We were thrilled to interview our Echo member Theo Ruby, digital marketing consultant and founder of Theo Ruby Marketing – a marketing consultancy that aims to help small businesses reach their potential with result-driven marketing.
We asked Theo what attracted him to join the Echo community, how his experiences have been so far after trading with other Echo members and what his key learning moments are during these unprecedented times.
So, what do you do?
I am a marketing consultant and focus 100% of my time helping small businesses grow with bespoke websites, SEO, and digital marketing. I aim to give businesses a voice online and help them to get noticed by their customers by creating attractive and user-friendly websites and improving their presence on google and social media.
A big part of my work is training and I have helped over 270 business owners to pick up new skills and get the confidence to update their own websites and improve their marketing with quick, simple updates that leave a lasting impression.
How long have you been part of the Echo community, and what first attracted you to join?
I joined Echo in September 2018 as a friend got in touch to say the community spirit was fantastic and the members “share time”. I am a big believer that everyone’s time is worth the same so decided to sign up and offer a few services in the hope of meeting like-minded people.
What’s been your favourite Echo experience to date?
It has to be the first event I attended in Hackney Wick. Within 2 hours I knew the supportive nature of the members and the relaxed environment was a great fit. After 10 years working in the city, I wanted to cut through the overly formal networking events and meet real people who care more about their customers and long term goals than short term profits. Echo has a strong ethos that resonates through the community and every presentation was inspiring which meant I was hooked straight away.
It looks like you have done a few trades with Echo members so far, could you tell us a bit more about your experiences? What have you enjoyed, what’s been useful, has it led to any other work or opportunities for you?
My first trade was with Tanya (Live Synthesis) to help upgrade her WordPress website. It was a great dip into the echo world, and I am still working closely with her making updates to the website, now on a paid basis. Tanya has been wonderful to work with, we get on well and I have connected her with two other clients so they can support each other.
Next month Live Synthesis will be the first guest on my new Podcast and I hope it will raise awareness for the great work she is doing in the developing world.
I’ve also traded with Alison Goldie, Lisa Squeak, Duplikat, Kimatica and many more by offering my marketing consultancy and website design services. As a receiver, I have worked with Steve Wikeley who gave me some training on more advanced website development and introduced me to a piece of software called Figma.
It was a fantastic opportunity to see Echo from a new perspective. Steve was clear, helpful, and supportive and 6 months on I am still using the skills he taught me to create more advanced prototypes for websites using Figma.
The Covid-19 crisis has had a big impact on small businesses over the last few months. Have you had to make any drastic changes due to the crisis, and what have been key learning moments for you?
This year has been tough to say the least and many of my clients were concerned in April / May about the future so work quickly dried up. Thankfully the week before the first lockdown I started a new online training series called “Bitesize Marketing Guides” every Friday I run a 100% free training session on Zoom to cover a challenge that my clients are facing.
I then turned those into downloadable guides, videos and podcasts and have built up my own small community of people looking to develop their digital skills.
These guides created a new audience and ultimately generated extra work that I would never have found otherwise. Knowing that helping your network is the best way to grow your business it gave me the small boost I needed to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. I would strongly recommend that anyone looking to train or develop others consider starting your own training series, you have got nothing to lose and everything to gain! Especially as you can set up a free account with mailerlite and build subscribers with very little effort.
With London now facing tighter lockdown restrictions, how will this potentially affect how you run your business going forward?
Sadly face-to-face is no longer an option but with Zoom and social media we can continue to connect with the “outside world” I’m starting a new training series to help health professionals improve their marketing and find customers online. I have a personal interest in mental health and am investing the next 3 months into building an exciting platform for counsellors and therapists to promote, train and support each other. It is all very new but I’ll look forward to announcing it properly in Q1 2021!
Are you working on something new or exciting behind the scenes?
To compliment my therapy project, I will be creating a range of general marketing material, checklists, templates and 10-minute guides to help people from all backgrounds improve their marketing and grow their businesses online. It’s a win-win as I love supporting others and offering valuable material is also a great way to build your client base whilst building trust as potential customers already know what to expect from me after seeing the Bitesize Marketing Guides.
What advice would you give other small business owners who are part of the Echo community?
Reach out! Take a few minutes each week to see what offers are available and seriously think about what you can offer for others. Your best asset might be completely unrelated to your work so think about what people value when working with you and try to think outside of the box. I’ve got a marketing background but also offer SEO, Design, and tech-related support, simply because this comes out naturally.
Of course, the live events are amazing so make sure to look out for the next Echo networking events once all this craziness is over!
To learn more about Theo’s ‘Bitesize Marketing Guides’ series click here