Let's Meet: Kate of KateMaxStock
The way you market your work is SUPER important … but I’m sure I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. Take my Instagram feed and website/blog … I’m not just going to throw up images that I took on my cellphone … HELL NO!! It needs to look sharp! And who do I go to 90% of the time to make myself look incredibly awesome!?
OMG … her images are so so crazy good … the image above is one of hers (which showcases her website, which for the record I did NOT design … I am showing it here as part of this post only) … and this one below …
… and all the rest you’ll see here today! I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to do a giveaway with her in the next week … and in celebration of that, I’m doing a little Q&A with her here on The Editor’s Touch! Enjoy!
If you had to choose to give one of these up: social media or business relationships - which one would you keep and why?:
I would keep my business relationships. While I have LOVED getting to know new friends online, I savor in-person moments. There is nothing like seeing a smile face-to-face, brainstorming in front of a whiteboard, or hearing a person's belly laugh after a bawdy joke! I love that SM has accelerated relationship forming, but in the end, I'm a believer in local communities, joining meet-ups, and real, life hugs!
What do you feel was the most important choice you made during your first year of launching this business?:
I realized quickly that I couldn't do it all alone! Seeking out help from other creatives and customer-centered collaborators has made it possible to grow my business and serve my gorgeous clients. I wouldn't be able to be a happy mama, a curious grad student and a business owner without spreading the work (& the love) among an empowered team!
Have you been affected by the most recent Instagram algorithm updates? In what way?:
Probably - but I tend to espouse the mantra of focusing on what I CAN control. So while we have fiddled with hashtags, timing of posts, encouraging engagements, and all that jazz, what has been most important to us has been serving as a steady, reliable resource for our tribe. Whether or not we are growing the fastest or "solving" the algorithm, we focus on the quality over quantity of our online community!
What tools do you believe a business owner has to constantly stay on top of to be successful?:
Staying aware of shifting customer wants and needs is core to our success. With the rise of technology, there is always going to be a new app, a new algorithm, or a new bright and shiny quick fix to theoretically make your business an instant hit. But we have found that if we can keep the customer at the center of our everyday thoughts, that the tools we should use to connect with them become quickly apparent. We lean toward using the most simple tools to reliably serve our customers and then mastering those: an email management service (ConvertKit), a SM posting app (Planoly), and a project management tool (Trello) These tools keep us organized without being overloaded with distractions. That way we can keep the customer as the focus of our work!
What is your biggest worry or frustration as a business owner right now and what motivates you to push through anyway?:
We try not to worry too much! ;) But when we do, it's usually about whether technology will be able to keep up with how we want to serve our customers. Finding developers capable of the customization within our website that we are looking for has taken some effort. We have accepted that instant perfection is not necessary to create an amazing product that can help real people. But we view our business at a growing organism and continually work toward between products delivered in the easiest way possible - even if that means content site revision and continual work from our developers.
Why did you choose your focus in your industry? What made you fall in love with your field?:
I founded KateMaxStock because I saw a need that I had the unique strength to fill! I had a background in professional design and photography and knew that women in business needed stock resources from someone who understood them! I feel passionate about empowering women to participate in business & technology, and flex their creative muscles.
What's your trick to staying important to potential clients?:
Listening. We ask for input from all our customers and do our best to implement it! While we have hunches as to what styles and types of images will be the most useful to our clients, our products are always better when our customers are part of the conversation and strategy!
Have you or do you work with a PR company to help promote you? Do you feel that is an important thing for small business owners to do?:
Yes - we have a partnership with Verb Creative to help us with our message ad social media marketing. I believe strongly in building a team and that when we work together, all of us can achieve so much more!
Tell me about your 2 biggest achievements as a business owner over the life of your company - and what makes those 2 stand out?:
Having the guts to start a new business even when I wasn't previously an expert in the field. Having faith in ourselves to have the capacity to learn and grow and iterate and become better is essential to success. None of us is perfect from the get-go - we've just got to try something out sometimes and see where it takes us!
Being willing to put in the work to improve. Whenever you take on big projects, there is hard work involved. Sometimes this means rallying and training a team. Sometimes this means slogging through a challenging class. Sometimes this means pulling all-nighters for a new launch. Having the grit to put in the hours and hard work whenever we have launched a new site or subscription always feels like such an accomplishment and more than worth it!
How did you narrow down your target market and do such a good job in attracting that specific type of client?:
My heart has always gone out to other hustling female entrepreneurs. They are a market I understand relate to, so it goes without saying that our products are a match for both their needs and aesthetic. It's hard sometimes when we want to "do everything for everyone" to lose focus on who our core clients are, but if we can stay focused on those within that very specific market segment we are able to maintain our strategic messaging and product offerings and ultimately serve our customers better!