James looking at laptop

Managing Director at The Social Desk – meet James Smethurst

Our Managing Director, James founded The Social Desk in 2018. James, AKA ‘The Boss’ or ‘The Chief’, has the gift of the gab and a great sense of humour!

Find out more about James, his background in marketing and why he chose to set up his own agency!

What was your path into marketing?

It always surprises people that I have become Managing Director of a digital marketing agency. I grew up surrounded by mathematicians and psychologists at home!  At school, I had always had aspirations for a career in law. If that had worked out, I would never have found my path into marketing, so for that I am thankful! The path I ended up following was a business degree, followed by a career with the NHS. It was there, working on a substantial digital transformation project, that I found my love for marketing and left to pursue a master’s in digital marketing. I absolutely love what I do, love the industry I work in and enjoy seeing the creative talent that exists. I feel very lucky every day that I get to work in this business.

How long have you worked with The Social Desk?

Well as the founder, since the beginning! It has been one of my best achievements, and I have enjoyed watching it grow, going from strength to strength. I am passionate about what we offer and making sure it is right for the market we serve. I carefully curate each aspect of the business, to offer more services, with the  aim of becoming everyone’s digital partner of choice. 

What does your role at The Social Desk entail?

As the Managing Director, I wear many hats, mostly all at the same time! Day-to-day, it is important I oversee everything! I always liaise with the team to ensure we are all up to date with our accounts and building good relationships with clients. Every day, I am always thinking about how we can improve and develop our business processes, setting aside time to reflect on business development and how I would like things to grow. I love the networking part of my job, meeting with new and future clients, and learning about new projects. 

Outside of work, what is your life like?

This is a tough question, mainly due to lockdown. My life has been turned upside down. As we have moved to work remotely, it has never been more important for me to find the work-life balance.  Especially as this is my own company, it is easy to get hooked into something and not finish until the small hours.

Prior to lockdown, I had a good social life and loved nothing more than meeting with all my friends – but those times seem so long ago!

Now, I have nurtured a love for a long walk at the weekend and my appreciation for where we live has grown exponentially since lockdown.  I’m passionate about golf and have been very lucky that this has remained open for the most part, so I can see a friend or two! I am looking forward to life outside of lockdown, firstly for a haircut, and secondly for the freedom to travel – anywhere!

What is your biggest fear?

Snakes! Snakes are actually a family fear, so that doesn’t help! There was a trip around the world, where I spent most of the time in fear of venomous snakes sneaking into my room in the dead of night – to see me off in one tight deadly cuddle! Although that could also describe some previous relationships!

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us!

Most people know I love my golf and have played since I was young, and lots of people know I am dyslexic and had to come over lots of great challenges in my life as a result. I’ve tried but definitely can’t do the splits – so something to surprise you all has taken some thought!! In 2014, I completed a triathlon and it was both the best and worst thing that I have ever done for myself! It gave me the motivation to get to a level of fitness I hadn’t achieved before, I was passionate about it, and frankly loved every second – weird or what?!

Find out more about The Social Desk team and if you’re interested in having a chat with me about your digital marketing needs, drop me an email [email protected]

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