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Marcelle McDonald featured in Finweek top women to watch

Marcelle McDonald used her savings she invested over five years ago, to start her digital marketing agency, #HelloYes Marketing. Her understanding of the industry and current and future trends, combined with her entrepreneurial spirit, leadership and vision have been valuable in starting the business. In an industry that appears saturated, McDonald says she saw an opportunity to transfer traditional marketing concepts on new media platforms, which other digital companies have failed to do.

1) What would you identify as your big break?

When I got the opportunity to work for an advertising agency, it was an opportunity to work in marketing which is something I am passionate about. I always knew it was something I wanted to do. I started working at a printing company and we used to deal with advertisers.

I wanted to work in a creative environment like that in order to compliment my own interests and strengths.

2) What has been some of the challenges in your business?

I didn’t think this would be a challenge, but finding the right staff with the skill set for the digital space was challenging. It took a good few months for me to find the right people and then to train them to be on par with the level the industry is at. In the digital space, many digital companies poach skilled staff from each other. That’s also a challenge, but I see that as an opportunity to develop the skills of people in South Africa. South Africa is the most digitally developed country in Africa and the fourth, fastest growing digital economy in the world (after China, Malaysia and Thailand) I know I am moving in the right direction.

3) What has been the biggest difficulty or setback that you’ve had to overcome?

I came from a background where I did not have the finances to study. But I put my head down and worked hard to pay for my own studies. I want people to know that they should not let their background stop them from becoming who they want to be. You need to make things happen for yourself, work hard for your goals.

4) Your advice to those who want to make it in your sector?

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs but many lack the courage to follow their dreams. Believe in yourself, no matter where you come from. You can be great if you believe in yourself and follow your passion. Find something you love doing – I loved marketing and even though I couldn’t study, I started at the bottom and worked my way up. Seize opportunities and run with them.

5) What are your goals for the future?

In the next five years I believe we will have a global presence. There are opportunities for young South Africans in the digital space to make their mark internationally. I plan to develop people and export these skills and talents.