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Meet Trailblazer Mary Catherine Starr

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Catherine Starr.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I quit my day job in late 2010 to focus on painting and teaching yoga. At that time, I was living in Washington, DC, and was craving more creativity and movement in my work and in my life. It took a lot of hard work and courage to get to the point where I was ready to quit and transition to working for myself, but once I was ready, I jumped in headfirst.

My business has grown and changed a lot over the almost 8 years that I’ve been pursuing what I call a “solopreneur” lifestyle. When I started out, I was making money primarily from teaching yoga, managing a yoga studio (part-time), and custom art. I started a blog on the side — as a way to share my art and my thoughts on teaching yoga — and over time (and with LOTS of time spent grinding it out), my blog became a community and a place where my business started to take root and grow.

Over time, I slowly offered more and more services to my readers, students, fellow yoga teachers, and clients. I started offering consulting services to the people who reached out and wanted to learn from me, I began offering design services for the people who wanted me to design their logos, marketing materials, and later, websites. I began creating yoga-inspired greeting cards and selling yoga tops that I designed on Etsy. I started a podcast with my husband. I offered more yoga workshops and eventually, International yoga retreats. Everything grew organically over time (and with lots of sweat equity).

My husband and I moved from DC to Cape Cod in late 2013 and that was a big turning point for me and my business. What’s great about doing business online is that it doesn’t matter where you live, but as a yoga teacher, this move challenged me to start all over in a new community. The move turned out to be the best thing possible for me and my business. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to a new, tight-knit community that is nothing but supportive. I hired my first (and only) employee a few years ago and with her help, have grown the Design Studio part of my business to a much bigger operation than it was before I moved to the Cape.

I had my first child in August 2016, and since then, have been on a journey to figure out how to be an entrepreneurial mama who does what she loves and also spends time with the people that she loves. It’s a challenge but it’s been quite the ride! I’m excited to see what my business has in store for me as it continues to grow and change in the coming years…

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No! The road is never smooth. The biggest struggles for me have always been time and energy related. When you run a one-person business on your own, you are responsible for EVERYTHING: the scheduling, the finances, the billing, the insurance, the marketing and promotion, the actual work or creative output, and the planning. It’s exhausting and never-ending, so if you don’t absolutely LOVE what you’re doing, it’s not worth it.

My best advice is don’t quit your day job until you are 100% certain that you can pay the bills with your side-hustle or new business. Do both for as long as you can until you see the path doing what you love and it feels financially feasible. Also, get yourself an accountant early-on!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Starr Struck – what should we know?
My business, Starr Struck, is an online destination for yogis, creatives, solopreneurs, + small business owners looking for inspiration, advice, and solutions for living a more balanced and purposeful life.

I offer lots of different services and resources including branding + graphic design services, yoga-inspired products, yoga classes and workshops on Cape Cod, blog posts, podcast episodes, custom art, small business consulting, and more.

My specialty is working with solopreneurs and small business owners who want to learn how to make their brand stand out online. I am most proud of all of the individuals I’ve helped gain more confidence and purpose through my services and classes, and the vulnerability and honesty I’ve shared on my blog over the years.

Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
Yes! I listen to more podcasts than might seem humanly possible (including all of the binge-worthy favorites that are so popular right now), but from a business perspective, I’m a big fan of How I Built This, StartUp, and Being Boss.

My favorite apps are Preview (for Instagram planning), Hootsuite (for social media scheduling), and Word Swag (for quick and easy graphics creation on-the-go).

The business books I always recommend are The E-Myth and 168 Hours.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Olivia Beaton Photography, DS Photo Art

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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