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10am, Thursday 16th September 2021

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HAMSTER WHEEL: “I’m Like a Non-Exec at My Own Company”

  • Simon Douglass realised he wanted to step away from the ‘day-to-day faff’ of running Curated Digital and instead focus on sales.
  • But once he’d put the wheels in motion, he struggled to work out where he could now add value to his agency.
  • We’ll be talking to Simon about his emotional journey, and what he’s realised from taking steps off (and back on) the hamster wheel in the last 12 months.

After six and a half years in control of everything at Curated Digital, Simon Douglass realised he wanted to focus on just one thing. 

“In the back of my mind I wanted to move towards sales,” he says. “Bringing in an ops director last year allowed me to get away from the day-to-day running of the business.”

“I knew something in me wanted to step down from the doing, because I’d always been doing the doing, and maybe that influenced my decision to bring him in. I was thinking, ‘Right, I actually need somebody to do this because I can’t do this, and I want some of my life back.’ I’m in my mid-40s, I’ve got two young kids, and I was in control of everything – but I didn’t want to be.”

Once Simon realised he wanted to step away from the ‘faff’ of running his business, he set the wheels in motion.

He hired an account director and put a team in place to run the business for him – but he struggled with this once it was underway.

“These guys were now running the business and making decisions, and I’d actively stepped back. But suddenly, I felt a bit useless,” he admits. “I didn’t know my place at all. It was a period of self-discovery. What do I do now? Where can I add value?”

Simon realised that he needed to keep busy – he’s now looking to introduce a sales team, something Curated Digital has never had before.

“Stepping back has made me a better person because I’ve had that time to go and reflect, and think about how I can help the business,” he says. 

The team he brought in has done so well in the last 12 months that they’ve actually needed him to temporarily step back IN to the business, to help steer the ship.

“They’d taken on loads of clients and needed a bit of guidance. I’m acting in a bit of a non-exec role, even though it’s my company,” he says. “I’ve got experience, so I can add value in a different way. I’m not directing but I’m there to support.”

“It feels full-on at the moment, but I know the end is in sight, and I know soon I can focus purely on sales, which is what I want.”

Join us to hear all about Simon’s steps off (and back on) the hamster wheel, and the emotional journey he’s been on to get to this point.