Each month, we profile WSI Internet Consultants from around the world. This month, we talk to Chris Murray and Laurie McCullagh. They have been with WSI for twenty years and say the biggest value they get from WSI is the learning opportunities, the network of consultants and the community. Read our interview with Chris and Laurie here:
Tell me a little about yourself, and where you are located?
We are located in the west-end of Montreal, Canada. We are seven in our office - Laurie and I, plus five full-time staff, three internal staff and two dedicated external staff with a WSI partner.
Why did you want to become an Internet consultant and join WSI?
Chris: I had experience with coding and recognized the power of the Internet and we wanted to make a life change, so we gambled that the Internet was here to stay and WSI provided our foundation!
Laurie: We both come from entrepreneurial backgrounds and Chris was always throwing around ideas for us to get involved with and he had come across the WSI brand and somehow this was something of interest. The Internet was very much just emerging at the time. We wanted to make a life change and were enticed by the potential of what lay ahead and WSI provided an interesting foundation from which to build!
What’s the biggest value that you get from WSI?
Chris: We love the WSI family and are fortunate to have many great friends, all of which are very open and giving. WSI provides many learning opportunities and I’d hate to think where we would be without them. We also appreciate the content generated from Home Office and the network.
Laurie: The WSI brand and the system has evolved considerably over the past 20 years. In my view, it has evolved into a powerful network of consultants like ourselves, who receive extensive ongoing digital marketing education and are able to learn from each other at our annual conferences, regional meeting and online platforms that we have access to, to share and learn from other people within our community. In this industry, technology changes daily, so it helps us keep up to speed.
What job/business were you in before you started your WSI business?
Chris: I was a VP Operations in the forestry sector and have had few other owner / operator businesses on the side.
Laurie: I worked in admin and operations of a computer data security firm.
Tell us about anyone who helped influence you into starting your own business?
When our daughter was born, our lives changed. I quickly realized that working a job that took me away from home for extended periods wasn’t where I wanted to be anymore.
How long have you been with WSI?
Twenty years as of January 1st, 2020.
Describe your typical work week?
Chris: Sales, networking, developing proposals for prospects and digital marketing strategies for our clients. Working with our team on executing the mandates and looking for opportunities for our clients.
Laurie: I handle the project management and admin-related responsibilities and I like to evolve our processes with regards to how we do business evolves to keep up with technology. I am also very involved with various networking activities and Chamber of Commerce events and am currently a member of the board.
What highlights have you had since being with WSI?
Chris: We’re fortunate to have won five WMAs over the years and we’ve won the Small Business of the Year Accolades from the Chamber of Commerce, which is very rewarding and humbling.
A highlight for us is being able to make a difference for companies and business owners. It’s rewarding to be a long term valued and respected partner.
Laurie: We have great relationships with our clients. We invest a lot of time to get to know them and understand their business and their goals and are proud to be able to share that we have many long-term clients and our retention rate is due in part to our ability to keep abreast of new marketing opportunities.
What are the biggest obstacles that you have faced in running your business and how have..
When we started it was very hard selling in the “.com crash”. Ten cold calls to get one appointment and we were only closing 5% of proposals. With persistence and confidence gained from the first projects, we simply got better at everything. We still have a few clients from our first months of cold calling.
What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your business?
Doing what’s right for our clients and their businesses.
Laurie: We believe in building strong relationships with our clients and having good people skills have helped pave the way for this. Having good organizational and sales skills are as important having the ability to constantly learn new technology, which also plays a key role in our success. We are both detail-oriented and strive to ensure that we have covered all the bases of what needs to be implemented and delivered for our clients. We are very focused on delivering a quality product and providing services that will have a positive effect on their sales leads and online credibility.