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Times Of Startups interviews Melissa Williams, Owner and Co-founder of WNY Holdings LLC

Originally published on

WNY Holdings LLC is a customer-focused digital marketing company that was started in 2018 to provide tailored marketing strategies for small businesses. WNY Holdings helps restaurants, coffee shops, and retailers with all their digital marketing needs, from content marketing, web and graphic design, media creation, SEO, all the way to Facebook advertising.

  1. Tell me about your best and worst days at work.

My best days at work are when I get to create connections with small business owners and help them build their online presence and improve their digital marketing efforts. It is the most fulfilling part of my job – knowing that by leveraging my knowledge I am able to impact their results.

The worst days are when things happen that are out of my control. Because even our company’s SEO efforts can be very unpredictable at times. And it’s something I am learning to deal with because there are so many things in life that are out of our control.

  1. Who are the clients/what are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

I enjoy working with clients who I’ve known for a while because we have trust and rapport already in place. They trust me with the most important part of their businesses – their brand image, and how their customers perceive them. That’s a very big responsibility to help them all shine in their own way.

Building those connections with clients is what I enjoy the most. That’s a reason why I didn’t pursue an accounting career after graduation. I like to work with numbers, but client-facing projects are my favorite.

  1. What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?

My biggest ‘a-ha’ moment was when I met Ben – my husband, and business partner. We run WNY Holdings together, and without him, the company wouldn’t be the same.

I remember a conversation we had about our future plans. We both had corporate jobs at the time, and both of us shared this feeling that something was missing; we didn’t have enough creativity at our jobs, and we wanted to do more. We were eating breakfast one morning and Ben mentioned that one of his friends needed help with his business’s social media profiles. When I heard him say it, it felt like a lightbulb went off in my head.

  1. What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

The most important part of my professional journey is self-development. I really think that nowadays it’s not enough to just have a profession. You should always be learning and improving your skills. We get different clients from various backgrounds and most of the time I am able to relate to them because for the most part business owners share this quality.

  1. Have you ever turned down a client, a project, or a business opportunity? If so, why?

Yes, we had to turn down a business opportunity, actually pretty recently. One of our competitors in the area proposed that we merge our companies. After a long discussion we declined because even though we are a fairly new business, Ben and I have our own vision of how we wanted to grow WNY Holdings and which direction to take in the future.

  1. What risks is your company facing?

Like I’ve mentioned before, we are in a competitive space. There are many digital marketing companies in the market. But what makes us different is the client relationships with small business owners. When you are dealing with small business owners it’s almost like a family bond, they often invite us to their company gatherings and we invite them to our parties. You can not beat personal relationships and trust, and that’s where we stand out.

  1. What would you do with unlimited resources?

I would definitely invest them in our business. Ben and I have so many plans regarding how we want to grow WNY Holdings. There are also so many social causes we would like to support. One of them is cyberbullying. It is definitely a big issue in the U.S and worldwide, and as a digital marketing company we see how it can negatively affect individuals and companies.

  1. When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

I often lose track of time when I work on clients’ digital marketing strategy. Because there is a lot of research that goes into it, and there are multiple aspects I have to account for. But crafting a unique strategy and defining tactics on how to achieve our client’s goals is something that I can do for hours without realizing that time has passed by.

  1. What do you do when you’re not at work?

So many things. I try to be active during my free time because my job entails a lot of sitting. I go skiing, hiking, and I spend time outdoors with my husband Ben and our two dogs. We also like to try different foods, so we often go out to check out a new restaurant in the area, or visit our go-to places.

  1. How do you feel you make a difference in the world?

I think that we all are able to make a difference in the world one interaction at a time. So I focus on the task at hand – if I am talking to a client, I put away all my devices and truly listen to their needs. I think there are a lot of distractions around us, and especially as a founder of a digital marketing company, I know the importance of building real long-term client relationships one interaction at a time. 

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