Vision, purpose and the joy of starting out on your own with Russ Avery

Russ Avery is an eco-entrepreneur, specialist marketer and co-founder of digital marketing and creative agency Avery and Brown . We chat to Russ about the highs and lows of entrepreneurship – and the importance of having a vision.

‘Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug’

So you have, well, quite a few different companies and projects on the go – did you want to tell us a little about them?

Yes, so, I left my job as a marketing director for a London-based sustainability consultancy in 2018, and the first business I set up was Russ Avery Consulting Ltd., which was brilliant. I got off to a flying start and things went really well. The only reason I’ve wrapped that up now is because I met my business partner Tim, and we’re now running Avery & Brown, which is a digital marketing and creative agency for sustainability-focused businesses.

And how did you find it, moving from working on your own to with a business partner?

I mean, it’s great in that I’m still not working for anyone – I couldn’t go back to that, I’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug far too much. I actually think having a co-owner is a great way to share the burden and hold each other to account – it just works really well.

Someone to share the load!

Yeah exactly, and we share the same goals, and now there are two of us working towards achieving them. Another thing is that when you’re on your own you can’t just go on holiday or even get ill without making contingency plans – having a second person to hold the fort helps.

‘I didn’t have the time to stop and think’

How did you find moving from the typical 9-5 lifestyle?

It’s obviously a massive adjustment in all areas of life – for me it meant not commuting to London 3-4 days a week, I got two hours of my day back not sitting on a train. I actually found it very natural and easy, and that’s largely down to how busy I’ve been since day one. If you were just starting out on your own and left a 9-5 and you started on day one as an entrepreneur with no clients, that would be so hard. I was lucky in that by the time I left my job after the notice period, I already had 5 or 6 clients booked up, so I didn’t have the time to stop and think about it.

So you had the foundations built already, which I think is hugely important – it’s quite brilliant considering you haven’t been on the entrepreneurial circuit for very long and yet you’ve achieved so much already!

‘You wake up every day and everything you are doing is for yourself’

It feels a lot longer – it’s very hard to believe it will have only been three years this April since I left my job in London.

How do you balance time between your projects?

I treat Avery & Brown as the new 9-5, that’s my core focus. My second company, Elodie GmbH,  I work on approximately five days per month, and everything else I do is just a massive juggling act – I’d be lying if I said it was more strategic than that!

What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?

Freedom is definitely the best thing; you wake up every day and everything you are doing is for yourself. You are in complete control of your life, not under anyone else’s rules, you’re in charge of company culture, you’re in charge of how much money you can earn. But even more important than all that, my work is all geared towards sustainability, so for me it’s so important that I’m getting up every day and working towards a hugely important purpose and vision.

You can connect with Russ through Instagram at @therussavery and find out more about his projects at @averyandbrown & @elodies_story.

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