Paula Vergara - Half & Half Social

Tell us about yourself

My name is Paula Vergara. I am from Colombia. I studied at Licee Francais in Colombia. I came to Canada 17 years ago with my family. I have a Graphic Design advanced diploma from Fanshawe College. I speak Spanish, French and English. I am also, the Executive Director and co-founder at Half and Half Social. I am with my husband 24/7 because we work together, live together, have fun together. He is the Video Production and Media director at Half and Half.

Tell us about your business.

We started as freelancers in 2010, developing a full set of services and skills while working full time for different agencies in London, Toronto, and Latin America. Our company was founded in 2017, our dedication is focused on developing key strategies from design processes to measurable results which help our clients achieve their goals and brand objectives. In 2021, we became an award-winning videography and cinematography company.

Our creative services include Branding, Web Design, Graphic Design, Video Production and VFX, Motion Graphics, 3D and 2D animation, photography, and printing.

Our Digital Services include Campaign development, PPC Advertising, Media Planning and Buying, Video Marketing, SEO and Google My Business.

Has your business been impacted by COVID-19?

COVID has been the best that has happened to our company. The first few months were challenging because we had no idea what to do. But thanks to that, we understood the market, and the new “reality” became a great opportunity for us because everything is online.

What services/programs have you utilized at the London Small Business Centre and how have they helped your business?

They guided us and helped us organize and understand our goals better. With the courses they offer, we were able to understand what we were doing wrong and find better ways to do things. Their speakers were knowledgeable and well experienced, their stories were excellent! They provided examples on how to overcome challenges, they also inspired us to go ahead with our dream.

What led you to start this business? Was there something that drew (or pushed) you into being an entrepreneur?

One day, I was crying at the job I had. Answering calls at an office was not fulfilling for me, as it was not related to arts or my experience as a creative. I went to work at 8am, and after a painful meeting, by 10am I had decided to take all my stuff and leave. My husband was happy with my decision. I was crying and wondering what steps to take next. We are both artists, I am an art director, and he is a video production and media director. With the experience we gained throughout the years, we decided to go ahead with our dream and put our skills together. We created Half and Half Social. That is where the name came up because of a husband-and-wife vision. We are each other’s Half (yes, it might sound cheesy, I know, LOL) plus, we always tell our clients that we do our Half, but they must do theirs to accomplish the results. 

What were some of the challenges you faced getting started and how did you overcome them?

Some of the challenges that our business faced were not having a full network, insufficient savings, and lack of equipment. Logistical information such as knowing how much to charge was another obstacle, which even cost us our customers. It took us about three years to figure these issues out, and around this point we started to value and trust ourselves. Before this we were doing work for free in order to build a portfolio, however we realize which was another one of our mistakes. Never work for free unless it is a nonprofit or sponsoring events, but think twice, and the ROI has to be worth it.

As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?

Play with my daughters.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received and why?

Do what you do because you love it, not because you have to do it!

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