The Net Positive series expands to tell the story of a growth leader, Gonçalo Henriques, his growth journey, both ups and downs.
Net Positive Growth – Andrew Davison
Andrew Davison's growth story highlights his ability to seize any opportunity and walking his own path to success.
Walking his own path to success
Andrew Davison is the Founder and Managing Director of Luhhu, a B2B company that automates processes using tools like Zapier and Integromat. Andrew’s career journey started with a Computer Science degree, plenty of travel, and using his sales acumen to start Teacher Finder. His growth journey features significant points where he seized different opportunities to best optimise his focus, while still maintaining perspective. Andrew’s approach to work, to his passions, has meant that he has walked his own path to success.
Moments of Growth:
For Andrew, there wasn’t really one moment of growth or development. His career has been making the most of any opportunity that arises. While living abroad he knew plenty of expatriates who were brilliant teachers but weren’t well versed as salespeople. An opportunity. Andrew founded Teacher Finder to help connect these great teachers with students. He used his sales and university experience to help build a website for them. His automation skills in the use of the Zapier platform really helped throughout this process.
The lifestyle that he found with Teacher Finder suited him really well. Andrew noted his strength in swerving into new opportunities, even if it’s something he may not have tried before. Andrew is really adept at completely changing direction.
One of the abilities that have served him really well throughout his career has been growth identification. Andrew is able to look at the broader picture and see when a tool or product is rapidly growing or scaling up. Focus drives him toward executing that product really well. The normal rigid career path didn’t appeal to him, so having this eye for growth and then the focus to stay on top of it has served him really well. The pairing of those two abilities has meant his path to success has been outside the norm.
Andrew spoke about his attention span being a little shorter than most, relying on maintaining interest and engagement in his role. When noticing that growth isn’t happening, he’ll look for the next best opportunity to build higher and higher.
He could’ve built a career in London, but instead chose to travel, and that opportunity brought about the chance to start Teacher Finder.
During his career, Andrew had already been working from home and the pandemic didn’t really impact his work style too much. He definitely recognised a massive impact on his ability to be social and to travel around the world. He was also lucky enough to be living with his wife, so the loneliness that many people struggled with didn’t really affect him. The year really gave him a much narrower focus on his new company Luhhu and gave him far more energy.
The way Andrew works, it’s all about iteration. It has been quite a while since he’s worked for someone, to have a boss. He hasn’t had to sit down and have performance reviews or go over targets. Andrew’s sense of accountability and drive really pushes the best out of him. Andrew enjoys working for himself, and prefers working on his terms, and admitted he may not be the best employee, with his focus on his own method. In the scheme of a large organisation, he didn’t believe it would mesh well with his working style. To maintain his level of success and productivity, he knows he’ll keep working for himself.
Andrew believes that there was an element of the pandemic that was certainly a blessing.
The constraints would’ve definitely helped people as they worked from home. They would’ve been able to work on more of their own schedule, and build autonomy. There may be an influx of freelancers who prefer that level of flexibility in their schedule. As people have removed their commutes, and gotten some time back in their lives, there are more people following passion projects and side hustles.
The world may be headed towards far more people working as their own boss.
When asked about his lower moments, it was more the hours put into ideas that never panned out. The long hours, the grind of 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Hustles within hustles that never paid off. It was difficult to see Teacher Finder have success and then to see its growth slowing, stopping, and then reducing. When Teacher Finder was at its peak, it was easy to think of a more positive future with sustained growth. When the growth stopped, thoughts became ‘it may recover’. Andrew’s situation forced his hand, it really made him reevaluate and think more broadly.
Andrew’s own motivation definitely took a hit, but it pushed his thinking into ‘what’s next?’.
The self reflection that this process offered was really valuable. Andrew looked top to bottom at himself, what was his skillset? What can he do? Zapier answered that question, to help automate business processes. When he was able to have that direction and that opportunity, he was far better able to feel motivated and work harder.
The choice of Zapier may not be sustainable forever, but the service based role gives him the freedom to constantly be trying out new tools and programs to help solve business problems. Service allows a far easier pivot for Andrew rather than developing his own product.
In terms of his own network, it has never been too big for Andrew. When problems arise his first thought is to tackle them himself. He has people within his sphere who admire his entrepreneurial style and his wife offers continual support both personally and professionally. The Teacher Finder team also had a customer service representative, but there was an acknowledgment from everyone involved that this wasn’t their one and only project, their eggs were also in other baskets. They attempted to solve the problems, but then realistically managed the decline of the business.
Andrew definitely knows he is a workaholic. He has improved and that was through one major realisation.
When you’re working with clients there is a strong compulsive feeling that you need to be on call 24/7. There will always be problems to solve and questions to answer. Andrew has found a lot of success from keeping work within work hours, avoiding working on weekends. Keep time for your hobbies, for relaxing and your passion projects. Perspective is really important, clients won’t always need an immediate answer, it can likely wait till the next day.
When it comes to productivity and consistency, Andrew has never really needed the applications or tools available. He has always believed that he could wing it and manage himself. There may be a time in the future when he will consider them, but at this stage, he doesn’t want to be too rigid with those tools.
Andrew has found exploration to be his greatest form of recovery, whether that’s a walk, a run, or cycling through his city. Going outside, being in the fresh air, and seeing new things offers his chance for his mind to relax and refocus. Travel has always been a big part of his life. The choice of Budapest was very intentional, to have so many brilliant countries, cities and cultures so close made escape so easy. He’s never really owned a car before, but it’s on his horizon, the freedom to explore the world around him is too enticing. Closing the laptop of an afternoon and hitting the road, seeing a new town, and refreshing the system.
Zapier Mentoring Group:
Andrew decided to be a part of a mentoring project for Zapier to be able help others with the amount that he’s learned on the platform. It was also nice that it could provide him with a passive income stream. The community would be for highly motivated individuals that companies would choose to learn the platform, instead of paying a consultant. The really driven individuals would have access to experts and learn to build automation processes, and experiment regularly.
Andrew wants to join more communities, especially around quality platforms and the rising amount of no-code products. There is something to be learned from each, and to build up his own network. Twitter is his biggest resource, easy to manage, easy to dive in and out. He’s used Twitter to find clients, partners and opportunities.
Advice for potential Freelancers:
Go for it, but don’t go all-in immediately. You do need to keep your current job until you’ve validated it enough that you can safely pivot to that role. As far as clients, just search for them. Go and speak to companies and ask them for their pain points, what in their day-to-day process annoys them. If you can solve that problem and demonstrate how they’ll save money, it’s likely they’ll pay you for your services.
You can find a couple of tools and platforms you can specialise in. You use those as growth points, to help you find more clients, to build up a spreadsheet and build your own website. As technology advances there isn’t as strong a need for upfront software and training certifications. You can then start knocking on doors, using a tool and having a service to provide to businesses.
Problem solving and staying motivated are two skills that Andrew believes are must have for people entering into the world of freelancing. Andrew trusts the process of throwing yourself into the experience. The learning will accelerate, the knowledge and understanding of processes will increase. Other skills like relationship building and softer sales skills will come with time and consistent effort.
Andrew isn’t too big of a reader of books or major resources. Andrew trusts googling. When he was young his parents gave him free reign on the internet and at age 15 he set up a business, purchasing items on eBay and reselling them. You need to know where to look on the internet.
Andrew reflected on some of the key learnings from his time at university and he was most thankful for the development of process and logical thinking. The ability to plan and design systems influenced his career development at each step.
Andrew’s final piece of advice:
“Stay in school, use the internet, don’t be afraid to learn, have fun“
Upflowy is all about growth and experimentation. We’re always on the lookout for value-aligned guests for the Net Positive Growth Story series. Andrew was a pleasure to interview and we’re happy to recognise him walking his own path to success.
If you’re interested in experimenting with your signup flow to better increase lead generation, consider Upflowy the no-code signup builder, we want you to be growing and developing every day!