Afrobase is a marketing agency dedicated to supporting black businesses in London.
From copy writing to search engine optimisation, Afrobase provides a range of specialist brand building services.
Why did you decide to start Afrobase?
I started this company because I wanted to be a part of dispelling a myth that the black community are poor at creating and sustaining businesses.
I am still questioned by friends, and potential clients even, as to why I would want to “limit” myself by working with the black community. I just believe that we are worth more.
I want my son, whose birth was the final push to start Afrobase, to see a different legacy. One filled with empowerment and unity.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
I had a career in journalism for a while but the majority of my working career has been working in marketing in the education section mostly.
Did you always know that you would start your own business?
I think it’s always been there while I explored other options as a child -a paediatrician, a fashion designer – but I believe it is ingrained in my fibre.
I have entrepreneurs on both sides of my family including my paternal grandmother who ran her own stall in Freetown, Sierra Leone. I think it was almost pre-destined.
Can you tell us more about the type of clients you work with?
We work with a range of clients from PR agencies to award shows. We basically work on projects we are passionate about.
We might be a little untraditional not focusing on a particular sector but I enjoy variety so if we have the capacity, capability and passion to do the job we will.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment we are doing a lot of social media work and building WordPress websites, helping various brands build their online presence.
We’ve got some promising projects on the horizon but we can’t discuss them until negotiations are complete.
Can you describe your typical working day?
Every day is different! That’s the great thing about being in control but the consistent staple is getting my son to nursery and then fulfilling the work of the clients I have.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
The highlights have included handing in my notice at my last role and doing something I enjoy. My favourite highlight so far is captured in a picture of my son at an event at Southbank. I was able to take him to a musical event as he loves singing and the theme was empowerment and I captured this shot. It was a moment of clarity that I will be able to refer to forever.
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
There are difficulties in everything, I can’t lie but I have a super supportive family. Sounds clichéd but support is vital.
Being a business owner can be lonely too but that’s why organisations like the Twenty Ten Club are key. Sometimes it’s great to share some of your business quandaries with people sharing similar experiences.
What has been your biggest triumph so far?
Actually starting Afrobase! It’s had various guises and names but fear always stopped me. When I actually take the time to sit back and think it I realise I am fulfilling what I am supposed to be doing with my life. There’s more to do but I feel blessed for the opportunity to do so.
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
My son, I’m motivated by wanting to be a better person for him.
What strategies would you recommend to others for enabling growth in their business?
Learn what you can but also don’t be afraid to try things that feel comfortable to you. Don’t feel you have to conform to anybody else’s opinion.
If your practices work for you and build you a fruitful outcome, stick with them. Don’t be shy to stand firm to your beliefs or your practices. Value you work appropriately.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a marketing business?
Keep up to date with the latest developments and techniques, our business moves quickly.
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2017?
I’d like to continue working consistently, finish my book and launch some of the other projects that brew in my mind. I’d just like to be the name that people trust when they’re looking to build their brand.
Juanita, is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve just started a blog sharing my experiences as a black mother in business called From Worker Bee to Queen Bee – www.wb2qb.com
I created a free e-book Like? Tweet? Who?! that has tips on how to use the internet to improve efficiency. You can get hold of the full edition by subscribing to Afrobase alerts here http://bit.ly/t569Vm
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Juanita Rosenior was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.
Octavia Goredema was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2012 for her work at the Twenty Ten Club, supporting Black female entrepreneurs.
Do you have a question for Juanita? If so, please feel free to post a comment below: