Interview with Lauren Pawell, the founder of Bixa Media
Lauren Pawell is the founder of Bixa Media – American consulting agency helping entrepreneurs generate, qualify and nurture more leads online. She’s a young marketing strategist with experience from different areas i.e. international business, startups, digital marketing, project management and web development. She firmly believes in getting business owners to focus on high-impact marketing efforts, so they don’t waste any time or money spinning their wheels on tactics that won’t drive real results. We are lucky because Lauren agreed to answer a few questions for us!
Marta: Thank you for participating in the interview. I would like to talk with you about how you turned your passion into your job. Please tell me, when did you become interested in guiding and supporting entrepreneurs? How did it all begin?
Lauren: After three intense years in Brussels, Belgium working in sales and marketing for a medical device company, I left to train at a digital marketing agency in London. There, I fell in love with the fast pace of the online world. The problem was, neither of my jobs in Europe was right for me, as I had very little control over my personal, professional and financial freedom. So, I decided it was time to strike out on my own and help small and medium-sized businesses take advantage of the work I had done for large, global brands. I think it takes a special sort of crazy to become an entrepreneur. You have to be willing to brave the unknown and create something out of nothing. The average individual cannot tolerate that level of uncertainty. I really enjoy supporting business owners in their endeavors and helping them pursue their own version of entrepreneurial freedom.
Marta: Where did the idea for Bixa Media come from? The company name is interesting – can you tell me more about it?
Lauren: What’s in a name? According to some, the name of a business should describe what you do. Other schools of thought say that it is more important to be memorable and easy to spell, even if the name is made up. Others believe it is crucial to have a visual element linked to a name. Taking all these points into account, why Bixa? Why Bixa Media?
The bixa is a red, spiky fruit found in South America that has both functional and aesthetic uses. The fruit has medicinal properties and its vibrant color is used as a dye. Inspired by the name, hue, and purpose, the name Bixa Media came about. Shortly after deciding upon the business name, I happened to stumble upon a random bixa plant while in the middle of Australia, even though the bixa is not indigenous to the country. What are the chances? Taken as a sign that I was on the right path, Bixa Media was born.
Bixa Media strives to provide the strategy, creativity, and punch behind your company’s online marketing. Like the bixa fruit, I want your digital marketing to be both functional and visually-appealing, so that your business gets noticed online. My overriding goal is to ensure your online presence generates new business.
Marta: What were the main milestones when you were starting your business?
Lauren: Initially they were revenue milestones…5-figures, 6-figures, and now on our way to 7 figures. Now, there are other important milestones…hiring new team members, the number of clients served, the results we deliver to our clients.
Marta: Did you encounter any obstacles on the way?
Lauren: Ha! So many. I don’t know that obstacles ever go away when you run your own business. Rather, the type of obstacles you face evolves. For example, in the beginning, the business’ primary challenge was making sure we had enough leads and sales (a marketing challenge). Today, the business’ primary challenge is having a streamlined operation and a great team (a people and systems challenge).
Marta: How has the American market changed since you founded Bixa Media?
Lauren: The digital world changes in the blink of an eye. So marketing tactics that used to work well for clients no longer have the same impact. Keep up-to-speed with all the latest and greatest (while not forgetting age-old strategies that never change) is an important part of our business.
In terms of the American market, I’d say that in some ways, it’s easier than ever to generate leads online….there are so many platforms at your disposal. In other ways, I find that many clients can get distracted and overwhelmed by all the marketing channels at their disposal…SEO, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords, LinkedIn…there are a lot of shiny objects. So, while client education has always been a big part of our job, today’s it’s more integral than it has been in the past.
Marta: How do you think it will change in the nearest future?
Lauren: There’s a big movement towards online education and courses empowering businesses to learn marketing skills themselves that they used to outsource to agencies. I think we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg and demand for this type of offer will only to continue to grow.
Marta: What do you think about the current trends in marketing? Do you think they are global or different than on the European market?
Lauren: While there are some variations in trends from region to region, overall I think there are a lot of similarities:
- A growing focus on mobile
- An increasing level in personalization
- More demand for voice-optimized content on search
- Higher sensitivity to privacy laws (hello, GDPR?)
- Data is driving marketing decisions
Personally, I love the evolution as it’s forcing brands to put consumers and customer experience first. At the end of the day, isn’t that what every business should do anyways?
Marta: One of the most popular and interesting trends is AI. Do you think it’s temporary or it’ll continue to develop and start to be a big part of our lives?
Lauren: I think AI is only going to continue to grow. In marketing, you starting to see more and more automated messaging in things like website chat and Facebook bots. Machine learning is helping us manage ads. In my opinion, we’re just getting started when it comes to AI.
Marta: Life isn’t only about business and working. Can you tell me something about yourself?
Lauren: Life is about so much more than business and working! I love exploring new places and make it my mission to travel as often as possible. I’ve spent a significant amount of time traveling around Europe (especially when I used to live there). I’ve visited every continent but Antarctica and still have quite a lengthy bucket list of vacation destinations.
Marta: What is your hobby? How do you spend your free time when you go back home?
Lauren: During the work week, I like to spend my downtime with my fiancé, walking my dogs, reading books, or getting a yoga class in. Once in a while we’ll watch a movie, but to be honest, I limit my screen time outside of work. I’m pretty boring Monday through Friday. Sticking to a routine keeps me in high-performance mode for the business. During the weekends, I love getting outdoors and try to explore the nearby Colorado mountains by fitting in at least a couple hikes a month, if not every week. When the weather allows, camping is also a favorite activity of mine. Last but not least, I’m an avid traveler and plan trips whenever I can. 2017 and 2018 have been filled with a lot of work trips, so I try to add on a few extra days for fun whenever I can.
Marta: Is there anything you would like to tell entrepreneurs in Poland?
Lauren: I love this quote by Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn: “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
I see a tendency among new entrepreneurs to want to get EVERYTHING “perfect” before bringing an offer to market. And it really slows them down. Speed is everything. First of all, nothing will ever be perfect…so you have to change your mindset and decide what is “acceptable” to bring to market. Secondly, so much pivoting happens after getting feedback from clients and customers. This is an integral part of the process that shapes all of your business decisions moving forward. Creating your product is only 20% of running a business…selling, marketing, growing and streamlining your business are where you should spend 80% of your time, effort and resources.
Thank you very much!
If you’re interested in the longer version of how it all began, you can check it out here