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Generation Now: Saddam Sidat – The Media Director

by Lou-Ann Jordan Feb 18, 2019

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We’re back at it, presenting to you another inductee into our Generation Now alumni. Yello was fortunate to catch up with the busy 28-year-old Saddam Sidat.

For the last four years, this millennial has carved out a niche in the outdoor advertising industry.  Saddam has built singlehandedly his company 101 Advertising Company Limited into one of Trinidad and Tobago’s reputable outdoor advertising agencies.

Excited about the possibility of inspiring others, the lively and cheerful entrepreneur narrates the tale of 101 Advertising’s beginnings and discloses his “go-to” for encouragement and motivation.

What sparked your interest in outdoor advertising?

After completing CXC exams, I studied graphic design, marketing, advertising and public relations.  Later, I got a job in an outdoor advertising company. I realised that I had a passion for this form of advertising and embarked upon building my career and image within the industry.  After seven years, in which I worked for two prominent outdoor advertising companies, I decided to launch 101 Advertising Company Limited.

What inspired the name 101 Advertising Company Limited?

I have always had an entrepreneurial vision, and so before starting in advertising, I launched my clothing store, which was named Clothing 101 – A Stylistic Affair.  The “101” signified the start of my entrepreneurial career and brand.  So, for my advertising company, I decided to stay with it.

What services do 101 Advertising Company Limited offer?

We are a full ‘out-of-home’ advertising company that specialises various forms of eye-catching outdoor signage.  We offer static billboards, digital billboards, walking billboards and bus stop branding.  Other media we work with are press, radio and television advertising.  We also offer social media management.  And, we provide graphic design and printing services.

Briefly describe the journey from your initial interest to what 101 Advertising is today?

Inspired by a former employer who said that my behaviour and personality seemed to be that of an entrepreneur, I decided that’s what I wanted to pursue.  Early in my career, I learned the process of soliciting an advertising contract.

My passion prompted me to learn the industry inside out and to network with key people in the industry.  My growing knowledge, and the relationships I built from networking strengthened my confidence that I could forge a path, and so after and, coming up with a plan I started 101 Advertising.

I was so excited when I got my first ‘big’ design job. It was approximately four years ago, for Rizzoni’s Restaurant, and it signalled the start of 101 Advertising Company Limited.  Today, we have a few premium companies on board, and the company is growing steadily. We are currently in the process of hiring staff to take the company to another level.

In what way is 101 Advertising developing in the way you projected?

I have always been creative, and so started developing my skills in graphic design. I wanted 101 Advertising to produce designs that were attention-grabbing and engaging for out outdoor media clients.  And, it feels good to see we’re achieving that.  We’ve been fortunate to work with clients to design fantastic outdoor media advertising to showcase their products and services.

We’re still not where we want to be.  However, we continue to strive to improve—our new projection being to offer exceptional eye-catching outdoor media throughout the Caribbean.

What has been the most impacting lesson you’ve learned since you started 101 Advertising?

There are always going to be critics.  I experienced them both within and outside of the industry.  That has thought me to stay focused on my goals, on what my company is offering, and I’ve watched everything else fall into place.

I have also learned to do whatever it takes to make my client satisfied because the industry is very competitive, and an unsatisfied client easily becomes a former client.

Starting a business can seem daunting if one focuses on acquiring start-up capital.  What was your approach?

Having decided to venture into outdoor advertising, I set about building my credit rating by taking a small loan. Also, I did freelance graphic designing work which only required a computer and internet connection, and I saved as much as I could.  Those avenues provided me with a little capital to start the company.

Another technique that enabled me to stay afloat once 101 Advertising launched was to request 30 days credit when booking media spots.

In retrospect, I would say it wasn’t difficult for me as I didn’t need a huge capital to get started.  However, capital is required to grow a business.  To potential entrepreneurs, I would say that even a small amount of money to start your business can lead you to a successful company.

S. Sidat discussing with a client an ad campaign.

What advice would you give to other people who dream to be entrepreneurs?

Well, in addition to the above, I would say that societal norms have had us thinking that an 8-4 job is our only career path option.  There are these lingering conventions that dictate that the professions we should pursue are medicine, law, or secretarial.

Being an entrepreneur is very different from a day job.  Be prepared to work 24/7 and to be aggressive.   Also, it’s crucial that you need to stay abreast of the trends in your industry.   It is a lot of work, and it can get tiresome, but keep in mind that you’re the one benefitting in the end.  It’ll spur you on.

Business has their “ups and downs” how do you stay motivated during those down times?

101 Advertising is my only source of income.   So during those difficult times when things are slow, a combination of my passion for what I do and knowing I must live is all it takes to motivate me to get up and push through on mornings.

Who and what inspires you?

Jeff Bezos and Patrick Bet-David are two people who inspire me.  They are my ‘go-to’ entrepreneurs when I need inspiration.  And, the ‘what’ is driving around identifying new places to install out-of-home media.  That inspires me to get the job done.

 

This millennial has defied the restrictions of conventional careers by forging a unique path.  As Saddam continues to build the 101 Advertising brand, Yello wishes him great success.  To learn more about 101 Advertising Company Limited, visit their Facebook page.

Stay tuned to see which inspiring members of Generation Now go after their big dreams.