There are a few things I enjoy more than engaging with women in business. Although there has been a significant increase of female-owned businesses in the country, I often use their growth to gauge transformation in the business world.
Meet Taryn Sharman (36) and Perri King (26) the founders of Faith and Fear – a 100% female-owned hacking agency based in Johannesburg and Amsterdam.
10and5: Hi Taryn and Perri. Thanks for chatting to us today. Can you tell us a bit more about your hacking agency Faith and Fear?
Taryn and Perri: Hello 10and5. So, by day, we’re largely consulting and applying both our creative and strategic minds in solving business challenges our clients are faced with.
Growth hacking is a relatively new field in marketing, it is purely focused on growth – particularly prevalent with startups when the goal is finding product/market-fit or achieving rapid growth in the early stages of launching a new product or service to the market.
10and5: What is a growth hacker?
Taryn and Perri: To use the most succinct definition from a post, “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.” Every decision that a growth hacker makes is informed by growth. Every strategy, tactic, initiative, is attempted in the hopes of growing. And as such, it is also a tactic that is currently being noticed by corporates.
10and5: So, how did the agency come about?
Perri: It all started when Taryn went on a creative sabbatical. After years of trying to work together, Taryn came up with an idea to build something we could both pour our creative and entrepreneurial energy into.
10and5: Sounds cool, how long has the agency been running for?
Taryn: Just under 3 years.
10and5: Can you talk us through your day to day routine. Who does what, when, why and how?
Taryn and Perri: Days differ, but come rain or shine we’re up, getting dressed for success and starting the day off with some coffee. Then there are last-minute meetings (a change of plans could always be on the cards). Core to our offering is our high-touch engagement philosophy, so we’re likely in between meetings with clients, partners, suppliers and new leads. Execution is continual and unrelenting. We ensure this takes place no matter what.
Oh, and we do try to get in some yoga at least 3 times a week!
10and5: What have been the most challenging bits of owning a business? Especially a 100% female one.
Taryn and Perri: One of our biggest challenges has been the transition of moving away from purely using the traditional marketing and advertising agency models, to using one that focuses on creative/marketing/communication/digital/sales as a function of growth. Advising and creating bespoke tactics and strategy which typically shift the discussion out of the marketing department and into the CEO’s office, ultimately ensuring that we’re not creating another marketing campaign (which would be a far easier sell and implementation) but aiming for tangible results.
10and5: Is there competition within your market? How do you plan on expanding the business?
Taryn and Perri: As a boutique agency the competition is there, however, we understand that our core business relies on relationships, establishing, building and maintaining them. The way we have gone about marketing ourselves is through high-touch scenarios:
Word of mouth referral, industry event participation and networking.
Strategic partnerships – often leveraging each others niche skills across customer bases.
10and5: What advice/financial tips do you have for emerging entrepreneurs/businesses?
Taryn and Perri: For us, it’s been about finding the right partners. Firstly, in each other (by determining what it is we want, as well as our synergy) then in the clients, suppliers and the network of people around us. Our advice would be to find what you’re good at, and price yourself right from the beginning (something a lot of start-ups need consultation on – this can be a big factor to them not surviving long-term).
10and5: What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Taryn and Perri: We’re moving into execution phase (post-testing) on two big growth projects for our corporate clients. They will be leveraging their existing client bases to drive new business, and engage with their niche audiences. The content and tactics deployed along the way will be a first for them so we are all systems go in pulling this one off!
10and5: Alright then, all the best with your business.
Taryn and Perri: Thanks for the chat.
Where appropriate, responses have been edited for length and clarity