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Digital Consultant Profile

Interview with Michael Whitehouse

6 Minutes to Read
Michael Whitehouse
Summary: Every month, we speak to a member of the WSI network. Read what new Digital Marketing Consultant Michael Whitehouse says about his experiences.

Each month, we talk to a WSI franchise owner and get their views on digital marketing and their experiences with the WSI network. This month, we speak to a new addition to the WSI World family, Michael Whitehouse, a digital marketing consultant based in southwestern Ontario. 


Tell us a little about yourself, your background and your current location.

I live in a small community of about 40,000 people in Chatham, Ontario. It’s in the southwestern corner of Ontario, about 40 minutes east of Detroit. Right now, I’m also vacationing on the east coast, so I try to split my time between the two. It’s nice to be able to do that when you can - when you’re not locked down.

I worked in heavy industry - specifically the automotive and utilities industries - for about 25 years. I worked in the engineering field, dealing with the entire supply chain, from suppliers to customers. The pandemic made me realize that there’s more to life than just running around and working. I realized my work-life balance was skewed slightly too far in one direction. One of the reasons I decided to move into digital marketing was to find that balance. 

Although I’m an engineer by trade, I have a mixed background. I have a fine arts degree and an engineering degree, so there has always been that constant debate about what I wanted to do in life. Like anything else, if you manage both sides carefully, you can find a balance.

What made you decide on digital marketing and WSI to achieve that balance?

When you start looking at franchises, many people immediately go into restaurants or coffee shops - and I had no interest in that! I did not want to start my day at one o’clock in the afternoon and finish at two in the morning. I went through several other options, and why I ultimately settled on digital marketing partially because of where I am. For example, I’m 2,000 miles from where I usually am, but I can work from here. I can do what I need to do without having a fixed geographical address for my franchise, which gives me a lot of flexibility. That’s one of the reasons I chose WSI.

Another thing I didn’t realize until I started talking to clients is how interesting other people’s stories are and how passionate people are about their products. You are never confined to just digital marketing. You learn about so many different things. That’s one thing that appealed to me.


What would you say is the greatest value you have gotten from the WSI network so far?

When you move into a new area, you always worry about what you don’t know, but the benefit of being part of a group like WSI is that there is always somebody you can talk to about it. First, you have to get over that hurdle of thinking that you are competing with people - you aren’t; this is a huge network of people with shared experiences. Whatever question you are dealing with, someone will say, “Oh, that happened to me too!” It is still early for me, but as I get further into it, I find those shared experiences are hugely powerful. Whenever I think, “I’ve never done this before,” I go one step beyond and remember that I know people who have and will help me through the process.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I decided I didn’t want to be a number anymore, so I thought, “What can I do for myself?” I wanted that control of my destiny.

Describe your typical work week.

I’m trying to structure my week, so I’m not always prospecting. That becomes exhausting. What I try to do is have three days set aside for really intense prospecting. Monday will be a catch-up of what I might have missed on the weekend, and Friday is the bookend, the week's wrap-up. I am trying to build a schedule around my kids’ needs and provide me with some flexibility. Some days are very intense - you might have a lot of meetings, for example. Then the next day, you don’t have to - and that is still evolving. Somebody told me not to have two bad days in a row. If you have a bad meeting one day or work hard, take it easy the next day. 

What are some of the highlights you have experienced since joining WSI?

The experience of sharing people’s excitement when they come to you with their product and how you get them talking about it. Some things seem mundane at face value until you hear the person talking about them; they start telling you their business plan, and then it clicks, and you get excited too. 

What would you say is the biggest obstacle you face in your business?

Time management is my biggest struggle. At this early stage, I’m still hungry and want to fit as much in as I can, and some people demand more of my time than others. Another thing is trying to explain to people what our products are, how they will benefit them, and the time it will take to show those benefits. 

What is your plan for the next 12 months or perhaps the next five years?

Over the next few months, the priority is to get to a certain income level. Twenty clients will be optimal right now, and when I get to that point and start bringing in bigger clients, I will need to bring some other people in to help me out. I want to grow the business and target new regions (like where I am right now, on the east coast of Canada). Another is, in the coming years, to see what kind of work opportunities are available for my kids. I don’t know what the workforce will look like in the next two, five, or ten years. If I’m running a successful agency, there are potentially some opportunities for them, too. 

What advice would you give to a new WSI Digital Marketing Consultant?

Regardless of your background, if you want to engage in this business, you have to humble yourself to a degree and listen to advice. You can think you know how to do something and, nine times out of ten, you don’t. If you take that approach and decide to take the criticisms and use them to evolve, you can get stronger, and you can only learn more. 

What is your personal motto?

I’m a big Lego fan, and I like to buy my kids these big, 5,000-piece sets. When they get frustrated, I tell them you must work brick by brick. You don’t start with the big picture - everything takes one little brick at a time to build - so my motto is “Brick by brick.”

If you went to Happy Hour right now, what would you order?

One of two things depends on who I’m with: either a local craft beer or, if I couldn’t get that, a dark beer (I’m not a wine person - my wife likes wine). If I couldn’t get a beer, I would go with a Manhattan in memory of my former boss, an excellent, all-around guy. 

If you could be anywhere other than here talking to me - right this minute, where would you be?

There are so many things I’d love to be doing. I am on vacation now and on one side of me, there is the ocean - so sailing is one option. On the other side would be biking. Just being out and doing something. The place to be for me is early morning - about 6 AM - on a cool August day, sitting on the patio overlooking the Northumberland Strait.

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