Digital entrepreneurship is never a straight path, right?
The only thing that stays the same is change. Successful entrepreneurs embrace this: they ride the ups and downs, hanging on tight and doing their best to steer in the direction of their dreams.
For those of us with a low tolerance for boredom, the ever-changing challenges keep us on our toes and inspire us to do our best work. It’s exhilarating!
That’s the spirit I see in Daniel Chohfi’s business. Today, he’ll share the highs and lows of his journey so far. I appreciate his transparency because I know we can all relate to his experiences.
Daniel’s story is this month’s Hero’s Journey feature. We’re tapping the collective wisdom of our community members to bring you reports from the front lines of the content marketing world. See all the Hero’s Journey posts here.
Here’s Daniel’s account, direct from Brazil.
Digital marketing in the largest market in Latin America
Daniel Chohfi: I offer digital marketing information in Portuguese that is usually only found in English.
Entrepreneurs use my consulting services and take my courses to learn about digital strategy, communication, and social media.
The most compelling advantage I bring to the table is my 15 years of experience online and in the marketing field.
Students are able to make the most of the strategies and technical content I teach because I make them simple and easy to understand.
Some of my consulting happens face to face. I help clients with content marketing strategy, sales staff support, webchat training for support teams, Salesforce CRM implementation, video marketing, and everything related to print and digital media.
I also serve my audience through my blog at Vitamina Publicitária.
A couple of months ago, I set out to focus 100 percent on my new project, Impresario, which will offer all the education that impresarios — people who use content to build their businesses — need.
Entrepreneurs who want to use content marketing will find the courses and resources for the technical journey they’ll need to take to build their online businesses.
From a 10-year-old Photoshop user to content marketing advocate
Daniel Chohfi: I have always loved entrepreneurship and the act of planning, writing, and creating.
When I was six years old, I spent hours drawing in Paintbrush and writing in Notepad. When I was 10, I discovered Photoshop, Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Fireworks, Flash, and I started to study HTML and develop websites.
I opened my first digital marketing agency when I was just 19 years old.
I had partners, offices, and employees, but I couldn’t get the company to take off. For about five years, I lived the “small digital company dilemma.”
I tried to build a website development startup with a business model based on a credit system plus project management — a mix between TemplateMonster and Basecamp. It worked well for a while, but didn’t take off either.
One Monday morning in 2012, the phone rang. On the other end of the line was a student from my university with a proposal for me.
“Daniel, I’m selling my blog Vitamina Publicitária. Do you want to buy it?”
At that time, Vitamina Publicitária was a well-known blog that had an audience of thousands of marketing and advertising professionals and more than 35 collaborators. It was the perfect opportunity for my agency to reach potential customers and get new business.
“How much?” I asked.
The investment was worth the value. My partner and I bought both the blog and its social media followers. We began advertising our services to the site’s audience.
We got more customers, but even with more than 60,000 visits per month, it was just another platform for business advertising.
Our business didn’t take off, the agency fell apart, and I continued on as just another marketing consultant in Brazil.
But in addition to hundreds of thousands of new followers on social media, I gained experience that was worth even more than a few new customers.
I understood why regular marketing does not work anymore. I discovered content marketing.
Then, I started to do some affiliate marketing, study blogging, and gain a real understanding of the importance of content, which would help me as I continued to find my way.
How to help reluctant users adopt the software they need
Daniel Chohfi: My main client is a sales company that wasn’t using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. As a digital marketing geek, I knew they needed robust CRM software. I finally convinced the directors of the company to implement Salesforce as their CRM.
The implementation was a big challenge.
I was planning to go to the U.S. around that time because my wife was studying in Berkeley, California. Salesforce’s headquarters are just 40 minutes from Berkeley, so I went there to get trained by experts.
I had the chance to meet the Salesforce team, and I went to Dreamforce and met dozens of partners. I used some of that time to do the Product Launch Formula course with Jeff Walker, and I ran my first big launch.
It was an amazing opportunity. Experiencing the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and the Bay Area culture firsthand gave me a new perspective.
When I returned to Brazil, I focused on the CRM project. But I didn’t realize how challenging it would be to shift the company’s culture so the team would actually use the software. I encountered a lot of resistance.
The solution was to understand each employee’s learning objectives and educate them about the benefits and outcomes.
Now the sales team loves the software. They track sales more accurately, which helps the company import goods more efficiently and balance their inventory so they can meet the market’s demands.
We also started using content marketing at this very specific B2B company. I recently helped them switch to the Rainmaker Platform and their site quickly went from 2,000 to almost 8,000 visits per month.
My content marketing efforts with Vitamina Publicitária have paid off as well. Our Vitamina Publicitária Facebook community has more than 215,000 followers and we have around 250,000 followers on other social media channels.
We have a free training at Vitamina Publicitária that now has 10,000 registered members. It’s a great lead generation tool and authority builder.
Which Rainmaker Digital products do you use, and how do you use them?
I use almost all of Rainmaker’s features, including the LMS, SEO tools, membership site functionality, marketing automation, social scheduling, landing pages, RSS feeds, email marketing broadcasts and autoresponders, forms, and podcasting tools (which helped our show hit #1 in the iTunes Store Brazilian business chart). I plan to open forums soon, too.
I want to be part of The Showrunner Podcasting Course and Copyblogger’s Content Marketing Certification program.
Nurturing Brazilian impresarios (including himself)
Daniel Chohfi: The next step is to make Impresario a resource for internet marketing professionals in Brazil with our courses and membership.
The courses will teach strategy and technical aspects of marketing, which is where many people get stuck. We’ll cover tactics like drafting an empathy map, building cornerstone content, writing email autoresponders, and creating a quality website (either with WordPress or on the Rainmaker Platform). We’ll expand the training and community from there.
Find Daniel Chohfi online …
Thanks to Daniel for appearing in our Hero’s Journey series.
Do you have questions for him? Ask them in the comments.
We’ll be back next month with another story to teach, inspire, and encourage you along your journey.