So, you've clicked on this page because you want to find out where I've been and why I've been there. Deep stuff. I've not been around for too long, but let me see what I can dig out for you. Some key moments or interesting years.
Growing up, the milestones
- 1997 - Born in Greenwich, London.
- 2001 - Moved to Whitstable, Kent.
- 2008 - Started secondary school. Hated it.
- 2013 - Built my first PC.
- 2015 - Daily vlogged on YouTube.
- 2015 - Left secondary school. Good riddance.
- 2015 - Worked at Sainsburys for a year. Didn't fancy Uni.
- 2016 - Moved to London and started my first real job.
Work life, the milestones
- 2016 - Digital Marketing Apprentice at Clarion Housing
- 2017 - Digital Marketing Executive at First Base (B2B Marketing Agency)
- 2019 - Marketing Manager at System1 (Market Research)
- 2020 - Part time at System1
- 2021 - Full time freelance / side-projects / contracting
- 2022 - Stability
This was my first venture into the world of work. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I wanted to make money. I liked computers and I used social media, so digital marketing seemed like something interesting. I thought at Clarion there would be a ton of people to learn from. There wasn't. This was the biggest learning experience of my life, however, and I loved every second of it. I met some lifelong friends and learned about everything they don't teach you in school about communication, earning money, relationships, working in an office.
Heavily on the career path of working in Digital Marketing, I left my apprenticeship for the dizzy heights of agency life. I was at the agency for 2 years and it was by far the most pivotal (and enjoyable) part of my professional life. Most of my personal growth was during these 2 years as I was thrown into the deep end of client work, pitching, drinking, living in London. I had a blast. We even got acquired 1 year in, so I found at what it was like working in a larger agency.
Throughout these 2 years I also started to delve into side projects. Since I was younger I'd always created YouTube videos and been interested in editing, and as I was seeing how an agency worked I figured I wanted to do this for myself. So I went out to get myself some video production clients. I stayed on this path for a solid 2-3 years, doing a bunch of freelance video projects and I still have the company I started here (Striqo).
This was also the time I ran into the Indie Hackers scene, doing my first Indie Beers meetup and again meeting some lifelong friends - some of which would have a very big impact on my path in life.
Moving up in the world, dead set on my career, but with some more side-projects creeping in. At this point I'd started my podcast, the Marketing Mashup and I was still doing freelance video work on the side. I was also picking up random other bits of marketing work from whoever would pay me. This job changed my perspective on flexibility in the workplace. While at the agency working at home was frowned upon, while at System1 everyone took Friday's at home or you could choose another day during the week.
I got some REALLY cool opportunities while at System1, such as going to Cannes (South of France) for a week for the advertising festival and to the New York office a few times. From 2019-2020 I did two full-week stints in New York and had incredible fun. I look back on those times very fondly.
Fuck. 2020 was a year, wasn't it? It was certainly turbulent for me as I tried to go part time with work and we all ended up working at home. Got a real taste for flexibility and moved out of London back to my hometown of Whitstable. After being back for a few months I bought my first 2 bed flat in Canterbury (where I went to school).
My side project game really stepped up in 2020 as I started Indie Bites, my podcast which is looking to be my route into full-time on my own stuff. I also started Canterbury Digest, which was my local newsletter inspired by Andrew Wilkinson and got more involved with Weekend Club. I then got my biggest freelance gig ever, working for Riverside.fm making 3x YouTube videos per week. This also set me on my biggest bout of depression, which lasted over a year.
Well, if 2020 was a year, 2021 shit got real. The worst year of my life. I was still working part time for System1 but things were not looking good. I was trying to balance the Riverside gig with other freelance work but it was all a little too much for me. I've written about this a fair bit. To little fanfare I ended up leaving my job and taking 2 months off everything to figure out what the hell went wrong. I'm still trying to recover from that financially (not that I've ever been that good with my finances). On the back burner I had Indie Bites and a few small freelance clients throughout the year.
In October, which leads me to writing this, I took a 1 week holiday without my laptop and switched off from work. It was the best thing I've done. I came back feeling refreshed and with energy, hopefully marking an end to a horrible 18 months. I've published a ton of Indie Bites episodes, been inspired to work on stuff that energises me and even launched a podcasting course.
I'm hoping with a bit of hard work I can make a decent, stable wage with my side-projects. We'll see.