“I thought this could be bigger than just me. I thought this would be a sustainable business strategy.”
Bonnie Mauldin Uses Kabbage to Grow from Solopreneur to 12-person Digital Agency
Bonnie Mauldin planned to be a doctor, studying clinical lab science and working as a hospital lab technician. Her work sparked an interest in wellness, so she started a wellness coaching company and heavily marketed the business. “Web marketing and social media were both starting to take off at the time,” she says. “I did everything I could to learn about them – I went to conferences and workshops and took classes.”
Bonnie realized digital marketing, not wellness, might be her true calling. “I had a radio show, and I heard from a major publisher about a book proposal – all through the marketing and promotion I did for my company,” she says. She launched The Mauldin Group in Atlanta in 2014 to offer everything from social media marketing to search engine optimization. Her clients are small businesses, mostly in Georgia.
“They’re often self-starters, people who’ve been around 30 or 40 years but need to adapt to an online world,” Bonnie says. “We help them ramp up and maintain their online presence.”
Meeting the payroll challenge
Bonnie planned to remain a solo business owner. “I wanted to do just enough business to make a good living,” she says. But she quickly built a reputation for getting great results, and her client list kept growing. “That was a real eye-opener for me, and I saw some big possibilities ahead,” she says.
Bonnie needed to hire people but was worried about having funds to meet payroll while waiting for clients to pay monthly invoices. She didn’t think she’d qualify for traditional financing. “It’s very difficult to get a loan from a bank,” she says. “It’s very easy to get denied for even very small loans.”
After seeing an ad for Kabbage on LinkedIn, “I thought, let me give this a try – it seems pretty simple,” Bonnie says. “Within 10 minutes I was approved.” Using her Kabbage credit line, Bonnie hired her first four employees.
Expanding beyond Georgia
“Kabbage helped me meet my biweekly payroll, and I paid back the loans once my clients paid me,” Bonnie says. Those four employees eventually helped Bonnie take on a dozen new clients. She now has 12 employees and recently moved into a larger office space.
Bonnie’s business keeps growing. “I’m considering opening more locations,” she says. “Now I have a proven business model and I think it could work in other states.” She’s considering buying a mobile app company, so she can add app development to her list of client services.
“If I didn’t have Kabbage, I wouldn’t have this growth,” Bonnie says. “It might still be just me. Kabbage let me scale to the next level.”
Year established: 2014
Type: Digital Marketing
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Furthest Client: Finland
Growth: 11 employees since 2014
Kabbage customer since: 2017