Well, I guess I'll have to blog about myself this week as it was my turn to do the 10-minute presentation at our last meeting. It was good; I was a little nervous as I haven't done a stand-up presentation for years, but as BNI Sterling is my tribe I felt confident I could do it ...
If anyone asks me what I do, I will always reply that I'm a developer. People say, "Hang on Steffi, I thought you did digital marketing?" or, "don't you promote a small business contact management system?" Well yes, I did do digital marketing and yes, my future is my personal contact manager, but what I offer are simply emergent services from the development work I do.
I loved it there and was heartbroken when we were taken over and everyone got made redundant. I learned a lot, and the start of my career coincided with the PC revolution so I was there at ground zero when Windows 1.0c launched. It really blew my mind and I fell completely head over heels in love with technology.
Losing my job did encourage me to move south and I eventually ended up as a software trainer at the Open University. When the training manager moved to a different faculty, he asked me to go with him and I was introduced to the internet and to early web servers and HTML 1.0 and I fell in love with the web, basing my entire career around making websites do what I want them to do.
Yes, I've been a web designer in the past, but actually getting into the background of things, coding web pages to access databases and producing dynamic content is what I love to do!
Did you know I once ran away? Yes, I sold up and moved to the United States of America because I was very unhappy at the time and was up to my eyes in debt following a bad business deal and dodgy investors.
I ended up following my other passion which is photography and was lucky enough to work as an event photographer in Hollywood. As much as I loved it, I knew I had to come home and when my finances were on an even keel again, hopped a plane to Heathrow and resumed my internet-based career.
Digital Marketing started for me when I attended an NLP course and the trainer said to me, "You know that blog you did in the USA, showcasing your photography and telling everyone back home what you were up to? Can you do something similar for my business to promote me and what I do?" Yes, of course I could ... and so started 6-months of coding to be able to take on my first paying blogging client.
And that was the beginning of 10-years of development fun. I added new features, I created new services, I got ill then needed to automate the platform so I could do the bare minimum and still offer my clients a great service during my cancer treatment. Well, I've really enjoyed the last 10-years blogging, doing social media sharing and sending mailers, all from my beautiful little hand-coded platform.
The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on me. In the first few weeks of the first lockdown, I lost half my income as many of my clients panicked and immediately stopped marketing to save money, which was the last thing they should have done. Thankfully others stepped up and started marketing more, and of course, the Government helped with the SEISS grants and Bounceback loans.
I started thinking of other income streams. Looking at things that could passively generate money, but it wasn't until my best friend Kirsty Parris dropped by and saw me coding a new module for my blogging clients that the idea of a new income stream really came to life.
I told her that she wasn't a blogging client so couldn't have it. She insisted I find a way to make it work for her and as she's an amazing business coach and marketing guru, I agreed to think about it, and hey presto ... the earliest version of the SLO Personal Contact Manager was born.
And that's where I am now. My past was digital marketing, my future is contact management. PCM has matured into an amazing small business tool and everyone who subscribes to it loves it. My future is now about many small paying clients rather than just a few high paying clients. It makes my finances far more resilient.
I always say to people that the key to success is to find your passion and follow it intently. But your passion can change and you need to be prepared to change along with it. Digital marketing was my passion for 10-years ... I've loved doing it ... but now I have a new passion that will keep me busy for the next ten.
My goal is to build a self-sustaining business with a great little team servicing contact management clients all over the world. I want to build the foundations in the United Kingdom first, but there's no reason the SLO Personal Contact Manager can't go global.
Maybe then I'll get back to the USA and do some more photography.