We are back for Season 2 of our series This Is How I Get It DONE, where we take a moment to interview members of the PR In Canada & Profectio community members to find out more about the person behind the desk, how they got their start, their current role (and everything in between). For our third episode of Season 2 we talked to Kirk Allen (BIO) of Reshift Media.
Current Gig: My official title is a bit of a misnomer – COO at Reshift Media (a digital marketing agency specializing in Social media, SEO, SEM and Web & APP development services). But it doesn’t really matter what you call me, just call me! All kidding aside, I’ve been so fortunate to have a business partner in Steve Buors, CEO Reshift Media, who is probably the best partner I could ever ask for. I love connecting with people and collaborating with them to find solutions to the kinks in their digital presence. But let’s beclear, Steve and our entire team at Reshift are the reason behind our success.
One word to describe: I don’t know if I can classify this as a work style, but I like to be optimistic. If I could offer a new entrepreneur a small piece of advice, it is the importance of remaining optimistic while always following-up. Those two things don’t always go hand in hand but keep with it. Stay in touch but be authentic. I truly enjoy getting to know new people but staying top of mind and maintaining a level of trust is key. The sales cycle can be longer than you would ever believe.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today: With a degree in marketing, I started in the print advertising business. Back in the day, newspaper advertising was a wildly profitable business that wielded so much influence. I loved the super fast pace and high pressured deadlines. As digital platforms emerged and advertising evolved, I was even more stoked to be part of the overall transformation from print to digital, making my way from a sales manager to Executive Vice President of Advertising at Postmedia.
What made you start your own agency? I’ve always wanted to own an agency and had customers in the past suggesting I do so. But the reality is, if it wasn’t for Steve Buors, Reshift may not have exisited today. Steve approached me over a beer and asked if I wanted to start an agency with him. I was quick to say yes! Let’s just say I’m thrilled to be part of such a thriving industry once again.
What is a typical work day like for you? Whenever possible, I take the GO train in and get to the office a little after 8 a.m. If the dishes haven’t been done by someone else the night before, I do the dishes and put a pot of coffee on. My day after that is non-stop business development (phone calls, emails & meetings). We now have close to 200 customers in over 20 countries around the world, so between customer service and new business development that keeps me hopping.
When did you know you had something [a viable business]?
That’s a very good question. We officially opened the business on July 1, 2012, but we started building our business plan many months earlier. I always knew that we had a viable business model. And yet the early days of any business are fraught with uncertaintly…if you aren’t fearful of failing you probably aren’t trying hard enough. At the same time, we knew that there was lots of room for us in the industry but we had to establish a trust in the marketplace and make our presence known. It’s all thanks to our early supporters who believed in us and helped get us off the ground. The core of our business remains Social Media, SEO and Website development but one of our first customers asked us to build a tool to enable cascading of content to all of their local Facebook pages and our Social Brand Amplifier™ platform was born. The platform enables companies with multiple locations to create, populate, manage and measure local pages within Facebook. We’ve recently launched a 2nd platform for ads as well. It enables brands to create national campaigns that are automatically customized and optimized for each of their local branches. We’ve also added Instagram and Google AdWords to the platform. This proprietary software is what sets aside from other digital marketing agencies.
How do you balance family-work? My wife and kids are very supportive and totally understand that running a business is not for the faint of heart. I am so lucky to have such brave kids too who aren’t afraid to blaze their own trails. My three boys, young men now, are the ones who inspire me.
9-5 is LONG gone, what is one shortcut or life hack that works for you? I’m away from home at a minimum of 12 hours per day which I don’t believe is unusual for commuters in the GTA. We also have customers around the world so it’s not unusual for us to schedule calls with, say – Australia, at night. The world is getting smaller and we want to be flexible and available. Having said that, one hack that works for me is I like to wake up at an even ungodlier hour a couple times a week and hit the pool with my wife (our gym opens at 4 a.m.) It shakes things up and makes us feel pretty accomplished before the sun even rises. I also play hockey twice per week and try to stay physically active. I do believe sport and excercise is what allows us to not only work harder – but work happier.