Our newest Man Of The Week is Vlad Rascanu, the owner of 80 Proof Digital, a Toronto-based marketing agency that focuses on search engine optimization. Without trying to get too technical, Vlad helps small to larger sized businesses become discoverable on Google’s search results. Unknown to him that he would find his purpose in some of his earliest work experiences, Vlad quickly learned that the work he does for his clients and partners can change their livelihood. From being three months away from losing their business and foreclosing on their home, Vlad’s clients have seen their businesses become profitable and gain new business all from Google’s search engine. Vlad is a man who believes giving back to the community is an essential part of entrepreneurship, his efforts to help not-for-profits and charities have resulted in them receiving over $1 million in advertising grants from Google. A man driven by ambition and the desire to inspire future generations, read on to learn how the sacrifices Vlad made to launch his business have resulted in small businesses being given a platform to share their message and raise funds for important causes.
Age – 28
What do you do? (Work)
I’m the owner of 80 Proof Digital, a digital marketing agency based out of Downtown Toronto. We focus on SEO and Paid Search. Even though our main target market is enterprise-level clients, we also work with small to mid-sized businesses, and provide pro-bono services to not-for-profit organizations and charities.
Why do you do it?
Behind every business are families whose lives depend on its success. I want their companies to thrive because if they thrive than my own company will thrive in return.
At 80 Proof Digital, we pride ourselves with being a boutique but highly skilled agency. We work hard daily to ensure the success of our clients.
How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
I helped nonprofit organizations raise over 1 Million dollars in advertising dollars from Google Grants. This money helped these organizations make a positive difference in the world. In addition, the services we provide help all my clients grow their businesses which in return allows them and us to create jobs.
What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– When I first started working in the industry, one of my first clients was a client in the home improvement industry. He only had enough money to pay me for 3 months of SEO work and if I couldn’t help him he would have had to close down his company and he would have lost his home. Within 3 months he started seeing a profit on his investment and within 6 months he was dominating Google’s results pages and generating a lot of leads. This was when I realized the positive difference that I can make in other people’s lives with SEO.
– When I started my agency, 80 Proof Digital. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done; going from a six figure income with zero stress at work and absolutely loving my job to making no income and hating every second of what I was doing under a tremendous amount of stress. The lessons learned along the way have been unquantifiable and I know that in the end it’ll all be worth it. Making this step has gotten me closer to my goal of truly being free from the rat race.
– Meeting my fiancé and soon to-be wife. It’s a great feeling when you finally meet your person. Your best friend. Someone who completely gets you and is there for you every step of the way. Entrepreneurship is a very lonely world where very few understand you so having her support along with my family’s support made all the difference in the world.
What is your life purpose?
I want to leave a legacy behind for my future generations.
How did you tap into it?
Growing up, my brother and I did not have much. Our parents left everything back in Romania in order to give us a better future. Highly educated but with no Canadian experience, both of them had to work dreadful jobs just to put food on the table. I want to repay them for the sacrifices they’ve made and to make sure that my future generations will also be taken care off.
Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
My older brother, Alex Rascanu. From a young age he always looked after me and showed me the way. I followed his footsteps and his work ethic and always strived to be the best at what I did.
Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
I wouldn’t say so. Every day is completely different. The only habit/routine I have is using my project management software to keep organized with my daily to-dos.
When do you know your work/life balance is off?
I think anyone can tell when that happens, but sometimes it is just not an option. In order to achieve something in life, you have to make sacrifices. For me, my work/life balance has been off for over a year now, ever since I started my company. But most entrepreneurs will tell you that in the first year work/life balance doesn’t really exist. I’ve accepted it for now.
Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
There was a point in my early 20s, when I got scammed into making a bad investment decision and I lost a significant amount of money. I had to move back with my parents and face the embarrassment for not recognizing all the red flags at the beginning and not listening to others. It took me a long time to recover from that.
What did you learn from it?
It was definitely a great lesson. I am glad I learned it earlier in life. I lost all my savings and went in debt trying to make a quick buck, but now I know that there are no quick routes to success. Every day is a grind. Every day is hustle.
If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Develop a good work ethic and become the master of one thing that everyone will know you for.
How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
Good communication and listening skills are everything. Relationships can be hard work, but so worth it. My fiancé and I always grow stronger together during challenging times, because we have excellent communication and we want to make it work. Sometimes I just stay quiet and listen. Sometimes she does. It’s a give and take.
Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
It is an important component of my company, 80 Proof Digital. I wish I could help every charity, but so far we’ve helped 10 charities land over $1 million in advertising grants from Google. For me it was never important which charities we help, but the fact that we do. Many small non-profits and charities do not have the budget to afford online advertising. That’s where we come in. Every year we take on organizations based on “first come, first serve” basis and help them get the funds they need to run their PPC campaigns. The Google Grant Program gives charities and not-for-profit organizations up to $10,000 a month in spending in Adwords.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Different songs are more or less appropriate/needed for different stages of our lives; there’s no single song that I can think of that can define my life.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
Legacy is more than just materialistic wealth. I hope to teach future generations to be self-sufficient. Money comes and goes, but your ability to get back up after being knocked down will always be with you.
What One book would you recommend for any Man?
Definitely “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
f you know a Man that is making a positive impact on the world, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at [email protected]