Business: Connect Labs
What: We're an inbound marketing agency with a focus on enabling business growth via digital strategy, website design, sales and marketing automation.
What was the catalyst for you launching your business?
I think there’s a lot to be desired with the way that agencies work and promote their services.
I was at Google, after which I moved to a startup and I realised very quickly that there are knowledge gaps in the way marketing is done, and that some digital marketing agencies really are out to get you. For example, they make SEO sound like it’s going to be the end of the world, like you’ll need to beat the leprechauns and find that pot of gold behind a rainbow to fund all of it. It’s just not true! Marketing is for people. Technology is for people. If people don’t understand and businesses are scared of digital growth, it’s because they don’t know any better.
Further more, inbound marketing is less known in APAC when compared to the rest of the world. I believe this way of marketing makes the web a better place by creating marketing that people love. You don’t market to a B2B or B2C audience, you market to people and buyer personas. There was a gap, and a possible first movers advantage. I knew that we could create client impact in ways that other inbound marketing agencies aren’t – or won’t.
What do you love most about what you do now?
The people in the business – growing a team.
People management has always been my favourite thing. Helping people find the right place for them that merges their passion and the job to be done, makes me come to work everyday with a smile. I love mapping industry and education too, so we’ve got an internship program with the University of Melbourne. Our first lot of interns brought a fresh perspective to business and marketing!
People in the business just make my world go around – communication, culture and commitment drives what I do at work everyday.
Describe the biggest setback you faced when establishing your business? How did it affect you and how did you push through?
Finding my ideal client and working with businesses who are so large that they don’t have proper structure internally and are therefore very difficult to work with. Client impact is core to what we do and we can’t create that impact if we spend most of our time trying to solve stakeholder communication issues.
And of course, getting financially stable when starting out is key – we achieved that to some extent, but there’s miles to go before we sleep. As I started out I moved to a non-project based marketing model. Marketing anyway is meant to be measurable, and the basis of it is mostly done over a definite period of time like a quarter, 6-months or 12 months. So that’s the basis of delivery.
Another very important thing for me was sleep. Arianna Huffington said it best. I struggled to sleep well with my mind floating around a whole lot of ideas all the time. Mindfulness has become very important to me. Headspace, a little walk with a song that means something or watching something green for a minute has really helped me be present. Creating a sleeping ritual to fall asleep has also really helped keep my thoughts at bay – dim light, no phone, a 5-minute read on my kindle and I drift off into a beautiful sleep. It takes time to get to this point, so keep at it, success will come.
Everyone has days where they feel flat or uninspired - do you have any tricks or tactics for overcoming these feelings?
I take a walk, play some music and bring some mojo back in to the day. We’re also at a cool co-working space where it’s easy to approach other entrepreneurs getting sh** done, so I often strike up a conversation that does not include Melbourne weather, but rather sticks to checking out their life – which is replete with both wins and challenges.
What is the most courageous thing you've done in business?
I told people who cared that I’ll impact their personal and professional career. The people element is so important to me, I find it inspiring and daunting that the team is growing and other people will believe and need what Connect Labs and I have to offer. This fear has formed the basis of our culture and commitment. So taking a step out of your comfort zone definitely helps!
Words of Wisdom / Personal Quote
“Get shit done. A little bit everyday and on some days make it rain.“