Design by Mouse: Supercharged by social media

Sam McKeith

Millie Cooper may not be a household name, but she just won gold at the Olympics. The small business Olympics, that is.

The 27-year-old entrepreneur took out one of the top awards at this year’s small business games, an annual competition run by telecommunications giant Optus.

Cooper, a freelance graphic and web designer, won the award for her start-up Design by Mouse, which she kicked off in 2009 and is now billed as one of Sydney’s top full-service creative businesses.

The competition was run as a vote-based contest on social media, with a number of winners picked by a panel of judges from Optus.

Cooper says Design by Mouse’s success was founded on giving clients fast turnaround times and maintaining good lines of communication.

“I try to get first proofs out to clients within 24 hours and make sure it’s good quality stuff,” she said.

“I always get back to (clients) with an email as soon as I can for client reassurance … that you have the job and everything is under control.

“You’ve also got to make sure you’re keeping up with their deadlines and their timeframes.

She advised young entrepreneurs to keep their pricing regulated in order to gain the respect of clients and help to foster long-term relationships.

Her firm’s strong social media presence also supercharged her chances in the competition, with anyone from around the world able to vote.

Another tip, Cooper said, was to get on top of spruiking your business on social media.

She said LinkedIn and Instagram – where she has 19,000 followers – had proved to be the best social platforms to drive traffic to her site and boost client numbers.

Her firm’s strong social media presence also supercharged her chances in the competition, with anyone from around the world able to vote.

“Instagram … has been a killer for us,” she said.

“Hard work pays off and it’s a good feeling when you put that effort in and it gets rewarded.”

She said she hoped the gold medal from Optus lifted the profile of Design by Mouse, given the tick of approval from such a big global brand.

“It’ll keep credibility behind the business,” Cooper added.

With the award under her belt, Cooper’s prize was a trip to the Rio Olympics where she hopes to see the Opals and Boomers snag a medal in the basketball.

Sam McKeith

Sam McKeith is Sydney-based media professional. He has contributed to many leading publications including The Huffington Post, The Australian Financial Review, The Australian and BRW Magazine. He was previously a senior reporter at the Australian Associated Press where he covered national affairs. 

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