World Entrepreneurs’ Day 2023: How an entrepreneurial spirit can thrive through the power of partnerships and mentoring

In celebration of World Entrepreneurs’ Day, we spoke to our client Ayse Caglayan about what it means to be an entrepreneur today. Ayse is the Founder of vibrant, London-based digital marketing agency Surge Social, and The Agency Architect, a mentoring business dedicated solely to fellow marketers.

Though at first her exact path was uncertain, Ayse Caglayan’s journey into entrepreneurship began with intrigue and excitement sparked by watching The Junior Apprentice as a teenager. She said: “I wanted to have my own business for as long as I can remember, I just had no idea what type of business that would be. There have been a billion and one variations of what I believed that could look like for me over the years!”

As she grew older, Ayse embarked on various “side hustles” which included reselling clothes and designing her own line of makeup brushes. What really stood out to her were the creative design and marketing aspects of owning a business and thus a passion was born.

Upon completing college, Ayse pursued a more conventional route by studying International Business Management at Loughborough University and participating in a graduate scheme at a tech company. To stand out in a highly competitive environment, she dedicated her spare time to writing a blog about her experiences and learning about web design and search engine optimisation. It was here she realised that effective marketing was key to making a product or service visible.

In 2016, Ayse began to recognise the relatively untapped potential of social media and specifically Instagram as a powerful tool for driving traffic. She established an Instagram page to promote her blog, which led to enquiries from individuals seeking her marketing expertise.

A pivotal moment came when Ayse sold an Instagram account she had built to a business owner interested in leveraging her marketing prowess. The transaction, initially met with disbelief, provided her with the financial confidence to venture into entrepreneurship full-time. She invested these proceeds into further education in digital marketing and formally launched her own agency, Surge Social, in 2018.

Acknowledging the lack of practical business knowledge being taught in traditional education avenues, Ayse emphasises the importance of continuous learning throughout entrepreneurship and highlights failure as an integral part of the journey which often leads to valuable lessons: “Whether that be a campaign flopping, not securing your dream customer, tech problems or hiring trouble, there will always be something! But in every single bump, there’s always an amazing lesson to be learned.”

One of Ayse’s most significant personal lessons was to detach her identity from her businesses, as she commented: “When building a business, particularly your first, it can feel like your baby. You invest so much into it, you can end up having your emotions closely aligned with the ebbs, flows, wins, and challenges. The sooner you make peace with the fact that failure in business does not mean you are a failure as a person, the much more pleasurable the world of entrepreneurship becomes.”

In terms of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Ayse recommends early partnership with experts: “Whilst I’m all about believing in yourself and investing in training that will improve your skillset, I’m also about being clear on (and okay with) your weak spots. In my first month in business, I hired an accounting firm. Finance is a key foundation of any successful business and isn’t an area I’m particularly strong in, so, I’m so grateful to be able to trust the Simmons Gainsford team with that.”

She also advocates embracing communities of like-minded individuals, engaging in collaborations, and hiring team members to complement strengths.

And Ayse’s vision for the future?

For Surge Social, her marketing agency: “Our mission is to take the marketing pressure off those who have bootstrapped their own businesses and build a super simplified, highly effective system that allows them to scale without sacrificing any more of their spare time. Whether it’s through consulting or taking over their marketing for them completely, we aim to support another 100 businesses with this in the next 12 months.”

For The Agency Architect, her mentoring business: “In 2022, I created an accelerator programme and made it my mission to support as many marketers as possible to start and scale pleasurable, profitable, and peaceful agencies, where they can work part-time, instead of all the time. I’m currently undergoing a certification to become an Operational Efficiency Expert and will (fingers crossed) have qualified in November of this year, so I’m really excited to be bringing out a new programme to support more seasoned agency owners to learn how to have their businesses finally run themselves.”

All in all, Ayse’s journey is a shining example of a transformation from uncertainty to a successful entrepreneur driven by creativity, resilience, and continuous learning.

Surge Social is Ayse’s marketing agency dedicated to assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs by simplifying marketing processes, ensuring sustainable growth while freeing up valuable time. Find out more at: https://www.surgesocial.co.uk/

The Agency Architect is Ayse’s mentoring business that aims to guide fellow marketers toward building profitable and sustainable agencies. She recognises the industry’s challenges and seeks to help marketers create work-life balance. Find out more at: https://www.instagram.com/the.agencyarchitect/

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