Real World MBA

21st May 2022

Before my current roles at OSF Digital, I owned Blueleaf, a small ecommerce agency with Adrian Lomas (OSF acquired us). Before we were focused on ecommerce, we were a general digital agency.

We did Red Bull Racing's website, Centrica's website (owner of British Gas) and made the first account portals for Ovo Energy and Co-op Energy. A right mix of projects that are well above what an agency of our side would normally be doing. On top of this, in the early years we did websites for accountants, solicitors, training companies, road surface companies, IT companies, and on and on.

The point of this mini history lesson is that my time owning Blueleaf taught me two different 'MBAs' if you could call it that. A very good grounding in business.

The first is the obvious: running your own business. Preparing accounts, understanding tax, HR and payroll, operations, equipment, cashflow(!), recruitment, performance reviews, sales, marketing, and so on. Doing all of this and more gives you a huge grounding in how to run a successful business. It also teaches you what happens when success is lacking and you take on huge debt for the business to survive. It's an incredible grounding for any future roll, and makes you a very useful huiman in any business.

The second may be less obvious. All the companies I met during this time, I needed to understand. To build them a great site or digital marketing, you must understand the business model. What's the margin? What's important when selling your products or services? How do you differentiate vs your competitors? The questions go on. As a result I was exposed to probably 20+ different types of business and how they operated and won.

I wouldn't swap all that experience for a more normal career path!

Back to article list