Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your background/career path?
I am the founder of Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd, an international, award-winning digital media agency that helps growing global businesses to achieve their sales targets by utilising advanced technologies and strategic tactics in the ever expanding online environment.
After working for some of the biggest global media houses in the world, I decided to launch my own business in 2010, starting my journey as an entrepreneur from London, UK.
Mahon Digital Marketing specialises specifically in biddable media, website optimisation, search engine optimisation, content marketing, social media optimisation and PR activities, and currently employs 14 people in total.
Mahon Digital operates main offices from London UK, Turku Finland and most recently, Tallinn Estonia, with multiple resources across US, Europe and Asia.
I has also founded Lonely Robot Web Design agency that solely specialises in Web design and build within the UK market.
Last but not least, I have founded a Scandinavian business networking concept called The Caviar Club, which after 4 years of running, operates in Finland across 5 major cities.
I’m also a very passionate speaker, keynote, author and business mentor.
Tell me about your agency. What is it you do and what prompted you to start up your own?
My agency Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd specialises in digital marketing solutions for your clients. Main portfolio services are Google Adwords, SEO (search engine optimisation), content marketing and social media management.
I have always been passionate about marketing, and when I started my online marketing career approximately 14 years ago from a big London media house, I knew this was the industry I wanted to stay in. When I fell pregnant with my daughter 7 years ago, I dropped off the ‘rat race’ and started my own company, working from home. I wanted to have the freedom to manage and run my business and family simultaneously and this was the way to do it.
What do you think are the most important issues for developing your company culture?
I believe company culture is absolutely imperative to get right from the start, as motivating and keeping your staff/teams happy and productive contribute directly to the success of your company. As your company grows and perhaps expands to international waters (like mine did) it’s important to consider differences between country cultures and how business is conducted in various continents. As business owner, it’s crucial that I understand how people behave in various environments, what make them tick and how to deal with differences in characters and ensure that team members (even though they may be different as individuals) blend in together nicely and create a kick ass team to take the company to the next level! It’s important to have emotional intelligence and use it to motivate, inspire and enhance team’s individual and collaborative strengths.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a woman in business?
I don’t think I’ve faced unique challenges compared to men as such, all business owners have challenges which we tackle as norm each day/week, however perhaps from time to time there’s been a silly comment on me being a ‘female’ CEO, speaker, panelist, agency owner etc…. despite just CEO, speaker, panelist, agency owner and so forth. Have you ever heard of ‘Male’ CEO, speaker, panelist or agency owner? No, you haven’t. Drop the ‘female’ label please. Otherwise, as mentioned, all business owners face regular challenges, and as long as we take them on as opportunities to develop and learn, good stuff!
The Wow Company’s recent survey of 471 agency owners across the UK has the figures as Female 27% – Male 73%. Can you share your thoughts on this?
It’s unfortunate that the difference is so big between the genders owning an agency. I truly hope I could inspire the next wave of ‘female’ agency owners to the scene as I do believe the entire industry and its clients would greatly benefit of a more balanced mix of males and females managing their campaigns and activities in order to reach maximum success rates.
Do you have a mentor, or are you a member of an agency owner community?
Yes, I have a mentor, and my agency is also a part of DRUM agency network and RAR agency network. We are also members of a few Chamber of Commerce’s.
Do you feel as a female agency founder, they offer the level of support you need? Do you need additional support that isn’t currently available?
I believe we are receiving good support from our networks currently. However of course, if you are not active YOURSELF in seeking for the support you may need, no one is going to pick you up from your desk (so to speak). You need to be active in the community too, give and get. Go out there, get networking, submit to Awards, seek speaking opportunities etc. It’s a two way street.
What other female founders inspire you?
I have a mix of females that inspire me, not all founders, however individuals who have achieved amazing things. For example Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg who’s also started LeanIn, a global support network for women in business. I also have a tight circle of women business around me who inspire and motivate me each day. We push each other and we are there to provide day-to-day support when we need it. I can reach out as a friend too, which is sometimes very much needed.
What do you think makes a great agency?
Great agency is made of great people. We are in the middle of data and tech; however at the end of the day we need to remember the humans behind the data we look at. Without an amazing team, there’s simply no amazing agency. Look after your people, nurture your tribe.
What would be your one piece of advice to future female leaders?
Own your dreams and start executing them as soon as you can. Don’t wait to be ready. We are never ready, there’s never the right moment. Just start. Take it one step at a time and move forward. Surround yourself with a strong support network that can help you to achieve above and beyond your dreams and goals. Don’t be afraid to ask what you want. Don’t be afraid to take your seat at the table and let everyone hear about YOU and your amazing agency / business. Own your success. Go for it!