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Keeping A Digital Agency Relevant In The Age Of AI | Andrew Armitage

Today’s Guest Andrew Armitage

Andrew Armitage is a digital marketing expert, award-winning agency founder, and bestselling author with over 20 years' experience in the industry. As the founder and director of A Digital, he oversees a talented team of eight and has built bespoke websites and applications for top companies like ExxonMobil, the NHS, Windermere Lake Cruises, and James Cropper plc.

Andrew's bestselling book, "Holistic Website Planning," offers actionable insights and strategies for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge through digital marketing. He also hosts The Clientside Podcast, where he shares insights from senior digital leaders on the impact of digital on people, culture, and performance.

Outside of work, Andrew loves exploring the beautiful Lake District on foot or by bike. His passion for helping businesses succeed through digital marketing is matched only by his love for the great outdoors.

  • Andrew has had a fascination for tech since he was a teenage. He combined his creative skills with his corporate experience to start his own digital agency in 2006.
  • The challenges of running a digital agency in the age of AI, such as recruitment, lost pitches, adapting to technology, and dealing with feast-and-famine cycles. He also emphasizes the importance of attitude and aptitude when recruiting and maintaining discipline in order to succeed.
  • In the digital marketing industry, staying ahead of the curve is a challenge in the age of AI. Andrew suggests that digital marketers need to use AI for more menial tasks, but also be aware of its risks and lack of context.
  • The importance of holistic website planning to avoid wastage and ensure digital properties are sustainable, iterative and have longevity. Andrew explains why he wrote a bestselling book on the topic, which serves as a useful tool for clients when meeting prospects.
  • Andrew finds balance in his life by taking part in activities such as biking, walking, running, and spending time with his family. These activities provide him with an escape from the busyness of life, allowing him to recharge and reflect on his goals and direction.
  • Andrew plans to continue to grow his digital agency by focusing on providing great work for good clients and creating a good environment for his team, while staying a team of 10-12 members at most.

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Andrew: there's just this insatiable demand for content and to produce good quality content, as you will know, as a podcaster yourself. Um, it's not easy, you know, it can be pretty relentless to, to, to keep things flowing and, uh, keep the standard high. Um, so, so, so time is an enemy.

Matt: Welcome to Push To Be 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 guest, Andrew Armitage, from a digital about where he has had to push through what he does to recharge his batteries and to be as well.

Well, basically what is looking to be more of, so the show notes, the transcripts, and my conversation with Andrew are available on our website. Push to Be And also while you're there, you can sign up for a newsletter and each week we will email. The links from the conversation from the show automatically direct to your inbox, which is totally free and totally amazing.

So sign up now. This episode is brought to you by Orient Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcasts. Andrew, you know what I have found running my own podcast to be super, super rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen.

I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team, and my suppliers. And I think just about any entrepreneurial business leader should probably have a podcast because it's had such a huge impact on my own business. Now, of course, that sounds great in theory. But in reality, what?

There's the whole problem of setting the thing up, distribution, getting the tech right, knowing what the right podcast strategy is. I mean, the list goes on. My problem is I just love talking to people, but not all of that other stuff. So Aria Media takes it off my plate. I do what I'm hopefully good at.

And they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with That's A U R I O N, oran And of course, you'll find a link to them on the PUSH website as well. So yes, you will check it out.

Uh, right. Now let's talk about Andrew, shall we? He is a digital marketing expert, an award-winning. An award-winning. It's a very difficult phrase to say. Uh, an award-winning agency founder and best-selling author with over 20 years experience in the industry as the founder and director of a digital, he oversees a talented team, uh, of eight, and has built bespoke websites and applications for top companies like ExxonMobil, the wonderful nhs, and.

Because it's all in the same bracket. Windier Lake Cruisers. Oh yes it is now Andrew's best selling book, holistic website planning, offers actionable insights and strategies for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge through digital marketing. And actually, Andrew, I was checking it out. You've got some great reviews on Amazon, but we'll come to that.

He also hosts the client side podcast, where he shares insights from senior digital leaders on the impact of digital, on people, culture and performance. A fellow podcaster, ladies and gentlemen. Lovingness outside of work. Andrew loves exploring the amazing late district, uh, in which he lives. His passion is helping businesses succeed through digital marketing, and that is only matched by his look for the great outdoors, which makes a lot of sense when you live in such a beautiful part of the world.

Andrew, great to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us, man. How are we doing?

Andrew: I'm doing really well, Matt. Thanks for having me.

Matt: Oh, no. It's great that you are here and I have to be honest with you, I am slightly envious of the fact that you live in the Lake District.

Andrew: Uh, we are certainly very fortunate. Uh, yeah, it's a wonderful place to be. Uh, it's not necessarily the place that I would think of, uh, setting up a technology. Based business. Uh, if I'm being brutally honest, I suspect a lot of people might take the view, oh yeah, that's where we went on holidays. Maybe not the, uh, the, the first thought of, uh, choosing their digital agency based up here.

But, uh, but no, it's, it is a wonderful place to be. Uh, we can have a fantastic work-life balance. Uh, you know, the, now, now the days are getting longer, uh, you know, At, uh, five o'clock I can be out on my bike or, uh, or walking up the hills, uh, pretty soon. Uh, not far from here. So, uh, so yeah, it's a fabulous place to be.

Matt: I bet it is now, uh, in Liverpool, which is where I am today, despite the fact that it is spring, apparently it's snowing. Uh uh Do you have snow where you are?

Andrew: Funny enough, we don't, uh, or at least we don't at the moment. I, I may find as I come out of the room for, uh, recording this podcast, I might have a late night here, but

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: but no, I'm there. There's almost certainly gonna be some on the, uh, the fell tops, but, uh, but not at this level just yet. At

Matt: Oh wow. Wow. Well, you've got better weather than we are. Uh, that's for sure. So listen, you've had an impressive career in digital marketing, right? You've worked with some big name clients, uh, which I mentioned, uh, what was it? Lake, uh, windmill. Lake Cruise has been one of them, obviously now. What inspired you to start your own agency and how did you go about building it into the sort of multi award-winning company that it is today?

Andrew: Well, um, , it all sounds very ground, multi award-winning company. I mean, we're only small. We're, we're, we are not, we're not taking on the world. We're not, uh, we're not this huge behemoth of, of a, a global enterprise. Um, as you said in the introduction, you know, we're, we're a team of eight. Um, but I've, I've long had a fascination for, for tech and, you know, I was growing up in an age.

Uh, well, I was sort of around 16, 17, around the late nineties as the, the internet really started to go mainstream. Um, and perhaps even a few years before that, I, I just had this sort of love for connecting wires into things and, uh, this fascination of being connected to a server somewhere else in the world.

You, you must remember all of those. CompuServe CDs and AOL CDs, Netscape, that dropped through the letterbox. Uh, and they were coming through, you know, almost every day. Um, and I guess for me it became a little bit like Lego with websites and things, cuz you could, you could tinker about with a bit of code, you could publish it and then if you didn't like it, you go and change it or you realize then you could do something else with it.

Um, and I guess one thing led to another with, with that, and. I just felt this was a huge opportunity for, for, for businesses, uh, as, uh, the early start of my career as I, as you said, I spent time with, uh, with ExxonMobil and I was given this copy of back then front page 98, uh, and told to get on and

Matt: I

Andrew: an internet site because ev everyone had been watching tomorrow's world where they were talking about the paperless office.

Matt: Oh geez. I know. What video are you talking about tomorrow as well? Cause it's been doing the rounds on YouTube and I, I I remember that software. I, I totally do. So I'm, I'm totally with you. Yeah. Yeah. And if you're listening outside of the UK tomorrow's world, uh, just tell, uh, everybody what tomorrow's world actually was, cuz I, it, it's, yeah, it's just great.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, tomorrow's world, it was, I seem to think it was something like Thursday night, seven o'clock. Oh no. That was top of the pop. So it was maybe after top of the pops, but it was a, a, a program on, on the B bbc, and it was what, I don't know, half an hour, an hour. And it was all of these weird, wacky, wonderful innovations that were going to.

Go mainstream over the coming years. There was, I don't remember there been a specific timeframe ever put on some of these things. Um, but you know, the mobile phone was one of them. Okay. That has come to fruition in more ways than perhaps we could have ever imagined back then. Uh, But, uh, yeah, the much aspired to paperless office is, is one that definitely hasn't yet.

Uh, but no, it was, it was fun. And, uh, as you say, you can find the, the videos on YouTube and, uh, quite entertaining to look back on, to see in some cases just how crazy the thoughts were

Matt: is how crazy they were. Yeah, it was great, wasn't it? I was riveted to tomorrow's world when I was growing up. Like this is what the world could look like in a few. Like, wow, this is amazing. And oh yeah. I mean, in some ways they got it right and in some ways they got it horribly wrong. But they did this one, it's worth looking, actually.

Go checking on YouTube. Uh, I can't remember what it was called, but they basically predicted everybody would be working at home and what the home office would look like. , and I think they did this in the eighties, and it was just really fascinating. And some of the things you were like, you've got that bang on, you know, just bizarre how, how it worked.

A bit like the Simpsons predicting, uh, who was, it was gonna become president, uh, Donald Trump, um, and, and, and other things like that. So, yes. Uh, tomorrow's world. What a blast from the past. What a blast from the

Andrew: Um, but yeah, I, I kind of recognized the opportunity it presented, I

Matt: Mm

Andrew: uh, as I went through my career, I, I, I, I've, I've always been creative. I've always enjoyed, uh, your graphics and being arty, uh, typography, things like that, photography as well. Uh, so, uh, so I kind of. Look to combine the two things really.

That's, uh, that's really where my interest got peaked and we've got a bit of an entrepreneurial streak in the family as well. My dad ran his own business, my sister's self-employed now as well. So, um, uh, I, I guess I felt, uh, a little bit more inspired and had the confidence to go my own way.

Matt: So how old were you when you, when you sort of ventured out in your own territory?

Andrew: Oh, we are going back to about 2006. So, uh, mid, late twenties, mid late


Matt: go. Actually a good time to do it. I.

Andrew: Yeah, I'd had a couple of years, uh, corporate experience. Um, I, I perhaps wish I'd had a little bit more small business or even agency experience. Uh, I did business studies as a degree, and I think I look back and think actually, you know, I wish I'd done more of a graphics or a, a creative or technical degree because that's something that I really enjoyed, but actually what I've learned over more recent years, That's not my role now.

You know, I enjoy it, but as if I'm running a business, I can't be getting too involved in, uh, the nitty gritty of, uh, of code and, uh, and development work. Yes, I can oversee it, but I don't necessarily need to be, uh, quite so clued up on all the latest bells and whistles that people are working with. But I think having that, Understanding of the logic and everything that sits behind that, the complexity that development can bring, uh, then, then that certainly helps because, you know, often I'm sat in front of clients and, uh, you know, have having to explain certain things why something is perhaps harder than it appears to be, uh, the complexities and risks that can appear with those types of, um, challenges as well.

So, um, so yeah, it, uh, I, I felt I'd got enough experience under my belt to, uh, to sort of go out there and. Sort of find my own way. But yeah, we're all learning, aren't we? It doesn't matter how much experience you have, you know, there's always gonna be something up that that comes up. And uh, I think probably one of my favorite sayings is, I might even model to myself is that every day's a school day.

Matt: and it's such a true statement as well. It's like, what have I learned today? Well, a whole lot. So you set the business in 2006 in your mid twenties, um, and you're still a small team. , uh, by your own admission, sort of eight people, which is actually probably quite nice. To be fair, it's not, it's not gone crazy.

Did you ever have the desire to sort of do the 50 60 staff agency or always quite happy with the, with not having all of that drama?

Andrew: No. Do you know what? Um, I, I suspect like a lot of agency owners I set out without really a clear goal, you know, and, and in your mid twenties you're not exactly thinking about, um, you know, how you're gonna retire or sell out, or at least I wasn't. Um, so it was really. A passion that I had, something that I was able to make some money from doing, uh, you know, picked up early clients, became a bit more official.

Um, so no, there was, there was never really a huge ambition to take over the world. And, you know, I think still there's, there's enough to go round for everybody and there's a lot of merits from, from staying. And you know, I suppose in my, in my head I thought, you know, 15 to 20 may be a good size, but you know, we're not there yet.

Maybe we don't get there. Maybe we do, maybe we just don't pursue that level of complexity and actually we can become more efficient, work more effectively with the, uh, the talent and resources that we've got. And, um, it just becomes less complicated then, doesn't it?

Matt: Yeah, it does. I mean, you know, I, I, I'm always grateful for the team that I have cuz they're amazing people. . Um, and it's taken a long time to assemble the team, if, if that makes sense. And

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, it does.

Matt: uh, but you also know that if you ever have problems at the root of them is usually people. Uh, and so you always, the more people you have, the, in summary, it sounds a bit cynical, doesn't it?

You, you multiply your opportunity for problems. Um, and that's good and that's bad. And I, I think it depends on who you are. I mean, we've got about 15. Working with us now, and it, it's, we've, in the height of it, we had 55. Uh, and that, that changes your job completely or It changed my job completely. Um, and so I, I, I get it from both sides.

So you've been running the business, you, what are some of the big challenges that you face then over the last sort of 10 years that, um, have either shaped you as a person or sort of shaped your business?

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, o over 10 years, that's, that's a lot of challenges. Um, from, from recruitment to lost pitches, uh, picking yourself up from, from days that you think there's gotta be an easier way. There's lots of things, but yeah. Recruitment is, Is a perennial challenge. Uh, you've gotta find people that you can get along with the right fit, with the right attitude.

Um, I've always felt that looking and recruiting based on attitude and aptitude rather than necessarily raw talent, uh, can be, uh, can be a good approach. You know, particularly if you're looking at, at more junior people that, uh, that you want to join the team. Um, You know, it's hard work. It's, uh, and I think in, in some ways it's, it's got easier, but in some ways it's got harder.

Uh, you know, code now has become quite commoditized in a lot of ways. You know, you can talk into chat G P T and it'll generate code for you. Um, and yet we've got all of the advances that technology brings. So, so it is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. And, and, and that's quite a challenge, particularly more recently.

And I always say to to, to people that it feels like it's the easiest time to build your own website, but it's also the hardest time. You know, there's amazing platforms out there that you can get for 15, $20 a month. You know, the Squarespace is Shopifys of this world. Uh, and you can be up and running in virtually no time at all.

But then, You know, you can hit a ceiling with that and, and there's certain considerations that you necessarily, you, you don't always know that they have to become considerations as you go through those early stages and you sort of back yourself into a corner. Um, so, you know, the technology is, is always a challenge and despite it been something that, you know, I'm passionate about, I love the gadgets, the gizmos, and, uh, and learning new stuff.

Um, It, it does become a challenge to keep up and adapt because it, it's, it's not just keeping, keeping up, but it is adapting to it as well. Um, and then of course, you know, you have your setbacks in, in, in business. I think, you know, we've, we've typically offered, uh, projects, uh, you work on a lot of fixed fee type projects and, uh, you know, one week it can look like you've really worried.

How you're even gonna possibly achieve the projects that you've got in front of you because you've got three or four proposals out that are just on the cusp of going your way. Uh, and then the following week, it turns out three of those didn't come to anything. And actually the worry that you had last week has gone from one extreme to the other

Uh, and you're thinking, oh, things were looking good with those projects, and now all of a sudden we've only got one of them, or none of them even. Um, and, uh, it, it's, it's, it's always trying to, even out that feast and famine. Um, but in a small business, that can be really tough, uh, because, you know, often it's me as the founder, as the owner that potentially has to pick up the loose ends, pick up pieces or, or, or go the extra mile, uh, just to make sure that, uh, you know, we've, we've delivered on our promises and clients are getting the, the, the level of service that they, they want to see from us.

So, you know, that does come with compromise. Sometimes it does mean that there can be late nights. It does mean sometimes, you know, I've not done school drop-offs or, or what have you, or I feel that I've missed out in, in some cases. But, uh, you know, it's, it's, it's the pursuit of. You know, trying to achieve.

And, and I think you've gotta look at these things in, in, in a broader context. You can't just say, well, it's been a bad day or a bad week. That's it. I'm throwing the towel in. So, so I think, you know, as much as trying to develop your own skills, it's about maintaining a discipline and, um, sort of being comfortable with that.

I think.

Matt: there's a lot there, bro. Uh, and I, I, I'm, I'm really intrigued. I just wanna circle back to, um, , the thing that you mentioned about you've gotta keep up and you've got to adapt and you know, you've got AI given with one hand and taken with another and it's, you know, it's AI sort of seems on the v. At the beginning of something really quite interesting.

I know it's been around maybe a couple years, but it, it just seems to have gathered a lot of steam maybe the last six months and it seems to be quite interesting. So, someone who's been in the digital marketing industry for a fair few years, you've obviously seen the industry evolve, right? And change. Um, and now we've got AI thrown into the mix.

So what are some of the biggest challenges sort of facing digital marketers today and, and how do you stay ahead of the curve do you think?

Andrew: Yeah, it's, uh, it, it's a good question. I mean, time I think is, uh, a huge challenge for, uh, a lot of people. You know, there is this insatiable demand for content, uh, across the world, be it a Netflix audience, uh, be it a business audience that is looking for how to do. Uh, something on maximize or optimize their YouTube channel.

You know, there's, there's, there's just this insatiable demand for content and to produce good quality content, as you will know, as a podcaster yourself. Um, it's not easy, you know, it can be pretty relentless to, to, to keep things flowing and, uh, keep the standard high. Um, so, so, so time is an enemy. Um, but then you've got things like chat, G P T, which do genuinely look like they can.

Help with some of those more menial tasks, uh, that perhaps people find difficult. They don't always know where to start from. You know, you tap something into chat G p t and it'll generate an email for you, and that can be ideal to just get you started. I, I'm, as much as I'm a, a supporter of that kind of technology, There are risks that come with it.

And, you know, there is still the lack of context, there is the lack of factual checking that is gonna come from that. So, you know, I, I think it's really important that we don't, um, get too carried away with it too quickly. Uh, we've gotta Yes, absolutely use it, experiment with it, understand its pros and cons.

Um, but, uh, yeah, and that's, that's part of the learning, I think for, for so many of us. Yes, there can be formal courses and training and things like that, but I think academia for quite some time. It may have changed more recently, but for, for quite some years, I think they've been behind the curve in terms of what the commercial world has, has wanted.

Uh, and I kind of understand that, but it doesn't necessarily help people who come out of, uh, college or university with a degree or other qualification, um, and find that they've, they, they've still got quite a bit of groundwork to put in and. You know, as I said earlier, every day is a school day. I think it is really important, and I think it's absolutely reasonable to expect people who really want to develop and want to stand out, that they, they, they do quite a bit of this extra learning or extra research, uh, in, in some of their own time.

Yeah, it's great if an employer can support it, but from an individual development point of view, If those people want to, to stand out, uh, you can't just switch off at nine till five. You know, the internet is there 24 7 at. Not to say that you go to the other extreme because of course social media is constantly, um, you know, this constant stream of content.

You can't do it all. So, so, uh, that same token, Pick an area that you can focus on that is manageable, uh, and you are able to then develop and evolve with it. But, you know, don't, don't lose that tho those softer skills, which I think are so important alongside some of the, uh, more technical skills. Uh, because at some point you're gonna have to stand in front of somebody and justify your position or justify why you've chosen to use chat.

Bt. Uh, G P t rather than write something out yourself or vice versa. Um, so you've, you've gotta know what's going on, but the soft skills have been able to work with people, hopefully aren't something that are, um, are gonna disappear because I'm, I'm a big believer that people buy from people, and particularly in our business, uh, and arguably yours.

Yeah, we're, we're selling a relationship. That's ultimately what we're selling. And uh, you know, the byproduct of course could be a website or a web app or some sort of marketing campaign or some sales uplift. That's great. And that's obviously part of the, uh, the outcomes of the relationship. But fundamentally, it's been able to work well with each other and, uh, be on the same page with, uh, sharing the same object.

Matt: That's so true. And I, I, I'm a, like q I'm a, I'm, I'm a sort of, I'm a, I'm an avid fan of, uh, ai, but I, I sort of almost hated it at the same time. Um, but I, I do look at it and go, Okay. So it seems to me now the skill is actually in learning how to get the best out of ai. That's gonna be like the next big in demand skill, isn't it?

Andrew: Absolutely. Yep.

Matt: but, and it is a, like I say to my kids all the time, it is a big but , um, it doesn't replace human interaction. And that's the, that's, I love what you said there, that people fundamentally buy from people, don't they? And they, they, you still need that sort of relationship. I'm intrigued though, because you said this, you made this statement about people's insatiable desire for content.

Um, is that why you started a podcast?

Andrew: No, uh, no it's not. Um, there was a few reasons for starting the podcast. Um, We had seen the growth in podcasting, you know, we'd recognized that more and more people were doing it. Uh, I mean, I've followed podcasts. Uh, I think I had them on my iPod, so that's going back quite a number of years long before they came mainstream.

Uh, and that's probably partly the sector that, that we're in. So yeah, we, they, they were a little bit more accessible to me. I, I guess, um, but um, no, the podcast was an opportunity to try and share some of the conversations that we were having. Here internally with our team, with, uh, people who were in digital roles or potentially clients, you know, let's not beat about the bush with it.

It was a marketing activity. It was there to try and, uh, support our lead generation and maintain and nurture relationships. Uh, it was a business investment to, uh, to do the podcast. But, you know, it's great fun and I'm a bit of a, a tech geek. So yeah, we got a bit of nice tech to, uh, to support the podcast so we could get good quality recordings.

I'm sat in a studio, which is something that, uh, again, was fun to fit out and we've had the opportunity to, to, um, for clients to come and do their own podcast in here. Um, but, uh, but you know, on a personal level as well, Another one of those things that puts you out of your comfort zone if you are not doing these things regularly.

Um, you know, you reach out to people and I don't think anybody I've ever reached out to has said no to being on a podcast. And we've done 50 episodes in our podcast. We've, we're on a little bit of a, a winter hiatus at the moment, and we'll, we'll pick up again later in the year. But, you know, it's one of those things that.

People have always said yes to, it's a great opportunity to spend an hour with them. Whereas if I was to try and contact them and say, oh, tell us a little bit about what's going on in your organization, uh, as far as digital transformation, you know, they kind of look at you as if you've got three heads and think, well, I haven't got time for that.

But actually you put a podcast spin on it and, uh, and people want to, uh, you know, be a part of it. They want to engage with you and talk about these things. So, Uh, in, in that sense, it was a great opportunity to to, to widen my own network as.

Matt: Hmm. No, that's great. And you have got a beautiful studio. So if you are up in the late district area of the United Kingdom and you need a podcast studio, do check it out. Um, because the pictures look lovely actually on the site. Now you mentioned, uh, well I mentioned not you, I mentioned that you wrote, um, a bestselling book, so I'm gonna put it on screen if you're watch it on, on YouTube there.

Uh, holistic website planning. So, apart from, you know, the desire to torture oneself, which is what I think most people feel when they wanna write a book. Um, what, what are, what? Why, why would you, why would you write a book? Andrew? I'm, I'm genuinely curious.

Andrew: Well, you know what? It's, it's not that dissimilar to why would you start a podcast. Um, the inputs are quite d. And it was i'll, I'll be totally candid. It is a little bit like having a rather fancy business card. Um, It, it isn't something that I particularly had a huge ambition to do.

Um, I got involved in a business accelerator and I was surrounded by other people who were doing the same thing and it.

It was an opportunity that came up. It was done during the pandemic, so I had a little bit more time at home. Uh, wasn't traveling around quite so much. So, so time was less of, uh, a pressure. Um, writing is something that. Really challenges your thoughts. And to be honest, that book was probably written three times over. Um, you know, the, the, the, the script that came out of it would, uh, would, would probably double the length of the, uh, the final book. Um, but. It forces you to challenge yourself. It forces you into doing research to back up the things that you're writing about. Um, and actually after, well, it's been published a couple of years now, 18 months.

So, so, so after 10 years in the business, was a really good opportunity to just revisit some of the things that perhaps I've become a little bit rusty on, or the things that I wasn't doing on a day-to-day basis. And it, it's been really effective when we've met with new prospects, new opportunities to be able to say, look, here's a book.

Don't expect you to read it all. You're more than welcome to, of course. , but there is some key sections that I might just draw your attention to that might help with your thinking as you go into this next stage. And the, the reason for that particular topic was because I've worked with corporates who will rename, uh, remain nameless.

Um, whereby, you know, there might have been 10, 15,000 pounds worth of work done. Suddenly there's a change in the leadership somewhere within the team or what have you, and. A project is just cast to one side because somebody thinks, oh, actually it's no longer, uh, ticks the box. It's no longer gonna achieve its goals.

And yet all the work, the effort that has gone into it, not just the writing of code, but the meetings sat around thinking about the content, that human effort just goes to waste and. Yeah, we hear so much more about sustainability everywhere we look these days, and yet there are so many companies still to this day that will build a website that get excited about it.

It looks great for the first six months than a few people. Um, might upload slightly off brand images or images straight from a camera. The performance starts to suffer. Then they stop writing content because they get busy with other things. And 18 months, two years down the line, someone else comes into the team or the MD CEO looks at the website and thinks, oh, that's looking a bit shabby.

We need a new website. And, and it's really not a very effective way to work. Digital is very much about iteration, you know, unlike print where you, you design and, and collate content for a magazine that. Sent to 50,000, a hundred thousand people or whatever. That's it. That's it, Don. You can't change anything once that's been sent.

But a website and, and digital properties, they evolve. They iterate over time. Um, and I, I think there's a. So much wastage with, with things that get thrown out. You've got the whole sustainability of websites themselves. I think that's a totally separate issue in terms of carbon consumption and whatnot.

But it was just quite a wasteful approach that companies build a website, watch it deteriorate over time and then say, right, we've gotta rip it up and start again. Um, and, and really, you know, yes, there are a time when, when a website will come to end of life, but. If you pick the right platform that's got, uh, uh, longevity and, and a good roadmap, you shouldn't really have to keep going in and building a website every few years.

You really shouldn't.

Matt: No, I totally agree. I totally agree. It's like I don't redecorate my front room every two years. Um, and there's a reason for that. Um,

Andrew: Mm.

Matt: so one of, I mean, one of the things I found interesting was just reading through the Amazon reviews of your book. Um, basically everybody that read it seemed to have been doing a web development process.

You know, they were like, our company needs a new website, or we're, we're creating some kind of project. And they were like, this is brilliant, this is great. Recommend it for anybody that's thinking of doing that. So, uh, one more time. If you haven't read it, check out holistic website planning. Uh, if you are doing a big web project, you'll probably find it quite interesting and helpful.

Sorry, Andrew, uh, book, book plug over. Um, . Let's, um, you, you live in the Lake District. You mentioned you get out on the bike. How else do you, you've got, I mean, obviously you're, you, you're spending what, 400 hours a day writing a book? Probably Right. In part two. Now you've got your agency, uh, managing the staff.

You've got your podcast. Life seems busy. What do you do to sort of, um, uh, recharge your batteries, fill your tank? What's your, what's your thing?

Andrew: Yeah, walking or riding, quite frankly are, are my escapes. And, and I dare say, I've gotta add to that, running more recently. Uh, it, it's, it's funny, you know, I got to what sort of August, late August last year, and I was looking at my step count by the end of the day. , and in some cases it was less than a thousand.

You know, you come to work, I walk up and fly the stairs, sit at my desk, drive home, uh, and I just thought, this isn't, this isn't good. It's not particularly healthy. Um, even though I would, you know, a 10 mile ride or walk at the weekend was, was not uncommon. I just felt I needed to be doing more. So, uh, so yeah, I started running, um, back in August and, uh, I tend to do sort of about six, six or eight miles a week, um, couple of times a week, which, uh, which is great.

Yeah. I really enjoy that now. Um, and the beauty of that is it sounds stupid when, as you keep referring to, we live in the late district, which is a fantastic place, but it's something I can do from the door. Um, you know, if I'm going out on, on my bike, mountain bike, uh, yeah, there's places that might be sort of 20 minutes away.

Um, and, uh, Throw the bike in the car and off you go. But sometimes, you know, time can be tight. Uh, I've got wife, married with, with two kids. Uh, there's after school activities and things like that. So, You know, it's, it's, it's about balance. And to be honest, you know, even just taking my daughter to football, uh, training that, that, that is as much of an escape to me to be able to go and watch and, and just have a chat in the car.

It doesn't, I don't have to be, you know, at the top of a mountain or, or out in the bike. Those things are great and they really cleared my head and, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm. Comfortable doing those sorts of things on my own. Uh, I, I'm quite happy with my own thoughts. In fact, quite enjoy it, to be perfectly honest.

Gives me an opportunity just to, just to distill things that might have gone on through the week, um, or, or what I need to think about for, for next week or even the bigger picture. Thoughts. You know, I think there's a real risk that we can get so bogged down in the, the, from one week to the next. Uh, you know, you've gotta look up as well and think about, you know, is this still what I want to do?

Is this still the direction that I want to be taking? Um, but, um, yeah, um, riding, walking and uh, and a little bit of running thrown in. That's, uh, that's generally the three things. And, and then plus family time as well.

Matt: Well, the family time, I get the walking. I get the running. I don't get

Andrew: Well, you know what's so crazy? I mean, even just 12 months ago, I wouldn't have got it either. You know, the last thing I'd run for at that point was a boss that I'd missed at school

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: But, but then I found myself in the, uh, the, the Nike Town store on, uh, in, in London and Oxford Circus, trying out all these different trainers. Cause I'd really got into it and. I, I'd heard other people say once you start, you can find it a little bit addictive. And I did, um, not so much from, oh, I've gotta be out doing something, but just, uh, it just cleared my, my head and I knew that I was doing something positive for myself.

At the same time. That probably in, started to encourage me to drink more water than I did, rather than fizzy drinks. Um, I don't drink as much during the week. I tend to just leave that for the weekends to try and improve my sleep. So, You know, that has had a little bit of a, um, a, a ripple effect into, to other areas, and I'm perhaps a little bit more conscious about what I eat as well.

Um, not that I set out to do this, to lose weight or, or, or anything in particular, but it, it's just provided this opportunity to think slightly more healthily

Matt: Yeah. Yeah,

Andrew: I once.

Matt: yeah. No, fair play fair. I mean, fair play too. I. , I, I'm always in awe at people that can run. I tried it and I'm not built for long distance running at all. I will power down the a hundred meter track as quick as anybody, but anything over a hundred meters, I'm just, I'm out , I'm out. We have a gym at the house, which is great.

And, um, it's just full of weights, machines, or bikes. And that's, that's my, that's my my thing. So, um, what does, what does the future look like for you then? What's, where's the sort of, the next three to five years taking you?

Andrew: Yeah, good question. Um, and do you know what I'm, I'm, I'm probably not thinking too far. Beyond the three years, to be perfectly honest. Um, you know, I am 45 now. Um, so I suppose I ought to be thinking about, you know, what happens at some point. Uh, is that five years? Is that 10 years? Um, I enjoy my work. I enjoy what I do and you know, I'm, I'm not someone that could just think, right, that's it.

I can just go and chill somewhere. I can sit on a beach. Uh, I, I'd get itchy feet. I have to be doing something. So, you know, I, I, I don't see myself. Stepping back any, any time soon. Um, I don't want to be as involved in some of the day-to-day running of the business. That's, that's for sure. And that, that's a, a challenge obviously.

Um, and, uh, I think a challenge in a couple of respects, one is, Letting go and allowing myself to step back, you know, for a long time I found it quite uncomfortable to, to think that I might have been taken a day off. And yet there was other people in the office, but of course they're entitled to their time off too.

Um, but there was this, I, I guess this feeling of guilt that, um, Other people were working, therefore I should be working. Um, and that was, that. That's taken a little while to reconcile, I suppose. Um, but, uh, you know, we've got. Fuel in the tank. Uh, I want to, I want to develop the business. I want to grow the business.

Uh, we're a team of eight. Yeah, we may get to 10, 12, uh, but perhaps beyond that, uh, maybe not much more. Uh, you know, I want to really focus on doing great work with, uh, good clients and, uh, helping to solve problems that ultimately, Help their business and, and of course, in turn, help ours. And I want to be able to provide a good environment for, for people to work in, for them to develop their own skills.

Um, uh, and of course I'd be lying if I didn't want to take something out of the, the business myself, but, You know, I think increasingly the, um, the idea of building a small company, selling it for, for a fortune and then just kicking back, I, I, I don't know if that's necessarily the place that I'd be a aspiring to.

Matt: Hmm.

Andrew: uh, you know, it's not about growing up to become. Necessarily, you know, 2 million and turnover and whatever profit that, you know, you become so attractive somebody wants to buy. And you know, at that point you, you're potentially running quite a different business. And, you know, I still, although I talk about wanting to step back from some of the day-to-day stuff, I, I still want to, I don't want to sort of have a total disconnect between.

What's going on with development or, or the, the most recent design that, uh, one of the guys has, has put together and should they have this type of font or another type of font? You know, I enjoy those kinds of discussions and, and being close to the cult face, but, you know, I'm too rusty now to, to think about getting involved with code.

My team just tell me not to, or shout at me. Broken something usually.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew: so I'm best not getting involved cuz it opens a can of worms. But, um, You know, uh, uh, at some point, inevitably a decision's gonna have to be made about, you know, what happens to the business. Is there some sort of buyout from, from the team potentially?

Um, is there some sort of merger or collaboration that's another option, you know, so it's, it's, it's not hugely. Well defined. I haven't got an exit plan as it were. Um, but, uh, you know, we know there's, there's opportunities to, to do more with, uh, some of our clients. We know there's opportunities to go out and, uh, do do good things for new clients.

Um, and uh, and that is very much the ambition. And I think if we could get a few more bombs in seats that just help to define some of our respective roles, uh, without becoming too big, then that feels like, uh, the, the direction of travel.

Matt: Yeah, no, it sounds fantastic. I mean, it's all very sensible and I think the elusive, I'll build it, sell it for a shed load of cash, and then retire and buy a boat. I think people are starting to see that for what it is. And actually there's maybe one person out of a million that manages to do that, and for the rest of us it's a little bit more complex, um, uh,

Andrew: Yeah, and I think, I think, you know, now we've come out of the pandemic. We've all perhaps got a slightly newfound appreciation for life. Um, You could either enjoy life now, um, and, and have a slightly more comfortable. To that enjoyment or you flog yourself to death to

Matt: Hmm.

Andrew: enjoy it in five, 10 years time.

Now, some people will happily embrace that challenge. Um, you know, the, the, they're perhaps made to do it. Uh, it's, it's what they get their kicks from and, and that's, Um, but, uh, but I think, yeah, the pandemic showed us that, uh, life can be short sometimes and, you know, the future doesn't always deliver what you might expect.

So, uh, perhaps, perhaps it's an opportunity to, um, perhaps reign some of that in and, and enjoy what you have rather than what you think you could have, but could easily be taken away.

Matt: I think that's very true. I'm very wise and I think. . That's like you say, the big learning of the pandemic isn't, it's like, let's do this now. Let's make it work now. Right. So speaking of making it work, now, it's that time of the show where we go to the question box. Dun dun, dun dun, dun dun. Right. Uh, dramatic music aside.

The rules of this game, Andrew. Very, very straightforward and simple. I'm gonna flick the cards. You're gonna say stop. Wherever you say stop is the question that I'm gonna read.

Andrew: Okay, stop.

Matt: Stop right there. Okay.

Andrew: Cards of Humanity or something, is it? It's, uh,

Matt: sort of thing. Similar thing. Uh, so you, I just want you to know you chose this question. Okay.

Andrew: Yeah.

Matt: actually, uh, uh, to be fair, I think this is quite a, a, a straight, it's not too dissimilar to the one you've just been answering to be fair. Um, so I'm just writing your name on the question so I know who's done it. Are you where you wanted to be at this stage in your life?

Andrew: Um, yes and no. Uh, I think we can always say we want more. Uh, there's another bike that I'd like to get

Matt: But the wife says, no, right

Andrew: Um, but, um, uh, but you know, I've got two healthy kids that are growing up. Uh, we've got a fantastic family. Uh, my wife. Um, so yes in that respect, but if I was to honestly answer in terms of the business, no.

Matt: Mm.

Andrew: But isn't that the nature of being in business?

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: you know, you, you're never quite satisfied with, with where you are otherwise, presumably you'd walk out the door and, uh, you wouldn't go back in.

So, yeah, that's part of the challenge, isn't it? You know, because you've, there's always just something else that you can do, something else you can achieve, or that client that you, you're adamant that you can break the door down and, and, and, and do some work with them. So, So yes and no. I think on a personal level, yes, I feel that I am, but probably not quite there on a business level,

Matt: I, and I totally agree with you. I, I, I, I, I'm very blessed. I'm very privileged in a lot of ways. But I'm not finished. And, um, I think if I, if I read, uh, like my journals from when I was 20, you know, in 20 years time I want to do dot, dot, dot, you're like, man, you were miles off. Um, I mean, not even close, but the fundamentals are there.

Like you say, like, I wanted to be, you know, a family man. I wanted to be happily married. I wanted to have great kids, healthy kids. Um, and you, and you've got those sort of, it's putting the big rocks in place, isn't it? And um, Yeah, I, I, I, that's a good question. I quite like that question. I'm enjoying the question box.

I'm not gonna lie. My next random question. As you know, this show is sponsored by Oreo Media, which specializes in helping business folks, uh, set up and run their own successful podcast. Something that you have been doing with the client side podcast. So I'm curious, Andrew, um, you may have interviewed them already, but from everybody sort of past and presence had a big impact on your life.

Who is your, who's, who's, who would you like to interview in?

Andrew: Whoa. Good question. Um, big question. Who would I interview? Um, do you know what I'm, I'm, I'm a little bit stumped. Um, there

Matt: that's good.

Andrew: Yeah. In, in terms of, in, in terms of people that have in, in inspired me on my, on my journey. I've mentioned our family has sort of had a little bit of an entrepreneurial streak in there. Um, I always, I always sort of credit my dad with, with a lot of that.

Um, and that might feel a little bit weird interviewing him, but, um, you know, it could be interesting, you know, now he's retired and, you know, the opportunity to sort of ask perhaps more questions about, uh, you know, some of the decisions he made and some of the. Perhaps the compromises that, that he made that could be interesting.

Um, but, uh, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm not such a huge fan of celebrity. Um, you know, I love listening to people's stories and the challenges, the adversity that they've faced and how they've overcome those. And, uh, you know, I think. People have had to do far more of that than they often make out. And that's not necessarily secret.

It's not necessarily that the, you know, they don't always feel comfortable talking about these things and they don't always, um, want to appear to be sort of pulling the sympathy card. But, um, but I'm, I'm always fascinated by listening to people's stories, um, and, and their journeys and how. I, I suppose in some cases, how the stars align for them, um, for, for better or worse and, and what they did as a result of it.

So, you know, for, for, for a name, you know, I could say someone like Steven Bartlet or Richard Branson, that would feel a little bit cliched. Yes, the interesting people, their journeys are interesting. Um, but obviously they're very focused on, on, on, on business. Um, you know, sometimes it doesn't have to be, uh, any.

Particularly notoriety in in the person, but just people that have got interesting stories, I think, which, which is a bit of a wishy-washy answer I guess.

Matt: No, I think it's a very good answer. And the reason I'm smiling is because, I mean, I've not interviewed Branson I I'll, and you know, if, if Richard's listening, you're more than welcome to come on the show, uh, or Andrew's show actually on the client side part. Either way, we, we'd love to talk to you. , but you know, quite a lot of very famous wealthy people.

I have over the years interviewed in various ways, and you, especially in the business arena, and I've had the privilege of meeting them. I've had the privilege of flying on their private jets and all this sort of stuff, and it's been great and it's been wonderful, and you get to ask them some really interesting questions in the roles that we've sort of done over the years, and I've really enjoyed it.

And the thing that sort of unites humanity, whether they're super wealthy or whether they're you. Absolutely nothing to their name is their story. And everyone's got a story of challenge, which is why I like doing this podcast. I'm like, what? What, what are some of the challenges? What have you overcome?

I'm really, I'm genuinely curious because I find 'em quite inspiring and um, so I don't think so. I wish he once was the answer at all. Uh, but I think it would be interesting to do the recording with your dad. And one of the things that I've noticed as I've asked this question to all of my guests is just how many men.

Come on the show and say they would love to talk to their dads, especially if their dads have passed away. Um, and so if you get the opportunity, you should probably do it.

Andrew: Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Well, there's, there's something to, uh, to take away for sure.

Matt: and forget about as soon as the call ends. Uh, but no . Listen, Andrea, it's been an absolute treat talking to you, man. It really is. Uh, how do people reach you? How do they connect with you if they want to do that?

Andrew: Yeah, sure. So, um, on a, on a personal level, I'm usually pretty active over on LinkedIn. Uh, Andrew Armitage, um, is the, uh, the handle that I have there. Um, but also you'll find me on Twitter at. A Armitage. Same again on Instagram. I love taking and sharing photos, um, and Strava as well. If you are a runner or an outdoor, uh, follower, you can, uh, see where I'm getting to either running or riding, um, here up in the lakes.

So, uh, so yeah, those are probably the, the best channels on a personal level, agency wise. Then, uh, the, the business is a and, uh, yeah, you can, uh, you can contact me online through there.

Matt: fantastic. And of course follow you on, uh, Instagram or Strava. And if I do that, I'm probably gonna find all those little hidden gems in the late district where the tourists don't really know about. And you, you sort of have to go to a local to say, where should I go? I'm just gonna stalk you on Stra and Star and then just go there.

Uh, no, that's brilliant. Listen, Andrew, sincerely, man, really enjoyed the show. Loved hearing you talk. Um, so many more questions, but, um, time is against us, so. Genuinely. Thank you. Appreciate it.

Andrew: Very much appreciate the, uh, the opportunity to speak to you, Matt. It's been.

Matt: No, it's been great, isn't it? So we will of course, link to Andrew's info in the show notes, which you can get along for free with a transcript on our website. Push to be or if you sign up to the newsletter, that'll be winging their way straight to your inbox. Also, lemme give a big shout out to today's show sponsor or media if you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business.

And do connect with That's A U R I O N Media. Do. Com, uh, and just see what they can do to help you. Now be sure to follow, push to be more wherever you get your podcast from because we've got yet more great conversations lined up and we 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. Lemme get the right screen. There we go. You are awesome. Uh, it's just a burden you have to bear. Just been creating. Awesome. That's right Andrew. He's awesome. I'm awesome. You're awesome too. Now, push to Be More is produced by or mea. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.

The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beon, Estella Robin and Tanya Husak. Our theme was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, if you'd like to read the transcript or show notes, head to the website, push to be That's it from me. That's it from Andrew. Thank you so much for joining us.

Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.