As I start writing this blog in my office, I have the view of my husband playing with my son in the backyard. I can’t help but feel so blessed to have the freedom to spend as much time with them as I want. After all, they are the number one reason I created this business.
I can’t believe it’s already been one year since Ana Katz Digital opened its doors to online businesses who need help scaling through digital marketing. Steve Jobs once said “you can only connect the dots looking back” and he couldn’t be more right. A lot has happened in just one year. There have been laughs, tears, headaches, and tons of joy. Times where I felt like I had everything under control and then times where I had no clue what I was doing. Call it a roller coaster, but it sure has been one hell of a ride.
Let me give you some background on who I am and how I got started:
I am a proud Colombian who loves coffee and has an enormous, very close family. My mom has 17 brothers and sisters (yes 17!), so growing up I was always surrounded by family. Moving to the United States was never a dream of mine but what was a dream was to be able to speak a second language. When I was in college, a requirement in order to graduate was to be fluent in English. So instead of taking English classes at my University, I decided to come to the States as an au pair to learn the language. The exchange was only supposed to be for one year but I ended up extending it for another 10 months because my English still wasn’t great. During this time I met Jared, who is now my husband.
When I finished the exchange I went back home to Colombia to finish school. Jared and I dated long distance for a year and a half. He visited me 3 times and proposed when I graduated from college. A couple of months later, I was on a flight back to the US to marry the love of my life.
I was terrified! I was leaving my loved ones, moving to a country where I didn’t know where the heck my business administration degree was going to take me AND I was about to get married to a guy I have been dating for 3 years with literally half that time being long distance. And let me tell you, my English was getting better but I’ll be honest, it still wasn’t great! But I followed my heart and went for it.
After I settled at my new home in Baltimore, Maryland, I had 2 options. Get a job as a nanny to start making money or get an unpaid internship until I got my work permit. Even though working as a nanny was the easiest way to go, I decided to look for an unpaid internship so I could start getting experience and get a feel for what field I wanted to build a career in. Thanks to a good friend, I got an unpaid internship at a media buying agency. Getting this opportunity was a blessing from above because I got to learn a lot about advertising. I was able to figure out what I really liked such as digital advertising and what I didn’t love so much, such as radio and tv buying. After I got my work permit, they hired me as a buying assistant. After about a year, I got promoted to a media buyer.
A couple of years later Jared and I decided to move to New York to be closer to his family. Here, I was determined to get a job in fashion and digital marketing. I sent resumes, went to all the job fairs, and networked on LinkedIn all day every day. And then one day, I got an email from a recruiter about a job she wanted to interview me for. I’m never going to forget that day because as I was reading the email, it looked like the job position matched exactly everything I had in my resume and everything I was wishing for in a job. I wondered if she had just copied and pasted my resume to the job opening email. On that day, I decided this job was going to be mine. I didn’t know what manifesting was at the time but I totally manifested this one. I met with the recruiter the day after and then got a second interview with the president of the company a week later. I prepared for these interviews like my life depended on it and I was so sure I was going to get the job. My husband and his family were worried I was too excited about this job I didn’t actually have yet. They didn’t want me to get my hopes up because they were interviewing many other people for the same position.
Two hours after my interview with the president of the company, I got a call from the recruiter telling me I got the job! Guys, I felt like I was in a dream. I got a job at a fashion company as a digital marketing associate. Exactly what I wanted to do when I moved to New York.
On my 1st day, I made a big impression. I went to get coffee for the office with another employee and as soon as I walked into the office, my heels slid, and I fell hard on the floor. BUT I made sure the coffees didn’t spill (lol).
Mixology was my home for 6 years. I had the most amazing mentors and the best team. I started as a marketing associate, then finished my journey with them as head of e-commerce and digital marketing. I have such a deep love and appreciation for this company, so leaving my dream job to start my own company felt almost as scary as when I left home to move to the US.
“Leap and the net will appear” (John Burroughs)
Remember I told you at the beginning of the blog that I have a huge family in Colombia? Most of them are actually entrepreneurs. I grew up seeing my aunts, uncles, cousins, dad, and siblings build their own successful businesses so I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit in me. While I loved Mixology and its mission, the voice inside my head kept whispering to me…‘Yeah, this is great Ana, but what if you could do more?‘ I finally listened to that little voice and launched my Facebook and Instagram ads agency exactly one year ago.
The last 12 months have welcomed amazing friends, the best mentors, new clients, and a lot of learning. But they have also welcomed many mistakes, tears, and times where I wonder why the hell I decided to leave my comfort zone and continue to follow my dreams.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned not only in the last year but in the last 12 years of my life, its that growth happens outside of your comfort zone. The reason why I just gave you my whole life story is because I want to invite you to listen to that little voice inside you, to welcome the unknown, and to go for it! If you are someone who’s thinking about starting your own business so you can spend more time with your family, travel the world or just have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, go for it! If you are a business owner, no matter where you are in your journey, don’t forget to keep getting out of your comfort zone, keep an eye on your big vision and enjoy the process.
With everything I’ve learned so far in this entrepreneurial journey, I’m coming to realize that my community needs so much more than digital marketing strategies. They need a guide to help them find the best way to scale their business and make a bigger impact. That’s what I’m here for!
If you liked my story, I would like to keep in touch with you! You can find me on Instagram @anakatzdigital, where I post a ton about my business, digital marketing tips, and not infrequently about my kids (👶🐶). Go there and say hi!