Ricci Masero is a start-up investor and solopreneur, owner of an award-winning freelance agency – White Rabbit Consultancy – working in digital marketing and communications since the last millennium. Highly experienced in web design, search engine optimization, email marketing, and business telecoms. Recognized as “Most Influential Ethical Marketing & SEO Agency UK” and “Digital Marketing Consultancy of the Year” for 2021/2022.
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Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Ricci Masero: With my first forays into web design being in the late 90s and shortly after leading into working with business telecoms, I have seen several years of development in the digital marketing and communications arena. In those early years working with software like Microsoft FrontPage and early incarnations of Dreamweaver, through to the Content Management Systems of today – alongside telecommunication developments from analog telephony, via ISDN to the VoIP technology that most businesses now use. Using the skills and knowledge I developed during my time working with the military, medical, councils, and other corporate entities – I now enjoy running my own (award winning) freelance digital marketing agency, moving in tandem with creative and ethical businesses, bringing their stories to a wider audience.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Ricci Masero: I’m not sure there are many ‘natural born entrepreneurs‘ as such, that start with the known intention to become one (although no doubt it can and does happen). I believe this lifestyle is driven by necessity, in the sense that entrepreneurs want to achieve something that they do not see currently existing. They will then set out on their path to realize that goal.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Ricci Masero: Ethically driven, with a creative thread and a desire to succeed.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Ricci Masero: White Rabbit Consultancy service offering has developed rapidly over the years, initially focused on web design, which naturally lead to SEO work for most clients. Then into the wider realm of digital marketing to provide a more cohesive service, driven by demand from clients that were not finding the same level of service elsewhere.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Ricci Masero: In my honest opinion, it’s not safe to assume anything. There are few constants in business, especially in the early stages of starting a business. One of the few guarantees is that there will be taxes to pay and it’s highly likely that you will underestimate the cost involved in getting your business off the ground. Focus on things that will truly benefit your business model and your goals, this can help to reduce wasted time, energy, and money.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Ricci Masero: As I say, I don’t think it’s safe to make assumptions. That being said, I would be telly porkies if I were to make out that I didn’t slip up on my journey or denied having to alter my trajectory once or twice. Thankfully nothing major that cost big money, or set me back to a point that was not recoverable. My approach was to start slowly, building up a solid skillset and reputation. This gave me a great foundation to expand on.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Ricci Masero: “You don’t need to take on every job and every client” This is something I have learned over the years. Not every client is a good fit and you don’t have to land every contract that comes your way. I have found that I want to focus on working with creative and ethical people, this is my passion and is in line with my own beliefs. That way I can put my heart into the work I do and it rarely feels like a chore.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Ricci Masero: It wasn’t really bad advice, but I have witnessed many business leaders cutting corners to achieve a quick result. This has generally ended up damaging their reputation in the long run. My preferred approach is always to under-promise and then over delivery, this can simultaneously alleviate pressure on yourself and also impress your client beyond their expectations.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Ricci Masero: The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of many business models, especially start-ups. Be sure to look at a business that will have a real impact on society and the world around us if you want to succeed. People are far more in touch with the ethical side of the commercial world we live in and are showing that in the way they shop and buy services. While this had already been happening in recent years, it has been rapidly accelerated by the impact of COVID-19.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Ricci Masero: From a digital marketing angle, a very common myth that still surprises me every time I come up against it is “all you need is a website” to make an online business. That bubble burst many years ago! The intricacies of running a business online are far greater than just publishing a website and expecting to make a fortune. As with any business you need to put in time, money, and energy to make your business work, especially online.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Ricci Masero: You will need to be resilient, thick-skinned, and prepared to fall, then get right back up again and carry on where you left off. Nothing is handed to you on a plate, you will need to go out and get it for yourself. Above all else, be persistent. You’ll likely get knockbacks on your route to success, take these as a learning experience… and learn from them. But don’t let them get you down!
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Ricci Masero: From my experience, you can learn a lot simply by watching and working with others. There are many successful entrepreneurs that you can learn from and many of them are very active on LinkedIn for example. This is where you will find a lot of business-focused thought leaders, that are willing to share (it helps them to raise their profile).
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Ricci Masero: Well in my younger years I worked on fairground rides at an amusement park and that was great fun. Spending all day with people enjoying themselves in the outdoors. If I could live the same life I do now and do that for my job, it would be hard to refuse.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Ricci Masero: Being a “Limey” I would have to try and get a Brit up there… how about John Lennon? I’m a music lover and he was such a visionary, with many concepts and ideas that are far more widely appreciated these days. He’d also be easily recognizable amongst the other stoney faces.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Ricci Masero for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Ricci Masero or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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