The founder and MD of Manyminds talks about the digital marketing agency with a difference.

Kirsty Hulse is the Founder and Managing Director of Manyminds; a digital marketing agency comprised solely of expert, freelance resource.

After nearly a decade of working in agencies as an SEO expert and digital strategist, Kirsty wanted to create an agency that disrupted the traditional model. Manyminds is a collective of freelancers who work remotely all across the world, collaborating together according to project needs, giving clients an unrivalled talent pool at a lower cost. With clients like Virgin Atlantic, IBM and Lebara, they are truly changing the way brands can outsource their marketing efforts.

I came up with the idea when… A friend messaged me and said “Kirsty, what agency should I use?” and I replied “Just get freelancers to work together, you’ll get better people and better results that way, and it’ll be cheaper”. I knew there was something in it. I quit my job the next day.

The biggest challenge is… Keeping focused on the wider vision of the business. I tend to get caught up in the day to day running of projects, rather than ensuring I am setting the direction and leading. This is my first ever business venture, so it’s hard to remove that mentality of being the person who delivers the work, as opposed to the one who oversees it.

The average day is spent… The average day is spent discussing projects with the team, talking to clients and mainly writing proposals and focusing on new businesses.

The team consists of… There are about 40 independent consultants we work with in total. These consist of SEO specialists, technical specialists, creatives, data analysts, paid specialists, designers, developers, PR professionals and content writers.

My favourite quote… Not really a quote, but some advice I was given that I live by. Replace sorry with thank you, rather than saying "Sorry I am late", change that to "Thank you for waiting for me". Or rather than "Sorry I'm disorganised" perhaps "thank you for helping me be organised". That way people see your positivity and confidence rather than insecurities and negativity.

I am where I am today because of… The community around me, without a doubt. Digital is an incredibly collaborative industry, as it's always changing and there are always new things to learn people are incredibly open to share ideas. I was given so many opportunities and such a huge level of support when I started the business because of the strong sense of community in this industry.

I am who I am because of.... My family. I have five older brothers, growing up in that environment give me some grit!

The best advice I’ve been given… To follow my instincts. For many, running a business requires a lot of planning and process, for me, I rely heavily on my instincts and intuition. In the early stages of business, it allowed me to be flexible and feel what was working and what wasn't, rather than set unrealistic goals for myself.

In five years I’d like to be… Still running Manyminds and seeing it grow! And a dog owner. Definitely a dog owner.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online… I find founders rarely talk about how psychologically demanding running a business is. Not simply the stress of being a business owner, but more how difficult it can be to switch off and learning how to take time off without feeling guilty or that you should be working on the business. I found that hard at first, two years in I am just learning that everything doesn’t fall apart the moment I disconnect from wifi.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us… Diversify your revenue streams. We had a bulk of our income come from one or two clients for a while which posed a huge risk to the business, we’ve balanced this now.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date… On our first birthday, we threw a party with clients, team, staff and friends. It was incredibly rewarding to see everyone together and happy.

August 2017