When I was only 8 years old, my father’s business went bust leaving our family homeless and broke. For the first few months, we were living in a squat in a run down area of Plymouth in the UK called Devonport.
Our living conditions were so bad, that when the housing officer came to look at where we were living, she said that no children were living in worse conditions in the city, and she immediately moved us into emergency housing.
I have to say, that wasn’t much better. Battery Street flats, with its cream painted brick walls, looked like a prison. We were sharing a flat with a pregnant couple, Sean and Mary. The carpets in the hallways had carpet at the edges but were completely worn away in the middle.
One morning, my brother and I opened the front door to go to school to find that during the night, someone had committed suicide in the steps outside our front door. Fortunately, the body had already been taken away, but there was blood everywhere.
That for me was rock bottom. Everything from there was up.
Even though we had almost nothing, my parents still managed to give my brother and I the best Christmas presents we’d ever had. A Wild Willy remote controlled jeep, and a full-sized Millenium Falcon. They taught us that no matter how bad things might seem, there is always light in the darkness.
Fast forward 10 years, and I started my dream job in the computer games industry as a 3D graphics artist. I worked at some great companies creating some AAA games and was lucky enough to become the head of art at the mighty Bitmap Brothers.
From there I moved into the pub world to become a manager for JD Wetherspoon. I know, an unusual leap. But another dream I’d always wanted to realise.
That job taught me a lot about people, and that you can never judge a book by it’s cover. And that there is a wide spectrum from bad to good out there.
After 5 years of managing pubs, I decided the time was right to start my own business in photography. It had been a hobby for many years and I saw an opportunity to go for it.
This was back in 2006 when Facebook was first starting to gain traction. I could see that there was free attention to be had. And so I used that platform to grow my business from just me to be the biggest photography company in the city within just 18 months. That experience really opened my eyes to the power of digital marketing and has been an important part of my working life ever since.
I then moved into the leisure industry when I became a zoo manager working for a zoo in Devon and then a zoo in Hertfordshire. Those years were full of wonderful experiences and memories that I will cherish forever. Throughout this time, I really started to perfect my digital marketing craft. And was starting to generate significant amounts of income.
A real turning point happened when the marketing director of a major zoo was talking to me, and he said, “Social media’s great for awareness. But you can’t make any money from it.”
It was then that I realised there was a need to help other visitor attractions with what I was doing with digital marketing. And so I decided to set up my social media agency, Tribemix.
In the years that the agency has been running, we have won awards, generated serious growth for our clients and had a lot of fun along the way. And now we’re venturing into the world of virtual reality for both healthcare and the new marketing frontiers that it creates.
These days, I’m now a proud dad of twins and help others to transition into the digital economy offering mentoring and guidance for those who wish to choose a better lifestyle for themselves and their families.
Please check out some of the videos below to see more of my work.