Many of our existing clients and partners will already be familiar with our Managing Director, Ian Elcoate. He plays a hands-on role and is the lead, expert web developer for a number of our projects and works tirelessly as part of the team at Tad Web Solutions to drive our business forward.
Lets learn a little more about the life and times of the Managing Director of Tad Web Solutions and his life away from code.
What’s a working day in the life of Ian Elcoate?
It’s rare two days are the same as most of our projects are bespoke but within my routine there are recurring tasks, some daily, such as responding to emails and phone calls, some weekly, such as invoicing and BNI meeting and finding referrals for others. I try and allocate workdays to specific parts of my role. So when we are working on a project where I am responsible for much of the development I will allocate a whole day or two to coding. Another day may be allocated to paperwork, writing proposals and invoicing. A day may be allocated to client meetings and network events. Splitting days that way allows me to focus on a key task and give it full attention.
What about a Saturday?
As my wife works long hours on a Saturday I also tend to work. It’s quiet and we are closed so I don’t need to keep an eye on emails or my phone but I will still pick up anything urgent if I’m left a message and it can’t wait until Monday. Typically I will have a day coding on a Saturday but will go to the Boro match if we’re at home and then maybe out for a couple of beers. If we’re away I tend to put in a long day. It also allows me to take a day or two off midweek most months to go out with my wife when she is off work (she works every Saturday).
How did you get into programming and online software?
I used to teach in an Engineering Department which involved teaching Autocad and then programming routines for that. I then got into VB programming and enjoyed it, programming is just problem solving really. After making the decision that I was bored lecturing, I quit and went to the University of Teesside to do a masters in I.T. (distinction and award-winner, just sayin’) and really enjoyed the web and programming side. From there I became a sole trader freelancing for others and then in 2011 set up my own agency – Tad Web Solutions.
What’s your favourite thing about being a Managing Director?
I’m a bit of a control freak, so being in charge! I also do enjoy the responsibility. It’s easy to blame others when things go wrong if you’re an employee. When you are in control, even if someone else has made a mistake along the way, it’s entirely your own fault. It’s your responsibility to make sure it is rectified. Mainly I like being in control of my own destiny, even though there are factors beyond my individual control like the wider economy, I am in control of how we as a company respond to that and adapt to outside influences.
If you had the chance to go back, what would you change about your studies or career?
I don’t do regrets but, hopefully, I learn the lessons from the things I have done in the past. So the two key things I would do differently are:
- Work hard and get a good degree first time round. My first degree is in physics but I was too busy enjoying myself to study hard enough. I got a good job with it but again didn’t take it seriously enough and wasted opportunities. I wouldn’t have employed the younger me and I think I learned the lesson sufficiently when it came to my masters and really applied myself and as a result learned a lot and really enjoyed it.
- Career-wise I should have left teaching sooner. I think I was really good at it but for a few years I had lost my love of it. I felt we were churning out people to pass exams instead of helping people grow themselves and their knowledge. I stayed too long.
What’s your key to success?
Firstly work hard. Running your own business isn’t a cushy job with few hours, quite the opposite – not moaning about that, it’s my choice and I love it. Secondly, surround yourself with positive people and those who are better than you so you can learn from them. Remove the negative aspects of your life, and that can mean old friends, life is too short for that and remember you can always learn from others and your mistakes. The final thing is resilience. Things won’t always go to plan, may even go badly, dust yourself down, work out why it went wrong and move on. The difference between success and failure is simply giving up.