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Jamie Parker is founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Red Rag, which specialises in Facebook and is on the path to becoming the best Facebook advertising agency in the UK. In an exclusive comment to Express.co.uk, Mr Parker shared how he went from having one Miami-based marine engineering client to 400 percent increase in revenue over the last year.
“Red Rag was created by accident off the back of some success in building a personal brand on social media,” he began.
“At the time I was head of engineering at an agricultural college in Cheshire and had a new born baby.
“We used to struggle to get her to sleep so my wife, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, would play soca music which is normally used at carnivals.
“One night I decided to video my wife and I dancing to the music trying to get our daughter to sleep.
“I put the video on Facebook and it blew up overnight. We ended up with three million views, and my personal brand grew to 18,000 followers on Facebook with national and regional press plus requests for interviews.”
This instant success would be the spark that fuelled the creation of Red Rag, going from a part-time side hustle with only one company client to an international team and an expected half a million in revenue.
“When I took on my first client the only money that was in the business was mine; it wasn’t a lot! Two years on we’ve had no investment from anyone, all the money has come from the business itself.
“In our first year of operations we had a £72,000 turnover, in comparison to our projections for year three where we expect to hit a turnover of £432,000.
“We also expect to gain an extra £18,000 in revenue the coming year by diversifying our services.”
Mr Parker attributed this success to his team: “Having the right people around you is essential in any business. So I decided to recruit for skill rather than location.
“This was all pre-pandemic and before WFH became the norm. My first recruit was our administrator who very quickly cemented herself as the bedrock of the business.
“Next was a social media wizard based in Shanghai who I’ve learnt so much from. I now have people all over the world in the likes of Canada and Arizona. They are with us because they are the best.”
He added: “Every single member of my team has been instrumental in their own way. Every person I hire is better than me.
“My team aren’t just technically brilliant, they work incredibly hard. The whole team is united with the same focus, generating the best possible return on investment for our clients and that is what guides our decision-making process.”
And, despite facing countless challenges as an entrepreneur, Mr Parker finds value rather than regret in his failures.
“For example, in the early stages I had a good handful of clients that generated enough revenue to sustain a profitable business. However, a large amount of that revenue was earned with one client and I sat back on my laurels, doing minimal business development.
“I learnt the hard way that their operations slowed down from November to January with a significant reduction in marketing spend. This was a blow to say the least.
“However, never again would I leave my pipeline unfed. No matter how busy we are or how well we are doing, I never stop business development.”
Mr Parker also advised that keeping on top of client payments is key to keeping cashflow moving.
“Make your payment terms clear from the start, don’t let anyone bully you into 60 or 90-day terms, and make sure you are chasing late payments. If you have to wait for your accountant to tell you how you’re doing, it’s most likely going to be bad news.”
He continued: “The best advice I can give to anyone starting a business or building a brand is you have to be willing to do the things your competitors won’t. An example of this was in the first lockdown in the UK.
“Most businesses moved away from many forms of marketing which is completely understandable. However, some of the organisations that decided to stay the course were rewarded with a captive audience of customers and the cheapest advertising costs I have ever seen on social media.
“This actually helped them to expand during a time of market contraction. Combining that with the ability to innovate and evolve with the market is what will set you apart because if all you are doing is the bare minimum, eventually someone will take that top spot.”
Mr Parker concluded by saying that although he doesn’t view himself as a ‘successful entrepreneur’ he is still proud of the work he has been able to do.
“I wouldn’t call myself a successful entrepreneur. Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos are successful entrepreneurs.
“I’m proud of the opportunities I’ve created for my team who enjoy flexible working patterns. I’m delighted to be able to earn a living doing something I love.
“I’m proud that my kids will be able to see and appreciate what their mum and I created, albeit by mistake, and show them that if you put the work in, you can make things happen.”
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