Meet Denise Strohsahl, owner and founder of sandstonecastles marketing consultancy:
Why do you do what you do?
As a student, I did the marketing for a small, local business. Their customer focus & personal approach was absolutely amazing. After graduation, I had a great time learning on the job in a large international corporation. But soon I felt too removed from our customers and missed a sense of achievement.
So I started sandstonecastles, went back to the world of small businesses, and never looked back.
What are you most proud of?
Leaving a secure job to start your own business is always a risky thing. Doing so by moving to another country – completely on your own – is doubly so. Especially, if you have no idea if it’s going to work. But it did. And I managed to stay sane in the process!
What keeps you up at night?
I’m a perfectionist, so there’s A LOT to keep me up at night. Most of it is about being late to a meeting or missing my train.
What was the best business decision you ever made?
My office. Working from home has its perks. But surrounding yourself with other freelancers and small business owners is so much better!
And the worst?
I once did a campaign for a client against my better judgment. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work out. It was a hard but good lesson to learn.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?
Trust your gut! Follow your instincts, even if you can’t put your finger on why you feel like that. Just listen. Always.
How do you attract new clients or customers?
Mostly networking and SEO. I attend many events and meetings and have invested a lot of time in my website and blog.
What do you enjoy most about your marketing?
The networking part. I love meeting new people, hearing about their business and making friends.
How do you relax?
I couldn’t survive without movies, TV shows and books. I have a membership for both the Cameo and Cineworld, am addicted to Netflix and can’t go to sleep without reading at least a few pages on my Kindle.
What is your favourite brand?
One of my first business purchases was an Apple MacBook, finally removing everything Microsoft related from my life. I’m not saying Apple’s products are perfect, but their product design, attention to detail and focus on customer experience is simply amazing.
What’s something you dream of doing?
I’d love to work more with small businesses in rural Scotland. There are so many creative and adventurous people with amazing ideas out there, that I can’t help but wanting to be a part of it.
I’ve recently updated my brand design, going from stock photos to illustrations showing small, local businesses. For a service-based business like mine, it’s difficult to find the right visuals and imagery, so I wanted to move away from boring, generic imagery. Next up is an update of my web content, fine-tuning the copy on my website to make my niche and USP even clearer.