Personal Brand AMA With Gary Gumbleton

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today, we have Gary Gumbleton. Gary, welcome.

Thank you very much, Thomas. Thanks for having me.

Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Yeah. So like I said, my name is Gary Gumbleton. Yes, that is a real name. I am the founder and creative director of Capital Content and we are a digital agency. We focus on social first storytelling. Right? Were we? We use video content is the main medium. But what kind of sets us apart is that we’re a mixture of like sales and marketing people were not just a bunch of millennials that know how to do a cool time lapse. We actually know how to achieve objectives using video content. Specifically, video content being the biggest thing at the moment. You know, specifically in a fingers crossed post covid era. We want to be able to build trust with our consumer or with our customer because we can’t see everybody face to face. Video is the next best thing to show someone’s face on. So yeah, we really kind of help businesses grow using content.

That’s our main thing. Well, part of what you are, a lot of what you focus on is storytelling. So, I mean, it’s a great segue into starting with your story. You have to tell us a bit about yourself. Yeah man, absolutely. So, I mean, I am English, but I have a weird, we might have nice twang in my voice because I spent 10 years in NZ And what happened was the age of 25 I set myself what’s called a b hag, right, there’s a big corporate fluffy term called a big hairy, audacious goal. And 25 I was at the bottom of the ladder, right? I was working at Vodafone, I left school at 16, no qualifications that was just doing sales was basically selling mobile phones on the shop floor and I set this, be had to be a leader in a creative organisation within 10 years, a few months flew by and then all of a sudden I was being relocated to NZ as a business account manager for Vodafone. I had an amazing time, spent 10 years over there. I blinked, I got married and in the last couple of years of being in NZ, I ran an agency.

You know, what had happened over those 10 years is that every sidestep or every role change that I made was towards the goal of being a leader in a creative organisation. I behind the scenes was I felt that I was a creative right? I did post a design for mates, I played in bands. But then by trade, I was a salesman because that’s all I could really do with no qualifications. At the end of the 10 years, I was in NZ. I’ve moved so many times. I managed to become a sales director for a creative agency. So I’d really got my foot into that, you know, industry from a sales perspective. And then when I moved back to enter, uh, when I came back to the UK after telling a few people kind of what I’ve been doing over the last couple of years in the agency, what we quickly realised was that NZ was like four or five years ahead of the UK in terms of content creation. And I think the reason that is, is because they’re kind of like a micro-economy right there are a small country and there’s only so many dollars to be spent in terms of agencies and I think the agency’s needed to be really innovative, really pushed boundaries around creating content so they could capture the minimum amount of dollars that were being spent.

So when I was telling friends, they were like, oh man, this is amazing. Like, you know, you’re doing live doing Facebook life, I was doing Facebook live like 10, You know, 10, 12 years ago now, it’s, it’s a commonplace, right? So that’s where kind of capital content came from, was that, you know, I realized that my, my calling, you know, I helped businesses grow using content. That was what I did. And it’s funny talking about that photo shop thing, it’s like a meme floating around when they say every agency owner can credit their career to getting a hooky copy off photo shop. Absolutely. The only reason I run an agency is because I managed to download a free copy of photo shop off of LimeWire like 15, 20 years ago. Right, Well that’s um, I often find that at least successful businesses anyway, they have a, an element of sales. So I definitely want to talk to you about the storytelling side of it, but has your sales experience helped you in the creation of your business? Do you know what?

Yes, and no. Right. Yes. In the sense that my sales strategy stuff has absolutely helped. Right? There’s ways that we’ve done certain things to help grow the business or at least when I’m pitching to client or the way that I’m approaching clients may be absolutely, that’s helped but also not doing or knowing not to do that has also helped in in growing the business. And what I mean by that is specifically for agencies and I think actually specifically for a lot of industries is that outbound sales really doesn’t work right? The cold calling, cold emailing, you know, you’ve, you’ve got to be, you’ve got a call or email someone at the right time to be able to start that you know, conversation on the good foot. And it’s really rare that you’ll get someone that you ring reception, get through to the gatekeeper or the key holder where all those awful sales terms that you’ve got them at the right time. So what we realised after a very long period of having a salesperson in our organisation, a dedicated sales person was that it just doesn’t work, right?

So, and this is kind of like drinking our own champagne. What we realised was that having a personal brand, having me as a personal brand, hashtag Gary show generated incoming leads 100 times more than cold calling people and all the tactics that we ever put in. So yeah, having the sales experience did help us grow the business, but it was almost knowing what not to do in terms of sales. And I think the, you know, the marketing, the outbound marketing generate inbound leads far more than outbound sales generating inbound leads. So you, you came back to the UK. Um, and at what point do you decide to start your own business? And what’s the catalyst for that? I I mean, that’s a great question. I worked for a business for three months and actually, it was very difficult for me to find a job when I first moved back. I don’t know why I was relatively well qualified in terms of experience, maybe not qualifications as such. I was like 35 ish, uh, struggling to get a job in digital.

But I think I was because I’ve been in 18 in NZ. And the scale of that agency being quite small because obviously the economy is quite small, didn’t help me get the jobs that I wanted? And I was, I worked for this digital publication company for three months and then I wasn’t being that successful from a I was a salesperson, quite low level for that business and I wasn’t being successful. And what I realised myself again, another one is like work based epiphanies right? Where I was working 10, 12 hours a day for these cats. And I wasn’t necessarily enjoying it. And because, you know, you spend the majority of your time at work and with work people and you weren’t enjoying it, it really hit my mental health. It was it wasn’t a fun time. And I thought, no, I’m 35 going on 40 I need to be enjoying my life and I’m almost halfway through, right, I need, you know, I had a great time in entered, I need to carry on having a great time. I’m just gonna not gonna come back to the UK and start at the bottom of the ladder again. So, like I mentioned when having all of these conversations, I quickly realised, okay, cool, what I need to do is start my business, but I need to have the strategy in mind that I’m gonna be a big made major agency by the time I’m 50.

So I did the whole way strategy right where every email that I wrote every social post that I put out when I first started, it was always we do this and we do that, not I do this and I’ll do that. So I moved away from that freelancer mentality and moved more towards kind of that, you know, perception is reality if they perceived me as being a big agency because I use the we instead of I then you’ll be able to acquire accounts quicker hopefully. And really the said the catalyst, I approached some friends to see if they wanted to invest and that allowed me to have seed funding to go and start the business, but I wasn’t greedy. All I did was I obviously still couldn’t price the business because it wasn’t even operating five hours, right? What I managed to do was work out what my outgoings were for the next three months, ask for that amount of money return that in shares. And then I only had three months to make it work, right. It was me sitting in my living room, a dressing gown, trying to avoid watching Netflix, eating toast, hustling for my first job.

And it was, it was a scary time, you know, I’ll be honest, it was, it got to kind of squeaky one time, but I had this moment right where I had my first job, someone who was a friend of a friend and I had this first job, it was just a camera and a laptop, that’s all I had a desk and a mole skin night bird. And I had this moment where I’ve done my first shoot and I set up my first invoice and I was on the train and like the sun was set in, you know, I had my first had that beer on the train about five o’clock ish, whatever it was. And at that moment where may I, you know, I’ve done this, I’ve come up with an idea and I’ve generated revenue from it, you know, this is this is, you know, had that warm, fuzzy feeling, you know, on the train, on the way home And since then it’s just gone big guns, right? And a lot of its comma, you know, a lot about successes, comma, but I think the majority of our success as a business is again, the hashtag Garry show the personal brand side that we’ve really started to focus on over the last 12 months because we had so much time, like I mentioned before the call, we were crying or I was, there’s a week strategy and I was crying in the shower because our work had completely switched off.

Well, there is something that I wanted to ask you about which is I consider a quote from is either your profile or a message that you that you sent over, which is I consider content creation to be my calling. Would you like to expand a little bit on that? Yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna say I’m Steve jobs with Marc Anthony, right? I mean it is a quote, but it’s really from a presentation and what I see the last kind of 10, 15 years I see it into three different sections, right? My jobs, my career and my calling actually have a book on amazon called jobs recording. But the jobs were kind of like a state agent, you know, factory worker kind of all on the same social ladder, right? And then I had this work based epiphany where one of the leading credit organisation and my career was say it was large corporate sales when I went from Vodafone and front side, which is the agency, but throughout that time my calling was to be helped businesses grown and what I see is like being paid for it is a is a fortunate by-product, it sounds fake, it sounds like a lie, but it generally is.

And I think, you know, I really do enjoy seeing success from the content that we create. And that really stems back down to like I mentioned one storytelling because it’s absolutely you need to have that emotive response and to we are a mixture of sales and marketing adults. You know, we understand the business objectives or you know, the goals that businesses need to achieve and we can create content to help achieve that because we’ve been through all of that, right? and the other thing is also kind of psychologically, you know, we focus on the two operating systems that the brain has the emotional and the rational the emotional makes that initial decision. you know, Magdala hijack and then the second operating system kind of comes in afterwards. The rational side, the analytical, am I being tricked here kind of thing. and the content that we create touches on both of those brains operating systems. The emotive side and the rational side to help convert eyeballs into sales. So definitely my, what I found is that I love creating content.

I see things that aren’t there and then we’re able to create those things to help achieve the business objectives. I feel like I’ve skipped a step a little bit because you mentioned something quite interesting, which was about the three month for three months to make it work in your story. And when you’ve got that deadline, it is kind of, I don’t know, it makes it more intense somehow. So how did those three months go, and have you got any details on, you know, significant moments in that time frame? Yeah, I mean, it was a scary free month. I mean I hustled really hard, I hate the word hustle, but I did write because it was just me, I wasn’t wrapped in that cotton wall of working for another business, paying my pension and give me a monthly wage every month. It was a scary time. And you know, I had to speak to the CFO, the wife, and make sure that she was okay with, you know, allowing me to go in and doing this and there’s an element of risk and an element of trust, right? And there’s one kind of thing, that one piece of advice that my old line manager gave it to me when I worked at the front side, the agency was that he would always say that the difference between Doers and dreamers is action.

So what I did was I just took action, I just went and did it and just like a CRM you get more, you get the same out as you put in when creating your own business and those three months. Yeah, I mean it all started and this is probably a recommendation for anybody that is looking to start their own business or get out of the job they don’t like and go from that unemployed to self-employed because they’ve been made redundant due to Kofi is they hit that little black book. You know whether you’re on a mates WhatsApp group or people that you’ve just known over the years, the first thing you’ve got to do because you’ve already built the relationships is approach the people that, you know, and that you can sell your product to because whether that whether you can sell your product to them, they will, if you can’t they will know who you can sell to after that. So the little black book. And I do this with my staff now as well, when, when we employ someone, we don’t necessarily say or you know, during the interview process and it’s gonna want content. What we mean is after a few months if you are understanding the product and knowing the value and actually be loving the product being the brand.

Cut me, I bleed blue kind of thing. We say that can you now start approaching some of your mates because you know, they might have parents that might have friends that need video content and we’ll do like a friends and family discount, but it’s more to kind of leverage the relationships that you’ve already created before you kind of started to sell the product. You know, I might have gone off on a tangent a bit there. But yeah, the first three months was scary and you definitely need to approach your little black book straight off the bat because they’re the relationships have already been right. Yes. So is that what you would advise other people do if they were not necessarily in the same business, but if they had three months also to make a go of it in business, is that what you’d encourage them to do? And is there anything else that you would think? I would definitely get into a bit of pre-roll. So rather than just go yet three months, I’m now going to be starting to talk to my friends, I’ll probably do a bit of, you know, compared to research or actually going to find out to see whether there is an interest, let’s just take a plumber for example, you’re not going to give up your job and then become a plumber on day one and then start asking your friends, I would say in the lead up to you quitting your job outside of work hours.

Obviously you wanna see if there’s an interest, see if you can build up a pipeline of leads. So on day one you can then start the sales hustle, right? So I would definitely say that your Little Black book is your first approach, you know, for me, because I played in bands and I’m relatively you know, I’m an extrovert, I’m an extra an introvert, right? I get my strength from within, but also get my strength from people around me and you know, it’s easy for me to be on shows like this or to do public speaking or to generally a large or noisy personal brand. It’s easy for some people might have trouble with that, but I think people do need to focus on who they are within the business because, you know, I take a, you know, an example, let’s just say Steve Jobs, you know, if he went to work for IBM, people would move to IBM or by-products for IBM because they buy into him as the personal brand. you know, just because he was with Apple doesn’t necessarily mean people by with Apple, they just believe in the same thread in the same values and the person that he is like I said, if you want the Microsoft, God forbid he, you know, people would then start to buy from Microsoft.

I’m generalising, it’s an awful, you know example using Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s. I’m better than that, but you know what I mean? Yeah, I do. I know that. So before we move on from the three-month period, what would you say? Is there a point in your business where you think, okay, I don’t I don’t need to worry so much anymore about a impending time limit. Like at what point do you feel like you’re a bit more comfortable in your business life? Never, it’s a travel later, right? It’s a running machine, It’s just constant. And I think the issues that we as entrepreneur slash business owners come across is that we wear a million hats, right? I’m HR and finance, I’m a small business, right? So I’m also, you know, content creator, I’m the brand manager, I’m everything, you know all at once and there is never a point unless you have got five years’ worth of revenue in the bank. Even then you should be worrying about why am I not investing this cash?

You know, what am I doing wrong? You know, I mean an absolute minimum you gotta have three months’ worth of bills to be paid in the back in the bank and if you don’t have that money, you need to do something about it. But there’s never a point when I’m not thinking about the business, even when I go on annual leave emails will still come through. I can’t afford to, not, not in a monetary sense, you know, from a personal perspective, I can’t afford not to respond to those emails. And I think even when I’m sleeping, I’m still working right, we went for a couple of bad periods right with bad hires or technical issues and whatnot. And I would lie, I’d go to bed, I should lie down and in my head I would start writing tomorrow’s emails and I mean that’s bad enough, right? Start writing. So I mean no control over writing these emails. You know, if I had a laptop on me, yeah, I would actually write them, but in my head I’m writing these emails and then I’ll get responses from these emails that I’ve written in my head and then, and then I’d start arguing and I’m like, maybe I should be asleep, I should be sleeping now and but I’m still working.

So there’s never a point that you’re that you’re not working when you’re a business owner slash entrepreneur, but I think, you know, I’m not trying to rubbish it, you know, it’s great when the good things happen, but no one sees the bad things, right? No one sees you crying in the shower because I don’t post that on Instagram, although I do talk about it, a lot of people don’t talk about I do talk about the mental health and the struggles that people go through. But it’s just all about sharing, right? I think if you if you have the right people around you and you share that kind of stuff then you’re okay. It’s no different than your normal life, but it’s the only time as a business owner. And I think yeah, don’t forget about the lonely business owner at Christmas. Huh? Yeah, It’s good to to highlight it and I 100% agree with you. Do you have any plans or what should we say, strategies on how you go about mitigating against those things? Well mitigating against the mental health side. Well about the fact that you know at some point you can’t go to bed and thinking you’re thinking about emails for tomorrow and I mean there’s a mental health aspect to it obviously, but to a certain degree you can engineer your life so that you don’t have those things anymore.

So what do you have any plans around that? It’s funny I am, it’s a bit of a cliche phrase but I’m a bit of a control freak, right? I have trouble letting go, especially when it’s your business and you’ve started by yourself as the individual. I have trouble letting go if I brought someone in to kind of you know, be a videographer from day one. I was a videographer and letting go is really tough to let go. And but the art of management with the art of growth is delegation. And although I haven’t put anything in place at the moment, there is always this thought to say actually there needs to be a time where the business can carry on without me being there. But right now I’m not acting on that strategy only because the business is me. And because even from a tactical perspective, the fonts that we use on our website and our presentations and stuff is my handwriting. We create my handwriting to be our headline one front and the tone of voice in any of our social posts.

Uh it’s me, it’s my tone of voice that we’ve created as the business and the personal brand hashtag Garry show generates the most leads. So at the moment if we really want to grow up, we really want to hit a major target and have 50 people and take on some major corporate brands, then I do need to be 24 7 and I’m okay with that. It’s just about being southwest, being aware that this is okay, this is happening, that you’re allowing it to happen and the people around you support you, whether that be your staff or the family at home or even friends, they need to, they need to be receptive to your issues if you want to say stuff out there because there’ll be stuff that I can’t say to my staff because you need to save face and the stuff that I can’t say to my wife because I don’t want her to worry about as well, whereas I can talk to my friends, so you need to just you do need to be able to share the issues that you have because not everything is all fluffy and rosy when you, when you run a business, but at the moment I don’t act on strategies to try and reduce the amount of workload that I have. Only because that little blue square fundamentally is me.

Well, you mentioned about the major brands when I was looking on the website, you do you have had some quite cool clients. and it firstly, I’m interested to know more about that just in general because, you know, it’s just interesting for anyone who’s a small business person who has some quite good well known clients if you like. And then secondly, I know that brands don’t necessarily like the sales first approach. And you’ve mentioned, mentioned your story first, storytelling first, and I wanted to ask you about the how, what’s your strategy or you’re thinking on creating content where as you say, you do need to get some form of result from it meaning sales or inquiries, but at the same time you don’t want it to be cringing what your thoughts around that. Yes, so you’re right about getting a result firstly just on those corporate brands, Right? And you’ll see a lot of agencies out there, they have all of these logos on the website, It’s what we call a vanity card, or, you know, the unwritten unspoken word is a vanity card and it can be a, the slightest, or the tiny straw that you are clinging onto the fact that, that you’ve worked with that brand.

So don’t always believe, although you can generally believe that the logos, we have no website that we create content for, don’t believe the hype, because a lot of agencies out there might have made a canvas post, uh, they might have made a camp a PNG for a friend who works for Pepsi and all of a sudden you can put Pepsi on your website. Right? So, the, the vanity cards, really, it’s about what they could do for you. It’s great to say, yeah, we did work for Deloitte or we did work for the NHS, uh, but it’s really about the return or what you can actually do for them, as in the industry, Right? And then, to your other question about actually getting a return on these objectives, sorry, actually getting a return from the content and not being fringy is you’ve got to find out what the objective is, right? You can’t just go out and make content for the sake of making content. Everyone goes, oh, you’ve got video, video? Yeah, absolutely, man, spend thousands with me making videos. But what you need to do is make sure that every video that you create somehow leads towards an objective that you need to achieve.

And the way that we do it here at calico is kind of like the tv network strategy, right? So you would pitch yourself the business or the personal brand or the organisation, whatever, as a tv network across the top. So that same Thomas dot tv. Right? And then that tv network, just like the BBC, they have different channels, right? They have BBC, one BBC, two BBC news and each one of those channels has different audiences and they have different demographics, and then they also have different programming. Now, from a business perspective, you would have kind of like raise brand awareness, sell more product and lead generation. They are therefore within your channels of content. And you would have specific series of content in those channels. So let’s take, for example, legion, right? We want to show from a legal perspective how easy it is for us to work with capital content. So we have a series of F. A. Q. S. So that within the series of Africans, we have episodes and one episode might be how to pay an invoice. Right? So we’ve created a 32nd video on how to pay an invoice with capital content.

That video is part of a series of F A. Q. S. Which sits under the channel of how to of lead generation, how easy it is to work with us. So absolutely go out and create as many videos as you want but go up a level from the episode perspective in the series, a theme of content F A Q. S for example, but they make sure that series of content that relates to a business objective and then, you know, every video that you create is achieving an objective wars going towards achieving objective. I think you touched on something or highlighted something which is which is very important, which is, you should have an outcome for every, well not every, but a lot of the content that you produce needs some form of outcome. And I actually really like the using new media for frequently asked questions because it’s so easy to just list a load of questions with a load of text, but it reminds me of just doing the bare minimum for a frequently asked questions section. But when you’ve got someone like you, creating content is just that much more, I don’t know if impressive is the right word, but it’s certainly, I would say absolutely impressive, anyway.

Yeah, it divides you from the competition, right? And I think this is another quote from when I worked at Vodafone, full of quotes. I hate motivational quotes, but here’s another one. the only way that you can guarantee success is if you operate in a market that doesn’t exist. The only way you can guarantee success is if you operate a market that doesn’t exist. So if you can create a product that operates in the market, that isn’t, that doesn’t have any competitors, you have guaranteed success. So like you said, with the F A. Q. S. If they’re written in text, why not create video content? So you’re different from everybody else and therefore operate in a space where no one else is operating, you know, so regarding your personal brand, you’ve touched on how you’re using it, but how would you encourage other people to use a personal brand with their video content? I mean, this is, this is a great question for 2021, right? And I mean, firstly, yes, I would encourage people to create a personal brand only because of the, this covid area that we’re going through. Right? There was a massive unemployment surge and loads of people flooded linked in with, hey, I need a job.

And nine times out of 10 that post saying I need a job was probably their first post. It’s probably the first time they’ve ever placed on linked in and they would have found that they got very little engagement. There was no relationships built. They’re not going to be able to get a job as quick as somebody else who maybe have a stronger personal brand. I would definitely, uh, start thinking about, even if you are happy in your job right now, it’s kind of like the digital version of dress for the job that you want not for the job that you have where you are slowly raising your personal brand on linked in using video content as an example for when you need something for when you need to increase your own network or get another job you need to have you know raising when so when you do lose your job you can post out and you’ve already built relationship. People are already a motive. We connected to you because they’ve seen you as a personal brand and a couple of tips around how to maintain your personal brand is that there’s a guy called Ash jones from great influence and he talks about being able to talk forever on the subject right?

You need to pick three topics that you can talk forever about and that just gives you the ability to carry on creating content forever and a day for me it’s about marketing or video content specifically business ownership slash entrepreneurialism and diabetes. And I picked the two business ones and a personal one because it humanises me as a person right? I’m kind of split between two personas like the G. C. and Gemma Collins. I’m like Gary Gumbleton and hashtag the Gary show you know and I think the marketing, video content and entrepreneurialism or business ownership That I can talk about forever. The diabetes is a new thing for me. I got diagnosed with it in March last year at the start of the pandemic, but it’s something that I can talk about that not only humanises me, but I want to share my experience in my journey over the last 12, 12, 18 months and what not. So that is a big tip when creating content is have something, have a topic that you can talk about forever and I call this is a good holiday strategy.

If you make a rubbish video on Monday morning, stop making video. Don’t, don’t make a video for the rest of that day. Don’t worry about it. Go start again on Tuesday. If you make a banging video on Monday, make another 20 because you’re having a good hair day, make 20 videos, you don’t have to post them all on day one. You, you know, make 20 videos, post one every week for the next 20 weeks, right? There’s six months’ worth of content created probably in a couple of hours on a Monday or, for example, like we’re doing here, we’ve got podcast and we’re doing over a video call what you can do is create 20 little one liners soundbite. Some of these tips and tricks something dropping, you can create those little 32nd snippets, we call them skittles social cut down. Thought leadership, You can use those one every week for the next 20 weeks or you know that even if you just did four, you’ve got one every week for the next four weeks, making a month long campaign for this single website. Right? So it’s about finding three topics that you can talk about forever and batch creation using that good hair day. It’s a great, great piece of information for anyone there.

And I think it’s particularly, I love the point about you’re creating a personal brand, not necessarily because you need something now, but potentially in the future because everyone is going to need something at some stage. It’s a short and the long-term strategy at the same time. Right, have you got anything to add regarding with a mobile phone? So everyone, maybe not. Everyone’s got a great video camera, but they’ve got everyone’s got a mobile phone within reason. Yeah man, everyone’s got four K camera in their pocket right now. Top three tips when creating video content with your phone. One difference between good video and great video is audio. Make sure you’re using a lapel mic or microphone whenever it might be. Even if it’s just like a, you know, the wired apple headset with a microphone and that’s super key, right? lighting, make sure the light is in front of you and not behind you. The amount of people that get that wrong and I think the last one we’ll do a bit of something different by itself, a teddy bear.

It sounds weird, right? But if you if it’s just you by yourself, right? You want to use the front to the rear facing camera because nine times out of 10 you’re rear facing cameras, better quality. What you can’t do is position the rear facing camera because you can’t see the screen. What you do is you get a teddy bear, place it where you think you’re sitting and then frame that teddy bear correctly using your mobile phone, then put the teddy bear to one side, you keep them in a shot if you want. But then it’s all framed nicely whilst you know, not having to keep going back and forth or rerecording. So get yourself a mic, but the light in front of you and get your favourite tell you where to check them on the chair. That is brilliant. I love that. just coming back to your story for a moment because I think I think that’s enough. Meaty content. I think if people were to use those principles that you shared, I think that’s enough in terms of quality content. But regarding your story, your business story, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve had and how did you overcome them? that’s that is a massive question.

I mean, there’s loads of challenges that we’ve had and I kind of mentioned this before around mental health and being able to share it like that, that’s a big thing. But I think the, you know, hiring is super key, right? I don’t think it’s a throwaway thing, I just need to get staff in you, no one in this post pandemic era, you’re going to get thousands of applications for any job that you put out. And I’ve had bad hires in the past over the past four years and you know, it’s obviously very difficult to get rid of people, you know, and not that you want to get rid of it, we actually want to nurture them and make them better, but the challenges that we’ve had is keeping good talent, we’ve had some great people come into the business and because we’re a small business, I feel they felt that it’s not been the best scenario for them, they could go and work, it will do much bigger things for a bigger corporate and then they get head hunted and taken away and work for another business. And the challenge that we have as a business is that the cost of bringing on an employee both mentally and financially, it’s really tough, right?

It’s a difficult thing to go because you have to have onboarding, you gotta go through four weeks of interviews, you’ve got to find the right person and then you can’t get rid of them if something goes wrong, then if they’re not the right cut and then when they leave it can all turn sour and, you know, the problem, the problem that first arises is me letting go of a chunk of the business for someone else to manage. And then when you don’t, when it doesn’t work out, when that employee is not that great or you know, yeah, it is a bad higher as such. You then, uh, you know, you feel like you’ve let yourself down, you know, you, you’ve mucked up a bit and you know, it’s difficult to come back emotionally. Uh, and, and really what you need to when people bang on about this. And from a personal perspective, you know, get rid of the toxic people in your life and I think you need to somehow manage the toxic people in a business as well. And if you’re a small business and you own that business, it can be really tough. So it’s a matter of sharing with people and seeing what their opinions are because there are thousands of people out there in the same boat.

So if you can, you know, pull on your peers, you know, be a part of an industry peer group, express your concerns and they will help you through that period. But I had troubles, you know, with the colour batteries that we had because they’ve both been friends as well. And it was, you know, emotionally, it was really tough and I joke about crying in the shower, but absolutely I did a 100% because it was me, I felt that they were letting down rather than the business, You know. So it was it was a tough time, but we got through it and we got some great people in the in the business right now and we can only now look forward to growth. You know, it was such a tough time over the past 12 months. What with the pandemic and that that now we’re it’s just nothing but great. We’ve got the best kind of version of us out of capital content right now and that that makes me feel a lot better. My mental health is a lot stronger. I’m not having argumentative emails free am in my head, so it’s a good step forward for us at the moment, you know?

Well, coming back to that particular principle presumably you’ve learned a lot from, because there’s an ongoing thing where I’m noticing with pretty much everyone and that is that when you get things wrong, you learn a lot more than when you get things right. so what would you say that you do differently now as a result of getting the wrong higher that you can now apply going forward. I think for me it’s understanding that it’s okay to fail, it is, like you mentioned, it’s just a matter of what you do after that failure and how you kind of pick yourself back up again. But from a higher perspective, I would say let’s not worry about CVS, you know, the C. V. Can be a complete lie, it’s a 2d text ones and zeros version of who someone is and it’s one big sales pitch. I’d much rather see someone will put them through a project a short test of some sort rather than it starts with the C. V. You know. and almost, you know, question them about what they want to see from a growth perspective, you know, where do they want to be in a couple of years’ time and can I help that, you know, because really what I think people forget about is that when you go for a job it’s a two way thing, it’s not me picking somebody else, it’s also that someone else actually picking us, you know, that’s the opportunity these guys are in.

So I think definitely dropped the CV about how that yeah that your motive thought about growth or that person’s growth and whether the business can help them grow because as a by-product they’ll do the work that you’ve asked them today. But if you can help them, if you have the goal of helping them grow then everyone starts to, you know, bleed that blue I say because that’s the colour of brown, right? But that’s fundamentally what you want is you want them to live and breathe the values. So if you can help them grow into that into that person then like I said, the fortunate by-product is them actually doing the work that you listened today, what’s an example of a test that you now put people through? Oh mate, I were, you know, actually one of them we did was we asked them to write a post, like a social media post and what we wanted to do was say, right, this post for Facebook instant and LinkedIn, right? And a lot of people just kind of, you know, rewrote the post.

Maybe we have different emojis or whatever it might be, or just no emojis at all. Right. and it was the what we wanted to see was the thought process around who the audience was. You know, it’s that empathy, empathetic marketing that we try and work towards to see what can you see from other people’s perspective, you know, who is the audience because you don’t create video content for yourself, you don’t create content for your product, you create for your audience. So we asked them to rewrite this post to be able to focus on the three different audiences that you get on, linked in Facebook and Instagram because they are three different types of people, three different stakeholders. And yeah, that’s what we wanted to focus on, was not how good they are at spelling or you know, whether they got the right emoji, Was that the wording and the thought process on why they were did that post right? Depending on, you know, I wanted them to say, well, it’s because the audience was different. It was it was less about them right in the post. So It’s a social media test, right? That seems so 21st century to test someone on social media also obviously stalk their social media before that comes off.

That’s a good test. And it’s an interesting, I I do think lots and lots of people struggle with hiring and have also experienced some difficulty in that particular area. So I feel your pain um, regarding a little bit more of a positive note. What is some of some of your biggest winds within your business, a big win or some of my biggest wins? I think generally growth, right? I don’t want to say, oh, we won this client one that client because that’s just generally a by-product of, you know, doing a good job, right? But I think, you know, it’s more, you know, there are some moments and I say this to myself all the time, right? It’s someone talking about you when you’re not in the room. That is what I see a success, right? That’s some of the high points where I get an email out of the blue from someone saying, oh, X, Y, Z said that you made some really good content for them. I’d also like to make content for you. And it’s like someone without me nudging them sending an email raising my personal brand, whatever it is.

Have spoken about me and the business in a good way to somebody else. That is what I deem a success, you know, like, like it’s unfortunate by-product is generating revenue off the back of that, but I love people talking about, you know, I have that moment. I came up four years ago I came up with this idea a thin air to create an agency, and four years later we’re generating revenue from it and people are talking about us and you know, it’s yeah, that’s what I deem a success is people talking positively about you when you’re not in the room, interesting. So there is an interesting dynamic around what types of posts that people put out. and it’s some people think that you should be very high quality, so, and this comes back to the personal brand stuff and I think you put out, you know, very high quality content. And some people think that the more real it is, the more scrappy is you know, it’s almost more authentic.

Have you got any takes on that? Yes, I think you need to have a mixture. I think you definitely some D. I. Y. content, right? People buy from people and they want to see behind the logo, all those lovely phrases, but they wanna see the real you, right? So yeah, absolutely. Use that mobile phone. we obviously have the we’re in a unique position where we can create some really cinematic content internally To use his thought leadership content. But you don’t need to, like I said, everyone has a 4K camera in their pocket. I think it’s not necessarily about the quality, like whether it’s four K or whatever, it’s the value. Right? It’s the, what are you giving back? What are you generating, what are you supporting? How are you looking after your audience is what super key when creating content. It doesn’t need to be super sharp. It doesn’t need to be grey. It’s an element of mid to high level production. If you’re using your mobile phone one perfect tip, don’t shoot it in the car like car based thought leadership videos, please don’t do it. It might be good lighting, but it’s just over saturated.

But I think yeah, it doesn’t need to be 4K. Great audio. You just need to be giving value back to your business. Today, I posted a video over linked in and it was mid-level production, right? But it was a sales tip around exact engagement around, you know, if you have a relation as a marketing manager level, has a relationship with someone else in a prospect marketing manager level, then you need to engage your founder or your CEO with their founder and their CEO. So if that market manager happens to go to a different business, you still have another relationship there, right? And that is a tip as a sales tip and that is a value given me knowing my audiences, market managers and business owners that I’m giving value back to them. And I said the video could be relatively poor production, right? But the car, not the cost, the value in that video to my audience far outweighs what the production level looks like. It’s where your focuses and where your emphasis is. It comes back to what you were talking about in relation to the hiring, which is, are you thinking about the audience?

Absolutely. It’s all about, you know, you don’t create content for yourself, you create, you know, BBC don’t make it and brush shows because amber lights going away and looking at 100-year-old turtles, it’s because we’re looking at 100-year-old turtles. So you make content for your audience. Is there anything that you feel that would be valuable to mention that we haven’t talked about today? I think focusing on a personal brand I banged on about it enough. But even if you don’t want anything right now, you need, you will need something in the future, you know, and personal brand, although it’s kind of like the buzzword for 2021 it’s been happening for years and the people that are successful have a strong personal brand. And I think if you are an employee within a business, I think about what your MD’s personal brand is and whether that is detrimental to that business. I think people sometimes forget because I have my own podcast right? And I I wanted to get this MD of a nutritional food business right?

And the replacement business and I wanted him to be on my podcast. So I messaged him and said hey, look I know you’re really busy, I know you’re a major MD of a massive company so excuse me for the cold message but I’d really like you to be on my podcast. It will only take you 20 minutes. It could be a zoom call, I’d love it to be a part of it blank me. Never message me left me on read. And that was unfortunate because I used that product and now I feel you know against that product now because the M. D. Just blanked me. He could have said I’m sorry mate, you’re too small fry for me. Thanks but no thanks. That would have been fine. I would totally gone. Yeah, I totally agree mate. But to leave me on read I now feel angst towards the M. D. And therefore the brand off the back of that. So I think if there are employees of a business out there, think about what you’re managing directors or CEOs personal brand is like and whether that is detrimental to their business because people overlook that very good point and regarding your business, would you share what your current goals are? I have loads of goals, right?

In fact, I went away on a bit of a retreat basically an Airbnb for, for 48 hours, right? Where I sat down with a brand new bit of paper like leakproof glossy, a three paper, like it was beautiful, whole brand new pack of sharpies and I basically just wrote down everything that I wanted to achieve. Spider grams and lists and all that kind of stuff. All different colours and it was lovely. I’ve probably got a bit carried away. My wife was like, why are you going to maybe be myself? I was like, wow, we’ve got a three month old baby. Of course I want to go sitting there be anyone. But what, you know what came out of it was 15 different goals which led to a one year, five year and 10 year kind of sections, right? And there are a whole bunch. But really the key thing, well, the key thing was the 50 year old mark, I’m 40 now and the key goals were or the key 10-year goals were at 50, obviously maths. Uh, the first one was having 50 staff at 50 years old and the other one was retiring at 50. So there are two goals, but they’re obviously be lags, right?

And then what you do is everything, the one and five year goals that I need to achieve leads towards those 2, 50 people at 50 years, 50 years old and retiring at 50 each of those other goals, I can’t remember, I thought my head go towards achieving those two big b hags. So that, that and that will obviously grow. You know, it’s a bit like, it’s like the coach of the All Blacks when he wrote his autobiography, like 15 years ago now, he said, rather than trying to improve The business or improve the organisation by 100%, you want to improve 100 things by 1% each and then that business grows exponentially great girls. Um, there’s one thing which I would like to touch on before I let you go and that is if someone is, let’s say they’ve got no objection to anything you’re saying and they recognise the need for a personal brand, but it’s almost like I’ve never done anything like this before.

I don’t feel like I’m good on a camera. I don’t know what to say. What would you say to them? I would say go out and do it right? Just make a video. No one needs to see it. You’re not gonna run out of tape, right? We’re in a digital age now, you’ve got enough storage on the phone, right? Unless it’s full up with baby photos, like my phone is you need to just go out and do it and then if they wanted to, they can send the video to me or they will send it to their friends and I’ll critique it because one thing that I try and tell everybody when we’re interviewing on any type of video, it’s themselves or massive corporate. Is that your perception of you is different to others’ perception of you. You might think you look fat, you might think you’ve got a funny old voice, you might think you’ve got nothing to say. But there are people that around you don’t think like that, right? The others’ perception is different from your perception of you. So just go out and do it, share the video with close friends and actually a major tip is if you do create your first video and you do find something you got to say when you post it on linked in say, hey everybody, this is my first video. Please go easy on me.

Make the amount of positive comments you’re going to get on that video. It’s huge. It’ll be your most engaged video. If you say this is my first video cause I see it all the time of my link to invade. So that’s a huge ship is tell people it’s your first video, even if it’s not right? But still tell people it’s your first video because you’ll get nothing but positive responses. You know, I think the linked in specifically is one is the most positive social network. Let’s not forget. It’s a social network, right? But you think twitter that’s an absolute trash fire. Yeah, Facebook and Insta is easy to, you know, hide behind the profile pictures, there’s a lot of people were trolls out there, whereas linked in I think because it’s so detrimental to your own career, there’s like 1% trials, You know, there might be your Facebook police or weird creepos that are trying to hit on girls, But generally 99% of the time it’s a positive platform. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of encouragement to people who say, you know, can you go easy on me? Yeah man. Yeah. And people possibly get like 2030, 40 comments of all positive stuff.

Right? Yeah. And I’ve also heard about the fact that it’s when you post good news, you get much more engagement on Lincoln. So absolutely, I really thank you very much for the content you provided today or the value I should say. I think you’ve been great and I think you’ve given a lot of value. Have you got any closing thoughts apart from going to capitol content dot com four slash content one by one. Actually, that is basically kind of like a formal training session or everything that I’ve just gone through? Right? So if you’re focusing on your personal brand, it’s totally free. It’s a whole bunch of training videos, a training course that you can go through. and people are more welcome to drop me a line on linked in whatever it is, I will help anybody and everybody, I don’t it doesn’t matter if you want to spend 20 quid or nothing or fast. It doesn’t matter. I just want to help people grow. So if anybody has any questions, soldiers. Yeah, man, just drop me a line. So, I mean, that’s my last question, which is where is the best place for people to find you? Yeah, I think it’s I think it’s my personal year around capitol content dot co is all of the others.

So, Capital Content, well, Instagram/, Facebook forward slash all of that stuff. So they’re all And it’s funny they always say get a domain name or get a business name that you don’t have to spell out. It’s like, yeah, absolutely capital content. But the dot co man after say, seven times not dot co dot UK just dot co. But I specifically went for dot com because it sounds more innovative, right? And also capital content game was like 20 grand. So rather than like the £2.99 from Go Daddy. So people think that you’re pausing there waiting for the next part. Yeah. You spelled it wrong?

I think it’s a cool domain, Gary Gumbleton.

Thank you very much, Thomas. Thank you very much for having me.