Founder Spotlight: Kim Rowley of Key Internet Marketing
Want to know what it is really like to start a company? In our Founder Spotlight series we have candid conversations with real founders about the good, bad and ugly of getting your hands dirty and building a business.
Meet Kim Rowley of Key Internet Marketing. Key Internet Marketing, Inc. is more than just another marketing agency. We had the opportunity to speak with their founder, Kim Rowley to learn more about her journey, passion and how it is to balance multiple endeavors. Learn more about what she is up to at Key Internet Marketing (acronym KIM).
What’s your story? How did you get here?
Back in 1998, I started dabbling in making websites for my different passions such as couponing, my love of shoes and advocating for my preemie twins. When I discovered that I could make money on my websites with affiliate marketing, my hobby became even more fun. I quit my day job back in 2001 and haven’t gone back into an office since.
I have started several start-ups and side hustles throughout the years. Selling ShoppingKim.com in 2020 gave me the time and capital to invest in some of my other endeavors.
I expanded my liquidation merchandising business by building warehouses to house inventory that we sell via Amazon Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA and Walmart Marketplace. We are in the top 5% of third party sellers on FBA and are proud of our relationship with Walmart Marketplace, as you must be invited to join. By not having to pay storage fees, we can buy off-season merchandise for much less. For items that don’t get sent into Amazon or Walmart’s warehouses, we sell the higher-end merchandise at our liquidation boutique, called Bend The Trend. And for overstock, returns and items without tags, we sell them at Liquidation Popup $5 events where we draw hundreds of people once a month vying to stock up on everything from toys to clothing and household goods to home decor.
I’ve also been working on a Walmart seller app. There are no good third-party mobile apps available to upload products and create orders via mobile devices, so I had my developers create one.
I also had my developers create a social sharing tool for Pinterest that helps bloggers connect and grow with other Pinterest creators. It’s totally free for publishers to use and is currently set up for 1:1 sharing. That means, for every pin you share, someone else will pin one of your pins. I plan to test a freemium model in the future to monetize Zingbolt by letting publishers and businesses buy credits (so they don’t have to pin others), but right now, I’m content with it being a free tool as I personally use it.
After I sold ShoppingKim.com (and some other blogs), I was missing affiliate marketing. I did some consulting on the merchant side of things, but I wasn’t allowed to be a publisher in the same niche. Now that my no-compete is over, I started a new personal finance blog called SavingK.com which has taken off better than I expected. While ShoppingKim was focused more on lower income visitors looking for financing options, SavingK is focused more on higher income visitors looking for investment opportunities.
What motivates you?
Creating anything (from content to tools to storefronts) that can help others inspires me.
How does your typical day start?
Before I even get out of bed, I check my email and “star” the emails that I need to tend to first. I then check my Amazon stats and browse Facebook for any notifications that need a response. Since my children are now grown, I no longer need to get them up and ready for school, but I have children with special needs so I do need to support them as needed.
What keeps you up at night?
My brain does not shut off. I have a notepad beside my bed because if I think of something and don’t get up and do it, I have to write it down. Otherwise I can’t sleep, as I’m afraid I’ll forget.
How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
The more money I have in the bank, the riskier I get. When you’re successful, it’s much easier to take risks and gamble on a project. I also believe you have to have faith, and I am a big believer in the law of attraction. Years ago, James Martell spoke about how he made the background of his computer link to all the websites he uses and listed his goals across the top. I loved this idea so created VisionBoard.me that allows others to create something similar. I originally made it for myself, but when I told people about it, they wanted to use it, too. So it’s now free for everyone to use. I wish James was still alive to see it. One can add their own photos, goals, to-do lists and links to anywhere. We even let organizations, such as businesses and schools, have their own subdomain to white label the software.
If you had to pick – a night in or a night out?
That’s a hard question. I used to consider myself an extrovert and I would have said a night out years ago. However the older I get, the more introverted I get. I think it is because I have a social job so sometimes the only downtime you really get is at night.
What is one thing people don’t know/misconception of being a founder?
I think some people think I sit at home all day and do nothing, and that working at home is easy. When my children were younger, I was always being asked to drive on field trips and volunteer at school because the teachers and other parents thought I was home all day doing nothing. Other people think working on the computer is a “get rich quick” opportunity, but it’s not as easy as people think.
Do you prefer coffee or tea?
I don’t do coffee or tea. Diet Coke is my drink of choice.
The Founder Spotlight Series focuses on the entrepreneurial journey. At Buzzy Rocket we are passionate about helping entrepreneurs share their vision. Interested in participating in the Founder Spotlight Series? Contact the Buzzy Rocket team.
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