Many small business owners understand the power of online media when it comes to marketing and branding, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Fortunately, thanks to GoDaddy, we had the chance to connect with three exceptional entrepreneurs who have worked hard to build a strong online presence. As advocates for GoDaddy’s Life Fulfilling Ventures Contest, they graciously shared some inspiring words when it comes to establishing an online presence and a life-fulfilling business.

For the first part in our two-part interview series, we connected with Kathryn Davies, the owner of Magnolia Quilting Studio in Langley, BC.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your business.

KD: I am a 61-year-old mother of two wonderful children and grandmother to two lovely granddaughters. I live in Langley with my husband of 41 years and dog Rosie. I started sewing at a very early age and was taught by my maternal grandmother who was an accomplished quilter and seamstress. My business, Magnolia Quilting Studio, offers longarm quilting services to other quilters that need or prefer to have their quilt tops quilted.

What inspired you to start your business?

KD: My business started quite by accident. I actually had no intention of starting another business but then I started showing the quilts that I had done for myself and for the Community Quilt group at the quilt guild that I belong to and people started asking me if I would quilt for them.  At first, I hesitated because I wasn’t sure if I wanted another ‘job’ but I enjoy longarming so much that I knew it wasn’t going to be like going to work every day. And there was no way that I could make enough quilts myself to keep me busy on my machine. In the end, it was a very easy decision – there was a need and people liked my style of quilting so Magnolia Quilting Studio was born.

In your opinion, why is it important for small businesses to have an online presence?

KD: Firstly, I think it gives your business credibility when you have a website and secondly, it is a great way to reach people outside of your local market. I want to attract business from all over British Columbia and the rest of Canada, not just Langley and an online presence is the best way to do that.

I think in this day and age, it is absolutely vital that small businesses have an online presence so that you can reach the maximum number of potential customers quickly and easily. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t do a Google search when they are looking for a service or product. If you don’t have a website, Facebook page or Instagram account, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. If people can’t find you online, how are they going to find you? It is also one of the most cost-effective ways to acquire new customers and to engage with people so that you can keep them as customers.

How has having a strong online presence helped your business?

KD: In my market, I am one of very few longarm quilters that have a website. In fact, many of my fellow longarmers thought I was crazy to even bother putting up a website. They thought it was a waste of time and that word-of-mouth was good enough advertising. I obviously disagreed. My GoDaddy website and social media pages have helped me immensely. It differentiates me from my competitors, potential customers can find me and find out about my services quickly and easily and it gives them an easy way to contact me by email to make inquiries or book appointments. My website is my 24/7 salesperson – it is a reflection of the type and quality of service that I offer and it makes people feel comfortable with using my services.

From social media to creating a website, building an online presence from scratch can be daunting. What is your best piece of advice for getting started?

KD: Building an online presence from scratch is a huge undertaking and I wasn’t sure if I could do it all but I started by making a list of everything that I wanted to do (e.g. create a website, set up a Facebook page, etc.) Then I took on one task at a time. The first was my website and I was so happy when I found GoDaddy’s Website Builder and hosting options. Building my website was so easy with the templates that they offer and I was able to customize everything to suit my business. I had my website up in a week. It was amazing! Next was Facebook and later Instagram. By focusing on completing just one thing at a time and using the right tools, I think that anyone can create a great online presence.

Since you’re an Advocate for GoDaddy’s Life Fulfilling Ventures Contest, tell us: how has your business helped you live a more fulfilling life?

KD: I get up every morning and can’t wait to go into my studio and start working on a quilt. It is very rewarding to be a part of my customer’s quilting experience. So many of the quilts that I longarm are made for special people and special reasons and I feel very privileged to be a part of that. I recently did a quilt for a customer who was giving it to a young girl that is going through cancer treatment and was having a tough time. Hearing her story made me feel humbled to be part of doing this for her. Being a part of people’s special moments is very fulfilling. It allows me to share my creativity with others and gives me a lot of joy.

Written by: Jasmine Williams, Social Media and Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada