Taking our business Q&A this week is Scott Brant, director at Brighouse-based digital marketing agency, Vizulate Digital.
Why did you start your business in the first place?: I’d worked in a number of different marketing and PR roles, both in-house for companies, as a freelancer, and also in agencies. I liked the freelance and agency work as it was good to adapt my skills and expertise to different industries and sectors. No two days were ever the same, or rarely. I liked the agency life but didn’t want to keep jumping around agencies so I decided, probably naively, to start my own digital marketing agency. I knew it wouldn’t be easy – and that’s certainly been the case, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
What is your business motto?: Have a plan B. Always.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?: You’ve got to commit to it 100 per cent and be invested in it. However, try not to let it take over your life. That’s a really hard balance to strike and I don’t know many who have managed to achieve it! You’ll probably fail in that aspect like I do.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business?: Getting clients on day one. Most who start their own business in an industry like this can tap into previous customers/clients from their old job that they gave up to start the business – depending on the contracts in place with your previous employer. We had nothing, so we’ve really had to work hard to get the business in and earn the reputation I believe we have today as a digital marketing agency that gets real tangible, finical results for our clients.
What do you enjoy most about being self-employed?: The flexibility. My only daughter was born six months after I started the business and I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with her than I might have had I had a salaried job with set hours. For example I take her to school 2 days a week, and I’m able to take time off to go to her sports days and special assemblies. Of course it works both ways, so any time I have off for these things I make up for on an evening or a weekend when things are a little quieter at home.
What do you enjoy least about being self-employed?: It’s probably a really common answer but you never really switch off and I find it really hard to relax and do nothing. The world of digital means marketing is now 24/7. When I go on holiday I always put my out of office on, but I really don’t know why as I reply to 90 per cent of them! However, I believe that’s why our clients like working with us as we genuinely care about their businesses.
Which business figure do you most admire and why?: There are a number of famous business figures that admire. I follow a lot of them on Instagram and Twitter, such as Neil Patel, Mark Zuckerberg, Simon Sinek and Elon Musk. I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do or say but I take it all in and form my own opinions. However, I think what most of these figures would probably say themselves is that they tried to do things their own way, and that’s probably a large part of what made them successful.
What achievement in your career are you most proud of?: I saw a quote from an Australian entrepreneur the other day that read ‘We spend too much time celebrating ‘start ups’ and not enough time celebrating the ‘Keep Goings’. I really identified with this as people only ever see the end result or the rewards, not the hard work and effort that goes into just keeping a business profitable, let alone successful. I think that’s my biggest achievement to date, still being here 5 years after I started when so many other start-ups fail long before this.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?: Ha ha! Well if I’m being true to what I said above then really it would be to simply still be here in another five years, but we’re ambitious and we want to grow. Over the last two years in particular we’ve started working with bigger businesses as our reputation has grown and if we can continue to do that then the future looks bright. We’d like to move to larger, nicer offices in the next 6-12 months, and if we continue to grow as we’d like then it would be great to expand our team from 6 to 10 people.