My name is Oliver Martin from the South-East of Kent, UK. I live in a small rural village with my wife and daughter, not far from where I grew up in the seaside town of Deal, also in Kent.
My childhood was like many born in the UK in 1985. A lot of boredom that led to mischief, or playing on the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) or Gameboy. It was a great experience growing up in the late 1900s, which now that I write this makes me sound really old.
I had an ok education but I never did well in exams so my GCSE’s, and subsequent college exams, were never really going to take me anywhere.
The Journey Began
I had very little non-WordPress web experience. I got into WordPress quite early on into my career and stuck with it due to its flexibility and user-experience. So I can’t really say much about my prior experience, other than it was really time-consuming and a pain in the *** to create and maintain sites.
When I found WordPress I was looking for a faster way of creating new pages that could inherit a theme/style. I found WordPress fit this use case nicely and allowed me to get started very quickly. Soon after I began experimenting with my own themes and worked with a tech stack comprising of:
- Susy 2.0
- SASS (scss)
This was all bungled and compiled into a theme I created and worked pretty well. Though, looking back it was just as much of a pain in the *** as the old way I used to do things. Too many moving parts and countless days lost to little tweaks with minimal results.
However, I decided to stick with WordPress and looking for a drag and drop page editor to help speed up my development process. After spending much time with Visual Composer, I heard of Elementor and instantly fell in love with it. I’ve been an Elementor fan for a little over 2 years now.
The Need for NO LABEL Studios
NO LABEL Studios Logo
I started to build sites with Elementor and began getting more and more proficient with it. My direct clients were all satisfied with the results, and I was finally truly enjoying creating websites for a living.
Though, the next hurdle for me was the clients themselves. No matter how hard I vetted people or shared my worth to them, they were difficult to deal with and often paid far less than I was worth.
I began to niche down and mistakenly took on a client who ended up being a marketing agency owner. He became my first ever white label client and we got on so well. He treated me with respect like I was an expert and paid me well. I knew this was the kind of work I was supposed to do. So I formed NO LABEL Studios.
As good as that all is it presented a new challenge in the form of imposter syndrome. Suddenly I had a client who thought I was amazing but I didn’t think the same of myself – I still struggle to agree from time to time.
Then there was the complete pivot from working with “end-clients” to agency owners, and how that would affect all of my marketing and content. I had to completely change my tactic and approach so I could attract agency owners instead of these end-clients.
Also, at the time I had my original agency running in the background to keep recurring revenue alive, which I couldn’t live without. This was a constant reminder of the bad days where I struggled to find any decent work, and the work I did find was awfully paid and filled me with dread instead of passion.
I’ve since sold the agency and moved 100% over to white label development, which is awesome. This has allowed me to focus solely on helping agency owners take back control of their workload and avoid burnout by working together.
Check out my site for a full rundown of what I offer and my process.
Where I Get Work Done
Oliver Martin Workplace
Advice for Business Owners
If I was to give any advice to someone like me I would say experiment more early on. Don’t settle entirely for the first thing that works, as it often won’t be the winning niche or toolset or client you think it will be.
When I landed my first white label client I went deep into just working with marketing agencies, completely putting off anyone from agencies who didn’t fit that exact business model.
I’ve since realized that to be unique and an expert in my field I don’t have to niche down to a specific client type, but instead niche down on what tools I work with so that I can attract a wider audience and deliver my best work to my clients, regardless of what type of agency they are.
The tools I use are often already used by the people I work with, so that helps a lot when first discussing potential partnerships with them. They are:
- FlowMapp (Site architecture and basic mockup of page flow)
- InVision (prototyping if required)
- Elementor Free, Pro, and required addons (website mockups development)
- Cloudways (Hosting and SSL)
- WordPress (obviously, duh!)
- Page Builder Framework (Awesome theme – my absolute favorite)
- Astra (Backup theme)
- Fluent Forms (replaced Gravity Forms price tag and unreliable license issues)
- ACF Pro and CPT UI (Advanced Custom Fields and Custom Post Type UI)
- ProjectHuddle (an insanely easy to use, visual client feedback tool)
- SitePresser or WPVivid (newly added but used to migrate sites developed on Cloudways to clients website hosting platform)
So long story short, don’t settle straight away. Keep searching for your ideal client type, toolset, and workflow until it works well, delivers results, and makes you happy.
WordPress & Beyond
The next steps for me are to keep talking to more overburdened agency owners who are fed up with the daily grind that is slowly making them burn out. I want to help more and more people, and stay a company of one. This is my happy place.
Over the next five years, I see a huge focus on WordPress’ own page builder (Gutenberg or Block Editor). They appear to be putting a lot of time and energy into this and we’ve already seen big leaps forward. Personally, I don’t feel it’s useful to me but someone starting out could use the Gutenberg / Block Editor and create some really nice, simple sites.
I think the main threat to WordPress will come when it becomes a monster of a CMS, and the cracks will start to show. Hopefully, things will continue to improve but not at the expense of reliability.
My Love for the WordPress Community
I’m not much of a social peacock so I never really got into WordCamps, but I do attend ATLive, the first time in 2019 and then again this year. Sadly, the event had to be virtual due to COVID-19 but they knocked it out of the park!
Ohhh. My best friends in the community are those that go out of their way to check-in with me from time to time. No agenda, just purely want to make sure my week went well. One of those people is Kartik Ahuja from Growth Scribe, among other ventures. An awesome advocate for those that he connects with. A truly treasured friend.
How I Keep Myself Updated
I try to listen to audiobooks on Scribd, and generally keep in touch with groups to see what’s going on, but I don’t get too absorbed into industry news. I don’t really want to get too distracted from my work. Social media is bad enough without long articles added to the mix!
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
My free time is split between family (wife and daughter) and relaxation, which takes the form of watching YouTube or chatting with friends on Slack or Messenger. If I’m honest though, work is relaxing to me so I tend to work a bit even when I’m technically finished for the day. It’s why I now have a hard-case for my iPhone with a built-in battery. 😉
When it comes to holidays my family just concentrates on spending time together vs going to iconic destinations. We prefer to stay local or go to places we are familiar with so we know what to expect. Also, my wife’s boss owns caravan parks so we tend to get a cheeky free holiday, apart from obvious expenses like travel and eating out.
I Reward Myself by
If things are going well I will usually visit amazon.co.uk and buy some techy gadgets that I’ve been wanting to buy for a while. Or I’ll donate to my favorite charity Big Orange Heart and enable them to help more and more people who are less fortunate than I am.
Being in a mostly, but only recently (March 2020), positive mental state from day to day is a true blessing that many struggles to maintain throughout their lives. If I can help change that by donating to charities like Big Orange Heart I will gladly do so. It lifts my spirit and fills me with joy to help in some little way.
Connect With Me
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share some of my histories. I hope it helps someone in a similar issue and that you got some value from reading it all 🙂
If you’d like to connect with me you can do so in the following ways: