Written by Katie Chan
Founder of Sapiens Media Coaching, business coach Marta Ceccato tells us more about her experiences, struggles and successes since moving to the UK. As a migrant who moved countries to begin a new life and career, I wanted to find out about her journey, how she dealt with challenges and why she pursued a career in digital marketing and consulting.
What was moving to a foreign country to begin your career like, and how did the struggles you experienced affect your career?
It was not what I had expected, especially because I had moved on my own and it was my first time in London. I had a degree and thought I spoke the language, so thought it would be easier for me to find a job. But when I got here, I realised my English wasn’t as good as I thought. It was quite hard to find an office job, so the first few months I was living with the money that I saved prior to coming to the UK. I then decided to take a job as a nanny – I was too ambitious to go back home, so I decided to stay and give it a go. While I was working as a nanny I also worked at McDonald’s, and both jobs allowed me to earn enough to sign up to an English school, improve English; I kept applying to jobs and then got my first customer service role. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise at the time, this role was based outside of London. Due to my naivety, I took the job not realising the money I was getting was even enough to cover a train ticket. So it has been quite tough.
I met a lot of people in my situation that helped me; I managed to build a network of people around me that were both sharing the same struggles but also the same aspirations, taking the same courses, and willing to help each other. For example, the first job I got was through a colleague at McDonald’s. Having a kind of family around you that supports you, there was such a strong bond in terms of what we wanted to achieve, that it was our motivation to push and support each other. When I was flat sharing, I lived with a lot of people who are still my friends today despite them not being in the UK.
What inspired you to move into the industry, and what do you aim to achieve with your business today?
It was by chance. I applied for a role in a small start-up that was acquired by Google. For somebody that spoke different languages and was keen to learn new things, I loved it. I also had a diploma in web design and web development, so my tech background helped a lot. It was early days for marketing and advertising. I loved the fact that it was fast-paced and there was always something new; I found it so challenging and interesting that I decided to carry on. I took a qualification in marketing, climbed up the career ladder and ended up working for some of the biggest brands. That’s how I got to do what I do now.
Today, I’m a social media and online marketing consultant and founder of Sapiens Media Coaching. I work mainly with small businesses, and I help them to harness the power of digital marketing through their business. If you want to reach and scale up the business, the best channel is through online marketing tools. So while you work on a smaller scale, at networking events or by word of mouth, if you want to go global, you need to work with channels that allow you to get this international reach. Having been in the industry for 15 years I have realised that big companies like Google and Facebook don’t have resources to dedicate to smaller businesses; generally smaller businesses have less money, skills and resources, meaning they invest less in marketing, or are too scared.
So really, that motivated me to use my knowledge and expertise to help those smaller businesses succeed and feeling more confident in having a marketing budget, investing more, and making informed decisions whenever they outsource or look at ways to drive results.
What is a piece of advice that you would give to other entrepreneurs?
The saying perfectionism kills success is something I empathise with and suffer with myself. You always try to do everything perfectly and have everything in line – when you start up a business especially, you want to give the best impression. But if you always wait for all your social media posts to be ready, or your site to be live, you’ll never get to do everything, so sometimes you have to compromise on that. If it’s not perfect, next time it will be perfect – but at least you put yourself out there, doing something to get yourself and your business known.
What are your plans for the future, professionally and personally?
Professionally I intend to grow the business, to have a small team of people working with me, and I would like to start delivering some in-person training. On the personal side, I guess again just to grow my business and be happy. My goal is to have the flexibility where I don’t have to work 24/7, to get to a point where I can take time off. I love doing charity work, so ideally I would like to get to a point where in my week I can decide that I would like to dedicate that to charity work.
For example, I currently work with companies that help homeless people to come up with a business and marketing strategy. I’m also a STEM ambassador, advocating in schools to kids who are considering taking on STEM subjects. They are really important subjects for the economy in the UK. Sometimes the kids lack direction of guidance from their family or teachers, so they may be reluctant to learn more. It helps to have someone like me who has been in the industry, and tech background, who can respond to their questions, encouraging them to take on a new career.
More information can be found on the Sapiens Media Coaching Instagram page.
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