Who I Am

It's difficult to write about yourself in the first person without coming off as cocky and cavalier, but here goes.

As of when I'm writing this, I'm a 32 and a half year old bachelor with 2 dogs. I live in North Vancouver, BC in one of the greatest countries on earth - Canada. 

I moved to Canada as a refugee in 1988 at the age of 2, with my 21 year old mother and 29 year old father. We became Canadian citizens 3 years later, when I was 5. My brother was born in Canada in 1993.... a natural born Canadian!

Life was a struggle back in the 80's and early 90's... we had no money, we hardly spoke English, my parents had a hard time finding work... but we always had each other. 

It's less of a struggle nowadays, but we still all rely on each other and are there for one another through thick and thin. 
I never did great in Elementary school. I was always more focused on the social aspect than on homework, studying, doing well on tests, etc. I wanted to make friends and have fun. I wanted to have playdates after school and sleepovers on the weekends. I wanted to play Nintendo and watch TV shows and play outside with the neighbours.

In high school, my lack of interest in schoolwork persisted. I didn't care about acing courses, I cared more about passing them. Instead, I was fully focused on girls, friends, working, driving a cool car, and martial arts. I went through a rough patch, got arrested a few times (one time was bad,) but I got through it with the help of my family and my dedication to Kickboxing. 

During high school, I became a prizefighter. I fought in 8 ring fights and hundreds of tournaments. I earned my black belt, and was an instructor at my Dojo. I even managed to win 3 title belts (which I still have:) Super Middleweight BC Champion, Western Canadian Champion, and Canadian Champion. Excelling at martial arts put me on the map in a lot of ways... I was making money through martial arts, I was getting all the girls' attention, I was earning sponsorships and getting free stuff, but most of all - and what I didn't realize at the time - I was setting up my confidence and self-discipline for the future. 

While I was doing all the martial arts stuff, I also started my restaurant career. I started working at a brand new restaurant that had just opened in Vancouver called "Coast." It's kind of a big deal now, but back then it was in a different location in Yaletown, and it was the 2nd restaurant in the Global Group chain. I was one of their first ever food runners, and that was one of my favourite jobs ever. I had such a great time learning about the restaurant industry, and working alongside legends like Chef Sean Riley and Pastry Chef Steve Hodge (now owner of Temper Pastry in West Van.)

Coast propelled me onto a restaurant path... I worked a total of 11 years in the restaurant industry, from the age of 16 to the age of 27 I always had a restaurant job, and I was fucking good at it - fully tooting my own horn, because it's true. I got rewarded 100% for my service by a mystery shopper, I won awards for best server, I got promotions and raises... I was good at the restaurant gig. I always thought I'd open a restaurant someday, and hey maybe I still will - but it's a brutal business.

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In semper tortor nec magna ornare, a interdum libero molestie."

Anyways, after High School I attended Capilano College for a brief stint... during which time I was unable to focus on any of my courses - they had nothing to do with my areas of interest. I was in General Studies, taking stuff like Psychology, Art History, English (fml,) Sociology... 

I distinctly remember multiple occasions when I would drive to school, park in the parking lot, sleep in my car and skip all my classes for the day, then drive back home. "How was school?" mom would ask... "Awesome!" - I wasn't lying. I loved sleep.

But after failing a bunch of courses, I decided this program was not for me. I dropped out and enrolled in BCIT - my girlfriend at the time was attending the Marketing Management course, and she said it was awesome. So I decided to give it a shot... business was always an area I was interested in. 

I excelled at the Marketing Program at BCIT. This was the first time I'd ever done good in school... and I was doing really good! With the exception of Economics and Accounting, I was pretty much nailing all my other courses. People wanted to be in groups with me, people would ask me to do their homework for them... it was mind-blowing.

While studying Entrepreneurship at BCIT, I was also practicing my Entrepreneurial skills with some nightclub promotions... ran some events with a few friends in popular clubs downtown, got a decent following behind us, and we even competed in the "Search for the next big promoter" competition in Vancouver. I was hustling in school, and partying hard on the weekends (for free mostly!) Life was good.

I graduated with a B+ average, and landed a paid internship at the head office for Earls Restaurants - I was bartending and serving at Earls NVTP while I went to BCIT, so it was a natural fit. I did great work at Earls, and during the worst recession since the great depression, they hired me full-time after the internship was done. I was on cloud nine.

This job at Earls propelled my career. People got to know me as the Earls social media guy, which earned me a ton of credibility in the marketing industry in Canada. People looked to me as a leader in online engagement, marketing, content creation and more. It was 2009 and I was a pioneer in the new age of social media marketing...
About to fly over the Llewellyn Glacier in Atlin, BC - that flight nearly went down!
While working at Earls HQ, I quit my job at Earls NVTP because of the conflict of interest. However, I loved the restaurant industry and did not want to give it up, so I picked up a job at a different restaurant. The District in North Vancouver. I was working days at Earls, nights at The "D" as we called it.

A couple years later, I applied for the "Tigerblood Internship" which was a job as Charlie Sheen's social media marketing manager... out of 85,000 appilcants from across North America, I made it to the top 10. All of a sudden, my phone started ringing and my email started blowing up with reporters trying to meet with me and talk about the internship! Just insane.

That job never actually materialized into anything, but making it to the top 10 gave me a lot of street cred, and people started reaching out to me looking for marketing assistance. I started taking some side work while I was working at Earls, then I quickly realized this might be the perfect time to branch off and start my own Agency. 

In late 2011, Socialbaz Marketing Co. was born. Social - for social media - Baz - for my last name (Bazzazi.) I ran Socialbaz and continued my job at The District for a few years - in 2013 I quit the District to focus 100% of my attention on Socialbaz - and my dozens of clients and customers.

In total, from around September 2011 to September 2018, I single-handedly operated Socialbaz and worked with 80-90 different companies, helping them with their online marketing, digital branding, content creation, reputation management and so much more. 

You can see most of the companies I have worked with here.

In 2015, one of my Socialbaz customers - who happened to be a company owned by 2 of my best and oldest friends - decided they wanted to hire me full time as their Marketing Ninja... that company was RealtyNinja, and it's where I'm working still today! 

I continued to run Socialbaz on the side of my full time job at RealtyNinja, but then early in 2018 it all started to become too much. I was starting to feel overwhelmed and overworked. I had been working multiple jobs since as long as I could remember.... 

So in September 2018 (literally the month I'm writing this,) Socialbaz is officially dissolved. The company does not exist, the bank account does not exist, there can be no invoices created... it's all over. 

Man was that a wild ride, but I'm prepared to focus 100% of my professional attention on RealtyNinja, and growing it into a beast!

Original Socialbaz logo before the re-brand a few years later

The OG RealtyNinja Crew - Circa 2012
I should also mention that without Socialbaz, I'm also able to focus more attention on my dogs, my friends, my family, my new 3D Printing hobby, and hey, perhaps even on finding a spouse and having some kids, It's been a long journey to get to who I am today, but it's been amazing and I wouldn't change any of my experiences if I had the chance.

If you read all of this, very cool - thank you for taking a few minutes to get to know me and my journey a bit better. If you have any questions or want to get to know me better, shoot me an email: sbazzazi -at- gmail.com