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Changing the Game – by ACTUALLY Changing the World

When did you launch Actually and what’s been your biggest challenge so far?

In March 2019 I was invited to a leadership gathering on Richard Branson’s Necker Island. I knew that I wanted to have my business – at least in beta launch form – ready for that trip. I had three weeks. Thanks to Cat Townsend and her team at The Good Alliance and the amazing photographer Karen Roswell, three weeks was all I needed to develop branding, do a photoshoot, create a logo, build a website and populate it with content. My new business cards arrived a few hours before I left for the long journey to Necker Island.

Actually was on its way!

My biggest challenge throughout my career has been balancing work and life! I’ve always had workaholic tendencies but I’ve been absolutely determined to do things differently with Actually. It’s clear to me that a big part of the ‘changemaker’ mindset has to be about self-care – because if you burn out then who will deliver your vision? Who will create the change you want to see in the world? So this time round, I’ve been practicing saying ‘no’; asking for help; delegating more and accepting that sometimes ‘good enough’ is good enough. It’s a challenge for me but I’m getting better!

What’s unique about your business and who is your “ideal” client?

What unites them is a desire to change the world and make it better. And they are struggling.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my ‘ideal’ client recently. So many marketing ‘gurus’ insist that you must have a single ideal client avatar and it’s been driving me a bit nuts! I find it impossible to limit myself to just one ideal customer type. So, broadly speaking, my customers are changemakers. They may be social entrepreneurs or business leaders with a grand vision and a social purpose. They may be leading a charity. They may be campaigners. What unites them is a desire to change the world and make it better. And they are struggling. Struggling to get their voice heard above the clamour; struggling to get enough people to care, to support them, to buy from them or to change their behaviour. They don’t have in-house expertise in communications so they are trying to do it themselves with little or no support or experience. Maybe they’ve used an agency in the past – handing over funds they can ill-afford and getting a sub-standard service because they’re too small a client to get proper attention and they don’t have a deep enough understanding of communications to manage the agency properly.

What’s unique about Actually? I think it is the amount of value we add. Every client who does our virtual, live training course has said how surprised they are by how we go the extra mile. At every step of the way, my focus is on ensuring that we under-promise and over-deliver. For every client. All of the time.

Any noteworthy surprises or ‘A-ha’ Moments along the way?

When we started Pagefield, Mark and I were pleasantly surprised by how much support we received from our ‘competitors’. Heads of other agencies went out of their way to offer advice and support as we got going – even referring business to us in the early days. What’s been extraordinary about starting Actually is seeing that happen again – but on an exponentially greater scale. People are so passionate and so committed to Actually, to our vision and what we want to achieve. I had lunch recently with two women who had driven half-way across the country to meet me because they wanted to talk about how they might support Actually and get on board with our work. It’s been truly humbling and inspiring.

How would you describe your typical day?

There really is no such thing as a typical day. I am still working a couple of days a week as a consultant to the agency I co-founded, Pagefield. The day might start with me travelling up to London for a day in the Pagefield office. The next day my commute could be considerably shorter: to my home office at the end of the garden! At the moment I am spending a lot of time building brand awareness and creating community on social media platforms so I am a regular on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve also just launched cohort 2 of our signature virtual training course so I am knee-deep in slides, worksheets, and research!

What about your “social impact/outcomes?”

Everything we do at Actually starts from wanting to support those who want to change the world. The whole business is set up to have that impact. So whether it’s the training we offer, the consulting we do for clients or the community we are creating – it’s all working towards that end.

In addition, I recently launched the Actually Community Mastermind programme – bringing the benefits of a professional Mastermind to those small social enterprises, charities and campaign groups that would not otherwise be able to afford professional Mastermind fees.

What’s the next big thing/challenge for Actually?

My vision is a world in which everybody knows with absolute certainty that they can make a difference. And so my next project will be to develop an education programme to work with young people and ensure that they know that their voice counts, that they can create change and that they can make a difference. The profits from Actually will go to fund that programme.

As an experienced leader and entrepreneur, what’s non-negotiable for you?

Time off. I’ve burnt out more than once and here is what I’ve learnt: self-care isn’t selfish. Failing to take care of yourself is the problem because if you burn out, who is going to deliver your world-changing vision? Who is going to create your difference in the world if you’re flat on your back, burnt out and exhausted?

How can our readers learn more about Actually?

BONUS QUESTION: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m really rather shy!

Dennis J. Pitocco
Dennis J. Pitoccohttps://www.bizcatalyst360.com/
Dennis is the Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of our award-winning life, culture, and business new media digest, With an emphasis on action, our amazing writers empower people to transcend from knowing what to do to actually doing it. We are fueled by extraordinary thought leadership authored by some of the best and brightest minds from around the world. Today and every day, we simply deliver the very best Insights, Intelligence & Inspiration available anywhere. Period. More ABOUT US. He is also Founder & Chief Encouragement Officer of GoodWorks 360°, our affiliated global nonprofit social impact enterprise, dedicated to providing mission-critical pro bono services to good nonprofits worldwide. Connect with him on Linkedin to learn more about his background. Dennis is a contributing author to the Best-Selling Book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.
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