I self-taught my way to success to work with a range of companies, big and small, to make their digital projects come to life. Now I want to help creatives make their businesses come to life.
I was so far off course.
I was a guy who had no idea what he wanted to do with life. I was working in a Government agency filing away scanned road plans. I had given up on a teaching degree in my final year because it didn’t speak to me. How weird is that? Shouldn’t I just have finished my degree so I could have it under my belt to decrease the length of time it would take to do a different degree later on?
While that made sense, and many people told me that, it didn’t make sense to me. I was learning how to structure content for the classroom.
Did I make the right decision?
Did I make the right decision to ditch the classroom for working in digital? I don’t see it as me ditching the classroom. The internet is my classroom. Hopefully one of these online articles will be one of your classes, too.
I’m Matthew James Oxlade, and I write all the content here for Matt, Simplified.
I focus on website creation and development, along with their SEO management.
I’ve worked on large-scale projects including city digital management during disasters and events that put Brisbane in the in the spotlight, such as G20.
Luckily, in my 10 years in the digital marketing industry, I’ve worked on many projects I’m proud of.
But what I’m most proud of is the experimental playground for applying digital technologies and strategies.
I was working on my photography website, doing web design projects for clients, making and selling Lightroom Presets, recording and distributing a photography podcast, offering mentorship services, managing website security, running SEO audits and building a YouTube channel. It was exhausting.
But there was one thing that it all tied back to.
I wanted to share what I know.
Make your creative business dream a reality using the digital marketing techniques available on Matt, Simplified – from website creation to promotion through podcasting – it’s on Matt, Simplified.
About Matt Simplified
Hi, I’m Matthew James Oxlade. You might have seen my photography work published in TIME, Washington Post, VICE or somewhere else. Or you might listen to bands I do music photography for under the name Matt Walter Photo, like Violent Soho, Clowns or Dune Rats. Check out this photo I took of Cat Stevens (yeah, the guy who wrote Matthew and Son).
But before I got to that stage, I drowned in the confusion.
What I tried
I worked hard for years to build my name as a music photographer.
I did all the usual stuff:
- took every opportunity that came my way
- photographed every band that allowed me to
- bought tickets for shows just to photograph bands
- charged $0 for work I put countless hours into
But I never made a dollar.
I was a crab in the barrel over saturating the market with free services that devalued my creative arts niche.
I was even afraid to ask for money for what I knew had a value.
Waking up one day, I had a moment of realisation.
I was thinking as a hobbyist and not as a professional – I wasn’t thinking as the owner of a creative business.
I was thinking like a photographer instead of a business owner.
Having every potential client know that I do music photography wasn’t turning my photos into dollars.
My competitors laughed at me for taking my brand seriously.
Now they don’t photograph music and I fly around the world photographing bands on tours.
Being successful in the creative industry is about so much more than the art that you make.
I needed to be:
- top 3 on Google
- presenting a website that looked as professional as my photos were
- where my competitors weren’t
- on as many different platforms as possible
But how could I achieve all of that, easily?
I had no idea where to start.
Normally, I would have had had to sift through endless webpages, YouTube videos and articles to find something that is even similar to what I was trying to achieve. It would have been frustrating.
Luckily, I have an advantage that most people don’t have – I am a digital marketer by day, photographer by night.
That means I work with brands to maximise their exposure to their product through digital platforms.
So I got to work putting that knowledge into my photography work.
Within a couple of weeks, I started to see results for important keywords, like ‘music photographer’:
That’s position one and position two on Google showing my website.
What about the results for another of my keywords, ‘music photography’:
I started teaching music photography, so I targeted ‘Learn music photography’:
Number two on the first page – not bad.
Having my website show up in the top three for important keywords was the reason I started getting paid work.
New clients were finding my work and they offered money for the work because I never had set an expectation that I would do it for free.