My name is Jack Murray and I am the founder and Managing Director of SBC Marketing Agency. My journey towards starting this company started when I was young. Ever since I had started to get an understanding of the world of work I had known that I was not going to end up working for someone else. I had looked at professions such as doctors, tree surgeons and accountants and, despite thinking some of the industries looked interesting, I had always ended up back at the same issue. If I wasn’t the person at the top of the company, I wasn’t achieving everything I had the potential to.
My step into the working world started when I was 17. I got a job as a lifeguard at a school pool near to my 6th form college. I quickly settled in, enjoying working as part of the small team. I took naturally to the role which didn’t go unnoticed by my manager and he very quickly promoted me to a duty manager. I thrived on the responsibility of running the site, I enjoyed the freedom of not having a boss standing over me every shift and I liked being able to manage my own time and team while on shift. But most of all, I liked that I was the most senior person on site except that the occasional visit from my manager.
Upon finishing college, I moved to a much bigger leisure centre to allow me to work full-time hours. This was my first full-time position and I did enjoy the challenge of being tasked with looking after a much bigger centre and a larger team. However, I did not enjoy having a senior manager looking over me every shift and losing my position of the most senior person on site. This cemented my feelings that I wasn’t destined to be an employee.
My next phase of employment was when I really got hooked on being my own boss. I started working in the high-performance sailing industry. I did a mixture of things from running a racing yacht to maintenance on a small superyacht to contracting for a yacht manufacturer as a maintenance technician. In doing this, I got to work my own hours, allowing me to travel around on my gap year, and not be stuck in one place doing one job all day.
However, as my gap year drew to a close I was faced with a dilemma. Take the work side of sailing more seriously and get a more permanent job or go to university and further my education. At the very last minute, I made the decision to go to university and I enrolled at Cardiff Metropolitan to study Business Management with Marketing. In hindsight, this decision was very driven by my fear of not knowing what was coming next and it allowed me to put off the difficult question of what am I going to do in my life. This would turn out to be the best and worst decision I made in my educational and career development.
My time at university was a very mixed experience. I had the time of my life, making new friends, partying like there was no tomorrow and playing sport to a high level with the facilities to aid in that. I got the chance to live in a different city away from my parents and I feel the independence that I gained has been a big factor in helping me to get to the point of starting my own company.
However, from an educational standpoint, university was not at all what I had hoped for. I found the lectures boring and unchallenging and often, especially as I went into my second year, completely irrelevant to what I was wanting to do and sometimes even business as a whole. My view of the course was very much a negative and shortly before finishing my second year, I had decided that I wouldn’t return the following September.
However, during my second year, shortly after the new year, I decided that I wasn’t going to let my time at university be a complete waste. So, I decided to help my friend in setting up an e-commerce store. I helped him with setting up a store called spaceravers, a store dedicated to selling everything you could possibly need for festivals and raves. In the two months that we spent setting it all up, I worked diligently, teaching myself all the marketing skills I could need for the business. This is where I taught myself digital marketing and was the stepping stone to me launching SBC Marketing Agency.
Sadly, will the vast amount of lessons I learnt during this venture I learnt one very important one that stood out. That was that you need to spend a certain amount on marketing in order for it to be effective. My friend and I being university students, we did not have the funds to back the marketing campaign and so, unfortunately, the store was unsuccessful and spaceravers closed down without making any money.
The failure of our store took its toll. It was something we had worked towards for months and for it to fail like that really felt bad. But I was undeterred. I realised that I had taught myself, in just two months, far more information than my university had given me in the best part of two years of study. I knew if I applied myself I could use these new-found skills to do something. This is when the idea of a digital marketing agency started to form in my head.
The final step before I started SBC was a very short stint with a direct marketing company. I had just finished another summer of sailing and I knew it was time to settle down and get back into work. I was given the job and immediately started two days of marketing and sales training. All appeared to be hopeful and I was again very positive about my career prospects.
Unfortunately, I found the work to be not what I had hoped for. I was stood in the street trying to sell charity subscriptions to passers-by. My first morning was boring and soul-destroying. I was good at it and I took very naturally to sales, but hearing endless numbers of people tell me that I was wasting my time, all I was doing was irritating them and I should leave was really draining my enthusiasm and drive. It was then upon further explanation by my superior on who and how I should target people that I realised that I did not agree with the way the company was marketing and I left that afternoon.
After leaving the marketing firm, I knew that I was done working for people. I decided that it was time to put this idea into action and so started my own firm.
SBC Marketing Agency was born.