There are no two ways about it – the world of social media is blowing up. It’s constantly changing, fueled by some of the most cutting edge technology around, and the most exciting part to us here at quarterlette.com – it’s led in large part by people our age. Here’s one of them: Katy Lynch, President and Co-Founder of SocialKaty, LLC.
Now for the questions:
Name and age? Katy Lynch, 27
Location? Chicago, IL
Tell us a little bit about SocialKaty, and why you love social media.
SocialKaty is a full service social media marketing agency based in downtown Chicago. The team consists of highly trained account managers that build online communities for brands. Our account managers manage everything from Twitter, Facebook and blogs to creating effective viral social media campaigns for brands big and small!
I love social media for many reasons. For me, it’s a great way for me to keep in touch with people in my life, it allows me to connect with my favorite brands, it has created opportunities for my growing business, and it’s helped me stay on top of news and events as they happen in real time.
Life before SocialKaty.
What were you doing before starting your own business?
Before SocialKaty, I was an employee at Where I’ve Been, Facebook’s largest travel application. My role there was to build their community from scratch. In three years, Where I’ve Been grew from 0 to almost 10 million members. Almost 200,000 of these members were active fans on Facebook, Twitter and the blog – the three main social media channels that I managed singlehandedly.
Anything about that experience that really drove you to go out on your own?
Working at Where I’ve Been really taught me a lot about myself. I discovered strengths I didn’t know I had – persistence, determination, creativity, and a deep passion for social media. These strengths definitely came in handy when I finally decided to start SocialKaty.
What inspired you to go off and start SocialKaty?
When I realized that there was a huge need and demand for social media services, I knew I had to start my own company. I kept a very close eye on companies here in Chicago that were not doing social media correctly and/or using Facebook, Twitter, etc to their full potential. I knew I wanted to help these companies and the only way to do that was to start my own business.
Is there any one person, event, or idea that particularly influenced you and shaped your path?
Right before I launched SocialKaty in 2010, the start-up scene here in Chicago was beginning to boom. Groupon, Grubhub, and 37 Signals paved the way for aspiring entrepreneurs to recognize their talents and start their own companies. Incubators such as Lightbank and Sandbox Industries were also gaining more recognition and praise for attracting talent in the city.
What was the scariest part of going out on your own?
“OMG AM I REALLY DOING THIS?” The scariest part is definitely just making the decision to start a business. It’s incredibly daunting – even if you already have a fully fledged business plan mapped out! You have to mentally prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead.
And what has been the best part?
The best part is really looking back and seeing how far I’ve come in a year and how much of an impact my awesome team has made for brands.
What surprised you most?
What surprised me the most is how supportive people are! When I launched SocialKaty, there were lots of people in the tech/social media space that wanted to help any way they could. It’s a really cool thing just knowing that people genuinely want to be part of what I’m doing.
Social media is obviously a hot, fast-growing area with tons of competition. How do you deal with the pressure of differentiating yourself and competing with other companies in the category?
As a team, we make sure that we stay abreast of the latest social media news and spot trends quickly. We thoroughly research the industries that our clients are in and make sure that our clients are being educated.
We are also one of the only pure play social media firms in the country. We specialize in results driven social media management – and that’s it. Our goal is to always provide value to our clients.
And now some inspiration for your fellow quarterlettes.
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of the journey?
You have to leave your emotions at home. There will be people in your industry that talk about you – and not everything they say is nice! You have to deal with negativity and not take it personally.
And finally, what one piece of advice would you give all of our aspiring quarterlette entrepreneurs?
Think long and hard before starting a business of your own.
Believe me, it is a lot of work and it takes more than just having a good idea.
Do your research and learn the ins-and-outs on your industry. Ask for advice often. Attend events. Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Be upbeat and positive.
And, most importantly, be prepared to learn and dabble in every (and I mean every) aspect of the business. If there’s a technology component to what you want to do, then you have to learn everything you can about how it works.