He’s the man behind the business, our founder and Managing Director, but who really is Gareth Morgan? I sat down with Gareth and interviewed him so you can get to know the Liberty lad.
You set up Liberty in 2008, but what did you do before that?
Following a Business and Marketing degree, I went into in-house roles as a digital marketing manager.
My first role was in a software business where I self-taught in the areas of SEO, PPC and content marketing. It was great fun and I can’t believe that was 15 years ago already!
I then honed my skills in the more competitive and fast-paced finance sector, where I had a much bigger budget to manage and tougher targets to hit. I had to learn how to stretch the budget to outmaneuver bigger rivals and to take advantage of the latest digital marketing techniques before they could.
Why did you set up the business?
The Liberty team in 2010.
In both previous roles, I had to employ agencies to help me with the work – especially in the finance company – and I really struggled to find a decent agency that I could trust. I remember one doing black-hat links against our site, another giving us duplicate content that they shared with other customers and another that simply wouldn’t turn up to meetings or answer emails.
I thought that I could do a better job and planned to set up my own digital marketing agency one day. Then, when the credit crunch hit and I found myself and my team without jobs, I decided to set up on my own and offer an ethical and transparent service, the kind that was unfortunately lacking back in 2008.
I started Liberty in my spare bedroom and now we’re the biggest digital marketing agency in Wales and have been named as a UK top thirty Google growth agency. It’s been an amazing experience so far and I can’t wait for what the future holds.
What have been your biggest successes and struggles since starting Liberty?
Our biggest success has to be our partnership with Google. Thanks to a number of factors such as our innovative approach and strong customer service, we’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with the team there and they’ve helped us to both grow the business and provide better results for our clients.
I’m very proud to say we have an amazing team at Liberty, but in the past our biggest struggle was finding the right staff. There is a relatively limited talent pool in the South Wales area and, as we offer very specific services and have a unique work atmosphere, it was a struggle at times.
We’ve now got a team of more than thirty expert digital marketers, but we’re always on the hunt for new talent. Check out our jobs page for more details.
The Secretary of State or Wales, Stephen Crabb,
visited the office in 2015
Who is your business hero?
I’ve admired John D Rockefeller since reading his biography a while back. He never let anything stand in his way and achieved a hell of a lot. Within the industry, I like Rand Fishkin because, like me, he seems obsessed with perfecting his craft and is very open about his business.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I’ve been obsessed with online marketing since I wrote my first pay per click advert 15 years ago. I loved the fact that with a few words, I could influence people all around the world to buy the products and services that the company I worked for offered.
To date I’ve worked on around 200 websites in more than a hundred industries and I love learning the difference with each one. That’s one of the great things about digital marketing – the industry is quite a challenge, with fast-growth and ongoing developments. The pace makes it exciting and I’m always learning new things to stay ahead of the curve.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The beauty of my job is that there isn’t a typical day – with a vast variety of clients in a fast-paced industry, every day is different. I’m fortunate to have a brilliant management team and innovative marketers, so my days are no longer spent getting down and dirty with campaigns like they used to be.
The majority of my time is now spent meeting with potential clients, attending and speaking at industry events and conducting industry training presentations. I’m here in a supporting role for everyone in the team and love jumping in on meetings and throwing ideas around.
When you’re not in work, what do you enjoy doing?
I have a side-line in investment and property development, which I have been doing since I was a teenager, though I haven’t had much time to work on that recently. On the rare occasion I get some down time I like going for a wander around the parks of Cardiff with my Border Collie, Ben. I’m a petrol-head and have a passion for classic sports cars and motorbikes.
I’m also a huge fan of rock music. I was lucky enough to purchase a guitar played by a member of Guns N’ Roses on eBay around 20 years ago and would love to expand my collection with other similar pieces one day.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’d like to see Liberty grow to become one of the largest agencies in the UK in half that time period. I can’t imagine what’ll be happening in a decade, but if Liberty is doing well hopefully I’ll have the option to take a bit of an early retirement.
Looking back, would you change anything?
At the beginning, I was so determined to get things right that I wanted to do everything myself. All our finances are now taken care of by our accountants and our IT support is managed by an external company, but I managed this myself at first. Although this saved a lot of money, it cost a lot of time that could have been better utilised growing the business and our team.
What advice would you give someone setting up a start-up today?
Make sure you do your research and find a niche market where there is demand. I’ve seen many people work extremely hard, spending a lot of time and money, out of blind ambition and their assumptions have proved their downfall.
Not all ideas are good ideas, and this is especially true when you try to do too much. Here at Liberty we specialise in a handful of things and ignore everything else. It’s tempting to offer a wide range of services, but you can’t possibly expect to be an authority and cutting-edge in one area when you’re a Jack of all trades.
Get to know Liberty!
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