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James Metcalfe: Blending Passions With SinkorSwimSports

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Tell us about yourself?

Just an all round subpar content creator with abysmal takes on various sports. I’ve been a freelance writer since leaving college, working mainly in the real-world sports and Esports sectors. Sports and writing have always been my two biggest passions, so this ‘career’ has always been about blending the two together whenever and wherever I can.

I also wrote a comic-book series in high school that I used to fund my addiction for all things sugar-based.

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

Just how much it actually takes out of you! One glance at LinkedIn would make you think it’s all just a case of storming out of the ‘9-5’ one day and jetting off for a life on a yacht in the Mediterranean.

The reality is that starting up something of your own requires a huge amount of time and resources, an adept understanding of project and expectation management, as well as an ability to stay motivated against long periods where not a lot seems to be happening.

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

I think I’d like to have a bit more continuity between the chapters of my life. I’m fairly content with how things have panned out on the whole, but I’d probably go back to the early days of starting out as a freelancer and just tell myself to be a bit more mindful about what lessons there are to be learned from every experience.

What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

I suppose I belong to one of the first generations of people who grew up with digital media being the norm over more print-based alternatives. The two are very, very different in almost every department, so not being stuck in limbo over which industry I was targeting was probably more of a benefit than I realised at the time.

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I’ve also been incredibly lucky to pick up a good amount of skills and expertise around things like SEO, CMSs, Social Media, and other facets of the digital world that help elevates the sorts of things I produce.

What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

I like looking back at a day and being able to list at least three or four big things I’ve accomplished, so breaking things up into little ‘goals’ is a really good way of keeping myself motivated.

You can’t force productivity, so don’t be afraid to take a break from the action. This is especially important for something as creative-based as writing, where it is strikingly obvious if something has just been pushed out.

I also like to go for a run at some point during the day, just to clear the head and get some energy back up.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

It all goes back to what I was saying about blending passions with work earlier. We founded SinkorSwimSports as a way of combining the experience we had working within the content world with some of the biggest passions we have for the sports we follow.

So far, this combination does seem to be the winning formula we had hoped for; our content is industry-leading, and the motivation to keep on pushing with something we’re exceptionally enthusiastic about really helps.

Where do you see your business in five years?

Hopefully still with us producing great content and generating plenty of (healthy) discussions!

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‘Authority’ would probably be the number one aim for us right now. We’re by no means a respected voice with anywhere near the numbers we’d like behind us (yet), so the goal has to be to just keep pushing and growing as naturally as possible for as long as we can.

Because this project still isn’t our ‘main’ thing, it would be nice to be able to call upon other writers, build out other tabs, cover special events or competitions, and produce content with shorter turnaround times in the future.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

Besides the usual worries about motivation dropping and the whole thing just slowly falling away, we should always be aware of just how stacked the field is in this industry.

But challenges are something to be embraced, and we have so far really enjoyed the problem-solving aspects of this competition. Measuring our performance and analysing how our content performs to see what types of stories do well has been a really rewarding experience so far, and it has already revealed a few surprises that have triggered a couple of changes in strategy!

Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?

Every small step forward still feels like a big win to us right now, but getting the site launched, producing over a hundred stories, producing our own logo, and hitting over 500 users in just about two months felt really good.

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

Having immediately come from a digital marketing background, organic and social growth has been really important to how we’ve measured our traction. Our SEO performance has generally been very strong, and social posting on Twitter and Reddit has probably been our single biggest driver up until now.

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You can find us and get in touch either at our website or on Twitter (@OfficSOSSports).

What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

Celebrate the small wins! In what is already a jump into the deep end, not taking the time to celebrate every little thing that you have achieved can be such a toxic way of losing motivation or enthusiasm for what you’re doing.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s a discrepancy behind what is told to us about what living the startup life is like, and what it actually is.

Set yourself achievable and realistic goals, and celebrate them when you hit them and you’ll be amazed the progress you make.

And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

Just to keep going and growing! There’s still plenty of uncertainty going around the world right now, but, with a brighter-looking future on the cards, it would be great to keep building out, producing great stories, and seeing what experiences we can carve out on the back of that.

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