Meet Kim and Mark Dawson, our studio couple. Married for 4 years. They share a 2 year old son named Elijah, born two months after they made the move from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay.
Kim is a SEO & Adwords expert and works for herself. She’s been her own boss since 2010. Marc is a programmer at Opmantek, a startup business that publishes Network Management Information System used by over 20.000 organisations globally. Both are currently full-time members of the StartInno coworking studio so we thought would be a great kick-off to the series of our coworking member profile. We asked them both about coworking, startups and what’s scary about "#juststarting”
So, what are you doing and what brings you here today?
Kim: I think it’s important to separate the work and home space. We already spend so much time together sharing a home. And it’s just a great vibe, sharing a work space with other like minded professionals.
Why did you choose this to work for yourself?
Kim: I worked in traditional advertising in Sydney before, it’s the kind of job that’s cool to have but full-on: long hours, very competitive. It can be really stressful. I always had a great interest in my field. But then I came across online marketing and that really excited me. I applied for a job and that’s how I made the switch from traditional to online.
I was genuinely excited and passionate about online marketing, about the freshness, the potential of how it could influence the entire industry, and it did! And it already went through so many changes, it’s exciting. The online aspects influences business in big ways.
What do you love most about your job?
Mark: That the company is a startup. It’s growing, improving, it’s very interesting and exciting. It’s an open source company, which is something I agree with and support.
Kim: The part that excited me most from the beginning, was the fact that online marketing could actually be measured, which bring so many opportunities. You can show it to the world whereas, with say a billboard, you don’t really know who or how many people are going to see it.
Okay, so I think you both really like numbers and facts?
Kim: I hated statistics, I would just cry whenever I had to deal with them. I like numbers when you get an insight from them, when it’s actually meaningful. Not a big fan of formulas, they don’t really make sense to me.
Mark: I’m okay with numbers haha!
The people in my team is another part I love about my job by the way. We have a great team, everybody is an expert in their own field and we work really well together. The people you work with have a major influence on your job.
Kim: That’s the reason we like to work from the coworking studio, because of the environment; you need to be around people you enjoy interacting with.
What are you passionate about, in terms of your career?
Kim: I thrive on a new idea and on getting something new happening, helping small businesses get further. And once a business is up, maintaining it. I get to help business grow, that’s what I’m passionate about.
Mark: Yes, creating new stuff, making new applications, seeing possibilities, is what I love to do. Adding extra features to apps is nice, but creating new things is the most exciting part, it’s what keeps me going and motivated.
What part of your job are you exceptionally proud of?
Mark: My company is a startup but we already have done and accomplished so much. I’m very happy with the achievements of us a team, but also proud of the work I’m doing on my own for the business. This company won a few awards actually, it’s just a great recognition for your hard work and effort.
Kim: For me, it’s what I can do to help small businesses that makes. The difference I can make. Sense of contribution.
Tell us about your failures, and how have you learned from them?
Mark: In the past I worked too much without seeing a lot of benefit. Put in too many hours, learned too little. I was taking on too much because I wanted it to be perfect. Now I know that’s not always fruitful. I learned where to put my focus on and plan my time better to be more effective and get the most out of it.
What is the best advice you have for starting entrepreneurs? Something you only know from experience.
Kim: The best advice I ever got about my job is don’t be too hesitant to take action. It’s not like people’s lives depend on it. Because it’s online and for the whole world to see, it’s very open and out there. But it’s okay to make mistakes. People hold back too much sometimes. Learn to let going. Just Start (haha).
Mark: I can get stuck sometimes, it’s like having a writers block, trying to find the perfect solution instead of just starting and realising that as soon as you start working, you start figuring out the things that you may not have gotten just researching. You take that information you get from taking action and then you improve your work and you do it again. Once you start, you get the power of momentum.
Why Byron Bay?
We have friends living here. Even before we came here we already knew we would love it. The first day we came to scope the place out, it was such a beautiful day, we fell in love. We got married here too.
Want to find out more about what Kim and Mark are doing? Come and meet them at the studio.