From the hamster wheel to the rollercoaster: The story of a marketing consultancy start up

What a difference a year makes. A year ago my inbox was filled with an unfathomable amount of incoming e-mails on multiple projects, I was best friends with the early morning Costa drive thru staff en route to work and at the other end of the day I was still dealing with the fallout from the days issues when I’d spent my day in other people’s meetings. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to enjoy about being a Marketing Director in a brewery with some fantastic brands and great people but if I’m being true to myself, the brave new world offers something more fulfilling, more challenging, more me and whisper this quietly – finding myself doing more marketing!

Twelve months on and I’m getting to grips with a fascinating set of experiences. I’ve gone from being the hunted (the bloke who every agency wanted to chat to because their idea was THE best thing I’d never thought of) to being the hunter (the bloke who is doing the following up and selling HIS skills)…. What an irony! Whereas people would have been waiting for me to give the roman emperor thumbs up (or down) on a particular project I find myself now as the person sitting tight waiting for people to respond from their own long list of priorities. As someone who is typically at the more impatient end of the spectrum it’s been a good learning curve on taking a deep breath!

Yet it all feels so much more rewarding. The wins feel so much more satisfying and the discussions feel much more liberating when it’s your own P&L and your own immediate future you are managing. The challenge with any senior level role in any function in any business is that the more senior you get, the less of your chosen discipline you actually get to engage in. The reality for me of getting tucked into a week that almost exclusively features marketing discussions means I’m getting back to what I love and enjoy: finding breakthrough ways in which to deliver commercially impactful thinking.

Taking the plunge and stepping away from the stability and security offered up by a traditional role is of course not for everyone and it remains a learning curve for me on an ongoing basis but in truth that’s part of the fun. I’m also very much accustomed to the realisation that if I don’t do it then it won’t get done. Strangely though even that I am finding refreshing in that it motivates and drives me to want to succeed. The motivation to create the often talked about but seldom delivered work/life balance seems to be on track and the early morning Costa visits have increasingly been replaced by early morning gym visits (who’d have thought it?!).

It remains early days and I’m under no illusions of how tough it is to establish your own business from a standing start but I’m very appreciative to those who have given me their time and identified opportunities. I’ve also really enjoyed conversations with people in a similar position to me and it is clear that the power of a modern network can be invaluable in providing perspective and in helping unlock doors. One thing is for certain, the hamster wheel may spin consistently but the rollercoaster provides a more fun, exhilarating and rewarding way to travel!

Thanks for reading. Phil.

Phil is the founder of 47 Marketing and is here to help brands, businesses and agencies make a real commercial difference. With nearly twenty years of marketing experience including leading strategy and marketing programmes on some of the UK’s most loved brands he is able to provide freelance support, training and mentoring in a wide variety of areas. Get in touch on 07879 447319 or drop a note to

Photo Credit stumayhew

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