Some entrepreneurs know from a young age that they want to work for themselves; this was certainly the case for Andrew Trotman, who founded his first business as an 11-year-old. Now, he and his co-founders are growing their social media marketing company, It's Gone Viral, and looking forward to competing with the UK's biggest marketing players.
What is it the company does?
We are a social media marketing company with dedicated and engaged communities across different social platforms. We produce and distribute original content as well as working with brands to deliver innovative and effective video marketing campaigns. With high barriers to entry within the social media landscape, it has taken us years of hard work to develop a digital voice that people trust and respond to.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As a relatively small business, my role as MD extends well beyond just managing the overall performance and direction of the business. I like the variety and challenges that delivers. My working day can see me coming up with our own social media strategy to build and engage our communities, overseeing our content team including delivering on the key objectives and targets, interviewing potential new staff members and conducting one to ones with current staff members as well as managing campaigns for our clients on platforms such as Facebook.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
My early life was very much a cliché; I was a young entrepreneur, starting my first venture as an 11-year-old creating a very basic e-commerce site in my bedroom. Fast forward 10 years, and I graduated university with a First Class Honours degree in business management with marketing, but - more importantly - I left education having built a self-sufficient business that allowed me to continue to learn via real life business experiences. I met my co-partners of It’s Gone Viral across direct messages on Twitter, and we quickly learnt that we had a similar passion; namely to build the integrated social media marketing company that we run today.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I think great leaders have numerous facets but the number one thing for me is championing communication. A team can’t truly believe in a business if the directors don’t share their passion for it. At It’s Gone Viral we want everyone to have a stake in what we are trying to achieve so making them feel part of our journey is non-negotiable. Also, a good leader should never pass the buck. Delegation is great, but being able to take responsibility for a problem, and then finding a solution with a calm head, is key.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The single biggest challenge so far has been up-scaling so we are able to reach more brands that are prepared to be open-minded and forward-thinking with their digital strategies.Ours is a constantly evolving sector so we need to be developing new ways to engage and really showcase what we do.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I’m a keen rugby player and gym goer. Exercise forces me to put my phone down and clear my mind. With social media being a 24-hour-a-day job, giving myself time where my brain can actually switch off helps me to stay focused and motivated.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was a very independent child and I knew from an early age that I loved making money so I was constantly looking out for opportunities; I always had some crazy scheme on the go. I had no idea what an “entrepreneur” was back then but what I did know is that I never wanted to work for somebody else! That still drives my passion for entrepreneurship.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
People who know me well will know that I like to be tidy, so my co-founder Ryan’s desk sends me into a nervous breakdown if I look at it for too long!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
I would love to see the business competing with some of the largest marketing companies - both in the UK and globally. We take great pride in producing innovative campaigns that deliver tangible and commercial results and I can’t wait to see who we work with in the future.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Like I said, communication with your team is so important, so spend time getting to know the people who make up your company. That doesn’t mean the mechanics of the role they do, but their thoughts and aspirations. If you treat them as individuals, respect them and inspire them, they will have far more of an affinity to the company’s values and objectives. The ultimate result is a sense of loyalty and greater productivity.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
I wish that somebody had told me not to fear failure and to trust my gut. I have always loved the challenge of business and it has felt more like a hobby than work for a lot of the time. However, I wish I had more confidence in the early days as I’m now able to make decisions quickly which is vital in an industry that is so fast-moving.
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