[00:00:07] Alice: Hey it’s Alice Seba from writer help wanted an elite writer’s lab and here with our special guest Kelly McCausey. I’m thrilled to have her because the tables are actually turned on me because it’s usually Kelly who is interviewing me on her podcast or whatever she happens to be doing.
She’s been doing a lot of audio and video interviews for a long time and I’m always very shy about that. But Kelly was one of the first to get me out there talking so I’m glad to have you here and I think this the very first time I’ve interviewed you, isn’t it Kelly?
[00:00:36] Kelly: It might be.
[00:00:37] Alice: I think so, I think it is. I’ve known Kelly for 14 years, and she was one of my first business partners. She’s the owner of solo smarts podcast and the brains behind the Exposure and Profit conference but I’ve always been proud to be a part of. This year Ron and I are both speaking. Ron is on vacation, lucky guy.
So it’s just me and Kelly today. But one of the reasons we wanted to bring her here for you is because she is always great at bringing people together, collaboration, working with other people, and bringing other people together not for just her own benefit, but really helping others do that as well.
Let’s start with maybe a big question then and go from there talking about more specific things you’ve done over the years. How important do you feel like relationships are in growing your business?
[00:01:40] Kelly: Everything and then some.
[00:01:41] Alice: Mhmm
[00:01:46] Kelly: I can’t even imagine what my life might look like today if I hadn’t met you back in 2002. If you hadn’t encouraged me to start my internet radio show, if you hadn’t invited me to partner with you on launching my masterminds, I just don’t know if I would have had the guts to do so many of the things that I did then and that I do now. So you know what if that relationship hadn’t existed?
[00:02:25] Alice: I totally know what you mean. It is all that and then people who try to work in a bubble. If they’re writers for example, writing their books, then hoping that their audience will grow. Audiences grow from knowing other people and those sharing you and if you try to work completely isolated then you are going to stay that way. It’s tough to build from there.
[00:02:56] Kelly: It is, and I’m the kind of person that is really comfortable working at home alone. You can leave me alone for days at a time and I’m not going to freak out, I’m going to feel comfortable. I will eventually come out of my hiding-hole and seek human companionship, but I can do it on my own for long chunks of time. I think if other people hadn’t reached out and invited me into partnerships, I don’t think I would have done it naturally, but now all these years later it is natural to seek out partnerships, and to foster partnerships. It was something that I had to grow into for sure.
[00:03:45] Alice: That’s really interesting that it wasn’t a natural part, because it seems natural as you do it and bring so many people together. But I think that back then you were still out there even though you were maybe not connecting on a personal or strategic level, but you were on forums and things like that, you were connecting with people that way.
[00:04:14] Kelly: Yeah, well the internet of today is almost unrecognizable compared to what we were dealing with back then. Private forums was where I learned, I didn’t have money to buy information products so I had to ask questions and read endless threads of communication to pick up the knowledge and then sometimes the knowledge wasn’t good which is what ultimately led to what you said about starting a paid membership.
This would provide a space where you can curate the content for people who need it to be correct who are willing to pay for it to make sure it’s good stuff. It’s funny that we are talking about this. I’m just wrapping up this stretch yourself challenge, which I’ve run many times over the last five or six years.
[00:05:29] Alice: Do you want to explain what that is a bit?
[00:05:32] Kelly: Sure, I created a 30 day content marketing challenge where I designed 9 different content marketing tasks that range in a time commitment and intimidation level. If you’re brand new, you would pick something with a low time commitment and a low intimidation level and if you have those things already licked, and then you would pick something with a greater time commitment and a greater intimidation level.
Like hosting your first webinar. I run it at a live group challenge once or twice a year, where I invite everybody to report daily on the forum. We get together and have live sessions where there is a lot of motivation and I invite guests to come in and encourage and teach something and this particular challenge brought out some OG mom mastermind members like Marie “Enami” “unintelligible” and Shell Neisler, Carry Willer, Carry Louth popped out to say hey I haven’t done anything in a while and that this sounds like a great excuse to give myself a kick in the butt.
10 years ago these gals were extremely involved, motivated, and encouraging members. They were just as much showing interest in others and giving each other support and encouragement. I have seen people that have found accountability partners during this month, some people coming up with some ideas to JV together and it’s so exciting that if you make a safe place, and turn up the temperature a little bit, amazing things will happen. People are just waiting for an invitation to be a little more awesome. It’s been really fun.
[00:07:49] Alice: Well that’s cool. I have seen it, but I didn’t know exactly how it worked. That’s great. I like the time commitment because that’s one thing people have a challenge with and also doing something that is not so comfortable because the more you do those things, the easier things become. Great to hear those names again. There are so many people over the years and people just getting started often are like how have you been around so long?
We weren’t always around for so long, we started somewhere and it takes time, but it also doesn’t have to take too much time to start seeing something. I mean you and I, when we started Masterminds was back in 2004. We knew each other just for a few months before, I think.
[00:08:46] Kelly: We met in ’02. I started my podcast in November ’03 and you sponsored me and it was that summer.
[00:08:57] Alice: We were still starting out, and then we were bringing those two minds together, different skill sets. I like writing stuff; we had Lynette with us who did all the technical stuff, because we had no clue back then.
We were running membership site software that I still use and you still use today, and it’s come a long way. It’s still pretty complex, but over time we have figured it out. We had Lynette do all the technical stuff. You were doing all the audio courses and things and I had no idea how you record an audio. We have technology on our side now.
Those things are easier. It just takes that group. A lot of people are concerned with connecting with the big people, but you can look at people at your level. When you bring that together it’s huge.
[00:10:08] Kelly: One of the challenges that I designed is to create some intentional connections and I tell them to find someone brand new in your niche and find someone who is a contemporary to you and equal to you and then find someone who is a big dog and sow seeds and intentionally create relationships with all of those people. Don’t just focus on who you see as a big dog. You just don’t know who the big dogs of tomorrow are.
[00:10:56] Alice: Exactly. Very good point. So what do you think when people are trying to connect with someone is the big dog as you say. I see a lot of different ways people approach, so what do you think is the best way to start getting on someone’s radar?
[00:11:17] Kelly: My favorite way to get started is to curate them. We admire them because they are creating great content, at least that’s why I usually admire someone, and they are a great blogger, great podcaster.
They’re creating great stuff on social media. I’ll curate them, so I will write a little post on my blog quoting them and linking to the rest of the content on their site and tell my audience why I think they are going to be interested in reading that. In linking to them, I’m showing them some support. I also of course comment on their content and let them know that I liked it so much that I shared it with my audience and then share it all over on social media and I loaded it up on MeetEdgar.com.
I’m using MeetEdgar as a way of continuing to give attention to things on social media so that it repeats every month. On MeetEdgar.com you can create a library of social posts, and then Edgar will cycle through and continue to post it according to your preferred schedule. If there is someone that I have curated a couple of times, every month or so that re-posts somewhere, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. I continue to give it social love. That’s my favorite first step because it’s one thing to see something on Facebook and click like or even to share it on Facebook. They may or may not ever notice that, but when you link to them from your site, some of them will get it if they have pingbacks turned on or trackbacks turned on, they will know you did it, but it depends on how busy their blogs is, but if you actually send them traffic, and promote it will and send some people over, they are way more likely to notice it.
This is what I’ve experienced a few times now, I’ve curated somebody once or twice and have given it good promotion and commented that I liked what you had to say so much that I shared this point with my audience and sent them over to read it.
Those people come back and comment on my curation and say hey thanks for sharing, when I see them do that then, boom, okay they’ve seen my face, and they’ve seen my brand. Boom, I’m back. Hopefully, I’ve friended them on Facebook and I will send them some type of message, hey thanks for the comment, I love everything you do, I hope we find some way to work together sometime. It has totally worked to start relationships, I’ll take it even further and submit their content to BizSugar, which is a social bookmarking site specifically focused on business.
[00:15:14] Alice: So it’s BIZ in the United States Sugar [laughs]
[00:15:20] Kelly: Yes, I’ll submit their content there. I don’t’ submit my curated content there. That would be kind of stinky. I submit their content link to BizSugar and then I ask a few of my friends to give it some sugar with the hopes to driving it to the home page, making it hot. Once it’s hot, it gets mentioned in their weekly newsletter.
[00:15:45] Alice: How does the person know?
[00:15:50] Kelly: Then, I tell them. I forward them the email and say “I don’t know if you use BizSugar, but I submitted that post you wrote about blah blah blah, and hey it got featured this week.” It sounds like I’m being a brown-noser, but I am and I’m serving my community great content which is the point. I’m not just brown nosing, I’m serving my community at the same time.
[00:16:27] Alice: Yeah, I liked what you said tonight, that you’re trying to get their attention, but I think by curating something and putting some thought into what you write when you share it too speaks to a lot of people. They like the flattery, but I like it when someone tells it’s great, but why do you think it’s great. I think adding that extra step would make me pay attention a bit more and remember that person a bit more as opposed to just someone who just likes something or shares it on Facebook. You haven’t put that extra thought into it.
[00:17:07] Kelly: Yep
[00:17:08] Alice: Cool, good tips. You’re at an advantage too because you have a podcast, so that is a great way to open doors. Interviews are just such an easy way to start building a relationship with someone because everybody likes to have extra exposure. I’m sure it’s sometimes hard to get some people, but generally speaking I bet a lot of people will agree to an interview, would they not?
[00:17:40] Kelly: Yep, if it is on topic, definitely. If I have invited you to be on my podcast, it is because you are a solopreneur. If you happen not to be, it is because you have some nugget of special knowledge that I believe solopreneurs need, and I’ll point that out real clearly. I have a pet peeve when people contact me to be a guest on my show.
[00:18:20] Alice: And they don’t know what it’s about?
[00:18:21] Kelly: Well it says solopreneur all over the doggone site, but then I cannot believe how many people pitch me on how to manage your employees, how to manage retirement programs for you staff, and it’s like really! You think solopreneurs got a lot of retirement programs for their staff going on.
[00:18:46] Alice: Yeah always add that extra too. “unintelligible” You just said when you contact them you’re saying why they are a good fit, and that’s the same whether you want someone to promote your product via your podcast or whatever it is you want them to do. We know that if you are receiving these emails, we know that you are sending them to a lot of people, but if you put in that extra effort that you know what we are about.
[00:19:15] Kelly: I don’t send a lot of queries for guesses anymore. If I invite you, I pitch a specific topic because I think it’s really important in order to establish relationships in some way. The person who does the asking out plans the date. You don’t ask someone to come be on your show and then ask them to pitch you a topic or ask them to provide you with questions. All they should ever have to do is show up and be awesome. You do all the work. You do all the background, all the prep, and make everything easy for them.
[00:20:04] Alice: Yeah, definitely. Have a plan; I think that’s good too. A lot of people tell me too, that I would like to do something together, but I’m like what, okay that’s great. What do you want to do together?
Why do I have to think about it? You know better and even if you’re new and you’re talking, you’re trying to come up with a project to work out with somebody. We all have our own set of skills, even when we’re new, whether you’re someone who’s willing to get out there and talk to people and be more aggressive than some of us writer types who like to be quiet you can see you don’t have to be an experienced business owner to be able to bring something special there into a project so think about what you can bring to the table as well and let’s get out there.
So what ways have you over the years built up relationships, in what ways do you work together? What benefit do you have? One big list.
[00:21:10] Kelly: It’s funny because when you and I partnered on masterminds and then a couple years later you said I’m ready to move on into a different niche. How about you buy me out, I wanted to go off into a corner and just cry myself to sleep. I just imagined Alice and I are conquering the world forever and this is it.
This is my strategic partnership with which I will face everything in the future. When you were heading a new direction, it scared me half to death, but again I looked back at that and I just think how smart you were and how silly I was to think that one partnership would meet all my needs forever.
What are the different ways I’ve partnered and I’ve done lots of project partnerships where there is a finite beginning and end. I have some ongoing partnerships that I have to know you for a really long time before I do that. For example, Beachpreneurs — Nicole Dean and I are partnered on beachpreneurs for entrepreneurial women.
The deal that it started out as a project partnership, let’s give this a try and turned into a whole brand that we both love and adore. I’ve never had a crappy failed partnership ever. Have you ever had a crappy failure?
[00:23:11] Alice: No.
[00:23:12] Kelly: I have had projects that a friend and I will get together and daydream about. We will put it together, but then the act, the actual reality turns out to not be at all what we were thinking it was going to be and we go like nah, forget that.
There are failed projects, never mind projects, but I have never had that sour relationships. That is something that I’m so happy about. I feel like I’m doing a terrible job at answering your question.
Partnering on a product, partnering on a virtual event, I’ve done a lot of big group projects. Mom masterminds, and solo masterminds members would get together and run a group sale, back before those were real common. Now bundle sales seem like they are going on all the time these days.
[00:24:29] Alice: Speaking of bundle sales too, I’m thinking a couple of times you have rallied people together not to just do a bundle sale to benefit the group, but a sale for people who needed some extra help. Would you like to mention a little more about that?
[00:24:50] Kelly: Sure, well specifically mom masterminds and solo masterminds membership there, the community provided a platform to do a lot of really cool things to raise money for people who were going through something tough. We did a fire sale for Tisha Lee a few years ago.
We called it the Smoked Out Fire sale, because her landlady smoked and it was coming into her apartment making her sick and she needed to get out. So we put together fire sale, and it totally paid to get her into a new apartment, a new house. There have been other not necessarily bundle sales but lots of times where people have come together to give back to someone.
We bought a work at home mom a computer when her computer died and she had no other way to make an income. A good friend many years ago, her son passed away, and the community rose up and completely paid for her son’s funeral. It was one of those times where being in the process of buying a house, being financially on the hook for two houses and to have this trauma happen.
I could never, I don’t know if I should say never, I have not as of yet been in a position to say oh hey let me help you. Let me open up my wallet and solve this problem, but I can engage a community. I can invite a community to join me in meeting the need and what I found in all those different situations is that people love it.
People love being able to come together and meet a need because none of us on our own can just open up the wallet and make it happen. But when they can come along with the group and do their part, they’re just tickled pink and I’m that still just blows my mind.
[00:27:22] Alice: And I know when you have done things like this, you’re doing it solely to help, but I also notice that because you’re such a good community leader that those people who follow you, they’re the ones always talking about you and praising about you.
You also just get such good publicity in that way. You got these cheerleaders, which I’m using that word purposely because I remember many years ago, I think you were talking about yourself and I really don’t remember where it was or what it was about but you said that you weren’t really an expert, but you were a great cheerleader and that you like to help bring those good things out in people.
You absolutely are, but it’s funny how in turn people do it for you. I think that it’s great to think about a lot of people were taught thinking about those big dogs and how I can be with them. When you have all of these people, I don’t know what term to use, little dogs, lots of little dogs can do a lot great things. It can be very powerful. Do you want to talk a bit more about beachpreneurs?
I also want to talk you about exposure and profit where we’re going to be speaking this month. Oh my goodness, or yes, it’s not July is it. Beachpreneurs what is that all about it?
[00:28:57] Kelly: To explain beachpreneurs I have to start with some history. Before, I was a full-time solopreneur; I worked at my church as the office manager and the co-leader of the women’s ministry.
We planned women’s events and I always knew if you took a bunch of women out of their natural environment as wives, mothers, and just did something fun together, they would relax and let their walls down and really cool things would happen.
I’ve always really enjoyed creating a space and seeing what happens. Back in 2012-2013, I was bugging Nicole about doing something expensive and it’s funny that it wasn’t even that expensive.
That’s how my mindset has changed in the last few years. I wanted to do something to raise the water level, to give people an opportunity to invest a little more money in working with us and have it change how people looked at us as business coaches. Nicole finally agreed that while if we could do something at the beach, then I think I could be down with that and that’s where beachpreneurs was born.
She loved that idea and brainstormed and came up with that domain and nabbed it. Then 6 weeks later, we had our first retreat. We rented a big beach house on Pensacola beach and invited women to come and join us. We had 7 guests at that first retreat. Now every house is full.
We’re doing our fifth retreat this October and our first reunion retreat. People come and spend 3 nights with us in the beach house, we cook together, we tackle setting goals, crushing roadblocks, and making plans for the first 30 days after you get back home.
We do not pack the weekend. We leave a lot of open space, so you can go out and enjoy the beach and a lot of it is that magic of knowing that if you create a safe place, put a bunch of women together, take all the pressures off and something cool is going to happen. It always does. First of all you have to apply to come, and we have to want to spend a weekend with you and in order for you to come.
A rule that morphed a year or so ago, we have to believe that you add something to the weekend, so you have to have some experience some little nugget of knowledge or just something about you, we really feel like you’re going to add something to the group dynamic. That is what really creates something awesome.
These are already women who we like and have respect for. Alice, you have always seemed strong to me. I have never sensed insecurities in you. I’ve never sensed you holding back or playing small. You’ve always been willing to risk. Alice has big balls.
A lot of women, even really successful women have some insecurities and things that hold them back and keep them playing small, whether it’s some lie they believe or who knows. Magic happens when you come together in a safe environment and when other women who you like and respect look you in the eye and say I would buy that. I would hire that. I would do that. That sounds awesome. That affirmation, I just see women leave that house just with “Roar!”? “Unintelligible” go home and do amazing things. That’s what I love about it. You create space, and magic happened, nothing that Nicole and I do necessarily.
[00:34:01] Alice: Oh C’mon. I’m sure you have a lot to do with it, but I know what you mean. To not also have it so overwhelming, “Unintelligible” It’s customized to that person, so that whatever conversation happened — happened around what they need and they are probably not going home overwhelmed because they focused on what they needed. That’s very cool. You know you’d be wrong about me not having any securities, as you know; I will be doing something on July 22nd that still terrifies me.
The Reds? “Unintelligible” public speaking, this is not so bad, and I’ve come a long way, but I always do it. I’ll say okay I’ll do it, but I don’t want to do it, but I will do it. I will be speaking at Exposure and Profit and that will be on a stage and every time I start to think about it, I get a little nervous. But I’m excited to be there and when you asked me, I said yes, because I love you Kelly, but also because you create an environment where people are comfortable, even in a bigger event that’s not a little beach house, it’s going to be a bigger seminar room with people staring at me.
You still create an environment where people are comfortable. Do you want to talk a bit about this; this will be your third Exposure and Profit conference. The thought you have behind it, not just me, but people praise it well and people with great experience and amazing businesses have come away with a lot from what you do.
[00:35:55] Kelly: So Exposure and Profit 3 is in Atlanta, Georgia July 22nd, 23rd and 24th. The first two events were held in Toronto, Canada, just because that happens to be a lot closer and more convenient for me here in, Michigan.
It’s a content marketing conference and Mastermind. I’ve been to enough different marketing events, I had seen big conferences with multiple tracks and I’ve seen smaller conferences where I’ve seen big room masterminds and I just thought why isn’t anyone doing small group masterminds at a big event.
That is one of the things we do at Exposure and Profit. I initially set out to create an introvert friendly event. I would tell my speakers don’t make people clap, or get out of their seats, we hate that crap. Don’t make us raise our hands 15 times to just to make you feel better. I created a situation where you could ask questions by writing them down and turning them in as opposed of having to stand up and come to a microphone.
I did a small group Masterminds where you could spend enough time with someone to feel safe and I no longer choose to describe EP as an introvert friendly event because we are stretching you. Just the fact that you show up is stretching you. I still have that same kind of rule with speakers, don’t make my people do dumb things, just so you can feel like they’re engaged with you.
You do your job and they will be engaged. If I didn’t think you couldn’t engage people, then you wouldn’t be speaking at my event. The people of Cart Launch “unintelligible” are my keynote and they are welcome to stretch people, but it’s because I trust them to read people well. EP3 is all about content marketing.
There is a small group mastermind on Sunday morning. In addition to the content marketing, we’re putting a high emphasis on relationship building. Something especially with this third event, I felt I could have easily expanded to have breakouts because they had so many people who were interested in speaking.
I really struggled with the decision to say no and stick to my single track plan because I really like having an event where everyone stays together, where they’re not moving from room to room and catching some things and missing other things.
[00:39:15] Alice: Too many decisions. You’re worried about where you should go. When we went to Traffic and Conversion another something and something it was so huge. It was so overwhelming and instead of making it easier there were five rooms you can probably be at once and instead of making decision I decided to not do anything. I even got lost on the way to the room. Obviously those events draw the big crowd because they are worthwhile, but it’s not for me I think. Even talking about your small group Masterminds, we are all still in the small room right?
[00:39:58] Kelly: Yes.
[00:39:59] Alice: Everyone introduces themselves. If someone doesn’t want to go up and talk, he “Unintelligible” would read out what they wanted to say. You get to know who they are a little bit. Nicole is going to help you divide up people into groups and matching them up with the speakers who think they would be able to help them best. You do a great job with that.
[00:40:30] Kelly: I tell people that I want you to come make friends. I want you to have space to find out what you have in common with other people. So we start late in the morning. No eight o’clock call for my events.
The earliest we start is 9:30 and Sunday we don’t start till 10:00. I give you a two hour lunch break so that there’s plenty of time to enjoy one another. Then we wrap up around 6:00 or 6:15 so you have plenty of time to hangout before you go to dinner.
I like having that relaxed schedule because there’s such a temptation to pack things so tight in order to put more speakers on the roster and deliver more. If I pack it so tight, then you have no room to walk up to someone and say “hey, how are you.” Then, I don’t feel like I’m providing the situation and experience that I want to provide.
[00:41:48] Alice: It helps reduce some overwhelmed people to be able to talk about what you just heard and be able to process it. Masterminds put a lot of what you hear and how you’re going to put it into practice for your business. Before we wrap up, any thoughts on whether trying to get on someone’s radar, or actually working in a partnership or anything to do with a business relationship. Any mistakes you recommend avoiding or what do you see people do that they could do a bit better.
[00:42:29] Kelly: Well, failure to convey your message in obvious places is a big mistake. Your about page, social media profile, if they don’t say who you are, what you do, and what you want people to do about it, then when you catch someone’s eye and they check you out, you’re failing. An about page or social media profile, it’s really common for people to be cute, like I’m a cat lover, I’m moving to Canada if Trump wins.
It’s cute, but is that what you really want me to know about you, if I just found you and am checking you out. Who are you, what do you do, what do you want me to do about it? I’m using the wise stamp email signature in my Gmail. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. It lets me create a special email signature and it lets me include my most recent podcast link and upcoming events.
Wise stamp is a chrome add-on that works with Gmail and automatically adds it into all my emails. Every email that I write you know that I’m Kelly McCausey from Solo Smarts, I podcast, here’s my most recent episode and look, I have an event coming up in Georgia. All those little spaces, profiles, email signatures, about me pages, if you’re not telling them what you want them to know and you do get their attention, you might miss that opportunity.
[00:44:42] Alice: That’s true and I make that mistake too. I use my Facebook, unless I’m actually doing group or working on a business page, for personal purposes, but I still connect with other online marketers and writers, but sometimes people will tell me when I get their attention not intentionally, just being friendly, making jokes, so I don’t really know what you do.
It’s not like my mom asking me that, because my mom still has no idea, but it’s online marketers who would understand what I do if I actually tell them. You have to think about how people are looking, and how people will see what they will see. I can’t remember if you’re using AliceSeba.com. I finally updated the page. Now people are going to look at it, and I didn’t know what to put there. I struggled because it’s trying to say everything I do in one spot. I tried to make it just an about me page as opposed to a website like a single page.
[00:45:58] Kelly: It looks nice. Yay. It makes me want to check on my other speaker who I don’t think his site is done yet, nope.
[00:46:27] Alice: It’s been a couple years since I’ve updated mine. Kelly, I think you will provide some inspiration, also you’re amazing but you’re humbleness about it “unintelligible.” Do good for people, look where it’s taken you. It really shows that relationships do work and it’s worth working out. Thank you. We will see you soon. I will be on stage somewhere.
[00:47:23] Kelly: I can’t wait.
[00:47:25] Alice: Take care.
[00:47:28] Kelly: Bye