To kick start the year with a bang, and offer you fresh and priceless insights into the world of business, we caught up with Online Digital Coach founder, Larissa Green, to find out everything from starting a business and living in Dubai to Roger Federer and Joe Wicks. Read on to find out more...
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Hi Larissa, how are you? Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at Online Digital Coach?
Hey! I’m good thanks, just back working in the UK from Dubai so it’s making a nice change. I’m the founder of Online Digital Coach and launched the company only a few months ago following a career spanning over a decade working in Digital Marketing. I’ve always worked on the agency side for clients with substantial budgets but saw an opportunity to make digital marketing services more accessible for SMEs and startups. So I’ve launched ODC with a view to providing quick and simple packages to help get small business owners online and reach new audiences.
Have you always been intrigued by the fast-paced world of digital?
I actually began my career in PR and was always a bit sceptical when we reported press coverage in column inches to work out what the advertising value was. This ‘value’ always amounted to thousands of dollars and didn’t mean anything to anyone. I was never on the ‘PRs’ side as I was always curious to prove who had actually read it and what actions the audience took as a result. I then had the privilege of working for an aggressive startup business for my second job and very quickly I handled all the digital media activity. This is when it all began to make sense and I could finally see the value of marketing budgets and see the direct results.
What would you say is your biggest inspiration for Online Digital Coach?
I’ve worked with some successful entrepreneurs and even those that have failed have inspired me. What I admire is the sheer guts to put everything on the line to make a business succeed. However, my main inspiration for the concept of ODC was The Body Coach himself, Joe Wicks. I love the simplicity of the model, yet the element of personalisation really offers value.
Who is your personal hero?
My personal hero is someone entirely removed from the world of Digital – Roger Federer. I simply admire his attitude and dedication to his career and everything he takes on. He’s a good example to us all, managing his career with grace, yet with sheer determination and an amazing work ethic. I’m sure it would all help if Nike sponsored us all millions of dollars, but we have to remember that these guys all started at the bottom of the ladder at some time in their career.
Has working with small businesses given you an insight into the diversity of the products people offer and the different ideas people have?
Absolutely. I think it is, without a doubt, the thin end of the wedge for me. Having worked with large organisations over the past ten years, stakeholders tend to lose themselves in ‘strategy’ and as an agency you get caught in a long loop of decision-making within organisations. This ultimately results in little or no changes being made and little impact on results and direction of campaigns. Some levels of management ultimately don’t want to be bold enough to make changes.
This couldn’t be more different with small businesses. Budgets are scrutinised and every penny is accountable, so you really have to work hard to prove your case. But there is a great opportunity to really help change the course of a new business and discover opportunities that weren’t even thought of in the business plan. To really find a new direction and make a difference to a small business is so rewarding and really drives you on.
I love working as a ‘partner’ with clients and really try to go over and above to help my clients. If I see something outside of my remit, I’ll constructively provide feedback and hopefully, help them to grow. We’re all in this together and I know how hard it is to start from nothing.
What does a typical day look like in the working life of Larissa Green?
No day is ever typical unfortunately! As much as I like to plan, something with always crops up to put a spanner in the works, but it keeps me on my toes. I like to compartmentalise my activities so I can give the task my undivided attention. Mondays (or Sundays for me in Dubai) are days for admin and my own marketing activities. Here I plan the week ahead, schedule my social media and check to see how full my diary is for the rest of the week and what slots I need to fill. Two to three days of the week are set aside for client coaching time and this may involve some face to face meetings with local clients, as well as answering any client emails. The rest of the time is spent on business development, networking, and hosting webinars to attract new clients.
If I see something outside of my remit, I’ll constructively provide feedback and hopefully, help them to grow. We’re all in this together and I know how hard it is to start from nothing.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
As Roger Federer is my hero, I guess it’s only natural that I love tennis. I try to play twice a week and also love to go for long runs to clear my head. I’m currently living in Dubai so it’s a great city to have a great social life so I’m often out and about trying the latest new restaurant with friends.
And last but certainly not least, is there any advice you would like to give any young and budding business owners out there?
Go for it! Have a plan and give it your best. Don’t be disheartened if things don’t happen overnight and don’t put yourself under too much pressure. Give it time and don’t give up until you really think you’ve given it your all and worked every angle to gain success. This may involve redefining the core of your business, so don’t be too pig-headed to recognise if your idea isn’t going to work and needs tweaking. You have to be willing to make a lot of sacrifices early on, but remember, the payoff will be far more rewarding than a salary cheque from an employer at the end of the month.