Success Stories - Caren Carrasco
Caren Carrasco - Venezuelan Immigrant in Montreal. Marketer and Co-Founder of Benjamin David is our first Success Story of 2019 and we can’t be more excited to share her journey as an immigrant woman with you. We decided to open our succesful immigrant series with such an example from our women’s community.
Tell us about your and your business
I am Venezuelan born and raised and became Canadian a couple of years ago. I have been living in Montreal for 7 years and as an immigrant, I have always had a positive attitude and my thoughts are that all will be fine. I started my business a little over two years, me and my business partner are passionate about Marketing and we offer services to any type and size of businesses. From Community management all the way to digital advertising. We are a high efficiency team of 18 consultants, very focused on the growth of our customers business.
We have a focus on offering our Marketing services to Funded Startups where besides offering our services, we invest in them as we see potential for growth. We also work with bigger customers in Retail and Travel industries, and some of our clients are: Cirque du Soleil, La Vie en Rose, Canada Stays, among others.
What has been the most difficult challenge to overcome as an immigrant?
I once read that an immigrant grieves their entire life. You do not belong to the country you moved to, and little by little, you stop belonging to your home country as well. The most difficult part for me has been that gray area, and the best I can do is to integrate well in my new city. With that mindset, I have always been open to meet new people, have new experiences and expand my network. (We couldn’t agree more!)
What motivated you to make a change and start this business (Benjamin-David)?
I have always been very active in the search of opportunities, always responding to calls and open to listen to new ideas. This business came to me as an opportunity that was presented by my business partner. It was not an easy decision, I analyzed everything with a high level of detail. I came to understand that if I wanted to achieve something big, I had to take some risks and go with many unknowns.
Today I can say with certainty that this was the best decision and that the key is to be open to opportunities and be in communication with my network. I always had that Entrepreneurial spirit in me, but I really never did anything to explore it; that is why making this decision was easy when the opportunity presented itself.
One thing that made this also fit into my life was the fact that the business is centered in something where my skills are high: Marketing. It was different to conceive a business based on services and not in products, as I have always thought entrepreneurship would come. In this case the product is me: my knowledge and my time, and I knew there was a need and a market for it.
What habits/routines do you practice to keep yourself focused?
I always write my goals and review them frequently. I am also always reading about those goals and understanding what is the best way to achieve them, study if someone else has made it happen this way or if there are new ways/techniques to achieve them. I read everything I find online!
As a company, every year we write our OKR (Objectives and Key Results) and we divide them by each key member of the team and we determine roles and responsibilities for each. We measure our KPI’s frequently - weekly actually - to measure how we are progressing against our goal.
What has been the most difficult to overcome/achieve/do in this path and what has brought you the most satisfaction?
The most difficult has been growth, both personally and in my business. It is hard as an Entrepreneur to understand that one day you do it all - from Business Strategy to Payroll - and as you grow, you have to delegate some pieces to others, who are great at what they do and who can generate excellent results as well. As our growth was very accelerated, it was a slow process for me. I am still struggling to deal with the fact that I have a team executing the vision and ideas we create.
The most satisfaction comes from the relationship we have built with our customers. We started with nothing and now we have built something that many companies trust in. That trust is priceless. And this multiplies when our customers make referrals, because this means they are satisfied with us.
For us to say that we have big companies like Cirque du Soleil as clients makes us proud, and to know that we achieved this because we are good at what we do, is priceless.
What is success for you?
Success for me is every day we open the doors of our business operation. Having the responsibility of the payroll of 18 people is a big commitment. We also depend on our clients and their satisfaction, which can create some anxiety in us. So to know that we grow each day makes me feel satisfied and if we have been able to make this happen in the last 2 years, I am confident we can do it for 20 more. And this means we have been successful in our mission.
Another aspect that makes me feel satisfied is the fact that I can do what I love and I can have a family at the same time. It is never easy, I have had to be away from them from time to time, have long nights where I work, but still I have been able to create balance and be active with them while growing a 7-figure business. This is success for me!
For those women that have an idea, a spark of inspiration, but they have fear in becoming an entrepreneur, what advice do you have for them?
“We women can do everything and more, it’s like we have this internal force do make many things happen BUT we have to understand that like everything else in life, we need support.”
A good support network is key when becoming an entrepreneur, from selecting the appropriate business partner to making the right decision for your life partner. A partner that doesn’t understand long nights, commitments and work load of the woman entrepreneur will make a business stall. We need to have supportive partners, they are co-creators of our success as much as we are, because thanks to the support they give us, we can give more time to our business.
And in business, to select the proper business partner is SUPER IMPORTANT. You will spend more time with this person than you will spend with your own partner and family. You have to complement each other and have a healthy and honest relationship. A partnership in business is like marriage: there will be good days, and bad ones, but if you have chosen the right person, you will overcome the obstacles and problems. And overall, don’t choose someone that will always agree with you, choose someone that will challenge your ideas, and with whom you can have heated discussions, open and intense. This is key!
Thank you Caren for your support and collaboration with Our Little Venice :) you are a true example to follow.
Caren Carrasco is Senior Partner and Co-Founder of Benjamin-David. When she is not working and growing her business, she is a busy mom of 2 and a strong contributor of the immigrant community as a mentor and a success story. You can contact her via LinkedIn or her own website.
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