In January 2020, I had the opportunity to speak at a women’s networking event in Orlando, Florida, called the SheHustles Community. It was there I met my recent Elite Achievement guest, Kathy Young. We connected over Instagram, so I knew who to hire when I wanted to increase my social media presence.
Kathy and I had an opportunity later that year to work together, and I learned a ton about social media planning and social media in general. Since then, Kathy has pivoted and evolved her business, Rekindle Communications, into a copywriting studio specializing in web copy and brand messaging.
If you’re like many of my clients, the end of the year is when you start thinking about New Year’s goals, pivoting your business or potentially a new business altogether, so I was energized to have a conversation with Kathy. I ask her to talk about Rekindle Communications and how it got started.
Kathy describes how she wasn’t available for a senior internship during her senior year in college but wanted to create an opportunity for internship credit. As a result, she started freelancing and doing marketing for local businesses. After graduation, she landed a job with a marketing agency, but a few months in was already growing her freelancing business to a whole new level. “I was really enjoying it,” Kathy says. “I was connecting with other people in my network in Orlando, who were doing the freelancing thing full time. And it really piqued my interest. So, by the time 2020 rolled around, I decided to leave the marketing agency and go full-time on my own. I don’t know if I would have done it that quickly if I had known a pandemic was underway. But that’s a whole other story.”
Kathy continued to do social media for companies before expanding into serving coaches and creatives. But as it grew into something bigger, she started having an identity crisis. “Because I went to school for writing,” Kathy explains. “I’ve always been a writer.” She realized that to lean into writing, she would have to make a change. “Slowly but surely, I did,” Kathy recalls. “And it was hard. But it’s also been enjoyable to lean into what I’m doing now, web copy and brand messaging. My mission is to help really thoughtful entrepreneurs grow their business through connection using words, copywriting, and brand messaging.”
I ask Kathy to share more about the difficult journey of pivoting her business.
“Oh goodness, it was very scary at the time,” says Kathy. She describes the challenges of not only being an entrepreneur but also the constant changes and trends in social media to keep up with. They were calling her away from the core service she wanted to focus on. “I essentially had to get creative and find ways to get away from the full social media management slowly,” Kathy says. “I was doing that at one point. And then I started rolling out services just to take care of the graphics and the captions. I was trying to find ways to continue working with clients I really enjoyed, but slowly getting out of that space. And it was difficult because, you know, we had worked together and I was enjoying our work together. But I also knew that other people could be serving your brand in bigger and better ways.”
Kathy explains how this led to many difficult conversations, but her willingness to get uncomfortable and not know where the next potential project was going to come from allowed her to make room for those opportunities that were more in alignment with her focus.
It’s a story many of us can relate to. We all get to make a choice. As entrepreneurs, we can keep doing things that we know we can do, or be willing to get uncomfortable to make room for what energizes us. I ask Kathy if she is glad she did it now that she is on the other side of those courageous conversations.
“I’m so thankful for those courageous conversations because I was able to leave on good terms with a lot of people, and they were really understanding about the transition that I was making,” says Kathy. “I feel a lot more excited to show up for work and for the work that I’m doing. I’m excited to learn about my craft now. Because it’s something that I genuinely enjoy versus dreading mastering the algorithm, which I realized was not my forte. I have a new sense of energy and renewal when it comes to the work that I do.”
I certainly do not have the Instagram algorithm figured out! But I had to make a similar decision around the purpose of my social media. I realized it wasn’t fun for me. So, I’ve been working to bring the fun back to social media over the last couple of months. I am less concerned about the algorithm and more concerned about showing up as who I am and sharing content to help other people grow.
Kathy agrees and explains how many people are understanding that shift more with social media and how it is about connection at the end of the day. “Even if you don’t have the followers or the likes or whatever, that doesn’t matter because the message behind the content you’re putting out is what’s going to connect and what’s going to cause things to happen in your business versus just trying to appease an algorithm,” Kathy says.
I shift the conversation to what Kathy is doing today and ask her to define a brand and share some tactical steps to develop a brand message.
Kathy explains that she has reached a point in her copywriting where she takes a stand that you need a brand message to be impactful – period. It may be in written form, like a guide, or can start with you being internally aware of what your brand is and stands for. “It is the perspective that you’re giving in your industry versus simply coming from a place of sharing information without any emotion behind it. Sometimes a client will come to me knowing that they have a brand message, but they don’t know what it is or how to articulate it. And then some clients will come to me saying, ‘I know that what I’m putting out there right now isn’t aligned with me.’”
Kathy explains that the first tactical step is to do a gut check and ask if what you’re putting into the world aligns with who you are. It’s not about pretending to be someone you’re not just because you believe it will resonate with an audience. She suggests asking if what you’re doing is forced or natural.
These questions are ones that we can apply to so many different situations! I ask Kathy to share more about finding our authentic selves and the steps she took to do that for herself.
“It really comes down to being aware of what makes you you and leaning into that,” Kathy begins. “When I pivoted, I found this freedom. I was finally doing what I felt excited to do. I still felt a little overwhelmed because there are so many other copywriters and different types of writers out there in general. In my industry, there are sales copywriters, e-commerce copywriters, bro-marketing copywriters.”
Kathy explains that she had to be clear on who she wanted to be and who she didn’t. She knew that she didn’t want to be the type of copywriter that pushed things down people’s throats or focused on making people feel disempowered. And so, understanding what she didn’t want to sound like was as important as figuring out what she did want to sound like.
Kathy also shares how finding inspiration can be helpful, while still being aware and ensuring you don’t begin to copy someone else. It’s important to follow those you naturally gravitate towards but then step back and find a way to do something similar but in your own genuine way. “For example, Chick Fil A is branding that’s silly, but it’s something that speaks to my experience as a marketer,” Kathy says. “It’s fun for me to talk about in my branding. I also talk about mundane little things. So, I don’t talk about big, luxurious travel or, you know, having this big scale life. For me, it’s more about having a game night with my family and making more time for that. So, following things that really align with me and my values, and then finding a way to put that out into my messaging.”
I connect with the points Kathy has made. I’m getting ready to celebrate two years as a goal achievement coach, and I still fall victim to comparison. I will look at other coaches that have been doing it longer or have bigger audiences and wonder if I’m doing it wrong. I’m hearing Kathy say it’s important to lean into your authentic self and recognize what makes you you. Then own that messaging and talk about what is important to you and your world. Maybe that is Chick Fil A and family game nights. In my world, it’s golf with my husband on Fridays and the Friday Ritual.
“Yes,” Kathy confirms. “Because at the end of the day, everyone is selling the same thing, especially in the online space. In the industry right now, especially with coaching and service providers, we’re investing in people because of their values and because we align with them.” She explains how when we are disingenuous and try to be someone we’re not just to attract attention, we end up with people who align with what we put out but won’t be on the same playing field with who we are. When you’re attracting clients that aren’t a good fit, it’s not as fun. When we own our perspective and exhibit what we value, we allow others to see it and connect with it.
I ask Kathy to share some of the challenging parts of copywriting and creating a strong brand, and she describes how difficult it can be when you are unclear. If you start near a target, it is easy to refine the message and brand from there. The challenge comes from being unsure what you stand for or want to talk about because you’re more receptive to other influences. “When you don’t have clarity, then you tend to be a chameleon and put out what you think you like versus what you want,” Kathy explains. “So, I think that’s the biggest challenge, finding out what people want to sound like, first. And once you find it, then it’s pretty easy. But that can be a challenge, especially if someone hasn’t thought about it before or never gotten a chance to sit down and think, what is the message beyond just my services?”
Clarity is my love language! And I believe clarity is one of the characteristics of goal achievers. The more I connect with entrepreneurs and individuals in different industries; the more clarity keeps showing up. Knowing what message we want to put out there is essential, and I ask Kathy to share additional ways to strengthen our brand messaging.
“When it comes to strengthening your brand messaging, a good place to start is asking your past clients,” says Kathy. “What was it that caused them to come to you in the first place? People will usually share; I really enjoyed how you did XYZ. Sometimes people will get that feedback from their audience, and they’ll say, okay, good, I’m on the right track. And sometimes people will say, that’s not what I want to be putting out there. That’s not aligned with me. I need to pivot or do something different.”
The clarity that you can get from bringing your audience into your conversation is important because they’ll give you unbiased answers, as Kathy explains it. She recommends having conversations when possible, rather than asking these questions through email, because it gives you an opportunity to record them and listen again. But a survey works too, especially when it comes along with an incentive, like a $5 Starbucks gift card.
I shift topics and ask Kathy to share her recommendations around lead magnets since it’s one of the things I think about often.
“I think a really good place to start is, again, ask your audience. Because the funny thing is that everyone’s audience is different. And even though a certain tactic may work across the board, maybe your audience prefers to learn via video versus a PDF guide. I don’t think there’s necessarily one lead magnet go-to. I would say bring your audience into that conversation to see how they enjoy learning. I find that a lot of PDF guides are helpful. The biggest thing with a lead magnet is to make sure you’re giving them a really quick win. You don’t want to give them everything under the sun, because then they’ll feel overwhelmed. And on the opposite end, they may be like, well, I have everything I need, so I don’t need to hire so and so. So just give them a quick win for today, not tomorrow, and make it really digestible. That’s the biggest thing to keep in mind with lead magnets.”
As we wrap up our conversation, I ask Kathy what she is working on and most excited to achieve. She shares how she is excited to continue growing her influence, which she is doing as she works with more business owners. And she is also excited about eventually creating a passive product that she can give to people who can’t yet work with her. “I am excited to come up with some ways that I can help people develop their brand message and find clarity on their own,” Kathy says.
In my opinion, the blessing and curse of entrepreneurship is that there is no shortage of ideas. We can try lots of different things. And the most challenging is getting clear on where you want to focus your time, energy, and effort, and what projects will serve your audience and move you closer to your most meaningful goals.
I ask Kathy where we can follow her journey and learn more about what she is doing, and she shares her Instagram and website. Kathy is also offering a freebie for Elite Achievement listeners called Five Ways to Instantly Improve Your Website Copy in an Afternoon – click here to download it!
And with that goal achievers, keep celebrating your weekly wins, noting your lessons learned, and identifying your priorities so you can consistently progress in the direction of your goals.