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Cool Connections: Working with Interesting People and Successful Entrepreneurs | Ross Hetherington

Today’s Guest Ross Hetherington

Ross is the founder and CEO of Snapify Marketing which is a Digital Marketing Agency in Liverpool that helps clients all over the world to sell more products, get more leads, sell out events & find their audience online. Before setting off on his own adventures, Ross worked in a large agency helping clients dominate Google. Now, he finds himself expecting his first child, building his first home office and cot, both major DIY projects and is an avid LFC fan and like many of us is struggling with his LFC identity this season.

  • Ross left his first job in marketing to launch Snapify, a Snapchat marketing agency as it was a great opportunity for businesses to reach younger demographics. The agency created filters for bars, clubs, restaurants, festivals and other businesses that would only show up within a certain radius.
  • When deciding on a social media strategy, Ross says it is important to focus on one or two channels and do them well rather than trying to be everywhere at once. Businesses should choose their focus platform depending on their target audience.
  • LinkedIn is a powerful platform that should be taken seriously by businesses. Personal profiles on LinkedIn are more effective than company pages at the moment. Ross suggests focussing on building connections with relevant target audiences, rather than emphasizing quantity.
  • Ross faced personal challenges when navigating university and post-university life. He found it difficult to decide between going the same route as everyone else or something different. He took on different roles to identify what he did not like in order to narrow down his focus.
  • Ross has found that attitude is more important than aptitude when hiring new staff. Learning from mistakes is an important part of the process. He says that people who are keen to learn and question things, even without experience, can make great hires.
  • As an introvert, Ross needs time away from work to recharge and focuses on activities such as taking a walk, meditating, reading and journaling. He loves playing and watching football as well.

Links for Ross

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Ross Hetherington: I've never interviewed anyone in my life and I'm up there deciding what to ask them and quickly Google and like, what are the top 10 interview questions to ask while they're probably on the other end of their laptop Googling, what are the top 10 interview questions, I guess just through an understanding of like, you won't always get it right. Um, but as long as you are open, I've found that they get that, they know that you are sort of learning as you go.

Matt Edmundson: Welcome to Push to Be More with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. This is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that. I am chatting with today's very special guest, Ross Hetherington from Snapify Marketing about where he's had to push through, what he does to recharge his batteries and to be as well as what he is doing to be more and where he sees the future going.

Oh yes. It's gonna be a great show. And the notes and this transcript from our conversation, uh, are gonna be available on our website And whilst you're there, why not sign up for our newsletter and each week we will email you the links from the show, as well as the notes and the transcript automagically direct your inbox.

Totally for free. So do check those out. Now this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast. Ross, you know what? I have been running my own podcast, uh, and for many years, in fact, I've been doing podcasts for a long time and I've found them to be really, really rewarding.

Uh, they open doors like nothing else I've seen. I've built networks, made friends, had a platform to champion my customers. My team, I have got some great suppliers as a result of interviewing them on podcasts, and I think just about any entrepreneur and business leaders should have a podcast because it's had such a huge impact on my own business.

Now, of course, that all sounds fantastic in theory, but in reality, there's the whole problem of setup, distribution, getting the tech right, knowing what the right podcast strategy is. I mean, the list goes on. You see, I love talking to people. But I'm not a big fan of all that other stuff. So Aurion media takes it off my plate.

I do what I'm good at, hopefully, which is chatting to people and they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, man, I think it probably is. Uh, do you connect with them at That's A U R I O N media dot com. They will, of course, be linked on our website and in the show notes as well.

But do check them out Uh, if you are interested in that. Now that let's talk about Ross. Ross Hetherington is the founder and CEO of Snapify Marketing, which is a digital marketing agency here in sunny Liverpool that helps clients all over the world to sell more products, get more leads, and sell out events, and find their audience online.

Before setting off on his own adventures. Ross worked in a large agency helping clients dominate Google. Now he finds himself expecting his first child, uh, building his first home office and cot both of which I think are major DIY projects. Uh, and like me as an avid Lfc fan and like me, is struggling with his LFC identity this season.

Uh, it is great to have you on the show, Ross. Welcome, uh, to the podcast. Great to finally get this conversation going. How you doing?

Ross Hetherington: I've got Thanks Matt. Nice one for the intro. Yeah. Apart from the LFC, but we won't go into that.

Matt Edmundson: That's not, now it's fair to say you and I have been to Anfield and watched, uh, watched a game or two.

Uh, and this season has not been a pleasant time, so you're right. I think we will, unless people are listening to the podcast going, oh, it's about time you Liverpool supporters had something to complain about.

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, that's a I'm going on Saturday actually. So, but by the time this goes out, you might be able to delete that last section.

We might be good again.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. If only that's what it took, right. Was just, uh, one or two, uh, one or two days and it was, everything was okay. Just turn it around in a day. So tell me, uh, a little bit, Ross, about your journey into Snapify Marketing. I'm really curious as well with the name right? Snapify. Why? Let's start there. Why Snapify?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. So basically it's, it's a name that came from the fact that the first sort of thing we did and when, and when I say we, it was just me and my mom's spare room at that point. , um, was Snapchat filters, so basically Snapchat marketing agency. And this was years ago. I dunno, it all blurs into one, four years ago maybe.

Snapchat was a lot different than it is now. Yeah. Um, but all of the under twenty fives were using it. Mm-hmm. Um, me included, so probably just over, over 25 at that point, just sneaking in. Um, and that's still the case now, but in, it's in a very different space now. So we still do a little bit of Snapchat marketing, but back then it was different.

Um, so essentially what we used to do was, um, for bars, clubs, nightclubs, restaurants, festivals, um, different businesses where people came to their premises. Um, we used to run filters that only showed up. Within a sort of radius or geo location, um, GRA graphic, sort of their logo, their brand on the graphic so that, you know, when, when all these people were coming to their venue and taking a picture of the burger they were about to eat, which everyone does, still does, just not on Snapchat anymore, , um, before they sent it to their, you know, a hundred friends on Snapchat.

Yeah. There was the opportunity to apply the, the branded filter. Okay. Um, people really loved them. People really used them. Uh, we ended up working with some pretty big businesses, um, bigger than we would've done. I keep saying we, it was just me, um, bigger than I would've been able to do if it, if I was just a marketing agency at that time.

Yeah. But because I was a Snapchat marketing agency and there was only.. I think there was only two others in the UK and a couple in America who were really sort of focused on, on that at the time. We were able to have conversations with people I would've never had before. Wow. So that's essentially where it started.

Um, the name we've kept, I have thought about changing it, but I quite like the story, um, until Snapchat dies. I'll keep it.

Matt Edmundson: Then we'll have a little think about it. So you niche down then quite, I mean, so snapify marketing, was this your, your first sort of soiree into your own business? Is that, so you, you leave the, the big agency doing the, the Google domination stuff and you move into your mum's spare room.

Love that story by the way. Yeah. Uh, and that's where Snapify marketing was, what she did. she wanted you out.

Ross Hetherington: Again. I'm back.

Matt Edmundson: So this was, um, so this was your, your initial startup, right? This is where it all began, was in your, your mum's spare room.

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, exactly. So, um, take a step back to sort of what was happening at the agency I was working at. Um, it was my first job in marketing. Mm-hmm. . Um, it was something that, you know, when I saw the job adverts, I think it said, uh, pay per Click Advertising executive, I think was the job title.

And I didn't have a clue what that meant at the time, , I just matched the criteria and thought, yeah, it's marketing. So I, I wanna try and get into marketing. I'm let to go for it. Um, fortunately for me, part of the, the process was a test and at that stage in my life, I had very little interview experience.

Um, anything like that stressed me out massively. But I was like, it's a test, so I do well, I'll get the job. And I did. Yeah. I was there for probably almost a year. Um, and there was, there was probably some push factors and some pull factors towards going solo. Um, okay. Which is interesting because it was my first job in the industry, so I didn't want to jump too, too soon.

But I'd say the fact that the pull factor of spotting the opportunity on Snapchat, that that agency wasn't thinking about, nevermind doing, and most agencies in the UK weren't doing, I'd say the combination of that and some of the factors thought, made me think, do you know what, if I don't do it now, I probably never will.

Yeah. Um, so yeah, that was sort of how it happened. .

Matt Edmundson: So the, so the, I find it interesting, isn't it? You saw this opportunity that very few people were taken advantage of, and you thought, okay, well now I'm gonna, I'm gonna have a go and I this thinking if I don't do it now, I never will. It's probably a very, very true truism.

Do you know what I mean? You'd be, I think the older you get, the more likely you are to talk yourself outta something. Although I read an article the other day, which said, if you are wanting to be an entrepreneur, you are much more likely to be a successful entrepreneur if you start in your forties. , um, because you've got a little bit of life experience, which I thought was just a really interesting read.

Cause I just expected most people just to be entrepreneurs in their twenties. Um, but apparently quite a lot of people in their forties start their own businesses and do quite well with 'em as well.

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. And there's the famous, you see it on LinkedIn once a week now people copy and paste it, but like, um, was it the guy who started KFC was like 65 or something?

And then there's a list of others that, that don't start at that age as well. So yeah, definitely think there's some truth in that.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Interesting, interesting. So let's talk a little bit about marketing. Cause I'm cur, I mean this is not a marketing podcast, but I'm curious to pick your brains on it. As everyone listening to the podcast will want to know about marketing.

Uh, and they'll be like, oh, Ross, okay, you know what you're talking about. So if Snapify has changed, um, and we're no longer putting pictures of our burgers on Snapify, what social media channels should I be thinking about from a marketing point of view? I appreciate that's a very open-ended question. But I'll ask it anyway.

Go for it. .

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. So a very open-ended question's gonna get the answer that most people give at this stage is, it depends, , it's the worst answer, but it's also the best answer, and it's so true. Um, it depends on who you are trying to target. So, you know, if you are trying to target the under 20 fives, back in the day, it would've been Snapchat when there was more accessible marketing opportunities on Snapchat.

Now it's just really used for like dms basically. Um, TikTok is obviously your place to go now. So if that's your audience, go to TikTok. If your audience is b2b, obviously go to LinkedIn. These are all things that, these are common sense things. These are things we're gonna come up on, on Google. But the, the, these are common sense for a reason.

Like I see so many people trying to be on every channel from day one, and it means that they spread themselves too thin. It means that they probably end up doing not a very good job of a lot of different channels, rather than just choosing one or two and doing a good job at those. Yeah. Cause especially when you're starting out, you haven't got time to, it's probably you doing it and you haven't got time to do them all.

If you just focus on the main ones, then you can spread out to the other ones in future. But I think a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking, you know, to, to look legit. I need to be on everything. Mm-hmm. . Um, now the, the best example of this is, is ourselves. If, if people look, look up Snapify marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they probably won't find a post from us for months, maybe a year.

Right. And that, that always sounds mad saying that because we run our clients' Facebooks, Instagrams, Twitters, that kind of stuff. But we get most of our work from LinkedIn. We're a very small team. Mm-hmm. , um, So we, we focus our efforts on LinkedIn until we've sort of got to a stage where we think either LinkedIn's not working for us anymore, or we are doing all we can on LinkedIn.

Then we'll have a look at the other channels, because I know that some business owners who are our target audience, um, and Marketing directors, some, if not all, will be on Instagram, Facebook, stuff like that. Yeah. But they're, they're on there for different reasons, whereas they're also on LinkedIn for the reason why we wanna be on LinkedIn to, to get Yeah. Business. They're on there for a reason. Um, so yeah, I'd say focus is the, the key to that.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. And it's a, it's, it's a valid, very valid point. And um, again, not the reason necessarily we have you on the show. We're gonna get into the whole push to be more in a second. But I am aware, Ross, I have a small opportunity here to take advantage of it cuz people listen to this podcast will probably be on LinkedIn.

It's the main thing, right? It's the business arena, the entrepreneurs, the, um, those in business wanna know more about business, think about starting their own, but all that kind of, uh, genre. And so LinkedIn seems to be the place to be. And one of the things that I've noticed about you on LinkedIn is you are prolific, so you can put something on,

Ross Hetherington: I've been called worse on LinkedIn.

Matt Edmundson: definitely had worse names. Um, but do you know what I mean? When you put a post on LinkedIn, you get a lot of interaction, a lot of views, a lot of engagement going on. When I put a post on LinkedIn, there's like tumbleweed going across the screen. Now granted I probably do one post a, a year on LinkedIn. It's not been my platform of choice.

Yeah. Um, but I, I imagine there's a lot of people listening to the show going, Matt, can you just please ask Ross for his top tips on how to do LinkedIn better? So what are sort of maybe two or three things that I need to think about if I want to do LinkedIn better?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, that's a good question. Um, just before I go into the two or three top tips, I'd say it's definitely what we're taken seriously now, um, because it is.

if you do it right, there is a big opportunity there. Now, over time, it might go the way of other platforms. Um, so at the moment I'm getting lots of reach and lots of engagement on my posts because I've been doing it for a while now and it's, it's a sort of hot platform right now. But people were getting that same interaction and reach on, on Facebook a few years ago.

Yeah. And now that's dwindled. So I'd say strike while the iron's hot, um, is probably the main point to take from that. But don't put all your eggs in one basket because one day they, they will take it away and get you to pay for it like Facebook does. And that's fine. That's just the, the nature of it. Um, I'd say that a couple of things to focus on, um, on LinkedIn is, Something that I see a lot of people get wrong or, or not get wrong, but prioritize wrong, is they'll spend a lot of time on their company profiles and their company pages.

Mm-hmm. . Um, they're fine, they're good, they can work. I've seen some work really well, just the same way a company page can work well on Instagram, Facebook, wherever. But at the moment, the thing that works best is personal profiles. Okay. So similar to what I was saying there, like if you go back on Snapify Marketing's company page on LinkedIn, we probably haven't done a post on there for a while because we push all our, we use my profile, like we've all got access to it.

We all log into my profile. Okay. We use that as the tool, um, just because that's what works at the moment. It might not be the thing that works forever. Um, and the other, the other thing to bear in mind here is when you use a personal profile, , you can choose who your audience is and that's powerful in marketing and you can't really do that on the other platforms.

You've got to hope that they follow you. Mm-hmm. , LinkedIn personal profile, you can connect with the people you think will be interested in what you've got to say will wanna buy your product. Um, if they accept the connection request, which is a big if, um, , it depends what you're saying to them. But yeah, if they accept that request, your posts will then start to show up in their feeds.

Now, over the past couple of years, I've probably built it up to, I haven't checked for a while, but probably over 20,000 connections. Wow. Um, all sort of organic, ie. I've sent some connection requests out to people I consider to be my target audience. Mm-hmm. , I also get connection requests in based off people seeing the post and also people trying to sell stuff against the nature of it.

And that's fine. I don't mind that if it's, yeah. If it's a good fit. Um, so I'd say the top tip in terms of connecting is try and be quite focused in terms of that. Don't worry about the numbers. The only reason I've been able to get up to those numbers is because my target audience is quite large in terms of business owners and sorts of marketing decision makers who might need an agency.

Mm-hmm. . Um, but if your product, if there's only sort of 2000 people in the country or in the world who, who would likely buy your product, which is can happen, you know, we've got a client who's very, very specific in their target audience or we can sort of, we help them build their profile. Yeah. And we could connect with almost all of their target audience through LinkedIn without paying for ads or anything like that.

So it is powerful at the moment. Mm-hmm. but might get taken away at some point as well. . Yeah.

Matt Edmundson: No, totally. Well, some top tips there, uh, on LinkedIn. Get on it. Get busy. Get busy. Is it, does it matter what you post?

Ross Hetherington: So the, the, the main thing for any social content really, but LinkedIn especially at the moment, is provide value, educate, entertain, if you do those things, like write things that your audience are gonna be interested in, not what you want to post about.

Cause I, I, I could open LinkedIn now and scroll through and a lot of the things will be very self sentence. Probably not the, the right way of putting it, but like, the reason why they posted it was for their purposes or for their benefits. If you post, if you, if you are trying to think of a post, think about what will either help or engage or in interest entertain the target audience.

The more you understand your target audience, the easier it becomes. Um, I think a lot of people probably don't understand their target audience very well because, It's hard. Yeah. You if it, if you aren't part of the target audience, you've got to put on a different hat, so to speak, and sort of become that, that target audience, um, to try and get into their heads.

How do they speak, um, what are they interested in? So there, there's, there's quite a lot of tools you can use, um, to help you with that. Um, so yeah, I would say just try and try and think about them of the target audience with every post that you, you, you do. Um, yeah. And you can occasionally do a, a sort of sales post, so to speak.

But I think people get the ratio the wrong way around. Like a lot of people might do four salesy posts for every one Interesting or entertaining or educational posts, whereas, I mean, I take it to the extreme and probably too far, but like I probably do 19 of those posts to one sales post every now and again, I'll mention it.

Just, just, yeah, because that's, that's our strategy and that works for us. And it might be different in different industries. Mm-hmm. . Um, but we just know, like our target audience are quite savvy in terms of marketers. Like we're selling to marketers and we are marketers, so they know what goes on. Um, and also business owners are, are probably the most targeted demographic on LinkedIn.

Mm-hmm. . So they're getting messages constantly from people trying to sell software, you know, recruitment agencies, whatever. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Their feeds are full of, of stuff like that. So we just try and be a bit different and I guess that's how we stand out. But also, um, I think part of it's that because we're quite small and it is my profile.

like I founded the business that we can be a bit more, not edgy, but a bit different. Whereas, you know, bigger agencies where the person running their LinkedIn account, you know, might not be able to be like that, or they're not allowing them to use their personal profile because they think, well, if that person's on LinkedIn, they're probably looking for a job or something.

Yeah. That's where we've got an advantage over the bigger agencies, because Yeah, the people in their business, the actual marketers, the people who are delivering, they're the ones who have the most knowledge. They're the ones who should be posting, but the agencies and the businesses don't, don't want them to do that.

Yeah. Yeah. Because if they ever leave, they take all value with them.

Matt Edmundson: That's very true actually. Uh, very true. Very, that's a very fair point that if you, cuz it's, it's your personal profile, so you're bound to take it with you right when you go, you're not building the company page.

Ross Hetherington: Although I have got some horror stories of people, of businesses, um, telling them that they can't take their personal profile with them.

Um, wow. Dunno what, how that ends off legally, but it happens.

Matt Edmundson: Wow, that's quite interesting. Uh, I'm, I'm definitely not in your league. I don't have 20,000 connections on LinkedIn. I think about about 9,000 at the moment. And we've been targeting people in the e-commerce and digital industries for some of the e-commerce stuff we do.

And that's been paying off well, one of the things that we tried the other day, which I'm getting into more and more, is LinkedIn events. Um, they seem to be, uh, doing well, but um, Lemme just say this quick plug to snapify marketing. If you wanna know more about LinkedIn, LinkedIn marketing or you need some help with LinkedIn, connect with Ross, uh, because I'm sure he would more than happily hear from you and help you.

Um, there you go. Setting my best DJ advertising voice that I could muster there..

Ross Hetherington: Love it. Yeah. And if nothing else, you can just have a laugh at my post.

Matt Edmundson: I do, I love them. I think that's great. Now it's fair to say full disclosure, we do use snapify marketing. Uh, you are one of our suppliers. I am one of your clients.

Um, uh, and we use you in our e-com businesses to help us with paid media. So, um, I dunno if that helps you listener, whether or not you think they're a good agency, but I, I, I like the guys, you know. So let's talk then a little bit more about the push to be more stuff. So we, uh, we call the show Push to Be More.

And one of the things I'm really curious uh, about Ross, um, with guests that we have on the show, as well as what they do is what are the areas of challenge? Where have you had to push, you know, what are some of the big obstacles that you've had to overcome, uh, in your fairly short life so far? I mean, you know, you're gonna have some fairly big obstacles in the non too distant future.

Uh, building that cot will be one of them . Um, but, um, but yeah, I mean, sort of what are some of the big things that you've had to overcome?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, so I, I think there's probably two, two sides to that. There's the personal side and there's the business side. Yeah. Um, on personal perspective, the, probably the biggest challenges I had were early on in, even before I started my career, like going through uni, coming out of uni and not really knowing what direction I wanted to take.

Yeah. Yeah. Not really. And, and from that, not knowing if everybody else's definition of success was what I wanted for my life. Yeah. Um, and I, when you're in uni and, you know, 18 to 20, I, you don't really know if you are just being difficult or different or, but you don't know at that point, do you, you haven't got any life experience.

You don't really know what you're doing. You can only really take the advice of parents, teachers who you know, through their best efforts will try and help you, but may not have the necessary experience or skills in the industry you want to go into or your skillset, or might just be different, driven differently.

So I'd say that the challenge there was to sort of work out it's okay to be, not, not go the same route as everyone else. Mm-hmm. , even though everything in. society or the system or whatever you wanna call it, is suggesting everyone should do the same thing. Um, yeah. So that, I found that quite hard to sort of navigate early on because like you say, you don't know at the time, if like in hindsight, I can look at it and go, oh, the, a normal job isn't the roof for me, kind of thing.

Yeah. But when I was working, you know, I had a, another job before my first marketing job and you know, I didn't love that either, and I was like, oh, maybe I'm just not, I'm, I'm a bad employee, or maybe it's just me. But you start to work out what your sort of, where your place is and where you can do well.

Um, so it was just the, the friction of wait until I had that sort of hindsight. Yeah. Um, going through that, the personal challenges,

Matt Edmundson: how did you, um, How did you navigate that then? So you're at uni, you're, you're, you're trying jobs. You're not li, you're not loving them. There is that friction there, there is that thought there.

Um, is it me? How, what did you do to navigate that?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, so I think at the time I didn't really know what, what, what I was doing. But in hindsight, looking back, I tried quite a few different things. Mm-hmm. Sort of tasted a few different things so that the idea was to find something I liked, but it was more, it was more in reality finding the things that I didn't like.

And that was like, okay, that's fine. It's not for everyone. And then, yeah, eventually you're sort of, it's a little less overwhelming. Then you start to narrow down into, okay, well you don't like this, this, and this. You know, you might have to try a few more things and you might not like those, but eventually, , you'll, you'll come out with a, a narrower sort of focus.

Mm-hmm. . Um, so I guess that's probably what I did. Well, whether I knew I was doing it at the time, I don't know. .

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Um, it's, it's funny isn't it? Listening to you talk. Cause I, I like this phrase, you said it, it's okay not to go the same route as everybody else. And what you are doing, um, is you are perfectly describing, um, everything that your newborn baby will do when they try to learn a walk.

Right. It's fig, it's not so much figuring out how to stay up. It's learning what doesn't work. Do you know what I mean. Yeah. And, and, and what doesn't work for them. And I, and, um, as an entrepreneur, one of the things you've gotta be okay with is failure, right? Yeah. So you try something, it doesn't work. Okay.

Well, as long as I learn from that, I'm good to go, you know, and, and pivot to the next thing. So, So did you eventually get to the stage and point in life where you, where you were okay. When things didn't work out? Because I think this is the, the, the crux for a lot of people, it's like when things don't constantly work out or it feels like there's consistency in failure for want for better expression, people have a really hard time with that.

And so I'm curious to know how you were

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, so I struggled with that all the way up until I went self-employed. And then ever since that point I've been fine with it. Mm-hmm. . Um, and I think the, the main thing there is I f I felt like I didn't have control in when I'm in a, in a job, for example, in previous jobs I've been in, whereas if, if I fail now it's, it's on me, that's fine.

But if I win now, that's also on me. Um, and that was quite sort of liberating in a way. Um, and. It's weird really because I, I'd probably like, I've been running a marketing agency for four years or whatever it is now. I'd probably struggle more, still put me in a entry level marketing executive role today and I'd struggle more with that than running an agency.

Matt Edmundson: That's interesting.

Ross Hetherington: And it's the control element. I think it's the, like I'm comfortable with failure, but when other people are involved, it, that was where I couldn't sort of get my heads round it mm-hmm.

Matt Edmundson: That's really interesting. So that's the biggest

Ross Hetherington: and that's a common thing with sort of people who, some people are more suited to being in control of their own sort of destiny or whatever you wanna call it.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. It's interesting, isn't it? I think you're right. I think for a lot of entrepreneurs they like the idea of. of, in effect, charting their own course, being masters of their own destiny. Whatever phrase you want to use. Um, I think as you get older, as an entrepreneur, so my ex my experience is actually you realize that that control is, is somewhat elusive, and, and somewhat elusory actually.

It's you, you just, it's not really there. But I mean, I like you, I think I remember some of my early job interviews, um, and people saying to me, they're like, Matt, we think you'd, from a skills point of view, we think you'd be great. But from a an employment point of view, we think you'd be a nightmare because it sounds like you just need to be working for yourself.

And I remember one or two interviews like that where the person interviewed me said, why are you just not gonna, why don't you just go work for yourself? And I'm like, I just think I get a job. Surely that's what I need to do. Yeah. And like you, I kind of went through this, well actually no, that's not what I need to do.

Maybe I do need to go get a job and listen to these people.

Ross Hetherington: Um, yeah. And it's interesting, like I've, I've since been on the other side of the table. hiring. Uh, we're only, there's only four of us, and that I knew, yeah. Most of the people we've hired, but like, we have been in a position where we've sort of look, gone through an interview process and we've been on the other side and it's so interesting to, to, to see the flip side of that as well.

Yeah. Um, and I'd say that probably is when I said the, the, you know, personal and business challenges from a business perspective that sort of being a freelancer haven't seen much work. So becoming an agency mm-hmm. then being the accidental sort of manager or leader. Yeah. I'd say that's probably the biggest challenge in terms of the business side of things.

Um, it's, it's often the case in, in careers as well. Like the best sales people become the sales manager or the best marketers become the marketing directors, but the skills that got them there are completely different to the skills you need managing people or hiring or, or, yeah. All of that. So yeah, that's probably the, the most challenging side I've found, um, from a business perspective.

Matt Edmundson: So have you, how have you dealt with that, um, that sort of move to self-leadership, to, uh, leading a team? Uh,

Ross Hetherington: yeah. So it's been, again, it's been a, it's been difficult, but it's been a, a constant reminder of like, you won't get everything right. Um, like we were saying before, like failure is part of the process, but you learn from those.

So, you know, I've never interviewed anyone in my life and I'm up there deciding what to ask them and quickly Google and like, what are the top 10 interview questions to ask while they're probably on the other end of their laptop Googling, what are the top 10 interview questions,

Matt Edmundson: that I'll be asked and what are the answers? Yeah,

Ross Hetherington: yeah, exactly. So I guess just through an understanding of like, you won't always get it right. Um, but as long as you are open, I've found that they get that, they know that you are sort of learning as you go. And we're a new small agency. So the the things that, the things that you see in an agency with four people are water and oil.

Like they say it all, they've got access to, like I said, my personal LinkedIn profile, they've got access to everything because it's just, you are a, a big cog in a small machine. Whereas, you know, when I worked in a big agency myself in the past, you are, you, you're a small cog in a big machine there and slightly different.

So I think they do understand, um, you, you're trying and as long as you're sort of aligned in terms of not culture. Well, probably as culture, but I, I don't really like the word, but like aligned in terms of purpose or mm-hmm. re reason why you're doing things. As long as you can sort of communicate why the sort of details don't really matter too much.

Like you might fall out for a couple of hours, but you'll, you'll soon remember why everyone's doing that.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Yeah. No, that's really interesting. So have you, um, have you had any, uh, how can I call 'em, uh, significant learnings where staff are concerned? Because, I mean, I look back over my career and I, I, I can't remember how many people I've hired, uh, over the years, how many people I've interviewed, how many people, um, I, I mean fortunately, I I, I can count on one hand really how many people I've had to have a conversation with and say, yep, sorry, you're no longer working here.

Um, but yeah, I, I just, any, any sort of thing that sort of springs to mind in your, in your short career so far?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. I'd say like, fortunately I've not had to have any conversations like that, but what I would say, like the sort of biggest learning I've had so far is, um, is it attitude over aptitude? Mm-hmm.

um, that you can have the best cv, the best track records, the best experience in the world, but some people with no experience could be a better hire because they're, they're keen, they're engaged. Yeah. They just wanna learn. They're just super, super keen. And, and that's, that's sort of what I was when I went first, first went into agency world.

I didn't know what the job was, didn't know what the job title meant. I didn't have any experience. I had a degree, which was like, they asked for it, but definitely didn't need it. Um, but like, I was just interested. I, I wanted to know why things work like that. Yeah. I, like you said before, I was probably a really annoying employee to have because sometimes the manager doesn't want you to be asking why, why, why do that?

Yeah. Why are we doing it like that? Yeah. What shouldn't we do it this way? And in some jobs you stick out in a bad way, like for being like that. But in some, like in my experience, they're the best types of people. Yeah. Um, the people who are constantly questioning why. Yeah. In a good way.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Totally. And I think as a leader, actually you, you, it's one of the questions you ask a lot is why, why, why, why, why, why did we do it like that?

Uh, why can't we do it like this? Um, always pushing the boundaries as it were. So do you, do you want to become a big agency? Um, are you, are you quite happy to stay more speedboat size rather than cruise liner size? Um, I mean, what's the aim for you?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. So it's a good question and it's, it's timely as well.

Cause it's January and this is when you think about these things for a bit until everything goes to chaos again. But , um, , I'm very conscious that I don't want to build the thing or recreate the things that I didn't like in my previous job, which was a good job by the way. I was lucky to get it and like, I learned a lot, but it was a different monster.

It was, um, you know, through, you know, just the nature of the beast. It's, there's a lot of, um, people in between the clients Yeah. And the work getting done and all those layers quite often meant that the outcome was worse for the client, but they were paying more for it because they needed to pay for their office and their Yeah.

Account managers and their sales team and their this, that and the other. Now, . That's not to say there's a right or wrong way of doing it because they were playing a different game. They were mm-hmm. Going for big growth and they were going for the exit and they did get it a few years ago. So fair play to them.

And they achieved their goals, their, their version of success. But I know that, that's not mine. Um, I've been very conscious that I wanted to create a job that I liked. Um, so I didn't like my jobs in the past. So my sort of goal was to create a, some people call it lifestyle, so I don't really like that.

Cause it sounds a bit too chilled. It still can be stressful, but like a job which I enjoy, and I would happily go through the stresses and the failures because the, the, yeah. The greater good or whatever, it's, it's more enjoyable. Mm-hmm. . Um, so I'm quite conscious that although I do want to grow, And I am ambitious in, in that way.

I don't have any ambitions to grow beyond a certain level. Um, because I, I think people, people just want more by default. Like yeah. That's just their default setting. More is better. And I'm, I mean, I'm still only young, but I, I reckon I've already sort of cracked that. I don't think it is in my personal experience at all.

Yeah. Yeah. More is often more stress, more problems, more issues. Um, and unless you've got a North star to make those worthwhile i.e. Selling your business or whatever you wanna do, um, I don't think more is always better. So for me, I think build the team out a few more people, maybe like a couple of experts in each area of marketing.

You know, we've got a couple of PVC Google ads experts now, but that's our bread and butter still. Um, , but maybe a couple of like sorts of, or one or one more socially social, like Martin, um, LinkedIn content type experts, maybe one web developer, something like that, where we've got a couple of really good cool people, interesting people, really good at what they do.

We can take on a certain amount of work, but beyond that, I, I don't think it would be what I personally would enjoy.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, it's interesting, I'm listening to you talk and, um, if I, I don't know if you've ever seen the movie, but I'm sure there are people listening of a certain age that are kind of thinking what he's talking about is the Jerry McGuire approach to business.

I dunno if you've ever seen the movie Jerry McGuire. Yeah. Uh, with Tom Cruise, the human head weighs eight pounds. Um, uh, or whatever it was. Um, it was very mu It is very much that less is, uh, more so less clients, you know, better service, et cetera, et cetera, is probably a, a more healthier way to do business. Um, rather than going from more, more, more.

And ironically, I I I, in some ways, Ross, I agree that the, the, the more you try and chase, the less you end up having, uh, or the more you try and chase more, the less you you end up having. Yeah. Uh, it's quite an, it is quite an odd thing, really. So all this is going on, right? And like I said, I mean, you've got your business, it's growing.

You've got some really great clients. Uh, and then there's me, , uh, you know, you and you've got this, uh, growing team. You've got a sort of an idea of where you want to go. Life's good. Your first baby is on the way. Uh, you've gotta build the cot. Um, and what do you. , how do you stay in the zone then? I, you know, what do you do to sort of recharge your batteries with all this going on?

Because it's quite a lot to, to ca I think it's a lot of responsibility to carry. Um, and so how do you deal with that?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, it's a good question. Um, there's a few different things I would say that come to mind. One of them, they, in football, um, it used to be my release in terms of going to the match less so now, like I still do go, but I'd say it's, it's not as big a part of my life anymore.

Right. Multiple reasons. Uh, I think often that happens as you grow older.

Matt Edmundson: Sorry. When you, um, let me just clarify. If you're listening outside of England, uh, going to the match means going to watch Liverpool play football at Anfield, right? That's what you're talking about. Uh, and so every, every week or every two weeks, depending on the schedule, you would go down to, to watch the games, right?

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, exactly. And, and I still do go, um, but it's just not as important to me for multiple reasons anymore. So it, it's, but I would say I enjoy it more, although we're rubbish at the moment. It doesn't bother me as much anymore if they lose. Yeah. Which is probably healthy. Um, so I'd say that that's one thing I do as a sort of release.

Um, but more so now is playing football, which is like the, the physical release is sort of second to none for me. If I, if I don't play football a couple of times a week, I can, I can feel it in the office. Like I can, I can tell it's, there's just sort of a pent up energy that I haven't been able to get rid of.

Um, so yeah, I'd say that's a big one. Um, and then in terms of other stuff, I, I'm an introvert, which I've learned a lot about since I found out I was an introvert. Um, people just like when you're a kid, they're just like, oh, he is shy or whatever. Um, yeah. And one of our mutual friends, Andy Kent was actually one, one of the guys who sort of helped me understand who I was and what yeah.

Where I get my energy from. And, and over time I've, I've learned that, you know, I often need space to recharge. So if, if I'm on a podcast or if I'm on back to back client calls for four hours, um, in the past I would've sort of just carried on working. Yeah. After that and, and struggled. It would've been difficult.

But now I, I understand that. I just need a, a bit of time away from it all just to sort of recharge. Um, yeah. Especially cuz the, the job can be draining, you know? Mm-hmm. we've got about 14 clients at the moment, so that's potentially 14 different people who could contact me at the same time. Does not always happen that way, but as an introvert that's very draining.

Even just knowing that. So it's just, um, it's just things where I can get away with different things that I can, even if it's just for like 20 minutes, half an hour, that can just sort of refresh my focus. So stuff like having a walk around the block or around the park. Yeah. Um, meditating to an extent, but I.

I do like one oh one. I wouldn't even call it meditation. Like I'll do the basic breathing ones or the, the one where they just talk you through, like if you are walking and they'll just talk you through it kind of thing. Um, yeah, I do find that does help. And yeah, stuff like that re read, I've been reading a lot more recently as well.

Okay. Um, not like some, some businessy stuff. Like I try and mix it up though with some just stuff that has got nothing to do with work. Just yeah. Whether it's fiction or a autobiography or something where, you know, it could be pretty mindless book, but it just, the process of reading helps me sort of switch off.

And then I'd say the final thing is people probably call it journaling, but it's just, for me, it's just writing down what's in my head. writing down stuff closes the loop for me, so it's not all just swirling around in there. Yeah. The fact that it's on paper and I will revisit and turn it into a task in my to-do list if I need, if it needs to or whatever.

Mm-hmm. It just sort of closes the loop and gives me a little bit more head space. Um, yeah. So yeah, there's a few.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, I, I, it's interesting listening to you talk and I, I, I get the journal and I get the writing stuff down because your brain has to, it has to take something which realistically is probably quite fuzzy in your head.

It's quite undefined, and it has to be able to define it enough to write it down. And just that very act alone, I think helps clarify a lot of stuff. Definitely. Um, I remember, and I'm, I'm hoping this doesn't happen for you, Russ, but I remember when. Uh, before we had Josh, which is our first child, um, I would come back from work and I'm, I'm actually quite extroverted.

I like to be around people, but I had a sales job and, um, you'd spend all day talking to people and I just needed space. I just needed not to talk to anybody. And so I had this agreement with my wife that when I came home from work, she would just leave me alone for like 30, 45 minutes, an hour maybe. And I, and this was pre YouTube Do you know what I mean that far back.

I'm going 21 years now. Um, and so I would just sit down, I'd, I'd read a novel or I'd, I'd, I'd read the paper or something would happen. And you just got that space and you just, you came out of the room 45 minutes an hour later and you're like, right, I'm back. How are you babe? And you'd have those sort of conversations and they, and, and I remember those were being wonderful times.

And I remember , I remember as soon as Josh was born, I'd walk through the door after work. Uh, and yeah, that, that, that everything changed at that point. And Sharon went it's your turn.

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. I'm very conscious that that's gonna be the new reality for me. And you know, I can't go and have a bath for two hours if I feel stressed or go for a walk.

But listen, this is a, this is what we choose to do.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, it is. Yeah. Are you just, you just find different ways, do you mean you find different ways of figuring it out? So what's next then for you? Where's uh, where's more?

Ross Hetherington: Um, yeah, so I think I've probably touched on it. Grow, growing the team out slightly in terms of like maybe our core focus now is predominantly paid advertising and a little bit of content. i.e. We run people's LinkedIn profiles for them. Um, we run some social media profiles for people, that kind of thing. Um, in terms of like, what else? I would say one of our main focuses is to remind ourselves of the quality over quantity sort of rule where, which you alluded to before, whereby, you know, we've started, we've started to be involved in conversations with bigger clients now just through experience, through having case studies.

You know, we worked with massive businesses in, in the previous agency, but like, you've got to have, you have to be able to back up yourself and we are able to do that more so now with like case studies and similar, well, we work with the business in the similar industry and you get through more doors. So I'd say sort of taking that next step to being involved in those conversations a little bit more.

Um, yeah, which we have started to pay. Like we've had, we've been at some say pitches, but like we've done proposals for businesses, which we would never have been able to sort of be considered for a few years ago. So that's great. Yeah. Um, logistically I'd say I'd probably like to expand a little bit outside of the UK more so we've got obviously what one of your businesses which sells across, across the world.

But we've also got a couple of clients in Dubai. Mm-hmm. , we've had a couple of clients in America. Um, well mainly for spread and risk, like if, if the UK goes into recession, do you want all your clients to be based there? But also, cause I just feel like the reason why I do this is, is to do interesting and exciting things and, and that to me is quite interesting and exciting.

Testing yourself in different markets. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so yeah, I'd say that and then maybe, maybe one day, um, having a little go ourself, uh, whether it's a our own ecom shop or whether it's our own lead generation website, because we spend our, our whole week doing these things for, for clients. We've got all of the skills, we've got all of the knowledge apart from all the other bits that we don't have, like supply issues and stuff like that, if it was ecom, but we've got a lot of the things that you'd need.

Um, it's just, I think when, when we spot that opportunity, we'll know it. Um, yeah, there's been a few in the past where we've been like, oh, is it this? And the fact that I was asking that made me think it's probably not. I think, I think it'll be obvious to us based on our sort of experience working with so many clients over the years where, where that does pop up.

So those are the main things. And then a couple of other bits on our radar. I want to try and stop relying on LinkedIn as much for, for our sorts of work, which is how the conversation started, but like, how can I translate that audience into something that we own, whether that's a newsletter or a maybe a podcast where, I dunno about that.

Matt Edmundson: You'd be great on podcast. No, no, no, you'd be great. You'd be great. It's interesting, uh, I mean, we've called this podcast doing interesting and exciting things with cool people and, um, listening to you talk about, uh, growing international customer base, growing, you know, different types of clientele and stuff like that.

Um, even the new family, you know, and, and doing very interesting things there with, with cool people. I, ie your partner one way, . It's, um, it's uh, it's an interesting sort of, uh, motto, isn't it? And, and I love international clients. I, uh, we have clients in New Zealand, we have clients in the States. We have, I mean, clients all over.

And I love it because it's a great excuse to jump on a plane, uh, and go to the world and, and travel and see them, uh, which I also love doing. Um, so no, that's great. Ross. Let me tell you cuz time is upon us. I need to get to the question box. State of the art graphics there on the screen. If you're watching on YouTube, uh, , no expense has been spared.

You know, the rules say stop. And we will ask that question. Stop always getting closer towards the end. Ah, now I, I want you to know, you said stop at this point, , so this is not on me. Uh, , would you be happy to tell your friends how much you earn?

Ross Hetherington: Um, Yeah, probably more so than, I think it's more socially accessible now. Um, a couple of my mates work for hmrc, so I have to tell 'em how much I earn.

Matt Edmundson: HMRC outside the UK to, so, you know, Hmrc is her majesty's revenue and customs. In other words, it's the tax office. So you have to tell them how much you earn love that.

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. But yeah, I think it's more accepted now. I don't think people in, in the workplace, I think it'd probably be more difficult because there's competition there, isn't there?

There's, yeah. Um, oh, well if they're earning that, then I should be earning that and it's a very nuanced conversation these days, isn't it? Mm-hmm. . Um, whereas because I'm self-employed, I'd. , I probably, it probably wouldn't bother me that much, but I'm not, I'm not necessarily driven by money, so, mm-hmm. , it's not even like the main thing for me, the main thing is like, do I enjoy what I, I do?

Yeah. Um, like I, I've got mates who've got really high paid jobs or had really paid high paid jobs and didn't have any spare time in the evenings, didn't have any spare time on the weekends. They were sort of, they weren't seeing their family, that kind of thing. They were in a lot of money, but I'd rather enjoy the journey to be fair.

Um, yeah. So yeah, the money, I, I, I'd probably tell 'em because it doesn't really bother me that much.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. No, I think I'm the same. It's an interesting question. There are a couple of friends that I have, uh, where actually I've said to my friends, listen, at any point in time you can ask me and I will show you my bank statements.

So not only do you see how much money I'm having coming in, but where I'm spending that money just to hold myself accountable because I never wanted to be that guy. Um, that flaunted wealth, Do you know what I mean? I, I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just saying I never wanted to be that guy.

Mm-hmm. . And so there's a couple of friends who I've, I've said that to and I'm just like, anytime you want man, just, just let me know. I'll send you the bank statements. You can ask me about any expenditure I have on the bank statements. And you know what I, I dunno whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, but man alive has that helped me to account on what I do with money.

Um, because like you, I don't think money buys happiness. I don't think the more I have, the happier I'm gonna be, but I think what I do with my money makes a real difference both to me and the world. So, um, I, I really wanted to be accountable in that. So interesting question. I do love the question box. The question box has thrown up some great questions recently, so

Ross Hetherington: I was nervous about that one.

Matt Edmundson: I think you got off lightly, if I'm honest with you. Yeah, that's okay. Yeah, yeah. So, as you know, this show is sponsored by, uh, Aurion Media, which specializes in helping folks like your good self set up and run their own podcast. So, going back to the podcast conversation, let's assume that you did, uh, set up a podcast.

Out did the people that have, uh, impacted your life who would be on your guest list and why?

Ross Hetherington: That's a good question. Um, You? Is that the answer you wanted?

Matt Edmundson: No, no. I, no, no, no. Not at all. .

Ross Hetherington: Yeah. So I guess over the past years especially, I've built a, people call their NetWork. I think LinkedIn has probably ruined that phrase, because now, you know, your LinkedIn network is very different from your real network, isn't it?

I see those two different things for most people. Some people do keep their LinkedIn quite close, but like, so your real network of the people who've helped you along the way mm-hmm. , um, and the people who you've admired along the way, the people who've probably done what you are trying to do. Yeah. Um, before they've trodden the path or whatever the saying is.

So yeah. The, the likes of yourself, Andy Kent I've mentioned before has helped me out a lot over the years. So Andy owns Angel Solutions, which is a bigger business than I I'd ever want to grow. But I've learned a lot from him over the time, and not just from like a business perspective, but from like a, you know, he, he gave me a lot of time.

He didn't need to, I, I was nothing to do with what he's trying to achieve in business. So yeah, people I've learned from along the way, I would say.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Very good. Now Andy's a top bloke, isn't he? He's great at helping. Um, it's, it, it give you the, the shirt off your back really? And is, um, yeah, it's such a generous guy, so I'm not, I'm not surprised actually.

Uh, you, you mentioned Andy Kent, um, in that phrase, so.

Ross Hetherington: him and Jurgen Klopp, the nutter.

Matt Edmundson: If Jurgen, you're listening, uh, I would love to interview you on this podcast as well. So, uh,

Ross Hetherington: I asked first. It was my idea..

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, but correct me if I'm wrong, you don't actually have a podcast yet, right?

Ross Hetherington: Ah, not yet.

Matt Edmundson: Brilliant. One of the things that we do actually is we reach out to potential guests on LinkedIn. Um, we do connect with them, but there is something about getting 'em on the podcast and having a conversation which really transforms that relationship, like you say. So, um, yeah, I, I get what you mean about the LinkedIn networking thing.

So Ross, thank you so much for joining us, man, on the podcast. It's been an absolute treat. Uh, I appreciate we've probably overran slightly, but, uh, it's been a fun conversation. So thank you for joining me. You are, sir. A legend. Well, no, you too. You're a legend. You're a legend.. Now we will of course link to, oh no, what, before I, before I get into the outro, how do people reach you?

How do they connect with you if they want to? I know we mentioned it earlier, but let's do that again.

Ross Hetherington: Yeah, I think people might have guessed, but at the moment the best, the best thing to do is get me on LinkedIn, um, send me a connection request. You can let me know if, why you've connected if you want.

It's optional. Um, but yeah, I'd say that's the best place to get me. That's where we put out all our content currently in terms of like interesting conversations going on in marketing, interesting things that we're spotting, new things that we're, we're seeing. Um, and you know, a few jokes along the way.

And you can also just see some of the random comments that I get on a lot of my posts where you see a different side to LinkedIn.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. If that doesn't entice you, nothing will . Uh, so yeah, connect with Ross on LinkedIn. What do they search for on LinkedIn to find you bud?

Ross Hetherington: Uh, just Ross Hetherington. I imagine there's only a few.

In fact, the, to my knowledge, there's. There are a few, but the top two should be myself and the CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation who makes me look very bad.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah make sure you connect with the right one. Yeah, yeah. Fantastic. Awesome. Reach out to Ross on LinkedIn. We will of course link to him in the show notes as well, which you, uh, if you're subscribed to the email newsletter you'll be getting for free.

If you're not subscribed, head over to, uh,, uh, and sign up to the newsletter and we'll make sure we start to send these things out to you. So there you go. Another fantastic conversation. Huge thanks again to Ross for joining me today. Also, a massive shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media.

If you are wondering, uh, if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at That's A U R I O N dot com and as I said, they will be linked in the show notes as well. Be sure to follow the Push to Be More podcast wherever you get your podcast from because we've got some more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.

And in case no one has told you yet today, you are awesome. Yes you are. It's just a burden you have to bear. Ross has to bear it. I have to bear it. You've gotta bear it too. Yes, created to be awesome. Push To Be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.

The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Josh Catchpole, Estella Robin and Tim Johnson. Our theme music, uh, was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, if you'd like to read the transcript or show notes, head over to the website, where you can also sign up as it happens to the weekly Newsletter and get all of this good stuff direct to your inbox for free.

That's it from me. That's it from Ross. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week. See you next time. Bye for now.