James Rowan talks to us about his digital agency
James, a multimedia computing graduate, speaks to us about Webrevolve - James' award-winning digital agency.
“While I was still a student I began freelancing as a web designer. In my third year I joined the University of Liverpool’s web team on a paid placement. My freelance work and placement gave me the knowledge, confidence and experience I needed to found Webrevolve.
“I used funding from the Centre for Entrepreneurship to start Webrevolve. I also got a business partner involved who could invest.
“The Centre helped in other ways too. As well as meeting other start-ups, I learnt a lot from the Centre’s guest speakers. Especially about brand design and invoicing. I also found the Centre’s advice about body language invaluable. They taught me how to analyse situations and how to present myself confidently.”
“The key to growing your business is hiring people who will drive your company forward. To grow Webrevolve, I hired highly-skilled staff. Thanks to these team members, we were able to produce great results and secure more business.
“If you’re thinking about starting your own business, make sure you have enough money and enough work before you hire. Cash-flow is one of the biggest problems for start-ups.
“To be successful, you need to maintain excellent relationships with people who can help, whether that’s PR agencies or other companies with cross-purposes. Networking events can be useful if you’re looking to build up your contacts.
“The digital industry is so big. If you’re entering a competitive industry too, you need to stand out. Webrevolve’s unique selling point is that it’s a cross-Atlantic agency. I have offices in Liverpool, London, Minnesota and Chicago.”
I started Webrevolve when I was 24. At times, I wish I'd started earlier. You haven't got a lot to lose when you're young.
James' top tips for start-ups
James' top three tips:
Before you begin, decide if you want to set up a lifestyle business or a growth business. Deciding this early on will help you make better choices later.
Get advice from an accountant before you start your business. They’ll tell you the truth about your finances, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
3. Business is about forging relationships with people. Make sure you have honed your people skills as much as possible.
I wake at 6.00am. I go to the gym and then head to the office for 7.00am. We work in America and a lot happens while you’re asleep. I catch up with the American side of our business and then go to our daily team meeting at 9.00am. Next, I prepare for client meetings and go to pitches.
If I’m out on a pitch I’ll grab a quick sandwich from a coffee shop.
In the afternoons I meet with our design team. We’ll talk through wireframes and concepts. I tend to have several Skype calls our contacts in America. I try to finish work around 7.00pm.
In the evenings, I like eating out and spending time relaxing with my partner.