Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John Demitrus, CEO of Oh Ya!, located in Hartford, CT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a digital marketing agency that specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content creation, search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC), geofencing, programmatic, and streaming advertising.
Tell us about yourself
I spent 20 years in various sales and marketing leadership roles in many of the top 100 health insurance companies in the United States and for a software vendor, and finally spent years as a consultant advising insurance companies on processes and workflow. I realized that mid-sized companies have some of the same challenges and wanted to use my skill set to start an organization that could help mid-sized organizations solve some of the very same issues. I love a good challenge, and I'm surrounded by an amazing team of people who care and are dedicated to delivering exceptional results. My team is what motivates me. They're some of my favorite people.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We work in some verticals that allow us to positively impact people's lives. Part of what we do is capturing people's stories so we can tell them to the public. The stories of transformation are truly amazing. We support Adult Education for the State of Connecticut's non-profits, and we were filming an adult student's life story. She told of getting pregnant in high school and having four children by the time she was 19. She was in an abusive relationship and found the courage to work, return to adult education to get her GED, and is now working at one of the largest hospitals in Connecticut. Later this year, she will finish her studies to be a phlebotomist. Her story of overcoming adversity is truly heart-warming. We will have the chance to tell her story and inspire others, who may be in a similar situation, to make positive life-changing decisions. We work in many different verticals, and it doesn't matter if it's adult education, fertility, or addiction - my biggest accomplishment is that I feel like what we do matters and inspires others to do good things for themselves and their loved ones.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There's a belief that you complain upwards and never complain down the organizational structure. Being a business leader, I think we can feel a sense of isolation. We don't necessarily have peers, and our direct reports shouldn't be burdened with some of the challenges we face as leaders at the top of the organization. At times, this role can be lonely and can be challenging. Leading your team through challenges and leading them to execute your vision can be hard. This issue pales in comparison to being a father, a husband, etc. Those are the most challenging issues. I guess this comes last but certainly worth listing.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
In no particular order:
- Everything takes more money/budget than you expect.
- Everything takes longer than you expect.
- You only fail when you stop.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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