My Story: From $450 to Scaling a Dream

Business growth


Marketing Bee came into my mind, while I was in a well-paid, yet unsatisfying corporate job. During my nine month stint, I came to the realisation that I would never be able to "hold a job." While there certainly isn't anything wrong with holding a job -- I have come to find that for me, job satisfaction was only possible when I had a creative outlet and mission to focus on. I was looking for something where the days weren't monotonous and repetitive tasks that washed over me, but instead doing a job I love, and have the drive to do.

For me, I found that mid-tier companies (like the one I was working at) severely neglected their image, and in turn, were completely underestimating the power of great marketing. Outside of my job, I spent my spare time doing a plethora of research around the concept, and found agencies either catered to the enormous, international firms or ran a disjointed operation to help smaller businesses. What was interesting is that while the competition I identified advertised a variety of skills in-house, it seemed they were simply outsourcing. All this meant was that the emphasis was placed on one-off projects and short-term relationships, so I set out to change this.

Starting as a list of fluffy, and not-so-fluffy names, it wasn't until I read an article in the Harvard Business Review about bees, business and leadership, that Marketing Bee was born. Since our inception, I have seen many companies attempt to copy our bee analogy, but not with the same know-how.

I often get asked "what was the hardest thing about starting your own business?" 

For me, starting my own business from scratch was one of the most challenging things I've ever done. So much comes to mind when I hear this question, but the most fundamental obstacle was a lack of funding. Nobody tells you how hard being the new kid on the block really is. People don't believe in you, or your idea, which makes it all the more difficult to gain the support of investors, grants and banks. After starting Marketing Bee, my next step was to grow and employ people, but without funds, this was merely an illusion. In the beginning, I maxed out 3 credit cards, and when I did hire my first "bee" -- Gemma, we worked long hours for minimal pay, but I have found that it is those sacrifices at the start of my dream that have had the most profound payoff.

I'd like to say I get up at 5am, head to the gym and finish my early morning routine with a cliche - chia seed breakfast bowl - but that wouldn't be the truth. I typically arrive at work around 9:30am, after working late the night before. I'm an owl you see, and that doesn't translate well into early mornings and is why I find that I perform better at night. Once at the office, I begin with a plan of my day, what I need to achieve and who I need to speak to. I normally Skype with my Chief Design Officer, Gemma, who is in Melbourne, while I live in Sydney. We set out an execution plan for our clients and the team, and it goes from there. My first round of phone calls are normally with clients, and then prospective clients that want to chat.

The rest of my day is spent overseeing projects and team objectives, managing PR obligations and checking in with my entire team to make sure there day has gone well. At around 4:30pm, I ring my team of managers and associates, and tend to go for a walk at around 5pm. I officially finish at around 7pm, but unofficially, my work tends to continue into the night, crafting future projects, approving tasks and brainstorming.

Marketing Bee was the brainchild of an untapped industry of agencies that actually offer their services in-house. Our emphasis on operating as a collaborative department is only possible with our team who communicate and focus on growing every clients business in the long-term- known as our competitive edge. We offer an entire, skilled department of marketing professionals for less than the cost of one employee. We are strong believers of developing a close relationship with each and every client to gain a knowledge of their needs and stamp out unnecessary wastes of time in the process.

My journey from an international student arriving on the sunny Australian shores from Mauritius to CEO and Queen Bee at Marketing Bee, Industry Advisor at RMIT University and Founder and Chief Digital Officer at Real Estate Creatives has been eye-opening. I have built my dream business, recently launched a new venture and am back working at my university to cultivate the next generation of marketers. I live and breathe my work, with my personal and work life largely intertwined- but I wouldn't have it any other way. I call myself lucky to work with my friends, and although I take my work home to continue into the night, I do try to balance my personal life with my work life on weekends. I am learning the importance of taking time out to re-energise and enjoy what's important- time with my family, friends and dog, Honey.

After being invited by SavvySME to write my story, I had lots of fun retelling my journey.
 


Sharon Latour

Sharon Latour

Queen Bee/CMO at Marketing Bee

I hail from Mauritius, an idyllic island off the coast of Africa and moved Down Under as an international student. Being in a corporate job wasn't for me so I took my own path with $450 in the bank. I've always been passionate about SMEs and after seeing so many struggle digitally, I founded Marketing Bee. We are Australia's first cloud-based marketing department, providing digital production, social media strategy, web development and everything in between for our clients here and overseas.

Marketing Bee

Marketing Bee 1 FOLLOWER

Marketing and communications


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