Episode 45 - Dan Knowlton

How do you get attention and stop the scroll? A good question. Let's ask the masters of marketing! We're making conversations about advertising count!

Dan Knowlton, Video & Social Media Advertising

Making Conversations about Advertising Count!

Dan Knowlton video advertising

If you’ve been anywhere near Linkedin in the past year, you’ll no doubt have seen the fun content that Dan Knowlton has been responsible for.

Dan’s also a massive star on Twitter.

Have you seen the funny duo who have worn wigs and parodied classic ads such as the Cillit Bang commercial? 

That’s Dan and his brother Lloyd.

In this episode Wendy talks with Dan about his humble beginnings and how he’s learned to grow his business into the marketing powerhouse it’s now become.

Wendy had a number of big marketing takeaways from this episode – and if you’re also looking to “stop the scroll”, you’d best listen!

Oh, and if you’re panicking because you haven’t got your bum into gear on a business plan… this episode might well leave you feeling reassured…..

Listen to other episodes on your favourite platform…

Full Episode Transcript


Making Conversations Count – Episode Forty-Five

August 26th 2021

Wendy Harris & Dan Knowlton, Knowlton Social Media & Video Advertising


00:00:00: Introductions
00:02:24: Dan’s ideas for his videos
00:03:33: The mistakes to learn from
00:05:13: Initial challenges in starting the business
00:06:32: Blurring the lines between money and quality
00:07:32: Working with a family member
00:10:10: Dan’s previous work experience
00:10:55: The importance of conversation to Dan’s business
00:12:44: Learning by doing
00:16:48: What does “rich” mean to you?
00:18:56: Dan’s pivotal conversation
00:25:45: It’s all right to quit your job
00:29:05: Final thoughts


Wendy Harris: How do you stop the scroll?  I have been trying to figure this out for years, but today I’ve got a great guest who knows exactly how to do that.  Predominantly him and his brother, my goodness, they have some fantastic comedy clips that they create in video, and it makes you stop the scroll because you know there’s going to be some value in there, and you’re going to have a little bit of a chuckle.  So, I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share a conversation with this young man today, because we’re going to be making conversations about advertising count.

What’s new Wendy Woo?  Do you know, I love that you ask me that every week?  Well I’ve had a great review from one of you lovely listeners that used the PowerUp discount code that’s on my LinkedIn profile for you to review, and it just goes to show that we don’t just get you talking to people and strangers over the phone, I really do help on lots of other levels too.  Go check it out, that discount code is not going to be around forever, I’m going to be taking it down soon; so if you want to take advantage of it, get yourself booked in today.  And in the meantime, why not buy the book and of course that will get you started and you’ll have a head start for teacher.

And on the book, did you know that there’s a meet-the-author link in there too?  A reader, Cat, got in touch and we spent 15 minutes chatting about how she can personalise her introductions, and she messaged me to say she had made several follow-up meetings after only a few days of using that technique.  Keep going, Cat, that’s brilliant news!

It’s Dan Knowlton!

Dan Knowlton: Hey!  Hi Wendy.

Wendy Harris: Hey!

Dan Knowlton: Thanks for having me on.

Wendy Harris: Oh, it’s so lovely to see you.  I know we’re not in the same building, you’ve probably got a proper posh studio for when you do your recordings and everything with your guests; we see the set, we see you and your brother on the LinkedIn videos.  Where do you get those ideas from?

Dan Knowlton: I think it’s just because Lloyd and I are brothers and we’ve had 29 years of taking the [bleep] out of each other and having a laugh, I think that all kind of feeds into our weird kind of humour and that kind of is where we get it from, I think!

Wendy Harris: It must be that you bounce off each other, because you know each other so well.

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.  I think that’s why we wanted to start our podcast because before we did that, not on camera, we have so many fun conversations and discuss things and it’s just a good kind of energy we’ve got between each other, so that kind of gave us the idea to think, “Oh, we should actually record some of these conversations and talk about our business and what we’re learning and the stupid stuff we’re doing and the mistakes we’re making and that kind of thing”.

Wendy Harris: Okay, that’s it, you’ve said it.  What kind of stupid stuff, Dan?

Dan Knowlton: Oh, wow!  I mean we’ve done whole podcast episodes on things like this.  I mean I once drove three hours to meet a potential customer who rented bouncy castles, who had a £50 budget; that taught me to qualify customers, that stupid mistake!

Wendy Harris: I’d have let his thing down!

Dan Knowlton: Yeah!  I mean, I think in the early days when you’re just trying to figure stuff out, we made so many stupid mistakes.  We still make mistakes now, they’re just different kinds of mistakes.  But yeah, we once went to a pitch, we drove all the way to Brighton, two and a half hours away, that we didn’t realise was a pitch; we thought it was just a meeting to discuss potentially working with this company and they were there saying, “Have you got your presentation”, and we were sort of like, “What presentation?”  Oh, man.

Wendy Harris: Oh, man.  So how did you pull that one back, because this is kind of where knowing your stuff can really help you in having that conversation.

Dan Knowlton: In the sense of pulling it back, we didn’t win the business so we obviously [bleeped] up pretty bad, but I think yeah, we tried to just talk about examples about how we’ve helped other companies and that kind of thing.  But I think it’s those mistakes and the way it makes you feel that really help you progress and develop though.  I think without making those kinds of stupid mistakes where you feel rubbish, that’s the things you remember and it’s like, “I don’t want to feel like that again, so I’m not going to do that again!”

Wendy Harris: It’s like when you’re a kid, isn’t it?  Your mum and dad will say to you, “You don’t want to do that”, and then you do it and they go, “See, I told you”.  If they’d have just told you why…

Dan Knowlton: Exactly.  You need to feel it though, don’t you?

Wendy Harris: You’d have still done it anyway, but that’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it, is to learn these different skill sets?  Something that I’m always observant of is that you can be great at something, so like your niche is creating great video and social media ads, right; just because you’re great at that doesn’t mean to say that you’re great a running a business.

Dan Knowlton: Oh definitely, yes.

Wendy Harris: There’s so much to learn, isn’t there?

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.

Wendy Harris: What were the biggest challenges for you when you started out?

Dan Knowlton: Well, for the first four years it was just Lloyd and I in my parents’ backroom.

Wendy Harris: So Lloyd was the biggest challenge!

Dan Knowlton: Yeah!  To be honest though, in the early days, I think — we are complete opposites, and we have complete opposite skillsets, and we didn’t know how to communicate as well as we do now; we didn’t understand each other well enough.  So, when we both disagreed on something, it took a while for us to fight our corners and say, “No, this is the right thing”, and I think now, we really get each other; we’ve spent every day pretty much with each other for the last seven years, six years, so that’s really helped.  But in terms of starting out, I think the first thing was finding our feet and getting enough business in to survive.

When we started out, we started from nothing and had no customers, and I’d quit my job and didn’t have any income basically, so it was like, “Right, we need to find some customers”, and that was one of the biggest challenges starting out, yeah, trying to get new customers.

Wendy Harris: That’s what drives you to succeed; it also drives you to make some mistakes, because you’ll take anything, because the money is the goal and not necessarily doing the best job for your reputation.  Some of those lines get a little blurred, don’t they?

Dan Knowlton: Definitely, yeah.  I think we’ve totally experienced what you’re saying.  I remember starting out we would work with anyone and say yes to everything, and now it’s very much the opposite.  Now we’ve found our feet and we’ve found our niche; we say no to a lot more and attract a lot more of the right opportunities and repel the wrong ones by being ourselves and really putting our brand and our personality out there.

Whereas, Lloyd and I would always laugh about the fact that when we started, we both used to wear suits and everywhere we’d wear suits and dress really smart, and we had no idea what we were doing.  And then, as the business has progressed and we’ve got more experience, we now don’t wear suits and are very causal.  Lloyd said that there was a relation to how smart we were dressed and how little we knew, and eventually it’s kind of, yeah.

Wendy Harris: That’s interesting because that’s kind of where the wardrobe for the videos has come from obviously.

Dan Knowlton: Exactly, yeah.

Wendy Harris: Yeah, I see.  So it’s not gone to waste?

Dan Knowlton: Yeah, when we were at my mum and dad’s, we used to borrow my dad’s weird clothes and he’d see a video of us wearing his suit and like, “You’re wearing my shirt and my tie!”, and we were like, “Oh, sorry dad!”

Wendy Harris: Oh, dear me!  Being a family business, and I know this, I’ve got my daughter, she works with me as well, I couldn’t think of anybody else that I would trust, because it’s family and it’s my thing.  And whilst you’re brothers and have grown up together, you don’t know each other that well, even in a family, do you; because, you’ve got expectations as a boy to your mum and dad and expectations to be with each other with brothers, but you kind of rub along as best you can without getting in each other’s spaces, because brothers can have falling outs or disagreements?

So, it’s really great that you’ve embraced that relationship and been able to sort of see where you are different.

Dan Knowlton: We trust each other so much; there’s no ulterior motives or agendas.  We know that what we say and what we do is what we say and what we do and how we feel; it’s the truth, because we both want each other to win in life.  So there’s no thinking, “Oh, is he trying to do something to go off, he’s doing his own thing or…?”, we’re both there cheering each other on, wanting this to be a success.  So, it really helps with just not having any of the that, and it’s just how we feel and how we act is the truth and, yeah, it’s nice that we’ve got opposite skillsets because it’s really worked to our benefit.

I’m more kind of sales and marketing of our business and Lloyd’s more managing the team and doing the logistics and managing projects and things.  And to be honest, the first four years, we both just did everything, we didn’t have defined roles; whereas now, we’re building up our team and we’re having to manage more people and having defined roles within the business has been really helpful to us to know what our responsibility is and what, yeah, what we’re focussing on.

Wendy Harris: But to rewind and say that you are capable of doing absolutely everything in the business, not only does that mean that it can stand on its own if you want to have a break and go on holiday, or if Lloyd needs to have a break and take some time out, and you both know how to instruct your team, and this is the biggest challenge.

Certainly I find, in the niche that I look after, which is sort of starting conversations and building relationships for customers, that if you don’t do that yourself, how can you really expect somebody in the team to do it?  It’s kind of that, not do as I say, do as I do; it’s the lead by example, so you’re able to pick a much better team too.

Dan Knowlton: I completely agree because like I said, when we started out, we both just did everything, so you don’t have an assistant who’s going to be calling people and emailing them and sorting out your calendar and that kind of thing.  So, having that experience — and I learnt this also from a previous job.

I worked for a large car rental company, and they had the same thing that everyone in the business starts at a trainee role, and they promote from within, so you get that whole experience; and I have taken that and used that theory here as well.

Wendy Harris: Well that becomes culture, doesn’t it?  So what do your team talk about you know when you get together and say, “Right, this is Knowlton time, what are we going to do in team Knowlton; what do you want to bring?” and it just means that you’ve got that honest playground for the conversation to roll and ideas to come about; great.

Dan Knowlton: Yeah, its good fun, I enjoy it. 

Wendy Harris: In terms of making conversations count, because that’s kind of the theme of the show, it’s great to hear what you do within Knowlton.  How important is it, is conversation to you in nailing that brief, to either get the brief or deliver the brief for you in what you do?

Dan Knowlton: Yeah, really important, because again looking back, I/we have made the mistakes of not having those conversations, not asking the right questions to really understand what the customer wants and have mucked up and lost out.  So, from making those mistakes, it’s helped us realise the importance of that initial stage; asking the right questions to truly understand the kind of root cause of the problem that they want solving.

There’s a really good book called Gap Selling from a guy called Keenan; that book really helped me understand the importance of asking the right questions to understand that root cause, because someone may tell you what they think their problem is, but that’s not their problem.  Until you dive deeper and really unpack the situation, they’re in and their future state — it breaks it down into current state, future state and figuring out the gap — and then you can capitalise on understanding that gap to sell your service.

So that’s a really good book that’s helped me, that again helped me understand the importance of asking those questions and having that kind of conversation at the start of the process.

Wendy Harris: That’s a really good tip, Dan.  We have a guest book library recommendation thing on the website, so we’ll make sure that we stick that there for readers.

Dan Knowlton: Please do.

Wendy Harris: And, you’ve made me also remember something else that we do without probably realising it, and that is that we say we want something, but the “what we want” isn’t necessarily what we need.  By the time we’ve fixed the “what we want” and got what we need, we’ve actually got more than!

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.

Wendy Harris: And the hardest part about being in business, I think, is knowing that there’s a gap, but then not knowing what that gap is; no matter how many questions you ask, what you don’t know, you don’t know.  How have you overcome some of those kinds of challenges?

Dan Knowlton: I think something that helps a lot as experience is the more of these conversations you go through.  If you spoke to me when we started out, I was a completely different person and over the years, having more of those conversations and getting it wrong, like I mentioned, and figuring out, “Oh, I don’t want to do that again”, I can now use my initiative a lot more to really gauge different examples of problems and different examples of gaps so that I can kind of look in my toolbox of my memories of, “Oh, I’ve spoken to a similar business who had a similar thing where they wanted to achieve this, but really this is what they need”.

I guess that’s not good advice for people just starting out because it seems scary that you have to, you know, fail and experience a lot of these conversations to actually learn how to get to that point, but I’m still learning now.  I’ll look back in six years’ time and think, “Oh, what was I doing then?”  So, it’s just knowing that you are on that journey of trying to improve really, and you’ve got to do it to get the experience to improve.

Wendy Harris: Do it; worry about it later.

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.  I also think it’s good to have an informed start as well.  Like I mentioned that Gap Selling book, I would recommend even if you’re starting out, start reading things like that that will help; it will help you fast-track and improve quicker than I have by understanding these additional — I wish I knew about that book when I started, but I just didn’t and I failed a lot more than I should have.  So, I think it’s trying to learn from people who have been there, done it, got the T-shirt, to help you progress quicker as well.

Wendy Harris: Perfect, because that’s exactly the reason for the show, is to bring people like you to say, “Look, it doesn’t matter if you fail, we’re all going to fail at some point; don’t be too hard on yourself”.  Using that initiative that you spoke about, Dan, is really important, and that experience will build, but I think many of us as well actually ignore our instincts and we overthink a lot of things.

We know our first reaction and we know what we’re going to do, but then the logic brain says, “Oh, hang on a minute, I’m just going to work this out”, but if you’ve not been in that position before, you’re going to be unbiased, your bias is going to be off kilter, isn’t it?  So, notice those instincts.

Dan Knowlton: I think we’re also impatient as well; we all want the get rich quick thing.  In the back of our mind, we all want to fast-track everything and get to that end point, so it’s kind of discouraging when you make those mistakes and you feel like, “I’m not good enough and it’s not worth carrying on”, but then you kind of have to do that a number of times before you’re like, “Oh, actually I can”, and Lloyd’s really good at this.

Lloyd’s really good, because he’s great at when a fire happens, as in a hypothetical fire, a client’s not happy or something happens within the business, he won’t be the person — because there’s different types of people in a situation like that.  There’s the person that, there’s a fire so they stand still and point at the fire and say, “There’s a fire”; there’s the person who doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t do anything; there’s the person who runs away; and there’s the person who will go and get water to put out the fire calmly, and he’s that person.  So, yeah, he’s kind of taught me a lot about that, which has been helpful.

Wendy Harris: Breathing helps as well doesn’t it, you know, take a big, deep breath, know what you’ve got to do and get on with it, yeah.

Dan Knowlton: Not panicking.

Wendy Harris: And that’s the thing, isn’t it, even with recent events that have affected absolutely everybody on the planet?  The sun still comes up tomorrow, so it can’t be all bad.  Take the lesson, move on.

Dan Knowlton: Yeah, if you think of it like that, everything is a learning point.  I know this is a cliché and everyone says it, but it really is.  If for some reason your business has failed because of the pandemic and it’s not feasible anymore, then you’ve learned a lot about starting a business that you can then apply to the next thing that could be more successful.

Wendy Harris: Exactly, yeah.  We all love control, don’t we?  We have it at our fingertips, it’s our destiny, you know; but certainly, like you mentioned, that get rich quick, what does rich mean to you and what’s quick?  How quick does it need to be?  If it’s instant gratification, that’s different.  Sixteen years I’ve been running WAG; get rich?  I’m still working at it, but if you can love the journey, that’s the richness that you’re going to get from it.

Dan Knowlton: It’s so true.  You hear about a lot of people, especially in sports, when they’ve trained all their life to win something; Tyson Fury got his world title, and then he had worked so hard to get it and then he got to the top, and then he was just completely depressed, demotivated, because he had reached that end point.  Whereas a lot of people don’t take the time to — because, I always try and think about the journey that we’re on now, and we’ve built a whole ten-year plan and we know our end point for this business, but it’s about focussing on the now and enjoying all of the ups and downs along the way, and that’s what I’m trying to do more of; I’m not quite there yet.

Wendy Harris: It is about seeing the end.  I’ve got another guest who talks about that in particular, which I’m excited to release.  This is the point, isn’t it?  We’re all here to do our best and to achieve something, and it’s important to be sure that even when you achieve that — I mean I scrubbed out my vision board, I’ve got a blackboard that I made with wine corks.

Dan Knowlton: Nice!  That sounds cool.

Wendy Harris: Hint; if you want to send me a gift anytime, red wine.  I scrubbed it out because a lot of what was on the board, I’d done, I’d achieved it.  So, it was kind of like, “Well, there’s a couple of things on there”, I’m not going to tell you what they are, it’s a bit embarrassing!

Dan Knowlton: That’s all right.

Wendy Harris: But it’s kind of, you can climb a mountain, can’t you, get to that summit and once you then get to that vista, you will see that there’s more to be done?

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.

Wendy Harris: Fabulous.  Now then, Dan, this is my favourite part, because I have no idea; obviously I can talk to you about video content and conversation and all that, but I ask everybody to bring a conversation that created a turning point for them.  So, the mic is yours.

Dan Knowlton: Okay.  So, this is actually a conversation that I had with my dad a few years ago.  I’m going to set the scene a bit so that you get the context of why this is so —

Wendy Harris: I love a good story.  Sitting comfortably children?

Dan Knowlton: God, how many years ago is it now?  Probably about eight or nine years ago, I finished university at Brighton.  I did a Business Management with Marketing degree at Uni of Brighton.  After that, I applied for loads of jobs to try and get a job after uni; no one would take me and I think one of the main reasons was because I was trying to be the person I thought they wanted me to be, rather than being myself.  I’ve learned this a lot now through interviewing other people as part of our job, and eventually one company, a large car rental company, hired me in their graduate scheme, which was great.

So, I started working there as a management trainee and I got promoted twice within a year, probably too quickly; it was one of the fastest promotions the company had seen to assistant manager; so I was managing 250 cars and a team of nine within seven months.  It was a mistake on my manager as well of promoting me too quickly and it was all too much.

Wendy Harris: The exuberance of youth will carry you along.

Dan Knowlton: Yeah, exactly.  And it was just, I basically didn’t have the skills and experience I needed to do that role and I was chucked in at the deep end, hadn’t got much management experience and it was just overwhelming.  I was going into work at 5.00am, leaving at 10.00pm, trying to figure out — I’m crap at logistics hence why Lloyd does all that now, so I had to plan when you’ve got hundreds of customers coming to collect cars, and team that up with the cars you’ve got, and if you haven’t got the right car, you have to get them from other branches, and it was just hell!

Wendy Harris: I was going to say, I’m surprised at 6.00pm when everybody else had gone home, that you didn’t just ring Lloyd and go, “Lloyd, can you come and sort me out?”

Dan Knowlton: Yeah, I wish I could have; I was actually in Crawley, so I was miles away from home.  I was a lodger in a house with this random couple, I didn’t have any friends there or anything.  Part of it was I had to move there on my own.

Wendy Harris: Please stop, I’m going to cry.

Dan Knowlton: There is a happy ending!  So anyway, it was hell on earth.  I was basically just imploding, and it was so stressful; I wasn’t sleeping properly, and it was just terrible.  And then a dream job opportunity came about for this dream job in London for this amazing company and I was like, “If I get this job, I’ve won the lottery basically”, because it was just my perfect foot into the kind of more corporate world in London.

Wendy Harris: Had you set yourself up that you were going to get it, in your mind?

Dan Knowlton: Oh, no, yeah.  I had to get it, otherwise I don’t know what would happen to me.  So, I was like, “This is my way out of this hellhole”.  I had to book the phone interview for 9.30pm, because I was always doing the other job that I hated.  So I got home, had no time to prep or anything because my mind was just full of — the car rental was a retail job, so you had members of the public screaming at you, hating you, because I wasn’t doing a good job, which is fair enough.

So I had that phone interview at 9.30pm.  The guy rings me, he’s like, “Hi Dan, right, we’re going to start the interview now”, I hadn’t prepared anything, and my mind wasn’t in it at all.  He said, “Right, first question”, he asked something about, “Tell me about what future industries do you think there’s an opportunity of growth in in the current economic climate?”  Right, so I didn’t even listen to the radio, I didn’t watch the news or anything because I had no time, so I had no understanding of current affairs, what was going on, and I froze.  I literally mumbled and fumbled some words; I froze and imagine how upsetting this was when this was my one opportunity to get out.

So, I remember being in the kitchen of this house that I was a lodger in, and the other couple were out.  I froze and I didn’t know what to do.  I turned my phone off and I fell to the floor and just burst out crying, in the kitchen in this house, because I thought I’ve just completely failed and what on earth am I going to do?  So I rung my mum and dad up, crying down the phone like, “Oh, I don’t know what to do, I hate my life”, and this is the conversation, and my dad said, “Everything’s going to be all right, just come home and live with us and we’ll figure it out”.

And then I quit, packed my bags and drove home sobbing and went to live with my mum and dad, and then when I got home, my dad said to me, “Right, you’ve got two options now: either you need to find another job, you can’t just live at home and not do anything; or you can”, he had a business consultancy, “work in my business consultancy; you can apply what you learned at uni and get some experience in an actual business applying what you learned, and you’ve got three months to demonstrate that you can generate enough income to make this sustainable, and then we can see where it goes from there”.

So I did that, got the income, won a hotel client to support their marketing, then started Knowlton.  It was previously called KPS Digital Marketing, but yeah, and then that was the conversation.  And then obviously now we’re nine people, hiring for another three roles, we’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the world; so, yeah, it’s all turned out all right, it’s a happy ending.

Wendy Harris: I can put my tissues away!

Dan Knowlton: Yeah!

Wendy Harris: Incredible.  The thing is, it’s like our parents know us better than anybody, don’t they?  So long as we allow them in, we’ve got to still be able to show them our vulnerability; even as adults, we’re all still children.  I’m nearly 50 and I still need that from my parents, so it doesn’t go away; and when you start to have your own children, oh God!

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.  I have, I’ve got a son now, so I’m learning it all!

Wendy Harris: Yeah.  But great that your dad could put it to you, because the bank of mum and dad, right; I mean, as you started to tell me the story, it’s eight, nine years ago and you’ve got to go and get yourself a job, because that’s what you do after having a degree.  Where was Gary V eight or nine years ago, right, because he’d have told you not to even bother going to university for a start!

Dan Knowlton: Yeah, exactly!

Wendy Harris: But that’s the point, isn’t it?  We’re all set up, expectations are set up from what we see, what we read, what we hear, to be this successful person.

Dan Knowlton: Follow a certain path.

Wendy Harris: Yeah.  So maybe the ads industry could do with some help, Dan, in being realistic as well!

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.  I think I just needed someone to say, “It’s all right to quit your job”, and Lloyd even tells me off for this now; I’m quite tunnel visioned, so when I have an objective or a challenge or something I feel like I need to get towards, I just block everything else out, I just go towards it.  I’d done that so much that I was actually in self-destruct mode, and I just needed someone to say, “It’s all right to quit your job and just get away from it without having any other options”.

Wendy Harris: It’s got to come down to self-beliefs, hasn’t it, and expectations that we think others have of us, that you get the job, and you don’t quit?  So, you’ve been told not to quit, that’s not the done thing, so you’ve hung in there.  I would say that shows an awful amount of character, in actual fact, because when you look at a lot of the younger generation that’s coming through, they’re like, “Yeah, well, maybe I’ll get another job”, “Yeah, you know, it’ll be fine”, and that’s where the bank of mum and dad comes in.

But your dad was the best kind of bank that you want to go to that goes, “Right, we’re going to give you a little cushion, but it isn’t free; there is a value to this”.

Dan Knowlton: Yeah.  I think I learned a lot from that, the way he structured my options, rather than just saying, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll help you out, don’t worry about it”.  It was like, “Right, you know you’re intelligent, you’ve got a degree, you know what you’re doing, let’s look at the options; do you want to do this; do you want to do that?”  And then, yeah, it just set me up.

Because I had that ultimatum of those three months, I need to demonstrate this is working, I worked my arse off and made it work; because if I didn’t, then I might be going back to a job I hated as much as the previous one in the corporate world.  So I was like, “I do not want to do that again after experiencing that”.

Wendy Harris: Well absolutely, and this is something that translates to any of the goals and aspirations that we may have for ourselves, isn’t it?  You mentioned earlier, you’d got a ten-year plan for the business, but heck, if you reach that in five, you’re not going to be upset about that really, are you?  You’re just going to stretch the goals even further.

Dan Knowlton: Yeah and rejig things yeah.

Wendy Harris: Much the same as, if you’re starting out in a business, yes, you’ve got to have a plan of what you want to achieve in your first year, but break that down into three months at a time; what has worked; what’s not worked; make sure you keep reassessing, testing and measuring things.

Dan Knowlton: That was what I was going to say, be comfortable knowing that it’s going to completely change as well.  Like this ten-year plan we’ve got, we’re already having to change it because things have changed; so it’s a broad plan with everything, knowing everything’s going to change basically.

Wendy Harris: Just having some boundaries helps everybody, doesn’t it, than “Oh, come, go, do as you want.  If we make money, that’s all right; if we don’t, we’ve got some money in the bank, it doesn’t matter”.  You know you do need to have that kind of laser-sharp focus.  Well, Dan, and look at where you are now, it’s incredible.

Dan Knowlton: Oh we’ve got a long way to go yet, but yeah, we’re in a good place!

Wendy Harris: Well yeah, and I’m still young enough to be able to keep an eye on you over the next ten years!

Dan Knowlton: Good!

Wendy Harris: I shall very much be looking forward to seeing where Knowlton goes and the team.

Dan Knowlton: Oh, thanks.

Wendy Harris: The whole point of the show is to carry the conversation on with our guests afterwards, so where’s the best place for them to find you hanging out?

Dan Knowlton: Well I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, if you search my name, Dan Knowlton.  If you want to look at what we do and some of the campaigns we run and stuff, you can look on our website knowltonmarketing.co.uk, but yeah, LinkedIn and Twitter as well are the main places I’ll be.

Wendy Harris: And if you think you’ve got what it takes to join the Knowlton team, I would suggest that you’ve got to send something pretty sensational to get Dan’s attention.

Dan Knowlton: Well we’re hiring for three roles at the moment so, yeah, if anyone’s looking for a job and you’re good, please look at my LinkedIn!

Wendy Harris: Step up!  Dan, it’s been fantastic to talk to you.  Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us today.

Dan Knowlton: Oh, thanks for having me, Wendy.

Wendy Harris: So, there you have the conversation about advertising with Dan that counted.  So it just goes to show, follow your dreams, work hard, get those lucky breaks.  When you see an opportunity, take it, and of course, live your life to the fullest.  Carry the conversation on with Dan using the links as usual.  Please do drop us a review, tell us your favourite part of today’s show.

Until next time.



We don’t want the conversation to stop there!

All of our listeners are important to us, so we would love it if you can connect with Wendy on LinkedIn and send her a message with your favourite episode!


paula senior YMCA

Episode 1 – Paula Senior

In our first episode, we speak to Paula Senior from the YMCA. Paula is a fund-raising officer and is currently preparing for the annual Sleepout to raise much needed funds for the night shelter, how covid has stretched them to the limits and how they have risen above the challenges faced by the homeless.

Nat schooler

Episode 2 – Nat Schooler

Can one conversation really influence where you are driven? Nat Schooler

Influence marketeer Nat Schooler joins Wendy as they chat about how important it is to produce strategic content online. Nat spends his time podcasting, writing, and driving across foreign continents for fun. However, their conversation quickly turns to the importance of building relationships with the people you want to work with. Nat places trust as the highest asset everyone should nurture.

Azam Mamujee M Cubed Tax specialist

Episode 3 – Azam Mamujee

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Managing Partner, Azam Mamujee a tax specialist with a voice of velvet.

Azam agrees that conversations count however he explains how numbers can tell a much more powerful story. He has a catchphrase “Give Azam the facts, I’ll save you the Tax”.

Jenny Procter Marketing for introverts bondfield

Episode 4 – Jenny Procter

Jenny Procter – Bondfield Marketing

Making Conversations about Marketing for Introverts Count

Let us introduce you to Jenny Procter, a marketing consultant and self-proclaimed introvert.

Jenny writes PR and communications for B2B clients and has her own podcast show, and she discusses issues around running her own business as an entrepreneur.

Andrew Deighton team coaching

Episode 5 – Andrew Deighton

Andrew Deighton – Team Coaching. Making Conversations about Teams Count. We are joined by Andrew Deighton today, who helps build and develop high-performing teams through strategy and processes in today’s remote working world.

Wendy has worked with Andrew in a second business through mentoring and knows firsthand how his advice relates to many aspects of running a business.

Nicky Pattinson sales expert public speaker

Episode 6 – Nicky Pattinson

Nicky Pattinson – Leading Sales Authority & Public Speaker. Making Conversations about Personality Count. Nicky Pattinson speaks the Truth in all she does! A northern lass who traded on the markets at the beginning of her career, similarly to your host. Now, Nicky has a best-selling book “Email: Don’t Get Deleted” and her own YouTube channel NICKYPTV.

Buckso Dhillon Wooley

Episode 7 – Buckso Dhillon-Wooley

Buckso Dhillon-Wooley – Actress, Speaker & Business Coach. Making Conversations about Self-Belief Count. A true diamond, Buckso is very much aligned with herself and the many facets of her own personality.
As an actor, speaker and coach her mission in life is to help people connect with their higher self.
Being aligned with yourself on a spiritual, physical and emotional level allows you to shine brighter in everything you touch.
Buckso Dillon-Whooley is a well known Actress, who has starred in Disney’s recent remake of Aladdin and is a long-standing actor on Coronation Street with appearances on many UK TV shows.

James Daniel Copywriter

Episode 8 – James Daniel

James Daniel – Copywriter
Making Conversations about Copywriting Count
Joining us in this episode is copywriter James Daniel.
He describes himself as ‘That old guy who writes copy – you know, the beardy one with glasses.’
We should point out there could be other old guys with beards and glasses out there!
It’s easy to like James’ style of writing because he’s a conversationalist who realizes that people don’t speak geek or tech.

Henny Maltby Digital marketing agency

Episode 9 – Henny Maltby

Henny Maltby – Digital Marketing Agency, Pink Elephant Media. Making Conversations about Digital Marketing Count. When the Pandemic hit in early 2020, Henny Maltby turned to her husband as they both realised their business was going to change forever. Offering online marketing to large corporate businesses who cut budgets left a hole to fill. By opening the conversation up with local businesses, it was obvious what the next chapter would be for them at Pink Elephant Media…

Kim Walsh Phillips

Episode 10 – Kim Walsh Phillips

Kim Walsh Phillips owns Powerful Professionals, a business that helps empower entrepreneurs to turn clicks into cash and identifying the superpowers in others so they can fly high. Kim is an expert in social selling strategy.

Amelia Thorpe Wellbeing coach

Episode 11 – Amelia Thorpe

Amelia Thorpe – Mental Health Wellbeing Coach. Making Conversations about Mental Wealth Count. Meet Amelia Thorpe, founder of Wellbeing 360, who talks to Wendy about how important it is to give equal priority to our mental and physical health. Listening to Amelia’s story will bring a beacon of hope that we can all take charge of our own conversations which will give us back the control that slips sometimes when times are tough. Amelia is a wellbeing counsellor.

John Attridge capacity business

Episode 12 – John Attridge

John Attridge – Guiding Businesses to Reach their Full Potential by Tapping into Spare Capacity

Making Conversations about Capacity Count. John Attridge, owner of BBX turns spare capacity into value for many businesses. When you listen to John you just know there is a bigger story to this guy as his accent gives it away!
John has successfully built a business network and community to help people fill spare capacity and exchange services. It is a brilliant concept and if you’ve not come across it before yet in touch with me and I’ll tell you more. Using the BBX community helped my own business through the lockdown and has provided such a lot of support and new relationships.

Clara Wilcox return to work coaching for parents

Episode 13 – Clara Wilcox

Clara Wilcox runs The Balance Collective, Specialising in Return to Work Coaching for Parents. Making Conversations about Returning to Work Count! This is a conversation that every Mum will resonate with, juggling home and work is not simply a balancing act but a superpower!

Clara recognized through her own personal journey that the right support for Mum’s returning to work was only available from the employer’s point of view. This causes a biased approach and is not always helpful in an emotive decision-making process.

dr ivan misner bni networking

Episode 14 – Dr Ivan Misner

In this episode, Ivan and Wendy explore how conversation is the foundation of all growth and learning. How times have changed, looking back and also predicting our future generations experiences, yet communication will still be the underpin even it how that looks has changed.

Janine Coombes marketing coach

Episode 15 – Janine Coombes

Google has recognised this lady as the #1 marketing coach and her video series mixes humour with key messages, it is the lovely Janine Coombes. Janine is a marketing coach for personal brands.
In this episode, Janine and Wendy share how using the right language influences the conversations we have and how it affects our results.

Lizzie Butler presentations coach

Episode 16 – Lizzie Butler

Making conversations about presentations count! Delighted to introduce Lizzie Butler, owner of LB Communications, who met Wendy at a local online networking event and immediately hit it off. Lizzie helps you to grow your business through personal development training and how to achieve brilliant communication.

Jem hills inspirational speaker

Episode 17 – Jem Hills

Making conversations about Bullying count. Jem Hills is an inspirational speaker, trainer & performance coach.
Talking to Wendy in this episode is ex-marine Jem Hills who you might find it hard to believe was affected by bullying and a lack of confidence. As a release Jem discovered Northern dancing and practiced as a bedroom activity that later led to an accidental release of freestyle dancing at a competition. The dancing-built resilience and the foundations for the training to complete the Mud Run and onto his Elite Special Forces career.

Peter howard graphic design

Episode 18 – Peter Howard

Peter Howard runs a design studio that is ranked in the top 100 in the country and was responsible for the WAG brand. Having known Peter and his team for many years, Wendy has heard lots of his stories but knew there would be one she had not heard before.

Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater business coaches

Episode 19 – Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater

Making conversations about partnerships count. In a Making Conversations Count first, we are joined by two dynamic guests in this episode. Both Taz & Asha provide business coach services in different areas. Joining Wendy chatting about all the elements that make up a great debate. You are not going to want to miss the observations with Taz Thornton and Asha Clearwater around questioning, opinions, debate and discernment that makes for wonderful colourful conversations.

Vicki Carroll O'Neill

Episode 20 – Vicki Carroll (formerly O’Neill)

Vicki works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and executive leaders who are stuck in their business and need someone as a partner to coach them to their next level of success. Vicki offers growth marketing consultant advice, strategy plans & also organises in-house marketing teams.

heidi medina business coach

Episode 21 – Heidi Medina

This episode contains one of our most important conversations, so we’re definitely going to make it count!
Wendy Harris brings Heidi Medina into the conversation today, who opens up the conversation about abuse she has encountered.
She’s a Linkedin expert and business coach who is the exact opposite of the classic ‘my way or the highway’.
Whether you meet Heidi online or in person she is the same.

Niraj Kapur online sales coach

Episode 22 – Niraj Kapur

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Online Sales Coach Niraj Kapur from “Everybody works in Sales” a business that helps companies with their sales processes.

Steve Judge paralympian motivational speaking

Episode 23 – Steve Judge

A life-changing accident that almost claimed a life but actually birthed a mindset shift.  Making conversations about speaking count!

Imagine losing your limbs in an accident.

That’s a real human test.

Most people would fall into one of two camps.

Feel the loss, and struggle to overcome it, before essentially accepting your ‘job lot’ and just becoming a bit angry.

Many would. And they’d be forgiven.

Then there are others, who would not let it defeat them, or define them.

Steve Judge is definitely in the latter of the two camps.

Nikolas Venios the ideas agency

Episode 24 – Nik Venios

We reflect on how this business man helped his poorly mother solve a household challenge which led to a career of making conversations about ideas and innovation count. We will all eventually lose our parents. Sadly, it’s a part of life. Not many of us have to suffer that loss at the tender age of just six. We couldn’t think of a nicer guy to help us with our goal of making conversations about ideas count. Truly, if anyone can hold a conversation about ideas, it’s Nik Venios of the Ideas Agency. Did you know that NASA has a genius test? During this episode, you’ll find out all about this, and the fascinating stats surrounding it.

Jonny cooper hates marketing

Episode 25 – Jonny Cooper

Most business owners hate marketing. That’s probably because they don’t understand it. Someone who does get marketing is Jonny Cooper, and even he can’t stand it! In fact, he despises it so much, he built a business around it. Welcome to Jonny Hates Marketing! This week we’re making conversations about messaging count. Messaging is so important to get correct. Your entire marketing voice depends on it. That’s why you need to listen very carefully to Jonny Cooper.

Wendy Harris telephone trainer how to sell over the phone

Episode 26 – Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris is an expert telemarketer, who has years worth of experience in cold-calling and doing it right. Now a podcast host, Wendy shares her story and how she became an advocate for making conversations count!

Will Polston Make it happen

Episode 27 – Will Polston

Making conversations about wealth….and Clubhouse….count! Paying it forward. Acting from a position of generosity and giving within the law of reciprocity. We’re talking to Will Polston.

Ray Blakney Live Lingua

Episode 28 – Ray Blakney

Making conversations about language count… Ray Blakney is the CEO And founder of online language school Live Lingua. Can you speak another language other than your native tongue? Wendy admitted to the “Making Conversations Count” team that she doesn’t, and we can’t help but feel she’s definitely not alone.

Many Ward write my book cuddle monster

Episode 29 – Mandy Ward

Mandy Ward is a book mentor, helping people to write their own books under the company ‘Write my book’. Mandy is also an author herself, including the popular children’s book ‘The Cuddle Monster’.

Sarah Townsend copywriter survival skills for freelancers

Episode 30 – Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend is a freelance copywriter and best-selling author of the book ‘survival skills for freelancers’. In this episode, we discuss the importance of conversations in the freelance world, and how things can lead to many opportunities…

Paul Furlong visual branding advertiser videographer

Episode 31 – Paul Furlong

Paul Furlong is part of Opus Media, producing TV advertising, videos, and photographs for businesses. He knows a thing or two about visual branding, and is considered a advertising guru!

Masami Sato founder B1G1

Episode 32 – Masami Sato

Masami Sato set up the B1G1 initiative. Helping businesses to do good by giving back. When was the last time you gave, freely Not for tax reasons. And not because you felt awkward at a raffle. We could all always do more.

Ann Hobbs Forward thinking publishing

Episode 33 – Ann Hobbs

Ann Hobbs helps people to self-publish their books with Forward Thinking Publishing. She is also a coach and author of her book ‘Kick ass your life’, helping people to push through adversity.

Kim-Adele Platts Career development coach

Episode 34 – Kim-Adele Platts

Kim-Adele Platts, Career Development Coach. Making Conversations about Leadership Count! If you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect others to? This was a question and topic that surfaced during this powerful and insightful conversation with Kim-Adele Platts.

Marina Hauer branding specialist for coaches

Episode 35 – Marina Hauer

Marina Hauer is a branding specialist for independent coaches. Are you using three different brand ‘voices’ in your marketing efforts? We’re making conversations about branding count!

David Smith MBE paralympian

Episode 36 – David Smith

David Smith MBE is a Paralympian in the sport Boccia. Do you know what Boccia is? David tells you in this episode all about the most inclusive Paralympian sport that helps people with their independence.

Graham Nash accountant

Episode 37 – Graham Nash

Graham Nash, BusinessWise Accountants, has worked in many fields over the years and the one common denominator has been helping business turnaround.

Ian Genius sales coach

Episode 38 – Ian Genius

Ian Genius is the sales coach to help you gain confidence in sales. His Ingenious technique helps clients see the value of your best package to COMMAND a higher price.

Jennie Erikson voice over artist

Episode 39 – Jennie Eriksen

Jennie Eriksen is a voice over artist, her company name is Lovely Voice. She helps her intended listener to learn by being able to bring characters to life.

Stella Da Silva employability trainer

Episode 40 – Stella Da Silva

Stella Da Silva talks about vocations in this episode, as a specialist employability trainer she shares her insider knowledge.
What skills do you need to be employable?

Hypnotist Jonathan Chase

Episode 41 – Jonathan Chase

Look into my eyes! You will feel very sleepy! You guessed it, we’re having one of our many conversations that count with hypnosis star Jonathan Chase.

Brynne Tillman social sales link

Episode 42 – Brynne Tillman

Brynne Tillman is a social selling expert. Her company ‘Social Sales Link’ teaches the importance of connection for selling on LinkedIn and other platforms.

Ruth Driscoll

Episode 43 – Ruth Driscoll

Ruth Driscoll supports people through toxic relationships. Her company the ‘life liberator’ takes her personal experiences to help others.

Rob Begg mindset coach

Episode 44 – Rob Begg

Rob Begg is a results based mindset coach to business leaders & teams. In this episode, he talks about your ego and self-limiting beliefs many of us hold.

Sudhir Kumar

Episode 46 – Sudhir Kumar

Sudhir Kumar is an expert in social selling to grow your business, he’s written a book ‘Being Human: Marketing & Social Selling in a Digital World’.

Episode 47 – Ann Page

Ann Page is a lawyer who helps other lawyers with her courses. She teaches valuable business skills and teaches the importance of avoiding jargon.

Joe Chatham networking

Episode 48 – Joe Chatham

Joe Chatham set up USA 500. It’s an exclusive member-based organization focusing on sharing his expertise in marketing relationships and networking.

Larry Long Jnr

Episode 49 – Larry Long Jnr

Larry Long Jnr is a sales coach that helps give people, teams, and organizations the motivation to go from good to great.

pete cann laughter man

Episode 50 – Pete Cann

Larry Long Jnr is a sales coach that helps give people, teams, and organizations the motivation to go from good to great.

Ros Conkie photo

Episode 51 – Ros Conkie

Ros Conkie can teach you to engineer a marketing machine that’ll accelerate your business growth. Marketing training, coaching, and consultancy.

Hear what people are saying about the show

I love this podcast. The guests you have on all bring something new to the conversation and definitely thought-provoking.

Sometimes this means I change something I do, or something I would say, and other times it’s a real opportunity for reflection.

Thanks for sharing your guests with us Wendy, the podcasts are brilliant.

Paula Senior

I always enjoy listening to Wendy’s Making Conversations Count podcast and admire her talent for drawing out people’s stories and getting to the heart of things for finding out what makes them tick.

We all have pivotal moments and Wendy manages to find the right parts, showcasing the reasons why someone is who they are.

It’s those details that we connect to and come to more understanding of why people do what they do.

Heidi Medina

Love this podcast series. It’s a great idea to have a theme of ‘pivotal conversations’ and the variety of guests from massively different backgrounds keeps it fresh and interesting.

Wendy is a natural host and makes people feel at ease to share their stories.

Andrew Deighton

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