How to boldly scale your business with Kate Toon

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Scaling your business to greater than great heights is something every business owner aspires to do once they hit a certain threshold in exchanging time for money. In today’s episode, I chat with digital educator, author, CEO and founder of Australia’s largest copywriting conference, Kate Toon.

Links

Kate Toon Website
Kate Toon Instagram
Kate Toon Facebook
Hayley Osborne Instagram (Social Soul)

Kate Toon’s Bio

Kate Toon is a writing entrepreneur as well as a popular coach, speaker, author, and podcaster. She’s also a mad good hula hooper, which we’ll go into. Her digital education business The Recipe for SEO Success and The Clever Copywriting School have helped more than 8,000 small business owners grapple the Google beast and write better content. Kate runs Australia’s only dedicated annual copywriting conference, CopyCon. She presents at events around the world and runs several hugely successful Facebook groups. Author of the popular business self-help book Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur: How to Succeed in Business Despite Yourself, Kate lives on the Central Coast of Sydney, where she loves wandering on the beach with her son and her CFO, chief fairy office dog Pomplemousse. Is that how you say Pomplemousse?

Transcription

Welcome to the podcast Kate Toon! Your dog’s name is Pomplemousse?

Kate:

Pomplemousse, yeah, it’s French for grapefruit, which makes no sense. Why did I call my dog grapefruit? But it just sounds good to say Pomplemousse. He’s kind of fluffy and French looking so it works.

Hayley:

Well you have a very impressive dog name along with a very impressive track record of being an awesome misfit entrepreneur, and I commend that, and I think my guests, sorry, my listeners really benefit from your stories. So in a nutshell, would you like to introduce yourself?

Kate:

Well, I think listening to your own bio be read out is good, and I’ve realized it’s out of date now as well. It’s like nine, 10,000 people now. But yeah, that’s it really. I mean, I really think of myself as a business owner, not an entrepreneur. Entrepreneur to me has vaguely negative connotations of people lying on Porsches being people who lie on Porsches. So yeah, I think of myself as a business owner. I happen to have three businesses. And I mean, really all being an entrepreneur means is taking risks and we all take risks. Even doing this is a risk. So that’s me, and I think my bio sums me up quite well. I’ve got a lot of things going on. Three podcasts, lots of Facebook groups, two memberships, a big course, a big team. It’s a lot. I’m not describing myself very well. This is my first podcast of 2021. I don’t think I’ve really warmed up yet. I apologize if I sound like a Muppet. It’s just that’s how it’s going to be.

Hayley:

No, well this is very exciting. And also I want to say I love how you’ve written on your website, “I’m not your stereotypical entrepreneur,” and you just said, “I’m a business owner,” but I want you to dive into that and tell the listeners exactly what you mean by that, because I feel like you’re out to debunk the myth that all entrepreneurs have to hustle hard, work super long hours to turn over everyone’s goal of having a seven figure business.

Kate:

Yeah. And I think five or six years ago, that was very much a male dominated space. This entrepreneur, this hustle, up at 3:00 AM succeed, succeed, have you side hustle than your side side hustle. If you’re not earning seven figures you’re not a baller. All that kind of stuff. And I think recently actually, though, it’s slid into female entrepreneurism as well. So now not only do we have to look great, be great wives or partners, be fantastic mothers, we also have to be seven figure entrepreneurs and we have to have our business and the side hustle and also weave our own underwear and make banana bread. So I feel like there’s just this immense pressure on all humans, particularly women, I think, to just be amazing. And I think that this is entrepreneur path that’s laid out for us. You have to be a certain way on Instagram. I always take the mick out of people who do the photo shoot with the confetti.

Kate:

But your Instagram needs to be perfect. A photo, a white square, a photo, a white square. You need to be you need to have the book, the podcast, the membership, the course. You need to have done all the things and you must be earning seven figures. It doesn’t matter if six of those figures… 99,000 billion dollars of it is spent on ads or staff, as long as you can say you’re a seven figure entrepreneur. And it’s all just such nonsense. And I say this from experience because I have… I don’t think I ever believed the hype, but I got on the treadmill and I’ve done all the things. You heard from my bio, book, conference, membership, course. I’ve done it all and I’ve done the seven figures. Brilliant. And you get to the end of that and you realize it’s thoroughly unsatisfying and it doesn’t tick your boxes, or it didn’t take mine. And then you kind of go, “Well then really, if it’s not about all of that, what is it really about?” That’s the big question.

Hayley:

I know. And I guess that’s… 2021, do the answers lie this year?

Kate:

I feel they do, because I feel like 2020 was a year of a real discovery for most of us. I mean, lots of us had a bad time, some of us had a good time in terms of business. But it stopped us all. Last year I had six or seven global speaking gigs planned, none of which I could do. So all my travel plans were canceled, which meant I actually had to do some work, which I hadn’t done for a while. And it made me re-examine my business, it made me really think about who I want to be, how I want to spend my day. We’re here for a good time, not a long time. So what do I want my life to look like? And then what part of my life does my business play, because for a long time for me, my business was my life. And that was it. A bit of family time, but mostly just business, business, business business. And I don’t want that anymore. So yeah, 2021 is absolutely about trying to work out where the jigsaw piece puzzles go and rearrange it a little bit.

Hayley:

So for some of my listeners too, they are starting out in business, they currently have their business as a side hustle, and they have a day job. I’ve listened to you speak on your own podcast, as I mentioned before. I’ve listened to you as a guest. I absolutely love your story. And I said that to you before we started recording. And I want to know, and I’m sure they would want to know, how did the Kate Toon empire come about, and what was that pivotal point where you realized there was a gap in the marketplace for your niche business?

Kate:

Well, I think it came about slowly. So I too had a full-time job and then I managed to get some degree of part-timeness. I managed to get a Friday off every fortnight, and I started to do some freelance copywriting on the side. So I was running an agency as a head of production. I was on the board, it was very stressful and miserable. So I started my business while I had a full-time job. And I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I would have ever taken the leap into having my own business if I hadn’t got pregnant, because I was scared to give up my day job. I was the breadwinner. I was earning really good money. I hated it and I was very stressed. But it’s very hard to move out of that trap that you get into. But I got pregnant and I was contracting to that. I knew there’d be no maternity leave and we didn’t have a lot of savings. So I just at five months pregnant left my job and started katetoon.com. And I didn’t even know what it was going to be.

Kate:

So when I started out, I did a bit of graphic design. I’m sorry if I was your graphic designer, I’m not very good at it. I built websites. I did a bit of copywriting, bit of SEO, but a project management. And over time I just found that niches don’t just appear like a bolt of lightning. I found that there’s certain elements that come together. Like what, what kind of work do you enjoy doing most? What kind of work pays the most money? What kind of work do people want the most? There’s three things, money, do people want it, and will I enjoy it? And that turned into SEO copywriting.

Kate:

I did that for about four or so years, freelancing. And then I got to that point that we all do. I had a small child, I could only work 20 hours a week. I’d put my rates up, really, as far as the market could take. And I was like, “Well, I’m not going to earn more. I’m not going to progress because I have no more time. So the only way I can progress is if I stop exchanging my time for money.” So I stopped going with an hourly rate and I move into instead of one to one services, I moved from one to many. And that was really my pivot point. It wasn’t necessarily about a niche. It was about a need on my side. Does that make sense?

Hayley:

And that’s wonderful, because I feel like almost I’m at that point at the moment in my business where it needs to be one to many and not one to one. So I can definitely resonate with that, and I’m sure a lot of people listening can as well. Now I wanted to ask you, because there is a transition point where you do go from one to one to one to many. I know about your launches, and I know about the investment or the little investment in terms of ads and things that you put in just after listening to you on a few podcasts. So I would love to know… I know this is sort of jumping the gun, but what is the most successful launch that you’ve had to date, the result, I guess, it achieved for your business, and how it kind of shifted? What that shift, because that shift is massive. Well, a lot of people think it’s massive.

Kate:

There’s a couple of things that I’d love to break down. The first one is that transition period. So yes, there was a long time while I was still servicing my one to one clients as a copywriter and trying to build this one to many products. And that was about a year and it was horrible, really horrible because I didn’t want to give up my identity as a copywriter, I didn’t want to give up that money because my other thing hadn’t grown into anything yet. But you do this thing, I call it the surfer. Imagine a surfer on a surfboard. You’re trying to reach for this, but you don’t want to let go of that. But to really get the thing that you want, you have to let go, otherwise you’ll never quite reach it. Your fingertips won’t touch it.

Kate:

So at some point I had to kind of go, “Right, I can’t keep servicing my one to one clients. I have to go all in on this new thing.” But it took me a year because I really wanted to make sure that the new thing was going to work. So that was the Recipe for SEO Success course, really, and I launched that. The first time I launched it, I sold it before I’d built it, so I sold it to about 20 people, which wasn’t many, and it didn’t cost much, but it was proof of concept. Then I ran it, then I improved it, sold it again. I think the biggest launch I had, the most successful launch was probably a couple of years ago when the course sold out in about six hours. We about 80 spots. It’s about $2,000, $1,500, so you can do the math. So it was an awful lot of money, and there was a lot of weird feelings around making that much money in one day. It felt kind of [crosstalk 00:12:04].

Kate:

Why did that launch go so well? Well, I think I’d done a lot of buildup. We’re two years in. So there’s a lot of words out on the street. There’s a lot of people who’ve already done the course who then become advocates and tell other people. Consistent content marketing. I don’t do ads. But I just spent a long time… I built my Facebook group. I’d built up that know, like, and trust factor. But I think the real thing was, is the year before that I got on the road. I spoke at 37 events in one year. Small ones with 10 people, conferences. You name it, I turned up. Some of them were my own events, so I had maybe a hundred people in the room. I charged them hardly anything.

Kate:

The goal was not to pay for the workshop. The goal was to get them to meet me and maybe pay for the course. So I think that getting out there and just meeting so many people and those people talking about meeting me, it just spread the word. And I went from not being very well known to feeling like people knew who I was a bit. It sounds a bit silly, but do you know what I mean? So that was the big thing, getting out there and speaking. And it was terrifying, but I’m glad I did it.

Hayley:

Yeah, that’s fantastic. And I think too, it’s that terrifying moment of whether you are speaking on stage, whether you’re putting yourself on Instagram Stories, whether you are stepping into the Instagram Reel space, Facebook Lives, all of those things. Once you actually make that first step, the rest is easy.

Kate:

It gets easier and easier, doesn’t it?

Hayley:

I try and teach my audience and the people I work with all the time that it’s about taking the first step. And you’ve proven that. So your business, that launch, that really scary launch, that turned over multiple six figures for you in six days.

Kate:

In six hours.

Hayley:

In six hours!!!

Kate:

Yeah, so it was about $150,000 in six hours.

Hayley:

That’s a lot to mentally shift too.

Kate:

Yeah, it was. I’m from the North of England, we don’t talk about money. I’m British. I’d done okay as a copywriter. By the time I finished copywriter, I probably was on about 200K, which is a fantastic salary, and my expenses were minimal because I had no team, I didn’t need software and Xero and Slack and Asana because it was me. Me, myself, and I. And as you grow a business, obviously the expenses get a bit higher, but I always try and keep my expenses around 25%. Yeah. it’s really important that business owners are honest about this. You do see people saying, “Oh I had this launch, I made $300,000 and I spent 279,000 on Facebook ads.” It’s like, well okay, so really you could have made that much money working in Woolworths, let’s be honest.

Kate:

It was intimidating. And it was also a model that I don’t like, and I’ve moved away from that now because what happened was I made all my money in three days of the year, and because I don’t do ads, I have no figures really to go “My conversion rate is this. And if I do this many ads, I’ll get this many sales.” It’s all based on content marketing. So every time I launch, I don’t know. Am I going to sell out, am I going to sell 50 spots or 80 spots? I didn’t want that. So that’s when I moved into the membership model fully so that I could have recurring monthly income and I wasn’t relying on three days of the year to make all my money. So now I still have the three days of a year, but I have the monthly money coming in from the memberships as well.

Hayley:

So it was going around talking to certain people. There’s a lot of talk of… You must have a big email list to be able to market to a warm audience. So forget about Facebook ads, forget about all of those lookalike groups and things. What did your email list look like, and did you spend time building that?

Kate:

Well, when I first started, I didn’t have an email list. So when I launched the course, I just emailed all my old clients, which was only about 30 or 40 people, but I had good relationship, very close relationships with them. So 20 of them signed up, which is a 50% conversion rate, which is insane. But I knew them personally. I’d worked with them. It’s very different. My email list is still not massive. I probably say now maybe 17,000 people, which in the email world is nothing. And that’s across all my businesses as well. It’s not just recipe. I think you need a good quality email list. You can’t be afraid of unsubscribing, unresponsive people. You really need to have a lead magnet that’s so connected with what you do so you’re not getting people who’s just… If you do a six great ways to enjoy your day checklist, everyone’s going to want that, but they’re not your ideal customer. My lead magnet for the recipe course is quite a boring, detailed SEO checklist.

Kate:

And really anyone who signs up for that, they’re my ideal customer, and it cuts out a lot of people who would never want to do my course, because if you can’t even go through a three page checklist, you’re not going to want to go through an eight week course about SEO. You’re going to be bored to tears. So that’s really important. And then I don’t oversell my email. I do give them a lot of value. I’ve got a nice long funnel where I give and I give and I give and I give and I give, and then maybe I sell. And I do a monthly newsletter that’s really packed with information. I minimally sell. But the thing is as well, I do an awful lot of content marketing, an awful lot, across multiple channels. And I’ve got a Facebook group where I give away a lot of free stuff. So I give away a lot for free, so when I occasionally try and sell the course, it doesn’t seem to jar so much and I don’t need so many people because the people I’ve got on my list are engaged and they’re happy.

Hayley:

And there’s definitely… When you are giving, giving, giving, there is the trust factor that you build authentically and it just happens without you actually doing anything, and I think a lot of businesses feel that it is a marathon, but really it’s a sprint.

Kate:

The other way around.

Hayley:

The other way around. So I often tell my audience social media in particular, which obviously I do a lot of strategy and marketing for social media, and I often say that it is a marathon, not a sprint. A marathon-

Kate:

It’s a long game. It is. You won’t see immediate ROI. And if you’re looking at individual posts and going, “Oh, that post didn’t do well.” It doesn’t matter. It’s over months, you have to look at it over… Not one singular post. I mean, yes, sure, look for trends and whatever, but people are like, “Oh, I put a post up and no one responded so I’m giving up.” The lead time for people to buy my course is sometimes two to three years. People join my wait list for the course, and I can see that they’ve joined. And then what I do is I throw them all off every time. And then I say, “Right, you didn’t sign up this round. I’m going to unsubscribe you so you don’t get the sales letter. If you want to join again, here’s the link.” So I’ve got a fresh list each time.

Kate:

And I can see in my ActiveCampaign that some people have had tag after tag after tag. They’ve joined, they haven’t bought, they’ve joined, they haven’t bought, they’ve joined, they haven’t bought. And then certain factors in the universe collide. Maybe finally they get some money or their business is ready and they’re ready. So don’t underestimate the length of time it takes people to buy from you. Sometimes I’ll sign up someone’s thing because I’m like, “I don’t need you now, but I know one day I will.” I’ve got a great example for your social media one. There’s a lady called Karen Hillen who’s an HR lady. And I saw her on Instagram just posting tips and advice, and it was kind of quite dry HR, and there was stuff like, “Did you know that work cover is blah, blah, blah.” And I was like, “I didn’t know that.”

Kate:

And I didn’t even have an employee then. But I thought, “If ever I do, she’s the person I want to work with.” And then I got an employee and the first thing I did was email Karen Hillen. I’ve never met her. And I just said, “Could you handle all this?” She handled everything I paid her to do. I didn’t do anything. She handled everything. She’s amazing. The employee didn’t work out, but that was from Instagram posts. But I’d been following her for a year and a half, a year and a half before I took action because it wasn’t the right time.

Hayley:

Amazing. Honestly, it is amazing, and you talk about having scratched… You scratch your email list and start from the beginning and that’s actually quite daunting and really risky for a lot of people. I know, even myself, I’m like, “Wow, that that’s a huge risk,” but in this space those risks are really rewarding. So I feel like when you make them, it might not happen straight away, but it does happen like the HR example.

Kate:

And you’ve got to be brave. You’ve got to be brave. You can be safe and comfortable and probably not very much will happen, and it’s the risks… We were talking about entrepreneurialism at the start. What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur. It’s the ability to take risks, not just with money, not just with email lists, but with your content, with your thought leadership, with your opinions, with the way that you approach things. Being different. One of the things I think a big mistake that business owners make is they’re looking at how to position themselves and all they do is look at other people in their market. They look at other entrepreneurs or other social media marketing managers or creative strategists. Don’t look at them. Go and look and see what that real estate agent is doing. Go and see how the accountant is marketing themselves.

Kate:

Because if you look at your peers, there’s a certain kind of female entrepreneur vibe that you could literally change the face at the top of the Instagram and you would not be able to tell that that was a different… They’re all using Stacey what’s her face’s art in their Instagram. They’ve all done Cherie Clonan’s Digital Picnic course or whatever. Do you know what I mean? And you can see it. Like with copywriters, you can tell a copywriter that’s done Marie Forleo’s copywriting course, because they write in the same way. And it’s like… Don’t try and fit in. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to do. You want to differentiate.

Hayley:

I completely agree with you, and I love the fact that your Instagram is very, very authentic. And it’s very you. There’s no balls about it. My Instagram account, for example, you will never see any pink. That is a strategic move on my part because I want to appeal to men and women.

Kate:

That’s really important. Not that we’re anti pink and if you love pink, that’s great. But I’m the same. I am not a female entrepreneur marketing to female entrepreneurs. None of my groups are called women in this or lady boss or whatever. I love having men on my courses. I think men are awesome and bring a lot of different values and energy into a group, particularly. So yeah, I don’t want to alienate. I mean, I do largely attract more women than men, but it’s not my goal. So you have to be mindful of that, I think.

Hayley:

Yeah. So definitely being different and breaking away from the norm is the way to go in terms of moving forward to be your true self in business. And then that shines through because authentically people see that and they can sniff BS a mile away.

Kate:

They can. And we’ve all got a fixed streak of odd running through us. And I think what happens when we join the business world is we think we have to hide that. We don’t want to let people know that we collect knitted badges or we’re obsessed with cheese or we can play the violin or whatever it may be. We try and hide that, and we try and look like a glossy entrepreneur. But the odd, the odd is what will sell you. The odd is what will make people love you. It will also make some people hate you, but that’s fine because they’re not your people. But you’ve got to let your odd shine through, I think. What’s your odd, Hayley?

Hayley:

My odd, I think… I probably just less filter. I get on my stories and I kind of have no filter. I write like I talk, because I feel like that’s really important for getting people on your train. My odd is also my hair is very big.

Kate:

Your hair is fab. You can’t see it on the podcast, but it’s floofy and big and awesome. It’s amazing.

Hayley:

Yeah, so I just try and be who I am online is who I am when you meet me. If you ask anyone that works with me or anyone that I subcontract to, they will all say the same thing. And that’s my goal, is to be original.

Kate:

That’s really important. But also be you wherever you are. And that’s really important. When people meet me, they say the same thing, “You’re just like I thought you’d be, but you’re really small.” I’m not that small. “I know, you’re really short.” And I’m like, “Thanks.” But yeah, it’s really important to me. I hate that disconnect. I’ve met some people that I adore their online persona, then you meet them in real life and they’re right grumpy. And you’re like, “Oh God, you’re nothing like I thought you’d be.” Or they’re super introverted, but online they’re super like… You don’t need to be anything you’re not. You don’t need to pretend you’re an extrovert if you’re an introvert. You don’t need to try and be funny if you’re not funny. You can be smart, you can be interesting, you can be curious. Those are all just as valuable, as funny, and witty. You know what I mean? They’re all-

Hayley:

And I feel like as well, when you have a business and you’re marketing yourself as a brand, those factors have to shine through in order for people to essentially buy from you. I mean, we’re not here for a haircut at the end of the day. We’re here to make money. That is what it is, and that’s the only way, because eventually the cracks just show and then it’s no fun for anyone.

Kate:

People see through. Like you said, the BS shows through, and I think very much, and we’re talking about 2021 and 2020, the studies… IBM did a study that said something like… I think it was like 70% of people would prefer to buy from businesses whose values align with their own. So how does that transpire? Well, you have to tell people what your values are. If you hate Trump and you don’t like his agenda, talk about it. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, and that’s important to you, talk about it. If black lives matter to you, talk about it. I don’t think we can separate our beliefs and our values from our business anymore. You can try, but I think it’s going to get icky pretty soon.

Hayley:

I will say at the beginning of my social media journey, and I’ve been doing this for a really long time for big brands, I found it really hard to crosspollinate between my personal life and my business life. And then when I started to do that slowly, it felt like it was all flowing.

Kate:

Oh, doesn’t it? Isn’t it such a relief when you’re just yourself? Someone asked me on a Clubhouse thingie today, “How do I make sure that every post that I put up aligns with my brand?” And I’m like, “Well, you make sure that your brand is you and you are your brand and then every post you put up is your brand.” You don’t have to check your brand guidelines to say whether you’d say it or not, because if you’d say it, it’s on brand. If you find that funny, it’s on brand. If you like that picture, it’s on brand, because you are your brand. I think people think brand is a color swatch and a font. It’s not. It’s who you are, it’s your values, it’s your voice, it’s everything. It’s your curly hair, it’s your flat hair.I’ve got hair envy today. We’re just going to keep talking about hair.

Hayley:

So good segue. Clubhouse. New social media platform or platform to engage, podcast lookalike. How’s it going for you?

Kate:

I mean, at the time of recording this, which is early Jan, it’s fairly new. I’ve only been on it for a matter of days and it’s enjoyable. I mean, I’m a podcaster like you. I love telling stories. I love talking to people, and I also don’t like Zoom, because you have to dress up for it and look like a human. So it’s great because you can be on Clubhouse in your bra and pants washing the dishes, which I love. And at the moment, because the way that they launched it as a beta and only to a certain amount of like influential people, the people on there at the moment are all kind of fa-fa-fa-fa entrepreneurs. So then my ideal customer isn’t there right now. But there’s some great connections on there. And you’re doing a Clubhouse and maybe six people turn up and you’re like, “Is this worth it? This is a waste of my time.”

Kate:

But I think it’s good to play. I think playing in your business is so important. You should only play for a limited amount of time. Like somebody said the other day said, “Oh, I’ve been on it for six hours.” And I was like, “What are you doing? Go and do some work, earn some money.” Because six hours invested in this is not good investment right now. An hour here, half an hour there. Great. But I’m loving it. It’s interesting. We’ll see. It’s very ego driven, I think, at the moment. Lots of people kind of flapping on about how amazing they are. Lots of men waving their willies around talking about being seven figure entrepreneurs and they’re all called Josh and they’re all business coaches. Everyone’s a business coach. Everyone on there is a business coach at the moment, apart from me. But yeah, it’s fun. It’s fun. Who knows what will happen with it? It could be like Periscope and disappear in a year or so, or it could be the next TikTok. Who knows?

Hayley:

Interesting. Okay. Now I have another question for you. Is there one person or thing that you’ve done in your business that you would say is the most influential?

Kate:

One person I’ve done in my business?

Hayley:

Is there one person that’s been the most influential or thing?

Kate:

Not really. There’s not a person. I’ve never been in a mastermind. I’ve never even done a course. And I’m not much of a business book reader either. So most of my inspiration comes from my customers. I have a close relationship with my members and they guide me, because they’ll be like, “Why haven’t you launched a copywriting course? You’ve had a copywriting business for seven years, but you don’t have a course.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I should get onto that.” Rather than looking to a peer or a business coach who says, “I’m going to charge you $8,000. You should have a copywriting course.” Great. I paid you $8,000 to tell you something I probably already knew.

Kate:

So no, there’s no person necessarily. In terms of thing… Gosh. I think one of the best things I did was stop trying to do everything on my own and to get a little bit of a team and I think my online business manager, Leanne Woff, has been quite instrumental in my business. A, she’s an amazing person and very smart, but just building the trust. It took me a long time to trust her, not because she’s her, but just anybody, that they weren’t going to come into my business and steal my IP and mess things up. So that relationship and having a team, I think, has been the biggest change in my business and made the biggest difference.

Hayley:

Yeah, I really love what you said there, especially about your customers giving you the most input into your business, because for for a lot of us, you don’t know what you don’t know until you start, and then it’s like… You think you’re going to go in one direction and you end up going in another and that’s actually more powerful than what you thought. That’s also happened in my business, and I love that you say that because the proof is in the pudding and when you take the road, the only way is to walk on it.

Kate:

Yeah, and that’s it. And you can plan your bum off. You can do the most comprehensive business plan and think of every risk and think of every mitigation strategy and scenario-ize. “Well, if this happens, I’ll do this.” And all of that is wasted time because you literally don’t know what’s going to happen next. Did we know COVID was going to happen? Did we know the bush fires were going to happen? Do you know that some people are actually scared of success. I made The Recipe for SEO Success, for example, and I said to everyone who joined, “I’m going to give you support forever free. All of you.” And that was great when 40 people had done the course.

Kate:

But when 400 people had done the course, 500, 600, 700, they were all in a group asking me questions every day. They’d paid once and they would never pay again. That was a dumb decision. It was a bad plan. So I had to change it. You just don’t know. I didn’t know it was going to be successful. I couldn’t have foreseen that. You can’t foresee everything, even with the best business coach and all the business books on your bookshelf. You just don’t know. So there’s a degree of just letting go and seeing what happens and following the path, as you said.

Hayley:

Also just one more big question. I wanted to ask you about your book, because obviously the title is very different and the process of writing a book is very hard. You’re also running a big business. What did that look like and why… Because the book is more about business advice to misfit entrepreneurs. Tell me a little bit about that.

Kate:

Well first of all, I’d already written a lot of blog posts over the years, so I’ve been around for… By the time I got to the book I’d been writing for about seven, eight years, so I’d written a lot of blog posts. And to a degree some of the book is taking those blog posts, gluing them together, writing intros and outros for individual chapters, and then putting it into a book. And then there was filling the gaps. So I’d already written a post about how I run my day or why it’s okay to be emotional in your business, or how to hire staff. I’d already written some of those stuff, so it was a case of bringing them together… So it wasn’t just sitting down with a blank page. I had raw material, which was good.

Kate:

And then I worked with a structural editor, a lady called Kelly Exeter, who was smashing, and I had an editor as well. I got it read by about 40 people who just went through and made amends. I’d just release it to five people, get their feedback, make their amends. Release it to five people… So it was a process. It took a good six months to get it all done and get it ready. But it’s great. It’s a flawed book. It’s not my magnum opus. It’s not Tolstoy. It’s okay. It’s a good book. It’s a solid book. It’s my first book. But it will not be my only book. So I’m working on a couple of other book projects at the moment. And in terms of how I fit that into my day, I don’t really. And this is the thing. Something’s got to give.

Kate:

So I’m going to have to… I know for the next few months I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m releasing three copywriting courses, I’m launching two memberships, and my course again in the next couple of months. So there’s no time for any of that. But then it gets to about May, and in May there’s nothing. And this year I’m not doing speaking gigs because I don’t think they’ll be back. I’m going to cut down on the podcasts. I’m going to cut down on my own podcast. I’m going to cut down on social media. Because I need to make space. People look at me and go, “You do so many things.” It’s like, “Yeah I do, but I do them all one after another. I don’t do them all at the same time.”

Kate:

And it’s taken me a lot… I’m 12 years in, and people listening to this, there’s so much stuff that like… If you’re two years in, I’m 12 years. That’s 12 years of effort. If I say to myself, “If by the end of this year I’ve even broken ground on the book,” that’s still great because I want to be here for 20 years. And if I got everything done this year, what would I do for the next 19? So there’s plenty of time. The world will wait. No one’s going to cry if my book doesn’t come out this year. I might, but no one else will. Got to be patient.

Hayley:

Yeah, this year is going to be really exciting for you, and honestly, I love watching your journey. I love your story. I love hearing you appear and talk about your story and then obviously talk about what lights you up. Sorry. To end this. Can you tell our listeners how they can connect with you online and learn more about what you do?

Kate:

Yeah, so thankfully I’m quite good at SEO. So if you type Kate Toon into Google, you’ll find something to do with me. I’ve got seven websites. So katetoon.com is my core hub website, and I’m @katetoon on most social media platforms. And Hayley, I just want to say thank you so much for letting me be on your fabulous podcast, I think it’s going to be a huge success and I’ve really loved talking to you.

Hayley:

Thank you so much for coming on, Kate. It’s been an absolute pleasure. You’re amazing.

Kate:

Oh, love you. Bye.

Hayley:

In the meantime, don’t miss out on bringing soul game to your marketing and social media strategy in 2021.

Download my free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Building a Six Figure Business Through Instagram at www.socialsoul.com.au/ultimateguide.

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