Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stephanie Sadjak, Managing Director of Nobl Marketing & Sales, located in London, England, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I run a bespoke marketing & sales, and events agency in London. We provide individually tailored marketing and sales activities, event planning and management, as well as product launches. We ensure that our clients are professionally represented in their chosen markets. Most of my clients are in the luxury and lifestyle industry, from wellness hotels to cosmetic companies and jewelry brands. I also work with individuals such as a personal trainer or artists who want to create a brand. I help them with business development and networking opportunities. Being originally from Austria but living in London, my primary markets are DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and the UK. Recently, I also gained interest from the APAC (Asian-Pacific) market to help develop European projects.
Tell us about yourself
I started my career in the tourism industry and learned all the ins and outs of the hospitality sector. Working as a hotel director was always my dream when I was younger, and I worked towards this goal by doing internships and landing a place at the renowned University of Applied Sciences for Tourism Management in Vienna, Austria.
After graduation, I got my first job in an international hotel chain. However, I found it tough, with long working hours, low pay, and frustration. I couldn't use my full potential at all. So, I decided to leave the industry after a few years and start in a more glamorous position in the cosmetics industry. I had to begin as a junior marketing coordinator and worked my way up to become a brand manager, responsible for 12 fragrance and skincare brands. After four years, I moved to London with my partner to work towards a more international career.
However, I couldn't catch up with my career in London. I was trying hard to find a job in the cosmetics industry and sent hundreds of applications, but no one was interested. So, I ended up working in tourism again, but it wasn't fulfilling. I felt like I was losing time and was built for more. I took help from a professional business coach, Ramona da Gama, who helped me define my goals, identify how I would like to work in the future, and how to reach my dream position. Working with her improved my self-confidence and gave me my strength back, which you truly lose when you get job rejections. And suddenly, success came. I could decide between a position in a big corporate or opening my own business. I chose to open Nobl Marketing & Sales in 2017, and I've never looked back.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is opening my own business in a new market. I had no one to help me with a network and finding new clients at the beginning. Through my hard work and ability to network, I was lucky to get my first clients soon, over-delivered by going the extra mile for them, and since then, usually getting new projects through referrals and business contacts.
I'm also proud of having delivered a huge event project for a US client at the very last minute. Within only three months of preparation, I planned and organised a major event series in Croatia for over 1,000 guests last summer, leading a team of 25 people.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The volatility of the markets is undoubtedly the most challenging aspect of being a business owner. You never know when the next project will come along or how secure your pipeline really is. It is difficult for me to completely adapt to the fact that financial stability is not guaranteed, and as a business owner, I am solely responsible for everything that happens in my business. I used to thrive in team environments so it can be lonely at times when you are a business owner. That's why I often collaborate with freelancers or pitch projects with a team of other experts because I believe that teamwork makes you stronger and together, you can achieve more.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't be afraid to ask for help - You cannot receive assistance if you do not seek it out. As a business owner, you are not alone, and others have the same questions as you. I usually ask for help because there is always someone in my network who can provide an answer. Connect with business contacts, post your questions on LinkedIn, or join networking groups.
- Network and collaborate - Building a strong network is half the battle! Connect with like-minded people who can provide expertise and assistance. Additionally, try to meet individuals outside of your area to gain a fresh perspective, broaden your horizons, and expand your network.
- Work with a coach - Successful athletes have performance coaches, and successful business owners should work with coaches as well. A business coach can assist with decision-making, help you identify the right vision for your business, and establish goals for what you want to achieve. A coach provides impartial, constructive criticism, motivates you, holds you accountable, and tracks your progress.
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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