Patrick is a life-long entrepreneur who is currently sitting at the intersection between technology, data, and business strategy. He is currently the co-founder of Deedy – a data and marketing consultancy-agency who support client needs across the marketing and data landscape. Patrick also is a business advisor for a few start-ups and is starting to consider taking a non-executive board role on as his next step in his career.
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant or did you fall into the role?
I totally fell into the role. I had started a few entrepreneurial projects in high school and as success started picking up, people started coming to me for advice on starting or running a business. After a few years it got to the point where it was too much to handle informally, so I started putting together a formal consulting practice. 20 years later I’m very focused and purposeful in my consulting.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
There are so many types and styles of consulting, but I think it all comes down to two things:
You can’t be good at consulting if you don’t have the skills to really understand what your clients need. They won’t always know how to articulate things, so just jotting notes isn’t enough. If you can’t help your clients tell you what they need, you aren’t going to meet expectations.
I think you can be good at consulting without being driven by your client’s success, but you’ll never be great. Greatness comes from passion, and I think that consulting taps into that passion of wanting to be helpful and enable others’ success.
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
Fairly well, I think. I’ve run (and lost) enough companies to know the pains of not following best practices. The trick, of course, is recognizing that perfection is the enemy. As Sheryl Sandberg said, “Done is better than perfect.” In my own practice I always try to do the right thing, but give myself grace and space to iterate towards perfection. In this way, Deedy is tooled up end-to-end with all the data we need to grow the business effectively. As we grow [and we are] our sophistication grows. We like to be just a hair ahead of what we need today to buy time for that iterative growth. After all: data infrastructure and reporting takes time to set up!
Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
There will be! We’re in the process of implementing a number of automations to really free us up and scale with ease. Today… I guess it depends on the day.
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
In the context of data and performance reporting, the thing I wish I could stop was their prioritization of vanity/PR content over what’s going to really grow [or support] their organization. I think too often my clients feel compelled to show numbers or stats that are familiar to the business, but don’t take stock of the fact that this familiarity comes from seeing what’s been done before. That comes with the constraint whatever those before you could devise or see. Modern operations are often requiring new key performance indicators [KPIs] and data modelling to deal with today’s challenges.
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
When I was getting started I did it all wrong. I was trying to network and meet people, and drive my entire marketing machine through my personal actions & activity. I told myself it was all just part of the hustle and good for my personal brand. I regret most of it, and I wish I brought in an appointment-setting team way earlier and got more efficient with my time. Today, word-of-mouth and referrals are really what gets me business, hands down. It’s certainly not the easiest thing to build, and it’s rather glacial when you’re getting started; but few things carry the impact of being named by clients as someone they want to be brought in on a piece of work before you’re even aware of it.
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
I play a lot of video games, and do lots of cooking for the family. I find that doing heads-down tech work (coding and architecture work) recharges my batteries too.
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
You can’t be everything to everyone. When you’re starting out, it’s tough (and sometimes unwise) to turn away work. That’s okay, make a buck – but don’t confuse with with your offering. I see a lot of new consultants that pivot really hard really fast, and some that will pivot several times in their first year. Adaptation is a necessity for survival, but nothing good comes from driving a business in a reactionary mindset.
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is probably cigars. I don’t smoke (or vape) but pre-pandemic I would have one every month or two.
Q10. What’s your goal for next year?
Deedy has been really successful and has been doubling revenue year-over-year since we started in 2019. We’re on track to hold the trend this year (despite COVID), and my goal for 2022 is definitely to hold that trend and double whatever we pull in this year.
Find out more about Patrick on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/pmazzotta/