Kathryn Rose, Kathryn Rose Consulting and Social Buzz Club
Kathryn Rose Consulting of Boston help businesses large and small succeed through collaboration, social media and online marketing techniques. Social Buzz Club is an online marketing collaboration network that allows bloggers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and content providers to drive more traffic to their content.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business: I am what I call an “accidental” entrepreneur. In 2007 I was working on Wall Street in a very high-profile position when the mortgage market melted down and the firm closed our division. I was also 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time. So, I dived head first into online and social media marketing — and never looked back. It has been an amazing tool for me both personally and professionally. I utilized my relationship marketing and collaboration techniques to form an incredible online support system of friends and clients. Since that time I have also written six books on social media and will be releasing two more in the next six months.
For the Social Buzz Club, my co-founder Laura Rubinstein and I had many conversations about how we can help each other get more visibility for ourselves and our clients but we were limited to our OWN networks. We joined many link share groups, blog trees and so-called ‘firestarter’ groups before but there was one recurring theme, most often people showed up to the group only when they needed their own content shared. So we decided to create a content sharing/syndication platform that was based on reciprocity. In other words, members must share others links in order to post things of their own to get shared. We put in a game-like feature where members accumulate points and once the required number of points are accumulated, they can post their own content. So far, we’ve been featured in Social Media Examiner and other online publications and are sailing past the 800 member mark.
Ideal customer: For my consulting practice, I provide strategy, resources and training for businesses ranging from entrepreneurs to large corporations. Most of my clients are mid size businesses. For the Social Buzz Club, our target is content publishers: bloggers, entrepreneurs and small business people.
First Customer: I have always lived a life of reciprocity and collaboration, so I had already built a community of people that I could tap into when I was laid off. I found that once you establish yourself with integrity and develop relationships, you will always reap the rewards. In my case I had done a number of sales trainings and counseled many of my clients from the firm on marketing strategies, so when I called them to tell them I had a new business, they hired me even though I had no testimonials or proof that I could do what I said I could. They just believed I would deliver. In fact, it wasn’t until 2009 that I launched my consulting website. I was probably the only internet marketer and SEO consultant hired to do those tasks without a website! That is what relationship marketing is all about.
Similarly, with the Social Buzz Club, we tapped into our network of friends and influencers we made over the years and asked them to be beta testers. All of the people we asked said “yes” and helped us shape our network. In turn the promoted it and helped us very quickly get our first 400 members.
Measuring Success: I measure success in the fact that I make enough money to spend time with my family. I am an “older” mommy and know the value of spending time with my loved ones. I can take time off when my kids are sick, when they need me to be there for story time or anything else. I am extremely proud of the fact that I was able to reinvent myself and I really wanted that to be a lesson for my children. Sometimes life hands you lemons… and you make Roses (play off of my last name)! (our saying in the house is that we’re roses and what do roses do? Make people happy!)
I also love the fact that no matter what topic I need help with or someone I know needs help with, I can, in pretty short order, either find someone who can help or someone who knows someone who can. I am surprised everyday by the sheer number of relationships that I have and how powerful they are. On a personal note, when I had my daughter just 13 short weeks ago, cards and gifts and well-wishes started arriving from all over the world with my virtual friends and clients sending me and my family love. People I have never even met and probably never will, taking the time to wish me and my family well reminded me that I really do have an extensive network of friends, not just in name only, but the amount people I have been able to make such a virtual personal connection with is astounding.
Biggest Struggle: When I first began my business, I decided to join a partnership. It was a complete disaster. They were the wrong people and I was in the wrong place. I joined the partnership for all the wrong reasons, I thought that I needed others to help me gain traction and be successful–that I didn’t know enough. Nothing was further from the truth. Even though it was tough, I learned so many valuable lessons. Now I have an extraordinary partner on the Social Buzz Club and have worked with many co-authors for my books. I love to collaborate and the only thing that experience made me realize is that not everyone is right for me to collaborate with. I’m much more cognizant of people’s strengths and weaknesses and I point out my own to potential partners. So much of the success or failure of a partnership is built on expectations.
Surprise!: The time it takes to do the day-to-day things like managing assistants, bookkeeping — the little tasks that I didn’t have to worry about when I was working for a large company.
Promoting Business: I am a true connector and I hold relationships with my online, as well as offline, connections in very high esteem. I tap into that network whenever sales are slow to ask for referrals but truthfully, I haven’t had that issue, most of my business comes from word of mouth. I would also say that mastering online marketing for me has definitely turned into sales, fostering those relationships with my Twitter followers and Facebook friends has been particularly beneficial to my business.
Two things I wish I would’ve known: 1. That it isn’t as easy as it looks 2. Not every idea has to be acted upon. It is really easy to come up with great ideas; the hard part is deciding which ones to focus on.
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Having enough time to get it all done.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: Yes, I have been tempted. Particularly when my daughter was born. Two children with childcare is extremely expensive and some days I know that I wouldn’t have to work as hard if I got a “regular” job but then I also know I wouldn’t have the freedom to be there for my children when they needed me. I really love the flexibility and challenges based on the
Moving Forward: I want to become a best-selling author and launch my “Social Media Marketing Masters Tour.” I will need the support of my online community and I think with that support I will be able to reach both goals.
Pricing, Getting It Right: Make sure you know what your time costs. I can only speak as a consultant; I have never had a retail product. I ask others for their advice, do research and then set my own price. I always keep in mind that the client paying me $1000 often takes as much time as the person paying me $10,000. It is a valuable lesson to learn.
A Few Good Tips: My first tip is have a great blog. Give people a reason to want to know, like and trust you. Second tip: Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. You must establish relationships with people, foster them and grow a community in order to be successful particularly online. There aren’t very many “new” ideas, just old ones made better. Do your research, see what has worked and what hasn’t for others before diving in. Don’t be fooled by the get rich quick marketers out there who say that all you have to do is put up a blog and find some niche keywords and the money will roll in. It takes a good 18 months to two years (and for some longer) to be really recognized as a thought leader that will inspire people to action. Third tip: Conversely, don’t think that you’re too late to the party. I hear people all the time saying that such and such has already been done. If you are willing to put the time, effort and energy into anything you can be successful. There will always be people that your message will resonate with over someone else saying the same thing.
The absolute best part of owning my business is: being able to spend the time with my family.
If I had to start over again, I would have: done more research, saved more money.
I never imagined: running the business would be so difficult. I can get clients all day long, but it’s the little stuff that drives me nuts.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “If I can do it, so can you.”