This month, we profile WSI Digital Marketing Consultant Francois Muscat. He has been with WSI for 16 years and here he shares with us how he overcame some obstacles early on in his business. He has some great advice for new Consultants and you can read all about it here:
Tell me a little about yourself, and where you are located?
I am born and raised in South Africa. I worked for a bank for 27 years, mostly in Information Technology.
The bank gave me a great grounding with excellent training, as well as the opportunity to try many new roles. In my 27 years, I held 13 different jobs and little did I know that it would benefit me much later in life.
Why did you want to become an Digital Consultant and join WSI?
The network of fellow digital marketing consultants and suppliers is the biggest value that we get from the WSI Franchise.
The camaraderie is amazing, and everyone is prepared to help and collaborate with one another, even though we all run separate businesses.
The support from WSI is really good. There are many who criticize Head Office and are dissatisfied. But I believe that these people just weren’t cut out for running a business that requires continuous learning. If you participate in all of the training and conferences, you will find that this is a thriving community and one that I am proud to be part of.
Tell us about anyone who helped influence you into starting your own business?
No one influenced me to start my own business, I tend to drive myself all the time. But once I started, I had all the support from my wife Marianna, and our daughter Marelise joined me from the start.
I love cooking and always wanted to run my own restaurant but thank goodness I didn’t take that route. I just love digital marketing and it gives me more time to cook for fun anyway :)
How long have you been with WSI?
I went through training in November of 2003. I am now 16 years in the network and still loving it.
Describe your typical work week?
I plan my day around my grandchildren’s activities. Marianna and I fetch them from school, take them to extra curricular lessons, like soccer, dancing, cross country or guitar lessons.
In the early morning I do emails and spend time on LinkedIn as this is how I develop and maintain many business relationships. Most client meetings are scheduled between 10h00am – 2h00 pm.
We tend to work late, until 20h00 – serving our international clients – and to complete any proposals that were generated from prospecting.
I spend as much time as I can doing networking. I am a member of the professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa and do a fair amount of speaking at events and conferences.
What highlights have you had since being with WSI?
- I have received many recognition awards, and these are my best motivation. I like giving back to our community.
- I have traveled the world due to the training opportunities I have to teach our network of consultants.
- Being an author in the WSI book series.
- Marianna and I have a rich life – friends all over – lots of time with our grandchildren.
What are the biggest obstacles that you have faced in running your business and how have overcome them?
In the beginning, finding new clients was difficult as I had no reference and prospects would ask me for example websites. So, I just did a lot for free and that sorted that problem out.
Changing from corporate to entrepreneur – it required a lot of networking before I could find prospects. I started to speak and train as a way to differentiate me from the competition and this has been my best source of leads.
Making sure that our recurring revenue covers all running expenses was a challenge in the first 3 years.
What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your business?
I am a creative person when it comes to business. I like to move the needle by trying new services and testing my ideas. Many of them have worked out really well. I initiated services like LinkedIn Marketing, Digital Strategies, and Competitor Analysis very early on before they became mainstream services.
What goal do you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
I am working on 4-day weekends – and work 3 days per week. But that is work in progress.
I have to put in systems so I can transfer my knowledge in an easier way so that my team can cover all the avenues that I work in.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years-time?
Definitely working only 3 day per week. Also travelling in South Africa more. We just bought a seaside home, so I expect to spend more time there.
What advice would you give a new WSI Internet Consultant?
Don't rush into the big projects, they can take up your time and leave your pipeline empty.
Take on projects that are quick and easy to sell and deliver, like PPC, Facebook Advertising, and then SEO and Content Marketing. Big eCommerce websites will suck up all your time and leave you with an empty sales funnel.
Connect with the experienced Digital Marketing Consultants – the Top 25 – and get to know them. Even partner with them on some projects so that you can learn from them.
Take advantage of WSI’s Regional Training and attend the Global Convention to see what you really bought into.
What would be your personal motto?
Not accepting second best – If what we produce is not really good – then start again and put in the extra effort.
If we went to happy hour, what would you order?
People would say Jack Daniels, but I really like sticking to good red wine.
If you could be anywhere other than here talking to me - right this minute, where would you be?
I am really fortunate that I can travel and work – I am really happy here – lovely view – and then my next stop will either the beach or the bush.