Born in Los Angeles and raised in Detroit, Suzanne Spiegoski is a New York City writer, blogger, and novelist, debuting her crime-thriller novel, ‘The Fisherman’s Lily‘ in early 2015. She is also a freelance portrait and lifestyle photographer. Her work has been published in The Huffington Post, Elle UK, Cosmopolitan FR, The Michigan State Press, Complex’d Magazine, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Sous Style, A.Zine Magazine, Westfall Music Group, Figure Skating in Harlem, Writing Trend Magazine, Prestige International Magazine, feedfeed, and Backstage. More recently, she is the Founder & Creative Director of MaQ + Suz, a lifestyle blog of Suzanne and her German Shepherd dog, MaQ, sharing their daily adventures in fashion & beauty, health & fitness, food & recipes, photography, travel, and more. Read our interview with the lovely Suzanne below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Right before I started MaQ + Suz, I had endured some pretty heavy-duty, life-changing experiences which encouraged and led me to my new platform. Along with my desire to find an outlet where I could put both my visual eye and writing mind together at the same time had always been apparent, it wasn’t until I entered the world of blogging before everything came full circle.
Tell us about your business.
MaQ + Suz is my newest baby. I have put all my time and energy into my new business and have built it from the ground up. It is such a privilege to work in the creative field every day and I’m always so excited to share that with others as well as continuously striving for progress and improvement.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Not at the moment but I often do giveaways with my first novel a few times a year! If you’re into crime thrillers and love to read, keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram (@suzannespiegoski) as this is where I usually hold my giveaways.
- PUBLISHED NOVELIST, The Fisherman’s Lily, TouchPoint Press, Jan. 2015.
- 12 12 Gallery Women’s International Juried Photography Finalist / Group exhibition, April 2010.
- Publications in The Huffington Post, Elle UK, Cosmopolitan FR, Michigan State Press, Offbeat, Complex’d Magazine, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Westfall Music Group, Figure Skating in Harlem, Writing Trend Magazine, A.Zine Magazine, Food Gawker, feedfeed, Prestige International Magazine, Sous Style and Backstage.
Where is your business based?
New York City.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I already had a website for my photography and novel. In addition to my other bodies of work, I created and then incorporated a blog into my site. I also did a lot of homework, researching and studying the world of blogging before diving head first into it.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
AUTHENTICITY. I believe if you stay true to yourself and your branding image, along with high-quality content, then new and old customers will genuinely want to follow you and your business.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenges so far has been being able to multi-task with everything that I do on a daily basis. Not only am I a full-time blogger, I’m also a writer, creative director and photographer. I sometimes think it’s time to hire an assistant to get a helping hand but I am kind of a control freak and have anxiety giving someone I don’t know a lot of responsibilities I know I can handle on my own. It might take a longer amount of time in the long run, but at least I know it’s being done right!
How did you overcome these challenges?
As easy as it may seem, these kind of challenges don’t happen overnight. They take perseverance & determination, hard work and discipline and yet at the same time it also requires you to not take yourself too seriously. Otherwise, it’ll no longer be fun anymore and life is also meant to be enjoyed. I guess it’s all about finding your own balance, and everyone has a different path and in variated times in our lives.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Whenever I’m having a pretty awful day, I cut myself loose and leave the ‘office’ for the day. I’ll go and take a long walk with my German Shepherd, MaQ and the city always is an escapism from another escapism. New York has a way of clearing your head and at the same time eating you alive (if you’re not careful enough). And sometimes there are days that’ll defeat you, where you’ll feel so bad about everything that getting up seems hard enough on its own. But then I think of all the shit that’s brought me to where I am today and I do believe I made it here for a reason. Perhaps the past has made me who I am today, but it has certainly motivated me to keep going and to keep pushing boundaries I didn’t think were possible. You have to keep on keepin’ on…
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t. And neither should anyone else. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. I’m always striving to be a better person than I was the day before and I’m not perfect but I certainly am always trying and wholeheartedly. Nothing is ever half-ass with me. I give my all in everything that I do and I’m always trying to elevate everything to the next level. There’s always room for improvement and the way that I see it, I’ll be progressing until the day I die.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
This is really difficult for me, but I am really hard on myself and therefore can sometimes be hard on others. I’m a hardcore perfectionist. But it’s good to let go of things out of your control. It’s not settling or being lazy, but knowing that no one can be at their top form every single day. Sometimes you’ll be against the elements and you HAVE to adapt and move forward. If you’re doing the best you can, that’s all you need!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Word HARD. Be NICE to people. And always appreciate what you have rather than wanting what you may not have (yet). That glass is half-full, guys, I swear!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Instagram. I love connecting with others through visual and/or written stories. Some of my closest friends as of recent I’ve met through this platform! And it’s my most visited social channel, I love being able to put my favorite creative outlets together in one place.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @suzannespiegoski, @maqandsuz, @maq_life
Hashtags #MaQandSuz #SuzanneSpiegoski #SuzsLook #SuzsRecipe #SuzsThoughts
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Document” by Henry Leutwyler. It’s not necessarily something you’ll “read”, to its entirety but you will most certainly learn something from this book.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Always trying to learn more about internet growth, SEO keywords and other ways to boost traffic to all social media platforms. I’m also always trying to learn from my followers as they are a key factor in my success. So I’m constantly researching and figuring out what kind of content they really connect with.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
In recent months, I’ve been heavily focused on styling. Being the creative director, stylist, editor, and basically being everything for my blog, except taking the photo itself (in which case I do take self-portraits frequently), I’m trying to elevate my progress in the fashion field. I’ve been working with a lot more showrooms and boutiques in the recent months along with attending NYFW (which is so much fun) so I’m looking forward to connecting with more designers and brands in the future!