Andrew Wibberley on going back to big corporate and lessons from self-employment – MAF171

My guest on the show this week is Andrew Wibberley, back on the Marketing and Finance Podcast for the second time.

Like me, Andrew decided to leave big corporate and set up his own business. After several successful years he’s decided to accept a role which takes him back into a corporate environment. We reflect upon the lessons Andrew learned from launching his own business, and how he can take those lessons into his new job.

Welcome to episode 171 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Andrew Wibberley on going back to big corporate and lessons from self-employment - MAF171

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why Andrew set up his own business
  • The ups and downs of self-employment
  • The importance of learning from mistakes
  • The marketing challenges Andrew faced
  • How being self-employed allows you to stretch yourself
  • Taking self-employment lessons back into big corporate

Who is Andrew Wibberley?

Andrew’s background is in life assurance underwriting, starting when he was 21. He’s worked for several reinsurers. He set up his own company three years ago. He’s is about to go back into “big corporate’”

Andrew says we found self-employment challenging because of the blurring between his personal and his professional lives. He enjoyed being able to spend more time with his children. He’s keen to make protection insurance easy and simple, and to make underwriting fairer and more accessible for people who have interesting lives.

Summary of our chat

Andrew was Head of Underwriting at his former job, with a big team to manage. But he found it hard to get things done quickly in a large company. He also wasn’t keen to change roles, which employees in his company had to do every few years. So took a leap into the unknown to try something new and started his own business.

When he became self-employed, Andrew found he enjoyed some aspects and others he didn’t. He found some were unexpected. He enjoyed the sense of freedom and liberation. But it was three months before he got his first client. Then the work started to snowball.

Andrew says he followed advice from colleagues who’d also made the leap. They recommended always teeing up a new piece of work  before finishing the current one. The reality of self-employment is that, while people offer suggestions, you have to make the mistakes yourself. The key is not to make them more than once. And you need to move on quickly.

It was a struggle for Andrew to see the difference between marketing and sales, and to realise it’s not straightforward to identify what brings in clients. Blogging, marketing and social media takes time. When life gets busy, it’s easy for these to fall by the wayside.

Being self-employed, Andrew found he could speak frankly to his clients about projects. He realised that people came to him not only for his expertise, but for his flexibility and the different skills he had to solve their problems. He says it’s been a lot of fun.

A new employer has offered Andrew a role which was an opportunity too good to turn down. He realised he wanted to make many changes that were too hard to bring about from the outside. But as an employee he could find ways of improving the insurance industry.

A marketing campaign or product that grabbed Andrew’s attention

Andrew is a fan of the videos produced by Cura Financial Services (The Special Risks Bureau). They feature Marketing Director, Kathryn, on her sofa with a coffee. She talks about how her business helps people who struggle to find insurance. Andrew feels that the more the industry does to share real-life stories, the better.

Andrew’s book recommendation

Andrew said he’s thinking about how he can use his train time, so he’s reading mindfulness books to help make his commute as calming as possible. He’s been reading Ruby Wax’s ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’, which he’s really enjoyed.

Links and contact details

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