Simon Wadsworth is an internet entrepreneur and expert in online reputation management.
An authority on digital marketing, he’s known well for his ability to design effective and long-term solutions to issues faced by global organisations in today’s digital age. As a key spokesperson in the industry, Simon regularly appears in marketing and business press. He founded Igniyte in 2009, building it into a leading online reputation management company, working with companies, brands and high-profile individuals to help them achieve a positive presence online.
Simon also runs popular reputation blog
A graduate in BSC Economics and MSC Computing from the University of Bradford, Simon established award-winning internet design agency, Brand New Media, in 1994. The business advised companies on how the emerging internet market would affect them. By 2000, the company had grown to include more than 40 staff and a global client base including Heinz, Procter and Gamble and Tesco.
Simon sold Brand New Media to French PLC Fi System in 2000, later creating Swamp, one of the most well-known digital agencies in the UK. In 2005, Simon was awarded the Leeds Media Profile Award, recognising his contribution to raising the profile of Leeds as a thriving and creative centre for media, marketing and e-business industries.
In 2006, Simon sold Swamp to Brahm (now Brass agency) –the largest independent marketing agency outside of London, before founding Igniyte.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Igniyte began life as an e-commerce company. I had created agencies before but was looking to do something different. Then we were asked to do online reputation work by someone out of the blue. We researched it, devised a methodology and over the space of nine months implemented it for them. We were able to achieve some good success for the client. After that we realised that lots of our other clients needed a similar service. The growth of online life was making it vital to have a strong online reputation so we pulled together a team of experts – a combination of SEO, PR and technical colleagues – and became specialists.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A lot of our clients come to us because they need urgent help to tackle a reputation crisis. So my main focus is dealing with these inbound leads and trying to respond in a timely manner. I keep my to do list as short as possible by turning round proposals and contracts quickly – usually within same day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have a tried and tested technique which is to draw them out on a big sheet of paper! It makes it easier to visualise and plan!
What’s one trend that excites you?
We work in a fast-moving industry so there are always new trends to work with and respond to. At the moment the backlash against the social media giants and Google – in terms of the way they have approached data privacy – has been really fascinating. It will be interesting to see how they continue to respond to users’ concerns.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Like a lot of entrepreneurs, the problem I always encounter is I have lots of ideas on lots of things most of the time but a lot of them are not feasible or possible. What I’ve learnt is that it’s a real skill to filter your ideas; pushing out those that won’t work or you can’t being to life and prioritising the ones that have a chance.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more ruthless!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That Anthony Joshua is a good boxer!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
It’s very easy to be blinkered or to work in a bubble. I think it’s important to seek and take advice on a regular basis from people you trust that aren’t in your business who can see things clearly from an outside in perspective.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Making the business famous means leads come to you. From the very start we invested in PR and content to make that work for us.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The list is endless! If I had to pick one I’d say not looking at the bigger picture often enough, getting caught up in the day to day. Having regular sessions out of the office to step back helps keep a sense of perspective.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Ignore perceived wisdom about how to get you or your business a profile online and concentrate solely on becoming an expert in your field and reinforcing that with thought leadership online.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
On CBD tablets. All my aches and pains have just about gone!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Moz – I know it’s a fairly nerdy tool, but it tells me what I need to know to keep on top of my projects – I use it everyday to track the performance of sites and projects.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer for two reasons:
1) I defy you to put it down
2) your problems will all of a sudden seem trivial.