I’m gonna get super real here for a minute. I have met a number of people in the past few years who I thought (almost instantly) should maybe not have started a business. It’s hard to capture exactly what prompts that feeling - but most of us know it. You are talking to someone about their business or you see their work and you think, they might have been happier if they had worked for someone else doing this thing that they love.
It’s just as hard to pinpoint the opposite feeling - but I can tell you that within five minutes of talking to Laura (the first time we met), I knew instantly that she should be running her own business. She had the energy, ambition, and grace of someone many years her senior. And everything in my gut told me that she was selling herself short by providing social media at an hourly wage as a part time employee. So I told her!
Over the next couple of months, I did everything I could to help her become an official business. And over the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve done everything I could to help her love her business as well as make it successful. She has a true gift for cultivating community and she understands that it only happens through hard work and dedication…mixed with a lot of laughter and dreams.
I feel lucky to have her in my world and, even more so, to be able to recommend her to businesses and entrepreneurs I work with who are looking for an affordable, professional way to uplevel their marketing. She’s a superstar in all ways, and I have no doubt she’ll be impressing people for many years to come.
I hope you’ll enjoy her interview and learning about how this young entrepreneur uses her values to build values-based business - hers and many other people’s!
My takeaway: You are never too young (or too anything) to have a successful business!
Website: Laura Lives Social
Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it?
In August of 2016 I founded Laura Lives Social LLC (with the help of some kick-ass mentor I met..I'll explain that later though!)
Laura Lives Social exists to serve passion-powered entrepreneurs and non-profits by putting them at the centers of their ideal communities. I do this through creating connection-focused marketing plans, and following through with them across social media and marketing platforms.
With these strategies in place, clients can have peace of mind and more time to focus on creating the best products and services for their customers!
Why did you start your business?
I recognized a need for professional yet affordable marketing services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profits. I believe that social impact is only made through strong communities, and I love helping businesses and non-profits find "their people."
What does "social good business" or "values based earning" mean to you?
A social good business means using your gifts and talents in a way that betters not only yourself, but others around you as well.
I have always loved the communication field and have dreamed of pursuing a PR degree since I was 13 (I know, what is a 13 y/o thinking about PR for, right?). I knew my gifts could enhance and highlight other people’s gifts and that's what I chose to do with my degree and my business.
What is your favorite part about running a social good business or your favorite experience since you started?
I love meeting new people! I have grown so much as a person because of the people I have met through my business.
For example, I have always had a love for craft beer, but through working with a small brewery I have a greater appreciation for the process and the people behind the process. Through trial and error, those brewers craft some delicious concoctions that they create for others to enjoy.
This last year I also worked with a small vintage shop and I ended up cleaning out my closet and tossing clothing I no longer wear and replacing it with some really special vintage pieces. I learned a lot about how the garment industry has changed over the years and how to date clothing. That particular client also inspired me to take a 1-year vow to not buy any clothing "new" and only thrift and buy vintage.
I think when you run a social good business you tend to attract like-minded clients, and I really love that.
What is your biggest struggle in running a social good business?
The biggest struggle is to find a happy medium when it comes to pricing. I work and have worked with so many amazing people, and unfortunately, some people do not have the funds to invest in marketing even when they need it the most.
Over the last couple years, I have learned to trade and barter when I am in a position to do so, but I've also learned to never take a barter or trade job if it will put myself in a compromising position financially.
I want to work with so many amazing businesses that I've come across, but I also know that I don't want to devalue my services and put myself in a bad situation just because I like a business.
What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years?
I would like to grow a team and turn into a small agency. I want to find other like-minded people to add to my team who see the value in providing professional yet affordable marketing services for other small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profits who dream big and are turning their dreams into their reality.
Who are your business icons or mentors?
My business mentor is you, LaKay! I would've never started my business if it wasn't for you taking me through the steps of starting my business and encouraging me to keep going even when I felt overwhelmed.
You have set such an amazing example for myself and other young entrepreneurs who dream a little too big and are a bit more ambitious than the average gal.
You encouraged me to take those big dreams and that ambition and put a plan behind it to turn it into a thriving business!
What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business?
It's ok to say no! When starting a business you'll come across jobs and projects that may have a tempting price tag attached to them, and if you need the money and believe you can complete the project then, by all means, do it, but there will be projects that present themselves that simply aren't meant for you.
Stick to your gut, if you get a feeling that you aren't going to give that project your all or the client's values don't align with yours, don't be afraid to say NO!
What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was actually Fahrenheit 451. Reading is one of my favorite ways to give my mind a break from work so I've recently been re-visiting some of my high school favorites!