In January it will be exactly one year since I launched Boguslavsky & Co, a digital strategy agency, in the UAE. Instead of another 'what I've learnt from running my own business this past year' blog post, I wanted to compile a list of all the FAQs that I have encountered this year - I get asked loads of questions about running my own business so hopefully this will help fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners, or anyone debating about starting their own business in this region.
Why did you launch a digital strategy agency here in the UAE?
After working for almost a year at a corporate advertising agency in Dubai and seeing the demand for a skilled digital agency aimed at the SME market, I saw the opportunity for my business and the timing was perfect so I just took the plunge and went for it. I haven't looked back since.
One of the most important aspects of running your own business?
Cash flow. Always making sure there is a healthy cash flow.
One of the toughest aspects of running your own business in the UAE?
The annual business license cost - it's so damn expensive when compared to the cost of running a business in South Africa.
Some of your biggest challenges this year?
Finding quality team members - smart, reliable, dedicated people. Not an easy feat.
Also, working with clients in different time zones - so many 5.30am work sessions and 10pm phone meetings this year.
Do you have nice clients?
I am very lucky in terms of my clients, majority that I have worked with have been encouraging and trusting. The one or two that have been overly demanding, under paying, and generally just toxic to my business, I made sure to end those contracts as soon as possible. Once you do this for a while, you get a great feel for clients and which relationships will be a good fit for you and your agency.
Highlight from this year work wise?
Signing 'Before I Disappear', an US film based on an Academy Awards winning short film, as a client.
How did you end up working with Hollywood?
I was lucky enough to have met one of the producers earlier this year and I worked with him on another project, and then spent the next three months pitching for the film project. Somehow, incredibly, it all fell into place, and I got the opportunity to work on the amazing film project that is 'Before I Disappear'
Any regrets or anything you would have done differently this year?
Yes, so many things, but can be narrowed down to 1) costing a phenomenal graphic designer for every single project (something I will definitely be doing going forward next year), 2) more detailed client contracts to manage expectations even better, and 3) trusting my instincts more when it comes to hiring/firing people.
Have you seen any benefits from doing PR for your business?
Overwhelmingly, yes. This interview feature on The Media Network website lead to so many amazing things for my business. Plus I have benefited greatly from the opportunity to contribute to Entrepreneur Middle East magazine.
Any exciting projects planned for 2015?
Loads. And working on more. It's going to be a busy year!