NovaXyon Entrepreneurial Katie Love And Aaron Martin

Katie Love And Aaron Martin

In her series exploring how couples are navigating their marriage, money, and mindset, Jessica Abo sat down with Katie Love, the founder of Love Social Media, and her husband, Aaron Martin, who is the father behind the social media account @stayathomedad.

The Story That Changed Everything

It was Christmas Eve in Columbus, Ohio, and TV news reporter Katie Love was assigned to cover a heartbreaking story. “A family of four died in a fire when their Christmas tree fell over in the middle of the night,” Love says. Her voice trembled with emotion as she delivered the tragic news. ‘I was devastated for obvious reasons and went back to the newsroom very emotional.’ The weight of the story had clearly taken its toll.

However, when Love returned to the station, she was met with an unexpected inquiry. The news director called her into his office and asked a perplexing question: ‘Why didn’t I see that Katie Love smile on TV this morning?’ Confused and taken aback, Love couldn’t fathom what he was getting at until it became apparent that he had been watching her report on mute and was completely unaware that she had just delivered the tragic news that an entire family was gone.”

Meanwhile Love says her boyfriend at the time, Aaron Martin, was an investigative reporter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was not dealing with feedback on his hair, wardrobe, or facial expressions. “He was getting called in for his storytelling and his writing.”

Around the time they got engaged, Love got a reporting offer in Pittsburgh, which meant she and Martin could work and live in the same city. But two weeks before she was supposed to start her job, she realized the toll working in TV news had taken on her mental health and decided it was time to do something else.

“I learned a lot about the power of social media. I’d covered a lot of missing persons cases and if a mother got me a poster that I could blast out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, everybody knew about that child being missing in a few hours versus waiting for the five and six o’clock news to talk about this person,” she says.

Seeing the power of how information could be disseminated on social media so quickly made Love feel alive and she realized that she wanted to bottle that up and work with female founders and their online presence.

Going Out On Her Own

When Love told Martin she was going to start her own social media agency, he told her it was a great idea. “In my head, I’m thinking, you know, small businesses take a while to succeed. I had no doubt Katie would be successful. I just figured we’d be living off of my salary for at least a couple years, maybe longer until she got things going.”

Things moved a lot faster than both expected and by the end of year one, Love was out-earning her fiancé. By year five, her business hit 7-figures and she was creating social media strategies for celebrities like Noami Watts and Bethenny Frankel.

“It was fantastic. I couldn’t have been happier because she was doing what she loved and was doing it really well,” he says.

The Realities of Startup Life

After a long day of investigative journalism, Martin would come home and just want to unwind. “We did a lot of watching TV while she worked on her laptop,” he says. So there were certainly challenges at times where I remember saying like, ‘Hey, can you log off for a little bit so we can hang out?’”

Love admits she was working, 24/7 because the success of her company was on her shoulders. “Whether I got a client or not or money came in was all on me,” she says. “But I had to figure out for our marriage, how to shut the laptop sometimes.”

Martin says his advice for other couples facing this challenge is to be vocal. “‘I would say, ‘Hey, you know, I really want you to be present for this.’”

He also shared he accepts Love for who she is and gives her grace when he knows she needs to work.

Parenting Through COVID

Six weeks into the lockdown, Love and Martin welcomed Adley into the world. Throughout the first year of their daughter’s life, Martin had long workdays, leaving home at eight in the morning and returning at eight at night. Love found herself navigating the challenges of motherhood while simultaneously scaling a company. The pressures of the ongoing pandemic weighed heavily on Martin as he ventured into the outside world, with the constant worry of exposing his wife and daughter to the threat of COVID. Additionally, he grappled with a sense of guilt, knowing that Love had an overflowing plate. “When you’re doing all that while sleep deprived, it can create a lot of tension. So we certainly had our fair share of struggles, but luckily, we’re very good at talking things out on something’s bothering us. We don’t let it simmer. We talk right away.”

In 2020, Katie’s revenue doubled and she went from three to six employees. They had been talking about moving to Miami to be closer to family and decided it was time.


With Love working more, a move in the works and no nanny, Martin suggested he stay at home with Adley for a few months while he looked for a new job. “And that was two years ago,” he says. “It quickly became something that not only did I enjoy because I realized how much time I had been missing with Adley and not getting to experience it. But I realized how much I could help Katie as well, and liked how much I could take off her plate.”

While Martin took to his new role well, he and Love were caught off guard. “I don’t think either of us understood how difficult it was going to be changing our entire parenting dynamic a year and a half into Adley’s life,” she says. “Katie was working from home and doing a lot of parenting while I was gone. She had a much larger say in a lot of decisions about parenting just naturally because she was there. So things that I didn’t really care about before, now that I’m staying home with her, not only do I care about, but I have really strong opinions about. And it took several months for us to get comfortable, but I think it’s made us stronger because of it,” he says.

With Love being social media savvy, she decided to buy the @stayathomedad handle for Aaron as a fun little gift. And having that handle has opened him up to being in the New York Times and other opportunities.

It’s a system Love and Martin have figured out for their family. But it’s a lifestyle that doesn’t come without other people’s judgment. “When I went to pick up my daughter from school, a teacher said, ‘I’m not used to seeing you! Why don’t you ever come and pick her up? You should be the one picking her up. We always see your husband, you’re never here,’” she says. “It’s painful to hear that,” Love admits.

While she works on navigating life with mom guilt, her advice to other working parents is to focus on what’s making you happy and drown out the noise, “or else you’ll never get to where you want to be.”

Martin has advice to share as well.

“I just feel like the idea of people being as understanding as possible and really just accepting that there are different dynamics that are out there as long as the kids are healthy and happy and it works best for your family, then that’s what you should do.”

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