Last Monday at 3.10pm I hit ‘publish’ on a blog post. It was the first time I’d shared with the World what the whole ‘outsourced marketing director’ thing was really all about. At 9.51am on Wednesday morning, I reached an agreement to become the marketing director for Ocius Digital on an outsourced basis for 2018.
I’ve worked with Ocius Digital on a number of different marketing projects since December 2016. They’re a technology consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia but they operate in 9 different countries, including here, in the UK. I’ve got to know the team really well over the last year, mostly through the wonders of video conferencing. They are, without doubt, my kind of people.
I have only met in real life (IRL as the kids would say!) three members of the 8 strong Ocius team. I’ve met Dan Fairbairn, the founder twice, Rhys once, when he accompanied Dan to Xerocon in London this year and I’ve met UK head of operations Jonathan Fox on at least six occasions that I can remember. I reckon that 99% of all our communications have been ‘virtual’. We’ve established a way of working that just works. The distance and the differing time zones means absolutely nothing.
That being said, there is something special about meeting people in person. In September 2018 I’ll get my opportunity to do just that. Yes, as part of our agreement, I’ll be travelling to the other side of the World. I’ll be attending Xero’s conference in Brisbane and will follow that up with a visit to Melbourne where I’ll meet the Ocius posse. I’ll also get the chance to meet some of their clients and partners, so this won’t be a holiday. I will be working. But, of course, I am a social creature, so it would be remiss of me not to make the most of the opportunity.
I’d like to say that I took this all in my stride. That I didn’t overreact. That I was almost nonchalant about the whole thing. But no, that would be a big fat lie.
Yes, I was very happy.
First and foremostly I’m happy because I get to work with Dan and his amazing team for at least another 13 months. Working more deeply with them will give me the opportunity to make an even bigger difference to them.
I’m also happy as their year long commitment is validation of the work I’ve done for them so far. It also gives me a big confidence boost that there absolutely is a market for my outsourced marketing director model.
The real lesson from this is for me is that putting yourself out there works. I’ll be honest, typically I would have sat on this for weeks or even months before everything was perfect. I’d have created some new graphics. A new webpage or six. And, more than likely I’d have created some videos. In other words I’d make excuses for not launching. But, I didn’t. I wrote a blog and put it out there. Dan read the blog, loved the model and we started a virtual conversation. It took all of 10-minutes to reach an agreement.
I’ve said before that I want to work on an outsourced marketing director basis with 4 or 5 clients. While that’s still the ultimate goal, I’ve revised that number down in the short term. It’s a new way of working and I now realise 5 would be too much. The new target is now 3.
There is something undeniably cool about my first annual contract coming from a client on the other side of the World. I’m grateful to Dan for the commitment and faith he’s shown in me. And, I owe Jonathan Fox a beverage of his choice for introducing me to Dan in the first place.
I’ll try to avoid this becoming an Oscar acceptance speech, but this is a big moment for my business and for me personally. By some distance, this is the largest single deal I’ve done. It’s a massive confidence boost for me.
But when I’ve reflected, what I’m really excited about is the opportunity to be part of a team again. I’ve missed that more than I realised. So, Dan, Mat, Jonathan, Neil, Rhys, Kiel, Emma and Luke – thanks for the welcome. Look forward to spending much more time with you all. Regrettably though… I’ll be unable to attend this year’s Christmas party.