Kaitlyn Merola is the founder and head marketing maven at Möve Marketing. Primarily Boston-based, Möve tackles client-based digital marketing strategies. When Kaitlyn is not working on her new business, she is a spin instructor!
Harper: To start, what is your job title? What does your work encompass? I know you work at a marketing firm, but you also founded it. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is like?
Kaitlyn: Sure. The name of my business is Möve Marketing and I founded the company just about six months ago now. We tackle anything related to the top of the funnel in terms of digital marketing. Our approach is to deliver a refined set of strategies around content marketing, email marketing, SEO, marketing automation, and/or nuanced needs specific to the client to allow them to experience a streamlined process for lead generation and lead-to-customer conversion.
We're sort of just getting started but we've seen a ton of growth so far and have had great conversations with clients up to this point! It’s been a great experience, very rewarding.
Harper: For people that don't know, how would you define the marketing tactics that you use? I know you just used some industry terms like top of the funnel, but for people that don't necessarily know what digital marketing encompasses, could you explain a little?
Kaitlyn: Let's say a client reaches out to us and says, “I need help growing my business.” We come in, we take a look at any plans and processes they have in place today for their website, their email marketing scheme, their blog content, etc. We assess the tactics they're currently using to generate demand for their business while uncovering areas to improve and refine those channels along the way. We've dynamically refined our inbound model to include a set of revenue growth strategies that focus on the buying patterns of our clients’ audiences. Our winning strategies help clients to generate more leads, nurture those leads into customers, and ultimately streamline their growth. Specifically, we tackle website conversion optimization, email marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, content marketing, marketing automation, and marketing attribution.
Harper: I think I read somewhere that you started your company about six months ago. Can you tell us a little bit about how you started your company? You can keep it high-level, but just tell us why you decided to create your own firm.
Kaitlyn: Totally! I always sort of knew I wanted to start my own business ever since I was in college. I knew I wanted to be my own boss and I wanted to blaze my own trail. After my MBA, I joined a marketing team at a software company in Boston. I learned a lot and grew a lot through that experience, but I always sort of knew in the back of my head that I wanted to start my own marketing agency someday.
From there, I went over to agency-life. I thought that if I wanted to start an agency, I should probably work at one first to learn the ropes and understand how agencies operate. I spent a couple of years there, working with hundreds of clients directly. I’m a total geek when it comes to marketing (I love it!) so being able to share learnings, strategies, and ultimately deliver for clients was super rewarding. For me, that agency experience solidified I was on the right path. So, last year I took the leap, I finally felt like “now's the time, I have all the tools I need and I know now more than ever that I want to do this.”
Harper: Is there anything that was exceptionally pivotal when you started the company or when you made that leap that made you feel like I can do this?
Kaitlyn: I think that the pivotal moment occurred when I felt like I was no longer growing in the position I was in at the agency. When I felt like I wasn't seeing a professional growth trajectory, I knew it was time for a change. I wanted to go out into the world and do this for myself. I will say that I was also eager to experience the flexibility of being able to have a side-hustle too! I had been dreaming for a while of becoming a spin instructor. I never would have had the time to do that before. It was something I just kept saying to myself, “maybe someday.” But, I’m definitely the kind of person who thrives on evolving and trying new things, never settling for the status quo. So as soon as I started to feel like my evolution was grinding to a halt, I felt like I had to take the leap.
Harper: Of course. Now could you tell us what an average day looks like for you? Do you work in an office or remotely? Feel free to discuss your side hustle, and walk us through what it would be like if you were working and teaching a spin class that morning or later in the evening.
Kaitlyn: Sure, so I have a home office and typically work out of my apartment. I have an actual office where I can close the door, which is really great. A typical morning for me starts with replying to any emails that came in the evening before over my morning coffee, taking a look at my schedule, ensuring I have a good handle on my to-dos, and that I’m prepared for the client calls/meetings I have that day. If I am teaching a spin class that day I plan my playlist and make sure I'm ready for the class. Spin is an amazing outlet for me to be able to break up my day and turn my brain off for an hour. I feed off the energy of my riders and bring those positive vibes back to work with me when class is over. I typically will teach a noon class or a 4 pm class during the weekday so it’s a nice balance.
Harper: Awesome. Starting a new company means reaching out and networking and then utilizing those connections you have built. Do you have any tips, tricks or advice to give to people that want to improve their networking skills? I'm in college and many people advise me to network with alumni.
Kaitlyn: Absolutely. So, I was one of those students in college who felt like I was just not a natural networker and I would always shy away from networking events. I thought they were so awkward and I didn't know how to strike up a conversation or even understand who I should be talking to? But, given where I am today, in hindsight, I wish I could have told that college girl to “get out of your head, walk in there, and start talking!” There's value in overcoming those fears.
I have absolutely utilized my professional network to start this business, 100%. It's critical to always be networking because you never know who, down the road, is going to be there to help you when you're starting your own business or when you're starting something new. I mean, I had people that I met and knew eight years ago who resurfaced when they found out I was starting this business and made introductions for me to help get me started. It was so helpful!
Harper: Great advice. Is there anything that has surprised you in building your business, or even in becoming a spin instructor? Is there anything that surprised you about either of those industries?
Kaitlyn: Becoming a spin instructor has been one of the joys of my life, it grounds me. It has allowed me to connect with my community, feed my passion for fitness, and most importantly have fun. It can be easy to get caught up with client work, emails, tasks, deadlines, networking, etc. So, for me, a side hustle is kind of a game-changer! I think Möve has surprised me in a different way. I’ve learned to trust my gut. There are challenges and roadblocks that come with starting any new venture. At times it can be tough to remember that you’ve got this. I no longer have a boss to help me prioritize or even to bounce ideas off of - it’s all on me. It takes a certain confidence and inner resolve to walk into a client meeting and recommend how they should spend their marketing budget. But, I’ve found that if you trust your instincts and lean into your talents, you’ll be just fine!
Harper: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Kaitlyn: I haven’t been asked this in a while! When it comes to Möve, I have a roadmap with projections for where I hope to be in terms of revenue generation in the next five years. I also plan to have a team of people and a brick-and-mortar office where clients can come and meet with us. I believe prioritizing company culture is so important so I am also in the process of putting together my vision for the type of culture I ultimately want to foster. It’s an evolving vision but when it comes down to it, my goal in the next five years for Möve Marketing is to grow it into a premier boutique agency doing great work!
Harper: What is your go-to power woman workwear?
Kaitlyn: Definitely a comfortable pair of flats for shoes; a nice pair that I can be in all day if I need to. Usually, my go-to consists of skinny jeans cuffed at the bottom with a nice clean top and a blazer, maybe some fun earrings. I’m not into patterns, so most of what I wear are solid colors - lots of gray, black, beige - when it comes to workwear.
Harper: Super cute. Is there anything else you want to say to people that want to create their own business or any additional pieces of advice?
Kaitlyn: I will say that as a female entrepreneur, I want to be an example to other young women. It’s a big decision to leave the security and stability of a well-paying 9-5 job. It can be scary and lots of self-doubt can creep in. But, if starting something new - whether it’s a business or a side hustle - is a dream of yours, just go for it! I promise that it will be worth it and you’ll surprise yourself at how capable and badass you are.
Thanks for talking with us Kaitlyn!