I’m constantly learning the lesson that you should just go for exactly what you really want. Don’t hold back, and don’t think something lesser is all that you can get.
Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who teaches small businesses how to become well-known and claim their brands online. She is the creator of LKR Social Media Marketer and Creating Fame, and is also the author of Facebook Fame: The Facebook Marketing Bible For The Small Business. In 2011, Laura Roeder was honored at The White House as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
What are you working on right now?
My business sells online classes about how to use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to promote your small business. Everything is virtual–you watch training videos on your own time, from wherever you are. It’s ideal for small business owners who can’t afford agencies or consultants, and want to learn to do social media themselves.
Where did the idea for LKR Social Media Marketer come from?
When I started my company, I was doing web and print design for small businesses in Chicago. I always approached design with a marketing mind and asked questions like, “Who is visiting this website? Why? What do we want the user to do?” You’d be surprised at how few times these questions come up with many designers! My business was successful, but I wanted out of the client services model and was looking for something new. When social media started to become a hot topic for business around 2008 and 2009, I kept receiving more and more requests to advise clients on social media marketing. That grew into the social media training business that I have today.
What does your typical day look like?
At this point I’m kind of a hybrid CEO/CMO for my company. I drive the larger strategy, but most of my day-to-day work is focused on marketing–writing copy, planning campaigns and doing press opportunities like this one. I work primarily from my home office, wherever I am (this year I’ve been in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Brighton, U.K., Venice, California and Austin, Texas, so far).
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a big planner! When I have an idea, I start mapping it out to determine what the deliverables are, when they would need to happen, and what steps are needed to get them done. I would say I start with the organizational aspects and then move to the more creative work. Ideas tend to come to life slowly, piece by piece. I am not fueled by urgent, last-minute type of work.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Small businesses taking matters into their own hands! Very small businesses have had a huge number of doors opened by the internet. It’s so easy to start a business now; anyone with a laptop can be in business. I love the trend of the extremely low-overhead, bootstrapped business. Now anyone who has ever dreamed of being an entrepreneur can give it a shot.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I actually have had very few jobs, as I started my business so young! I did have one workplace where the owners had a lot of unethical practices, and I certainly observed a lot of ways I did not want to run my business. My credo is “never lie,” and I find that running my business by that one, simple rule solves a lot of potential dilemmas.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’m constantly learning the lesson that you should just go for exactly what you really want. Don’t hold back, and don’t think something lesser is all that you can get. If I were to start over, I would go for my biggest vision right from the beginning.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Get organized. I’m amazed by how many businesses are complete messes behind the scenes. Use Google Docs instead of emailing confusing documents back and forth. Use 1password instead of resetting your passwords every time you can’t remember them.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Oh man, there are so many! One huge opportunity that I see is to develop an easy way to create graphics that actually look good. Graphics are a huge stumbling block for small businesses–the software is expensive, and you really have to be a designer to make them look nice. Apple has done a great job with Keynote, creating templates that are so well-designed that anyone can make a great-looking presentation. Someone needs to do the same with basic web graphics.
Tell us a secret.
It wouldn’t be much of a secret if I told it on the internet!
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
- Wrike. This is the tool we use to assign tasks and get things done. It’s not as pretty as Basecamp, but it’s miles more effective, in my opinion. Everything that happens in my business goes through Wrike.
- Google Docs. My team is spread out all over the country, so putting everything in the cloud is a must! Google Docs allows us to share anything instantly with the entire team, and then access that information from anywhere. The fact that something so powerful and essential is free is just amazing.
- Yammer is another great free tool that my team uses to stay in touch during the day. We use it for FYI-type information, to keep everyone updated on what we’re working on (and the occasional funny YouTube video of course!).
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One of my favorite business books is Double Double by Cameron Herold. It’s super actionable and translates corporate success concepts in a way that works for a small business.
What’s on your playlist?
I can’t listen to music with words while I work, so my working playlist consists of movie soundtracks. I love the Elizabeth: The Golden Age soundtrack; it makes mundane work pretty epic!
If you weren’t working on LKR Social Media Marketer, what would you be doing?
Sitting on a hammock on the beach! Or doing interior design; that’s my secret dream career. I don’t think I’d really want it as a business though, just a hobby.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @pamslim, because she’s like the wise aunt you always wished you had (who can give you killer business advice!).
- @JohnnyBTruant, because he’s insightful and hilarious.
- @simonsinek, because he’s one of my favorite visionary thinkers.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh a lot! I think the last thing I laughed at was a photo in a trashy British tabloid newspaper.
Who is your hero?
I don’t have one hero. I look up to all of my friends who lead the lives they want and create incredible things in this world.
What’s your favorite business blog?
Derek Sivers’ blog. He doesn’t write often, but when he does, it’s mind-bending.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?