We had the good fortune of connecting with Akvile DeFazio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Akvile, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When it comes to taking risks, I weight my outcomes and decide whether I can accept the status quo or if I go forward with taking the risk, it can possibly improve my situation, I can learn something new, acquire a new hobby, develop a new relationship, experience living somewhere new, or find success for my business. Before I proceed, I do also assess the risk versus the reward. Is it worth it if it works out well? I look at my life as a whole as an opportunity to continuously test as it is, after all, an optimization worthy experience. My mottos is that you should try something, be it with work or other areas of life and it if doesn’t work out, then there is no shame in that as you tried and now you know for certain. After all, more often than not, you can revert or take a different path going forward. This way, you won’t be stuck wondering “what if?” I have long described myself as adventurous, but over the years, those that are close to me have described me as a risk-taker. From traveling across the globe at a very young age, to moving cross country and across state lines in pursuit of work opportunities and relationships, to taking the leap in launching my own social media advertising agency six years when I had no prior personal experience working for another agency, as I had always worked in-house as an advertiser and marketer. I yearned to build something to call my own and help other businesses along the way. If I see potential or have curiosity in something, I see it through and always encourage others to take calculated leaps as well. Keeps life interesting and can sometimes result in something amazing.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business, AKvertise, Inc. was founded in 2014 and we are social media advertising agency. We specialize in Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other advertising platforms. We work with ecommerce brands, mobile apps, events, and entertainment clients. We are a small team but we are mighty as we have worked with brands like Postmates, Headspace, Rothys, and Grammy-Nominated singer-songwriter Jewel. While we have experience working with these brands, we work with a number of startups and small businesses as well as we enjoy having a diverse portfolio and we are a small business ourselves. We are personable, seasoned, creative, and are not the “set it and forget it” type of ad account management (and consulting) agency. We are conversion-driven and genuinely enjoy what we do for our clients. Success for them means success for us. We are honored to have also won the award this year for “Best Small Agency” in the US Social Media Awards. It has not been easy to build a business, however, having a strong support team, being resourceful, eager to learn, grow, fail at times, then learn and succeed down the line, has been invaluable. We initially launched providing paid search and paid social services, however, realizing I had more control over my business, I wanted to focus on where my passion was and that was with paid social, so I changed our service offering to specialize in social ads. If it failed, I could always revert and offer more services, but since taking that chance, business has been better than ever. In our second year of business, we lost two of our largest clients in one week – one CEO resigned and another got acquired by a larger company. It was a big lesson in diversifying our client roster and after struggling for 8 months after, the acquired brand came back under the new larger company and we learned a significant amount about business development that year. Now this year, as we head into year six of the business, COVID has caused a bump in the road again. Thankfully, we only lost one client that unfortunately had to do internal layoffs as well, but business has been up this year since we began to pivot and take on more consulting clients to help in-house teams survive and strive through these challenging months.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We used to live in Long Beach, however, we moved up north to the Central Coast of Califonia to Paso Robles, which is home to 300+ wineries. If COVID was no longer an issue, I would bring my best friend out to some wineries so we can sip, savor, and catch up. Being an avid bucket lister, I would find something new for us to explore so that we can create some memories. We would then hit up one of my favorite coffee spots and pick up some brews for the road, then head on some hikes as the landscapes here are stunning as the mountains touch the ocean. Perhaps we would head to Morro Bay to enjoy the beach or cruise up north a little further to enjoy the marvel that is Big Sur.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
While I have many to thank for their continuous support in my life and my career, as I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them, there are two people in particular: my husband Zane and my amazing friend, mentor, and peer, Pamela Lund. Zane is my sounding board when it comes to my business, he is my best friend, my confidant, and supporter. We are very different in how we think and I find it fascinating and incredibly helpful to get his perspective on various scenarios. strategies, and ideas. He also happens to be a talented web developer and I’m grateful that he built my company an amazing website. When it comes to my friend Pam, about seven years ago, I wanted to ask her if I could shadow her for a day since she has been running an advertising agency for about a decade and I had no agency experience. We spoke openly with one another, but I was afraid to bother her with this question so I held off another 9 months. When I finally couldn’t bear it any longer, I finally asked. To my surprise, she responded and said that she will do me one better and teach me everything she knows, give me some of her clients, and I can help her regain some time that she wanted back as she had taken on too much work and wanted to build another business. I owe my start to her and don’t think I can properly ever express my gratitude to her as she gifted me my livelihood. Having a mentor is invaluable and it’s even better when they further evolve to be one of your best friends.