Transcription of Episode

Intro/Outro 0:04
Welcome to Investing Across Borders with Lauren Cohen. Every week she will share valuable information that you need to know in order to successfully invest in real estate and other business endeavors in North America. We believe in helping clients invest, live, work, and play across borders. And now, your host, Lauren Cohen.

Lauren Cohen 0:24
Good morning, everybody. And welcome to Investing Across Borders. I am Lauren Cohen, international lawyer and real estate expert, originally from the amazing city of Toronto, which is where my guest is also originally from, and now living in South Florida. My guest, and friend, Fran Jakubowicz is lucky enough to be living in my very favorite country, which I talk about quite often on this show, but don’t have enough guests from this lovely country of Israel. Fran and I have known each other oh my goodness, I want to stay at least 25 years, right? I won’t tell, because it ages us. I knew Fran when her oldest son I think was a little baby. And now I know that your daughter is married. How many of your kids are married?

Fran Jakubowicz 1:10
I have one married and the son that you’re talking about is 27.

Lauren Cohen 1:14
27? Oh my goodness. And the first time that I went to Israel after they moved and made Alia, which is when a Jew moves back home to Israel. It’s a rite of return. But the first time I went, I stayed with Fran and her young children in their little tiny apartment in Beit Shemesh, and it was lovely and amazing. And we’ve stayed friends ever since. And I honestly wish that I could be there in person with you with the wind blowing in your hair, because the wind in Israel is different than the wind anywhere else in the world. So Fran, please introduce yourself, and tell us a little bit about your journey and SunHouse marketing, which is this incredible international marketing company.

Fran Jakubowicz 1:58
Sure. So, I’m the CEO of SunHouse marketing, it’s a full service digital marketing agency, based in Israel with clients on four continents. And really, my journey is somewhat of a fascinating one, I began my career in PR, and sales, my dad had a PR firm in Toronto, Canada, and I worked there as a teenager, I learned how to write a press release a mean press release, if I may say and, you know, learn how to work at events and conferences and all that good stuff. It was actually great, and also taught me how to run a business with morals, because my father was an excellent human being. And I watched him carefully in the way in which he treated his own employees. So I did learn a lot at that time. And then after I graduated from university with an honors degree in fine art studies, of all things. I worked in sales and marketing capacities in Canada, moved to Israel, as Lauren said, in 1999. And I sort of fell into digital marketing, what happened was, I was working as the director of content for an eCommerce group. And it was like 2006. And someone said, Hey, you know, there’s this thing called Facebook, would you like to learn about it? Because it might be important for us. So I was like, Okay, sure. And that was when I fell in love with the whole concept. And then of course, you know, just lived and breathed digital marketing. Now, my company, we’re a boutique agency, we have a very specific focus, which is digital lead generation, we work with enterprise companies all over the world, helping them generate leads for their sales teams. That’s one large chunk of our business and the other is actually sales, lead generation in sales and services. So in that case, we are engaging the consumer. And it’s just been so exciting, a fascinating journey. Love living in Israel, it’s this incredible energy and fire and creativity.

Lauren Cohen 4:16
It’s just a wonderful place to do business, true sense of community. Like my friend, I was talking to one of my best friends who lives in Modine and literally in the middle of my night because I couldn’t sleep and she said, Oh, my goodness, my key wasn’t working in the door and I had to leave my door open. And I was like, Alright, so what’s gonna happen? Nobody’s gonna do anything, you know, your neighbors are gonna look after you. And it’s just a completely different feeling. And certainly through this pandemic, it’s been like that as well, because Israel was the first country to pretty much offer vaccinations to everybody in the country. And now I just found out last night also that unless your children are vaccinated, you can’t even get in so I could get in, but not with my child because of course, he isn’t vaccinated because he’s not over 16. So I was actually hoping to send him to camp there, but not this year. So, it just goes to show, you know, people don’t realize, and I’m not going to get into a whole spiel with Fran about Israel, because we could go on about that for a long time. And, you know, my eventual goal, as most of my listeners know, is to be in Israel and make Alia and follow in Fran’s footsteps. But you know, my son does have a dad here. So we try to be a little bit conscious of that. But in any event, I usually go for quite a long, extended period of time every summer, and haven’t been there for obvious reasons. Just like I haven’t been home to Toronto since the pandemic started. But we’ll be there. I was thinking, if not the summer, at least the holidays. But you know, Israel is such an amazing country and place and just innovation capital, they call it startup nation. And the reason for that is, as Fran will tell you, that everybody in Israel has the mentality of let’s do this, let’s find a way, let’s persevere. Listen, we came out of nothing. We built this country, this country in the middle of all these countries that hate us, into this amazing, first world. Innovative startup nation that has started so many companies, that have impacted people around the world. And it’s an amazing thing. When you think about how tiny, this country in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of nothing, we don’t have the best neighbors. But you have taken that, not only within Israel, but in multiple countries, you have clients in Canada, clients in the US, clients in Asia, you have clients everywhere. And the reason is because what you do is so unique, and customized and custom built for your clients. So tell us a little bit about that. I mean, digital marketing, everybody does digital marketing, what makes you different? And why have you been so successful?

Fran Jakubowicz 7:03
Right. I’ll just tell you quickly, we started working with South Korea, I mean, we’re really moving into new territory that we never worked in before. So it’s been very exciting. And really, somehow we’re able to just work really effectively with companies in a number of verticals, because we provide at the end of the day, the source, the lifeblood of their business, and that’s qualified leads in the door, and no business can survive without them. And what we’ve learned over the years, is to hone in on micro audiences, if necessary, in b2b capacities, to very broad audiences. And interestingly, we just did a report for a benchmarking report for an industry related magazine. And in our work, in the b2c space. And we are way beyond the benchmarks, our cost per lead is so much less than the industry standard, and we generate so many more leads. And it’s because I’ve ensured that my team is super certified, that they are the leaders, you know, we speak at Digital lead generation, and digital marketing events. We’re out there, learning and living and breathing it. And also we’re not afraid to test and beta test new tools, new platforms. So using a lot of what is new in Israel, as we said, there’s so much going on in Israel. For example, I’m working with an amazing technology platform, doing interactive video. Interactive video means that are you familiar with it, where there’s buttons out on the screen, and you can click through. So this one is called Tolstoy, and it’s allowed us to create funnels where we can first educate the user about the service or the product, b2b or b2c. Get them to choose what they want to do next, is it watch testimonials, is it learn more about the product or platform, whatever it is, to go to that flow. And then at the end of the day, the client is able to get a far more qualified lead, and where the lead can be warmed up to a degree that they’re ready and saying Yes, I’d like to meet with you. So there’s those types of activities that are going on in Israel that allow us to provide just super targeted, really high quality leads for clients. So that is a wonderful market to be in because everybody wants to do business. So we’re really fortunate that we found our niche and you know, you can cross any bridge if you can offer that service. So it speaks to people around the world.

Lauren Cohen 10:02
Yeah. And that’s the beauty of it, it is a pervasive thing, and you have people that are coming to you, because you do have an international presence, you have a very strong LinkedIn presence, obviously, since that’s part of your forte, Facebook, again, you started with Facebook and developing Facebook ads. And I think that for me, what always resonates with me, about Fran and about many people from Israel, is authenticity. And Fran really cares about her clients. It’s not like, oh, let me see how much money you can pay me. Instead, it’s let me see what I can bring to you. Well, how can I bring value to your business? How can I impact you, and obviously, there’s a price attached to it. It’s not free. You know, we’re not doing this just because of the goodness of our hearts. But at the end of the day, if you can’t impact the client, it’s really not going to work for you. And I think that resonates. I remember a couple years ago when I was thinking of making that leap moving to Israel, and I sat in the Alia office, and the woman was saying to me, she was in charge of employment and getting jobs and everything and we were talking about doing some webinars, me doing some webinars for the people that were moving back and forth to make sure that they were legally structured properly. And she said to me, don’t put makeup on when you do the webinar. I said, What? I can’t be on there without lipstick, right. Which mascara? I don’t put a lot of makeup, obviously. But I said, Do you mean because they just want to know your for real? Yeah. They want to know that you’re coming from the heart, that you’re not selling something and having dealt with Israelis? You know, moving to Israel is different. I haven’t done that yet. But I’ve worked with Israeli for a very long time. And it’s different mentality just like working with any culture is different. Canadian, American different, completely different, right Fran?

Fran Jakubowicz 11:54
Israelis tell you like it is. There’s not a lot of nicety, you know, like when I first moved here from Canada, and we’re so played in Canada, I was shocked by how upfront everybody was, but eventually and as you say, it just showed absolute authenticity, and there is a level of caring that people do have. And absolutely, I need to make a living. And so I do, but I do honestly I do offer every week, I work with a new young startup or you know, young business, and I give them consulting time pro bono, because I also want to give to young businesses who are just getting started because people were so kind to me, when I was getting started. In fact, even today, I have a mentor, you know, the company I want to be in 10 years. So I’m mentoring with an incredible CEO of a hugely successful company, and all graciously done for free. People are so kind and I think that’s part of the energy and the vibe here. And you know, I’ve developed wonderful relationships with people all over the world. And it’s just learning how to communicate in a comfortable way that is respectful to each country that we’re speaking with, learn how to communicate the way they know how to communicate, and you can build wonderful authentic bridges with the people everywhere and I love it.

Lauren Cohen 13:20
I’m getting goosebumps because I’m missing it a lot but I don’t know if you know of Bob Berg? Bob Berg wrote a series called the Go Giver, you’d love it. And I met him, believe it or not, ages ago on a blind date. And we became friends. He’s here in Jupiter, Florida, just north of me. Super nice guy. He’s a Hall of Fame speaker and everything like that. And the concept behind his theory in his books, and his parable, as he calls it, is that in order to receive you need to come from a place of giving, because you’re always going to receive by giving. It’s not that you have to look what’s in it for me. But I think in Israel, many people want to help each other because we’re in it together. And even though in this pandemic, everybody has been saying we’re in it together. That’s not true. Most people are in it for themselves and Israel, we’re really in it together. And even when you’re not in Israel, Israelis help each other, even when you in the diaspora, which means outside of Israel, because you want to help and bring somebody else up because, you know, you have a mentor. I have a mentor, I mentor people and it’s not always about an exchange of money. It’s an exchange of an idea. It’s an exchange of concepts. It’s an exchange of connections, which Fran and I have both been very generous with each other in terms of trying to make good connections, not just like, Oh, you want to meet like Joe Schmo, here you go. But instead, it’s like, here’s a connection that’s actually a value. So let’s make it work. You know, so I think that’s a really important part of the process as well.

Fran Jakubowicz 15:03
So if I can just interrupt, the partnerships that I’ve created, and they’re in Israel, but they’re also outside of Israel, and often with other women, business owners and CEOs, but not primarily, not only, but always turned into friendships, because I only become strategic partners with people whose work I respect, and who are ethical, and who care about their clients, because that’s so important to me. And obviously, if you share those values, you’re going to have commonalities. And so it goes beyond business. And it’s been amazing. Like, I’ve just met the most wonderful people in my life. And through business, it’s just such a wonderful opportunity.

Lauren Cohen 15:42
And it’s interesting, because you’re in a world where, I guess a more traditional religious world where women are not traditionally taking charge, like you, and you’re taking charge. And you’re trailblazing and making connections and making an impact for women and showing that they can do it all. How many children do you have four and a half?

Fran Jakubowicz 16:06
Five, I have five children. I’m glad to tell you that the environment is changing. And that there’s a lot of young women in the marketplace today, there are many women business owners across the Israeli ecosystem, and any biases or judgments. We used to feel, you know, people have like, moved past that, for the most part. It’s interesting, any negativity or bias that I get when I walk into a boardroom? And they see, because you’re obviously religious woman when you’re wearing a long skirt and long sleeves. I only see with people over the age of 55. Young people don’t even care. Like they don’t even think about it, which is so refreshing and nice. And that includes all minorities, anybody who’s in, you know, a minority position, you know, no one’s judged. And I love that about Israel.

Lauren Cohen 16:56
Also, you know Fran, you can really be anybody here and without judgment. And I actively do that, you know, it’s been inspiring. Thank you for being part of my world. How do people reach you to find out more about your amazing digital marketing services and connecting with you?

Fran Jakubowicz 17:14
So LinkedIn is a great place, you can certainly message me on LinkedIn, you can reach out to my website at I think those are probably the two best places to reach me.

Lauren Cohen 17:24
Awesome. And we’ll have it all in the show notes. And thank you for joining me today. From what we’re seven hours ahead in Israel. So what is it now around 4pm? Five? It’s almost five. So I can’t count today. I’m still tired from speaking. It’s really three in the morning, right? I’m she’s like, what are you up? I said, I don’t know. But that’s how it is. We’re talking to India half the day in Israel, the other half. Anyway, it’s been, as always, a pleasure speaking with you, God willing, I should see you in Israel in a few months. By the way, it’s going to be before the end of 2021. No matter if I have to walk there. I will be there.

Lauren Cohen 18:10
I’m Lauren Cohen. With investing across borders, please subscribe to my podcast on Apple on Google and Spotify. Everywhere that you can find a podcast our podcast is promoted, Investing Across Borders with Lauren Cohen. And if you feel so inclined, give it five stars, to show that you support this amazing endeavor that we’re doing and trying to help people understand that there are ways to invest across borders painlessly and successfully. I’m Lauren Cohen, international lawyer and real estate expert signing off for today from South Florida and bid Shamash outside of Jerusalem Israel. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful evening and day. Thank you. Bye.

Intro/Outro 18:55
Thanks for listening to Investing Across Borders with Lauren Cohen. Make sure to check the show notes for any links and for guests contact information. If you have questions for Lauren, please reach out to her at If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe, rate, review, and share the podcast with a friend.