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How to Successfully Hold up with Multiple Businesses

In conversation with Soribel Fernandez

In this episode of eCommerce Experts Talk, Marc Bishop interviewed Soribel, a bold woman who owns multiple consultancies and businesses. She reveals how she got inspired, what are her challenges and how she utilises digital marketing strategies to upkeep her business. Watch now for some profound insights.

Everyone, welcome to another episode of WytPod. The online community for e-commerce entrepreneurs and business owners. Today, we have a very special guest with us. She's the director of e-commerce and marketing at Amerex and the CEO and co-founder of D.R. Wellness LLC. And her name is Soribel Fernandez. Soribel, thanks a lot for joining us today. How are you?

I’m good. It’s a pleasure to be here, Marc. I mean, I’m very excited and I’m just very flattered by the invitation. So I hope that my insights help everyone out there to do what we do, which I love, which is marketing and e-commerce and anything related to creating a better experience for our customers, even online or in our brick and mortar.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? And it's really heartening to see how many entrepreneurs and business owners are really willing to share and help out and share their best practices. So great to have you here. Great scepticism just to get a start so we can learn a little bit more about you. Would you mind sharing a bit of your background?

Sure. Well, as probably as everybody did, I went to school, got a degree in marketing and communications. I decided to do my masters in international business because I lost to learn about different cultures and cross frontiers. I am a firm believer that you can do business everywhere in the world, and as long as you do it right, you can actually be successful in any market and different markets. So that’s why I decided to go that route. I studied marketing since I even studied in school dealing been a buyer merchandizer. Then I got another role as an assistant buyer. Then I got another role as a complete merchandise buyer. From there went directly into marketing and trade shows and from there went to be in BP for start ups and AB labs venture. During my time in Blueliner and a marketing agency, I was in the other side of the business, which is servicing customers, and that allowed me to learn a lot about different sectors of markets and brands and different types. I went from tourism, health and wellness, just health and hospitality and also consumer goods. So it was a very big of a broad and they’re from there into fashion, which is right now, let’s put it this way, 80% of my time I want to put it that way. And then the other 20% is doing consulting for emerging brands and also related to e-commerce and mostly fashion and wellness and travel.

Wow. That's what you call grounded knowledge, I guess. And I'm sure it serves you well every day when you're managing a business.

It does. It does it. The beauty of it is that that you get like you get a plate and you have different pieces of food. That’s the way that I see it. So you go to a buffet and you take a scoop of this and a scoop of that. Scoop of that. And at the end of the meal, you have different flavors that you can actually evaluate and think, okay, I like this better, I like this better, I like this one better. I don’t like this one this much. I love this like in this one. So let’s get to get to be focused. I mean, like I said, I’ve been doing this for 15 years. I started with hardware, which is not a very sexy thing to do. I mean, screws and bolts and those type of things are not sexy at all. And then coming into fashion, when you say like, Oh my God, this is really, really nice, it’s like big a spectrum. And in the middle I had hospitality, I had health and wellness, I had pet food as well. And also directly to see brands that were just going into market and emerging. So it’s been it’s been a journey and I will not change any of it. Definitely not.

Fantastic. I really appreciate the food analogy and you've got my full attention there, that work that resonates with me. But in seriousness, though, that was. Yeah, well, formal. Okay. So can you tell us more about D.R Wellness? What's it all about?

Yeah. During the 2019 search, that came the idea was my great friend said actually that we decided to put together a project that was going to be focused on a consulting firm that will go targeted at the beginning, was targeted only for health and wellness travel. When you’re looking to the wellness, travel industry is an emerging industry that potentially can be over $9 billion a year and it keeps growing, especially when the pandemic hit. So we put together an event that unfortunately we couldn’t do it due to the pandemic because all markets closed or events closed and everything, everything went down. But we were very successful, even though during the time that the pandemic emerged, I mean, I got complete funding of the event just on promotions, and we’re talking about $150,000, just the 150,000 just on the event itself. With the interest of many markets, not only from the United States, but also from all the islands in the Caribbean and the Latin American markets that are emerging as wellness travel, where I had sponsorships from the Costa Rican Tourism Department, from the Dominican Republic, Tourism Department, from the Jamaican council, tourism people that are actually just very hungry for bringing in wellness travelers. Why will the travelers well, the wellness traveler expense 50% more than the regular traveler.

Right. I mean, I'm just trying to eat, right. And I know how expensive that is. I mean, exactly.

And so imagine traveling into a hotel that has a custom program according to your health needs and what you want to accomplish during that vacation. So instead of you can have a fun vacation without having to have a vacation after this occasion because you are totally, totally sure. Yeah. In other words, you come back totally renews that. That was a comfort at the beginning. And unfortunately, like I said, by circumstances, markets and all this other stuff didn’t work out as we expected. But it has transformed into a more consulting firm where we are not only focusing on wellness, travel and wellness and tourism, but we have also opened the doors due to my experience on e-commerce, to fashion brands, to consumer brands, to anybody that will like to go into market and will like to have a excellent experience on the website inside and out, meaning the front face and the backend and all the process. From the moment that the customer even calls you over the phone to the moment that they visited goods and afterwards, and creating the whole communication strategy, creating all this steps, put it away. And because your here it is, your plan, we deliver it to you. You either have two choices. You either want me to do it for you. And with you. I actually prefer to work with you, not for you. Yeah. And yeah. Or we just, you know, deliver it and off you go.

You go sensational, you know? It's really not easy to remain committed to this kind of lifestyle. I mean, I think it takes work and dedication. So what you're providing is key. I think, you know, if you know that you're supported when you're doing it. You know, from beginning to end. That's huge.

Especially for new brands where we actually know that it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to get that guidance. So I know how it is to deal that see the stage at that entrepreneurial stage where you are just like scrambling any nickel and dime and getting someone that can provide you some guidance at an affordable rate and at your own pace. I think it is incredible and it’s amazing. I know that when I used to have it and I used to do it, people were so appreciative of it and always been appreciative of it. And I advocate for my clients all the time. Like I’ve been I was I’ve been an inbound professional from HubSpot, the CRM that I’ve certified for, and even Salesforce. And the people there says like, I don’t even get it. You advocate for clients more than anybody else that we already know. And I’m like, Yeah, because I know these are the little guys, so you have to help them out. If you want them to be on your big guys, help them out. You have to help them out. I cannot trade the $2 million person as if they meant the heart because it’s impossible.

Agreed. Yeah. So it's commendable and must be very rewarding for you, I imagine. Sounds like you're living the dream. Like doing what you love for a living, right?

I love to. I love to help people. I do. I love to help people. I mean, when I think about it, it’s more than just building a website. It’s more just, um, building a brand. You’re actually building someone’s dream. Someone had someone. I mean, when someone decides to go on their own path as an entrepreneur and build their own company is their dream. They’re doing it. They’re doing it because they feel it. They doing it because they want to is their dream and being part of that dream. I will say that any consulting firm, anybody should think about it in that way. I’m helping you building your dream. And that’s incredible. Like with your kids, I mean, when your kid wants to go to college and tells you, I want to go to college, you do anything and everything you can to be able to support that dream.

Absolutely. Very well said. All right. So, you know, for the rest of our community, what are some of the challenges that you faced when you started your e-commerce business and how did you overcome those challenges?

Oh, my goodness. Well, the major one, I.

Think the top three, if you want. I don't want.

Well, that well, the top three, I will say the top one is funding. You know that everybody knows that. Really want to get that funding going to be able to keep that cash flow going. It is challenging. It’s challenging. It’s really challenging. And that’s probably the reason why I decided to take a full time position at Amerex group when the opportunity showed up, said, I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave the wellness, no, by any means. But in order for me to keep going with everything that goes on in the wellness, I need to baseline. Either. If you have people that are in best, they know you’re on. You’re on your dream. Great. Good for you. I mean, great. Let’s do this. Great. You have the investment, you have the investors. Fantastic. But there’s so many people like me that haven’t got the chance to be able to do to get the investment that is needed to really come out of the floor. We want a strong platform. So what you need to do is try to find ways of how to build that, how to build that platform. So you’re going to actually be self-funded. So I think how do I overcome it? I found different ways. I when I went to investors, I did investor speaking, I went to meetings, I went to decks, I created all the decks, I went to all the meetings. Some of them are here or there’s laughs. How do I compensated like a full time job? So it’s a matter of being creative. Not about your dream. Just be creative. Do I work? Saturdays and Sundays were my clients. Sometimes I do. Do I work after 6:00 until 9:00? Yes, I do.

That leads me to my next question is about time management. How are you managing two high profile positions at the same time? You're a director of marketing and Ecom at Amerex and also your position at D.R. Wellness, which is, well, I'm sure quite demanding as well. How do you manage both?

You know, my father used to say, when you love what you do, it’s not work. So it happens to be that I the two positions that I have are very rewarding for me, very, very rewarding. And that allows me to thanks also to automation because I’m not going to lie, thanks also to automation and workflows and creating all this little work for you on the.

Back-end of course, is due to learn about automation, I guess, right?

Well, yeah, I mean, I love it. I love that programmatic says what you can create if this happens, this happens. If this happens, this happens. And this is going to delete that and just go in there and check it once a week, twice a week, and make sure that everything is fine and everything is working and even results. Believe me, I rely on automation 100%. So do I work 8 to 5, nine, eight, three, four days a week? And I also have my weekends where I block them out at least two weekends at the month. I’m not available for anybody, so I can take time to recharge everything. And believe me, during those during those weekends, I am my brain is working. My brain is thinking what to do, what how can I improve this and how can I improve that? How can I give this? How can I go give that old-school because I love what I do.

It's hard to stop the years turning, isn't it?

Yeah. Sometimes that I wake up at 6 a.m. in the morning and I’m in the shower and I’m like, Oh, you know what? I can actually do this. And I write it down right away and I put it as a reminder on my phone, and I do it when I send reminders that me up just because of those ideas.

The fantasy that reminds me of my dream journal. You know, I wake up, you only remember the dream for a few minutes, right? So if it was constructive, write it down or you forget. Then you go back later and read your notes. I mean, you know, so that's just what I do. But. All right, good stuff. Now, finally, Soribel, is there any message you like to pass along to anyone who's thinking of starting a business? Or maybe they've already started an e-commerce business?

Well, the first thing will be to ask yourself why? If it’s because just because you want to start a business or just because you’re tired of being in a self, you want to be self employed because you’re tired of your boss or because it’s really something that you want to do. I will ask myself. The first question will be Why being your own boss beaten entrepreneur? It requires discipline and requires dedication and being fully committed to make it work. If you cannot answer your if your why is not substantial enough, I will say think about it three or four times more. That will be my first and my best suggestion and my best advice to anybody. And after you find out why. Believe me, in those moments where you don’t see the light that WHY is going to be your anchor to keep going.

Oh, beautifully said. Really nice. All right, Soribel, thanks again for joining us. I'm sure it's going to be uplifting and helpful for many of our community members. Really appreciate your time today. Thanks a lot.

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. And I hope to see you guys again.

Same here.

Okay.

Thanks a lot.

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