“Those who tell stories rule the world” said Plato – a mantra that we live by on Tuesday. Every day, we work with exciting brands, businesses and individuals to understand, distil and articulate their stories.
The Campfire is a bulletin to share some of these stories with our wider community in the hope that you will enjoy them as much as we’ve enjoyed curating them. The content might also give you a moment to reflect and think about your own stories and what you might like to share.
There’s no doubt about it, it’s been a difficult couple of years for economic growth. Globally, big business has been making tough calls, often deciding where to cut staff to survive.
However, one young entrepreneur, Liam Quirk, 24, from The Wirral, is bucking the trend, harnessing opportunities for his self-financed SEO Liverpool agency, Quirky Digital, to thrive. Liam attributes his success to investing in staff who share his vision and have nothing to lose.
Quirky was launched by then 22 year old Liam, in his mum’s box room. He handed in his notice to go freelance two days before Lockdown. Quickly, his successes began to stack up and Liam officially launched Quirky Digital two months later, in May 2020.
He says “back in May 2020, loads of digital marketing agencies went bust. It was like a forest fire that destroyed all the dead wood. While others were taking furlough money and laying off staff, I was grinding away. I couldn’t do any networking because everything was closed.
So I did everything I could do at that point. I was DMing people on Instagram, calling up local businesses and making the most of what I had to get the business off the ground.”
Quirky was bootstrapped. Liam put in £4,000 of his own savings, not taking a penny out of the business for the first five months. The agency has gone from a standing start to reaching profitability, having scaled up without external investment.
He always considered himself an “underachiever”, having left school at 16 with three GCSEs and two BTECs. However, his first job was as an apprentice and, since then, his career in SEO has grown from strength to strength.
Liam knew from experience the benefits of finding talented young people through the Government apprentice scheme. He believes that finding others like him has been key to his success in driving the business.
Liam says “as part of my business journey, I wanted to nurture young, diverse talent. I took on two Government apprentices because they’ve got hunger and something to prove. They’re there because they want to work and they want to learn. They’re my kind of people.”
Having turned his own life around, Liam is now an inspiration to his young workforce.
Liam’s first employee, Ben Duffy, grew up on a council estate. Ben worked in Home & Bargains stacking shelves during Lockdown. His dad passed away during COVID and that was his wakeup call to, in his words, “make something of myself”. He applied for the Government apprentice scheme within Quirky Digital.
Eighteen months later, he is in a senior position within the business and has just passed his apprenticeship with a distinction, the highest possible mark. Will, another member of the team, is currently going through the apprenticeship scheme to become a Content Marketing Executive.
A relatively new kid on the digital marketing block, Quirky has gained a reputation for being a serious player in a short period of time. 90% of the clients Quirky has generated have been through its own online marketing efforts and they are ranking at number one on Google for key terms – living proof that it delivers.
Projecting revenues to be at £500k by financial year end in May 2023, it has twenty-five retained clients in sectors as varied as accountancy, professional services, healthcare, law and retail. Liam has created six aspirational jobs for young people in the city during the biggest economic downturn seen since World War Two and moved offices four times to accommodate his expanding team.
Liam says “with an average age of 23, our team’s edge comes from the firepower generated by a workforce determined to succeed, motivated by more than just turning up to a ‘nine to five’.
It’s my dream to continue to show people that there is an alternative route to success. I’d like to found a movement that helps fund young people to become entrepreneurs, rather than them having to go down the university or college route to get their first taste in business.”