Interview with Justine McLaughlin Digital Director of Revolution Four

Justine McLaughlin business journey
Justine McLaughlin Digital Director of Revolution Four

Justine Mclaughlin formed Whitfield business hub (now named Revolution Four) in 2015 and it’s been on a fast track business journey for the last 4 years with a client base which now spans the globe.  Justine attended Liverpool John Moors University and left qualified in many areas from web design to animation and more.  She has since won numerous awards from various organisations.   Justine is a forward thinking, empowering woman who has an incredible talent for creativity blended with technology.

What’s the secret to my success?

If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret! But then again, I wouldn’t say there is a ‘secret’.  I would put it down to passion, being authentic and loving what I do. I’m not someone who closes my laptop at 5pm and shuts off to what needs to be done. I believe in being proactive and going the extra mile. Not because I have to, but because I want the customer to be impressed. I want to go above and beyond for them because I feel passionate about the work. I live and breathe my job and stand by the saying ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life’. It’s true. Be authentic and passionate and the success will come. 

Who in your life has influenced you most and why?

My business partner, best friend and partner in crime – Nik Ellis has been the biggest influence in my life. I joined Nik in business in 2015 when he was already leading the UK’s largest automotive assessing company, Laird Assessors – a firm he set up in 2000 which now employs more than 60 staff nationwide. Nik has been a mentor throughout my business journey opening my eyes to opportunities surrounding us daily. He has been crucial for bouncing around my crazy ideas and giving me the confidence to try everything no matter how wacky it seems. He has always told me ‘if you’re going to fail, fail fast’. This attitude has inspired me to think outside the box and go for it, to not over process things, and quickly dust down and start again when they don’t work out. I have a lot to thank him for and its genuinely a pleasure to work alongside him daily! Every day is a school day, I am continually learning.  

What do you do for fun?

Travel! As my job title states – I’m a ‘Digital Director and Adventurer’. Whenever I have a spare weekend or opportunity I will be on the next flight. I am inspired by immersion in different cultures, meeting new people and experiencing new things. The world is such a small place, working in the digital sector allows me to work and travel. The rise of co-working spaces across the globe has made remote working incredibly easy and enjoyable. As long as I have an internet connection, I can align with UK working hours and get cracking. Client management and maintaining relationships is obviously key, so I do ensure when I’m in the UK that I get around to do face to face meetings. I don’t tend to be in the country for longer than four weeks without heading to my next destination, so if you fancy a meeting at some obscure location abroad, just let me know!

What’s the best business advice you have been given?

‘Work hard, Play Hard’. This is honestly the best business advice I have been given and I live by it. For this reason, I have combined my love for travel and work to find a work-life balance that perfectly suits me. I am so happy in my work-life. It’s productive, creative and full of variety, so I never feel like I’m actually working a day in my life. I am a great believer that you get as much out as you put in. If I put my full effort in, I tend to get just as much residual benefit. Finding your balance is the key! 

If you could have a 1-to-1 with anyone past or present who would it be with and why?

There are so many people I would love to have a one-to-one with but my first and foremost would be Julia Izamalkowa. She is psychology obsessed and believes that ‘you cannot create epic technology if you don’t truly and deeply understand how the human mind works’. She is a travelling CEO with a background similar to my own. She chases the sun around the world, she is her own person and not afraid to stick out from the norm. For me she is a huge inspiration, not only to women in business but for those wanting to be their own boss, embrace their quirks and do what makes them happy. An all-round inspiration in life and in business. 

What is the biggest challenge in your industry right now?

Keeping up! Honestly there is so much new technology out there, those that aren’t opening their eyes to the opportunities on the doorstep now will be quickly left behind! We work on personal development daily within the business. Business partner Nik and I visit the biggest tech and marketing conferences across the world for precisely this reason – to broaden knowledge and horizons. Each year I’m shocked and amazed by the developments in such a short space of time. It’s so important in our industry to be constantly learning and evolving. 

Tell us about the most memorable client or customer you have interacted with during your years in business?

This is a difficult one because the troublesome clients tend to be some of the most memorable! I have met so many inspirational customers, but these will not necessarily make for a funny or interesting anecdote. So, I’m going to pick an unnamed client who entered our building, refused to fill out a creation document (brief) or sit down to go into detail about what they wanted. They asked is to deliver a variety of things for them – business cards, photography, marketing materials. We had little to go on accept a fist pump and a vague steer of ‘just make it feel, you know, sexy?’ … Anyone who has been in business long enough has come across a client that doesn’t know what they want, and is my interpretation of sexy the same as yours? Nonetheless, the team delivered!

How is Brexit affecting/going to affect your business? 

What Brexit? There’s so much talk of us coming and going I can’t keep up with it! As far as I’m concerned whatever happens we will continue doing what we are doing – remaining flexible to adapt to any changes that may affect us. We will stay open minded to new opportunities that may arise from exiting the EU. We believe change presents an opportunity to adapt to grow, develop and adapt to new surroundings. We look forward to seeing what opportunities arise for us! 

Where do you believe are the biggest opportunities right now for your business and in your sector?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. You hear people say that AI is on its way. The reality is it’s already here and we are fully immersed in it! We attended the Adobe Conference this year and witnessed Adobe Sensei. This software uses intelligence to create images and illustrations at the click of a button and allows you to complete tedious time-consuming tasks usually taking hours and days, in seconds! This software not only speeds up processes, it understands the language of images, illustration and animation. It is something extraordinary and the future for our industry. This is one opportunity I want to see Revolution Four grasp as it will separate businesses drastically in the very near future.

How do you motivate your staff?

Communication is key. I constantly talk to staff and keep as transparent as possible. This allows them to join me and the business on the journey. There’s nothing better than knowing the bigger picture. Sometimes staff find it difficult to understand why you make decisions or ask them to do certain things, but once they understand the bigger picture it’s much easier for them to engage with the journey. Along with dinners out, trips to events and even ski trips we take the staff away from the office and into a much more casual environment. This helps create new experiences to bond outside of work and build team spirit. We spend more time with those we work with than any other people, so it’s essential that the team can communicate in a variety of different circumstances.

What do you most enjoy about running your business?

The journey, and not just my own within my business, but having the privilege of being able to join in the journey of others. I thrive when surrounded by people passionate about what they do. I’ve been through the trials and tribulations that each business owner goes through, but I enjoy the entire process. I love helping others navigate their own business journey, and sharing knowledge were possible to help them avoid the pitfalls. I love that every working day is completely different. Through my large network of connections, I also greatly enjoy introducing businesses that can work together to better their offering or refer work to one another. 

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