Hamish Erskine

Self-employed business owner and instructor

After a 17 year career as a school mathematics teacher, I became self-employed in 2011 when I retrained as a plumber and launched my plumbing business, 'Hamish the Plumber'. Realising that I needed a website, I decided to learn how to build my own, rather than pay a professional to make one for me. That decision rapidly gave me the advantage I needed over my local competitors. My business took off quickly, and within two years I ranked as Google's top plumber for my city. Another year later, I featured in all the British newspapers, on the radio and on billboards as part of a British government campaign, modelling the line 'Business is flowing now that customers can find me online'. Research had shown that 40 percent of sole trader businesses in the UK still had no website. Impressed by my plumbing website, my Google ranking, and my 5-star customer reviews, a government department headhunted me to help British businesses 'Do More Online'.

My experiences led me to the conclusion that running a profitable plumbing business is as much about good marketing as about good plumbing. While running my business, I have actively tried to learn all I can about successful online marketing, and have spent more money sharpening my marketing skills than I originally spent retraining as a plumber. Because in my plumbing business I market my time, which is not a scalable commodity, my marketing skills have outgrown my plumbing business. Creating online courses on Udemy is a return to education that allows me to share the skills and experiences I have learned through five years of running a 5-star rated business. It also combines my long-term hobby of tinkering with my mac computer.

I grew up in Scotland. As a 14 year old studying at Fettes College, Edinburgh's top private school, a career's test recommended plumbing as a possible match. My father was infuriated, exclaiming 'I expect you to be more than a plumber'. I went on to gain a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bristol University, one of England's top universities, followed by my teaching certification as a secondary school mathematics teacher. I taught mostly in the country of Yemen, returning to the UK in 2009. After a further 2 years' teaching in England, I decided it was time for a change. Thirty years had passed since that careers test when I actually retrained as a plumber. Five subsequent years of running a successful plumbing business have proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle, enabling me to find my calling.

Now as more than a plumber, 'Build a Website with Rapidweaver' is my first Udemy course. An effective website that converts visitors into customers should be the centrepiece of any effective business marketing strategy. In this course I share the skills that propelled my plumbing business success and made me a model for British businesses to follow and 'Do More Online'. I look forward to creating additional courses on marketing-related topics in the future.

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