Marketing. Branding. Messaging. You may not want to worry about it, but if you want your business to succeed (and who doesn’t?) then you need to give it some time and attention. One way to do that – talk with a branding coach like Karie Price, today’s interviewee! With 20 years of experience, she knows what she’s talking about, and she’s passionate about helping other women brand and expand their businesses.
Hi Karie, and welcome! For starters, please tell us about your business: what you do, when you started your own business, and why.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with you and your readers! I’m Karie Price, and I’m a Brand Messaging Coach helping ambitious women business owners find and own the words to stand out, be heard, and Make Your Message ROAR™. That means having a message that is Relatable, One-of-a-kind, Actionable, and Reliable.
I started this version of my business in the fall of 2016, but I had my first full service branding agency 15 years ago. Back then, we didn’t have social media (can you even IMAGINE what that’s like?) and together with my husband (who is a graphic designer) we did all of the brand development. I have background as a business analyst, so I know how to quickly learn about a business, asking the questions that probe deeper than the surface answers. That allowed me to develop a process to learn what we needed to know to position our clients uniquely in the market. Back then, we even developed the concept of a small group workshop. We were told by one of our advisors that it was a great idea, but we were ahead of our time.
Fast forward 14 years when I was ready to go back into business for myself full time. With social media, it’s even easier for a small business to get started and market themselves, but that also means there is a lot of competition. Competition is not a bad thing (it means there is a market for what you do), but it does mean that it’s even more imperative that you find a way to stand out in the market. Having a one-of-a-kind message is one of the most strategic ways to do that.
I knew I wanted to help more small business owners, especially women, build the foundations for successful businesses that survive and thrive in the market. I also know it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to have an agency develop that for you, so I set out to help female business owners find and own their words – to leverage the process I’ve been using for years with my done-for-you clients – so they could have the benefits of a well-defined brand message that truly sets them apart.
What has been your biggest struggle in launching your business?
My biggest struggle is probably impatience and wanting everything now. Having owned multiple businesses over the years, I know that it takes time, perseverance, and focused marketing to really establish yourself. There are so many things I “want” to do in and for my business, but everything takes longer than I think it should.
How are you overcoming it?
I had to really focus on the “right” activities – the revenue-generating activities – and let some things just be “good enough” until I could spend more time on them. I’m a recovering perfectionist and want all my ducks in a row, but not all of those things can be done at the same time. Also, by focusing on the revenue-generating activities and serving clients, I can invest in getting support and outsourcing tasks that free me up for the most important work in my business.
What’s surprised you the most about working for yourself?
That I’m the hardest boss I’ve ever worked for! It’s a balancing act as a business owner to want to work hard and not burn out. It’s part of the reason why I left my day job – to minimize stress, have more time for family, friends, and myself – but I fell into the trap of working round the clock for a while. It got to the point where my husband stopped asking me “ARE you working tonight/this weekend?” and started asking me “WHAT are you working on tonight/this weekend?”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work building a business, but it needs to be sustainable and enjoyable, especially in those early years when you’re not necessarily making the money you want and you know you’re investing in the future. Now I schedule no-work nights during the week (Tuesday and Friday) and at least one full weekend day with no work.
What’s your favorite part of this kind of work?
Being able to truly help my clients on their paths to success. It’s so rewarding to see the results my clients get, celebrating with them with every new client they attract, seeing how excited they are to put themselves out there because marketing is so much easier. I’m able to make a difference in their businesses in their lives, and that feels amazing. I think we all want to find a way to leave a mark on the world, and I’m so thankful to be able to do it this way – doing something I really love.
Is there any one event/moment that helped you move from starting your own business to making a living with your own business?
Definitely leveraging my process into a small group format. Working with clients one-on-one is a lot of fun, but taking a small group of business owners through the process together is what allows me to scale my time and grow my income without burnout. A lot of work goes into organizing and creating the content to do that, of course, but it’s a process I’ve been successfully using for a long time now, so it was time to package it up into a program.
If you could give a new entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
Know that owning a business is a marathon and not a sprint. That might sound cliché, but I still fall victim to trying to do too much at once, and it’s exhausting. Because of that, be very strategic with your time. Focus on the right activities. Find people to help you so you can be more efficient. I invest with business and marketing coaches to help me know what to do without reinventing the wheel and have hired a virtual assistant to do the tasks that don’t require ME to be the person to do them. I know that feels daunting at first, but if these investments can pay for themselves in a relatively short time frame, they will help you grow your business more quickly. The 10 hours a month that I use my VA saves me probably 30-40 hours of my time trying to figure those things out. She’s way more efficient at it, and I’m a whole lot less stressed.
If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?
I would have invested in coaches and mentors sooner. It wasn’t until this round of business ownership that I truly understood how beneficial that is. I’m seeing much more success, more quickly, without trying to figure it all out on my own. I wonder what my prior businesses might have been like if I would have done that.
What’s your favorite kind of work? Why?
I truly love to mentor others and help them to be their best selves. I have always been a person who is able to see patterns, processes, and systems to be more efficient. I also am able to see multiple sides of the same situation. This allows me to provide the outside perspective for my clients that they can’t see for themselves. We ALL need that. I get outside perspective from others (my coaches and my husband, who is in the industry) because we’re too close to our own stuff.
What does your work space/office look like?
I’m fortunate to have a dedicated office in my house. For my birthday last year, I invested in a custom built-in that takes up one wall in the room with storage and two desk areas. I use one desk area as my primary workspace, and the other is set up with my webcam and lighting so I can do video calls and livestreams. We’re working on clearing out another room of our house to create a dedicated video studio so I can do even better videos for my own marketing.
What does your work day look like?
I’ve been working a lot over the past couple months to really fine tune my daily schedule. I’m usually up around 6 a.m. to take care of things around the house. I exercise most weekday mornings by walking on my treadmill (while catching up on my favorite show). I’m just starting PiYo which is a pilates/yoga combination to work in as well. Then I shower and get ready for the day.
I’m usually at my desk by 9 a.m. and focus on key prep for the day. It’s not until after I do that, that I check email and Facebook. This has been a big change for me. I used to check Facebook first thing in the morning, before ever getting out of bed, and felt like my day started out of my control. Now I take care of me first, key activity and planning, THEN see what the world wants from me.
I do take a break away from my office for lunch – a full hour – before getting back to it until around 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays are mostly internal working days – where I’m working on new content, programs, marketing, professional development. Tuesdays I spend more time on social media, because I do a live stream mini training every Tuesday in my Facebook group, so I pop into a few other places to go live while I’m set up, and check in to see who I can help and support. The balance of Tuesday – Thursday are client focused, calls getting to know people, and marketing.
I do work a few evenings a week, and I usually try to keep that to 1-2 hours. Sometimes that’s engaging on social media. Sometimes I stay logged off and just get some focused, uninterrupted time to work. I’ve been trying to minimize work time on the weekends, but usually find myself putting in a few hours.
What’s your go-to snack when you need one?
Baby carrots with guacamole or hummus. Seriously, so yum. I often pair that with sopprasata (a kind of salami). (Ok, now I’m hungry!)
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and that’s okay, but if you ARE one of those people who wants to work for yourself, create your own business, serve the world with your brilliance, and leave your own legacy, it will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done – and the most rewarding all at the same time. But if you want more than a hobby – if you really want to make money – think like a business owner. (I’m always surprised when I encounter entrepreneurs who tell me they’ve never thought of themselves as a business owner.) Be smart. Invest wisely. Find your unique brilliance. Don’t settle for getting lost in the crowd. Make Your Message ROAR!