Mike Wootton is one of our graduates from New Zealand. After retraining in digital skills with us, he decided to take the plunge and quit his highly paid, highly stressful, corporate manager job to now running his online digital agency from the comfort of his own home working his own hours.
Just knowing how to create a website from scratch saved Mike tens of thousands of dollars in his corporate career. But now, he’s been able to transfer this knowledge over to his own digital agency making money online. He is now helping businesses generate leads through inbound marketing.
Mikes story is particularly inspiring to our audience because its such a common theme among our community – how do you quit a highly paid (but highly stressful) corporate role? Well, Mike successfully achieved this goal – plus he discovered a secret inside technique on how you can far more easily make the transition to quitting your job and working online from home.
Find out how Mike found his way to create a home-based lifestyle business that gives him true freedom, allows him to be debt free, and lets him follow his own personal passions. Go Mike!
CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW to hear how Mike went from a high paying corporate job to online freedom working from home
Mike used his new Digital Skills to leave behind a senior corporate role and create his own lifestyle business working from home
Matt Raad: Hi, everyone! It’s Matt Raad here. And today I’m interviewing a past graduate of ours, Mike Wootton from New Zealand.
Mike has an interesting story because he was in a very successful senior corporate management role. And what I want to talk to him about today is his journey of how he retrained to learn digital marketing with us at eBusiness Institute. He’s taken these digital skills and now works fully online with his own digital agency. He’s also helping out local Kiwi businesses.
And during the recent COVID-19 lockdown period, Mike started up another online business called Business in Boardies.
So, Mike, where did all this start? What were you doing originally?
Mike: Before I started training with the eBusiness Institute, I was working for one of the big banks in New Zealand as a sponsorship manager. I actually took out the award for top sponsorship professional in New Zealand.
And about three or four years prior to that, I’d been made redundant from another corporate job.
I didn’t like the idea of not having my own future within my own hands.
I didn’t like the lack of security or my future being in someone else’s hands. So, at that stage I just started looking around for something that I could do for myself to start an online business.
I always wanted to have an online business and I wanted to start working more for myself. That’s when my brother-in-law come across the Digital Profits training course and sent me a link to it. I had been looking for a digital marketing course for about two years, so as soon as I saw this I said, “Yep, this is me, let’s sign up!”
Studying new digital skills at home while working a full-time job
Matt: That’s great Mike! Now, I remember your role was pretty full-on. When I used to coach you to create your online business, you were already doing very big hours in your existing corporate role. You were a leader in this space in New Zealand, but you were doing big hours to be very successful.
Mike: It was definitely a high-pressure situation! I was managing an $8 million sponsorship budget. I had a team of people that I was working with and was managing multiple agencies.
Learning new digital skills to create an online business was definitely a lot for me to take on that year. I was already managing my existing job, plus flying to Australia every three months to attend the digital training bootcamps.
At the same time I learning with eBusiness Institute, I started by own leading digital agency in New Zealand. I was spending my holidays and weekends still working while I was learning.
Matt: That’s really well done. You took massive action because you knew you wanted to make a big change in your life. I remember coaching you through that period and it was a challenging time, timewise.
Mike created a Digital Agency to earn more money from home
So, what drew you to starting the digital agency?
Mike: Well, I was getting inside knowledge from Matt and Liz Raad on how to create websites and work from home online. From there, in the corporate world, I was starting to see how the different website agencies out there were charging me $20,000, just to run promotions, create a one-page website and do basic web tasks etc. I was thinking, “This is insane!”.
So, then I thought, “Well, if that’s what’s happening in agency land, then there’s a real opportunity for me to be able to come in and offer good honest pricing, and look after people that don’t have those big budgets”. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing, to be honest.
Matt: And you’ve been incredibly successful with it and you’re a very driven person.
Mike created his online business by focusing on specialized digital marketing
So, for your digital agency, the niche that you focus on is helping Kiwi businesses. Where do you specialize, and what sort of online services to you offer for businesses?
Mike: Well, we’ve pivoted a couple of times since we begun. But now what we focus on is automated marketing. This means, driving the leads and clients online towards businesses.
The 3 areas we mainly focus around are:
- Service-based businesses
- Any business that sells information products
- Or businesses that sell online courses
We call it “marketing and sales funnels”. We’ll set up everything from online advertising through to what the offer is, through to after someone’s taken up a small-tier offer, how to nurture them and get them on board for bigger-ticket items.
Know your WHY when starting out your online business – have a goal to work towards
Matt: And so, I know one of the reasons why you started this journey was to quit the corporate lifestyle. You were on a very high wage, and I know there are a lot of people out there in exactly the same boat as you who are on a big corporate wage. You were really nervous on the day you did it. But, now that a few years have passed, do you have any regrets?
Mike: No, I’ve never had a regret since I handed in my notice. Because for me, like you’re saying, I’ve got a goal in mind.
My full-time job didn’t line up with that goal, so my value towards achieving my goals far outweighs the comfortableness of having a job.
Matt: So obviously, when you first start an online business from home, there’s a fair bit of work to do. And we know that you’re already used to working long hours. But, now that you’ve settled into things, is it a much better lifestyle for you being working from home online?
Mikes secret tip on how he was able to speed up quitting his high paying job to create his ideal lifestyle business…
Mike: Yes, I enjoy the freedom a lot more because I’m a real explorer. To be honest, to manage my risk starting out, I would professionally house-sit for the last two years prior to this. I basically got rid of any rent payments, and I wasn’t paying any power bills etc. I was living in mansions, while people would go overseas for three – four months to their holiday homes. I couldn’t do that in a full-time job, so running the agency and having that lifestyle was phenomenal.
And then now, there’s still a lot of hard grind. The thing that people have to get used to is that when you’re starting something from scratch, it’s a lot of input and a lot of output. And then eventually, your success curve (once you start getting past those initial humps), starts becoming a lot easier. You become a lot more confident and things make sense a lot quicker.
The ultimate payoff for starting an online business = Freedom!
I really enjoy the freedom. I really enjoy meeting people and talking to new people all the time. And I enjoy being my own boss.
Matt: Yes, you’ve obviously found true freedom. That sounds awesome that you haven’t got ties to anything. And I know that you’re a very outdoors person and you’re into your fitness. Living in beautiful New Zealand, one of the most stunning countries on the planet, you’ve got a lot more time now to do those things as well.
When working online, be aware of those “Bright Shiny Objects”
Mike: Well, it’s one of those things, having so much freedom. When I started studying with Matt and Liz Raad, I started seeing opportunity everywhere. That was one of the hardest things to deal with. Everything looks like opportunity because you’re constantly saying, “Oh, I can do this online, I can do that online.” It’s almost like a catch-22; you’ve got all this freedom, but all you want to do is keep chasing new opportunities.
It’s like you say Matt Raad, you have to force yourself to go outside to have some fun and do something, otherwise you’re just constantly grinding and wanting to do stuff and try new things.
Matt: That is awesome to hear. And I do want to say a heartfelt congratulations to yourself because I think you’ve nailed it. You’ve done it really well. And I know you’ve got an awesome digital agency business there in New Zealand. You’re doing some awesome work for your clients and helping them find leads (especially during these times), which is really important.
So, Mike’s a specialist in that space, if you want help with him, or if you’re in New Zealand, reach out and contact him. It’s MikeWootton.co.
Giving back to the community – use your digital skills to help others in need
Also Mike, you started a really cool sideline project to help Kiwi businesses through these times, which is Business in Boardies, which is some extra online lessons to help New Zealand businesses, isn’t it?
Mike: Yes. I put together Business in Boardies as soon as this pandemic hit. I noticed that there’s going to be a tonne of people that need to be going online to try and operate. Or businesses that are going to be going out of business, who need to try and figure out how to make an income online.
And I figured, given I’ve got all these online skills that I’ve learned from Matt and Liz Raad, (and met a bunch of other people who are doing cool things in that space), that we could share some knowledge, insights, and inspiration around how to set up new business models. We can teach people how to do this stuff in the time of need. So that’s where Business in Boardies came from.
Matt: Awesome, mate. I really want to thank you so much for your time today, Mike. It is inspiring to catch up with you and hear your story. We love watching your journey from that full-on senior corporate role (incredibly successful there), to now being incredibly successful in your lifestyle design online business. I think that it’s a really good tip too about house sitting! I love that idea and hadn’t thought of that one, so thank you so much for sharing.
Mike: Thank you so much, appreciate it.
Are you looking to retrain in digital and earn a high income working from home?
If you can relate to Mike’s story, and are looking for a way to quit the corporate lifestyle and work for yourself online, then take a look at our free training sessions on how to build an online business.