“A lot of social media businesses aren’t successful in using social for themselves.” What? Say that again? Imagine a teacher admitting that the faculty at her school couldn’t pass the same exams that they give to their students. I’d want to hear more of what that teacher has to say about education.
Laura Roeder is that teacher. She’s the founder of LKR Social Media, which develops online training courses for small businesses that teach business owners and entrepreneurs how to leverage social media and online marketing. This online university for social media marketing features two programs: the LKR Social Media Marketer and Creating Fame. Roeder tells us more:
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I became an entrepreneur for the freedom – I wanted to be totally in control of my life, what I contribute, and how I spend my time.
What inspired your current startup?
I saw so many small businesses struggling to bring in customers, who knew that they wanted to leverage social media but didn’t know exactly what to do. Social websites can be confusing and incredibly time consuming – I saw that there is an easier, more effective way and I wanted to share that with others. I love small business, and I love that I get to help others succeed in living their dream.
What makes your startup so killer? How is it different from the competition?
We are a small business too! We don’t teach theory, we only share the strategies that we personally use in our business. A lot of social media businesses aren’t successful in using social for themselves. You can check out our twitter account @lkr and facebook at lkrsocialmedia and you’ll see that we practice what we preach. We love social and it’s our main tool to grow our business too.
How do you motivate yourself and your team?
We have a distributed team – everyone works from their own home around the world. So keeping the feel of a fun, tight-knit group while operating virtually is super important. Our favorite new tool is hipchat – it’s basically a battle of the gifs on there. We also have in-person team retreats every year – last year we met up in Manhattan we’ll probably head to California for 2014.
If the Internet didn’t exist, what would you be doing?
Interior design – my favorite pastime is hitting up the antique auctions here in London. If only I had a castle to furnish!
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are struggling to get their businesses off the ground?
Focus, focus, focus. Kill the addiction to your cell phone and wasting time online and you’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish, without burning yourself out. Going 100mph day in and day out is not sustainable – and neither is messing around online when you have work to do!
What has been the biggest startup surprise for you (good or bad)? Have you had any incredible/funny/challenging experiences that you can share with us?
I think when you start out there’s this fantasy that at one point you will get everything handled and just be able to coast. It’s so not true! Every day there is a new challenge and something new to learn. It’s part of the fun of being an entrepreneur.
How do you handle frustration or disappointment?
Mistakes and failures are inevitable – it’s a sign you’re progressing quickly in business. I evaluate how to improve for next time, and move on. Everything truly is a learning experience, and you must be a rapid learner if you want to succeed in business.
What are the top online tools/websites/devices that you couldn’t live without? (And why?)
- Google docs – 100% of my work lives in google docs, and I love the easy integration with my android phone
- Idonethis – great tool with a great team; it’s the easiest way to keep a distributed team up to date on everyone’s activity
If you had $1 million and one year off, what would you do? (Other than work on your current startup)
Travel! I love to travel and have been to Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Czech Republic, and Italy in the past year alone, as well as traveled around the US and the UK. My husband and I have a dream of doing a road trip down the eastern coast of Africa, so I’d spend my year doing that.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
I don’t work on weekends, and don’t work late. It’s as simple as that! There’s no reason for work to take over your entire life, and ultimately it’s bad for your company. Burnout has been the downfall of many successful people.
Who would play you in the movie of your life, and what would be the theme song?
I’ll pick Natalie Portman to play me, because hey why not make people think you might look like Natalie Portman? One song that always gets me fired up is “Hard Way Home” by Brandi Carlile, so that would be my theme song.
How has being an entrepreneur changed you for the better? How has it enriched your life?
Being an entrepreneur is such a huge part of who I am. I think I’ve experienced the most growth as a leader. I started my business at age 22 and I had never managed anyone before, or even interviewed anyone! Right now I’m overseeing a team of 7. Building a team has been the biggest personal growth experience of my life.
What is the tech scene like where you live?
Vibrant and growing leaps and bounds every day! Silicon Roundabout is the tech hub of Europe, and there’s always an event to go to and someone new to meet.
Where can our readers find you?
How can the KillerStartups community help YOU?
Check out my programs at LKRsocialmedia.com
One last question, what’s your favorite ice cream?
Haagen Dazs Coffee.
Courtesy of Laura Roeder