Sophia Marti, Class of 2006 (2001-06) on the challenges of running her own marketing business.
A walk in the park Sophia, who runs Marti Engagement Marketing Agency, says that she savoured walks with Blanche even more during lockdown.
I’m quite self-disciplined, so my day starts early, usually around 6am as that’s the easiest time I can get out for a spot of exercise. I might go running or do a high-intensity style boot camp, or maybe yoga.
Then it’s time for Blanche, my lovely fox terrier. I’ve only had her for a couple of years but she’s transformed my working day. As well as the walk into work, I try to take her out for some fresh air whenever I get a break; there’s a beautiful forest near our office and we love to spend time there. I never realised what a difference it makes if you step away from your desk, even for a brief 10 minutes. I return with a clearer mindset and, during the lockdown, walks with Blanche became even more frequent and savoured.
I’ll spend the day dealing with multiple clients, and that can be tricky as everything can come at once. My approach is to tackle the difficult stuff first; I’m not a person who can live with something hanging over me – it drives me nuts. Some clients are very sensitive; they want everything to be 100 per cent accurate and I find myself on call 24/7. I’m in the office from 8.30am to 6pm every day – but I might work evenings too.
Many of my clients are international and, without my experience of the international outlook at ZIS, I don’t think I would have been able to operate in that world. My parents are Swiss, I’m Swiss, but I speak English almost as my mother tongue. The ZIS culture made me completely comfortable communicating with people anywhere in the world – my international clients don’t realise I’m Swiss!
That’s not to say I was the most academic person at school, but I don’t think it’s all about being academically excellent – one way that ZIS prepared me was to emphasise that it’s important to find the thing you have a passion for and make the most of that. Don’t be afraid to follow that ambition.
It’s worked for me: so much of what I do is new ground for me, but I love the flexibility of being my own boss and making my own decisions. I don’t have a mentor, but I do consult my husband, who runs his own asset management firm, so we know what we’re both going through.
Having your own business is exciting because every day is different and brings new opportunities, but it can also be challenging as you need to be patient and stay motivated. Having ambition is what pulls you through; if you are driven, you can take the lows, move on and fight for what you love doing.
INTERVIEW DIANE SHIPLEY PHOTOGRAPHY KATE PETERS