My name is Christopher Angus; I’m an entrepreneur and online marketer. I started this blog three years ago with the intention of using it to attract new clients for my Internet marketing agency. However, my objectives have evolved over the years and I rarely accept new offers for consulting work. As such, I don’t write to attract new business and the subject matter of this blog is rather varied. I mostly try to write about the Internet and its nuances these days, albeit with a different mindset. There are a number of “rant” posts recently as I’ve grown increasing frustrated with various companies and their questionable business practices. Sorry about that.
My writing style is somewhat “rustic”, as you can probably imagine from that metaphor my written skill is far from flawless. However, I hope you find what I’ve written on this page and the blog informative and perhaps even a little entertaining.
People often ask why I’ve called my blog “Ping Pong Pie” – The reason is because it’s different and memorable. I loathe the prospect of being a “me too” or “just another [insert random uninteresting noun]” and am viewed as a maverick by many people that I meet, although I’ve not intentionally cultivated an image of being different or unconventional. I believe copying what everyone happens to be doing at the time drastically increases your chance of failure at whatever you’re trying to achieve.
I think there are two different types of people in business (and in general):
The first are those that do not think for themselves and blindly follow and listen to anyone except themselves – whether it’s the best solution makes little difference to them.
The second group (the innovators) are those that achieve what they set out to create and be the best at whatever they have set out to achieve in addition to being as efficient as possible; many of the obstacles they faced with are overcome with ingenuity and not conventional “wisdom”. I believe (and hope) that I fall firmly into the second category of people.
We’re incredibly lucky that we happen to be around at a time when significant opportunities are virtually endless. I truly believe that 95% of people have more than a fighting chance to make their dreams come true regardless of education or other disadvantageousness circumstances. This is especially significant because of the opportunities being created due to the huge strides in technology and the Internet in the last decade. Everything I’ve achieved in a business sense has been created because the Internet exists and all my future ambitions are planned around it too, I’m very grateful to have been around in the “Internet age” and I can’t imagine life without “net access”, it would be very strange and boring indeed.
I’ve been using computers almost continuously since I was seven years old, one of my first computer memories is creating syntax for the Logo programming language so I could get the little triangle “turtle” flying around the four-colour screen making pleasing patterns. Back then floppy disks were actually big and bendy and to write-protect a floppy disk you’d need to use a small silver sticker and cover a small hole on the side of the disk, thankfully technology has advanced just a little since then.
In 1993 just after my thirteenth birthday my father bought a computer for the family, I quickly taught myself how to write scripts, most what I wrote revolved around getting my computer games and applications to run. Those were the days when computers only had 4MB of ram as standard, my best friend had 8MB in his PC and was much cooler than me.
A couple of years later I found the internet – and loved it. Aged fifteen, I started learning how to hack various websites and online services, these are not my proudest memories but I believe they played a part in the path I chose to take and the route to a destination I could’ve only dreamt about ten years ago. Strangely, I don’t think there were any laws in South Africa which applied to Internet security back then, I think that’s probably quite fortuitous.
I was born in South Africa although I immigrated to the UK in the summer of 2003. At the time, I had virtually no money or life experience and in hindsight I was terribly naive. I’d only just turned twenty three and didn’t feel a sense of responsibility. I assumed at the time that it would be simple to move to Europe, get a well paid job and have an easy life. It wasn’t.
My grand idea of moving to another part of the world hadn’t worked out as I had hoped and quickly found myself with serious financial problems (or lack thereof). The first few years after arriving in the UK were extremely difficult and I had very little money. At one point, I was flat broke and spent a period of time without anywhere to sleep and not much to eat. While they are not fond memories, I don’t recall being unhappy, although I do remember being quite cold and hungry.
I eventually managed to find myself a menial job washing dishes in a small hotel, although this was only the most basic of jobs, it was an amazing feeling to have a even a small amount of stability, regular meals and a bed to sleep in. I was able to save enough money in-order to afford the transportation costs of going to interviews around the UK. It took me many months to get back on my feet after a long struggle. However, I was frequently knocked back to the ground and reminded of my vulnerability of being alone in a foreign country with no support structure. This was especially poignant when a couple of jobs didn’t work out for one reason or another.
The job and financial instability that I constantly endured made it easy to start paving the way to becoming an entrepreneur and business owner. If I’d had well paid, stable employment then I’m not sure that I’d be in the same position that I find myself today. I think it’s ironic that hardships can force people into creating a life which is way beyond what a decent 9 – 5 job would have brought them.
For as long as I can remember, I’d had a burning desire to run my own company, thinking back, it wasn’t the prospect of earning more money or complete freedom to do what I liked that motivated me to start my own company; I simply wanted to have my own company. I think that I was in love with the idea of being a business owner and had something to prove to myself and my family back in South Africa.
I’m incredibly lucky and am grateful for what I’ve got especially considering that I only arrived in the UK eight years ago, the cycle of success has been quicker and simpler than I ever could’ve imagined. Everything I’ve achieved thus far is of my own volition although I owe an immense debt of gratitude to a small number of individuals that supported and mentored me when I started my first business. The two people that played the biggest part in my path to success were:
1. My Ex-Wife: When I was starting out, I couldn’t afford to pay any rent for six months while I was starting my business, she supported me and said if I couldn’t make it work, I’d have to go back to work. The fear of returning back to work was enough motivation to give it all I had and ensure I was making enough money to sustain myself. Sadly, the relationship changed as we matured and the marriage failed a few years later.
2. Aaron Wall: His E-Book was the first step in creating what I have today. It made complete sense and I felt that I had a chance to build something based upon the knowledge I’d gained from reading his book and could use that knowledge to make more money than I would earn in a reasonable mid-management job. He also mentored and guided me to learning as much as I could and becoming a very effective search marketer.
I’ve met so many people over the course of a few years, some gave me just the tiniest piece of advice which was pivotal in building a solid foundation from which to grow and become successful. Some of the people that did offer their feedback are not even entrepreneurs although felt they had to impart their advice and opinions which were mostly unwelcome. Every so often something you’d hear will make sense and that may be a corner piece of the puzzle in starting a successful, sustainable company.
Google has been pivotal to my achievements, without the search giant I don’t know where or what I’d be doing today. While the opportunity that Google initially presented will cease and the decline has already commenced, I have incredible experience, knowledge and insight as how to build successful online businesses and am building new business that are not so heavily reliant on one channel in order to generate money. That said, the Internet is still very much in an embryonic phase, this is a dream come true for the ambitious and driven if people are willing to create opportunities and then execute them, I can’t see how anyone would fail to eventually do something extraordinary.
I own a successful digital marketing agency specialising in: SEO, viral marketing and online PR. In addition, I’ve built four small but successful start-ups from scratch, all of which have been sold. I’m currently working on a large number of opportunities and am launching new projects frequently.
We’re entering a new period where the old rules of making money don’t apply anymore. Ironically, people that are of an ‘old school’ mindset and refuse to change their stereotypical thinking of: ”work hard and you’ll be okay” are going to endure sustained financial difficultly, if they are not already. Nothing is certain or sacred anymore, there are no jobs for life and the big corporations are the most ruthless at making cutbacks when times get tough. However, where volatility emerges, so does opportunity and I’m extremely excited by the buffet of opportunity that the future holds for all of us.
Updated May 2011.