Katie is the ladyboss behind Katie Mander Design & Social. She recently finished graduate school where she mastered in strategic communication, then she moved to Virginia to start her business. When she is not designing, branding, or posting on social media accounts, she is blogging over at her lifestyle blog, Chic But Psycho.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
When I lived in NYC in 2016, I applied for a job that I really wanted at a huge online media website. I got through three rounds of interviews and was so confident and excited, but I did not end up getting the position. I spent a while feeling upset about it, thinking about how that was exactly what I wanted to do and that I’d never find another job that was as perfect.
Then I realized that creating online content was something I could do on my own! That is when I created my lifestyle blog, Chic But Psycho. I fell in love with creating a brand and growing it from absolutely nothing. From there, I started Katie Mander Design & Social!
Tell us about your business.
Katie Mander is a social media and design studio. I help small businesses and solopreneurs build their online presence through social media, branding, and web design. I love designing, especially branding. Every brand has a personality, but without strong branding, it won’t come across!
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I have a free hashtag strategy guide with a massive list of hashtags to use to get your Instagram posts seen! It can be downloaded here.
I graduated with my masters in strategic communication at Fordham in May 2017.
Where is your business based?
In a cozy home office in Northern Virginia.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I set up my business as an LLC, created a business plan, figured out who my ideal audience was, and invested in the tools and software that I needed.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Pinterest! Approximately 70% of my traffic each month on both Katie Mander and Chic But Psycho comes from Pinterest. I use Tailwind and BoardBooster to plan and schedule my pins. Having my Pinterest run on autopilot has created lots of awareness for my businesses.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Working from home has been a challenge. There are so many distractions and it’s tough to motivate yourself. My dog thinks that I am just home to play with him and my cat likes to walk over my keyboard and sit in front of my computer screen. My bed is calling my name and my apple TV is begging me to turn on “Law & Order: SVU.”
How did you overcome these challenges?
I set up a home office that is away from distractions. I created a morning routine that makes it easy to separate working from home from actually being at home. I wake up in the morning, feed my pets, walk my dog, make coffee, then check my emails while drinking coffee on my balcony with my dog! I love this routine and it makes me excited to wake up and start my day.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Running my own business means that the harder I work, the more successful I will be. Knowing that being lazy or struggling with motivating myself will directly affect how much money I make helps me stay on track.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I aim to be as personable and relatable as possible. I know exactly what is it like to want to start a blog but have no idea where to begin. I know the challenges of trying to build a following through social media. I know how tough it is to get your messages out to the right audience when you don’t know the right social media strategies. I want my audience to know that I have been there and I want to teach them exactly how to start a blog or business from scratch.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Do not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Everyone was a beginner at one point!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Study the leaders in your field. Don’t look at them as your competition, but as your inspiration.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I love Planoly – it is a visual Instagram planner/scheduler. A good looking grid can make all the difference in whether someone decides to follow you or not. You can drag and drop your posts before you upload them so you can see what they will look like in your feed. Planoly also allows you to track analytics and save hashtag lists so you can easily insert relevant hashtags.
Another favorite is CoSchedule. With CoSchedule, I can manage my blog posts, social media campaigns, newsletters, email marketing, and pretty much everything else, all in one calendar! I can automate my schedule – I set my posts for the day and CoSchedule posts them for me. I try to plan 2 weeks in advance so that I never feel stressed or rushed. I feel that I am much more productive and organized since I started using CoSchedule!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I just finished reading “Truly Madly Deeply” by Laine Moriarty. I could not put it down!
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently learning strategies for growing my email list. I especially love Jenna Kutcher’s webinars.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- I am in the beginning stages of launching an eBook to share my Pinterest strategies!
- I am also striving to continue building my email list by providing my followers with free strategies and designs.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @katiemanderdesign, @chicbutpsycho
Twitter @katiemander3, @chicbutpsycho
Facebook www.facebook.com/katiemanderdesign, www.facebook.com/chicbutpsycho
Website www.katiemander.com www.chicbutpsycho.com