When raising a family proved incompatible with life in Thailand, Mark moved back to the UK and founded a digital marketing agency with an ambitious growth target.
What is it the company does?
My Social Agency are an integrated digital marketing agency who stand out in a crowded industry by working in an agile way. This means we are able to test multiple approaches to a project in a short space of time in a bid to find the most profitable one for our client. We work with some very well-known brands including Hunters Property Group, Robert Half, KLM and Ciroc, delivering measurable results and return on investment.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As managing director of My Social Agency, I have an overall responsibility to ensure that the company is going in the right direction, that staff and clients are happy and to bring in new clients.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I previously worked in advertising for a newspaper group in Leeds, and that’s where I first noticed the shift from traditional advertising to digital. From this, I sought a change in career and worked for Stuart Hirst Ltd, the oldest independent advertising agency in the UK. There I became heavily involved in the digital side of the business but eventually decided I wanted to experience a different culture. From there, I moved to Thailand and set up as a freelance digital consultant. However, this wasn’t sustainable over a long period of time, especially not as I wanted to bring up a family, and I moved back to the UK and set up My Social Agency.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
In my opinion, a great leader is someone who leads by example, who can motivate a team and someone who is able to earn respect, not just immediately command it. A great leader is also versatile and can guide and direct others to secure the best possible outcome with the task in hand.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
There are lots of challenges running an agency, from ensuring that the business is profitable and bringing in new clients, to making sure that the staff are happy and are at their most productive. However, the biggest challenge I currently face is the work life balance. My family is really important to me, but I can get caught up in work, especially if there are meetings or a big project deadline which needs to be met. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
At My Social Agency, we promote a relaxed culture as the well-being of my staff as well as my own is incredibly important to me. Our staff get a free monthly massage and I’m always front of the queue! I have also tried meditation which really helps me unwind and focus on the next task.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I always thought I would become a full time DJ or that I would maybe end up with a trade such as plumbing.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
One of my main pet hates in the work place is a lack of attention to detail. One of our core values at My Social Agency is that we have excellent attention to detail and that we take pride in our work, and so when I find mistakes I have to correct it straight away. I know mistakes can happen but in my mind, there’s a difference between a mistake and carelessness.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Our current ambition is to see five times the growth over the next five years, and we’re currently well on the way to doing that. We recently announced a quadruple win of clients which sets us up nicely to achieving 100% year-on-year growth when we announce our figures in the Autumn.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
I would advise aspiring business leaders to not rush into decision making. Ensure that everything you do is for a reason, and that you are making the right decisions by getting another opinion, for example by asking your team. If you do get it wrong, don’t be afraid to admit it.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Looking back, I wish someone had taught me how to recruit! When I first started out I found it really difficult to recruit the right staff to the business to ensure growth and continued success. I’m a lot better at it now as I’ve developed a strategy on which traits to look for in a person at interview stage and the types of questions which should be asked.
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