Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Natalia Kaplan, founder of On Point Agency, located in Montreal, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started On Point Agency as a way to provide unusual businesses with unique solutions. We've worked with military companies and weed dating sites, e-commerce platforms and mom-and-pop shops, traditional web hosting sites, and web 3.0 crypto sites. My goal for myself, as well as for my team, was that I wanted to wake up each day wanting to do the work, which meant our clientele had to be people we wanted to engage with and work with, not just another signed contract or invoice we slog through. We don't limit our industry scope; rather, we keep our perspectives fresh, our creative juices flowing, and our excel sheets ready to crunch numbers.
Tell us about yourself
Every since I was a child, I have walked a tight rope of balancing two different identities and expectations: as an immigrant facing biases and challenges of a North American culture, but also as a child raised in a North American culture facing an Eastern European expectation. This duality laid down the foundation of many of my seemingly at odds qualities: I am an artist who also has a background in research and data analytics. I love getting my hands into the nitty-gritty day-to-day work but also developing big-picture strategic planning. I take my work seriously and enjoy being able to joke around with my clients.
I was very fortunate to have had experiences at two major corporations, both of which are at the top of their industries. Each new role helped me learn more about myself, as well as new marketing skills. My biggest takeaway is that I love working in a team setting growing a product together, but I also enjoy the ability to face new challenges of jumping from project to project. Being able to start a marketing consulting agency meant merging all of my dualities under one roof. My team works on client projects that require everything from daily management of the business to the development of year-long strategic plans to everything in between.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment, and perhaps constant worry, is growing my team. It's one thing to be self-employed, but it's a whole new ball game when you have multiple people depending on you for their livelihood. I feel honored, blessed, and occasionally terrified that these amazing people trust me and believe in our work together.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being comfortable with the unknown. Having climbed up the corporate ladder over the years, I thought I knew what it meant to be a decision-maker. However, as a business owner, you're the only one steering the ship. Do we go north today? South? Turn back around? It can be very daunting, especially in moments of doubt, to be the one that fixes issues or strives for new areas of business. It can also be very tiring to be the one shouldering the responsibility and learning how to sometimes disconnect completely.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get an amazing notebook, whether digital or pen and paper and keep it with you all the time. Running a business is 50% physically getting tasks done and 100% ideas running through your head all the time. I'll get inspired and find a solution to a client's problem while I'm eating breakfast, at the gym, or even just standing on the bus. It's those moments of "in-between" work that I find my best ideas.
- The best type of advertising is your own network. The majority of recommended clients come from my friends, acquaintances, and even old schoolmates. Your own personal network of people is the best resource for growing your business.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Especially when starting a new business, it's easy to fall into the mentality of "I have to do this myself," but there are only 24 hours in a day to sleep, eat, and spend time with yourself and your loved ones. Find a community of new business owners, find mentors, and find people who can take on some of the stressors that slow you down.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
To date, a big part of my success has been the endless support I have received from friends, family, and sometimes even strangers. I have been given advice, mentorship, food, and even a shoulder to cry on. This warmth and support is not something to be hoarded; if you're starting your business (or have already been doing so for years but would like to grow your support network), reach out and don't be a stranger.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.