Maria Bellissimo-Magrin, 31, is from Sydney, Australia. She started her creative communications company, Belgrin, in 2009. Belgrin is a creative communications agency specialising in design, web design, PR and social media.
Starting the Business
Q: Where did the idea for your business come from? Where were you in your life and career?
A: I have worked in the creative industry for 14 years, starting as a designer and working my up. It took me to agencies located in England and Bahrain. Upon my return, I thought to start my own agency. From starting as a solo designer, to employing a team and evolving with the industry, we now are a full service agency.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting out?
A: Building my profile. I hadn’t been in the country for some time, so I needed to build presence and professional profile again.
Q: What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started the business?
A: Not everyone is ethical and pleasant in business. Unfortunately no matter how nice you are, people will always try to get more out of you. I guess ultimately I wish I’d known not to be so trusting and naïve.
Q: What would you consider your first big success in the business?
A: Signing on our first ‘household name’ client.
Q: What is the toughest thing about getting to the top / staying on top in your industry specifically?
A: Having the finances to do so. Plus the industry is ever changing, so there’s always someone creating something new or a better way of doing things.
Q: Where do you see your industry heading in the next 5 years?
A: Great question! I have no idea. We’re already so digitally tuned and communicating with strangers via social media. We have ad boxes that show different content for people viewing at different heights, 3D printing – who knows what’s next.
Q: What do you plan on doing / changing in order to keep growing in this time period?
A: Train staff and employ team members that take the initiative to be disruptive and innovative.
Q: What does ultimate success look like to you? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
A: Having our agency run at full capacity and having great cash flow and financial freedom.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs in the near future?
A: Sourcing the right clients – getting in front of the right people and start up capital.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your industry and wanting to make it to the top?
A: Persevere. It’s very hard running your own business in this industry. You have to have patience, energy and drive to succeed. A lot of patience!