Paul Wagstaff is the founder of Tyranny, a boutique web design and SEO business based in Melbourne.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
Tyranny was born out of my love for design. I had graduated from university and was working in a web development company, however, I felt as though I didn’t have enough creative control. When my contract ended at the company I was working at I decided to take a chance and start my own business which would not only design websites but also focus on marketing. I chose the name Tyranny as I wanted to be different and stand out from the rest. This has worked on many levels as it is a memorable name for customers and competitors alike.
When I began I felt the industry was overly complex and expensive for higher-end design work so I decided to create this myself, branching into the marketing and coding sides.
How did you get your business started?
It was a struggle for many years and I relied on word of mouth from my customers to gain continual work. I had another part-time job for many years, to pay the bills, and it was in 2010 that I decided to focus completely on my company. In the beginning, I was a sole trader with freelance work on the side. I relied on building a loyal customer base to gain further work. In, 2013 Tyranny converted from sole trader to a company and since then I have continued to develop and refine my business to be where it is today.
What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?
Nothing comes easily and you have to work for it. I spent many years working from a home office to minimise costs and have put a lot of time and energy into growing my company to be what it is today. It is important to spend money and time on your marketing as this is often the difference between success and failure for many companies these days. Also, your company will not grow just because you are good at what you do. You need to get out there and network, market and sell your business!
How important for you has it been to have a mentor?
I have been lucky enough to meet some very inspiring people along my journey, however, I have never had a mentor. If you, like I, are unable to do this then there are other ways you can gather advice and support. I joined a BMI and was able to network and meet other like-minded individuals. Also, Google holds events that you can attend and develop your skills.
What are your top three tips for starting a business?
1. Think about what your customer base needs. What is your niche market? Market to this customer base. Create good, original content and post it out constantly.
2. Have a unique selling point. You need something original that people would love to pay extra for.
3. Marketing, marketing, marketing! I have seen many fabulous ideas fail as they neglected to do marketing.
Paul Wagner is a graduate of the RMIT Bachelor of Arts (Multimedia), 2004.
"Nothing comes easily and you have to work for it. I spent many years working from a home office to minimise costs and have put a lot of time and energy into growing my company to be what it is today." - Paul Wagstaff