I discovered Calliframe and its founder Christelle on FemmExpat. Today I’m honored to see my interview on Calliframe and be part of this Talented Women’ Society!
Here is the Q&A in English (read the interview in French on Calliframe):
Geraldine lives in the United States. In this dynamic country she embarked on the adventure of entrepreneurship and founded Mazette Media, a digital marketing and social media agency. I let you discover her path and advice!
C: Tell me more about you. How did you become an expatriate?
G: I became an expat as we wanted, as a family, to give our children a chance to learn English and have an experience abroad. We spoke to our companies’ HR to let them know we were ready to move and when we had an opportunity in New York City we didn’t hesitate. Now it’s been almost ten years! Beforehand my other experiences abroad had been a college exchange year in Germany and after graduating a few years in Congo. Living in a country affected by malaria and subject to political instability was truly complex, but also an exciting adventure.
C: What did you discover as an expat?
G: It’s so rewarding to live abroad, to get a new perspective on the world. We need to adjust to a new environment, master another language. This is a personal challenge that gives unparalleled openness and also a new appreciation of France. In the US one can really feel the dynamism of an entire country and the need to start new projects because everything needs to be earned. I sometimes regret the unmatched health coverage system that you get in France and of course my friends and family. It can also be difficult to be exiled and even cruel when tragedies strike in the world.
C: What did you choose to do? Why?
G: My professional experience was in marketing and high tech but as an expat I first chose teaching. When we arrived I wanted my kids to adjust and they did not speak English so I became a teacher at Alliance Française, a flexible activity that suited me perfectly and allowed me to be in contact with children and adults. Meanwhile I started my blog to share my experience of expatriation. It was soon well referenced by Google and I got invited by a French radio to speak on the air! As I longed for professional challenges I took online classes to learn social media – a skill listed on many marketing job postings that I wanted to develop. This is how I ended up leading global social media at Maclaren and then started my marketing agency specializing in Digital, Mazette Media. I work on developing or rebranding brands and have partners for design, web development and copywriting.
C: What obstacles did you encounter?
G: It’s funny because my clients almost pushed me to start. The business leaders I met recognized my expertise and I was able to start several projects. Of course I met all possible hurdles in creating my site and growing my business with limited resource but there are so many great resources available online: Coursera and Udemy classes, tips from blogs and networking, legal advice, templates of contracts on RocketLawyer for example, etc. I also learned a lot from my friends who had started their own business.
C: Do you make a living with this online business?
G: It depends. I did some great consulting assignments but it is essential to find recurring business! That’s where the business development comes at play.
C: What goals did you set for the months/years to come?
G: After launching my business as a freelancer it is necessary to grow the structure I created. It’s exciting, I’d like to rent a coworking space and in order to take on all the projects I want I plan to hire or partner with another companye in the coming years. Another challenge is to define a niche for Mazette Media. The agency can currently support all brands in their 360º marketing strategy including digital, SEO-SEM (search engine optimization), social media, display, affiliate campaigns and influencers. I had a good fit with Lifestyle, Fashion and Beauty brands especially during Fashion Weeks but also High Tech companies.
C: What advice would you give to expats who wish to develop their online business?
G: My advice is to get started because expatriation is the best time for a new life or a new job! Networking is great for ideas and to refine your concept. Then don’t be afraid of failure because you can learn from every experience. Practice makes perfect. In the US having failed is accepted because it is a proof that you have tried to get out of your comfort zone. But be cautious and ask about the legal framework especially about LLC in the USA, visas, accounting, taxation, etc ….
Visit Mazette Media website for more information and follow Geraldine on her twitter account.