How did the idea for AZIZA GREEN come about? When I started out working in digital marketing and content production, the one thing I could never find was direction for creating a digital marketing strategy that made sense for my organisation. I went on a LONG journey of working out how to develop creative direction, resist hype and target the right channels, inspire engagement, and pull together a cohesive plan.
I got to do that in the context of a secure job, but I know that loads of small biz owners are trying to figure out all this with no support and no guarantee that their efforts will pay off. When I finally got brave enough, I quit my cushy job & started consulting and blogging to help small business owners optimise their online presence and build their business.
What motivates you /what are you passionate about?
It’s amazing to be able to help someone build their business by telling their story through strategic and authentic content, web design or branding.
What do you love most about your business?
Have you ever had a chat about business with your local café owner or personal trainer or a creative entrepreneur – they are obsessed with their work/service/industry, it is the theme of their life! There’s nothing more energising or interesting than getting into a conversation with someone about his or her passion, vision and goals.
Describe yourself in 5 words…. Honest – Loyal – Stubborn – Brave ……..SaltedCaramelGelato (In a cup please.)
How do you go about building a successful & loyal referral base? I don’t treat people like prospects I treat them like…humans. We’ve all been in those situations where you feel like the person talking to you is just trying to hustle up some business or get something from you. The experience is like eating two-day old thai food: slimy and kind of sickening.
When it comes to my online channels like my blog, my social media and my Strategy+Soul email newsletter, I focus on giving as much valuable content and insights as I can. I also try to be clear and as real as I can manage on any given day.
It’s sometimes scary to put honest stuff out there – will this make me look unprofessional/silly/psycho?! But ultimately being me is pretty fun, and the minute I stop I know I’ll be bored to tears and most likely burn everything (metaphorically of course, haha I’m totally sane and normal…) Anyway, authenticity is super sexy and it attracts the kind of people you actually want to work with, so I stick with that.
Who has been your greatest inspiration? Why? My husband, Mat. He is an amazing educator and has built his own platform to help new teachers called www.imanewteacher.com. He is brilliant at connecting with people no matter how important or seemingly insignificant they seem. I can listen to him interview the former Director of Education in Finland over Skype one night, and the next day overhear him talking to a Kindergarten kid waiting to be picked up after school – and there is no difference. He’s ambitious, fearless, clever and incredibly kind.
He is also the most pushy and annoying person I know. He registered the domain azizagreen.com about 6 years ago, even though I told him not to. He consistently bugged me about starting my own thing for about that long. He schedules business breakfast “dates” with me every month to talk about our projects and goals. He argues with me about what my business should look like, just so I’ll stick up for my ideas. He’s a menace, but I would NEVER be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for his tenacity and drive and belief in me.
Where do you get your creative energy from? I’m energised by ideas and language. I’m an avid reader (fiction, poetry, psychology, anything) and writing has been a passion since my mum began entering my short stories into competitions in Year Six.
Expressing ideas through writing has always been natural and exciting for me. It’s positively orgasmic when words come together just right. I actually get insanely jealous when I read a sentence someone else wrote that so perfectly expresses something that we all feel. I’m driven by that I suppose, that longing to express ideas with ever increasing clarity and originality.
What systems do you set up in your business to help it grow? Content management is really important to my business. I use a content calendar to make creating content more manageable. I have roughly one million ideas strike randomly throughout my day, so I need to be able to record, schedule and then recall the ideas when I’m ready to produce new content.
I use Evernote to keep track of all my random ideas and things that I’m reading on the go, and then I try to schedule it into the calendar as soon as possible. I also try to automate as much as I can to avoid wasting time on repetitive tasks.
What was a watershed moment in your business journey? Consulting with my first client. I was so nervous before our first meeting! But as I listened to this amazing, intelligent woman talk about her business I felt so excited about what was possible for her. All the nerves I felt before disappeared as I realised I could help her find clarity, discover her voice and implement a sustainable strategy that suited her needs as a sole trader.
How is running a successful business different to what you may have thought it would be? I thought it would be a lot of work… and I was right! You don’t clock off at 6pm. You don’t get a gold star when you do awesome work. A lot of what you do is unseen and you have to constantly make tough decisions about your business based on nothing by gut instinct. However, I have been lucky to have the most incredible friends, family and mentors to encourage and support me from the beginning. One thing I didn’t expect was to get the quality of contacts and clients I have. I struggled for a long time with horrific fear about starting my own thing, but as soon as I did the right doors flew open. I feel stupidly blessed.
What do you struggle with most as a business owner? Prioritising my own marketing activities. I have so much I want to do, but I have to juggle that with working with clients, prospecting and a little thing called having a life.
Given your experience, what advice do you have for women starting a business? Don’t spend all your time and energy designing business cards, fiddling with your website or formatting your perfect business plan. Those things are nice to have, but when you’re starting out you just need to do work that will actually make you money. That other stuff will come, and when you’re ready you can even hire someone to help you with any or all of it.
For now just start. Sell or swap your products or services with your friends. Create a social media profile and connect with like-minded people. Meet up with people with whom you can share your experience, and learn from.
Don’t believe your fears! The more you do it afraid the more you realise there’s nothing to fear.
Where could we take you today? Take me back to Santiago, Chile! Friendly, culturally interesting, diverse, bohemian. Also you will find the meaning of life (over and over again) in one of many cheap hot dog “completo” and beer canteens – gluten-free lifestyle be damned!
You can connect with Aziza at http://www.azizagreenmarketing.com and on Instagram @azizagreenmarketing.