Tell us about your business and the services you offer?
I’m a Social Media Consultant and Trainer and founder of Stripe Social. I firmly believe that every small business has a story and a voice. Great social media can give a platform to both. I work collaboratively with small business owners to empower them with the confidence and knowledge to showcase the best of their business and connect with the right people.
The three main ways I help people are:
Social Media Audit – this is where I act as a fresh air of eyes on a client’s social channels and have a look where improvements could be made and how we can fine tune their skills. I also focus on what they’re already doing brilliantly too.
Social Media Strategy – This is for people who want to run their own channels but need a plan in place and support while they implement it. I work with them to deep dive into their business, understand what really makes it tick and create a bespoke strategy that will help them achieve their business goals. I then stick around for a couple of months to provide 1:1 support while they get going. I’m their cheerleader, their sounding board and there to give them a gentle nudge when they need one.
Training – I offer Power Hours where, together, we tackle a specific social media problem they might have. I also offer bespoke group and 1:1 training packages.
How did you come up with the idea and what motivated you to go for it?
I was made redundant from my job in public sector communications in 2018. After the initial shock and panic, I used it as an opportunity to assess what I really wanted in life. For me that was a flexible career doing something I love where I could be there for school pick ups, nativity plays and sports day. When I was employed I was constantly chasing the mythical work-life balance and failing miserably. I put so much pressure on myself to be all things that it had got too much. I’ve always loved social media for personal use and decided that rather than be a Jack of all trades I would niche down into a marketing sector I really enjoyed working in and believe can help people achieve their business goals. I invested in some top up training and in January 2019 Stripe Social was born.
What do you love about running your own business and what do you find hard?
I love having the freedom to work when and where I want and to not have to ask permission to take time off to be with my family. I love the online friends I’ve made and communities I’ve become part of. Their support has been invaluable. I also love that I’m not constrained to working on one thing and can explore other opportunities and be creative with it. On the flip side it is really hard work. You have to be everything in your business which has put me on some steep learning curves. I’ve made mistakes but also learned from them. Occasionally I do think it would be nice to be able to switch off and not worry about where my next client may come from but I’ve learned to be proactive and manage this as best I can.
What kind of BossMum are you and how do you manage the juggle?
The juggle is real! I was kind of doing ok when it was just my little girl. We were in a good routine with her childcare and then I had a baby boy this year (three weeks before lock down which has been challenging to say the least). I’m just finding my feet again trying to juggle his care and the business (my little girl has started school now thank goodness) so in truth I’m half organised, half winging it! Oh and doing a lot of evening and weekend work for the time being while my partner takes the reigns. It’s not forever so I don’t mind.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve surprised myself in terms of what I thought I was capable of and what I’m actually capable of. The last 18 months have been both exhilarating and exhausting but I’ve learned to trust my instinct (it’s literally never wrong!), avoid red flags, be open to new opportunities (especially the ones you weren’t expecting) and give as much as you take. Social media is about community and nurturing relationships. That’s the most enjoyable part for me and has opened me up to connecting and working with some wonderful people.
Do you have a favourite app or work tool you think everyone should know about?
It’s no secret but Canva is the one tool I could not run my business without. I use it for my social media and marketing and for creating content for my clients. It’s brought out a creative side in me that I didn’t know existed or had the confidence to explore. It’s so user friendly and the subscription is amazing value for money. I love it!.
How do you define success?
Success to me is working with like minded people and helping them to bring out the best in their business through social media. I’m a small business owner too, I get what it’s like to be a one girl band. I want your business to succeed just as much as you do! Success is also felling fulfilled by what I do and having enough to give my children everything they need and have a nice family life together.
What is a normal day in your life like?
My day starts around 6:45 when I get up and jump in the shower before everyone else wakes up (unless the baby decides he wants to give us a 5am wake up call – love those!) Then it’s a whirl of breakfast, and getting the children dressed and out the door. I walk my daughter to school then drop the baby off with my wonderful mum who’s helping us with childcare at the moment. Then it’s home, switch the lap top on, make a much needed coffee and get to business. I check my emails and DMs first then have a scroll through Facebook and Insta.
My days are varied depending on my client work. I could be working on a social media strategy, a channel audit, putting together a bespoke tutorial for a power hour or writing a blog. I could be chatting to a potential client in a Discovery Call or providing 1:1 support via Zoom. I spend quite a lot of time reading social media news and getting to grips with any major updates or changes and share them with my followers. This can feel like a full time job in itself sometimes! The days just fly by because at 2:45 I set off to collect my daughter from school then pick up the baby. It’s then home for a play, tea, bath and bed (my partner is home by 6pm to help). Sometimes I go back into my office to finish work unless I’m too exhausted then I’ll chill out in front of the tv and catch up on a series.
What has been a particular highlight for you since starting your business?
Definitely the people I’ve met along the way. Find your tribe and never let them go! In most cases I haven’t met them in real life but their virtual support has been amazing. Nurturing online relationships has been one of the most important activities I could do for my business. I’ve been amazed at how helpful the freelance community can be and how people are willing to offer advice every step if you reach out. I love that I can do this for other people too.
What’s next for your business?
Before I had my second baby (and before COVID) I held in person Instagram workshops which was one of my most favourite things to do. I love being in a room full of like minded people who are learning new things and sharing ideas. Unfortunately we’re living in different times now so I want to work on taking these workshops online. I know the majority of businesses rose to this challenge during lockdown but I was a bit preoccupied with having a new born! I guess I really want to catch up in that respect.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Do one thing every day that moves your business forward. Whether that’s posting on social media, publishing a blog post, investing in up-skilling or making a connection with somebody you want to work with. Whatever it is just do it. Better still, do it in the morning so you have that lovely sense of accomplishment to carry you through the day.
What is your favourite Social Media platform and how has it helped in your success?
My favourite social media platform is Instagram. It’s where my people are. I think it has it all. It’s a place to establish and nurture relationships. It’s somewhere to be creative. It’s a brilliant marketing tool. Being able to directly and quickly connect with people I admire and people I want to work with is amazing. When I first started out in marketing it was all about trying to reach people through posters, leaflets and print ads. It seems so old fashioned now! Social media, and in particular Instagram for me, has totally broken down those barriers to communicating freely. I love it (as you can probably tell!)
Thanks for giving us an insight into life behind Stripe Social Kat, we love having you as a Member of the Tribe.