Ever imagined working successfully with a person you've never met? That's the story of Zima Media, and the co-founders, Michael Zima and Damien Bouvier. They have been working together for 4 years – but they've never met in person. However, they've managed to create a thriving business through the beauty of technology.
We had a chance to interview Michael Zima and asked about their story, how they started their business and the future of Zima Media.
Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?
I have been starting businesses since I was in kindergarten. It came naturally to me because my father was an entrepreneur painter, and my mother was an entrepreneur seamstress. Starting a business is a decision that is made up in our minds, and it is challenging to manifest it into a working business let alone a company that can support yourself, your family, and a growing team.
Growing today, there is a thriving community of entrepreneurs and incubators for young talent. I had to grow up reading books because the internet was not yet a useful resource; it did not contain the depth of answers to pursue a passion. My thought process did not map to any education track, and I felt alone without a voice or direction to go in my career working remotely in the future of work.
For lack of better words, I learned how to be on entrepreneur on the “streets” because there were no rulebooks. If you know what you want to do, you can grind it out and hustle with a goal in mind. If you don't know what you want to accomplish, it can be terrifying how unmotivated you can become or when a setback can diminish your aspirations.
How did you come up with your business name?
I didn't. I had a falling out with an angel-backed startup where I assumed an executive technology role, and my former colleague, Artur, was our executive finance member.
We popped in growth and crashed when we run out of runway supporting a team of 25 people. From the ashes, I started to do a consultancy that had a rather long name, and Artur suggested, “hey, go with Zima Media” on a brief phone call about what to do after the startup failure. That very day I registered the name, and it stuck ever since.
Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?
Starting a business as a consultant focusing on marketing services is incredibly difficult. You need clients to build a track record and a track record to gain clients. Along the way, I held a few jobs to support my side-hustle as an entrepreneur before work, during lunch, and after work.
I had the ambition to work at a traditional advertising agency, but a couple of things worked out when I secured an Agency role as an SEO Manager at the largest SEO Agency in North America managing XXXK in annual billings. This is where my eyes opened up to the inefficiencies in the agency world.
- It takes weeks to give clients reports because of fonts and graphics
- Communication is inconsistent and not measured
- Transparency hurts client relationships and results
- Overhead inflates service charges that are passed onto the client
- I could do it better with a leaner model
This is where the offer started to come together. After helping two thousand clients in dozens of countries, we have developed an offer that is lean, direct, and works with a track record we can back up. Clients are getting smarter, and they want to pay for results, and we broke down our service into actions that have proven to generate results.
Large businesses do not invest in marketing because it doesn't work for large enterprises to invest in dividing themselves into a higher rung versus their competitors. It's how you mature from a small business into a medium business.
What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
We compete on price heavily. We bet the farm, the tracker, and milk cow on a paradigm shift coming in the industry. The tools that we use to fulfill clients when launching digital marketing campaigns are getting more sophisticated and are further lowering the barrier of entry for every single business. It is already incredibility simple to start a Facebook ads campaign, but it is equally challenging to generate sales.
This is why Agencies exist to help businesses generate sales. Our agency lives in a world where we have to have an unbeatable offer that saves business owners time and produces results. We predict that DIY Marketing & Advertising will be an emerging trend in the years to come because the internet will advance the way we do business further.
Finally, we use video screenshare recordings as our unique communication internally and externally with clients.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
Since our team is entirely remote, we have innovator DNA to shift or operate based on market trend. We are already all over Europe and North America, and we will continue to grow into South America, Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia. We are going to capitalize on the new market opportunities and continue expansion.
Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?
Every business question you are asking clients and service providers is entirely wrong when making a decision. Businesses and service providers are now location independent; time zones are irrelevant because you can have clients in all of them.
Start thinking like a global enterprise and prepare yourself to do business with everybody, not with a segment with a geographical location in Ohio. You are going to interact with clients from Australia to California to Vietnam all before lunchtime.
What is your favorite business quote and why?
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
The entrepreneurial drive is formless like water, and it can push, or it can be pulled. When it is not in motion, it envelopes the surroundings and suffocates all doubt and failure. The momentum behind your drive will compound, crack the surface and become a torrent that will push you forward while extinguishing fault with progress. Are you making a splash or are you the wave?
What have been some of your achievements that you are most proud of? Why?
Being a husband to my incredible wife, Iryna, and father to my son, Konstantin.
Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?
‘The $100 Startup’ is a great book to garner insights into starting a business with almost nothing. If you want to earn extra income online, it has become easy to make $100 a month just starting. My challenge to anyone reading is to obtain $100 online doing what you love with genuine passion and commitment to the satisfaction of your customer. This milestone is glorious, and the dominos are already lining start an incredible side hustle.
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Zima Media Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zima_Media
Zima Media YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiI_e5kni1Du5SbKFV1qOBw