The inspiring young entrepreneur shares her business story
by Gill Sherry
The first thing I notice when I connect to Katie Trotter’s Zoom call, is the string of rosettes behind her. She tells me they relate to her horse riding and I’m reminded of the equestrian related posts I’d seen on her social media accounts. But it’s not her equestrian successes I want to talk about, it’s her business achievements.
Originally from Largs and now living in West Kilbride, Katie started her first business at just 15 years old.
“I knew how to sell, I was good at the selling, but I didn’t know how to do the ins and outs and the legal part of it. So I ended up shutting it down to focus on my YouTube channel.”
She had been selling her own artwork but also ran an equestrian business, selling merchandise through her social media accounts.
“I’ve always loved doing business and I really like the idea of self-employment. I like being able to decide how many hours I work and the pace that the business grows. I like that I get to make all the decisions.”
This led to her setting up her own marketing company whilst still studying at Largs Academy. She also works as a part-time social media manager for a hospitality company, a role she has enjoyed since October last year.
“I’m going to study business and marketing at uni,” she confirms, “but I’m hoping to scale the business while I’m at uni… then when I leave, I can just go on to do that full-time.”
She’s clearly a very ambitious young lady and I’m impressed by her confidence and determination. Katie achieved the grades she needed for university last year but decided to ‘have fun this year’ by studying a mixture of biology and environmental science before heading to uni. Her idea of fun is obviously very different to mine!
“I quite like it,” she declares. “I’m doing advanced higher art right now as well.”
Time permitting, Katie still takes on the occasional art commission.
“I do animal commissions mainly… coloured pencil commissions. I don’t do it often as it’s really time consuming, but I’m working on one just now. I try to find a balance. I do want to have a social life as well.”
And who can blame her? She is, after all, still only 17 years old. It’s clear, though, that her business is what makes her tick.
“I’ve been doing marketing for a few years now but I started doing it as a business at the start of this year. KTM is a social media consultancy. My main target market is smaller businesses that want to do more social media marketing but don’t want to hire an entire marketing team. It’s been going really well. It’s been a slow process because I’ve had to try and balance everything and still achieve reasonable exam results.”
With summer fast approaching, Katie is looking forward to concentrating on her business full-time, although, she’s conscious of the fact that university life is looming.
“I’ve just been taking on a few people at a time so I can give them the best results.”
It’s a very mature response and further proof that Katie has a good business head on her shoulders. So what advice does she have for other young entrepreneurs?
“Never stop, and take every failure as a lesson. Things are going to go wrong but you need to make sure you’re enjoying it. And you need to be willing to dedicate a large amount of time to it because as a sole person running a business you’re doing 50 jobs at once. Also, just because an adult is telling you something, doesn’t always mean that they’re right.”
I can’t help but smile. It may be true, but not many teenagers would actually say it out loud. And she still has more to say: “Sometimes, even if you’re young and people might not take you seriously, if you know what you’re doing, then you just need to go for it. You shouldn’t let your age stop you.”
I have a feeling Katie Trotter will be adding more prizes to her rosette collection very soon.