What was your first job after leaving school/further education?
I worked as a letting agent for 12 months from 17 to 18 years old, I was very lucky that the agency owner Vincent, encouraged me to set up my first business at 18 and became our first client, and I haven’t looked back since.
When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?
My business Outlaw Social, was founded in late 2018, after a decade in business, starting and growing businesses successfully in property, gym, and e-commerce sectors, I exited my gym business in 2017 and decided to pursue my passion of building brands, acquiring customers, and growing businesses. Outlaw Social, allows me the opportunity to work with inspirational brands on a project basis, where I can use my expertise to accelerate their growth. After 10 hard years of searching, I have finally found a sector that I absolutely love, and this passion runs through my whole business.
What did you find most challenging at the beginning?
So our whole ethos is about having honest and direct conversations with businesses that allow us to match up business objectives with marketing strategies, plotting a clear path to growth and ROI. With no “academic” marketing experience, our growth curve has been slightly slower than perhaps a career professional who sets up their own gig, however this has actually worked in our favour because it has allowed us to take our time to comfortably build lasting relationships with a smaller number of great clients. And this eagerness to overdeliver and hold our word in the highest regard is allowing us to start making our mark in the Scottish marketing scene.
Who did you ask for advice & why did you choose them?
I have had a few trusted business advisors and mentors over the years. Tim Cocking, of Brightcare is a good friend, and is always around to provide direct feedback when I need it most. Tim 5 years older than me, and the trajectory that his business growth has taken, is a daily inspiration to me. There are really too many people to mention, all of whom have their own inspiring stories. Shaf Rasul is always available on the phone when I need to chat, Andrew Morrison recently offered his time to mentor me, and I have various friends all in the trenches doing great work, which acts as a pick me up when you feel like you are all alone.
How did you fund your business?
I self- funded the business at the outset and have taken a small growth loan from DSL business finance, who were incredibly helpful.
What would you do differently now looking back?
Absolutely nothing, I have made many mistakes, and have had many failures. These have all played a part in developing me into the person and businessman that I am today. I think it is important to fully own the decisions that you make, and be kind to yourself along the way. We are all human aren’t we?
What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?
Sheer determination and integrity. After running by first business for 5 years, a bad client debt forced me to liquidate the company at 23 years old. Being so young, the personally guaranteed debt I had, was crippling ad effected all areas of my life, but I managed to re kindle the entrepreneurial fire in me after a while, and continued chipping away with a handful of really successful businesses. Six years later, I own a business that plays to all of my strengths, and that makes a hugely positive impact on the clients we work with. If I had thrown in the towel at any point over the past 10 years,
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Self- belief has always been a challenge. Having a failure so early on in my career, further accentuated this. I have being doing self-work on self-belief, leadership, fitness, mindfulness, gratitude and so much more for a good 5 years now and this has really helped me to realise my own potential. 5 years in to this self-development work, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface, which is exciting.
I am a big believer that your business endeavours can only grow to the ceiling of your own development as a leader, and that you need to keep raising your standards and disciplines personally, in order to let your business ventures flourish.
What are the future plans for your business?
More of the same for Outlaw Social, raising our game, developing our expertise, and continuing to over deliver for our clients are right at the top of our agenda.
I strongly believe that the marketing industry is ripe for disruption. Too many companies are focused on chargeable outputs rather than delivering outcomes for clients. There is nothing I love more than seeing the Outlaw team in a strategy session with clients, having honest conversations, setting realistic expectations, and pushing creative boundaries. The atmosphere in those meeting is electric, so more of that will keep me jumping out of bed in the morning.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?
Failure is a critical part of success. Own your failures, celebrate them, learn from them, and great things will begin to happen. Being vulnerable is the most courageous thing you can do and can become your biggest strength. Listen to Brene Brown talk about vulnerability and action it. https://binged.it/2knclac
Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.
I once was a co-founder of a business called MuscleCake, that developed high protein, freshly baked cakes that were to be delivered through your letterbox and aimed at the fitness market. To scale up our recipe for production, I spent 5 months in and out of a factory, mixing prunes and coconut oil at industrial levels to try and get the recipe right! Unfortunately we never got to market, but it was a character building experience, that really pushed me to my limits.
And finally, why did you join WeDO?
I want to connect with great people, and continue lifelong networking and learning.
If you’re interested in finding out more about WeDO Scotland membership, click HERE.