1. Tell us about yourself.I was born in Norwich to parents who moved from the former war-torn country of Yugoslavia. My parents had a successful retail business called Sebastian in their home country which they had to abandon due to the war and move to the UK to start their life from scratch. I think I was always inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of my parents, and my dad who studied marketing, which is why I found interest in that kind of route.
In my early teens, I started building social media accounts with different themes & angles, and selling them when they reached a certain peak of engagement, which helped me earn a side living whilst a teenager and all throughout my time at ARU as well. I quite quickly realised what I was doing for fun, was actually a form of marketing, so all of this combined made me realise I wanted to study Marketing at a top business school.
I was at ARU between 2013 and 2016. While still at ARU, I worked part-time in retail stores and took on digital marketing projects for the local council for further experience whilst still building the social accounts. Soon after ARU, I went for my first job interview after university & was hired by one of the top SEO agencies in London at the time where I decided to start my career in the SEO industry. A year later, I was nominated for The Drum’s Rising Star of the Year, and then quit the agency to join the UK's top fashion portal, Gentleman's Journal, I then finally decided to set up my own eCommerce SEO consultancy startup, NOVOS, with an ex-colleague (who hired me for my first job) as co-founder when I was 22, because there was a flawed business model in the industry & a huge gap in the market for us to target.
The London-based agency has now grown to over £1m annual turnover, we've won multiple awards, are a team of almost 20 and work with some of the best retail brands in the world.
Outside of work, I love tennis, any outdoor activities, & secretly I’m still a big video game fan.
2. What is your fondest memory of Anglia Ruskin University?My fondest memory is actually a group presentation in my first year; we stayed in the library pretty much all night to finish it because the presentation was 11am the next morning – note to self and those reading, don’t do that. Safe to say, I never leave things to the last minute anymore! But it’s a fond memory because it was a laugh, and a great bonding experience.
3. What has been your favourite job?
The job I do now. I have the chance every day to build on and improve my own business, work with the best talent available & the best group of people. We work with the clients we want to work with & that we’re regular customers of, I create my own hours and so much more. Is it stressful running a business? It sure is – but I wouldn’t change it for the world!
4. In one word, how would you describe Anglia Ruskin University?
5. How did your time at ARU help you?
I learned a lot about time management, working to deadlines & working collaboratively with others. All of these things I’ve found so valuable even now, and really had the chance to develop whilst at ARU.
6. What did you love about your chosen course?
I just really love marketing in general, and learning the theory behind it was great. Also the lecturers I had were more influential to me than I thought they would be, and really made the experience better. Shout out to Tim Froggett & Cheryl Greyson, in particular, as I wouldn’t be where I am now without their support throughout the course.
7. What advice would you give to current students as they’re preparing to graduate?
Don’t overthink it – I spent countless hours wondering what I was going to do next, where I wanted to go, what kind of job to do etc. Truth is, no one has it figured out in the last year of uni, and your first job or 2 out of university will be experimental to find what you really want to do. As long as you’re smart, and are willing to succeed, try not to overthink it.
8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying?
The stress you feel at uni, is totally worth it when you graduate. Seems ridiculous, but it does feel good at the end!
9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
If I’m honest, it’s probably my business partner. He was the one that hired me for my first job out of uni. We always stayed in touch, he helped me land my role at Gentleman’s Journal & then we’ve gone on our business journey together! I guess when you’re at uni, you have no idea who you’ll meet in coming years!
10. What advice would you give your younger self?
Just know everything will be OK. It’s easy to spend ages worrying about everything, thinking about things, wondering if what you’re doing is the right thing or not – have fun, enjoy the moment & know it’ll all work out as long as you want it to.
11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I speak fluent Croatian even though I was born in England, & I also rejected a date with a certain Princess, even though I didn’t know she was in fact one of the princesses at the time...
12. What’s next?
Continue growing the business – we’re targeting £2m annual turnover, aiming to dominate the entire eCommerce market… and then once we’ve done that, I’d love to get into Digital Marketing/Business Lecturing one day!