Transitioning to The Digital Economy

transitioning to the digital economy

How I Transitioned To The Digital Economy At 48

m7Having just found and joined this Linkedin group (What’s next – Midlife Career Change)  I thought I should introduce myself and offer some background on my own journey so far. Transitioning to the digital economy is a fancy phrase but that’s what I’ve done.

My name is Dave Menzies. I turned 50 last November 2 years after having been made redundant for the second time. I had been a business development manager for the Glasgow branch of a major audiovisual services group. So you could say that a mid-life career change was thrust upon me.

My first redundancy after 12 years service afforded me a modest redundancy payout. I was quickly offered a similar role by two competitors. I don’t think it mattered much, which one I chose. Both were quite obviously just interested in how much business I could bring with me.

A Tough Call

During interviews with both I was very honest in what I thought I could bring. After all I’d spent years building up relationships and proving that I represented the best service provider. It was impossible to guess how my customers would react when I told them “I’m now with these guys”. How many times can you do that?

Bear in mind that this was at the start of a major recession. Budgets were tight and loyalties were strained. New business acquisition was largely price based. It was an industry in trouble. Many people had been laid off before me. Most AV companies were working with reduced teams and resources.

I chose one based on gut instinct. Some clients came with me, some didn’t and after 18 months they got rid of me in quite an unpleasant manner. Long story short – and this isn’t a “poor me” thing – they tried everything they could to make me leave. They moved me to a distant office. Suddenly I was installed in a venue as a business development/technical support/in-house sales person.

On the plus side I hadn’t touched the first redundancy payment and had been earning and saving in between. Following redundancy number 2, I interviewed for a number of business development positions in other areas.

Making A Plan B 

The problem I encountered (aside from my age) was that I’d spent most of my career in a very niche industry. I had never been given sales targets. What was a KP?. I just brought in new business, managed accounts and retained existing business. Myself, the management, project and technical teams worked in a very collaborative way. I was very good at it within that niche but found it hard to translate that to a different niche in an interview.

I’d seen the writing on the wall long before I was first laid off and had decided to put a plan B in place. I never thought of it as “transitioning to the digital economy” at the time though.  Basically I’d discovered online affiliate marketing. After a lot of research I invested in a franchised e-commerce webstore. I worked on that in my spare time whilst still working in the hope that it would generate an income by the time I needed it.

First Steps And Lessons Learned

It didn’t. I made a few sales but it became clear that the franchisor really wasn’t providing up to date training or support. I was able to get most of the purchase price refunded and learned something about the online industry – enough to get me hooked. Enough to know that I had a lot to learn.

Then I invested in another online business – a very ambitious affiliate programme based around online advertising. This went very well for around a year. I’d been made redundant by then and was doing this full time. I was able to secure some funding via a Scottish Gov self-employment programme and also a small grant for computer equipment.

I had replaced and super ceded my previous employed income and was working from home. I was also working far less hours. The future looked rosy.

But as is the case with many new online business ideas it grew too fast. It got into trouble with financial and compliancy watchdogs in many of the 104 countries it had affiliates in. A long period of uncertainty, dwindling payouts and general collapse followed. Time to move on again.

The New Economy Education

Through all this the recession in the traditional economy continued but the digital economy continued to grow. I’d made a lot of contacts and had met a lot of very successful online business people. These people were involved in affiliate marketing.  In some cases they had used it as a starting point to then launch their own digital products.

What they had in common was that they had learned how become very good online marketers. I wanted that kind of education. I wanted to learn the systems they used and where to find good mentors that could get me there.

This led to an introduction to The Six Figure Mentors and it’s co-founders Stuart Ross and Jay Kubassek. Having been successful in traditional jobs they were both close to burnout.  In their early twenties they discovered affiliate marketing.

They found that they could make a lot of money by doing this properly and that they could create enviable lifestyles at the same time. No more 70, 80 or 90 hour weeks. No more unreasonable bosses and no more exchanging time for money.

They decided to create a company that provided entrepreneurial individuals with the education, systems and tools needed to leverage this burgeoning new economy. They set about reverse engineering their own success and building a platform that made this simple for anyone to follow.

Transitioning To The Digital Economy Made Simple 

I realised this was exactly what I’d been looking for and I became a member of their programme then a business partner/affiliate with them. That was 18 months ago and I have not looked back. I wish I’d found them sooner in fact.

SFM and subsidiary company Digital Experts Academy (DEA) have gone from strength to strength in that time. They’ve have created more tools and training. Now they provide a one-stop shop for any online marketer. Everything you need to create multiple income streams is included.

They have an ambitious but realistic ten year plan and have recently taken on a high profile General manager. They’ve also formed strategic partnerships with online education innovators and further developed their mentoring programme.

In short then a transition to the digital economy is becoming a very popular move. The average age of an SFM affiliate is 48. Members come from all walks of life. These include ex business owners, ex-corporates, professionals of all stripes looking for more time freedom in their lives. It offers many of the advantages of a franchise but is less restrictive, less expensive and can offer a much faster ROI.

SFM introduce themselves by way of a free 7 day video series. This outlines their ethos, core services and business partnership options. Basically everything you need when transitioning to the digital economy. I would thoroughly recommend you at least investigate this. Particularly If you can relate to any part of my own story.

If you’d like to have a look at those complimentary videos the link below will take you to a page where you can sign up to receive them.

digital skills platform

By Dave Menzies