James Reynolds is a top Internet Marketer and Business Strategist. He’s an Englishman living and working in Dubai. Here’s an insight into how he runs his successful businesses.
1. When did you realise you wanted to start your own business?
I’ve always been very aware that as the owner of business you decide the terms. My father was a freelance copywriter, he worked from home and on passion projects, had time for me, my sister and his animals and lived an enriched life. I grew up knowing that life and work are one and the same if you find your passion and work out how to build a business around it.
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
I got started passionately building someone else’s business. Post school I joined a husband and wife photography outfit as the photographers assistant, which was great as I wanted to become a photographer. My day to day errands were carrying photography kit, holding reflectors, framing photo’s, real non-glamorous stuff. Rather than learning photography I soon found my passion in business and marketing. Given free reign by the owners I learned direct response copywriting, negotiation, sales and other entrepreneurial skills and applied what I learned to their business. Over the course of 9 years (with a little help) I built that business to multiple millions and a team of over 50.
After 10 years of loyal service, I was given a directorship. Unfortunately though soon after things turned sour and I was forced out the business. I left under bad terms. I was owed $100,000 through a combination of 3 months non paid salary and a non-paid bonus and had accrued $20,000 in credit card debt. With no real plan for what’s next and the very real possibility of jail or deportation if I did anything as much as bounce a cheque in Dubai I had to get to work.
As an entrepreneur the skill you have got to master most is the skill to hustle. Knowing I had no choice but to make things work, somehow with pure hard work and perseverance I made it through those first few months on my own. I lost 2 properties, I borrowed from friends but luckily with great advice from those who had done it already, and with 10 years of skill acquired building someone else’s business I was able to get started a little digital marketing business that soon took off.
Succeeding with the worst possible start has certainly given me the belief that whatever hurdles come up, with a bit of hard work and hustle they can all be overcome.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
That small digital marketing business has grown in to two good sized search engine marketing agencies providing search engine optimisation and Google Adwords pay-per-click. These two services we provide to our clients are also our most successful way of getting clients.
Our sales are 100% in bound meaning we don’t go out to get clients and we don’t employ sales people. Instead we put our energies in to content marketing, SEO and Google Adwords so that when prospects are looking for what we offer, we are the ones they invariably find. Secondly we offer our services to other agencies in a white labelled arrangement. These agencies utilise our services and resell it as their own, which is great for us as we can access many end customers with few relationships.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
All our services are continuity services (clients pay every month) and we have a minimum term sufficient to get the customer the result they want. There are no fancy tactics to keep customers beyond that term other than to continually deliver great results. It is easy for us when that is the singular focus. Clients usually stay a long time.
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
No really. Payment is monthly in advance and most of our customers pay by credit card subscription. As long as their payment goes through each month we continue working until they say stop.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
I get up before 7am and drive to the gym. I will listen to an audio book or podcast in the car and I get set for the day. After an hour in the gym I drive home and eat a healthy breakfast which might be a bowl of porridge and fresh vegetable juice. My first action is to get systems set up for the day. I use checklists to double check things like Live Chat and telephone systems are on and working then I’ll check my team’s reports for the day prior. At 10.47am we have a virtual huddle where all team members meet online and discuss their “what’s up” for the day.
Following that and either side of lunch I have 2 blocks of work time where I’ll be doing something to advance the business. It could be creating content, planning or working with the team to better our processes. Towards the end of my day I’ll do more low intensity work like syndicating content, answering emails and connecting with others. In the evening I’ll wind down by reading or watching a movie.
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at Business Unleashed?
The purpose of a business is to attract and maintain a customer. I love that you asked “how do you get clients to stay with you?” because as a business if you can master that then growth becomes easy. If Business Unleashed readers have not done so already they should find something that they can offer customers as a recurring continuity service or program. Then they should focus intently on the customer you already have and deliver all the value they can with a lifetime customer mindset.