1- Hello Ashton, can you tell us a bit about you?
Well, I am from another commonwealth country in Canada. My background before finding my own business was in telecommunications supporting mobile products, cloud service printing & I am a passionate advocate for human rights.
2- What are your areas of focus and why?
I focus on website setup, network administration, customer relationship management and Public Relations. When I work with a new website project, I want to be engaging with customers and creating awareness on every level. The biggest threat to new business owners in 2018 is that it is easy to become obscure with the globally accessible cluttered market. Especially in areas of tech including app development, software development, and eCommerce sales. I focus on a personal selling approach because of the for anyone running a digital business ins personal sales and customer service. These are methods that ensure customer retention, transaction processing, and customer satisfaction.
3- How would you describe your digital marketing career in a few words?Challenging, Not what I expected & rewarding.
4- Where do you think your work is making the most impact?
I make the most impact in the LGBT+ community. I don’t just mean with my volunteer work or selling Seneca College LGBT counselors a website resource either. Seneca College LGBT people have challenging access to careers in Marketing and with my help, I have mentored ambitious LGBT information managers in Content Management software (CMS) like WordPress, Graphic designers & young sales reps. For my client Swanwhispersasmr.ca we just hired an artist to do her banner from the Seneca Pride College group. She has a bit of a confidence problem, but what she doesn’t get but I do is I see untapped money in her talents.
5- What Marketing tip do you think can help entrepreneurs and startups with the early stages of launching their business?
Stop thinking what you have to sell is a brand. Start realizing what you have to sell is yourself as the owner and sales rep.
If you are an entrepreneur in tech. Your days of setup & waiting for customers is over. You need to be cold contacting, engaging with potential customers on your forms and closing with your customers in a way that retains business. I don’t care if you run a product store or you sell Graphics on Fiverr. Your customer is your biggest business asset and you need to monopolize their time with a personal contact or direct messaging.
The advice you can extract from me working on this external blog is, build relationships with influencers who have their own web space and stop paying to be the 1/1000 advertisers on the clutter of Facebook. You need to dominate space, not get lost in it.
6- From a Support agent to a successful digital marketer and Shopify expert. Was it as easy as it sounds?
Truthfully when someone outside my business/LGBT network asks me about getting in a career in digital marketing, I encourage them to go elsewhere. Also when I am consulting with business startups who have never sold anything in their life, it can be difficult to say to them. “I don’t think you should do the capital funding risk of your own business.”With Shopify people really think that you can set it up, leave it alone and it will make you money. I tell them it is so much more complicated than that. You need to be talking to buyers, you need to do events and you need to do content promotion. Then what I find is when people learn it is difficult they do not do it and then they go back to their job. I love what I do now but would I choose this could I rewind 7 years back? Absolutely I would not choose a career in digital marketing could I go back, however you specialize and sacrifice for something and build a talent.
7- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I think I will be working full time managing my own communications support team while running my service business on the side. Or Diana and I might merge are digital marketing business to create the marketing department of the company.
8- What can you tell a young Shopify owner who are pursuing his dreams?
“You are a salesman now kiddo. You can’t just setup ads and hope for magic sales. Now you have to put in some legwork and start moving your products on your own.” Also, I would say “Don’t worry about branding in your first year. Worry about making contacts.”
9- What are you most excited about at this moment?
Besides the Shopify guide for personal sellers. I am really excited for Spring to arrive. As Web Marketers, we do a lot of our work from home in the winter in Canada. However, in May Diana conquers her struggle with seasonal depression and we start doing our work in and around the city. I am also excited because we are launching a 12 episode podcast series on my SoundCloud called Podcast in Public. We just got audacity working and now we are going to be putting together a content outline.
10- The Last Word or final thoughts?
Don’t be a brand. Be a seller with a personality, story and an interview. The value in your business is in the people, not the logo illustration you overpaid for. Or the Facebook ads that don’t work. It is in the people who run the business and fulfilling all successful functions in it. Also if you are not a team player, a mentor and apart of a team network. If you work alone in business, you fail alone in business 100% of the time. I can guarantee you are better off with a functional team.