Behind the Biz: Nevenka Moulakas
We’re back with our first Behind the Biz interview of 2019 *throws confetti* with none other than the wonderful Nevenka Moulakas!
With an impressive background in media and marketing, Nev took the leap to work for herself as a freelance Digital Marketer last year.
As expected, Nev dished out some absolute gold and her answers were the perfect blend of relatable, inspirational and educational.
What are you waiting for – grab a cuppa and get reading!
Who’s That Girl?
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m Nevenka, but everyone who gets to know me calls me Nev! I was named after my Mum, and my name means ‘marigold’. I live in Melbourne with my husband, am the oldest of five daughters, and would eat pizza and pasta for the rest of my days if I could. Oh, and I’m a Digital Marketer who helps small businesses become known for their special something!
What’s in store for you in 2019?
My focus business-wise is to really carve out my niche. I am also releasing an eBook for purchase which is exciting. And scary.
On a personal note, my mantra this year is “I am vibrant and energised”, so I’ll be doing things that feed this… For me that’s time outdoors, eating well, moving my body, being around people that lift me up, and taking time out when I feel the need.
I’d also love to own my own home by end of the year.
What was it like living in Melbourne?
I love the energy Melbourne has. The bars don’t shut early, there is good coffee (nearly) everywhere, you can see brilliant comedians on an average week day, live music is actually a thing, and there is a general buzz in the city.
But to be honest, I’m a Sydney girl through-and-through, so I don’t dig the Melbourne winters, yearn for the beach and harbour, and of course miss my fam and friends!
What is home to you?
This is such a good question! Within 10 months I moved from Sydney to Auckland, and from Auckland to Melbourne, so I have had to make myself at home in new cities twice in short succession. I’ve learned that home is more a mindset and spiritual feeling, rather than a physical place. It is where you feel mentally and emotionally settled and feel comfortable and safe returning to.
What was your professional background prior to launching your own digital marketing studio?
I started my career in music, creating and managing marketing strategies for Inertia Music’s roster of artists, including big names like Sia and Adele. I then worked for ACP Magazines (now Bauer Media), marketing a portfolio of mags, and then moved into digital marketing roles with tech startups in music streaming and SaaS, and also the government.
I’ve loved gaining experience across varied industries. The common thread has been being customer-focused – which is the number one thing I bring to my own business, and what I always tell my clients.
Did you complete any formal studies or are you self taught?
I completed a Bachelor of Communication at uni, and continue to upskill through courses and self-teaching.
I am also a qualified yoga teacher and would love to get back into teaching down the track.
What inspired you to choose a path in digital marketing?
I actually started my degree thinking I’d major in Public Relations, but as my time at uni went on, I realised that marketing was way better! Sorry PR mavens! I preferred the thought of buying space and controlling the conversation through marketing messages, as opposed to leaving it up to the media.
At the beginning of my career, digital marketing was a relatively new thing (yes, I’m that old!) Facebook as a social media platform was still a baby, there was no such thing as Instagram, and it wasn’t uncommon for marketing budget to be spent on outdoor and mag advertising. It’s been pretty cool to see how we talk to people change over time.
What’s your top three tips for new businesses wanting to up their marketing game?
- Know your customer
I bang on about this a lot because it is gosh darn important! If you’re clear on who your ideal customer is, then you know how your product or service helps them, solves their problems and fits into their lives. You also will know where to reach them and speak to them in a way that they react positively to.
- Add value
Every bit of marketing you create – whether it be a social media post, email newsletter, digital ad, or eBook/guide – should be valuable to your ideal customer. Will it leave your audience knowing more that they did previously? Does it entertain and bring a smile to their face? Does it make them feel something?
- Aim to solve a problem, not sell something
No one likes being sold to, so if you know your customer inside-out, understand their pain points, and develop marketing content that solves their problems, then that’s great marketing.
What’s a common mistake that you see a lot of brands make online?
Creating content or advertising that are not about the customer at all, and are more for the brand or individual’s ego. It gets my goat and isn’t effective whatsoever.
Do you need to have a big budget to see big results (with ads)?
Not at all! If you are clear on exactly what you aim to achieve from your digital advertising, target your customers correctly and have a kick-arse landing page, you’ll naturally get great conversions and won’t need much money to spend.
Do you have a favourite/most memorable project?
It’s hard to pick only one… Seeing one of my first strategy clients Grace & Maggie go from strength-to-strength in their business has been special. I enjoyed diving into the business ahead of their launch, and helping them create something from scratch will be forever memorable.
What was it like launching your own business?
It all happened quite quickly. I was looking for full-time work here in Melbourne and two freelance opportunities came up in the same week. I listened to the universe, stopped job hunting, and threw all my eggs into the girl boss basket! I didn’t really overthink it.
You know what though? The scariest part was announcing it to my friends and family. It made the fear of failure real. I’m lucky to have super supportive people around me, but the thought of falling flat on my face in front of them was frightening.
What is your point of difference from other social media experts in the biz?
I wouldn’t call myself a social media expert as I look at digital marketing from a holistic perspective, but I think there are two things:
- I love seeing my clients succeed, and helping them achieving those results for them is my primary motivator. I’m outcomes-focused and results-driven.
- I get right in there and find out the ins and outs of a client’s business before doing any work. This means I fully understand their business and deliver quality work that’s unique, bespoke and tailored to them.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out in marketing?
Get trained or teach yourself the key tools of the trade – Facebook Ads Manager, Google Analytics and Google Ads. You need these practical skills in order to do any digital marketing these days.
What is the best part about running your own biz?
Oh there are so many good parts! However, I think putting out fantastic work that helps my clients is the best bit. Their success is my success, as corny as it sounds!
And the worst/most challenging?
Keeping the belief in myself alive and kicking is tough. I know I do bloody great work, but it’s easy for Doubting Debbie to set in from time-to-time.
How do you use/interact with copywriting in your day to day business life? Do you use it at all?
All. The. Time.
Last year I was writing a blog article each week on all things digital marketing, and quickly learned that regular blogging is hard work! It takes discipline and creativity to write quality posts, and I want the standard to stay up there as I get busier, so I’ll be dropping down to once a fortnight in 2019.
I also write copy for websites for some clients, social media content for others, and of course write my own social media content.
What’s something that people don’t see/realise that you do (the nitty gritty, behind the scenes stuff)?
I handle all my own finances and projections. I’m a bit of a spreadsheet nerd so revel in looking at my forecasting for the quarter!
And of course: what inspires you?
Women doing amazing things, big and small. My friends who are working mothers, my sister who bought her own home by herself, women who run super successful businesses, those who make drastic career changes, speaking out for causes they believe in… I’m constantly inspired by other women!
How do you take your tea (or coffee)?
Soy cap, no sugar OR a fancy filter coffee.
Fave coffee shops/cafes at home
I’m spoilt here in Melbourne as there are just so many. Industry Beans has both good coffee and awesome food so I’ll go with them!
Go to outfit
If I’m working at home, it’s a tee and my “comfy pants”, wide leg linens. If I’m out and about, high-waisted bottoms with an interesting top.
Coming out the other side of three or so years of accidents, loss, upheaval, unsettledness, homesickness, and constant change and flux has proven to myself that I’m resilient and strong. A lot of people could have collapsed in a heap, so I’m proud of myself for the way I’ve pulled through.
Tuesdays are my Sundays! So my ideal Tuesday is a bit of a lie-in, followed by a slow morning of coffee and brekky at a cafe with my husband. If the weather is good, then some time outside in the park or taking a walk, ending with a home cooked meal and listening to records.
I have been loving Offline The Podcast hosted by Alison Rice. I also adore an all-consuming book, and the last I read of that persuasion was ‘When The World Was Whole’ by Fiona Wright.
Ultimate travel destination
Italy! I’ve been before and would go back in a heartbeat. It has it all… Amazing food, beaches, culture, nightlife, fashion… I could go on and on.
We hope you’re loving this interview series as much as we are! We are curious in nature, and very much enjoy learning the ins and outs of business and start up stories from other female entrepreneurs.
If you have another wonderful lady in mind that you’d like us to interview, drop a comment below or straight to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until the next brew,
Rust Creative helps women in their twenties fast-track finding their purpose. Through 1:1 coaching, group programs and specialised resources, we offer women clarity and direction so that they can ENJOY the most exciting decade of their lives. And tea, always tea.
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