Tom left UWE in 2007 with a degree in Business Studies. He's since picked up the 'Best Graduate Award' in the '2008 Hertfordshire Business Awards' - and already set up his own web marketing business.
Straight after leaving UWE, Tom got his first taste of the online environment, working for Dixons.co.uk as an Online Product Manager. "I enjoyed working in online marketing straight away and particularly the fact you can precisely measure your results," explains Tom. "But ultimately I saw myself working for an agency, as opposed to 'client side', so after a year I went to work for a web development agency."
Award winning performance
It was at Netcel that Tom really made his mark. His role was to manage the digital marketing business unit. This involved improving the service to existing clients as well as attracting new ones. It wasn't long before Netcel's Managing Director nominated Tom for the 'Best Graduate Award' at the 'Hertfordshire Business Awards', saying, "After just three months on board, Tom's success in new business generation has us 28% ahead of target. He achieved this through his entrepreneurial approach, teamwork and sheer perseverance." Even a client commented that Tom was, "a real asset to Netcel."
Not one to rest on his laurels, Tom already had a new venture underway. "I wanted to set up my own company, Distinctly Digital, to help organisations increase their web presence in a number of ways, including search engine optimisation, pay-per-click marketing, email marketing and social media marketing."
To begin with, Tom was only able to work on his venture in the evenings and at weekends. But towards the end of 2009, he had built it to a point where he could run his new business full time, "I find it really liberating, being my own boss," says Tom, "I'm constantly learning and making my own decisions."
Thinking back to his days at UWE, Tom says that much of what he learned at UWE is helping him run his business now: "At the time I thought, 'why am I learning about finance? I don't want to be an accountant' or, 'what's the point of learning about HR? It's not the field I want to go in to.' But now I'm in this situation, all the knowledge I gained is proving extremely useful. So it was definitely worth paying attention!"
It's obviously early days for Tom and Distinctly Digital, but things are looking promising far. "It's going well. I'm busy meeting clients and following up new leads." And does Tom have any advice for others considering setting up on their own? "Go for it! And once you've made the decision - give it 100%. That way, you can't fail."