In 2016, Andrew founded digital marketing consultancy and online community It’s Gone Viral with Ryan Williams and Matthew Thomas.
The company, based in Manchester, produces wildly popular content for social media, sharing it among its following of more than 3.5 million and reaching more than 10 million. In its time it’s worked with film studios and multinational brands, as well as creating a wide variety of original content.
It’s Gone Viral has created a thriving social media community, and in a short time has become very popular among advertisers. It’s aiming to become one of the country’s most influential media companies within five years. We sat down with Andrew to learn some of the secrets behind his success.
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
I love to go to the gym or do some physical exercise every day. It’s a brilliant way for me to clear my mind and a place where I can switch off from work. However, it can also really help to give clarity to situations and problems.
What’s been your luckiest break?
Meeting my two fellow business partners – Ryan and Matthew – five years ago. We actually met through Twitter.
We realised that we shared many of the same goals, had the same work ethic and vision so meeting them was probably my luckiest break and one that changed the course of my career. Also, a couple of years ago I decided that the time was right to sell one of my large social media pages to a fellow entrepreneur, but six months later I bought it back at a loss after deciding it could be potentially something special. After a lot of hard work, time and effort it’s now one of our largest pages.
What’s your best failure?
When I was 11 I set up my first website buying and selling products, saving money for months to invest in a PO Box so that people could send cash or cheques in the post to pay for items. Needless to say it wasn’t a roaring success, but it taught me a lot of key business lessons from an early age.
What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?
So far, it’s been setting up It’s Gone Viral with Matthew and Ryan. All three of us are incredibly ambitious, and we have our own skill sets – but we work well together.
Over time, I’m confident that synergy will bring financial rewards, but for the time being we’re fully focussed on building the business and its reputation. Also, deciding to invest my time early on in exploring and understanding the granular detail of Facebook ads has paid huge dividends.
That effort all those years ago has given me a deep understanding of how the platform can be used effectively. As a business, it means we have been able to invest heavily, especially in our early stages, and that has helped us grow at a faster rate than our competitors.
How would you describe your work/life balance?
Getting the right balance is tough – especially if you run your own business. There’s not really an ‘end of day’ for me, and that’s mainly because of the nature of social media; it’s 24/7. However, I do try and play rugby as often as I can and I always make time for family and friends.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
I’ve been reading ‘Measure What Matters’ by John Doerr. I would thoroughly recommend it to any business that’s growing.
It reveals how the goal-setting system of objectives and key results has helped tech giants such as Google accomplish huge growth.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I would tell myself to care less about what other people think. I’ve always been a self-assured person, but there have been times when I’ve been slow to make important decisions and that’s been down to worrying about what other people might be thinking.
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
My parents brought me up to believe that if I wanted something then I should work to get it. That gave me a hunger for business and it still drives me to achieve the next level of success.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
As a very laid back person, people are always surprised at how competitive I am. I was brought up with three brothers, so as a kid, life was always a competition – but in a good way!
What does success look like to you?
For me, success would be to build a business that is recognised globally but that also keeps the culture we have worked hard to create so far.
In practice, that means an environment which motivates every single employee.