When Mary Catherine Starr moved to the Cape five years ago – a couple of years after leaving her full time job to focus on teaching yoga and consulting – we immediately connected with her positive spirit, her enthusiasm for learning about the local community, and her kick-ass yoga skills. The Cape is lucky to have scored someone with her talent, skill and big heart. We feel fortunate to call her our teacher, collaborator and friend. Here’s a little look into her world as a solopreneur, and keep your eyes and ears open for more from her in the near future.
Tell us how you ended up on Cape Cod and how you’ve settled in since moving here 4.5 years ago.
I’m originally from Georgia but my husband, Ben, grew up here. We met in college in KY, lived in NYC and DC together, and then finally decided we were ready to settle down near family in late 2013. Ben got a job working as an Assistant District Attorney here on the Cape and that was all the encouragement we needed to make the move. I had lived in metropolitan areas most of my life so was a little nervous about whether or not I would like it here, but I fell in love with Cape Cod right away and haven’t looked back since. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else and am so excited to raise our daughter here. Cape Cod is a *very* special place.
Many people might know you as one of our very favorite yoga teachers on Cape Cod, but what else do you do that stretches you way too thin?
Oh my, I do so many things and I love them all so much! I run a design business called Starr Struck Design Studio, I have a blog (Starr Struck Blog), I’m an artist + I sell my products wholesale + on Etsy, and I offer consulting to small business owners + entrepreneurs. I also have a podcast called Starr Struck Radio, but it’s currently on hiatus after it’s third season because one person can only do so much at a time. That being said, I have a few new projects up my sleeve and am excited to announce them soon!
You are, like so many people on Cape Cod, what society might call a solopreneur – what does that mean exactly?
A solopreneur is someone who runs a business (or multiple businesses) on his or her own; a solopreneur starts the business, owns the business, and is responsible for almost all of the tasks related to running the business with little-to-no-help. It’s a total hustle but it sure is an adventure! In my case, I do finally have part-time help when it comes to the design side of my business (which is also the fastest-growing area of my business over the past few years), but otherwise, it’s all me 😉
You reach your audience through many different media channels – talk to us about what you use and why you think each is important?
Oh my gosh, being a solopreneur is ALL about connection with your audience! To keep it simple, here are the 4 primary ways that I choose to communicate these days:
–Blogging: I started blogging back in 2011 when blogs were one of the main ways to share your thoughts and creative work. Although blogging has changed a lot over the years, my blog is definitely the reason that I have the business that I do today. And despite the growth of social media (or “micro-blogging, as it’s sometimes called), I still feel that a blog is the best place to share longer think pieces, deeper, more personal stories or personal essays, and more thorough resources for your community. I also love a blog as a place for a creative person to weave all of her various threads together and connect the dots for her audience.
–Instagram: I’ve gotten more serious about using Instagram as the “magazine” for my business lately and I’ve really noticed a shift in how I’m interacting with people there. It’s all about telling a visual story and since we are such a visual culture I think anyone + everyone who is trying to grow a business or name should be using Instagram in a thoughtful way to inspire + share.
–Facebook: I use Facebook to primarily share events, articles, and blog posts. I use it as a place to share important news, happenings, and information, and stay up-to-date with local events. These days, Facebook feels more like a large, online community board than anything else, and I think it’s important to be a part of that. On Facebook, it’s all about sharing links and curating content.
–Podcasting: I’ve been podcast-obsessed for about 5 years now, and decided to start my own (with my husband) back in 2015. I wanted to use it as a way to connect with my blog readers on a much more casual, personal level, and to share my perspective in a different format. It was also a really fun project to tackle with my husband! Although Starr Struck Radio is on an extended hiatus right now, I love podcasting and listening to podcasts and credit a lot of my learning, inspiration, and business growth to all of the podcast episodes I’ve listened to over the years.
What is the number one question other entrepreneurs ask you, and what’s your answer?
I am still shocked by the number of entrepreneurs who don’t have a clear online presence, a mobile-friendly website, and/or at least one super active social media account. Most of the questions I get are about these areas of online branding–how much time to devote, how important it is to be on ____ platform, how to grow an online following. And although my specific answer is always slightly different for each client, there is a common thread: it is almost impossible to truly grow your business in 2018 without a strong online presence and without devoting at least a couple of hours per week to interacting, sharing, and marketing yourself or your business online. Your online presence IS your marketing plan and if you’re not spending time sharing your message online, you are losing customers.
Describe your perfect Cape Cod day.
I would start the day with an AM yoga class at one of the [many] amazing studios here on the Cape. After that, I would head straight to the beach (the weather would be 80 degrees + sunny with no humidity, of course), and I’d spend the afternoon doing all of the dreamy beach activities you can imagine (mostly reading, napping, and swimming, on repeat). I’d have dinner at Sesuit Harbor or The West End, ice cream at Four Seas or Sundae School, and would then end my day watching the sunset while sipping a glass of wine on a fabulous deck overlooking the water. Oh, and in between + during all of these things I would receive lots of snuggles from my dog, my toddler, and my husband 😉