Get staff you can trust, and delegate where possible.
James Taylor is the director of Dispense Digital, a white label digital marketing agency based in Manchester, UK.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I started Dispense Digital off the back of my business as a freelance SEO. After getting numerous request for white label support from large digital agencies, I decided to create a team of remote freelancers (and myself) to provide the ad-hoc support that agencies are looking for.
Plus, the fact that the team is remote means that we’re not having to pay for an office or anything like that. This keeps costs as low as possible for our clients, so they can resell our white label services and make a nice profit!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It all starts with…. coffee! I need that morning fix. Usually I will then work out, either head to the gym or throw a few kettlebells around. It’s this time that wakes me up, gets me out of my head and in the right frame of mind to start the day.
I will then begin my working day, starting with checking emails, catching up with my remote team, and often working on projects myself (I can’t keep myself away from technical audits). I will usually work until around 7PM, then I’ll wind down by playing guitar, or I might do another workout too.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I jump straight in. I’ve learnt to not live a life of regret, plus, what’s the worse that can happen? I take calculated risks on my ideas, then go all in. Whether that’s an affiliate site, a new service to be offered at Dispense Digital, or even a hobby, the idea is there, the spark just needs to be ignited.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In SEO and digital marketing, it has to be the current trend of mobile optimisation. With Google announcing their Mobile-First Index as live, I’m loving all of the articles and news on optimising your site for a mobile index. It’s interesting stuff, and also allows us to be up to date and prepared at all times.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Working out. If you don’t have a form of exercise to leave your headspace, it’s incredibly easy to get too overwhelmed. It’s also a great way to get rid of anxieties and worries, even if it’s just for a short period.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start yesterday, and don’t worry about failures. If you do fail, you learn. You will never truly fail in the sense that an idea you pursued was a waste of time, you will always learn.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Page Speed for websites is vital. Many clients get caught up on how a site looks or how content reads (which is all important), but page speed is a core ranking factor and must be taken seriously.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I constantly ask for feedback from our clients, as this is the best way for Dispense Digital to grow.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I have to say it’s been finding the right people. As we are a remote agency, I have to know the staff incredibly well before I can take them on. All staff at Dispense are either heads of departments at other agencies and work for ourselves freelance, or have their own small operations too. You have to encourage that as, especially in digital marketing, doing is the best way to lean and grow.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When things haven’t gone right for me, it’s usually because I took on too much work and did not delegate. Get staff you can trust, and delegate where possible.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It may sound obvious to the digital marketers out there but starting an affiliate site is a great way to earn side income and also it looks amazing on your CV. Psst… A great niche to start on is Sleep and Wellbeing.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A new pillow…. Absolutely life changing! We spend so much time in our beds, better to invest in quality pillows!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Screaming Frog. It helps me rapidly crawl clients’ websites to look at title tags, meta descriptions, and general top-level errors. A great starting point for any technical website audit.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Lucifer Principle. You learn that all life is inherently geared towards war, right down to the bacteria inside of us. This helps in business as it shows how strong emotional bonds and getting a client to your ‘side’ is, and how you can help them win their professional and personal ‘war’.
What is your favorite quote?
If you’re walking on ice you might as well dance – Joey Diaz
- Start Yesterday and don’t live a life of regrets
- Invest in a good pillow
- Remember to have fun and not take things too seriously
- Find the right people you can trust
- Exercise and practice a form of mediation
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.