Take calculated risks.
Andy Halliday is an entrepreneur and CEO of Coreter, which is the holding company of two digital marketing agencies which helps small and medium-sized businesses all over the globe.
Coreter Media mainly focuses helping small and Medium size businesses with their digital marketing, while Onpage Rocks – purely is a technical and Server log auditing agency which helps a wide range of business and other agency perform bespoke audits.
This isn’t Andy’s first venture. His first venture failed mainly due to cash flow issues and was one of his worse moments in life, but getting a full-time job for a few years led Andy to find his true passion and new venture.
Now he can be found speaking at Digital Marketing conferences across the globe as well as offering his thoughts in publications like The Guardian, Virgin and many more titles.
Andy lives in Doncaster, England which is in the North of the country. When not working, Andy can often be found raising money by doing crazy events, including in 2018 jumping out of a perfectly good plane and attempting to run 100 miles in 24 hours. When he truly wants to relax he takes his wife and three young children away on holiday.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The Idea for Coreter Media came whilst working for one of the UK largest tech retail companies. I always had the biggest agencies in the UK coming into pitch for work, but these same agencies wouldn’t work with small companies because they didn’t have the budgets.
So while one day speaking with one of my best friends who was struggling to get his website to rank and not being able to afford the huge fee’s that a traditional agency wanted to charge him, I decided to help and launch the agency – with the aim. To help small and medium-size businesses with their digital marketing.
In fact, when a client gets too big, we now encourage them to either take the account in-house or go with a larger agency.
We want to stay helping the small and medium-size companies out there.
I often speak at conferences and usually, the talks are on technical or server log auditing, then last year I kept getting request purely to do the technical auditing but not the work or help with content or link building.
So I decided to launch the onpage.rocks which are purely a technical and server log auditing agency. The great thing about this is that we can do white labelling for other agencies. In fact, the majority of our customers are other agencies.
The first idea came about because I saw a gap in the market and was a bit annoyed, the other opportunity came to us.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day – wow, I wish I had a typical day.
The morning usually starts pretty early (disadvantages of having three young children, never a chance of a lie in). This time I spend checking emails, working on that days to do list.
Checking Facebook groups whether that’s my own or other’s and seeing if I can help someone with their technical questions.
Prior to getting into Digital marketing, I was a data analyst so I have kept quite a few of the skills, so a lot of our reporting is automated. So I have dashboards built for a wide number of different metrics.
I can check them and see if is there anything which jumps out at me as something I need to address/ fix/dig deeper into.
The rest of the day is then dependent on the to-do list/client meetings / further analysis.
I try and finish around 4/4: 30 pm every day so I am home by 5 pm so we can have a meal as a family, spend a few hours with the kids before they go to bed.
Once they are in bed, its either go out for a run (I am an ultra runner – so spend a lot of time running, but this gives me a clear head to think and some of my best ideas have come during running), spend time with the wife or maybe do some work.
I try not to work past 10 pm as I find it affects my sleep and the next day’s productivity.
How do you bring ideas to life?
This is quite easy, I am very much a believer in getting it live and see what happens, the product idea doesn’t have to be complete or the website even finished, get it live and get some feedback and evolve as you go.
I hear so many stories from people who have great ideas but spend so long thinking about them that they never get them live. I probably am too much on the opposite end and maybe I should do more research before putting it live, but I am a firm believer in move fast and failing fast. If it’s not working, scrape it but everything in the business is about, win, learn, change.
So long as we learn something then I am happy we tried it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The one trend that excites me is that for years and years the SEO community have been saying to rank its all about links and content and this was true, but I have always been a big advocate of getting the technical right to help with the content and outreach.
In the last 12-18 months, there has been a big shift towards more people thinking like this which has offered more opportunities.
When I was doing server log analysis 6/7 years ago it wasn’t a done subject and meant I had to do a lot of testing and learning to figure it out.
While there is a lot more info out there now, I am very confident talking about the subject matter as I have been doing it for so long.
Non-work related would be driverless cars, I love exploring the UK and further afield, but driving is a pain. Now if I could just jump in the car and let that get me to my destination I would so much happier and productive, I could check emails/ work/answer calls all instead of driving.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Holiday’s and short breaks away. Just getting away with the family and truly relaxing. I have just spent a week away with the family and come back so refreshed and motivated.
Without the breaks, I think I would burn out and not be half as productive.
So getting the work/life balance right is so important and overlooked.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Either one of two things and I am not sure which one. Start younger while at school / university when you have no responsibilities so if I failed it wouldn’t matter I would have got a valuable lesson (probably better than my degree) or I would say before starting an agency go and work in one for one to two years so you can find out more about running an agency, what’s involved etc.
The first 12 -18 months was so stressful trying to figure everything out, this can apply to any industry you want to get involved in, go and work in that industry first if you get a chance.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Even sports stars and well-paid people can have the same issues and stresses as ordinary folk.
I hear so many people moaning, that footballers complain that they can’t play three games in a week. They always say well there on £300k a week surely they can play three games in a week – what they don’t realise is money doesn’t make them superhuman and they still need the recovery time between games to be at their best.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take calculated risks.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Reading Gary Vaynerchuk first book and more recently second book and realised I am the brand and as well as growing the agency I need to be the face of the business.
That’s why I got into conference speaking, doing videos on my site.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My first business failed. It hurt so bad having to quit the business and get a full time job, but it also taught me so many lessons, actually it was probably more useful than my degree. Yes it was hurt me, took me a while to get over it, but it was probably the best business lesson ever.
I don’t think this business would be as successful without the first failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Social Media manager for local businesses, tney usually don’t have time / knowledge of how to run a successful campaign.
Reach out to local businesses and offer your skills.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought the new Macbook Pro and while that was more than $100, the adaptors have been a life saver.
A spare in the office and a spare in the bag for client meetings in case I forget my usual adaptors.
Nothing more embarassing than pitching to a client and you can’t get it onto their screen,
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google Sheets / DataStudio
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
This is difficult, to just pick one.
But I can narrow it down to two:
1. 4 Hour Work Week
2. Gary Vaynerchuk – Crush It, then followed by Crushing It.
Ok thats three – but they are three which I would highly recommend it.
What is your favorite quote?
My own quote – “you wouldn’t build a million dollar house on quick sand, so don’t build a million dollar website on poor foundations” – its all about sorting out technical SEO.
One I have on my wall: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
– Even if your business fails – never give up. Go away and recharge your batteries and try again.
– Read the three books – they will change the way you think / operate
– Be open to risk, everything you do in life is a risk, so do the maths and be prepared to take calculated risks
– Make sure you take time away from your business to recharge and spend time with the people you love
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.