Yep, this is me - a subject I don't really like talking about that much to be honest.
But a subject I can ramble on about all day is my childhood sweetheart: the accomplished winner of the "I'll-just-let-him-do-it-then-tell-him-I-told-you-so-later" award since 1987. Let me introduce you to Rak:
(apart from my wife) Reasons To Be Cheerful? 1, 2, 3..
I've learnt to listen more than I speak, which actually wasn't the case (at all) in my teens. Personally, I blame my three active "smart-but-how'd-they-know-that?" kids for shutting me up.. and yes, I've loved "learnt to embrace" time management. And thank goodness they did..
If you're a parent too, you'll know all too well that young ones love exploring the world and, well, letting us know all about theirs is a delight only we can really behold. By the way, mine are (currently) 8, 8 & 12. You've guessed right, I have boy / girl twins.
Here's my sweet little smilers. I'm biased (obviously), but I'm lucky to share a life with such beautiful souls :)
Yes, I've tried applying for the Patrick Swayze lookalike award (my era..) but alas, my grey hairs are a dead giveaway. Between leaving education at 17 and forming DWM, I spent invested 20 years finding out what worked, what worked well, what sucked and what defines who I am.
Let me explain those 4 "insights":
Toeing the line, ignoring office politics, following orders even when I thought they were garbage, paying the mortgage (to keep a roof over my head), working damn hard (to keep my job) and a false belief (in hindsight) that I was really valued by my employers.
What Worked Well:
Developing an opportunity mindset, training myself to look further than the end of my nose, falling in love with the power of words, reading every damn self-development and starting-your-own-business book I could get my hands on, questioning everything and praying that, one day, I'd eventually work for myself.
Knowing my hard work often promoted staff to superiors (who weren't "superior"), desperately wanting to implement smart ideas and systems only to be told "Tony, don't rock the boat.." and fighting battling an internal belief system that was built on fear having been told repeatedly that I'm a failure.
What Defines Who I Am (still a work in progress - do we ever really find out?):
Despite my negative undertones above regarding my employed years, I've realised that EVERY SINGLE EXPERIENCE has helped shape my character and refine (continually) my life purpose.
The cards I've been dealt with have provided little gems of insight, that when understood and internalised, helped sharpen my axe and hone my levels of conviction, tenacity, determination, compassion and humility. One of my favourite quotes sums this all up perfectly: "Iron doesn't become steel until it's been through the furnace". Indeed..
Frustration Gives Way to Passion (and a sh!t load of risk)
What the hell was I thinking? I turned down a cushy role (with a damn good salary) that I'd been offered by a reputable company selling IT solutions, to start my "dream". I can't express the fear, uncertainty and dread I felt when I first stepped into my new office facility in September 2008 - well, a converted tool shed in my outhouse at home.
Here's me at DimmockPlex all those years ago, with my trademark goatee, an old and dusty curtain covering my shed window and a telephone. Well, I am in business for myself now, right? Let me at 'em..
More about what I've learnt during my 7 few years of running a business can be explored here (though not for the faint of heart, that's for sure).
Fast forward to February 2012 (wow, 3 years ago?) when I decided, due to space limitations and noisy-kids-coming-home-from-school syndrome, to finally (thank goodness) move office to where we are now, a proper office "facility". Thankfully, just a 10 minute drive from home.
Oh, here's what I took with me from my tool shed when I moved offices. Spot the tool bag?
Humble beginnings, huh? For those of you who've just started (or about to start) your own internet marketing or SEO business, we're on the same page my friend. But take it from me: your first few years will be the toughest challenge you've ever faced; personally, professionally and mentally. If you didn't know that before, you do now! #PayItForward
The one million dollar question you might be asking is "Is it worth it?" I really can't stress this enough.. YES!
Does this mean that my company or I have arrived? Hell no, we're still babes in the wood and I'm both humbled and amazed at what there's still to learn from life. So what does it mean? It means that if I can do it, so can you!
Business Challenges, Inspiration & Passion (a few interviews I've done)
An interview with Moosa Hemani where I talk business lessons learnt, pre-qualifying clients and who's inspired me.
An interview with North Herts College where I give tips and advice on following your passion and overcoming challenges.
A Q&A style interview with Krystian Szastok on "How to Start Your Own SEO Business" (a view from the trenches..)
Another Q&A with The Meld (via Rob Duckers) on "7 Digital Entrepreneurs Talk Business - Our Approach"
I'm also an active member of the MOZ community - see my member profile and stay updated on my comments and posts.