Tuesday, 10 November 2015

#IndustryChats... with Dylan Macdonald, Founder of Innovate Scotland

#IndustryChats... with Dylan Macdonald, Founder of  Innovate Scotland

Hello and welcome to this exclusive 2nd edition of #IndustryChats.

#IndustryChats is an exciting new mini blog series where I'm giving PR/Marketing professionals in employment guest spots on this blog. Their guest spots will focus on offering their expertise and advice to unemployed PR/Marketing graduates at the moment, with the aim of empowering us through tips/lessons they've learned from the industry.

This edition of #IndustryChats takes a different approach with the questions, which focus on if you're a PR/Marketing graduate thinking of starting up your own business. If you're a PR/Marketing graduate, I'd especially recommend you read this blog. It's crammed full of useful info!

Now, without further delay, I'm absolutely delighted to hand you over to the dynamic, digital powerhouse, Dylan Macdonald.

Dylan Macdonald

Dylan Macdonald is the Founder of Scotland’s entrepreneurial hub, Innovate Scotland. Alongside this, Dylan is currently the Marketing & Social Media Representative for Europe’s biggest tech start-up, Clear Returns.

Despite only achieving his HND in Marketing in the summer of 2015 and being a BA (Hons) student at Glasgow Caledonian University, Dylan knows the entrepreneurial and Marketing/PR communities as well as some of our most experienced business minds.

A regular business volunteer for Scottish based charities, Dylan also works closely with the world’s largest entrepreneurial accelerator, Entrepreneurial Spark.

After watching Dane’s campaign flourish so far, Dylan decided to offer his support for the ‘Employ Daney’ campaign by taking part in #IndustryChats.


Twitter - @Dylan_Mac95

#IndustryChats Questions

Can you tell us more about how Innovate Scot came about? When was the light-bulb moment to create such an exciting community?

Innovate Scotland had been an idea myself and a small group came up with around 6 months ago. We knew it was a good one but needed all of the right tools in place to take things forward in order to have a better chance of success along the way, examples of this being having the right people and organisations on board in the planning and early launch stages.

Luckily, I’ve managed to surround myself with a talented group of experienced and up & coming business minds, which of course include my Co-Founder, Colin Adam. Despite only launching 3 months ago, we have managed to attract some of Scotland’s most exciting organisations such as MadeBrave, This Is Milk and the Entrepreneurial Spark chiclet businesses based all over the country in their hatchery facilities.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning to set yourself up for a busy day ahead with Innovate Scotland and Clear Returns?

Every morning is different for me, which I love.

Whether it’s getting up to head to a lecture/seminar at University, heading into Clear Returns HQ or an early morning Innovate Scotland meeting, making sure that passion and drive gets you up from bed is the most important thing. Without that, you may as well stay there.

Personally, being prepared for any situation is an early morning habit of mine. Getting up, sitting with a cup of tea and doing reading or research in advance of my day is a strange (so I’m told…) passion of mine.

Preparation and passion make those dull Glasgow mornings much easier for myself. However, living in such a diverse and exciting city also helps!

In the ever changing digital marketing landscape of today, what skills and knowledge do you think graduates must possess in order to succeed in digital marketing job positions/ventures?

Experience, enthusiasm and a mentor.

One thing I tell my fellow students or marketing professionals seeking employment, is that giving up your time for free IS worth it. Going through my final year of my HND last year, I accepted the voluntary digital marketing role at Scottish charity Cure Crohn’s & Colitis (C3), this position enhanced my CV and gave me the opportunity to not only learn from more experienced business volunteers but make important contacts for the future. I still volunteer with C3 to this day and it’s something I’d highly recommend as it emphasises your passion for the industry and social aspects to potential employers.

What advice would you give to a PR/Marketing graduate if they were thinking about starting up their own PR/ Marketing business instead of pursuing the traditional employment route?

Plan. Plan. Plan.

The success of Scottish based digital/marketing and PR agencies is something to be celebrated and I’m lucky enough to know and work with a lot of them around the country. However, it can be a very saturated market at times and unless you know that you have a distinct niche that is desired by a sizeable/profitable target market, I’d be wary of jumping in too deep at first.

However, gaining experience in some of these workplaces can set you up for entrepreneurial success in the future. The new found experience, contacts and knowledge will give you a much better chance of success! 

What recommendations would you make to the Employ Daney campaign?

Network on a regular basis and stay relevant to your target audience (potential employers).

Employers want to see (through your CV and even your social media channels) that you are the best individual for the role and through syndicating the correct content and writing catchy blog content, this should stand you out against the rest.

A small social media tip? Utilise live chats on Twitter. Some are fantastic for networking on social and LinkedIn, which could potentially lead to a meeting regarding a job post or a recommendation.

What’s next in the pipeline for you, Dylan?

Well, it’s safe to say in my short career so far, it’s the busiest I’ve ever been and to say I’m loving it is an understatement. I couldn’t have asked for a better and more exciting two years in the business and I can’t wait for many more to come.

For me? I’m hoping to achieve my BA (Hons) Marketing in 2017. Alongside this, Clear Returns continue to go from strength to strength and it’s been the perfect job for myself over the last 6 months after having my own start-ups towards the end of my teenage years. Our talented team continues to grow as does our impressive client list. It’s a great place to be (Europe’s best tech start up!) so I consider myself a very lucky guy and hope the good times keep on coming. Innovate Scotland is going from strength to strength. Where it will be in the next 6months to a year? Looks like everyone will just need to stick with us and find out!

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