You've no doubt heard it a million times... "every business needs social media"... "the only way to grow is through social media"... but let's be real- sometimes it can be really hard to figure out exactly how to use it! While I've been on Instagram for a few years, it wasn't until 2014 that I really started to see it as an opportunity to grow my business. And it wasn't until 2015 that I even figured out what the hell I was doing with it... and I'm still learning! But there are some people that just seem to GET IT. Like, it's their magic wand. And I'm always curious to learn more from those people.
Kelly of Studio DIY is a blogger/crafter/creator/magician extraordinaire, that I first discovered through Instagram a couple years back. Her photos (mainly shot by her talented photographer husband, Jeff Mindell) were so fun and vibrant and sucked you in to the party it seemed she was always having! Her captions were just as good- she seemed like a real person, and someone you'd want to hang out with. See, the thing with social media is not only does your content have to be amazing, but you have to have a voice. Something that makes people want to tune in. Something that Kelly has always been masterful at doing. And when I had the chance to work with her on a project (rainbow rock candy!), in 2015, I found she was just as lovely in person- maybe even more so!
As I watched her exploding all over Instagram in the past couple years, I knew I couldn't be the only one curious... How was she so good at harnessing the full power of social media? What was her path to get there? And how had she made a full-time business (with employees!) out of a blog?
1) WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO? WHAT IS A "TYPICAL" DAY LIKE?
I'm Kelly Mindell! I'm the Founder and Creative Director of the DIY lifestyle blog, Studio DIY, where we celebrate the holidays and the every day and believe more is always more. No day is "typical" for me as I juggle managing a team, drafting blog posts, art directing photo shoots, creating DIY projects, Instagraming and all those other not-so-glamorous business tasks, too.
2) WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU WENT INTO BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF?
I conceptualized Studio DIY during an independent study in college and launched it six months after graduation, so I've always been self-employed! Before Studio DIY started bringing in enough income to support me full-time, I freelanced for other blogs and worked for a few wedding industry professionals.
3) HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A FULL-TIME BUSINESS?
Unlike a lot of bloggers, I didn't start Studio DIY as a personal blog or project, I started it as a business. I've had advertisers since day one and always treated it like a job and not a hobby. I didn't, however, think that the blog would become the full-time business, I always imagined it as a segue into something else! As I slowly started working with more and more sponsors and growing the blog's readership, I saw the potential the blog held and it became clear that this was going to be something bigger than just a road to something else.
4) HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS?
Social Media has been a game changer for Studio DIY. Our Instagram is our largest and most interactive community, and the one that is continually growing the fastest. Most of the emails I get now begin with "I found you on Instagram..." and I focus the majority of my time on this platform over the others because of that. Snapchat has also been a game changer. The beauty of Snapchat is how real and raw it is, compared to how overly-curated Instagram has become. It's allowed me to connect with my community on a much more personal level.
5) WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST HURDLES YOU'VE DEALT WITH SO FAR?
I've had a really hard time learning how to be a boss. When you're used to doing everything yourself, it's challenging to start delegating those tasks to other people as your business and team grows, but it's necessary. A lot of my job now involves managing and hiring people and it's a steep learning curve. But it's opened my eyes to just how awesome things can be when you find the right people to work with who are passionate and excited about what we're doing.
6) WHAT'S BEEN THE BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CREATIVE/BUSINESS JOURNEY?
The thing I'm most proud of so far is the Studio DIY in Costume movement we've created. Four years ago, I started making Halloween costumes for women that weren't overly scandalous and that worked for any age, body type, or occasion. There was a big gap in the market there. It's been amazing and humbling to watch what we've created grow. I've been able to create costumes for The Today Show and Miley Cyrus as a result, but seeing the hundreds of readers who re-create them each year means even more to me.
7) WHAT'S YOUR BEST ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO PURSUE THEIR BLOG/BUSINESS/DREAM?
Most entrepreneurs spend many a night and weekend slaving away at their growing business while also juggling a full-time job. And that's important, as it allows you to test the waters without diving in head on. That said, if you wait until you're 100% comfortable quitting your day job, you've waited too long. You should be scared. If you're not, something isn't right. You have to take the risk to get the pay off, and it's amazing how fast you can hustle once you don't have a steady paycheck to fall back on.
8) WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?
I'd like to continue to grow Studio DIY into a larger brand and explore other ways to interact with our community and share the Studio DIY style! But more importantly, I hope to have made some major headway in growing the large family Jeff and I hope to have some day! ;)
9) WHAT'S SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW PEOPLE KNOW?
If I weren't a blogger I'd be a private investigator! I love mysteries and figuring things out!