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An Interview with Melissa Williams, Owner and Co-founder of WNY Holdings LLC

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Melissa Williams, the owner, and co-founder of WNY Holdings LLC, has given an exclusive interview.

 WNY Holdings LLC is a customer-focused digital marketing company that was started in 2018 to provide tailored marketing strategies for small businesses. WNY Holdings helps restaurants, coffee shops, and retailers with all their digital marketing needs, from content marketing, web and graphic design, media creation, SEO, all the way to Facebook advertising.

  1. Tell me about your best and worst days at work.

My best days at work are when I get to create connections with small business owners and help them build their online presence and improve their digital marketing efforts. It is the most fulfilling part of my job – knowing that by leveraging my knowledge I am able to impact their results.

The worst days are when things happen that are out of my control. Because even our company’s SEO efforts can be very unpredictable at times. And it’s something I am learning to deal with because there are so many things in life that are out of our control.

  1. Who are the clients/what are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

I enjoy working with clients who I’ve known for a while because we have trust and rapport already in place. They trust me with the most important part of their businesses – their brand image, and how their customers perceive them. That’s a very big responsibility to help them all shine in their own way.

Building those connections with clients is what I enjoy the most. That’s a reason why I didn’t pursue an accounting career after graduation. I like to work with numbers, but client-facing projects are my favorite.

  1. What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?

My biggest ‘a-ha’ moment was when I met Ben – my husband, and business partner. We run WNY Holdings together, and without him, the company wouldn’t be the same.

I remember a conversation we had about our future plans. We both had corporate jobs at the time, and both of us shared this feeling that something was missing; we didn’t have enough creativity at our jobs, and we wanted to do more. We were eating breakfast one morning and Ben mentioned that one of his friends needed help with his business’s social media profiles. When I heard him say it, it felt like a lightbulb went off in my head.

  1. What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

The most important part of my professional journey is self-development. I really think that nowadays it’s not enough to just have a profession. You should always be learning and improving your skills. We get different clients from various backgrounds and most of the time I am able to relate to them because for the most part business owners share this quality.

  1. Have you ever turned down a client, a project, or a business opportunity? If so, why?

Yes, we had to turn down a business opportunity, actually pretty recently. One of our competitors in the area proposed that we merge our companies. After a long discussion we declined because even though we are a fairly new business, Ben and I have our own vision of how we wanted to grow WNY Holdings and which direction to take in the future.

  1. What risks is your company facing?

Like I’ve mentioned before, we are in a competitive space. There are many digital marketing companies in the market. But what makes us different is the client relationships with small business owners. When you are dealing with small business owners it’s almost like a family bond, they often invite us to their company gatherings and we invite them to our parties. You can not beat personal relationships and trust, and that’s where we stand out.

  1. What would you do with unlimited resources?

I would definitely invest them in our business. Ben and I have so many plans regarding how we want to grow WNY Holdings. There are also so many social causes we would like to support. One of them is cyberbullying. It is definitely a big issue in the U.S and worldwide, and as a digital marketing company we see how it can negatively affect individuals and companies.

  1. When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

I often lose track of time when I work on clients’ digital marketing strategy. Because there is a lot of research that goes into it, and there are multiple aspects I have to account for. But crafting a unique strategy and defining tactics on how to achieve our client’s goals is something that I can do for hours without realizing that time has passed by.

  1. What do you do when you’re not at work?

So many things. I try to be active during my free time because my job entails a lot of sitting. I go skiing, hiking, and I spend time outdoors with my husband Ben and our two dogs. We also like to try different foods, so we often go out to check out a new restaurant in the area, or visit our go-to places.

  1. How do you feel you make a difference in the world?

I think that we all are able to make a difference in the world one interaction at a time. So I focus on the task at hand – if I am talking to a client, I put away all my devices and truly listen to their needs. I think there are a lot of distractions around us, and especially as a founder of a digital marketing company, I know the importance of building real long-term client relationships one interaction at a time.

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Interview

An Interview with Adam Ferrari, Founder & CEO of Ferrari Energy

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Adam Ferrari is the Founder & CEO of Ferrari Energy. Born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL, Adam is the grandson of an Italian immigrant coal miner. Adam firmly believes that the oil and gas industry not just keeps America moving forward but the industry also provides good-paying jobs for millions of blue-collar men and women across America. For him, it is important to support the oil and gas industry.

Success should be followed by giving back to the society and through the successes at Ferrari Energy, the company has been able to give back to various organizations in the greater Denver and Chicago regions.

We recently got a chance to Interview Adam Ferrari.

Adam, Thank you so much for talking with us. For any entrepreneur, every new day brings its own challenges. Tell me about your best and worst days at work.

Thanks for having me. My best workdays are the days we close transactions that are mutually beneficial to both our company and client. Leading up to these closings are key milestones in both software development and service enhancements that result in an amazing sense of achievement. The days where the fruit of all the hard work is visible are most definitely the best days. The worst days consist of moments where world events outside of our control impact our business negatively. For example, the initial COVID-19 restrictions and the more recent ones have been very challenging for our business and many other small businesses. However, if it were not for the challenging times, we would not appreciate the good times as much!

What are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

We get the most enjoyment in earning the business of a client that does not think they need our services. Taking a hard ‘No’ to a resounding ‘Yes’ is quite exhilarating, and we get to experience that quite often. In terms of projects, the projects we engage in are cutting-edge, so they are all quite enjoyable. Developing the code to run valuation models across the assets in our universe is a never-ending project that is very enjoyable to work on.

What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?

Being able to accurately forecast cash flow from all asset types in our space via automation. We had our ‘a-ha’ moment during one particular whiteboard session, and it all came together nicely. I cannot give away any more than this here as this is our secret sauce! 

What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

Practicing humility! Having too much success early in one’s professional journey can be detrimental to discernment. Possessing and practicing humility will allow you to remain open minded and to hear others voice opinions and concerns in a way that will lead to better outcomes most often. I firmly believe a foundation in humility is critical to have lasting success in business.  

What are some of the risks that your company is currently facing?

There is growing sentiment in the world that oil and gas are evil. This flies in the face of real economic data and the physics of energy generation and consumption, but nonetheless, this current sentiment poses longer-term risks to our business. I believe that physics and economics will prevail in the long run, but only time will tell. 

What would you do with unlimited resources?

I would have every title document ever filed in the United States reviewed and ensure key information was extracted from each document. There is no software solution for this task yet, thus the need for manual human involvement. This information would give us a massive competitive advantage over every other company in our space.

When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

I lost myself while reflecting on the highs and lows of the past four years of my life. Some people suggest you should look forward and not backward, but I found this moment and others like it to be incredibly useful and nourishing to my soul. Being deeply in tune with our own unique journey is critical to moving forward with a clear and focused mind. 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I love to travel and experience other cultures. This is critical to ensure I keep the challenges faced by me and my business in proper perspective.

Through Adam Ferrari scholarship, you are already in the path of changing lives. What more do you feel you can do to make a difference in the world?

Yes, we are fortunate and proud to empower the future generations of health science professionals through this scholarship. We also support the development of domestic energy reserves, which ultimately leads to a higher standard of living for hundreds of millions of people in America. We are incredibly proud of this fact.  However, there is a lot that we need to do.

 

 

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Interview

An Interview with Mariana Toncu, Founder of Bestyn, a Social Media App for Neighbors

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Bestyn is a multifunctional app that makes it easy for neighbors to connect, share information, and collaborate. Apart from helping neighbors connect, Bestyn also acts as a marketplace for neighbors located in the same communities and enclaves. Bestyn also ensures that users never miss local events like garage sales, birthday parties, charity events, and more serious community events, like death or accident.

In short Bestyn is meant to change the way communities interact. We recently interviewed its founder Mariana Toncu to know more about the app.

Mariana, Thank you for talking with us. Bestyn has just entered the market. What is your number one goal with this app?

Thanks for having me. Our number one goal is to enable easy connections between neighbors. A lot of apps that are available right now don’t have the ability to use maps tactfully to understand who is around. You may have neighbors with special skills that you are looking for. For instance, they can advise you for free just because they are in your area and they can help you with your needs as a good neighbor. But how do you get to them? This is where our app comes into the picture. Apart from this, we also want to reduce costs for the people in the neighborhood for different tasks. Using our app, people will have to pay less for marketing and advertising which can be really helpful for small businesses.

What were the initial challenges that you faced in your endeavor?

Right now there’s a lot of information everywhere and it’s kind of hard to select the right information and also it’s kind of hard to find the team and explain to build the right app that people can join and stay connected with their community. It’s not that there is a dearth of good people but it’s very hard to put to them to work together for one idea. Moreover, when you are launching a new app, it’s another challenge to find what exactly people are experiencing using your app and what exactly is their feedback about the app.

How and when did you come up with the idea of Bestyn app?

I am an immigrant from Eastern Europe and I came here a couple of years ago. I was stuck when it came to communicating with neighbors and connecting with the community where I’m living. In the market, there are a couple of apps but because they do not have a friendly interface, people don’t want to use them. People want something like easy access and at the same time stay updated with news and post news.

One of the biggest issues in modern day society is the fact that a neighbor does not know his or her own neighbor. How does Bestyn solve this problem and help people connect with their neighbors?

Bestyn has come up with some features that no app has. For example, a user can post events. This, I think is one of the amazing things that the user can share with his community. Another amazing feature is that you can access the map and you can instantly see who is around you and also you can message him and ask for a piece of advice or ask for help.

A lot of features are still under development but we are more than happy to receive the feedback and get more information about what has to be done and what people want from their community and neighborhood.

Bestyn is more than connecting people with their neighbors. Tell us more about those features.

The closest person to your house is basically your neighbor. In case of emergency, your neighbor can be of great help. Your neighbor is around you. By accessing the map you’ll be able to see all your neighbors around you and for safety. For obvious safety reasons, you will not be able to see the exact address of your neighbors. However, your neighbors will be able to know about it. You don’t have to go to their doors and knock them. That’s why you can ask through Bestyn app for advice and help instantly.

App security is a major concern nowadays. What preventive measures have been taken by Bestyn?

It’s true that app security has become a cause for concern. When it comes to Bestyn, you are going to share your address with the app which will help us serve you better, but when somebody will take a look at your profile, they are not going to see the exact address where you are. So the app is going to indicate just the street in the city where you are. Thus your exact location is not going to get divulged.

Also, you will be able to see people in a radius of 10 miles. Thus the concept of neighborhood remains intact.

Which locations do you serve?

We designed this app to cover all areas and countries so pretty much everyone who has a phone and wants to join this community. By joining this app now, you may help other people that will join this app later. We encourage everyone to join this platform and also the people who use this app to invite their neighbors and stay connected during this tough time.

What plans do you have regarding the expansion of Bestyn. Especially during the ongoing pandemic.

Bestyn App is going to come up with more features for the users. It’s going to be hard initially so we are going to first translate our app in the most spoken 15 languages, and bring more features that will reduce the cost of everything from services to ride-sharing, sending money, and just selling products and scaling businesses.

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Interview

Want to know How a 27 Year Old Bought a Beach Lot? Find out in this Interview with Trishie Dela Cruz, Founder of Bride and Rose

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The ongoing pandemic has made things hard for most of the entrepreneurs worldwide. Businesses, big or small, have suffered a lot during this pandemic. However, the situation has opened doors of opportunity for some individuals too. So why wouldn’t we Interview someone who managed to buy a beach lot when many are being forced to liquidate their assets.

Trishie Dela Cruz is one such Entrepreneur who managed to buy a beach lot when many are struggling to pay their bills because of the pandemic. An entrepreneur at heart since her childhood, Trishie is the founder of Bride and Rose. We recently interviewed her to know more about her success and her overall entrepreneurial journey.

Trishie, Thank you for talking with us. Kindly describe your journey as an Entrepreneur so far.

I started being an Entrepreneur way back 2012 and I had 2 careers in 2 different industries before I finally ended up here on the final path that I am already in.

First, I was a full time blogger, I attended events and promoted products, then I had a privilege to do solo traveling, and I loved it so much that I opened up a backpacking Travel agency and became a Travel Expert. I lead team buildings and developed a backpacking prototype.

I lost my time in blogging and focused in traveling the world and running my agency. Unfortunately, competition became very high and travel deals became lower and lower that it was hard for me to compete anymore. The stress that the business gave me was not worth it. When my husband and I moved to a house from a condominium, we bought tools such as circular saw and built our own furniture using 2nd hand palettes.

I shared it on my social media and blogs. One of my readers wanted something similar for her wedding. She asked us to do a bohemian table made of palettes. And then that’s how when it opened doors to wedding industry. We built those bohemian tables, I outsourced suppliers and I created wedding packages, which was by that time, not a trend.

I found what I really love. Ever since I was a kid, I loved beautiful things, flowers, laces and fabrics, jewelries. I backed up my career by enrolling to courses such as Professional Events Management in Enderun, attended the Teddy Manuel Master Class, and took Interior Styling at SOFA(School of Fashion and The Arts). I am now a wedding designer and own a concept store of all things beautiful. My happy place, my childhood dream ❤️

Of all those years, despite the different industries I’ve been in to, there are two things that I never stopped doing. Building/creating and selling. When I was a blogger, I built my own walk in closet, I built an office for my travel agency, and now, I have built 2 boutiques for my wedding designing career. But there’s no smooth sailing in business especially when you’re starting. There are many ups and downs. I even built a nail spa and salon and closed it down in less than a year. That’s why the 2nd thing is selling. On  the side of my careers, I always make sure to have many streams of income. I am resourceful, I always have something to sell anything under the sun, but discretely; That I am not broadcasting or showing to public.

Before my entrepreneurial days started, I was a rebel. I parted here and there. I went to every night clubs in the metro. I’ve seen how drugs and alcohol change people and ruin lives. I was young that time and I already saw the importance of time and the value of what we do in life. One day, it put me an end and realized that all those selfless nights wont give me a direction in life. I graduated early on that kind of phase in life. I learned the hardships in life early. After that phase in life, I lost my privilege of studying in a way. However, I wanted to study. I wanted to achieve things and get what I want. That’s why I started to dream and focus on my goals. That’s when I started blogging, it was my first source of income, and I was 19yrs old. It was also the age that I was able to buy my own car. I started to decide what are my dreams and goals in life, early; and I think that was my edge.

You are just 27 and have achieved success which many envy. When the world is reeling down under corona pressure, you managed to buy a beach front lot. Mind sharing some of the secrets with our readers?

It was really one of my dreams to have a beach front house. It’s been quite awhile already that I was looking for a beach lot, even before the pandemic. But most properties for sale are sold by hectares. I stayed up to date with the trend, I saw a developer selling beach front lots but the beach is a black sand, so it’s a no for me. But I know that many developers will develop same idea- into a different beach. And I was right,  there were new developers across the country who started selling smaller cuts of beach front lots. And it is fast selling! So, with the savings I had, I took advantage of it. And it’s a bonus that lots are cheaper during these days of pandemic.

Wedding industry has been hit hard by this pandemic.  How did you manage to survive this pandemic?

Yes this is 100% applicable to me. My business was really affected. First, weddings were not allowed. 2nd, malls were shut down, and one of my boutique is located in a mall.

I am never a quitter. I took advantages of the opportunities. I took advantage of my digital skills and I have and focused on online marketing. I took advantage of being seen more by audience since almost every person is in the house, browsing the internet. I took advantage that we were one of the firsts in the industry that started intimate weddings even before the pandemic started. I took advantage of my extra time to research and redevelop our business plans and strategies, and as well as to improve things that need to be improved such as websites, our social media feed, portfolios, etc.

How and when did you come up with the idea of Bride and Rose?

The idea of Bride and Rose concept store started when I was in New York. It was inspired by Kleinfeild- Kleinfeild is the largest bridal shop in the city that carries different designer bridal gowns. If it worked in the western countries and is being patronized already for decades (since 1968), then it will definitely work here in Philippines too.

Few days before I traveled to New York, I attended a short curriculum at Harvard University in Boston that teaches us how to prototype and innovate.

I wanted to innovate Klienfield Bridal by adding a working space for different wedding suppliers, because I’ve seen that there are many suppliers such as coordinators, hosts, invitation suppliers etc. who do good in the industry but don’t have something they called their own office or space.

The moment I went back to the Philippines, I started the prototype and that was my first wedding concept store boutique- Shabby Chic Style Studio.  The prototype was a success, and after 2 years working almost 24hrs to run this business, I am already confident enough that Bride and Rose will work. Using my savings, and getting investors to add more to the capital, we then built Bride and Rose.

How do you think you can share your success to others and Please share some mantras with our readers so that they can also achieve their pie of success.

“Never Stop Dreaming Your Dreams” this is my 2nd tattoo(out of 8), in my wrist. It was a quotation from my mom and I lived to that. Never stop dreaming because your dreams are what will drive you to do and achieve your goals in life. Dream big and inspire people. And help people in any ways that you can help even in  the tiniest things because blessings will come back double. Value people who share the same dreams with you.

Also, I love studying and I invested a lot in my education because I believe that it is important to invest in yourself. Not only I pay for experiences, I buy books and PDFs of information, formulas, and resources. It cost me a lot and recently, I made an E- library of these resources and I’m selling it just for fraction of the price. I believe that this E-Library will be helpful to anyone who is struggling in business or who just started their business or those who want to start their business.

You can buy the E-library resource here: https://brideandrose.com/products/zero-to-six-figures-online-business-e-library?_pos=1&_sid=4d1866847&_ss=r

Trishie dela Cruz blogs here and is also available on Instagram

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