Andrea Aldana always had her eyes set on exploring the world around her. After studying business administration and marketing in her native Nicaragua, Andrea took a leap of faith and moved to Madrid to pursue an MBA. She’s now been working in digital marketing for six years and just recently launched her own agency, Expulso, along with her best friend, Jess Escobar. 

During Andrea’s career as a self-proclaimed “digital hustler,” Andrea has focused on the technical side of content marketing, including strategy, SEO, SEM and PPC campaigns. Meanwhile, her business partner specializes in the other side of the spectrum: communications, graphic design and visual branding—making them the perfect duo.

In the midst of the pandemic, Andrea and Jess realized that they could combine their passions and complementary skills to offer a 360-marketing service for startups and small businesses—a demand that Andrea became aware of as she started freelancing on Upwork. 

Over the past year, Andrea and Jess have been putting in 16-hour days to work with their clients across different countries and time zones. Although the start was intense and difficult, Andrea assures us that anyone who has the passion and drive can do it, too. That said, now they’ve discovered ways to create a more effective schedule, while continuing to grow their business and meet their clients’ wishes. 

Here are some of Andrea’s key pieces of advice: 

  • Really organize and plan out your day, otherwise it’ll be crazy—Calendly is a great tool for this.
  • Reach out to people for help and network—you’ll be surprised how much advice people are willing to share. 
  • Get to know your clients and make them feel comfortable. 
  • Above all, you shouldn’t be afraid of failure, saying no, or take things too personally: “Understand that this is business, this is how it works.”

Tune in to this engaging interview as Andrea and Kyler Canastra, who happen to be friends, share their personal stories and perspectives on how to be a successful marketer in today’s world.

“Good timing does exist, but so does making excuses. Just do it.”

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, and listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify.

Rapid-fire recs  

Best platforms: 

  • Calendly: “It helps you keep your schedule organized and book meetings, especially if you’re working with clients across different time zones.”
  • Slack: “Slack is one of the best tools because it’s something that people are very familiar with and makes it easy to communicate.” 
  • Asana: “There are many organizational tools out there, but Asana is one of the ones we like the most. We use it to set up our daily tasks and projects.” 

Best book:

  • The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. “It’s been very eye opening when it comes to how our mind perceives time. I think sometimes we’re just scared to start things and we postpone so many things because we think the timing isn’t right. But it’s okay to get started with something that we don’t really know much about. There is such a thing as the right timing, but there’s also such a thing as using it as an excuse. Just do it.” 

Productivity hacks: 

  • Organizing your calendar: “Organizing our calendar was one of the biggest things that worked for us and our clients. We schedule everything the night before to plan for the next day—not only meetings and when we end work, but even setting a time for lunch, breaks and dinner. Because on a day-to-day basis, you get so many meetings, calls and messages that you kind of forget what you have to do, and then you kind of leave it for the next day.”
  • Setting aside time for yourself: “Trying to work out and even meditate has worked amazingly for us. When you get so caught up in work, so eager to make more money, get out there and for people to know you and to do so many things, that you kind of forget that you need to take care of yourself, because you’re the one that’s running this business.” 

Connect with Andrea and Kyler on LinkedIn.

Check out her company Expulso on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram.

For more stories on going from freelancer to agency owner:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.