Pop Quiz, Monday with Ellie Shedden

Ellie Shedden

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Ellie Shedden

What is your job role?
Founder & Director of THE-OOP.COM

Tell us about your company?
We are a global digital marketing agency specialising in organic marketing for small to medium businesses. I started the company as a side hustle when I became bored at my 9-5 job about 2 years ago, and within 6 months I began to earn the same as my salary so decided to take it full time.

We now have over 30 clients located across 5 continents and have been profitable since day 1.

What do you love most about your job?
I love the freedom that it offers me to travel (I can work from anywhere with an internet connection!), as well as the fantastic contacts that I meet at networking and coworking events. There are so many interesting people in the world that I would never have had the chance to meet in my corporate life.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
If I don’t work… I don’t make money! I love having the full responsibility for my own income and knowing that I have the power to stay small or grow, depending on how much effort I put it. Now that I have salaried staff, I am also responsible for their income. My team is fantastic, and I absolutely do not want to let them down.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I was lucky enough to get to choose my coworkers, and I hired people based on their attitude rather than experience. My team are all go-getters with goals both inside and outside of work, and they inspire me to get up and keep going when I’m feeling lazy or down.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Our team is located all over the world, so it is very difficult and expensive to get together for team events. Instead, I make sure to allow employees time off to celebrate important occasions in their country or culture, and we also pay a small bonus to let them take their families and friends out to celebrate. For example, our staff in India celebrate Diwali, in Indonesia celebrate Eid-al-Adha, and in Australia celebrate Christmas and Chinese New Year.

We provide access to coworking spaces for our staff to encourage them to build networks and reduce the feeling of isolation that comes with working remotely. I also make a concerted effort to drop in and say hello if I am visiting nearby a staff member’s city.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
My biggest challenge is maintaining healthy working hours. With clients all over the world, time zones can be challenging, and I’m often required to take calls at midnight or 5am. In some cases, I can ask a staff member to attend the call on my behalf. However other times it just has to be done.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Always have a clear contract. I recently worked on a web design and marketing project for a contact that I knew from my previous corporate career. I trusted this person as I know them personally, however, unfortunately, we had different ideas of the product to be delivered and reasonable timelines, so the client was left feeling unsatisfied. Whether you know the client or not, make sure to nut out your deliverables and timelines in writing prior to commencing any work. This will ensure that you are both on the same page and leave your customer satisfied with the end result.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
One word: specialise. At the beginning of my business journey, I was offering all aspects of digital marketing, which really meant that I was an expert in none. After burning out and realising that I could deliver better work, I decided to deliver only organic marketing (i.e. web design, SEO, social media and content marketing). This means that I can stay up to date on the latest in the industry, and also hire experts in each field.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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