[Podcast] Emerge from Your Comfort Zone with Kelly McCausey

Kelly McCausey Business Leader
 

The Lead Generation features conversations with today’s entrepreneurs willing to tell the truth about what it takes to be your own boss and the transformative impact you can have on your audience.

In this episode, we’re bringing you Kelly McCausey to discover the lessons she’s learned growing her multi-faceted business, which includes in-person workshops and retreats, web hosting, business coaching, and Private Label Rights content.

Kelly believes that when you love your audience, and see them as a community of people to bring value to, as opposed to extract dollars from, your business will grow much faster.

In this episode, Kelly shares the mindset shifts that blew the lid off her own business, how collaborating with her competition generates ripple effects, and her favorite pathway to generating multiple streams of income.

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Top takeaways

If you’re short on time, here are a few golden nuggets from our conversation and the resources mentioned.

  1. Don’t let your comfort zone keep you from doing something amazing. Getting out of your comfort zone will help you learn about yourself, achieve new things, and make you more confident in who you are as a person.
  2. Take partnerships seriously, even with your competition. Before you start a partnership, try out a collaborative project first.
  3. Don’t let raising your prices for your product or business hold you back. When you provide value, you will also provide opportunities for your community to grow together.
  4. Playing small keeps a lid on your audience, and does a disservice to them.
  5. Think big tree vs. tending a fledgling orchard. Focus your efforts on a singular business that eventually (not immediately) has multiple branches.

Resources mentioned

Continue the conversation

After enjoying this episode, what are your top takeaways from Kelly?

And what’s one lesson you learned in this episode that you’ll take action on over the next week?

Get to know Kelly

Bob: Kelly, thank you so much for joining me for this week’s episode.

Kelly: Oh, thanks for having me, Bob. I’m looking forward to this.

Bob: Yeah, it’s always a pleasure to chat with you during these business sessions. We go back always, but a lot of people don’t know you yet. Before we get too far into your story though, I’d love just to get a sense of how are the lives of your customers transformed by what you do in the various roles you do for your business?

Kelly: My clients want to publish content they’re proud of for a community of people that they love. And I love to see somebody when they finally do feel that way when they look at something that they published and they see that it’s having an impact and just the pride and joy that they have. And of course, when it turns around and makes money, sets them free from day jobs and debt that and everything else, that’s pretty cool.

Bob: Yeah indeed and I’ve seen a lot of your success stories and they always seem to have that switch flipped at some point where it’s not just about them anymore, it’s about the community that they’re serving in, and they really get into a group. It’s really beautiful to see.

Kelly: Yes.

Bob: So let’s go back to the beginning a little bit. You weren’t always an internet marketing publisher and business coach. You have had previous roles obviously in the world. How did you get started doing what you do?

Kelly: I got started just trying to make a little extra money. I was a broke single mom working full time and not making enough money to make ends meet. So my utilities kept taking turns turning off and I came online looking to just promote myself, my desktop publishing skills. It brought me into the work at home mom community. I found other moms who were struggling, who were finding ways to make extra money at home and I got fascinated by all of the different ways they were property. Whether they were providing a service, selling a product, getting involved in affiliate marketing. It just opened my eyes to something and I jumped in with both feet. Started a podcast, Work at Home Moms talk radio. That was back in 2003 and it changed my life. I wasn’t expecting it.

Fueled by FOMO

Bob: Yeah I was going to say when you look back then when we’re doing this interview, you’re hanging out at the beach amongst what like five or six weeks you’re spending at the beach with one of your partners running a few retreats and set a business strategy sessions and so forth. Did you ever envision back then in 2003 that this is the kind of lifestyle that you would get to entertain?

Kelly: No. Heck no. When I was running my business even after my business set me free from, I got out of debt within a few years. I quit my day job shortly after that. There were still many years that I never traveled. I did everything from the internet. There were two things. One, I didn’t want to travel because I had a lot of self-confidence issues, and two, it just all seemed so expensive and impossible. And now, oh my goodness, I can’t even relate to being home that much. If I have to be home like two months in a row, I’m antsy.

Bob: Can you recall what might have flipped the switch for you?

Kelly: Today we call it a Fomo. The fear of missing out finally got to me. Friends of mine was going to events and I just finally found the courage to go to my first in-person event and I was so wowed by it. I was shy and insecure about it. I’m overweight. I mean people who don’t know me, I used to weigh pretty doggone close to 400 pounds. And when you’re that heavy you just don’t want to be seen and going to an event and having people see you is terrifying. But I did go and I experienced acceptance. I experienced that people could look past my physical insecurities and see something in me that was valuable. So first of all, flipping the switch was just finally going, just do it. Just do it afraid. But more than that, my mindset had to change in order to start pursuing something different.

“There was a good season of growing my business and growing my mindset that had to take place to bring me to the point today where my income is literally 10 times what it was back then.”

Because here’s the thing I said to my business, set me free from debt, and a day job. But my day job didn’t pay very much. So it wasn’t that difficult. When you’re only replacing what maybe $25,000 a year to say that you’re making that much from home is not that big of a deal. It certainly isn’t the kind of money that you’d spend six weeks at the beach on. So there was a good season of growing my business and growing my mindset that had to take place to bring me to the point today where my income is literally 10 times what it was back then. And it’s because my mindset changed.

Team up, even with your competition

Bob: It seems like you also give yourself some opportunities to partner with people and you didn’t do everything yourself. You seem to stretch into community. What kind of advice did you learn along the way that you wish you knew back then about community and not going at it alone?

“My first big step into changing everything was a partnership and that continued to just show up in my business.”

Kelly: When I started my podcast it was because I partnered with somebody else, Alice Seba. She used to run internetbasedmoms.com that was where we met each other. She said, “You should start an internet radio show.” And I thought, well I can’t do that because I don’t know how and I don’t have any money to spend on it.

Back then it was a little more complex and pricey to get started with something like that. She said, “Well you like to talk and I’ve got some money so let’s team up.” She sponsored me basically. So right away my first big step into changing everything was a partnership and that continued to just show up in my business. Alice and I started a membership site together in 2004. Nicole Dean and I created information products together back in 2005. We started a PLR site together in 2006.

I’ve always had lots of community involvement and lots of collaborations with my competition. These are my direct competition. So yeah, community has always been huge for me because if it was just me sitting alone at my computer, I never would have found the guts to do anything. It was seeing myself in the eyes of others that always gave me the courage to give something a try. Then having someone else to do it with gave me that much more courage to put myself out there. And that’s still true today. There are some things that I only find the balls to do because I’m doing it with someone else.

Bob: I imagine that all of your partnerships haven’t necessarily gone as awesome as you would like. I don’t want to get into any gory details if there are any but have there been attempts at some community and partnership that just didn’t work and you had to learn from them and not pursue them?

Kelly: I’m blessed that I’ve never had a really bad situation. I’ve had false starts and fizzles where an idea seems fun but couldn’t get the momentum going for it. But I’d never had a bad experience.

I’ll tell you when Alice and I started Mom Masterminds in 2004, in 2006 she came to me and said, “I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to go into a new direction,” and I couldn’t breathe. I thought my world was ending because I imagined that we would always be partnering on that project. I imagined that all of the value was brought by her and that when she left, that everybody else would leave. I just had this awful feeling about it and now I look back and I just, I’m so grateful. First of all, I’m grateful to Alice because I never would have tried it without her, but I’m grateful for her walking away from it because it helped me to see that I do bring value on my own. And that I can do things on my own.

If she had not pulled the training wheels out from under me, I might have stayed with her doing whatever she does forever and not explored what I was meant to create and bring to the world.

Bob: That’s a really key insight because it’s really easy when you partner with someone who is at this elevation above, at least in your own perception, that you’re going to be in that person’s shadow for a long time and maybe that’s comfortable. You and I both know intimately what the world of comfort zone and breaking out of comfort zones is like. But for those people that are thinking about this idea, you know that they’re intrigued by this idea of partnering with somebody who’s a little bit more established. Is there anything that you look for that you could say, “This is something that I definitely would want to do?” Or is there anything that would be red flags when somebody – I don’t want to use the term superior – but you know the further along the person and says, “Hey, I want to partner with you.” Their reaction back, what are some red flags to say, “Oh wait, maybe that wouldn’t be such a great arrangement.”

Kelly: Well, at this point I have five different distinct brands and four of them are partnerships. So I’ve been blessed in all of my partnerships I’ve been the money holder and sometimes I think that’s crazy because if you knew me, money’s not my gift, but I’m ethical. So what I lose in math I gain in other ways. The red flags for me is if somebody else wants all the control.

The beautiful thing about a partnership is that you can try out a project first. I would say a red flag is anything that commits you to the long term without any control. If you have more time than money, then you can offer yourself to someone who you’d like to learn from for collaboration and basically say, “I will do all the hustling. I will do all the footwork. I’ll do anything you tell me to do just to be associated with you and create this awesome thing.” That’s just hard for someone to resist.

I mean, if somebody came to me and said that, I’d be like, let’s find a way to play. But the only way that works is that there’s a clear beginning and end. I wouldn’t want to go into a long term partnership with that attitude because there comes a point where that’s not fair anymore. So give a short term collaboration a shot first and then see if you want to pitch something bigger.

Bob: Awesome. I love that.

Marketing mindset today vs. yesterday

Bob: As you said at the beginning, you had few mindset shifts that went along the way and I’m interested to see what your definition or feelings about marketing were like back then and what they’re like today. Because a lot of people listening here in the Lead Generation, they’re really good at what they do. They love serving their audience, but they might have a little bit of a rough relationship with selling or marketing. What was your relationship with marketing back then versus today? How has that evolved?

Kelly: Well, first of all, I didn’t charge enough for my time. I didn’t value my skills. I didn’t value my time. I had never made more than $11 an hour at a day job. So when I started to coach and consult and I would charge like $25 an hour, I was like, whoo-hoo! But gosh Bob, you were present for one time when your wife stomped her fist, and cried BS. Stomped her feet and cried BS because my target market I felt was very frugal. And so I had my mindset saying my time is only worth this much and my market can only afford this much. And so I’m happy here. That was my mindset and that’s what Therese said, baloney to, just like baloney. The whole issue of mindset is so huge. I had to really confront that my value is more than the block of time that I’m giving. That my value to another person is in what their time with me creates for them or makes possible for them.

These days I don’t even think of my time in terms of an hourly rate. There came a point where that just becomes silly. When some time spent with me creates a breakthrough for the client and they go and double their income. How do I value that hour? It was a big shift.

Bob: For now, most of your coaching packages are packages, right? They’re not hiring Kelly for three hours and you pay three times some number.

Kelly: Yeah.

Bob: It’s here’s a block of time we’re going to spend together, but we’re going to get a result as the focus for the money that you’re going to spend.

Kelly: Yes.

Bob: Very good.

Blow the lid off

Bob: We’ve talked a little bit about this already in the sense of community and partnering and so forth, but sometimes I get different answers than what I might expect. So when you look at your business trajectory and you look at doing this on your own, but getting some help. Has there been a big cheerleader for you or to that really stepped up and held your feet to the fire, kicked your butt every now and then if necessary?

Kelly: How many could I talk about? Alice was the first one. Nicole Dean is still one. Gosh, there are so many people who called me up. In 2013 I went to Radical Leadership. And I had worked with some business coaches like Paul Evans, Carrie Wilkerson, David Perdue. Been pushed and prodded in different areas by different people and there is always a little nugget from each one of them. But over and over again, those people, those business coaches were telling me, “You need to charge more. You’ve got more potential than you’re giving yourself credit for. You’re holding yourself back.” But every time they would say things like that, I would hear this wah, wah, wah, wah, like I hear you and I don’t hear you.

Radical Leadership, your wife, it’s almost like self-serving to talk to you about your wife (Therese Sparkins). But Radical Leadership was the big massive change moment for me in that some of my issues around valuing my time had to do with if I start valuing my time, I’m going to be leaving people behind who won’t be able to afford me anymore.

“I woke up one day to realize that I was not just holding myself back. I was holding other people back.”

I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me and going through the Radical Leadership retreat, coaching one on one with Therese and some great conversations with Anni Boyum who’s another amazing coach. I woke up one day to realize that I was not just holding myself back. I was holding other people back. As long as I think that I have to stay small for the sake of other people, what am I inviting them to do? If I’m saying “I got to stay small and be cheap and affordable in order to be at service to these people,” I’m saying they can’t afford and are limited. Gosh, I don’t know if I’m saying this very well. But when I realized that my choice to stay small, play in a little playground, and not see my value and stretch to the next level, I’m actually keeping a whole group of people small too. When I gave myself permission to just go for it, to really see my potential and begin to chase it, that the people around me could rise up, too. Does that make sense?

Bob: Yeah, it does. There’s a sensation. What I’m hearing from you is that you had a lid on your own growth in the thought that it was serving your audience.

Kelly: Yes.

Bob: But it wasn’t really serving you and you were, in fact, being a lid to them as well.

Kelly: Yes.

Bob: That your lid was a super lid on your community.

Kelly: Yeah. Well, so I’ve got this community of people who’ve been around me now for 15 years. Some of them have grown big, huge, amazing businesses. They’ve outshone me financially and through their reach in amazing ways. I never go, “Oh God, they’re better than me now.” I just go, “Wow, look at what they did.” But the majority of the community is still playing in this low hanging fruit with me. What I’ve realized is that, what made a difference for me was somebody looking at me and seeing my potential and calling out my potential. Other people looking at me and just refusing to come down and play at my level, but to call me up. To stretch me, to grow me, to cry baloney when I’m making excuses for what I want to keep doing. The minute that I started to respond to that and step up, just take a couple steps up and just say, “You know what? I can do this. I will do this.”

It was like blowing the lid off of my entire community because a whole bunch of people were like, “Whoo-hoo, look what you did. I bet I could do it too.” This whole last year I have just been blown away at what people are creating and how my mindset has changed about it. I feel like the sky’s the limit for everybody.

I used to look at people and try to find some evidence of what they were doing that would make them awesome and like “Oh so you are doing something that’s really awesome, so I can be part of your efforts. I can come alongside you because you are doing something awesome.”

Now I have found my eyes opened to all the people who, they’re not yet there, but the signs are there. And to speak to them and say, I want to come alongside you because I see what’s possible.”

I feel like that’s what was done for me. I feel like there are people who saw me struggling and muddling through who saw a sign of something of so much potential and they just refused to not call me out on it. They took a risk in calling me out on it. And so now I’m just so fired up to take those risks with other people.

Bob: I love it.

Kelly: Content marketing and community building, that’s what I do. I want people to publish content that matters. That has an impact. I want them to create a community. I want them to realize their leadership potential because if they rise up and embrace their value and start publishing content that matters, they can have an impact that calls up someone else, that calls up someone else. It’s the ripples that just have me so excited right now.

I won’t ever BS anybody. I will not blow flowers up anybody’s butt. So if I don’t see potential or if I don’t think your idea is worthwhile, I will tell you I don’t see it. People tell me quite often that that gives them so much courage because there are a lot of people out there who will. They’ll blow flowers up your butt because you know that’s how they make money, is by making you believe in things. If I see potential, I want to call it out. I want to support them in creating something amazing. If I’m the first person to spark that potential, that’s a great honor.

Bob: That is the privilege of a good coach right? Is to help somebody discover what is that pathway for them that reveals the awesomeness that you get to see ahead of time. It’s almost like a little bit of a crystal ball that you can have for them.

Kelly: Yeah.

Big tree vs. an orchard

Bob: So you mentioned this idea of people seeing what you’ve done and you’ve raised the roof off and so now they can see I think I can do that, too. I want to speak for, I ask you to speak for just a minute about how you do have this multifaceted business, right? You have content marketing. You have coaching, you have a web hosting company in MomWebs.com. You have Beachpreneurs and Beach Camp live events. And somebody looking at it from the outside thinks maybe they had to do all those things to be successful like Kelly. But I know from knowing you that A is a 17-year journey of adding on enterprises. But what kind of advice would you have for somebody who sees somebody like you and so many people out there who, they’re really at the pinnacle of their marketing campaigns as a leader in the space, as a thought leader, as a true guru, right? Or as a false guru even. But they really have all these things in place and it’s impossible to replicate that at one time. Right? Going from zero to 900.

What kind of advice would you give yourself back then versus today to the person thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to do all these things.” Do they have to do all these things or is there one specific type of thing that you would encourage people to do first?

Kelly: I teach what I call a big tree business philosophy and that is to sink your roots really deep into a community of people that you love and seek to meet their needs. Decide which needs can I meet? And which needs can I introduce them to someone else to meet? Maybe you’re providing a service, maybe you’re providing a product, maybe you’re recommending something else through an affiliate link. But sink your roots really deep into that community. Get to know all their wants and needs and dreams and hopes and look for ways to meet them one at a time. You’ll sink your roots so deep. You’ll grow this big, beautiful, amazing tree. It’ll ultimately it’ll have multiple branches.

This is versus the alternative way of approaching online business building and that’s where you tend an orchard where you have multiple good trees in different places and you’re watering and tending to all of them separately and hopes of them bearing fruit. I like apples but I don’t want to be an orchard tender. I want that one big tree and the analogy of the tree I used to help people decide when it’s time to introduce something new. As you said, I do have multiple streams of income. I have multiple brands, but they’re all serving the same market and they’re all connected. They’re natural branches on my tree, my big beautiful tree. But you’ve got to start by choosing a community to serve and getting to know them. That’s why content marketing and community building go together to spend time in the community, create content for the community. That content attracts more community. It just never fails to produce what I want, to create content and be with people.

Fruits from building community

Bob: It’s really remarkable to see also the relationship that you build with your community. Authentic transparency it’s one of the things that we love here at Leadpages to foster for our customer base and everything. For people who might be a little bit shy, what kind of advice would you give them so that they can have the fruits of really good, clean relationship with their audience?

Kelly: It’s totally okay with me if you’re shy. If you’re willing to be honest and share your process. I believe some people have misunderstood the purpose and function of having a community around your business in that they’re thinking, “I need a community.” What they really mean is I need an audience of people to stare at me. If you’re shy, well that just sounds like Hell. If you’re an introvert, that sounds terrible. Don’t think of it in terms of an audience. Think of it in terms of a family that you can share what you’re working on. Embrace BDA – before, during and after – with everything you do. Tell the people around you what you’re working on from the idea forward.

You get people who are invested and interested in what you’re doing, whether they’re a potential customer, a potential JV partner, a potential referral friend. I think of my community as people who we are doing, we have the same goals. I don’t make the assumption that people in my community are my customer because sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. Because I don’t make the assumption, the community is a very complicated place to be. I don’t know if that makes sense to people. Literally, when you come into my community, whether you’re on my mailing list or my Facebook group or listening to my podcast or coming to one of my events, I am not looking at you to figure out how I can get you to spend money. I’m not. Because I’m so confident that what I have to offer is of value to the right people. I trust you to know that.

If you need hosting, you’re going to choose my notes thing company. If you need content, you’re going to choose my private label rights company. If you’re interested in events. You’re going to come to my event. If you need coaching, you’re going to check me out. But some of you aren’t. Some of my community members are parallel to me but they don’t need what I have to offer and that’s okay because they might know somebody who does. That’s the benefit of 17 years of doing it. I just see that I don’t have to look at every person with hungry eyes.

If you could shake off the idea that a community is some is an audience to broadcast to, you’d really set yourself free to just enjoy it. Just enjoy it. Not everybody wants to. Not everyone is highly community focused. That’s okay too because you can just be part of someone else’s community and benefit like crazy.

My friend, my Beachpreneurs partner, Nicole, we have a community together of Beachpreneurs but she doesn’t have a Facebook group for her business. She’s an introvert. She’s not driven in the same way as I am to foster lots and lots of community interaction. But she’s a part of a lot of communities so that she can come and play when she wants to.

Bob: It’s important to self reflect a little right and think what would you like to do? Nothing that we’re talking about here is a must do simply examples to learn from and to decide like, “Hey, is this feel good to me?” Or maybe I’ll cast that aside as any other invitation I might be.” That’s cool.

Brain and business expanders

Bob: So we’ve come towards the end of our conversation. I have I think two more questions for you Kelly. So one is, you have learned from a lot of people in person, you mentioned a lot of their names, but I imagine you might have also had some remote mentors. What I like to call people that you learned from, from books or podcasts or anything like that. What are you learning from now? What are you listening to? What are you reading that’s really jazzing you up?

Kelly: Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap is one of my all-time favorite books. I referenced the Zones, the Zone of Incompetence, Competence, Excellence then Genius a Lot. Love his book, the well.

Not business wise Bob Goff, the author of Love Does and everybody always. My business is to love people and make money. Of course, I love Bob Goff and his attitude about just loving on people. The Story Brand, Donald Miller. I am so crushing on him right now. I love Story Brand so much I’m thinking about signing up for one of his to go get certified to use Story Brand in my business. Those are up at the top of my list right now.

Bob: Awesome. I’d love to know any quick tips you have on tools, what are some tools in your marketing that you’re using or project management that you’re kicking out on that people should know about?

Kelly: I use Trello like crazy years ago when I still did web design for people. I used Base Camp for a while, but I never fell in love with it. I never tried Asana or anything like that. I used Trello, and now I use Trello in ways that probably could just go use Asana or something like that. But I just love the freedom and flexibility of Trello. I’ve been using it a lot with my coaching clients and I’ve been using it as part of some group coaching and information products too. So for example, I do an idea hoarders training where I teach people how I figure out, because I do have a lot going on with five different brands, how do I keep my head straight about what needs my attention? I use the Now, Next, and Maybe Someday solving process and I use Trello.

So I duplicate a Trello board and share it with anybody who wants it. And then my product teaches them how I use it and people totally dig that.

Of course, Leadpages. I love me Leadpages. I am helping a client right now use a secret new feature, which maybe by the time this is heard, it’s not a secret anymore (Editor’s note: it’s not – check out the new Website Builder from Leadpages). But I got to help a girl work on her coaching website yesterday and she used Leadpages. When I find out that someone uses Leadpages, I just feel so relaxed. So relaxed because I know it so well. Those are some of my favorites right now.

Bob: Cool. And since you mentioned Leadpages, I’d love to know, do you have a favorite lead magnet either type or actual lead magnet that has really converted well for you over a long period of time? That’s just a good example of how you’ve generated more lists are more customers from it.

Kelly: About six months ago I put together a brandable content bundle. I have two PLR companies, White Label Perks, and Daily Faith PLR. We create content that you buy private label rights to. And I’m an affiliate for many other companies. Many of my friends are in that business. I put together a PDF document with eight different freebies. So it’s either a coupon where you can go shop for what you want from the store, or it’s a specific product as a sample, but these are full version items that you can implement and use to give PLR to try. I call it a brandable content bundle, eight full version products you can try and use in your business and it converts really well. Of all the lead magnets that I’ve had over the last few years, it has been the one that is most consistently converting. It’s kind of “instant potatoes fun” because they’re all affiliate links. Most of the systems are connecting me to that referral. So when they buy later I’m making money.

I have a tripwire offer from my brandable content workshop. When I welcome you, I say if you’re new and you’re not sure how to use PLR, here’s my $47 workshop for only $7 and that trip wire works really well to convert that person into a customer.

Bob: Love it. Absolutely love it.

“Create content that freaking matters”

Bob: My final question for you Kelly is people come to you and they’re asking you for tips and advice and so forth. I imagine there might be a common thread that you share with them. And the way I like to ask it is, what do you tell people is the key to success in growing their business?

Kelly: Don’t bore people. Content marketing about meeting real felt needs. You’ve got to create content about something that freaking matters. So much content is so boring. Your content has to survive what test. And if I read your headline or read your article and I say, “So what? Who cares?” You are failing. You’re not creating any kind of a response in them. It’s not working. So don’t bore people.

Bob: I love it. And where can people find out more from you Kelly so that they can become a member of your community or just get to know you a little bit better?

Kelly: LovePeopleMakeMoney.com that’s where I blog and podcast and you can find a link to my Facebook community that’s free and open to everybody.

Bob:  Awesome. Thank you, so much Kelly for a fantastic conversation. A lot of mindset ideas that you shared and a lot of ideas towards building up a community that really fuels the business. So thanks so much for being here.

Kelly: Thanks for having me. Bye Bob.

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