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Name: Ana Aldea
What made you decide to set up your own company?
The real reason has more to do with the model of existing agencies than with the business model. When I founded datasocial, I had some experience in digital agencies, but I had just become a mother, and it seemed to me that conciliation was impossible in the sector.
With the experience I had in social networks and content creation, the company emerged as a self-employment option that was more compatible with parenting.
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How did you come up with the idea for your company?
I had experience as a freelancer providing content creation and social media services for companies, and all I had to do at the beginning was scale up.
Solving a need
Who is your startup most useful for?
Today, our clients are primarily HubSpot clients who need an advanced technical services partner.
What problem does your startup solve, and how would you say it alleviates “pain” for your customers?
In many cases, companies struggle a lot when it comes to creating internal teams specialized in HubSpot as there are very few people in the sector, and it is difficult to train them. On the other hand, when they find a specialist, this person usually does not operate at the same level of technical complexity as a partner can.
Have you tried to get funding? Why or why not?
Datasocial has always been financed with its own funds, and we have grown without asking for external help. The only external financing we have received was an ICO loan we requested during the pandemic.
Cash Flow and Exits
When does the company expect to have a positive cash flow?
Datasocial has been a profitable company since its inception.
What does a successful exit look like for your company?
We are not looking for an exit but to create an ecosystem where the company can grow while keeping its employees happy and being a vehicle of prosperity for everyone around it.
What is your best financial management or cash flow advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
The best advice is never to lose sight of cash flow as it is easy to forget when the company is successful, and this can put it in a tough situation.
What marketing strategies have worked for you?
It has always worked for us to focus on the personal branding of the team and to create quality content that contributes to the company’s success.
Are there any strategies that worked well in the beginning but are not as helpful now?
In the beginning, it helped us a lot to create sector reports, but now it is something everyone is doing, making it increasingly challenging to reach coded leads.
What marketing strategies have not worked for you at all?
We have never been able to do social media marketing like Instagram as we are a B2B company.
Who do you see as your biggest competitors, and how do you differ from them?
Our competitors are other HubSpot partner companies in Spain, especially those with a higher tier, like ours, which are elite.
We are a more technical partner with entirely different values and a different way of understanding the business. I have to say that I admire my competitors, among whom I have great friends, and we see them as allies in the evangelization of services.
Hiring and Employment
How exactly does the company develop talent?
Like almost all companies, we have a place for spontaneous applications and another for positions we need to fill at the moment. However, we are not an agency with a high employee turnover—quite the opposite. Some of our senior staff have been with us since the beginning.
What criteria do you take into account when hiring employees?
Above all, we look for a cultural fit, attitude, and values because it is easy to train candidates in technical skills with that base.
What was the most challenging problem you did not expect when you started? What did you learn from it?
The most challenging thing has undoubtedly been the emotional toll of working with people.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your business, and what did you learn from it?
Maybe not having 100% focus on the origins.
What is the company’s trajectory for the next five years?
To continue on the path we started on and lead HubSpot’s European partner space.
What are the biggest challenges facing your industry in the next five years?
Growing the team as a company that has expanded significantly and without funding and being able to transmit what makes us different: our technical capabilities and working model by story points.
How do you define success for a startup?
Success is different for each company and especially for its founders. In my case, success has to do with creating a company that aligns with my values and principles and is a vehicle of prosperity for the employees.
What metrics do you consider most important when it comes to monitoring the health of your startup?
Turnover per employee.
What technology tools does your company use?
HubSpot, Slack, Monday, and proprietary technology.
What productivity tools do you use?
What is the best business advice that has helped shape who you are today as an entrepreneur, and why?
The best thing was being part of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). For me, it has marked a “before and after” in my life as an entrepreneur.
What’s the ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their business to the next level?
Surround yourself with people who will help you take your business to the next level.
What is one thing all entrepreneurs should avoid?
Not taking care of their mental health.
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