Welcome to another installment of the Student Spotlight.
Each installment highlights the cool things a current or past Stukent student is doing. Use these stories as motivation for reaching your entrepreneurial and marketing goals.
Meet Madison Yocum
Yocum studied new media design and earned a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. She interned for Flickr / Yahoo in San Francisco and ReadMe.io. She gained experience in product design and sales.
When she isn’t designing, Yocum works on her startup, Udio Ventures. She even held an entrepreneurship workshop at a business conference.
Yocum shared insights on what it takes to run a startup. You can read her interview below:
Tell Us About Yourself
Q: Why did you want to study new media design?
A: I wanted to be able to combine technology, design, and business together to eventually [be] able to understand a product lifecycle from various perspectives.
Q: What are some of your hobbies?
A: I’m really into working hard, but at the end of the day, I like to relax. I recently just launched a lifestyle brand and product collection called Wandr Home (wandrhome.com) that embodies my hobbies and shares them with others. I like to run, do yoga, and read a lot.
Tell Us About Your Cool Venture
Q: When did you start?
A: I’m the co-founder of Udio Ventures (udioventures.com), which is a startup studio and venture that partners with early-stage startups to build their technology product, acting as a CTO role. We started in October 2017 and have worked with a handful of startups building products, creating brands, and consulting teams.
Q: Why did you start?
A: I started because I wanted to create my own job and future. And eventually, to help others by promoting entrepreneurship and showing others it is not scary to “take the leap.”
Q: What is unique about what you do?
A: I do what I love, and it’s always something different. And that’s exactly what Udio Ventures strives to do. We work with brands and startups that are bold and ready to change the world with passion and [that] are creating something that’s a total industry changer.
Q: What has been the hardest part of running your business?
A: The hardest part has been brand recognition, and when [introducing] a new client, realizing our team is [comprised of] college students and recent new grads! At first, it can be intimidating to tell someone more experienced than you that their startup landing page needs redesigning, but our skill sets and team dynamic make us ready for any challenge. We’ve worked with clients our age and some older who have experience in building countless products. It [always makes for] a learning experience I’m thankful for!
Q: How are you marketing your business?
A: Currently, we are consumer- and design-first. My co-founder and myself are both designers by nature. Our marketing has been brand-forward and speaking [directly] to where the target market would be online and in-person. I make sure we have strong and bold branding that catches eyes. We decided to go with yellow as our primary color across our digital content. It [has] worked great so far compared to a lot of other startup studios and agencies using common colors like blue or neutrals. In addition to being a design-focused brand, we have done Facebook Ad and LinkedIn campaigns, which had an 8 percent conversion rate combined, getting customers to fill out our “conversation starter” form. Our main form is how we interact with new clients; it asks the basics of their idea, what their overall mission is, what stage they are currently at, and other basic info.
Also, we went out and talked to people! Networking events [at] our college area have been great! We’ve met a lot of people who were interested in our concept and helped us advance it. We sought out networking events where people are entrepreneurs by nature and got to know our client more.
Q: What advice would you give to a college student looking to start down a path similar to yours?
A: Just do it. So many people make excuses as to why they aren’t good enough or can’t because they don’t have time. Find something that you enjoy, and make time to get better at it. Then just start promoting your work and make connections. It’s not that hard. You just have to go out there and do it.
Q: Do you have a favorite book, website, or online tool / service that you’d recommend for Stukent nation?
A: My favorite book that made me want to start was “Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso. She was the least likely person to start an amazing brand and clothing company but proved doubters wrong, stayed passionate, and crafted her own future. I’m a huge advocate for someone to start what they’re passionate about, and she embodies it so well.
Q: What Stukent product did you use, and how did your experience using it help you with this venture?
A: I’ve used the Stukent [Mimic Pro] simulation in my digital marketing class at RIT … and I actually didn’t do so great on it because keywords were a new concept to me. (It’s totally okay to fail and start again!) But now I’ve used it for other campaigns, and [it] definitely [makes] a difference for SEO and targeting customers! For our Udio Ventures website, we made sure certain keywords and tags were in place for searches and an overall web presence. I’m an ever-growing learner of marketing techniques and strategies since it wasn’t my sole major in college, but I love it now just as equally [as I do] design!
Q: Is there anything else we should know about your venture?
A: We’re always learning and growing, focusing on the customer, and speaking to them with a message that promotes them to start their entrepreneurial journey today. We can’t wait to see where the next couple months [take] us and love to work with anyone and hear their story!