05 - Mitchell Stuart - Inferno Media - Growing an agency & social media for your business

Today’s episode is all about social media. I had a chat with Mitchell Stuart, he’s the founder of Inferno Media here in Bournemouth.

We discuss his background & inspiration, what it’s like to grow a social media management business, along with some advice for businesses on leveraging social media and personal branding.

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Mitchell Stuart leads a team of social media experts at Inferno Media who work with local and national brands.

He comes from a family of entrepreneurs and is the first to jump into the digital world.

At 17, after finishing his homework, Mitchell spent time admiring Twitter accounts with millions of followers. 

Admiration soon turned to inspiration. He set out to start a luxury lifestyle themed account, with a goal of attaining 25,000 followers as fast as possible. 

In one week he had exceeded that goal. And after 30 days he’d amassed 150,000 followers worldwide with high levels of engagement. 

He soon started leveraging his influencer status to monetise the account, selling short spots on his feed to businesses. This was his first taste of power of social media from a commercial perspective.

Mitchell posted sponsored content on his account, however he removed it after a short amount of time. This is common among influencers, but it can make it difficult for a business to gauge how often a given influencer posts sponsored content, which in turn might affect how valuable that influencer is.

So when you’re choosing an influencer it’s important to consider both their audience (size & behaviours) and the relationship that they have with their audience.

His success on Twitter soon gathered the interest of people in Mitchell’s network. It wasn’t long before he went from growing his account, to helping businesses grow their own.

That was the start of Inferno Media.

Mitchell wanted to grow it quickly. He has aspirations of hiring lots of staff and getting big office. However, today he thinks that’s not the best business mindset, instead he suggests staying as lean as possible:

  • Work from home/cheap workspace
  • Don’t employ people until you need to—use freelancers to support growth

On culture, he sums it up as treating others as you wish to be treated. Whether that’s clients, team members or suppliers. 

Like many startups, his first hire came from his existing network. He’s seen from subsequent hires that a prospect that looks great at face value can fall apart when you dig into the details. For example he’s noticed cultural and work-ethic issues while interviewing candidates who, at least on paper, had great skills and experience. 

Inferno Media have gained leads with four main approaches: 

  • Referrals
  • Networking — you’ve got to add value, don’t go for the hard sell
  • Social media (including retargeting)
  • SEO — especially local SEO

Engagements start with a chat with Mitchell where he’ll build an understanding of their business and their competition. He often asks them about the value of a lead so he can think about the viability of a campaign. 

Typically, new prospects will ask about recent projects and want to learn more about the business and their services. 

And just as with networking, it’s important to focus on building relationships and showing value. This is important for nurturing prospects and understanding if they’re a good fit.

That process generally takes one to two months. 

Facebook organic reach is dead. At least it is for content that isn’t highly engaging. It’s how the algorithm is designed and means that brands should be both striving to crate engaging content and budgeting for paid promotion. 

Personal branding can be a very useful tool. By becoming recognised for your skills you’ll have access to new opportunities, even if you’re not looking to promote your own business.

However, some people are uncomfortable with the idea of doing blogs, videos or speaking engagements. Mitchell used to feel that way too, but through perseverance, by putting himself out there and trying, he’s gotten past that stage and regularly speaks about social media. 

Test, test, test. Predicting the way an audience will react to an advert isn’t an exact science. Therefore, if you plan to spend a nontrivial amount on a campaign, it’s essential to test both different audiences and different creatives so that you can find the the combinations that have the best cost per acquisition and lead quality. 

For new businesses who don’t have the budget to hire a social media expert: experiment. Chuck something out there and see if it works and try out the ‘document don’t create’ strategy with a short vlog. And when you’re using paid strategies to reach new audiences, make sure that you test different targeting methods to try and get the best engagement. 

Listen to the entire episode by searching for “The JPK Show” in your favourite podcasts app. 

I’m the founder of Zealous Digital. We know that success in our digital world will be defined by the customer obsessed.

If you’ve got a startup then you need an innovative growth strategy, and a partner to execute it for you. 

Transform your startup into a customer obsessed leader of the future. 

Visit Zealous Digital or send me an email, jpk@zealous.digital, to have a chat about growing your business.

Mitchell Stuart - Inferno Media - The JPK Show

04 - Oli Perron - Growing Lunchd, maker of remarkable lunches for teams, meetings and events.

Lunchd started out almost by accident. It took a catalyst and Oli’s love of the food world to materialise. Today they provide delicious and super healthy lunches to professional events and meetings. They’re now working hard to expand into offices to serve teams lunch on a daily basis. 

But as with all businesses, Oli has faced challenges both while growing Lunchd and while experimenting with other businesses. In this episode we explore his journey and some of the challenges that he has overcome.


A world of food.

Oli isn’t a stranger to the food industry; from washing up in his dad’s shop, to being head chef, to selling fresh produce to top restaurants and businesses in London, Oli has had a diverse exposure to the food industry.

His love of the beaches enticed Oli to leave his job in London and move to Bournemouth. It was there that he started to sell produce to restaurants on a small scale. However, without the benefits of economies of scale and a small amount of starting capital, the business didn’t take off. 

Despite this setback Oli kept on moving forward. He landed himself a job as an account manager at digital agency in Bournemouth, enabling him to be exposed to a number of different brands and learn new skills in digital, branding and storytelling.

But after four years Oli decided that he needed to move back into food. Leveraging his newfound experience he thought he’d have a better chance at selling fresh produce again.


Lunch? Lunchd!

It wasn’t long before the agency that Oli used to work at contacted him. They wanted him to make some lunch for a meeting. It was a great success. Pictures of his food soon reached Twitter, attracting other local agencies to place orders. This was the start of Lunchd.

Many of Oli’s customers would go on to post pictures of his lunches, making social media an instrumental part of Lunchd’s growth. 

Oli worked hard to leverage the exposure he was getting on social media. He was chopping with one hand while tweeting with the other! 

The great feedback from his customers was also a major driving factor for Oli. It helped him to work through the rough times and served as a reminder of the progress that he was making. 

His supply of lunches to meetups in Bournemouth allowed him to reach a new audience who’d get to try his food first-hand. He also started a vlog, which helped stir interest outside of the digital agency world. 


Someone else will do it... Or should you?

Interestingly, the idea for Lunchd is something that Oli had considered before without actually starting it. He thought that it was something that somebody else should do. It wasn’t until he got that initial request for lunches that he took on the challenge himself. 


The importance of being customer obsessed.

When starting out there was little competition, or so Oli thought. Looking back on it Oli notes that there were not many businesses offering the same thing as Lunchd, however almost everyone was still eating lunch.

This highlights a benefit of being customer obsessed. Rather than focusing on your solution and considering the competition to be businesses that offer a similar solution, you should look at your customers and the problem that you are solving for them. It naturally follows that your competition are the businesses that are solving that same problem. 


Start out simple and gain traction.

Today Lunchd have a slim menu that changes each day. This reduces wastage and saves money so that they can use better produce while still charging less than a traditional restaurant. It also simplifies and speeds up the preparation of each lunch, allowing Oli to scale without taking on lots of staff.  

Oli plans to start trialing slick vending machines that could allow him to serve lunches to teams every day, rather than just at meetings and events. This highlights his use of a scaled-back offering to both prove the business and get started with a smaller investment. Now that Lunchd has traction he’ll have an easier job of bringing investors onboard. 

He also notes that since he started Lunchd certain technologies have matured that open up an easier, faster path to achieving his original vision. The vending machines are an example of one of those advancements. 


You're going to cringe.

If he did it all again Oli would start out with more capital and fewer expenses — in the early days of Lunchd he had an expensive flat which used up money that could have been reinvested. The main reason for that is that he didn’t realise how long it would take to grow Lunchd's cashflow. 

When looking back on his journey so far Oli did many things that make him cringe. However, if he hadn't done those things Lunchd wouldn't be in existence today. 


These are just a few of my takeaways from my chat with Oli. Listen to this episode and follow the ups and downs of Lunchd. Learn from Oli’s successes and his failures, without having to fail yourself!

Episode 04 - Oli Perron founder of Lunchd - The JPK Show

03 - Hatty Fawcett - Experienced marketer, founder and fundraising expert.


The full show, also available on your favourite podcast apps, such as iTunes:

In this episode I talk with Hatty Fawcett. She’s an experienced marketer and entrepreneur, having worked with established brands such as Moonpig, Woolworths.co.uk and the BBC and startups such as EBTM and her own startup, Seek & Adore.

Today she runs Focused for Business and mentors small businesses and startups so they attract investment. Her online programme, Crowdfunding Accelerator, makes it quicker and easier to be successful at crowdfunding. In 2016 she raised £1 million for businesses through angel investment and crowdfunding. 

We dig into her wealth of experience, discussing the successes and challenges that she faced in her career, including growing her own startup.

We delve into marketing on a budget, her passion for startups, starting Seek & Adore, building a reliable team, fundraising, the difficulties that many female founders facewhen raising investment, and more.

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Episode 03 with Hatty Fawcett

02 - Josue Arteaga - Determination, influencer marketing and giving value.

In this episode I talk with Josue, he’s the founder of Influencer Viral

His journey highlights struggles that are common to us all, but most of all shows the value of determination. 

Listen to discover the blueprint for Fortune 500 influencer campaign, the power of giving value, the three pillars of viral content, a Facebook ad trick that could supercharge your influencer campaigns, and much, much more.

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01 - Dan Willis - An entrepreneurial journey, starting with a bar.

In this episode I talk with Dan Willis. He’s the Engagement Director at British Software Development here in Bournemouth.

He has a really interesting entrepreneurial journey that highlights the challenges that many of us face. 

Through his experience starting a bar and working as a consultant with a variety of businesses, Dan explains the importance of culture, structure and branding. 

We explore the need to truly understand your target audience when building a product or a service. And we hear how Dan used both data and conversations to continually improve that understanding.

We also discuss his own experiences with mental health and its awareness. 

Welcome to The JPK Show

I’m James—founder of Zealous Digital. 

I’ll dig into the stories, approaches and knowledge of people who are making the future. 

From inspirational, entrepreneurial journeys to cutting edge research, we'll explore the processes, techniques and fundamental truths at play. 

Learn first hand how great thinkers think. Realise new approaches to solving problems. Understand the problems that individuals, businesses and the world face from experts who tackle them. 

We’ll uncover the key insights that can empower you to think better. So that you can make the future.