What was your inspiration for wanting to run your own business?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs: my dad is a pharmacist and operated his own business, my uncle runs a souvenir importing and distribution company, and my great grandparents and their family (including my grandmother) ran a grocery store in the 1930s. I was definitely inspired by all of their successes and knew that one day I wanted to follow in their footsteps.
What does Vicara Marketing do?
We’re a digital marketing company that offers web design, online advertising, social media management, content marketing, and analytics reporting services. Our approach is different than a typical agency – we spend a significant amount of time getting to know the clients that we work with on a more personal level, so we can better understand how we can support their needs. That means that we only take on a select number of projects at a given time. We focus on storytelling across digital platforms and there is an art to that. It requires focus, attention, and quite frankly, Vicara. We are mindful that our clients know their stories better than anyone else, and work very closely with them to ensure that our solutions are tailored to the objectives they want to achieve.
Vicara is an interesting word, what’s the significance behind it?
It’s actually a Buddhist term that is used to describe sustained attention on a specific action or object. When I read that, I found that one of the easier ways to describe it was simply focus. Focus is something that I feel many people connect with, and it’s one of the key principles of yoga, which I practice. I did a lot of research and when I finally came across the word vicara, it felt right and also aligned with the overall values that I wanted to promote.
How did you get started in digital marketing?
Accidentally! After graduating with my MBA from the John Molson School of Business, I wasn’t sure what professional direction I wanted to take. At the time, I was living in an apartment close to school, and my neighbour had recently started a web development company. He needed help with business development, so I created marketing tools, participated in sales pitches, and also managed client projects. I learned the fundamentals of web design and I was hooked ever since!
Web design is only a component of digital marketing, what about the rest?
My neighbour’s company was a startup and this type of fast-paced environment suited my skills set since it allowed me to wear many different “hats”. I then went on to work for other startups in Montreal and gained hands-on experience launching and monitoring paid advertising campaigns, managing social media networks, and creating websites. I also took on other digital marketing opportunities in more established companies before launching Vicara Marketing.
What’s your digital marketing must-have?
Great software! Just like a handyman, there is always the right tool to get the job done quickly and efficiently. We’re fortunate that in today’s world, there are plenty of choices to choose from.
Can you name some of your favourites?
I love WordPress as a website platform, Elementor as a web page builder, Databox for reporting, Hotjar for analyzing user interactions, Buffer and Hootsuite for social media, and so many more! I’m also a fan of Mac computers, so I have many useful tools at my disposal:
- Vivaldi as my default web browser
- Paste as my clipboard manager
- CyberDuck as my FTP client
- 4K Downloader as my video downloader
- Alfred as my task automator
- Mosaic as my window manager
- Little Snitch as my network monitor
- Affinity Designer / Photo as my image editors
- Affinity Publisher as my document editor
What are some of the challenges you face as a business owner?
Vicara Marketing is a very small team so one of the challenges we face, like many others do, is balancing business development along with catering to our existing clients. It’s important for us to maintain our focus and deliver an outstanding solution to our customers so we’re mindful that this requires a significant investment of time and resources. Also, taking time out of my schedule to update Vicara Marketing’s website or post on our social media networks can sometimes be challenging as well.
The other obvious one is maintaining a steady flow of income, which is tied into managing business development vs. recurring client work. I’ve read about so many small businesses that struggle with this, so I keep my overhead costs as low as possible. This is greatly facilitated because of the company’s remote-first approach.
Where do you see Vicara Marketing in five years?
I like staying in the present moment as much as possible, so I don’t usually plan too far ahead. However, as a business owner, looking ahead is necessary in order to ensure a viable future. I want to continue growing Vicara Marketing enough so I can hire on more great talent, and also launch a new division of the company that focuses exclusively on coaching and training of digital marketing software. I’ve learned so many over the course of my career, and I’m very adept at using them. I find technical savviness to be very empowering and I would love to share my knowledge for the benefit of others.