Tips on Starting, Succeeding in the Social Media Business

Most people spend their down time on Twitter and Facebook catching up with friends, following their favorite celebrities or artists, or checking out the latest photos of long-lost loves or exes. Kate Buck, on the other hand, makes her living off of spending all day on social media sites.

The social media consultant [@katebuckjr on Twitter], who was featured in’s Small Office Home Office profile series, founded in January 2009 after being laid off from her job as a community manager at a large corporation. After taking on part-time freelance work just to pay the bills, Buck soon gained a long client list – enough to make a living without going back to the corporate life.

Today, Buck runs her own home-based social media marketing business out of Austin, Texas. According to the social media entrepreneur, her company builds integrated strategies for clients, and helps them implement those strategies that connect their brands with the “social media buzz.” She is also the co-founder of Pinqued, an interactive events production and marketing company.

As a home-based worker who built her business “doing something fun and cutting-edge,” Buck has several tips for those thinking of working from home and/or getting into the social media business, not least of which is taking your potential new career seriously; don’t treat it as a hobby.

“Do all the things a ‘real’ business would do - like track income and expenses,” she said. That includes getting a dedicated space in your home for an office - preferably one with a door – and creating a schedule with the family for when you are "available," especially during school holidays so that you aren't distracted during times when you need to focus.

Other tips include:

No. 1: Spend time learning how to do your job, just like you would for any profession. Buck recommends her course on how to be a social media manager, or reading blogs and books by industry leaders on the subject.

No. 2: Practice what you learn by setting up and managing social media online. Find another business owner (friend, family member, etc.) that can be your first client. You can put all you have learned to good practice while gaining valuable experience that will help you land future clients.

No. 3: For prospective clients, who you are is your Google results! That means what people learn about you online is the new resume. Your social profiles should be taken very seriously; they need to be active and tended to.