We chat with Hong Kong resident Henry Dalziel, founder of Growth Hackers. He’s the first interviewee of our spotlight series where we connect with entrepreneurs, artists, or residents who are making their mark in Hong Kong.

His company, started in 2019, focuses on providing digital solutions for businesses looking to create, expand or enhance their online presence. Henry gives us a look into the impact of his work at a time when digital marketing is more important than ever. Plus, he shares a few insider tips on how to enjoy life in Hong Kong, one of the most effervescent places in the world.

Henry Dalziel, second from the right, speaking at WordCamp (WordPress 2019) | Photo by Henry Dalziel

How long have you been in Hong Kong and where were you before?

My wife, two kids and I have lived in Hong Kong for the last five years. Before that we lived in Tokyo, then Miami, and finally ended up in Hong Kong.

I’m glad to call Hong Kong home now and we have no plans of moving anytime soon. It’s a fantastic city. There are two reasons why I love Hong Kong. Firstly, you can be in an intensely crowded part of the city and within a 10-minute cab ride you can be on an empty beach. Secondly, owing to the size of the city and the excellent public transport system, you can have multiple meetings in a day.

What brought you to Hong Kong?

My wife is from Hong Kong so it was really a “return to family” in many ways. Also, Hong Kong’s pull factor as an incredibly entrepreneurial, business-friendly and totally international city are major positives.

Briefly describe a typical day in your life.

Finding leads for myself and my clients! A big chunk of my day is also dedicated to content creation and SEO (search engine optimization). I’m constantly learning and discovering new ways to improve our digital marketing skills. The industry is constantly changing and in the internet marketing industry, you need to stay on top of your game.

Tell us more about your company Growth Hackers.

We service clients with SEO services and lead generation solutions.

The company is new (2019), but I have been doing digital marketing since 2002! Yes, that long. A lot has changed since then. One of the biggest differences between then and now is that back in the early 2000s the internet was a pretty wild place; it was easy to trick the search engines with spammy black-hat tactics. Now, there are dozens of more truthful signals that Google and other search engines use to detect and reward your marketing efforts.

Since COVID, it seems that digital marketing is more important than ever. What should freelancers/businesses in HK know about the current state of the industry? What’s changed?

You are absolutely correct. Everything has gone even more digital than it was before.

From a freelancer/SME point of view, I’d say that as long as you can deliver results quickly, then you’ll be in a great position. SEO and content marketing have a reputation for being rather slow and clients’ patience is limited, so you’ve got to focus on results ASAP!

Any tips for freelancers in Hong Kong?

Never lose hope, keep pushing and adapting. Also, try to adopt a mindset that appreciates that earning HKD $1,000 can be just as much work as earning HKD $10,000.

What’s your biggest business expense?

I’ve cut a lot of costs in 2020. We used to have an office, but I now work from home. Currently my biggest expense is the dozen or so licenses I have for digital marketing tools. I also have a full-time employee, but I won’t consider that as an expense because the ROI outstrips that investment.

What do you like to do on your off days?

This is going to sound a bit wild but my son is plane crazy. He is only four and he insists on me taking him to go “plane spotting”. This includes watching the planes land and take off! There’s a fantastic spot on an island called Sha Lo Wan. For those that don’t know, Sha Lo Wan is next to Lantau Island.

Aside from that, hiking and beaches is what we all do with our free time, and in Hong Kong, we are certainly spoilt for choice!

What’s your favorite place to take visitors to HK?

Waves breaking on Cheung Sha Beach on Lantau island
Cheung Sha Beach on Lantau island | Photo by iStock.com/LewisTsePuiLung

Cheung Sha Beach in Lantau is our favourite beach and that’s where I’d always take guests. Aside from being Hong Kong’s longest beach, it has beautiful and expansive white sand. There are also great places to eat and plenty of things to do.

What are your top cheapo tip(s) for Hong Kong?

My best tip for freelancers in Hong Kong would be network as much as you can. Also, make sure that in any cold outreach that you do, emphasise the fact that you are physically in Hong Kong. Make that point immediately clear. Clients need to know that you are physically in the city.

In general, never neglect the ding ding trams. Owing to their extremely narrow gauge they are totally unique to Hong Kong. Furthermore, they are incredibly cheap to use. Many of us tend to forget that they are even there and rely on the MTR. My tip is, when possible, to try to switch off when travelling in Hong Kong and park yourself on the top tier of the tram and enjoy the view!

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Our website would be best for those interested in SEO services in Hong Kong. I often speak at events too and really enjoy helping others where I can.

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