Digital marketing, mental health & Kenpo karate: Konstantinos Synodinos interview
Last updated on: May 24, 2022
We all dream of achieving our own version of the American dream, right? Of having it all, being the best and the most productive version of ourselves, all while maintaining the perfect balance between our career and personal life.
However, the very concept of the Dream has been rapidly changing over the last few decades, mostly impacted by technological advances. Life seems to be so fast-paced that it can be hard to keep up, let alone stay ahead of the curve.
Well, let me introduce you to one person who is always one step ahead of all that, and who does live his own version of the Dream — Konstantinos Synodinos, who managed to merge the 2 of his biggest passions — business and sport.
Recently, we noticed that Konstantinos included Clockify in one of his educational posts, as he often creates content related to useful software and different types of tools. To provide some context, the topic of this video was “Tools I wish I knew about when I started my business” so we simply had to reach out and ask for an interview — in which we talked about time management, time savers, digital marketing, mental health, social media, and much more.
Konstantinos — the story of a jack of all trades
Konstantinos is a lot of things — so let’s name a few.
He is a digital entrepreneur who is the CEO of 2 successful businesses (Champions ID, the first social platform for athletes, and Simply Digital, a full-service digital marketing company).
He is a martial arts enthusiast who is a black belt in Kenpo karate.
And, he is the leader of a movement of millions of people on social media.
Konstantinos is constantly exploring the world of digital — especially of available tools — and sharing his knowledge with everyone eager to learn and work on themselves:
“Right now, my TikTok account counts 2 million followers, my Instagram account is at 250k or something. It’s a tribe that’s constantly growing because of this exact thing, of how exciting this new digital, entrepreneurial universe can be with all the tools — like Clockify — and other stuff that we discover daily. And, I have always had a genuine interest and love for that stuff, ever since I was a kid.”
Just some of his impressive achievements include being:
- A 2-time world champion in Kenpo karate,
- An MBA graduate in the Department of Organization and Management,
- 1 of 32 businessmen selected by the US Department of State to participate in the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley, and
- The winner of the Greek Entrepreneurship Award of the year 2 times so far.
Since his day also consists of 24 hours, you’re probably wondering how he finds the time to succeed in that many diverse fields and get things done. That was one of the areas we tackled in this interview. But, first, we focused on marketing.
Then vs. now: the evolution of marketing (and the role of digital)
Before going into detail about Konstantinos’ digital marketing success and the importance of taking proper care of our mental health, we went back to the very beginning of his career.
Because, before the transition to digital channels, Konstantinos was a traditional marketer and a brand manager.
“Back in ‘99, when my entrepreneurial effort started, there was no such thing as social media, or digital marketing, or Facebook advertising.”
Konstantinos agrees that his experience in traditional marketing is more than relevant to his current success, as all marketing revolves around learning what consumers want and then acting accordingly.
So first, we wanted to get his 2 cents on what is the main difference between traditional and digital marketing, considering his vast experience in both. Here’s how Konstantons explains it:
“Marketing hasn’t changed. What has changed is the medium where we’re doing marketing. Instead of billboards, and print and TV, marketing is moving towards mobile apps, Google display — you name it — all of these choices are available every day. That is where the game changes from traditional to digital marketing.”
The answer is quite to the point, and of course, it’s only natural, as technology continually evolves. You’ve probably heard of the expression “Change is the only constant” — and, in this case, it couldn’t be more true. So, the trends are changing by the day, and the abundance of new platforms and tools is also emerging by the day, creating new marketing opportunities.
The concept of digital marketing explained
With all the change and the complexity of digital marketing, Konstantinos still likes to focus on simplicity. That’s what made us wonder how he would explain the very concept of digital marketing to someone completely unfamiliar with it.
The answer is simple, it turns out.
“Well, digital marketing is your attempt to grab people’s attention on any screen available. That’s the definition for me. The essence of digital marketing is trying to become as native as possible within the platforms that grab the attention of people, become interesting enough to grab their attention, even for a couple of seconds, or 5, or 10.”
What also matters in digital marketing, as Konstantinos points out, is understanding which platforms and devices are people spending the most time with, and focusing your attention on those.
“About 75% of traffic on any platform happens on mobile right now. So, you know where the attention goes, and that’s where your marketing efforts need to go as well.”
How does Konstantinos manage to stay on top of all marketing trends?
The thing is, it’s exactly those trends and platforms that shape the minds of consumers — shaping their habits and expectations at the same time.
It is quite challenging to keep up with all that, so we wanted to hear about Konstantinos’ work process and how he manages to stay on top of it all.
Turns out, there’s no secret to it — it’s just hard work and consistency:
“I constantly research stuff — that’s what people don’t understand. They believe I have a secret source where I find websites, or secret hints, or hacks, for the new stuff that’s coming in. But, I’m actually just constantly researching and looking up what’s new.”
It’s evident that, throughout his 20-year-long career, Konstantinos has fully embraced the power of tools, apps, automation, and other productivity boosters — especially since he shifted his efforts to digital channels.
But, these digital channels come with their fair share of challenges.
Adapting to the challenges of digital marketing
Not only does Konstantinos understand the impact and the importance of leveraging the powers of relevant tools — but he also regularly shares content, thereby helping others learn from his knowledge and experience.
But, what we all need to understand is that it took a lot of time and effort for Konstantinos to achieve this level of expertise.
He had to learn by trial and error, as we all do.
“I had to force myself into this and try to accelerate my learning curve when I realized digital marketing was a totally new space, with new rules and new principles. Digital consumers react differently, and every single year we see them evolve, become different, become more demanding, change habits — and, as a business, you need to adapt.”
How did Konstantinos decide to start his own business?
Konstantinos’ first digital entrepreneurial effort was Champions ID, a sports startup that he explained as a project “which was aiming to become pretty much the LinkedIn of sports — a place where people would be discovered and scouts would find new talent.”
Considering Konstantinos has been an athlete since his childhood and that he was on the national team of Greece for 12 years, he knew exactly what were the issues he wanted to tackle.
So, after many years of working in a corporate universe, working for others, in 2015, Konstantinos made a brave decision to quit his job and turn to his passion.
This was the beginning of a new era for him, and when the Dream started:
“I realized that I want to explore the entrepreneurial universe and try to bring my business background to my athletic background. So I wanted to create some kind of tool for athletes, addressing pain points I’ve faced as an athlete myself.”
Simply Digital came after Champions ID, so we asked about how he came up with the idea to open a marketing agency.
“I tried to find myself, my startup, and I said to myself — Okay, I need to create something. Simply Digital is a marketing agency — a global one right now — and it was my initial attempt to find my startup. It was not an attempt to do business and just have a digital marketing agency, I never had that kind of aspiration. It came up, it changed completely, shifted to social media and now we do several other things we weren’t doing in the beginning.”
Digital marketing — constant learning vs being a guru
But even now, with millions of followers and all the milestones pointing to his success, Konstantinos doesn’t like being called “an expert, a master, or a guru…” of digital marketing.
“I don’t think the words master or guru fit anybody. I believe that all digital marketers are permanent students, of digital marketing in general, of entrepreneurship… Nobody knows everything, so nobody can be entitled to those kinds of words, like guru or master… I prefer to be a digital entrepreneur — someone who constantly tries out new stuff. That’s where my content comes from — constant hunger to experience stuff, to try stuff, to discover things, to simplify my work and other people’s work.”
This is an amazing reminder for all of us, that we ought to stay humble and continually keep working on ourselves.
Because, in the context of evolution, perfection doesn’t exist.
It’s all about lifelong learning and improvement.
The impact of software on digital marketing
Now, we’ve already scratched the surface of why leveraging the power of available technology, software, automation of repetitive tasks, etc. is crucial in digital marketing nowadays. As Konstantinos pointed out, the medium has changed and we ought to be flexible and adapt. That is something relevant and applicable not only to marketing, but rather the majority of industries.
For example, the latest productivity statistics indicate that a whopping 92% of workers agree that usage of software boosts their overall performance and lowers the margin of error, making them more efficient and productive.
So what does Konstantinos recommend as a great approach to selecting the right software to work with?
Konstantinos’ opinion on how to choose a suitable software
We understand that it can be challenging to find the right tool, as being productive works on a personal level. So we asked Konstantinos how one can choose a set of tools that are both new and relevant, and will work for them.
Here’s how he explained it.
“A tool should become a habit, build the engagement of returning users, who’ll use the tool again, and again, and again, realizing how it’s useful. There’s no other way to understand what is the best toolkit for you, if you don’t try many things, narrowing the list down.”
Konstantinos’ approach to recommending all these useful tools will not leave you hanging, because his content usually offers 3 to 5 interlinked tools.
“I try to bundle things that make sense together, because people need to track time, be more productive, and start learning how to work on themselves. As for teams, they need to track their progress on everything and have a collaboration tool.”
Konstantinos’ approach to work and measuring performance
The way we choose to allocate the limited resource of time is what shapes our lives.
We will often hear the expression “Time is money” but in reality, time is much more than just money.
Time is the only determiner of our academic and career development, as well as our personal well-being, both physical and mental health.
That’s why we all need to understand the importance of time management, as Konstantinos nicely points out:
“Time is everything! In everything we do, time is the most valuable asset. It’s not about working hard, but about working smart — working efficiently and productively. For me, this is the only thing that matters.”
For Konstantinos, time management is an important indicator of someone’s work performance — but, it’s not about the hours you put in, but the results that come from the time spent working:
“That’s why I say to my team — I don’t care if you work 2 hours, I don’t pay you to be working 8 hours, I pay you to finish the project. And if you can do it in 2 hours, great for you! I pay you for the project, I don’t pay you for sitting in the office for 8 hours.”
Konstantinos on the benefits of remote work
Konstantinos recognizes the benefits of working remotely and is a supporter of this work model, which he believes to be a real time-saver:
“We don’t even have offices anymore, everything is online and virtual, and it’s my intention to stay like that. Before the pandemic, we were mostly focused on Greece, so I had to have some physical meetings from time to time. Now I’m not doing any more physical meetings, everything is digital. So yeah, things are changing and it can save you time.”
💡 Clockify Pro Tip: Working remotely also comes with its fair share of challenges — challenges that could be tackled by taking on the right habits. To learn more about these habits, check out our blog post on the subject:
Konstantinos’ 2-step guide to having it all
As evident, Konstantinos is a perfect example of someone who is constantly striving to grow, and in every aspect of life.
So, let’s talk about the strategy to reach the “having it all” goal.
The roots of the term are in advertising so, considering Konstantinos’ passion and experience, we thought it would be an appropriate title for this section — in which we cover the 2 key components of the having-it-all strategy, according to our guest Konstantinos.
Step #1: Develop habits
Even though it takes some time to develop a habit, it’ll surely be worth the time. Here’s something interesting and relevant from the very beginning of our interview, when we asked Konstantinos how he was feeling, adding the “…productive, as always, I suppose?” part in the question.
He smiled and said that none of us can always be productive, that each day is different, and that he just always tries to do his best. But, having well-established habits can maybe “automate” some of the work.
“That’s why habits are important — when you’re not feeling very productive or efficient, if you have those habits established, they can do the work for you.”
Step #2: Understand there’s always room for improvement
Once you have a clear understanding of what your routine looks like, remind yourself that perfectionism doesn’t exist. Try to identify wasted time and start improving those habits. Like Konstantinos stated, all we can do is try our best, in order to become a better version of ourselves.
Embracing the concept of lifelong learning also means accepting there’s always room for improvement — or, to repeat what Konstantinos has said earlier:
“I believe that everyone is a permanent student.”
Now, since Konstantinos is usually the one doing the teaching and consulting part, we were curious who he consults with if or when unsure about something.
Konstantinos explained that he doesn’t have a mentor per se, but…
“I have a therapist — somebody who is like a mental mentor to me, rather than a therapist — who I am consulting in terms of communication and how to approach things mentally. I’ve had this person in my life for the last 2 years and I’m very grateful. I believe that she has a very big share of my success, because she helped me go through difficult times, save my mindset, and improve it.”
The role of intrinsic motivation for success
Mental health is an immense aspect of one’s determination to grow, overcome difficult times, and develop motivation — especially the intrinsic type of it.
This was a great moment in our conversation to mention a segment we found on his Simply Digital website — how entrepreneurship and personal development are absolutely connected.
Here’s how Konstantinos responded, again pointing out the importance of lifelong learning and continuous personal growth.
“For me, winning at entrepreneurship is 80% mindset. It’s not skills, it’s not your working abilities, it’s not intelligence — it’s your mindset.”
Understanding there will be certain days when we are feeling overwhelmed is the first step to finding a way to resolve that issue — or at least find a healthy way to cope with the feeling.
There are many strategies to redirect that energy, such as the ones Konstantinos mentioned he’d tried before. We are talking about the Pomodoro technique, and doing the most difficult tasks first — also known as the Eat that frog technique.
Once again, it’s all about the one step at a time progress — so as long as you’re working on yourself, there’s no reason to feel any negative emotions or have your motivation dwindle.
The future of the digital universe
Before wrapping the interview up, we want to share some other challenges, tips, insights, and predictions about the future of the digital universe from our guest Konstantinos Synodinos.
The biggest challenge in digital marketing that needs to be tackled
First, we asked our guest about his opinion on the biggest challenges in digital marketing nowadays, and for his advice on solving these issues:
“I see so many people trying to teach things they don’t even know, or they haven’t experienced. They create content because they copy, for example, an article online, or they get one of my videos or someone else’s. Most people don’t share genuine content and that’s one of the things I see every single day. ”
So, the issue is — a lack of authenticity. And what’s the possible solution, according to Konstantinos?
“Stop trying to be somebody else. The only way to stand out and to be remembered is by being you. You can’t be remembered by trying to be Konstantinos, or whoever else. You need to be yourself. Your voice, your own style, your own clothes, your own background, your own way of talking — this is you, your own experience.”
The role of content in digital marketing
As a passionate and devoted content creator, Konstantinos couldn’t agree more that Content is king.
While talking about his experience, he shared another piece of advice.
“The magic thing about content creation is that the more you’re trying to deliver every single day, the better it becomes an amazing, teaching, and evolving experience for you. Content creation made me a better entrepreneur, a better communicator, a better speaker, a better teacher, a better consultant… This is something that content marketing gave me, and that’s why I always say to people — if you’re not clear about what you want to do, what you’re trying to achieve, who you want to be — start creating content. It’s like a compass that will turn in the direction that you want, after a while. Give it time.”
How Konstantinos sees the future of digital marketing
Moreover, we inquired about the future of digital marketing and the digital universe in general. Here’s what Konstantinos concludes.
“I believe that the new reality — the Web 3.0 reality that’s about to happen — is going towards a more decentralized approach, where users are going to have much more control of their data. And, I believe this is a good change — because having monopolies is never a good thing. Having all the control on one side, that’s never a good thing for the economy.”
So, what can we expect from the future of the digital universe?
- Focus on personalization, branding, and transparency
- Decentralization of a few major players who have the monopoly on the market
- More authenticity in content creation
- More organic conversion
- Users having more control over their data
As you can conclude from all the above, you too can have it all.
Well, as long as you understand it’s not a single goal, but rather a journey filled with an abundance of goals and milestones.
Konstantinos’ perseverance, determination, and desire to grow are an integral part of his success. Following his example, we ought to understand that habits are more important than we can imagine, a foundation of our lifestyle, directly related to self-discipline.
We all have bad days, even the most successful people. What matters is understanding that’s just how life works, and powering through those days. If we take control of our own definitions of happiness and take care of our mental health, everything is achievable.
As Konstantinos explained, we just need to stay true to ourselves and be flexible in life, as our needs and ambitions change over time:
“If you stay the same, you will be irrelevant and obsolete very soon.”
✉️ What do you think about the interview and the ideas we shared? Do you agree about the future of digital as presented? If you’d like to share your 2 cents on the topic, or you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, let us know. Just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure to provide you with answers, or include your opinion in one of our future articles.