Women in Business – Surviving the First Two Years: ” No matter what the adversity, just keep swimming!” Interview with Laila Essa

Interview with Laila Essa, founder of Taglime, on her experiences being a woman entrepreneur.

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Please tell us a bit about yourself, and describe your company.

I’m Laila Essa, a creative copywriter, and Arabic translator, who breathes life into words and makes them more empowering, beautiful, and impactful. I love connecting with people who are in search of someone who will give voice to their vision, who will tell their story the greatest way possible, and someone who will envision their BIG picture and put it into words that are creative, corporate, professional, heart-warming. I have been painting the world with my words for 8 years now and there has never been a day that I have thought of something else to become more passionate about. To me, copywriting isn’t just a dream. It’s an emotion – a feeling of happiness, a blessing – a tide of comfort, a purpose – one that I strive to fulfill by giving my 100% every day. I have written copy for the leading brands of the world and every project has taught me something new, something I can infuse into my copywriting art and make my client’s success roar louder. 

I am leading Taglime – the dedicated copywriting and translation agency in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I co-founded this company in 2019 and to my heart’s content, this is one of the best decisions I ever made. Taglime is an all-girls team that came forward to write from their hearts and produce something that showcases the real essence of their clients’ passion while simultaneously working with their passion and dedication. Taglime provides content creation and translation services to governmental organizations, marketing agencies, corporates, SMEs, entrepreneurs/startups, advertising agencies, and even individuals who are looking for stellar words to support their business goals and objectives. Built on the core values of respect, positivity, and forward-thinking, Taglime transforms complicated concepts into meaningful words. Whether it’s company profile, website copy, brochure, flyer, press release, social media content, proposals, and presentations, etc., Taglime creates content from the ground up and delivers quality, consistency, and value in every content it creates. 

What has been the most challenging thing you have faced in the first two years of operating your business? How did you overcome it?

The most challenging thing I have faced in the first two years of operating a business is definitely COVID! You never think your business that’s running so well will fall apart in a jiffy and you’ll lose projects that you clearly saw were going to be yours. Having been doing something I’m so passionate about, I had made efforts to win a project that I knew I would love to cater my copywriting expertise to. You know writing is lovely, as a copywriter, I could envision how I will start that brand naming exercise or how I will craft those slogans, or what sections I will cover in my client’s website content. Having seen all those campaigns slip out of my hands and of course my mind and heart (that’s where all the ideas are!), I was shattered.

COVID got tricky, we had to revise our strategies, our plans, our entire business model. My team had to think of new ways to keep the business calm on those gushing waters, something that keeps us afloat. For every business, revenue is important. As much as I thought of tactics to keep my beloved company stable, I was more worried about how would l nourish the copywriters and translators in my team, how would I help them continue doing something they so dearly love.

Being the enthusiastic and committed copywriter that I am, here’s how I overcame this challenge. I started paying more attention to what the clients need now (during COVID times). I pitched clients for various short projects that would result in mutual stability and growth. I pitched them for their social media content, SEO blogs, articles, revamping of their web content and company profile, and all such projects that we normally don’t focus on. As entrepreneurs or business owners, we give particular attention to projects where clients require our expertise, forgetting about how our own profiles or websites are looking like. To provide clients with our professionalism and expertise, we have to first show them that we ARE capable of doing so. So, that worked! I and my team enjoyed working on the revamps. People started new businesses as well, something they were so eager to do but never got the time to work on their plans. I helped them with that. I also worked on Taglime’s website – something I was throwing at the end of my to-do-list for so long! All of this helped us in realizing how we can play a powerful in sustaining the position of other businesses. It also helped us in becoming stable, thank God, and together we realized the value of our work, our potential, and our sustainability.

What are some of the biggest digital marketing challenges you have faced to date? How have you overcome them? 

The biggest marketing challenge I have faced is how different markets respond differently to the changing trends, marketing activities, and consumer preferences. That is why we have to adapt our strategy constantly to retain our competitive edge and sustain our position in the market. Also, I believe that women tend to use social media platforms more than men. This was also one of the biggest gaps I faced – to use different tactics to target men and sell our services. So I kept experimenting with strategies to see what would work and then tapped into the right platform. I’d say LinkedIn was and still is the best social media platform to target clients (males especially) and see how I can help them in their copywriting & translation needs. 

Please tell us what led you to the path of entrepreneurship. 

I worked as a freelance copywriter before Taglime was born. Being a freelancer, I knew I was contributing to a major chunk of what I loved, but gradually I realized that what I’m doing is something I’m not passing to anyone else. Not many people knew about copywriting back then and I wanted to generate awareness and play my part as a copywriting professional and trainer. I knew hard-working girls who had amazing copywriting capabilities but didn’t know the difference between content writing and copywriting. So I wanted to step up (I’m glad I did) and got onto the path of entrepreneurship that fortunately made my life more happening, challenging, and something from where I constantly learn and grow.

I chose entrepreneurship because I LOVE words and I get to do what I love doing every single day. I wanted to train others with all that I’ve grasped and have successfully made many bright stars realize their copywriting potential and motivated them to pursue their dreams. I wanted to become a role model in the field of copywriting and did not want to succumb to the mundane pressure of doing something I don’t want to do. Now, I am a Co-founder and Chief Copywriter at Taglime, earning a living doing something I deeply treasure.

What are the three most important things every woman entrepreneur should do, when first thinking about starting a business?

The first thing that every woman entrepreneur should do is to ensure a steady revenue model. Yes, your passion and dedication help you a lot in achieving your goals, but you should have a defined revenue model that helps you strategically manage your resources and income.

The second thing is that you should be prepared for all the downhills and uphills. You can’t leave everything over a shortcoming and call it fate. You have to continually go through your business model and make sure your strategies and plans are aligned with the present and even better, support what’s yet to come (your future). Another thing is your uphills. It’s good to cherish your success but you should not ever let that reflect negatively on your work. Meaning, when you deliver quality and excellence, you need to continue doing so to retain and upgrade your level of competency and professionalism and to keep your client’s trust.

The third thing is that you should establish a network that uplifts you and the work you do. You should especially connect with other similar women business owners as they are the foundations of a stronger representation for your business.

Are there actionable steps a woman in business should take to ensure that her company is successful in two years?

Yes! A woman should always be persistent in her business. No matter what the adversity, just keep swimming! You fall, you learn. You fall, you know how to get back up and you know how to not stumble again. Another important step is to always keep an eye on the future. My mantra has always been to grab the opportunity as it comes,  and then create a strategy or plan as to how to work on it. I just want to tell my fellow entrepreneurs that you can and you will. Just have faith in yourself and take a step ahead.

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