course of several weeks, it was clear that he shared something of the same outlook on life as myself. He had kind of drifted into the mysteries of search engine optimisation like myself, but wasn’t just focussed on money, he genuinely seemed to want to put something back into the community where lives and works.
We ended up attempt an interview online to produce a post for this blog with video 😉 … though the honest truth is that it was a YouTube LiveStream fail! Andrew & Pete would be holding their Atomic heads in their Atomic hands after our little effort… old men and technology!
The Interview That Bombed! 🙂
OK the fancy pants video interview bombed, but we did chew the fat for a while and get the answers to the questions I’d come up with!
Ray: (Questions in an Essex / irish accent!) What got you into running your own business instead of just getting a J.O.B?
Garry: (Answers in a gruff Lancashire accent!) I found the opportunities locally where I live were quite limited you could find a job, but you couldn’t earn the £30,000 plus that I thought was what I would need.
Ray: What was it that made you go digital instead of some other more traditional form of business?
Garry: It was simply down to the fact I started a summer job in internet marketing sales and the demand was there.
Ray: Did you ever actually make any money in those first years?
Garry: Yes… sure, I have always done really well! I’ve managed to travel and achieve everything I set out to achieve.
Ray: Did your choice mean that you spend your days stuck in a bedroom office… a bit like a teenage games nerd?
Garry: No, not really! You are based in an office many times and often behind the computer but I wouldn’t describe it like that. More focussed online when I was working and then plenty of time away from the computer.
Ray: Did you find that you needed to hire lots of people to work for you? Wasn’t that a nightmare to organise?
Garry: I tried to find sales people locally, but it’s not been easy, so we have ventured out to people in other areas and even other countries! That’s the beauty of the internet business and working with people online, you aren’t just tied to a particular place.
Ray: How do you think that your experience is actually going to mean anything to some young person, who maybe feels stuck – even trapped – in their situation in Cumbria or Lancashire, with no obvious or apparent way of breaking out?
Garry: I would say the Internet gives people, particularly in remote areas of the country the opportunity to reach beyond their local boundaries. It gives people that crucial ability to communicate with people from totally different walks of life, which is crucial if you’re going to grow a business. Online services is a great route for a young person looking to start their own company. Its a great opportunity for anyone looking to start something that doesn’t require a great deal of investment. I would say the biggest key to my success has been my telephone sales experience and ability… if you can get that right you have a really good chance of success.
As for our digital video techniques… well it’s back to the drawing board and Andrew & Pete’s new tutorials 🙂
As comically incontinent 😉 as our first attempt at video interview was, the fact is simple, if a young person’s got an idea and wants to roll with it, digital content marketing is still an amazingly good leveller! It’s still great for enabling a creative individual to break out from a village near Preston or even a farmyard on t’fells and make an impact! Garry couldn’t see a way of breaking into the level of income he wanted, around his stamping ground! But he didn’t want to wander the world insearch of fortune, like my father: who was one of Ireland’s original “Wild Geese”!
By learning, practising and developing his sales skills then transferring them to his own digital marketing business, he was able to generate a very comfortable income! This has allowed him to travel widely on holidays and even get invited to Google central in California!