An informal ‘interview’ with Laura Roeder
Last Saturday, I met Laura Roeder, the well-known American social media entrepreneur who has built a formidable online business. I’m a big fan of Laura, and in my opinion she’s doing a lot of things right. She is a social media, marketing expert who teaches small business owners how to get to grips with social media in their business, and become known as the leading expert in their field. She is the creator of Creating Fame and Your Backstage Pass to Twitter, and has over 500,000 subscribers. Her business turns over millions each year, which considering she’s less than thirty years old, and there’s a recession on, in my opinion isn’t bad going! I have to say, it was a memorable encounter if only just to see how well grounded and down-to-earth she is.
The event started at 2:00pm at Waterstones bookstore in Piccadilly, London. London was abuzz, despite the rain; the Olympic visitors were in town. High up on the 5th floor, though, about 30 attendees had made the effort to join her and were networking. I made my way through them to a seated area where I could see Laura sitting, chatting and drinking coffee (or was it tea?). She was deep in conversation with several other enthused entrepreneurs. For some strange reason I approached introducing myself and shaking hands, instead of my usual continental cheek-to-cheek kissing! How very British!!!
If you’ve not come across Laura Roeder before I’ll fill you in. Laura earned a degree in advertising at The University of Texas. Whilst she continued to teach herself about the web and online communications she graduated at 20 years old and moved to Chicago to start her professional career.
When she was 22 years old, she left her first and last job as a designer at an ad agency to start her own business as a website designer to small, local businesses. With her first major hurdle being scale, in 2009, she ‘fired’ all her web design clients and switched over to the business model that she has today. So, this business really started from behind a video camera, where she taught potential clients how to get comfortable online. How cool!
Getting back to the day itself, in person, Laura is quietly confident, refreshingly honest and as you can see from the photo above, smiles a lot! I didn’t go to the event to interview Laura, but I was keen to meet her and have a chat. Based on that I wanted to share with you my experience, plus some of the questions I asked, and the answers she gave.
Is it easier to do business in the US as oppose to the UK?
Having spent some time in the UK, I was curious to know whether she thought that it was easier to do business in the US as oppose to the UK. At first she said she thought there were no differences, but having spent some time in the country, she was now beginning to wonder. For me, I was interested to hear how business owners in North America were far more used to having mentors and coaches. This was insightful. Having been a business owner for 15 years I hadn’t really come across personal business mentoring. In Britain I believed this to be far more unusual than for our friends across the pond. Of course I’d experienced business owners who had attended training courses to develop their skills, but more often than not, I’d only experienced those who hadn’t – let alone any who’d engaged with a mentor!
Any advice for a ‘newbie’ starting out?
I was curious to know what advice she’d give to any ‘newbie’ starting out or whether, if she could turn the clock back, she’d have done anything differently. She said she’d been asked that question quite a few times, and that in all honesty she said that there was nothing she’d do differently. No regrets – I liked her style!
Growing a business, outsourcing and delegation
We also spoke about her team and delegation. She stressed how important it was not to do everything yourself and how vital delegation was. We shared the same opinion i.e. to do it as fast as the money permitted! If you didn’t, it would only hamper your business and set you back. You only have 24 hours in a day, so the only way to grow your business is by adding more hours, and the only way to do that is by adding more people that have their own 24 hours to add to your 24 hours! Simples!
[box]“The only way to grow your business is by adding more hours” TWEET THIS[/box]
Obviously when you’re starting out, unless you have considerable savings or investment you’ll have to do things yourself, but as soon as you can – outsource or delegate. Laura practices what she preaches and employs a small team – less than ten. Aside from being talented, they are tight-knit, family focused and share her values. Trusting them allows her to travel, which having shared her recent visit to Italy with us, she clearly enjoys!
Networking and events
Being a people person and someone who loves networking, one of the things I found interesting about Laura and her company, LKR, was the host meet-ups for small businesses. I wanted to know why Laura had decided to start doing them. That then lead us onto our experiences of networking. You see, when you serve small businesses, they are desperate to find other small business owners to network with. They need support in addition to finding business. Many of us, who were by now chatting, had our own far from ideal business-networking stories to share. Typically we’d been met with pushy business owners forcing their cards upon us in the hope we’d do business! As a group that valued developing value and genuine relationships, we were striving for something more. So we came up with the idea of hosting regular meet-ups for our own group and other like-minded entrepreneurs. More on this later…
Partnership or going it alone?
Having formed a business with another I was interested to know if she’d recommend going it alone or in a partnership. Being a current student at B-School, I had to ask her about forming this venture and her relationship with my teacher, Marie Forleo.
Laura talked about the relationship and business opportunity candidly and positively. She described it much like a marriage, which having been in business with a business partner I could totally relate to!
She spoke how she hired Marie originally as her mentor and how the idea for B-School was born. Whilst she expressed great gratitude for everything that had happened with B-School, including her adoration for Marie, she said at that time, it was right to move on, to listen to her heart/gut and to concentrate on LKR.
It’s exciting times again for Laura as she changes her entire business and relaunches on 17 July 2012. So, mark your calendar because she’s making a huge announcement, and in true Laura style she’s having a big fat party to announce it!!! The party is online so everyone can join in. She’s promised awesome prizes every 15 minutes. You can ask-her-anything e.g. behind the scenes Q&A and much, much more, and it’s all being broadcast LIVE from Blighty (the UK)!
Here are the details for Laura’s event:
Tuesday, July 17th
9 AM Pacific
12 PM Eastern
5 PM UK
She”ll be broadcasting live for three hours, so hop on whenever you can but remember you’ll have to be there live to win one of her delicious prizes! And here’s a hint: if you’ve ever wished for a private consulting session with her to get feedback on your biz, do not miss this opportunity!
And, watch out for more information on our networking event!
In the comments below, tell me how you’ve got on with business networking groups, what experiences you’ve had of business partnerships and of doing business in the US and UK. Let me know what action you’ll be taking as a result of reading this post too. I’d love to hear.
Thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. Thank you to my friend Camila Prada, who makes the most amazing pottery, for taking the brilliant photo of us too! If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!
With love and gratitude,
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