“If you really want something, go for it! Even if people oppose you, show them what you are made of. We are stronger than we think. We are more resilient than we think. We can handle motherhood, being a wife, being a sister, being a friend and being an entrepreneur. And if we support each other, we can do all of those things even better.”

– Viviana Castrillon

If you think Viviana Castrillon sounds like a human motivational poster, you’d be right. As the founder of Digital Strategy BNE and IntrepidUS, Viviana is a force to be reckoned with. And it seems that being an entrepreneurial, multitasking powerhouse was always written in her stars. Growing up in Colombia, like many young children, Viviana played ‘Mums and Dads’. But rather than playing the Mum who stayed home looking after her children, Viviana played, ‘the executive. “I always dreamt of playing in the big leagues,” she says. “I was the executive Mum. I had my kids, but I also had my briefcase.”

It comes as no surprise, then, that this is exactly where Viviana has ended up. Having arrived in Australia in 2013, “because of a broken heart,” Viviana never expected to stay longer than six months. But after falling in love with the country (and her now-husband), Viviana now calls Brisbane home, and has since welcomed two children, as well as a thriving business (and a second in the pipeline).

While Viviana always knew intrinsically that she wanted to be her own boss, her career started in Colombia, working for large corporations in the marketing division. It was there that she discovered what she didn’t want to be as a boss. “I found many bosses, but not many leaders,” she says. “Instead of encouraging me to grow, they were afraid of my enthusiasm, knowledge and personality. This approach was something that pushed me towards entrepreneurship. I am a creative and I am a dreamer, so I wanted to be somewhere where I could breathe, and encourage people to do the same.”

Growing up, Viviana was inspired by the women she saw doing big things. Starting at home, with her own Mum, right through to Carolina Hererra, Jane Austen and Oprah. “These women went against all odds and they made it, just like me.”

That first ‘something different’ was in the importing of girdles and shapewear jeans. But after the arrival of her first child in 2017, Viviana found herself shaped into a different direction. When she approached a friend for advice on her CV, she quickly found herself working for that same friend, managing a major website project. “It was that project that saw me catch the entrepreneurial bug,” said Viviana. That project quickly grew into many more, with clients across the world, and ultimately, two consulting businesses. 

“With both my businesses – Digital Strategy BNE and IntrepidUS – we consult in marketing, strategy and communication for entrepreneurs and small businesses,” says Viviana. “I work on both consulting – so you can do these things yourself – and in execution. I work with a group of women who specialise in various facets of marketing – from branding and copywriting, to market research and strategy.”  These clients, and the women who work with her, benefit from Viviana’s extensive expertise, but even more importantly, her attitude. “Because of my past experience with bosses who didn’t want me to grow or develop, I wanted to do the opposite,” she says. “I try to encourage people to follow their dreams and their paths and I support them as much as I can with tools and networks so we can grow hand in hand. We prove that we are stronger when we work together.”

Passionate about empowering and working with women, Viviana always finds common ground with her clients – whether it’s in the challenges of being a female entrepreneur, the migrant experience, or being a mother. “Being a Mum has changed everything for me,” she says. “I want my kids to say, ‘My Mum is my inspiration,’ and I want to provide everything for them – my energy, my knowledge, and just being me.”

Given her track record to date, we’d say she’s doing just that. And not just for her children, but for entrepreneurial women everywhere. When asked one final question – her top advice for women in business, Viviana is very clear. Just start. “People want to start having everything perfect,” she says. “They keep working towards that perfection, rather than launching and taking the first step. But sometimes as an entrepreneur, you just have to jump into the water and learn how to swim.”

To find out more about Viviana and her businesses, visit her website www.digitalsb.com.au or check out her store https://madebymanyhands.com.au/store/digital-strategy-bne/ and of course follow her on social media @digitalasecas and @IntrepidUs in Instagram                 

Published by Amy Malpass-Hahn, Freelance writer