Kate Killoran is a growth strategist for female entrepreneurs and small business owners. She takes business’ stories, visions, and energy, and creates unique growth strategies, utiliSing SEO, Google Ads, and Pinterest Ads, to cater to your audience with today’s authenticity-driven world in mind. When you find yourself overwhelmed, and need that one-stop resource to grow your brand – Kate’s it. Adding to that, Kate is also the founder of the ‘Build Your VA Resume’ Course, a 4-week online skill and confidence building course created to better serve the entrepreneur community. In this interview, we chat Imposter syndrome, the power of outsourcing and strategic SEO tips to help us build a super easy fool-proof SEO growth strategy.
Hey Kate, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Kate a growth strategist for female entrepreneurs and small business owners and the founder of the ‘Build Your VA Resume’ course – an online skill and confidence building course created to better serve the entrepreneur community. I’m originally from Wisconsin and moved to Colorado 5 years ago, both my twin brother and sister live here, too! I am an avid vintage collector, enjoy all things cheese, drinking red wine, traveling, storytelling, spending time with my 3-year old nephew, true crime podcasts, Law & Order SVU, and sleeping in.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I spent most of my early 20’s working odd-end retail and call-center jobs. I made the decision to move from Wisconsin to Colorado in 2013 and continued working for another corporate company, but this time it was client-facing for the salespeople that I was supporting (so I occasionally tagged along for a lunch or two) and I knew then that I too wanted to work with 1:1 client, go to lunch in the middle of the day, and attend a happy hour, without being tied to a desk or have a micromanaging boss watching my every move. After leaving that corporate job, I spent the summer hiking, brunching, and watching after my cute newborn nephew, I decided to start my own blog as a creative outlet (sadly, I no longer have said blog, nor the archives) and work part-time for a well-known retail company.
After leaving (yet again) that retail company and helping open a new store for another, in the last year of my 20’s I was given the opportunity to run social media for a local fashion and beauty guide magazine in Denver. In addition to the social media role, I was also planning mix and mingles for Denver locals hosted by the magazine at small businesses. It was then that I realized what I loved and had always been so passionate about; connecting with entrepreneurs and small business owners in an intimate comfortable setting (aka 1:1) to hear and share their story.
As soon as I received my first “client” while I was with the magazine, was when I knew that I wanted to launch my own business as a storyteller for entrepreneurs and small business owners. At this point, I was 30 when I registered my business, and although I have pivoted so many times I’ve lost count – seriously one of my favorite perks of being your own boss, today I am 32, and I continue to share business’ stories with the customized growth strategies I build for them.
What is a day in the life of you like?
I wake up roughly between 9 am or 10am, start my coffee, write in my journal, send my magical morning to my magical morning buddy – hit up Gala Darling for details on this, drink lots of sparkling water, do a tapping session, throw on a super inspiring podcast, or YouTube video (anything with Gala Darling, Louise May, Kelly Marcyniuk, or Michelle Knight are my favorite) and then I begin my workday at 10am.
I recently deleted my work email from my phone, along with not setting an alarm, and it’s helped me seriously appreciate my morning routine so much more now. I respond to any emails that came in overnight, and then I get to work on checking the progress of all the strategies I’m currently working with for my 1:1 clients. If I have a Google or Pinterest Ad Campaign running, I check in on the status of it, change anything that is no longer working, check Google Analytics to compare it with the day before, and work on any SEO maintenance necessary. ( If it’s a Monday, I have a quick high vibe energy call with a fellow female entrepreneur to kickstart my week, in the morning, and then I get to work.)
This is an awesome tip that I suggest for anyone who has Sunday scaries, dreads Mondays, or any day of the week really – book these calls out, with whoever makes you feel good at the beginning, middle, and end of that call, and don’t miss a call! Because the conversations you have are seriously life-changing when it comes to the energy we as humans need to get through anything the day or week lies ahead. Ideally, when it’s lunchtime I make sure to not work while I’m eating.
I put on a Netflix show, listen to a podcast, read a book, whatever makes me feel good that day so that I can actually see and feel that I’m nurturing myself. I used to work through my lunch, and all of a sudden it would be the end of the day, and I would feel super drained because I didn’t even remember eating. Once 2pm hits, that’s the end of my work day for 1:1 client work. If I’m working on some new content, or doing market research, I’ll keep working until the energy is no longer there.
If it happens to be 3:30 and I’m still at my computer, I pour myself a glass of wine, and keep working. Ideally, I’ll work until it no longer feels good, not to the point of feeling overworked, just literally until the point where my brain decides to stop focusing on whatever it is that I’m putting my energy towards. I’ll close my computer, light a candle, eat some dinner, and end the day with a long Epsom salt, palo santo, candlelit bath.
How did you launch your career as a growth strategist for female entrepreneurs and small business owners?
I started off doing social media management for a magazine in Denver while working PT for a retail company. I had never run any other social media account besides my own, and really loved the idea of getting to tell a business story using social media. I was fortunate enough to then be offered another similar position with a client of the magazine’s, and that was pretty much all I needed to assure myself that this was the direction I wanted to go in. I hopped onto the Colorado State Treasury website, registered by business, ordered some business cards, and made myself a website. Since then, I have pivoted (many, many) times, but have always stayed true to building strategies that grew my client’s business’ by utilising the platforms that I am most passionate about, to cater to their audience.
What training did you undergo and where did you study?
I am actually 100% self-taught when it comes to my business skills.
Can you talk us through your ‘Build Your VA Resume’ course that you offer to clients?
I’ve created a 4-week course called: ‘Build Your VA Resume.’ It is available in 2 different levels. Level One begins on December 1st. (more details with Level Two, to come!) It is an online skill and confidence building course for anyone who is currently a virtual assistant, wants to become one, needs a skill-building refresher, or is an admin or exec assistant to anyone in the entrepreneur community.
Each week you’ll receive a new how-to DIY loom video that walks you through all of the steps to creating a super easy fool-proof SEO growth strategy, by utilizing Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Ads, Pinterest, and so much more! There will be PDF’s with step-by-step tutorials when applicable, a mid-course live Q+A with me, followed by an end of the course live Q+A as well. There is a V.I.P bonus add-on ($75) available for anyone needing a little extra 1:1 time during the entire course. It includes a 60 minute 1:1 intensive with me before the course begins, along with support via Voxer throughout the entire 4 weeks.
Anyone who is in the course will also be added into an exclusive Facebook group to share any and all questions, advice, support, etc. to those in the course. Upon completion of the course, all VA’s will be added to an agency like a pod, created by me, that I will refer all of my current and future inner-circle entrepreneurs too.
Can you give us 3 strategic SEO tips?
- Utilise your friends and family; every time you publish a blog post, launch a new product, build a page to your website – let your friends and family know and have them do a google search using a few of the focus keywords and phrases you’ve included in the blog post, page with products, etc. to find the page link, and have them spend some time scrolling through your blog post, your website, clicking around on whatever they like, and adding some comments where applicable. Staying on top of this – especially with friends and family in all parts of the world will boost your click-through rates, lower your bounce sessions, and improve your search engine rankings overall.
- Instead of using external websites to test the speed of your website, load-time of pages, and images, I’ve created a DIY method when conducting an SEO audit. I use this method every time I begin working with a new client since I always begin building a growth strategy with an audit of their entire website. I use as many devices as possible – iPhone, non-iPhone, iPad, tablet, laptop, desktop, and I hop on as many different networks as I can to conduct the audit. I do this to determine how fast your website, images, and backlinks load for every single person in your audience, no matter their device or location. The networks can be at an airport, a coffee shop, a restaurant that offers password WiFi, in your home, and on all phone networks sans Wifi.
- Domain purchasing and re-directs: the focus keywords and key phrases that you use to describe yourself in your tagline, call-out, meta description, hashtags on your Instagram, wherever – do some research to see if that particular keyword or phrase is already itself a domain. If it’s not, purchase it – odds are it’s relatively cheap, you can create a super simple landing page template for it, and have it redirect to your website. Here’s an example: If you are an adventure elopement photographer who spends a lot of time in Washington, you could see if the domain washingtonadventureelopementphotographer.com was available to purchase.
Who does the team involve behind you?
As of just a few days ago, it was just me, but I just hired a virtual assistant, and with the launch of my online course, I’ll be building an agency that includes myself, and a pod of stellar female VA’s that will serve the entrepreneur community in the most amazing ways.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I would love to be traveling all over the world while owning a consulting agency consisting of the most amazing women that caters to the entrepreneur community.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of your business?
What’s been amazing as of late is working with my business coach to set 3 goals for ‘Lifestyle,’ ‘Business’ and ‘Income’ over a 6 month, and 12-month span. Having these goals set allows me to break down the growth strategy of how I’m going to make each of them happen. For example one of the business goals is to launch a podcast by 12/31/18, so the strategy for that includes me being a guest on a few podcasts to see if it feels good to me – spoiler alert, I love it, and yes my podcast (name TBD) is launching by the end of the year!
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally as a business coach?
Imposter syndrome is a big one for me! What has helped tremendously with this is hiring a PR person. I swear there is no one who makes you feel more like a badass at what you do than someone who does PR for you. But, if you’re not in the market to hire a PR person, then my advice to overcome imposter syndrome is to ask for reviews from clients, and do not be afraid to publish them on your website with their permission of course and to share them, as often as you can. Share them on your social media, and promote yourself with positivity.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I had a sales manager who I did not directly report to at the last corporate office job I had, and he has always been a mentor to me. I am forever grateful for the laughter lunches we have together, and for his continued support in my big dreams. I also just hired a business coach a month ago, and it has seriously been so amazing working with her. She has some awesome methods to her teachings, and I am so grateful for her support as a coach and mentor.
What outlets do use to market your business?
Podcasts, (like I mentioned above- hire a PR person to do this for you), Instagram and the occasional Google Ad.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I have a Facebook group for entrepreneurs and small business owners to share their wins, market themselves, offer advice and support, what to do in a conundrum with a client, etc. I also have a random stranger that I text my magical morning too, to which she sends her’s back, and we support each other on what we sent by replying to it daily, see more on this from Gala Darling, being a guest on female-owned podcasts is something new, but so so rewarding and I’ve expanded my support network already from it. I can’t wait to dive into this when I launch my Podcast, too!
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur?
That entrepreneurs and business owners are in it for the money, it’s easy to start a business, it’s actually pretty dang easy to start a business, but to maintain one is where the challenge arises.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
Perhaps less spotlight on our generation? One of the things I love to practice is being more present. So with less spotlight on what our generation is up to would definitely allow for more time and energy to be put towards being more present.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Outsource the things you’re not good at or don’t bring you joy.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Not outsourcing the things that don’t bring me joy! As entrepreneurs, we want to do it all, but we do not have to.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Set work hours and stick to them, celebrate your wins, and treat outsourcing as a form of self-care. Something I learned from my business coach: the more you outsource the more you make because the more time and freedom you have to do what feels good and brings you joy.
The highlight of your career so far? Hitting my 1-year mark (back in April), taking 3 weeks off to travel, being a guest on my first Podcast which is seriously so much fun, and then hiring a VA.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Witnessing wins and growth of my client’s business’.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
Fear of judgment from others, totally tied to the imposter syndrome thing!
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
My sister, she is a wedding photographer, wife, and a mom. She is one of the hardest working women out there. Also Gala Darling, through her tapping technique, courses, and book she is the one who taught me that we do not have to struggle to be successful, and that being an entrepreneur can be easy joyful and fun.
Then Jen Sincero because her audiobooks ‘You Are A Badass,’ and ‘You Are A Badass At Making Money,’ are so inspiring and uplifting when you’re needing a boost in the middle of another pivot. And, Monica Woodhams, because she’s proof that pivoting is one of the best parts about being an entrepreneur.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘#Workparty’ by Jaclyn Johnson.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘The Freedom Babe.’
- ‘The Joe Rogan Experience.’
- ‘My Favorite Murder.’
How do you measure your own terms of success?
By feeling good, and the freedom to travel whenever I want.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN to me means being able to walk away from anything or anyone that does not make you feel good.
Lastly, what is next for you?
The official kickoff launch of the ‘Build Your VA Resume’ course, and the launch of my own podcast.