By Liz Roncevic
Liz always knew that she would be a business owner. She just wasn’t sure how it would happen. But it was the belief she had about what she was meant to do. So it was something Liz always chased.
Liz attended an art school in New York City, but seemed to fall back into retail jobs. For nearly a decade, Liz worked in retail stores, mostly stores at the mall. She loved dealing with customers but the truth was she wasn’t making enough money. She also felt somewhat undervalued in her position.
Liz found herself going from one retail store to another, trying to find the perfect position. But each time she started a new position, there was always disappointment.
A turning point was when Liz found herself feeling directionless and hopeless. She thought that the rest of her life would be a struggle—going from one job to another and not making an adequate amount of money. When a manager told her that she wasn’t cut out to manage a luxury boutique and that she was meant to work in a department store, it sparked a fire in Liz to do more.
Looking back, the rude awakening did her a huge favor. She “accidentally” fell into the business of SEO and web design. Today, Liz is the founder and president of Bizmap LLC. She uses her skills to help her clients put their business on the map through digital marketing
Today, we welcome Liz to The After Six Club’s Ambitious Tribe!
After working in one retail store to another, I finally had an opportunity that seemed to be a good one. It was a management position. At that time, I thought that management was the answer to my dilemma.
But the truth was, I knew immediately it was another “temporary job”. I didn’t feel a connection to the product and I knew that standing in a boutique the size of my bathroom with five other people for 40 hours a week was not going to work. It was a devastating moment to realize that I was very unhappy, professionally, and didn’t know which way to turn. In addition, I was looking for support from my boss who had recruited me. Unfortunately, there was no support. I didn’t feel a sense of empowerment in the position or working for the company.
The work environment was very toxic and uncomfortable. I definitely wasn’t performing. There was so much tension so I just showed up and didn’t make much of an effort. Eventually, I was laid off.
I think the whole experience was a rude awakening for me. I saw that if I didn’t make a move to do something else, I would continue to be unhappy. I would continue to go from store to store, and worse yet, I might even end up a bitter, ineffective, and unsupportive manager like the one who hired me.
I learned a lot from that experience. When I was laid off, I was devastated but relieved. I knew I could have done the job if I had been given the chance but I also knew the work wasn’t for me.
The day I was laid off, the manager said to me this as I was leaving, “Liz, you’re not meant to be in a luxury boutique. You’re meant to be in a department store.” When she said that, I believed her. I already knew I was not meant to be in a department store but I believed her that I was also not meant to be in a boutique.
I’m not sure if what she was said was meant to be mean and hurtful. And to be honest, I didn’t really care. That woman did me a huge favor. I have a lot of gratitude for that experience. And so I moved on and worked my butt off. And the rest is history.
I actually fell into my business by accident. I had no SEO or web design background but I fell in love with the work when I was exposed to it. I started doing freelance work for businesses and it’s grown from there. Bizmap LLC was established in October 2017.
Our slogan reads, “We put your business on the map!” Bizmap offers quality digital marketing services. We help companies develop strategies to establish a stronger online presence. Bizmap’s main services are web design, SEO, and logo design. Bizmap is located in Parsippany, New Jersey. Right now I work from a home office.
Is it always necessary to be passionate about what your business is about in order for it to succeed?
For me, it has been necessary. But maybe that is not so for others. I think being passionate about what you stand for helps in the long run.
How did you obtain capital? Were there investors?
I didn’t really need a lot of capital to start my business. Over time, I purchased software, programs, computers, etc. but I didn’t do it all in one day.
How did you build your customer base? What form of marketing has been most effective for you so far?
I’ve been building my customer base 95 percent through referrals. Since I’ve taken on a few people who work for me part time, I’ve had more of an opportunity to explore other ways of marketing my business. Right now, I’m optimizing my website for search and when it’s done, I expect that my SEO strategy will be my primary means of building my customer base.
How do you generate new ideas for your business’ growth?
Through knowledge and building relationships in my industry.
What kind of company culture are you implementing? What are your core values?
Innovation, growth, and kindness to others. Empowerment of my employees.
How do you deal with major mishaps? What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
I deal with mishaps by working through them. The biggest mistake I’ve made was when I hired someone a while back to do SEO for a client. I didn’t know a lot about SEO at the time and I ended up getting scammed and losing close to $2,000. The amazing thing was that if that hadn’t happened, I would have just continued outsourcing and not really understanding SEO strategy fully. So I wouldn’t take that experience back. It ended up helping me tremendously.
What skills do you believe are necessary in handling a business?
I think it’s very important to put customers first but to also know when a business relationship needs to end. I’ve always had a tendency to want to help people, which is a very good thing. But when a business relationship is compromising your business, it’s important to know how to set boundaries. Also, you need to develop a strong commitment and perseverance. If you are not willing to fail, it is very hard to succeed. I’ve made many mistakes but I’ve always learned from them. I’ve become a stronger, smarter person from my failures.
What would you say are some dos and don’ts in starting one?
I think the most important thing is to realize that having a business is very hard work. So don’t expect to get rich quickly. That’s not realistic. Do expect that some days, you need to put in 15 hours of work. Do expect that you have to make compromises in your personal life if you really want to be successful. We have a very long way to go. Bizmap is still very new. But being passionate about digital marketing and loving what I do help me to stick with it and get through the more difficult moments.
Was there ever a time you felt afraid that this might not work? How did you manage this fear?
Yes. I’ve felt that way many times. It comes up here and there. I manage the fear by talking myself through it and continuing to take action despite it. The best remedy for that type of fear is doing something positive to reinforce my success.
Do you have any interesting trivia about your business that you’d like to share?
My business started on Craigslist. I got several of my main clients there and it just kept growing.
Describe a typical day for you.
I wake up around 6:00 or 7:00 A.M. I begin by checking emails. On a good day, I’ll get grounded first and do some meditation then begin my work day. I check in with the people who do work for me and see how they’re doing with projects. I work until about 5:00 P.M. then I go to the gym. I take a break until about 7:00 P.M. and then continue working until I go to sleep.
How many hours of work a day do you put in? How many days per week?
I work every day, probably around 60 or more hours a week.
What is your greatest fear?
I’m very drawn to the things that I’m afraid of. I don’t have any huge fears weighing on my mind. I’m not a huge fan of public speaking, but speaking is something I would eventually like to do. So my fear doesn’t hold me back.
What sacrifices have you had to make to get here?
I’ve sacrificed some of my freedom because I’m so committed to the work I do. But it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice because I enjoy every minute of it.
What can you consider is your greatest success?
My greatest success happens every time I fail and I make the decision to move forward.
What would you say is the secret to success?
I truly believe success is the result of two things: the desire to succeed and perseverance.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being able to scale my income and make my own hours. Also, networking with like-minded people.
What motivates you? Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I am motivated by all different types of people. I’m easily motivated, I think. I don’t really have the greatest inspiration. I just take inspiration from things that happen at the moment.
Do you consider yourself an ambitious person?
Yes. I am a highly ambitious person. I’ve just always been one of those types who could really never sit still and do nothing. I’m practicing allowing myself to be lazy on the weekends and have moments of relaxation. For some reason, it doesn’t come naturally to me. My mind is always working.
Do you think being ambitious helps you in business? How?
Yes, definitely. I’m always thinking of new ideas and new ways of doing things. In technology, the market changes very quickly. What works one day may not work in a week so you really need to think quick in order to keep up.
What piece of advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you really want to be an entrepreneur, all you need is to focus and be consistent. When you make a mistake, understand why you made the mistake and do things differently. But don’t stop.
Edits: Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla | Image Credit: Liz Ronceviv
Liz Roncevic is the CEO and founder of BizMap LLC. She founded the business several years ago as a way to provide easily accessible, full stack marketing solutions that make sales and digital marketing simple for small to medium size businesses.