What I learned in 2015 #1 Adapt and Overcome

adapt my digital business

2015 was a great year for me professionally. I started my own business in 2014 with some big ideas and big goals. 2015 helped me realise some of these but I mostly learned a huge amount about being a small business owner. So, I thought I’d share what I learned in 2015 to help anyone else who has just started out or is considering making the jump on their own. This will be a series of blog posts. None of them are particularly earth shattering. However, if someone had sat me down a year ago and gone through them I’d be in a different place today. The first one is about how I learned to adapt my digital business. I hope they make sense and help a little.

Adapt and Overcome

When I started 4th Level Digital Media I had an idea what my offering to clients might look like. I wanted to help people, bloggers, small businesses capture their corner of the Internet using digital marketing solutions. Thing is, everyone’s idea of digital solutions can be and probably will be different.

In researching the rise of digital I decided to target Pay Per Click advertising in addition to offering advice on content, social and strategy. I figured Google’s PPC solution, Adwords would be the backbone of my offering, with podcasting then as a nice little differentiator. I felt both these areas were showing fantastic growth and I could get qualified and be competitive.

Prior to setting up 4th Level Digital Media I came from a corporate world with budgets and manpower, which clouded my view a little. I quickly realised my target market was really SME’s and start-ups that weren’t flush with budgets of people.

It sounds like I hadn’t researched the market properly then; I had, but there was a bit of oversight. I over-estimated the amount of quality websites out there. There has been a massive growth in all things online but…

‘all change is not growth, as all movement is not forward’ – Ellen Glasgow

It became obvious I needed to adapt my digital business to suit the digital landscape. In Ireland approximately 25% or 40,000 SME’s don’t have a website. The majority of ones that do need a rebuild as their current sites can’t handle eCommerce or aren’t mobile responsive for example. I figured its pointless pushing online advertising if your online presence is weak or non-existent.

On a technical note, a poor performing, badly designed landing page that lacks relevance to the ad will reduce your Google Adwords Quality Score. This would cause you to increase your bids in order to be competitive at ad auctions… In other words, bad website = a spectacular waste of money.

In reality, getting a fully functional website built and applying an appropriate content strategy is what SME’s and start-ups really need. Not all of them obviously, some have this down, but there are still a lot that need work done.

Podcasting is another digital medium showing massive growth but still largely under-utilised in Ireland. Again, its pointless putting any effort into a podcast if you don’t have a suitable website to support it.


Rather than try and find a narrow range of clients to fit my services I choose to adapt my digital business and change the focus of 4th Level Digital Media. I’ve expanded my offering to make sure I can add value to a broader range of clients. This required a little more upskilling on my part and a little bit of collaboration as well. More on this later.

If you’re a new business owner and want to discuss any of the above OR if you’re a company looking to find their way through digital… give me a shout. All my contact details are HERE