Amberlea Henriques is the Founder and CEO of futuristic marketing agency, AdSocial.
Disrupting the status quo on social media, AdSocial integrate robotic programming, artificial intelligence and augmented reality to create extraordinary experiences across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp.
Based in Perth, Western Australia Amberlea’s elevated understanding of innovative marketing has seen her featured on Meta, ManyChat, Kochie’s Business Builders, Inside Small Business and Channel7.
In 2022, Meta reached out to Amberlea to feature her work as a success story which was later the backdrop to Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech on the future of marketing in the Metaverse.
When did you start your business?
On paper, AdSocial started in 2015. A solopreneur, masquerading as an ‘agency’.
In 2018, AdSocial had a team both locally and offshore.
But it wasn’t until 2020, where I feel we became a proper business. It was at this point we were operating beyond the day to day, investing in mentoring and had a plan in play to scale.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
With great ambitions, and zero experience as a mother – I made the regretful decision to return to full time employment just weeks after giving birth to our first baby. Believing this was for the betterment of our family with financial motivations of a new home ahead, this decision led to extreme exhaustion, and overwhelming feelings of failure, being torn between both the role of mum and employee.
By six months, our little girl was presenting signs of ill-health. She was refusing food, had little energy and was failing to thrive. I was often called from the office to pick her up from childcare, having to take days off as she was unwell or had medical appointments – which amplified my need to start my own business, to work in and around my family.
The week before her second birthday she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. A change in her diet and she quickly launched into energetic toddler mode. Fortunately by then, I was able to subsidise my full time wage with working for myself – and have been self-employed since.
What are you most excited about in your business?
AdSocial is at the forefront of innovating marketing, a landscape of new advertising and communication practices with limitless scope as we lead toward the Metaverse.
It thrills me to be a part of this growing sector and to have leading brands invite conversations with us about future planning for this solutions knowing the inevitable impact they will have in transforming the way brands connect with consumers in years to come.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
Honestly, scaling. As a bootstrapped business, I run a lean financial model. We have zero debt, I don’t pay myself anymore than our highest employee, all profits go back into the bank. And I sleep easy at night knowing that I have enough in the kitty to cover wages and expenses, if we lost all our clients overnight.
Equally, this also means that I don’t hire any new members of the team – unless we have a guarantee of those hours committed too on annual retainers. Which often has me lifting the load across all roles, working around the clock. Short term challenge, for long-term gain though – so I can push through it.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Don’t hold back on launching your business as you don’t know everything, believe me – that plan will change over and over again. So get your idea in the market, and work on it as you grow.
Practically, I would also say that if you are working full time don’t leave your job to start a brand new business until your income is balanced or at the level to maintain your livelihood without financial stress. You will enjoy the journey much more if you don’t have to worry. Likewise, don’t put significant investment into your idea until you have a proof of concept. Even if that is a simple Facebook poll to gauge people’s interest.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
Because running a business is hard. And doing it whilst being a mum, harder!
It takes incredible resilience and commitment to push through the challenges, enjoy the process and be proud of your achievements.That through the sleepless nights, school runs, homework, chores, errands, tears, tantrums and the rest… I have done some amazing things professionally that make me proud of who I am. The AusMumpreneur Awards is an acknowledgment of people who have lived and breathed exactly that, and therefore have the deepest appreciation for what it takes to balance motherhood and entrepreneurship.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
I decided to make the trip to the Award with my 11 year old daughter. Typically she isn’t able to attend gala nights, as under 18’s are rarely welcomed. But not at this coming together. Having her travel interstate to see her mummy on stage will be a lasting impression of women in business, that will no doubt inspire her journey through life.
What surprised you most about the awards?
The variety of businesses that were commended for success. From fashion, through to social work, not-for-profits to solopreneurs. Women were being acknowledged for their accomplishments within a variety of industries and businesses of all sizes. It was also great hearing each of the winners stories, to know the trials and tribulations of these powerhouses that came out winning was incredibly inspiring.
How did the awards help you in your business?
Being able to share our award win on social media was a great opportunity to showcase that not only are we doing great things for our clients, but behind-the-scenes we are operating with excellence. This is an incredibly important element within our business should we ever look for investment or to sell.
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?
Taking time to enter awards should be part of your marketing strategy. Being able to showcase accolades, involvement and wins helps build trust in your products and/or services. It is how to evidence your business capabilities, having been critiqued by third-parties. And if you don’t win, simply being able to showcase to customers that you are proud of your efforts enough to openly invite evaulation of your performance is a great testament to your belief in your offering.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
Working on your own watch! I am an early riser. I like to wake up at 4am, read my emails, plan for the day and write notes on what I am going to achieve. Come 3pm, my brain is running at half capacity.
Being able to start and finish work when I want to, means that my clients get me at my best as the quality of output aligns to my brains bandwidth and energy levels.
Being able to take on stop of washing during the week is an added bonus. Long gone are weekends wasted doing chores, as I tackle them now during my lunch break.
What’s happening next in your business?
We have some proposals pending sign off that are set to start this side of the New Year, including introducing social media automation (chatbots) to Australia’s largest gaming and entertainment group and (fingers crossed) expanding our content marketing using AI copywriting, and digital trend monitoring across several shopping centres in WA/SA. It is rare for a small agency to acquire the interest of brands of this calibre so all our focus will be on ensuring we are establishing best practice procedures, so that we can supersede expectations and set the foundation for a long-term partnership.
What are your big plans for the future?
Right now we are focussed on being the go-to within Western Australia and I have every confidence that this will extend Nationally with strategic partnerships, both client and stakeholder soon after. Additionally, I am looking into how we can set up remote teams nationally & internationally as I yearn to help both youth and those less fortunate to improve their quality of life with ethical, and prosperous employment.
I have played with the idea of partnering with another agency as I know that this is a fast-track way to access a blackbook of leading brand and know that buying into a business that can take them into the future, with an instant return on investment would be appealing to many – but this is yet to be decided.
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