In Praise of Start-up Culture

What I learned from leaving big corporate and setting up my own successful start-up.

Article by Ben Thompson / originally published on LinkedIn / December 16, 2018

When I worked in big companies I hired a lot of agencies and spent a lot of company money. A lot of that was money really well spent. I had the privilege to work with some really clever and creative people at agencies like Haygarth, OMD, Kantar and Kedge Futures to name but a few. But the problem with always being in a position where you hire someone to get some work done is you start to think “it’s too hard or complicated for me to do that myself”.

What I’ve learned from a year or so of running my own business, often on a shoe-string budget, is YOU CAN do it yourself, and you don’t have to sacrifice quality. You just have to be humble and keep learning, often from people younger and smarter than you.

Take web-site building. Three months ago if you asked me to build a website I would have reacted like you’d asked me to perform open-heart surgery. Then I got into a situation where I had to do it, with very little resources, and you know what? I did it, and it was good. This week I built another site for a client. And they love it!
This month I have kicked off two social media marketing campaigns for my 9 Degrees West clients. One is a fundraiser for a charity, one is a start-up crypto business. If you’d asked me to do this on my own a few years ago I would have freaked, but it turns out you can do it. We shot the fundraising video in central London over one long day, we had the edits done within a few days and the campaign is live and has already raised several thousand pounds.

If you want management and measurement, Facebook and Linkedin are REALLY GOOD at helping entreprenuers through the steps necessary to create, launch and track campaigns. You can boost a campaign through either of these channels for the price of a pizza, and in less time than an American Hot takes to arrive.
So here’s to the makers, the can-do, believe-in-yourself start-ups who step off the corporate merry-go-round and do it themselves, because they can.

Ben Thompson is the founder and CEO of 9 Degrees West

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