Today we’d like to introduce you to William Maitre.
Hi William, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
“God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips those he calls.” I truly believe this with every fiber of my being. Life has not always been easy for me. I came to America when I was six years old. My family emigrated to America during the regime change of the fallen dictator Jean Claude Duvalier. During that time, anyone that had a good job was thought to be in cahoots somehow with the regime. My family was never involved; however, it did not stop the militia from seeking us out. My father received a tip from a parishioner through the church he pastored and was told it would be a great idea to leave the country if he could. Taking heed, my dad managed to get some money together and apply for all of us to receive Visa’s so we can leave.
While waiting, we hid until our name was called, so to speak. We hurried to the embassy and left with nothing but suitcases of clothes. We left behind a home filled with items, a vehicle, and anything that we could not carry in our luggage. Fast forward and we are living in Massachusetts, more specifically Dorchester. I learned firsthand the importance of communication while living there. On our way home from doing laundry, my mother, sister, and I were held up at knifepoint. My mother could not speak English very well, my sister was 6, and I was nine. I tried to muster the best English that I could at the time and try to tell the would-be robber we did not have any money. He did not believe us and tried to grab and stab my sister. As God would have it, someone saw and called down to say she called the police, and they were on their way. The robber fled. Fast forward two weeks later and my father was held upright in front of outdoor. He fought the guy off and sustained minor injuries; we then moved to Malden, which should have been a safer place.
However, while on winter break, I was at a friend’s home. We lived in a duplex located in the projects or impoverished side of town. I decided to go home and get another controller for our game system. As soon as I crossed the street into the courtyard, my friend’s house was ladened with bullets from a drive-by shooting. My friend survived but took three slugs to the stomach. My family again decided it would be better to move. During 1992, my family was deported back to Haiti, this was another obstacle. We had all of our paperwork submitted to immigration but were deported anyway. We were obviously scared because we were not sure if those who wanted is dead just six years ago would be informed we were back in country. We survived by keeping a low profile, we were summoned to the embassy and were told our Resident Alien Cards were approved.
Many years later in 2001, facing an eviction, I joined the Marine Corps. It was there that I received my US Citizenship. I also served in the Army as an Electrician and in the Reserves as part of the Chaplain branch after I was ordained a Baptist Minister. While there is more to tell, I do believe this provided an accurate Cliff notes version of some of the adversity that I faced through much of my life. I started to look at entrepreneurship around 2012. However, that was put on hold due to family issues. Unfortunately, my spouse was diagnosed with PTSD as well as four disorders. This impacted our lives financially and we lost our home. I decided to leave the Army Reserves to focus more on my family and getting things back on track. I am happy to say my wife is thriving, has her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy and was recently named Program Director of her program. My daughter had a short-bought with suicidal ideations, I thank God for the training I received through the Chaplain Corps as I was able to use those methods meant to save soldiers from suicide to save my own daughter.
I started Vederemar Design and Marketing when I was laid off January of 2020. I was working for a Pediatrics Office as the Site Manager when I was told they are moving in a different direction and I was not included in the plans. I applied for many jobs but due to COVID in March no one was hiring. Faced with a family that could not at the time survive on one income I needed to do something. I decided not to take things lying down and took action. I enrolled in a Veteran Entrepreneurship program through the InLab at HCC called STRIVE. I learned some valuable tools and was fortunate to be mentored by Andy Gold who was one of the two founders of the program along with Beth Kerly. I also thought myself graphic design and settled on a specialty called Graphic Composition. Graphic Compositors are the people that create all the cool movie posters that we all love. I decided to take that skill and apply it to the business world as I didn’t see anyone doing this. I also decided to inject humanity back into business. Using all the tools I learned and my life experiences, I decided to practice Empathy based Design and Marketing. I want to help business owners make deeper connections with their customers through better understanding themselves. A business is only on paper, however there are people running these businesses, and most of the time these people do not know their why very well or at all. That is where I come in with my brand attribute session designed to look at 5 different aspects of a business, while also challenging the business owner into looking at themselves. I officially launched Vederemar in July of 2020.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road to get where I am has been a bit bumpy for me. While I am still establishing myself in a very competitive niche, I have been blessed to have some great clients that I have received through word of mouth. Operating on a shoestring budget has made things difficult and progress has been slower than I had hoped. I have also found due to the length of time being in business, many business owners are reluctant to give me a shot. On another level, given the current state of the country, I wonder how much being a black business owner has impacted my success. I have seen others with less experience obtain clients, with less proof of what they could do. While I am hoping there are other mitigating factors, it makes one wonder.
In the time of a global pandemic I was able to launch my own business successfully and thrive to some extent, but not as much as others I know and have seen. There are many hills to climb as an immigrant minority in this country while also fighting stereotypes that have been placed upon me by others. Racial tensions have impacted my family for years. My daughter was called the “N” word at the middle school that she attended and faced some other discriminatory challenges at her high school just last year. My son fortunately has not. I have learned, that even with the best intentions, you can’t change how some people view things. These racial struggles are ones that I am still fighting and as I said previously has had an impact on the opportunities and or chances some business owners are willing to take with me.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My business focuses on providing small to medium sized businesses the tools they need to compete. I firmly believe, you do not have to be big to compete big. I leverage many disciplines to help those that I encounter. Using my Graphic Compositor specialty skills, I am able to produce work for businesses that have a bit of movie flare to them. This is something that I have not seen available to small and medium sized businesses. I also use my background in resiliency, counseling, and crisis management to really dig deep and help businesses understand their why. I have been told by many business owners they have never had an exercise like this and it presented them with much needed clarity. I would like to think I specialize in people. Having had to unfortunately see people at their worst, I was able to truly understand and apply empathy. It is more than imagining yourself in someone’s shoes. What I am most proud of was helping some of my former soldiers that were in dire straights mentally and needed help. I am also very proud of a particular brand attribute session in which myself and the business owner ended up discussing some trauma they experienced. This turned into a 2-3 hour call, but I was able to help this person uncover some great pains and how these things were affecting their business and personal life as well. We became great friends, and even though I didn’t get the business, I was able to help put this person on a more productive track. I am also known for having the ability to understand my clients quickly and producing work that allows them to cut through the noise.
While I focus on Design and Marketing, I like to think I offer a whole lot more value then just this service. I like to think I am servicing humanity while using Design and Marketing as a tool to help them. Ultimately my ability as an empath and having held so many different positions, armed with not only design skills, but marketing skills puts me in a unique position to help entrepreneurs and business owners. All wrapped around my training in counseling, mental resiliency, and crisis management. Is a combination not usually seen in one person.
Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
People can support me by inquiring about my Visibility Cash Machine System. This system allows their social media properties to become an ATM. Let me explain. Every business owner has three things that they struggle with:
1. Content creation and implementation.
2. Gathering relevant testimonials from satisfied clients and or customers.
3. Showing up in the search engines
The Visibility Cash Machine System addresses those three pains that are present in every business. Over the years, it has become harder and harder to get people to click on ads; we have seen so many and have somewhat become desensitized to them. So, it takes more money in the ad budget to get the same amount of reach, especially on Facebook. Something that has grown, much more recently due to COVID is the search intent and people looking at a business from a “I want to get to know who I am buying from” perspective.
This system addresses this movement that is not going away anytime soon. This system helps your social media properties work for you instead of hurting you and costing the business and owner money.
Here is an overview of how I do it:
1. We create content that is designed to do three main things for the business and owner. The content is designed to build authority, entertain, and motivate. These are three aspects of a social strategy that are missing from most small to medium sized businesses on their social profiles.
2. We leverage something every business can get and is free. Their Google My Business (GMB) Page. Most businesses do not realize now they can post on their GMB page much like Facebook, business owners can upload pictures and videos there. Businesses can make a free Google site and post snippets of their blogs, pictures, and videos to the site and send a social signal to their main website, thereby increasing their visibility of the website and chances of being found in the search. We maximize this property and get as much as we can from it, helping the business owner climb up the rankings.
3. We all know the power of seeing someone tell their story. We as a species told stories before ever writing anything down. It is therefore no surprise that video converts better than written copy. There is a connection when you can see the face of the owner and, in this case, satisfied customers. That is where the third part of this triangle comes in. We work with the business owner to get as many video testimonials as we can. Once we get them, we filter those to their social media channels to leverage the power of community and start to create a narrative of positivity around the business. This allows them to start and cultivate brand advocates leveraging the voices of those that are absolutely in love with the business and their products and or services.
All of this is included within the system as well as complementary graphic designs if the business needs them, as I work to identify potential opportunities the business may have missed. We come along to add value to the business and solve three pain points that they are struggling to address every day. Here is where it gets even better, we offer this service which is normally sold separately by many agencies as a bundle. Even better, I made sure it is in reach of all business owners at price range of $900.00 – $1,500.00. The average business who is doing well spends around $3,000 to $8,000 monthly on marketing. The industry recommends 7% -8% should go towards marketing of the gross revenue. Which makes the cost of my Visibility Cash Machine System below what is recommended that a business spends on marketing per month. I could charge more, but I am not. I want everyone to be able to afford this and have their business better coming out of COVID, than what it was before it hit everyone. This is about helping in the recovery, offering a service that I should charge a lot more for, to better the human community.
- Visibility Cash Machine: 900 – 1500 a month
- Content Generation Engine: 300 – 500 a month
- Branding Packages: 2000 – 6000 based of project scope
- Custom Social Media Template design 150.00
- Result Oriented Website Design: 4000 – 8000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://vederemar.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vederemar/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vederemar
- Other: https://calendly.com/will-maitre-consultation-call/book-a-call-with-will