I am super passionate about shaking up the status quoKatie Eaker
Katie Eaker runs a full-service branding, marketing & design agency for creative entrepreneurs and is super passionate about shaking up the status quo. Katie talks about her business journey so far…
Tell us about your full-service branding, marketing & design agency business…
I am the founder of Modern Darling Media and the Host of The Hustlenomics Podcast.
Modern Darling Media is a full-service branding, marketing & design agency for creative entrepreneurs who want to make a bold & meaningful impact. This is where style meets strategy, curiosity meets creativity, and business strategy meets bold creations
My 9-5 isn’t dull and neither should yours be. I help build bold brands & craft strategic marketing campaigns that provoke emotion, have personality and help build your tribe. My goal is to make sure you communicate the right message, to the right people, on the right platforms.
Tell us when and why you started your own business? What was going on for you at the time?
So my entrepreneurial journey started right after I graduated from grad school. I was super excited to get out in the world and find a cool job, work with fun, intelligent people my age and really make a difference in the world!
I was sorely disappointed when I got ghosted from hundreds of companies that I applied to and the job offers I did get were underwhelming to say the least. I ended up in a job that didn’t challenge me creatively or intellectually, working with people who vehemently resisted change and were also pretty obviously unhappy themselves.
So I started small with a photography business as a side hustle. After 2 years, 3 corporate jobs and one cross country move, I’ve finally grown my business enough to do it full time and match what I made in the corporate world!
I am super passionate about shaking up the status quo and finding ways to help others craft the life they want, not the life they are settling for.
How did you initially get your branding, marketing & design agency noticed? What were the first few steps you took to put yourself out there?
My strategy was simple. I simply started telling anyone who would listen what I was doing and the services I provided. I told family & friends, I announced it on social media, I wrote about it on my blog, I wrote guest posts on other people’s blogs. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive. I just put it out into the world. How will people know to hire you unless you speak up?
What is the main social media platform you focus on to market your content marketing & planning business?
Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest
How do you market your branding, marketing & design agency business?
Through my email list, social media (primarily Facebook groups)
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
I make the decisions. I choose when to work, where I work, who I work with. I can choose to work on things I am really passionate about.
What is the worst thing about running your own business?
In the corporate world, most of the time you have a team supporting you. You have someone helping you with finances and accounting. You have someone helping with sales and someone else focused on marketing. As a business owner, you do it all! Wearing all those hats can be overwhelming. Of course, you can outsource later on. However, often times, entrepreneurs have to learn a lot of new skills to keep things going in the beginning.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in your business journey and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges was learning to say no. When you first start out, you want to say yes to everyone and everything. You want to get experience, build your portfolio and, of course, make money! But, it’s important to know that not every client and project will be right for you. It’s essential to really understand your ideal client and be very clear about your values. It’s ok to turn down a client if you know your personalities will clash or if the project doesn’t align with your core values.
What are your go to tips, tools or techniques to overcome the tough days? i.e what keeps you motivated!
I love podcasts! They are free and you can listen to them on the go. There are some major players in the business world giving away really valuable information for FREE on their podcast. It’s a great way to further your education without spending thousands of dollars or having to go back to school.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Good things take time. I am naturally an impatient person. When I get excited about something, I want it to happen NOW. One thing I’ve learned is that anything good will take time to grow. You might hear about these “over night success” stories but that’s really a myth. Most of these business owners have been working for years behind they reached that level of success. So, be patient, continue to challenge yourself and don’t compare your journey or timeline to anyone else.
If you started your business again with hindsight and the knowledge and experience you have gained so far, is there anything you would do differently, and if so, what?
I would do much more foundational work on my brand and vision. I was a bit scattered for a while before I really understood where I wanted to go with my brand and business offerings. Of course, your business will change and grow as time goes on but you’ll be much better off if you really do that core foundational work early on.
What’s your favourite way to consume content; video, audio or reading?
Audio for sure! As I mentioned I am a podcast addict.
What has been the most helpful business/self-help book that you would recommend reading?
Boss Up!: This Ain’t Your Mama’s Business Book By Lindsay Teague Moreno
How do you make sure you achieve your weekly, monthly and quarterly goals and actions? i.e. do you use asana, have a coach, accountability buddy etc.
I love asana and use it with all my clients. It’s a fantastic and simple way to keep track of tasks and also keep my clients up to date on where we are in a project.
Where do you hope to be this time next year in your business?
I am hoping to have added a team member by next year. I am growing at a pace where I know I will need some help so I am excited to start expanding!
Where do you hope to be this time next year in your business?
Go for it! Don’t wait until it’s the “right time” or when you think you’ll be ready. To be honest, there is no “right time’. It’s always going to feel scary. On a practical level, make sure you’re covered. Try to save up for at least 6 months of living expenses, and do your research to know how you’ll be able to cover yourself for things like health insurance. Also, know that there’s nothing wrong with transitioning slowly. Work your side hustle while you’re at another job, then transition to a part-time job and then transition into full time in your biz. That will give you the time to build it up AND make sure that you have the funds to support yourself while you grow!
What’s your favourite inspirational quote?
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou
Tell us about your lead magnet…
Whether you’re at the beginning stages of creating your brand or rebranding, this bundle is exactly what you need to get started!
Mood Board Canva Template: Customize your mood board with your logo, brand colors, fonts, and inspiration photos!
Logo Design Workbook: Fill out this helpful questionnaire to give to you designer or to use yourself! Choose your preferred logo style, specify your colors & fonts and nail down what you want to convey.
Website Design Workbook: You can use this worksheet to design your website or give it to your designer. It’s a great way to narrow down your visuals, message and how to reach your ideal clients!
Hi! I’m Katie
I’m a photographer, writer, and designer with big dreams. Most days you can find me binge-watching classic films, writing in my thousands of journals, or digging through vintage clothes racks like I’m Indiana Jones searching for the Holy Grail.
My style reflects my never-ending quest for connection… it’s authentic, real and honest.
I host a podcast called The Hustlenomics Podcast all about inspiring female entrepreneurs and their journey to becoming business owners.