Don’t be threatened by not knowing something, you can learn anything you want to.
Dan is co-founder and director of Dandy Marketing, a digital marketing agency specialising in SEO, PPC and Paid Social Advertising for businesses of all shapes and sizes across the UK and beyond.
Where did the idea for Dandy Marketing come from?
I worked in the digital marketing industry in-house for some big UK brands for a couple of years so I was used to dealing with agencies on a daily basis.
The idea of “could I do this” was always in the back of my head. So, when I was lucky enough to work with someone who had the same idea and fuel those underlying ambitions, one day we just decided to take the plunge and Dandy was born over lunch in our canteen.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day involves lots of emails between prospects, clients and our team and a lot of analysis to help us make decisions that should benefit clients. Creating content, be it blogs or social media posts, also takes a portion of my time.
I always try and get my emails out of the way first thing in the morning. I’m an early starter so most emails will be in client’s inboxes before they get into work. This then gives me time to focus on work without interruption. Then I’ll have another check in the afternoon and reply to any others. I find splitting it out like this allows me to focus better on actually doing the work that will keep our clients happy.
We try to plan out all the fundamental tasks we wish to complete for clients the month before, we schedule this all into Asana for every client we have so we know exactly what needs to be done and by when.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I try to write every idea I have down for a client, even if its only half an idea. We always try and have brain storming sessions and this is where writing down everything comes down very handy. Half an idea can help spark another or complete someone else’s.
Being in constant contact with the team always helps, we operate remotely but with Google Chat and Hangouts we can get in touch with whoever we need instantly. We normally create a Google Sheet for each client with one tab idea formulation and another for examples of other brands campaigns we liked that we can try and learn from or use as inspiration.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Chatbots. They are a great, quick and easy way to interact with customers and its reported that Chatbots will power 85% of customer service by 2020.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Creating momentum. I’ve found this to be the best way to get the most out of myself and my time. I guess it simply comes down to just getting stuff done. We all have those tasks we keep putting off, or that we are just simply reluctant to do. Creating momentum will almost create a snowball effect of getting tasks done.
I try and prioritise small tasks or those tasks I will enjoy and use the feeling of accomplishment to immediately start the next.
When you have that feeling of just wanting to hit the ground running try and figure out what made you get to that point and recreate it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be threatened by not knowing something, you can learn anything you want to. I remember certain times where I would try something once, not be good at it, and never try it again.
Setting up Dandy, dealing with clients and putting myself in situations I’ve never been in before have all helped me realise you will always have room to grow. You will make mistakes, you won’t know everything, but you attack it and stick at it and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
I’d probably also tell myself that not every adult really knows what they are doing even though they look like they do.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Don’t bother with social media unless you can properly invest in it.
Paid social is easy to justify as you can get in front of the right people with the right message with an offer and you’ll likely get some sales. But the organic side of things, that Facebook and Instagram have slowly been killing, that brands feel they “have” to do doesn’t work for the large majority of smaller organisations.
If you want to do social media be willing to properly invest in it and take risks with your brand. Otherwise, you’ll just be another company simply posting boring stuff hoping for 5 likes on your post, 3 of which will properly be members of staff.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Get out of your own head. I think one of the best things I do that refreshes me and clears any doubts or anxiety is go to the gym or for a run. It’s an hour of the day where all client worries, self-doubt, stress just vanishes. All I have to focus on is lifting some heavy stuff.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Networking. As a new agency, with no contacts or real reputation in the industry why should anyone trust you. We had some success with Google Ads, but networking and actually meeting people face to face so they can see your passion and expertise first hand has converted a lot better for us. Plus, it’s a great skill to have and build upon, you’ll never know when someone in your network could refer you.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I guess one of the failures we encounter the most is being told “no” by prospects or from pitches. It can be disheartening to hear they won’t be working with you, especially after you’ve put the time and effort into researching and putting together a proposal. At the start this was especially tricky as it fuels those small self-doubts you have.
I think the main thing I did to overcome this was changing my mindset and dealing with the “no thanks” in a different way. Not taking it personally for one or as a sign they didn’t think we were good enough.
If a potential client says no, its simply “okay, thanks for the opportunity” and onto the next one. Knowing your worth and the difference you can make within a business will help make those that tell you no feel like they are the ones missing out.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A SEO tool review website, the industry is worth a reported $80bn. I was thinking of creating a website that would let real users review the software, split by specific type of tools for backlinks, rank tracking etc.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Going to a music festival in Spain, this was with my co-founder as well. So, it was good for us both to take a few days off get some much-needed sun and recharge. With the benefit of operating remotely we took our laptops and did a bit of work here and there, and even won a client via a Google Hangout.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Ahrefs. There are other tools like this out there but this one is my favourite by far. This helps me generate content ideas as I can see what’s working and trending around current topics.
It also allows me to analyse a client’s competitors websites and see what’s working for them, what type of content they are creating, what keywords are driving the most traffic for the. All so I can try and steal it from them.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mindset – Changing The Way You Think To Fulfil Your Potential by Carol Dweck.
This book had a lot to do with what I would tell my younger self. I’ve got a print out of the different mindsets above my desk. The book showed real-life examples of good and bad mindsets and made me think of all the things I gave up on growing up, and how I won’t do that anymore.
It’s helped me realise that I can always improve, to embrace challenges and to see effort as the path to mastery.
What is your favorite quote?
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernhard Shaw
- Consistent effort is the path to mastering anything, don’t give up if it doesn’t go to plan the first time.
- Actively try and create momentum and you will feel unstoppable.
- Get out of your head every now and then, blow off some steam. Go for a run or have a workout.