Andrew Erkins is the Managing Director of Digit Books and has developed three businesses in the tech space over the last 15 years: web app development, hosted infrastructure and bookkeeping and cloud integration.
He is passionate about connecting services and educating entrepreneurs about financial management, and building systems. Here he discusses changing career direction, developing his business and what he looks for in staff.
Switching from Mining Engineering to Commerce
I grew up in a tiny mining town called Paraburdoo, and it was what I knew. When it came time to choose a course at uni, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I went with something familiar to me.
What I learnt from that experience is that there’s a huge gap between how you see something as a kid and as an adult, and I realised fairly quickly that the mining industry wasn’t for me. I simply wasn’t passionate about it.
When I spoke to others about their reason behind choosing engineering – it was simply a means to an end. I didn’t accept that. So I switched degree to something I loved, and could see myself doing for a career – IT & E-commerce.
Awards and Accolades
In just over the last year, Andrew’s business Digit Books has either been nominated or won six awards through bodies such as Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Telstra WA Business Awards, Belmont Small Business Awards, Australian Accounting Award and the Stirling Business Association.
“The awards are a great opportunity to celebrate with your team the journey that you’re all on together. At the events, you get to meet some amazing people and make new connections.
There’s also the obvious benefit of winning awards from a social proofing aspect, where other people in business have determined that you’re a leader.
For me personally, the most important part of winning awards is the application itself. You and your team get to take a moment to stop, breathe, and look back on your journey to date. You have the opportunity to write your story, share your passion, and goals for the future. You can involve everyone in the process.
The applications ask great questions that highlight areas you can improve and get better, and there is a lot of value in that feedback.”
There is a particular view of the world that I appreciate in people who join our team. It’s an openness towards new ideas and innovative solutions. I love people who are problem solvers, lateral thinkers, have great customer service as a core value, and simply get things done.
In a small team, culture is everything, so it’s important that we protect that culture and bring in people who ‘get’ what we’re working to achieve, share our values and vision. We see the business as simply a vehicle for a journey – where a bunch of people get to do some cool stuff together to help others, while growing together. So seeing the world for its possibilities – and not its limitations – having a great attitude towards service and teamwork, and being a sharp problem solver are the top three qualities I look for. Experience and technical expertise come after attitude.