Our digital marketing agency has grown tremendously within the past year.
To conclude our team member spotlight series, we are proud to feature and one and only: Riaz Sidi.
We sat down with him to discuss his digital marketing agency, his favourite food, and what advice he can give to those who are just starting their business careers.
Riaz Sidi, President at Sidi.io
What advice do you have for prospective Sidi.io candidates?
We’re all hard workers and have good principles in terms of our commitment to mental health, physical health, and putting family first above all things else.
We don’t like to micromanage or get too deep into anyone’s business because ultimately if you have the right passion and you bring the right energy, you won’t feel like you’re working. You’ll feel like you’re contributing to something great and amazing and doing right by our clients.
Ultimately, our goal at Sidi.io is to connect our clients with their customers, and everything stems from that philosophy.
So as long as you’re contributing to that part of our digital marketing business, which is connecting clients with our customers, have great positive energy, and are a team player. Those are some of the things that I would say about being a good candidate for our team.
What are 3 words to describe Sidi.io?
I firmly believe that if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards. If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking. So you know, we always want to be action-oriented and move things forward.
The second word to describe us would be patience. So although we’re using action in everything that we do, there’s also a bit of patience that’s required.
Getting good results doesn’t happen overnight. We need to do the right things, put in quality work, put time and effort in, have a strategy, respect the strategy, fulfill the strategy, and pivot correctly.
So I think having patience is important with digital marketing but also being action-oriented and knowing when you’re being too patient.
The third I would say is kindness. I think we’re all a collection of nice girls and guys that don’t finish last. We want to do good for others and we don’t believe that kindness needs to be in conflict with growth.
What is your proudest moment at Sidi.io?
I don’t think our proudest moments happened yet.
We know we’re growing fast, we’re trying to grow responsibly and we’re making sure that we’re maintaining quality and growing the right way.
But of course, there have been several proud moments.
Certainly, working with some prominent Ottawa companies is definitely great.
Speaking at SAAS NORTH is another, working with The National Arts Centre, Commissionaires, and a variety of local but national presence organizations.
Proud moments also include getting to work with the team every day.
It was only a few years ago that I was sitting in this basement with an empty background and white walls and kind of wondering where the next paycheque is coming from.
I think that there’s definitely a sense of pride there, but I also know that it’s important to just stay humble and not to get ahead of yourself, because the moment you think you’ve made it, you’re kind of losing sight of what’s really important.
So staying humble and not being ego-driven is also something that I find pride in.
If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It’s hard because there are a few that kind of stand out. So I love chicken caesar salad. So that would probably be my go-to.
I really like lunch. So chicken caesar salad, soup, sandwich, that type of thing.
Honourable mentions include my mom’s samosas and butter chicken.
I also like lasagna, I like pasta, I’m a big pasta lover…maybe to the detriment of my stomach.
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
I would say that the title of my book would be “Survival to Greatness”.
Without going too deep, I’ve definitely had some challenging – and some may say – traumatic experiences throughout the first half of my life.
I have no regrets because the things that I’ve experienced and the challenges that I’ve had to go through have shaped the person that I’ve become and have made me a hardworking and responsible person.
When people feel like that or go through those types of situations, it can kind of go either way for them. They can let themselves succumb to the pressures of adulthood when they realize that they’re not ready for it or they could take the steps to be committed to lifelong learning, self-improvement and self-care.
In some ways. I think what those experiences have taught me are the coping mechanisms required to go through periods like the one that we’re going through with COVID-19 and dealing with adult challenges that come up.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is people that aren’t willing to help themselves.
What I mean by that is we all believe that we should be entitled to all of the great things that life has to offer and then I talk to someone who says “I want to start a blog” or “I wanna start a business” or “I wanna do a digital marketing campaign” and I’ll spend half an hour – sometimes two hours – sharing what’s worked for me.
Then at the end of that, I usually say “I’m happy to help and I want to wish you the best. But if you want me to help again, I want to see the kind of direct things that you have taken away from this conversation and implemented before I’m willing to help again.”
And as unfortunate as this sounds, nine times out of 10, I’ll never see a YouTube video, a blog post, a new social media account or an email inviting me to something and that is very frustrating to me because there’s a new abundance of information out there.
I think that kind of goes back to the first thing I said, which is the first kind of one out of the three words, which is action. There’s too much analysis paralysis, where people are afraid of failing.
They’re afraid of putting themselves out there and I mean, it’s a pet peeve only because I was there. I’m saying this from a place, not of ego or arrogance or even obnoxiousness.
There was a time 4 years ago where I was afraid of being on camera, I was tripping over my words, I thought that the lighting was off and I didn’t know what to do. But now because I’ve done it hundreds of times, It probably comes across as quite natural. You learn over time, and I think that when people start something, they have to realize that it’s not going to be amazing.
Just because you put out one video or one podcast episode or one blog post or had one client, you’re gonna learn. And I think too often – and this is where the pet peeve comes in – people are so focused on the destination that they miss out on the opportunity to embrace and enjoy the journey, which is what it’s all about.
I think my pet peeve is really that there’s too much focus on the destination and not enough on enjoying the journey.
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
There are definitely a few aspects that I really do enjoy.
The first one is certainly getting the results that we’re getting for our clients.
You can’t have a digital marketing business without getting results in the way that we are. So every time my phone dings and there’s a new notification for a lead that’s coming for a client or a new application for a client that might be recruiting new candidates for positions. That’s one person that we have connected to one of our clients so that that is probably what I enjoy the most.
Speaking to groups about digital marketing are things that I enjoy, bringing on new clients, helping new clients, coaching and having a moment where they ask a question or I’m sharing some knowledge and knowing that there was that “aha” moment on the client-side where they kind of they see the light or I’ve kind of showing them something that they didn’t know before.
That’s really important to me because a big part of this business is results for sure.
Another massive part is education.
Educating clients and helping them understand why they’re doing the things that we’re doing right. Like why are we turning off that keyword or limiting this audience targeting or using this type of creative? There’s usually a reason behind all of it.
I like working with the team, learning from the team, coaching with the team, mentoring others, helping young professionals to avoid some of the mistakes that I’ve made so that they can be better faster than I am and then hopefully help future generations of digital marketers to do the same.
What is on your bucket list?
The number one thing on my bucket list, I think given with COVID-19, is definitely going on a vacation.
I want to go to a beach and I want to lay on a beach. I know it’s probably not gonna happen for another year. But that would be definitely number one on the bucket list at this point.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting their digital marketing career?
Regardless of whether you’re in a career or starting a business, we’re all in sales. I know sales have this kind of negative connotation, people don’t like being sales and the reality is a sale or selling. It’s all relative, the perceived value of something is often misunderstood.
I think that’s the first piece of advice that I would give to someone starting out in a career or even starting a business which is to be comfortable with sales.
Get used to sales because you’re always selling. I’m selling the vision to our team in terms of ‘this is where we are now’ and ‘this is where we want to get to.’ and ‘these are the things that we need to do’ and make sure that everyone buys into the fact that the things that I’m thinking that we should be buying into or doing are the right things.
We’re always selling clients in terms of every time we talk to someone. It may not be selling them on a new contract, but it may be selling them on an idea or that we should stop doing certain things.
Oftentimes, clients will come to me and say, “should we add this in this magazine or something?”
And you have to really evaluate what’s in it. What’s the best course of action? Not what’s just good for you. I think a good salesperson is very honest, they won’t just make it about them, we’re trying to sell their thing, they’ll lead people to the right solution, and a good salesperson will say no to a sale if it means that the client is going to get a better outcome.
There have been times where I could have taken the money and run but instead, I say “You know what? I don’t think this is the right time in your business to be investing this much money into this.” and more often than not, that same person will be thanking me a few months later and referring clients to us.
In short, keeping it honest and ethical and looking for long-term growth, not trying to get the quick wins and always be in a sales mindset.
Meet the rest of the team here!