I usually wake up at around 6.30am and spend the next half hour catching up with the BBC News and LinkedIn on my phone.
Although I class myself as a digital marketer – I’ve been in marketing for well over 20 years – I’m still a journalist at heart so I’ll read everything and anything. When I was a child, I even used to read the back of cereal packets if there wasn’t a newspaper around! I qualified as a journalist in 1994 and have been writing professionally ever since, including for Central Government and many hundreds of small businesses.
At around 7am, I’ll start waking up my two daughters. I would like to say that every day they jump out of bed with lots of enthusiasm for the day ahead but the reality is often different! I’ll also make a cup of tea for my wife, Sarah.
Breakfast is always porridge – I’m trying to cut down the amount of wheat I have because I have a weakness for bread and biscuits. I also try to do some basic exercises because I always feel much better afterwards!
If I’m not seeing clients, I will often walk my two daughters to school. I want to be as much a part of their lives as I can be – they are growing up so fast.
If I’m working from home, I’ll go through my list of tasks for that day which helps to keep me focussed. I’m pretty disciplined but if Sarah is around, we’ll sometimes go out for a coffee.
Sarah is such a support for the business. Sometimes you can get quite close to a piece of writing and it does needs a fresh pair of eyes. She’s also very good at editing pieces and for some of our clients she manages their social media accounts. The feedback is always positive. I couldn’t run Upper Hand Digital without her, my family and friends. My GP sister, Amanda (picture) has also written content from a medical perspective for my clients.
I love working with different small businesses and have met some wonderfully kind people. I have to say that when their sales or clients increase I do get a real thrill.
Last week, for instance, one of my clients landed work – as a direct result of my efforts – delivering a series of training workshops for a Government Dept. I specialise in LinkedIn training and management, and content marketing (including email marketing).
I am so proud of what I have achieved so far. When I started the business four years ago, I was recovering from being seriously ill in hospital with pneumonia. Physically, I wasn’t up to much but every day I did more and more work on my business. It was a dark time but I grew so much as a person.
I have been delighted to be recognised for a number of awards recently including:
♦ Best for Digital Marketing Training 2018 – South East England (UK Best in Business Awards)
♦ Best SME Digital Marketing Agency 2017 – South East England & Excellence Award for SEO Copywriting Services (UK Corporate Excellence Awards)
♦ Finalist for Best Business for Design or Technology (social media) category in the Epsom and Ewell Business Excellence Awards 2017.
Lunch is often a quick sandwich and I’ll go for a walk if I’m at home. If I’m seeing clients, I’ll be driving over to see them. I like to work in their offices if I can, although sometimes that means working in some unusual places – I was lucky enough to follow one client whilst they worked at Crystal Palace FC.
Dinner is usually at 6pm. Sarah does much of the cooking I’m ashamed to say but I will try and rustle something up at the weekends even if it’s scrambled eggs.
And then, school or other outdoor activities permitting, I will try to go out for a run. A good friend encouraged me to start running eight years ago. We run for about five miles most Friday evenings near Dorking. He’s a fantastic business mentor as well. He’s run his own online business since 2001 and at one time owned one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the UK.
In the evenings, I’ll help with homework and read a story to my youngest. If there’s time, I’ll try to work on my business – I’m currently working on a new website myself.
The weekends kick off with the local ParkRun which I try to do regularly. Then whatever activities my family have planned. I also present a programme on Hospital Radio Wey – I’ve been a volunteer with the station for over 30 years. It’s nice to be able to give something back to others. I’ve also been asked to present on community DAB station, Radio Woking recently and have appeared on Brooklands Radio. I still get a buzz from presenting.
I usually wind down at around 10.30pm and will read a book. Thanks to Sarah, I’m currently reading an historical novel by Edward Rutherford set in Russia. Around 10 pages into the book, I’ll usually start drifting off to sleep and as I do I’ll count my blessings.
Tim is the Managing Director of Upper Hand Digital which helps small businesses generate more through digital and content marketing.