#WIB – Q&A With Carla Viljoen Founder Of Elysian Digital Agency

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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

A. I own and manage Elysian Digital Agency, which as the name states is a digital agency 😊 I chose the name “Elysian” just because it is such a beautiful word, but the meaning (To be beautiful or creative, divinely inspired) really resonated with me and what I want my clients to experience when working with Elysian. We specialize in all forms of digital marketing, from social media, web development, app development all the way to graphic design and email marketing.

2. When, how and why did you start your business?

A. I started Elysian very ‘impulsively’. I have always known that I want to be an entrepreneur and thought about entering this market specifically about 2 years ago, but fear and comfort zones kept me from it. I spent the last 1-2 years focusing most of my time on personal development, growing my knowledge, and preparing myself for this. I didn’t plan on starting Elysian when I did, but life happened and I had to choose between looking for another job, or just taking the plunge, starting the business and running with it! I officially started Elysian in January 2020 and was very fortunate to have found an investor very early on. Although I was not looking for funding, it has helped a lot, but more in the sense of having that extra support and guidance from someone who has more experience and knowledge of the business world.

3. What is your role in the business?

A. I am the founder and managing director. For now, I do all the digital marketing work since my business does not yet have the need to employ full-time staff, however, we do make use of freelancers from time to time when the workload is just too much for me.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

A. I studied Communication Sciences at UNISA but gained all of my knowledge of digital marketing via self-study, Udemy courses and loads of reading & research. I think we are so blessed to live in an era where knowledge is at our fingertips, and I have never believed that a degree or diploma should stand in anyone’s way of achieving their goals.

5. How did you finance your business?

A. As mentioned above, I have a business partner who also owns shares in Elysian and provided funding. When I decided to enter the digital marketing industry, I was excited because it is such a fast-growing industry, but you also don’t need thousands to get a company up and running. I believe one of the biggest myths out there is that you need money to make money.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

A. I have no idea what that even means! 😊 It is never 100% consistent, and one of my biggest adjustments has been to work from home and still remain focussed on work and not getting distracted. I am a huge fan of routines and to-do lists, schedules, etc. I always wake up at the same time and give myself set working hours with scheduled breaks in between, unless I am on the road for meetings. I generally work about 10-12 hours per day, and force myself to limit my working hours over weekends, unless I have a massive deadline – this helps me with better balance in my personal life.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

A. I make time to relax and spend time with my loved ones. I would rather pull all-nighters during the week, if needed, but have my weekends free for relaxing and spending quality time with people. I do not have kids yet, so for now it is rather easy to find that balance.

8. What drives you and inspires you?

A. There are so many things! I would say the number one thing that drives me is proving people wrong. I have had many people saying this won’t work out for me, the market is full, I’m too young, etc. but they don’t understand that they are only fuelling me to work even harder. I have also always dreamed of finding a perfect balance between being a successful businesswoman, a wife, and mother at the same time, being equally good at all three. To many, this sounds insane and impossible, but since I was a little girl, this is what I have wanted, and on the days where I do feel less inspired or motivated I reflect on those dreams. I also believe in vision boards and journaling for planning, dreaming, and reflecting on my journey.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

A. Either late at night, when I should be sleeping, or when I drive.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

A. I make use of digital marketing and also word of mouth. LinkedIn is so underrated and definitely not used by enough entrepreneurs, specifically for B2B marketing. LinkedIn is my favorite, also Instagram and Facebook (Specifically Facebook groups) But I can’t give way all of my marketing secrets on here now, can I?

11. What is next for your business?

A. Continue to grow and build Elysian. I enjoy marketing & sales more, so the long term plan is to hopefully be able to employ teams to do the digital marketing work and have myself focus more on the sales aspect and client relationships.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

Stop hoping to start your own business, and do it! So many people say this, but I say this because it is what I did and I have not had a single regret. Sometimes, we tend to overthink it and complicate things and come up with excuses for why it won’t work, a.k.a procrastination. I will end off with one of my favorite quotes to answer this question: “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you something great will come out of it.”

Contact info: carla@elysiandigital.co.za | Mobile 081 337 9494