What I Learned: David Vernon, Account Executive, CandidSky
CandidSky is a successful digital marketing agency based in Salford, offering services in the areas of PPC, SEO, web design and development.
It was founded in 2006 and now works with clients such as Peninsula and Evolution Money. David Vernon joined in 2019 after working in various organizations including AmazeRealise, Pentland Brands and Purpose Media.
At CandidSky, Vernon is working on building its account management arm, supporting key clients the agency partners with to promote their digital needs.
We found out what he learned.
What daily habit or practice could you not do without?
Every day I take the time to walk around Manchester city center. It helps me reflect on how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished. Too often I think we knock ourselves out and don’t spend enough time thinking about our luck.
What was your luckiest break?
When I finished college at 17, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. While shopping in Derby, I ran into a friend who worked for a learning company and he invited me for an interview to sign up for their digital marketing course.
I signed up and got a marketing job later at a local print shop – it got me on the path to my current career. Rather lucky, I would say.
What’s your best failure?
When I didn’t get the full time job at Pentland Brands. I don’t talk about it often, but I did a six-month acting role in Nottingham – working directly with Speedo, Kickers, Miter and some of the world’s biggest brands.
When a permanent position presented itself, I went there, but I did not prepare for the internal interview because I was very efficient in the company. It turns out that every interviewee was graded on points – I ran out of someone else and had to leave the company within a month.
It was one of my biggest failures, but also the best. Deep down I had always wanted to move to Manchester but never had the courage to do so. Missing this opportunity made me realize how unpredictable life can be and that I had nothing to lose, so I packed my bags, moved out of my hometown, and rented an Airbnb for weeks until I find a job in Manchester.
In the end, it worked out well for me because I learned so much in the process – and if I hadn’t failed, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made, either money or time?
The best investment I have made is in me. Whenever possible, I spent time learning from others on paid courses, on YouTube, and reading books from successful people. I have to read Steven Bartlett’s “Happy Sexy Millionaire” next, as I have already learned a lot from him and he originally inspired me to move to Manchester.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
“Winning without throwing” by Blair Enns. This book literally changed my life and transformed my career. Selling marketing services in competition with other agencies is without a doubt one of the hardest things you can do, and Blair Enns teaches you how to do it in a way that no one else does.
It actually helped me win multi-million deals and his advice continues to be my best kept secret.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Trust yourself and don’t let the opinions of others influence your decision making.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your professional life?
George Lucas had a huge influence on my professional life. When I was 12, I watched a two hour documentary called “Empire of Dreams,” which explains how George started writing Star Wars and the challenges he faced in making the first films.
Learning that he was turned down by almost every Hollywood studio for making the movie baffled me, and his persistence and passion in this documentary taught me so much at a young age – you just have to keep moving forward. and you will eventually get there.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.
At 25, I still collect Pokémon cards. There is just something so nostalgic and joyful about opening packages and getting shiny pieces of cardboard.
How will the COVID crisis change work for the best?
It showed business leaders how important their employees are and proved that workers can be trusted to operate remotely. I’ve even seen tough CEOs switch to a four-day work week, which amazes me.
What does success look like to you?
Success isn’t really about money or fame and it took me a few years to realize that. Success for me is about happiness. If I’m happy, then why does anything else matter?