How to Turn a Passion Project into an Online Project
In this guest interview I talk with Kayla Hollatz about how to build a pandemic proof business with copywriting! I first came across Kayla when I reviewed her freelance writing website in my YouTube video that went over writing website examples.
Before making the leap into full time copywriting, Kayla actually created a community around a Twitter chat called #createlounge – from there she realized that her passion project could turn into a full time online business. After she put her ‘business’ proposal out to the community she booked 3 months of social media, copywriting and consulting work!
The Transition to Online Business Owner (who writes!)
As Kayla dove headfirst into being an online business owner, there were alot of self discoveries she made along the way about not only owning a business but about herself.
Through ups and downs, the one thing Kayla always came back to was the love of writing. Through writing she can be her authentic true self and connect with clients through copywriting.
Advice for Copywriters
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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Alright, Kayla, well thank you again for being here on inspire your success podcast. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. In the middle of the pandemic, a couple of writers do a catch up so it always is good. So thanks again. I know people are, are trying to figure out what they can be doing with all their time, so hopefully more people will be tuning in and learn more about your story.
Speaker 2 (00:23):
Yeah, absolutely. I know we were kind of joking before we recorded this that you know, there’s not too many pandemic, um, proof businesses, but we’re starting to see that writing is definitely something that can like allow you to thrive in a time like this. So it is very interesting and I think very humbling for a lot of us who have continued with the freelance writing career for sure.
Speaker 1 (00:43):
A hundred percent and that’s going to be the title of it, how to build a pandemic proof business because I just liked the way that sounds awesome. Before even diving into your story, I think it’s fun to talk about how we connected just in the power of YouTube and social media and stuff. So I had filmed a video from my YouTube channel I got a year ago on like the best freelance writing websites and what you need to really have a good brand online. And yours was by far the best website I had on there. And, uh, it was just so funny you reached out to me via email, uh, about a year later when you had saw a backlink or some sort of a mention of it. So, uh, just want people to know like, Hey, put out content and then you can create cool new relationships out of thin air. So
Speaker 2 (01:24):
yeah, it’s so true. And like you said, it was kind of a year later. Um, but I think it’s so fun when you’re just able to discover some of those mentions and different things. You never know what it’s going to be about. So it was fun that you said something about my website since it was something that I worked on as a project with my brother who just so happens to be a website developer and designer, which I mean, a website copywriter with a brother who’s skilled with that. I mean it’s kind of best of both worlds for the it’s family. But um, yeah, it was super fun just to be able to connect about the website. Now we’re going to be able to connect about so many different other parts of my story too. So that’ll be fun.
Speaker 1 (01:59):
Yeah, absolutely. Well, yeah, let’s, let’s start there because like we were talking about too, everyone is different. No two people have the same story and so we’d love to learn more about where you, where you got your beginnings as a writer or what made you really say, Hey, I want to give this writing thing a try.
Speaker 2 (02:14):
Yeah, absolutely. So for me, I think like a lot of people, um, writing has always been kind of a skill that I’ve been affirmed in. It’s something that I did all throughout my childhood and I’ve just always really enjoyed writing, even specifically poetry. And so I would actually say that I sort of kind of got my start with short form poetry. So I used to write haikus and lots of different types of poetry and that was the first type of writing I ever shared online. And I had some poems at the time that had gone fire girl. And I built this really amazing community of people over on Tumblr. People remember when that was like totally a thing. Um, but it was really when I was doing that in college that I kind of shifted over and said, okay, well maybe I should start a blog where I share other types of writing that are related to my field.
Speaker 2 (03:01):
And so that’s why I was going to school for public relations and communications at the time. So I just decided to start a blog about social media, PR, all the things. And that kind of ended up bringing me roundabout to this idea of, Oh, like people actually make money blogging and not only that, but they can make money selling services and products. And it was a whole new thing for me too. And I still remember the conversation with my parents about, um, telling them that I was going to like, quit my PR agency job a year out of school to just like, try this, make money thing online. Um, like, who do you know that’s going to pay you? I’m like, I don’t know, we’re going to find out. Um, so it’s just interesting to see kind of the full progression of everything. But I think what was so important for me early on is that I got very comfortable with sharing my work online and for cultivating my own voice. And then once people were able to feel really, um, I guess connected with my own voice, then that’s kind of when I got started with like, what would it be like for me to try on other people’s brand voices. Um, and that started to just kind of, I guess, um, catapult me into copywriting.
Speaker 1 (04:08):
That’s great. So you, I mean, you had a background, you, you were like, like you said, you were already doing poetry and you were even doing it in college. That’s so cool. Like I never did any of that. So I think that I probably should have, but I don’t know, maybe I was too scared of it or something there. So I think that’s, that’s so cool that you started the blog and then, um, you, you did it. So you graduated, you had a year, ER, and then from there you’re like, I’m just going to do this full time. Where you side hustling, uh, or how did that transition work? Cause like for me, I had made $200 from my blog and I left a 600 probably not the best idea, but it helped me get here. So what was your transition like?
Speaker 2 (04:43):
Yeah, that’s such a great question. I think for me it looked a little bit more like me just kind of blogging on the side. And I had always had a really big heart for building community. And so I actually had a separate community at the time that was called hashtag create lounge and it was a Twitter chat. And so we talked all about writing and just having fun with passion project. So it really was a passion project at the time, but it was, the more that I got into it, the more I was finding people who turn their passion projects, of course, into an online business. And so I started having these ideas of what that could possibly look like, but I didn’t actually really start a lot of the business before I kind of took the leap like you’re talking about. It was more so that I told myself, okay, before I specifically launched the business, I want to be able to try to at least kind of put it out there to a few of my community members that, Hey, I’m thinking about, um, having these different like social media, community building, consulting and copywriting services.
Speaker 2 (05:35):
Is that something that you would be interested in? And at that point I was able to book, um, three months worth of side hustle clients at the time. Um, like just before I even publicly launched the business. So of course in my naive way, I’m like, this is a business. This is amazing. Like, why didn’t I do this sooner? And so kind of like you, I took the pretty quick, um, after I did that and yeah, learned a whole lot after that. But that’s kind of what the transition looked like.
Speaker 1 (06:04):
I love it. No, that’s so great. I mean, sometimes you have to just take that leap and, and bet on yourself to, to really give up on any other options and don’t even have a plan B. I think just when you left, um, you were, you were talking, you had a kind of side hustle gigs where you planning to make money from your blog then or from freelance for clients or you had mentioned social media or was it kind of just a blend?
Speaker 2 (06:27):
Yeah, it was kind of a blend. I don’t think I necessarily got too into the world of monetized blogging in terms of kind of more of like the affiliate marketing stuff and blog sponsorships and some of the things that were really big at that time. I think, um, I had always kind of thought about having more of the like coaching consulting type services. But at that point I had never actually thought about like becoming a freelancer. I just always said, okay, I’m an online business owner. Like this is what I do. And it wasn’t until, yeah, like later on after my first business, um, and trying to kind of make shifts more into copywriting and I was like, wait, like people actually freelance and do this.
Speaker 1 (07:07):
That’s really, yeah, I think that that, that’s a, that’s an important step though right there. So let’s talk about like that next step of like, Hey, I’m kind of this online business owner. I think that’s huge that you said that by the way, because a lot of people just think of themselves as a writer or it’s really easy to associate yourself as a broke writer or a struggling writer. And those, those titles that you carry can really have a direct impact on your success. So the fact that you said, I’m an online business owner and you happen to be a writer, I think that’s really important. I talk about that with anyone that I work with. Like, Hey, you’re an entrepreneur before you’re a writer. So I think that’s really cool. And then what made you kind of go to saying, all right, I want to, I want to do this, like copywriting. This is exactly what I want to focus on. Was it the money? Was it the clients? What, what really drew you into that?
Speaker 2 (07:51):
Yeah, so I think there are so many different things that kind of went into that decision. I’ll, I’ll try to make a long story short in basically saying that, um, in my first year of business, like I said, I was kind of going in, um, a little bit naive thinking that a lot of these things were going to go together pretty quickly. And what I ended up finding was that, um, I ended up having to be in client acquisition mode a lot. Um, because so many of my consulting packages were built in a way where you work with me for a certain amount of time and then you’re done. Um, so I found myself just kind of almost having that natural churn that I had built my business model to do. And, um, I just didn’t really know a lot about business sustainability like you’re talking about.
Speaker 2 (08:33):
I was calling myself the online business owner, which is a great mindset, but you also need some practices to be able to back it up. And I had never taken a business class to be honest. I still haven’t a lot of my drive and my passion comes from just kind of being a self starter and doing things on my own. And um, a lot of people say failing. I like to think of it as experimenting. Um, but in first year, to be honest, it was just, it was, it was some obstacle, a lot of downs. But I also think that I was able to learn a whole lot through that year. And like you said, you kind of come to a place where you’re like, okay, even though it feels like the cards are stacked against me, like, am I actually going to bet on myself and keep trying or am I just basically going to go back to something?
Speaker 2 (09:14):
And I did end up actually being there at the end of my first year thinking, do I want to continue with this or do I not? Um, and it was through a series of like a few different events. Um, and also just, um, even like my own spiritual journey and different things that really kind of led me to a three months, um, reflection period for me to just be able to take some time and think about like, what is it that I’m actually good at? And I even remember talking to some of my family and friends and saying like, what are the three things that you think about when you think of me? Or even ask my parents, like, what are the gifts that you guys saw in me? Maybe you’re even some of the qualities and stuff and maybe what are some of the things that I have forgotten to cultivate or what things, you know, just all those different questions.
Speaker 2 (09:56):
And it just kept bringing me back to writing, which I thought was really interesting. And at that time I didn’t think that you could make any money really from it. And even with the, with me wanting to go into PR and before PR, I actually was trying to do fashion journalism. So it was always like writing was a part of everything I was doing, but I never thought it could be the thing that I was doing. It was always like I have to choose a career where it’s a part of it but not the whole thing. So I think it was just really impactful for me. Um, when I went back to some of my social media, um, kind of consulting clients at the time and I had to kind of be brave and tell them, Hey, I’m not going to do this anymore. It’s not working for me.
Speaker 2 (10:34):
But do you want to work together on copywriting? Cause I was like, I know I’ve been writing a blog for so long. I know I’m great at content creation. I feel like I could totally do this copywriting thing. Um, so by having some of those relationships and that community already, I had people who trusted me privately before I was like, okay, publicly I’m going to launch myself as a copywriter. And I thought it was going to take a really long time for people to totally get that I was doing copywriting because I had spent so much already of my time like positioning myself as a social media people and like people are not going to get this, this is going to be ridiculous. And it happened like almost instantly. It was insane.
Speaker 1 (11:09):
I think being aligned is so important. I mean it’s definitely, that’s kind of where, where you got and um, you know, I switched, I’ve switched niches with writing and I switched from blogging to freelancing and hopefully people that are listening to this don’t feel like you have to like you, you were in social media and then you decided to do the writing and that’s that you’re aligned and you’re thriving. And the same thing happened with me. So people, I think a lot of times feel like they box themselves. In reality, you change at any time. And I talked to so many of my students and they’re like, they don’t want to niche down because they’re terrified of being at that person. And I’m like, you can change any day. You want, as you, you know, put yourself out there and communicate it correctly. And exactly.
Speaker 1 (11:49):
The alignment’s just so big. So I’m glad you, you talked about that cause I haven’t heard it quite like that. And you also mentioned going on a spiritual journey. I, I think that’s a really a big part of what’s made me successful. What’s made any guest I’ve talked to, um, you know, you can only hustle 18 hours until your eyeballs believed so much. Right? And so like that’s how I used to be. And I thought that was how you were successful. So talk about that because so many people just want to know, well, I want to do all the writing things. It’s like, well, if you don’t have the foundation and you don’t have the, uh, the mindsets and the alignment that we’ve been talking about, it’s really hard to find that success as a writer or really anything. So can you talk a little bit about what that journey was like for you?
Speaker 2 (12:32):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think this, this part of my story is a little bit more vulnerable and stuff too, but I’m more than happy to share it because I do think it’s right. Like it’s the more complete picture of everything. I mean, it’s really easy to just talk about like, I once was going from this business and now I’m here. And it’s like, but there’s so much in that messy middle that people don’t necessarily always talk about. And so for me, kind of what was happening at the time, like you’re saying? Um, I was definitely a huge workaholic. Um, you know, like I’ve seen my dad be that all my life. I saw his dad be like that all my life. And so to me, I always just thought that like, that just kind of runs in our blood kind of a thing. Um, and I almost had some weird kind of pride around that.
Speaker 2 (13:13):
Um, and so even though I had a really great work ethic, I found that I was using so much of that work ethic on the wrong kinds of things or you know, it just wasn’t necessarily as productive as maybe it could have been. And I over-glorified kind of the amount of hours that I was putting into something and a lot of the other parts of my life were having to, um, basically fall because of that. And so what I ended up finding of course is I think what a lot of people end up finding is that you can only do that for so long before it’s not sustainable anymore. And for me, it took about like maybe six months of me working 80 plus hours a week. And before I was actually working 70 ish hours at the agency and doing all the other stuff on top of it.
Speaker 2 (13:53):
So I didn’t necessarily think it was any different. But I think because I was also working from home and living on my own, I had so much alone time in isolation and I was almost trying to like outrun my own mind in certain times and just not giving myself time to reflect. And so everything kind of came to a head, um, when I just saw that my mental health was just very, very much so. Um, yeah, it just, yeah, I felt very attached to with my emotional health and, um, in, in the past, like I have really struggled with PTSD, um, for a few different experiences that have happened in my life. And so because at that time, um, you know, there was so much isolation that was able to come out more. And so I really kinda came to this like very spiritual surrender where I just kinda threw out my hand and said like, I’m not made to carry this weight anymore.
Speaker 2 (14:42):
I can’t do this anymore. Um, and so in a very beautiful way, although entrepreneurship was the thing that ended up almost kind of like exposing that, it also allowed me to deal with that. And, um, in my like, humility at the time, I knew that what I needed to do was not what I wanted to do. I knew that I had enough savings to be able to keep getting me through. I knew that I could just like save face all of those things and I actually decided to move back home and I was like, I need to be around people who love me. I need to open up, I need to learn how to ask for help. By the way, all those things have helped me a lot in my business so far. Um, and then there were just a few experiences that I had during that three month time of reflection where I was trying to like really rebuild my identity.
Speaker 2 (15:27):
Um, and for me as a Christ follower, like that’s really important for me. Um, but yeah, just during that whole entire time, it was just, it was just very interesting for me to really just let go of any preconceived notions. And like you’re talking about alignment, getting back to your core values and you start to realize like, what is it that you’re working for? What actually matters for you. And I found that it was because I wanted to be flexible for the people that I love. I wanted to be able to be there during times of need. I want to be able to help them with resources, whether it’s my time, money, whatever. So clarifying that and then starting this copywriting business again. Um, to make a long story short like that almost in a very odd way, I don’t think that my business would be what it is, say without that like very, very difficult season
Speaker 1 (16:12):
walking through it. So thank you so much for sharing that, that journey because uh, that, that, that means a lot to me. Um, I know other people are gonna really resonate with that and that’s really what I’ve been trying to share as well. I’ve been writing about on medium entrepreneurship and freelancing, all this, it brought me to the darkest time of my life and I was very similar to you where you just, you know, you felt like, why am I doing this? And you had to create a new identity and it is very challenging and most people won’t go through it because it is hard and they just felt the easy route. But that’s why I’m always grateful for entrepreneurship because it makes you face yourself, probably nothing else do it. And uh, you know, I kind of stole that from ed, my lad. He said, you know, entrepreneurship is the greatest form of personal development out there.
Speaker 1 (16:58):
And so it’s not true though. Cause I, I was someone that I would never, you know, meditate or do any sort of quiet journaling or you know, now I do like self hypnosis and hypnotherapy and you know, talk openly about mental health. And so I’m very grateful that you shared that with us. So hopefully everyone that’s listening right now, remember, money is not more important than your mental health and so important to get aligned and find your purpose, your passion and uh, and work towards that and not from that, that scarce scarcity of like, what am I going to do next? I got to hustle, hustle, hustle. So thank you for doing that. And just some of the steps you took. I mean, uh, you know, hopefully people can really latch onto that and realize that again, there’s no one way to do this, but as long as you’re protecting what’s between your ears, everything will get easier, better and more fulfilling, at least that I’ve found.
Speaker 2 (17:47):
That is so true. And I think that there’s kind that natural almost like stripping down process when you go through something like that because you are having to shed like all the different things that you’ve learned and you start to look at like, what is it that I truly believe and how am I going to incorporate that into my business? And so I remember before I like publicly launched my new website with, um, you know, the copywriting and all those different things. I really tried to take that time to create like an actual business plan. And I understand that. Um, sometimes people look at that and they’re like, let me do you really need a business plan? But that was really my time to say like, you know, it wasn’t necessarily just saying, okay, this is how I want to break down all my services and how I want to price things and here’s my audience.
Speaker 2 (18:27):
But it was also showing like you’re talking about all the personal development side of things. Like what is it that I want as my role, um, with the clients that I have. Like what is important to me? What are my core values? And like what are the belief systems that I have around the work that I’m doing? Because I think probably like you too, when you’re used to working those crazy hours, um, you start to almost feel like a machine. And for me it’s really difficult for writing, which is like my first passion and my first love to make me feel like a machine. That’s when I get like, yeah, that’s when I have the really, really difficult times. And I think a lot of writers can feel that way too. Cause when you’re so used to creatively expressing yourself, the writing and now you’re doing it as a service for someone else, I think you do need to have some boundaries and some protection layers around it too, to make sure that everybody’s healthy, both you and your clients.
Speaker 2 (19:13):
So I’m really glad that I took that time. Um, to really just reflect on those things. Like you said, lots of journal, some meditation, some prayer, all of the things. Um, and I think what I love so much is I’ve heard it said many times about how like so much of what you see in the light is actually what happened in the dark room. And I think that’s absolutely what you’re talking about is like, it’s really difficult to be in that space too. But I really hope that when people are listening to this that they can have some hope if they are in that stage or it looks like that stage is coming, um, that they’re going to be able to see that there totally is like light at the end of that. Um, and there’s so many things that you’re going to learn there that you’re going to take for the rest of your career. For sure.
Speaker 1 (19:52):
Yeah. You just, you just got to keep going. And, and to so many people are in that, that time for me it was months. I mean, I, I barely would, um, I would just sit on the couch. I would literally, I couldn’t even get myself to do anything. I was so fast after that. Like first, you know, even I think it was like seven, eight months in and I just didn’t know what I was doing. I was racking up debt trying to make this work and I just had so much shame and capital to myself and kind of like you were talking about isolated. Very, it’s easy, but I was, I compartmentalize it. I would, you know, thought I was living this great life, but alone I was not. And so my biggest thing now is to just get help, right? Whether it’s family, friends, therapists, hypnotherapists, anyone that you want to work, work with people, get, get this stuff out.
Speaker 1 (20:33):
So I’m so glad you’re talking about it because I think it’s, it’s so important and vulnerability I’ve found is as a writer will make you a better writer. The more that I shared in podcasts and medium and things like that, people really relate that because no one wants to work or read or listen to perfect people. Right. Cause we all think that we have to, cause it’s scary, right? I mean it’s scary to talk about this stuff sometimes, but yeah, I think one of the things for me is like if you can get that out there and you can share that with others, man, people are really, I really will trust you and resonate with you because everyone’s kind of going through their own thing sometimes.
Speaker 2 (21:09):
Absolutely. Yeah. I love that. And I think because copywriting and freelance writing and all of these different areas that we’re talking about, like it all comes down to emotion. Um, and, and we hear all and sometimes, unfortunately people take it to like a manipulation place. Um, but I think, right, but like the best copywriting is the kind where you are so aware of people’s emotions. And you are meeting them and sitting with them in that place rather than using it for your own gain. And in a very like odd way. And so what I love about this conversation too is like the more that I think you’re able to start having those conversations and communicate with your people and start to be vulnerable, I still think, you know, I will say I have made the mistake of being too vulnerable at times, um, online or with my story and different things where I go back and I go, Hmm.
Speaker 2 (21:58):
Like I think I maybe shared too much, but I do think the beautiful part of that is that you get comfortable with how much is it that you want to share online. Um, what feels like your most authentic self? I know authentic is such a huge buzzword, but when we take it down to what that word actually means, um, it’s so important because I do think that, you know, the or the clients that I’ve been able to work with, um, you know, they usually come to me and it’s less about, you know, Oh, I just need to get this writing task done and let’s just check it off the list and move forward and whatever. It’s like we really connect with you and we think that you are going to be able to connect with our people because you’re so similar. So that’s what I really enjoy about the work that I do and hopefully for people who are thinking about this too and maybe don’t feel like they have the years of experience or maybe they don’t have the professional background, um, in the end, it really isn’t about that.
Speaker 1 (22:46):
Yeah. And I think that’s, I’m so glad you said that too. It’s not like a, you know, some people think it’s like you can get some clients, sometimes you are just a pen for hire. You do the thing and you move on. But at the same time, you attract your clients based on how you’re feeling, what you’re, what you’re putting out there, I think. And so like I’ve attracted some really cool clients, um, because of the inner work that I’ve done and probably like, well, so I think that it’s not only do you get better, but you attract the kind of people that you want to work with because, you know, I’ve worked with clients that I couldn’t stand and I would fire them or they fired me, just wouldn’t work. And I’ve worked with some clients for years and years now and it’s like they’re a friend.
Speaker 1 (23:21):
And so that’s, that’s important. So let’s talk about like how to get started because that’s how we got connected. And so this is where I find, I would, you know, we could talk about how you went from, you know, your first job, your second, but it seems like for most people that I talk about, it’s that they can’t get started. It’s like scared or maybe they’re fearful, they don’t know how to build a website. Let’s talk about like that because I want people to be like, you know, I want to share my message, I want to get vulnerable, I want to develop myself, but how do I actually get this writing thing to work? And like I said, we started connecting cause your website’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen. So I love it. So let’s, let’s kinda start there. Do you think that people need to have, um, an online writing website or blog as a writer?
Speaker 2 (24:04):
Mm, so I will say like the best thing that I can tell people, um, and it might be a little bias because of the way that I built things, but really like building a personal brand, building something where it’s like people start to know your name that you put out writing. Um, that is so true to you that people get a sense of your own brand voice. Cause of course you’re going to be trying on somebody else’s brand voice when you’re copywriting. But I still think it’s really important for somebody to be able to know that you’re confident in what you are saying in order to help them with the confidence in what they’re saying. But as far as you getting started, I think, um, one thing that I’ve seen is yes, I think it’s great to be able to have a website. I also think, like we’ve talked about before, thinking about it like you are an online business owner rather than just, you’re putting up a very, very simple portfolio and just having it be what it is.
Speaker 2 (24:51):
Um, I think is best, although I will always have the caveat of if it stresses you out to the max, if you’re not sure about what your niche is and you still want to get started somewhere, just create something. Or like you said, like you could even post things on medium if you want to and get things started there and then you can transition once you’re ready with the niche and everything. Um, but I have had such, you know, like a unique evolution. I think I’ve probably had at least five or six websites. Um, and the amount of time that I have, it went from like my first blog to what is now. So like you said, you can always evolve, but I think so many times when people get started, if they feel like they have to have a perfect kind of website because of what everybody tells them online or even, you know, they need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on outsourcing, all of these different things I say just get started because what people are really going to care about in the end is your writing, your writing is going to be the thing that is going to show people, do you know what you’re doing?
Speaker 2 (25:45):
Or like, are you still developing that? And so, um, although I think it’s fantastic to be able to have your own website and your own domain name and everything looks really professional, I would say don’t let it hold you back from like actually getting started, especially if you’re starting to see that there’s some pain points around that.
Speaker 1 (26:02):
Totally. And it guys, if you’re watching this, you can see my head nod. If you’re listening, please just start. There’s no $10,000, you can get started a couple of hundred bucks and use a plugin and you know, drag and drop. Like I always tell everyone though, that’s about your writing. They don’t care if you’re writing websites, court just like as much as you want to keep getting better, like to where yours is mine, yours makes mine look horrible. I gotta keep you involved in mine, but at the same time I just want people to get started. So I’m glad you said you had six iterations of it. It’s not like that was the worst thing you’ve ever, ever done. Hopefully. Hopefully that gives people some permission to just, you know, it’s, it’s going to be a little messy at the beginning, but that’s what most people quit. So just going, I love that you talked about niching down a little bit or choosing a niche. What, um, what would you say is like a niche that you, you’re writing about or you have written about? Um, and how can people get started with that? Is that something that you think is, is there a process that you use?
Speaker 2 (26:59):
So I think what’s really incredible about a niche is the same thing you’re talking about is that even your niche, you can evolve with it. Um, I know before we started talking on, um, on this call, like w we were just saying, you know, sometimes you feel like you almost have to be in this box if you put yourself into a niche and really like you can continue to break the box as you go. And I have found that starting out specific and then being able to just kind of, um, make it a little bit more broad as I go in order to serve the people that I get really excited to serve that at least in, in, um, my example has kind of worked for me, but I really started actually as a copywriter for visual creatives. So kind of where I started with everything is I kept feeling like so many of my friends who are photographers, designers, developers, they’re so great at what they do.
Speaker 2 (27:46):
And I think so many times, at least for me, my misconception was that like, it’s really easy for them to be able to find people who are willing to pay them, but like who’s gonna pay for writing? But then I started thinking, okay, so if all these photographers and designers are getting clients, well they’re very visual. Sometimes they have a very, very hard time with the actual written messaging of what they’re doing. And so I thought, what if I just came alongside my people and just help them with the thing that they’re having a hard time with? And so when I wrote the first iteration of my website, it was copywriter for visual creators. I had a lot of keywords about photographers and designers and that’s been less important to me now, but that allowed me to start getting kind of ramped up, um, in, in that way.
Speaker 2 (28:28):
And I’ve always really gravitated towards creative entrepreneurs and people that are kind of in those, um, freelancing service based businesses. And so what I have found now is I actually, like most of the work that I do now is actually for SAS companies. But what I love about it is that, um, even though these are companies that are technically like in the tech world, some of them in Silicon Valley and stuff too, um, is that so many of them that I work with serve creative entrepreneurs. It was like no matter if I’m working with a creative entrepreneur directly or if I’m working with a SAS company, I’m still serving the same people that I love. Um, and so that has been really fantastic to me cause I’ve been able to work with some absolutely amazing, amazing SAS companies that, yeah, it’s just wonderful. Um, that I probably wouldn’t have dreamed about being able to start with, um, so many times ago. But the reason why was because I was specific about serving those people and they’re like, Hey, you already obviously know how to talk to these people, so how about you come and talk to them and you can actually make a bigger impact if you work with us then even just directly with them. So
Speaker 1 (29:31):
that’s, that’s a powerful lesson that hopefully people can take away from it. It’s like you go to what you, you gravitate towards the type of people that you want to work with. And some people I’ve just go for the niches that are, that are, have a lot more potential for making money, you know, then at the same time, it’s just like taking a job you don’t like cause the pays good. It’s like that’s gonna wear off eventually. So it sounds like you have really focused on working with clients that you enjoy and that have the same kind of core mission that you’re on. Is that fair to say?
Speaker 2 (30:01):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think what’s been so fantastic for me too is that then, um, I’ve been able to kind of build a community of other copywriters and almost built like a referral circle for people that are all kind of sharing leads together. And that feels really great because of course like I really enjoy working from a place of abundance, I think. And I have seen there is enough writing work for everybody if you just look at my inbox. I believe that in a big way. Um, so I think being able to have people who really love working with coaches, people who really love working with health and wellness, people, you know, all of these different types of niches, it’s really great because then I don’t have to try to force myself into some of those niches or make things work. Um, it just allows me to just kind of be free flowing with the people that I gravitate toward most while connecting them with somebody who, to be honest, I, I feel like I have a responsibility to connect them with somebody that I think is going to be a much better fit for them too.
Speaker 2 (30:51):
Cause that’s going to end up being better writing in the long run.
Speaker 1 (30:55):
Totally. I think that’s a great attitude. Always. Uh, abundant. Um, like I said, there’s, there’s more than enough for everyone out there. I think people get in that scarcity mindset and uh, Oh, there’s not enough jobs for everyone. There’s plenty out there. So, um, before we kind of wrap up, I’d love to figure out like what were some of the first ways that you landed copywriting clients and what are some ways you think other people could, uh, to land, you know, maybe that first or second gig? Cause I feel like once you get that first yes. Um, I think I sent an email to my list today. It was like once you get one yes, everything opens up. It’s like paperless box. It’s like wait, pay me to write words online. So how, how were you able to land some of those first gigs and what are some advice you’d give to people getting started?
Speaker 2 (31:33):
Yeah, I think um, as well as of course starting the personal brand like I had mentioned, I think one of the biggest things, and you’ve probably heard it throughout, um, our time just chatting, it’s like the importance of building a community. Even if you’re building a community around a niche that changes around an industry that changes to me. What’s so fantastic is that I still have people following me from my social media days that are referring clients to me because they now know like Kayla is equal to copywriter. So anytime somebody has a copywriting need, then they start to think of that. So what I would say is don’t be afraid to start branding yourself as a freelance writer. As a copywriter. I always tell people too, I’m like if you are writing online and if you are putting yourself out there, you don’t have to say aspiring writer.
Speaker 2 (32:16):
Like you can just call yourself the title that it is like, it’s not like you have to earn some magical thing in order to be able to say that you are starting this business and to have confidence behind that. So I always feel very strongly about that. Um, but yeah, just to be able to start building those like grassroots connections. I think so many times we feel like we have to go to all the networking events and we have to do all the things. But instead I think just being able to like join a few communities that have people that again you gravitate toward really easily and being able to talk with them, build connections and also not necessarily feel like that connection has to have the pressure for it to become something you never know which connections are going to turn into something. Um, what I will say is for the SAS companies that I’ve worked with, um, for show it, which is a website building platform and then also for convert kit, um, they do email marketing, both of those.
Speaker 2 (33:12):
Um, I ended up meeting somebody, it, I met the CEO of show it at a random dinner that I was invited to that I had no idea that he was going to be there and I wasn’t meant to be there. And then the other um, person that I met, um, that was the head of business growth over at ConvertKit at the time. Um, I just met him cause I was meeting another friend for coffee and they happened to meet up as well. And last minute they were like, Hey, are you okay with them coming? I went well sure. More the merrier. So it’s just very interesting to me how you just always have to be open to some of those connections and you really never know where they’re going to go. Um, but just like, I think that’s the beauty of just continuing to foster those relationships. Cause I think business is all about relationships. At the end of the day, you can put yourself out there online and I think that’s a great first step. But the engagements and those sorts of things that you have with people, I think that’s what actually really brings the clients. And also we know that if a client is referred to you, they’re usually going to have a little bit more trust in you too. So I think that’s a great place to start. And it also doesn’t feel so overwhelming either.
Speaker 1 (34:13):
Yeah. I’m so, so glad you said that. Cause I mean there’s so many ways to do it. People think that you can only cold pitch. You can only use a hole. There’s so many ways that you can do it. And I’ve had a guest that was just on here talking about landing in big publications and, and how’s our relationships and how, that’s the only reason. I’m so glad you brought up relationships again because I think people always look to the outside when they forget. There’s plenty people in their LinkedIn and their past jobs and their friends, family that might know someone just to get that first little bit of momentum. So use your relationship guys. I think that is so, so good. So before we get into the last question, what’s the best place anyone can find you? Follow you. Learn more about yourself.
Speaker 2 (34:52):
Yeah, absolutely. So my website is just my name, Kayla hollatz.com and then you can find me on Instagram or anywhere else, um, basically under the same name. Uh, but that’s where I usually camp out.
Speaker 1 (35:03):
Okay, perfect. And for the final question, uh, what would you say is the number one skill that really makes a successful writer for the longterm?
Speaker 2 (35:13):
Immediately discipline. Um, and that is something that, so I actually, I’m, if anybody knows anything about the Enneagram, I’m an Enneagram four and a lot of people say, Oh wow. Like that would not make as much sense for an entrepreneur. But I think what’s so, um, amazing about that is that even though Enneagram fours are typically people who are very emotional and sensitive and hard, hard to receive criticism and all those different things, what’s really great is that, um, like where you go when you’re strengthened is being able to be disciplined. And I think that that has been the skill that, to be honest in my darkest times, like we’ve talked about carries me, is because it’s not necessarily just my work ethic, but it’s just that commitment to myself and that commitment to my clients that no matter if I’m feeling it or not, I’m getting up, I’m doing my work, I’m showing up and I know that the results will follow.
Speaker 2 (36:03):
I have a lot of trust in that area. Um, and so for the entrepreneurs who kind of come to me and are very hopeful about, um, starting a business or wanting to grow in different things, I just kind of tell them, you know, sometimes they worry about, you know, isn’t it tough for you to just not watch Netflix during the day or you know, if they’re like all these different distractions. And I think it really does come down to you just making that commitment and just staying dedicated to it. And I think like we’re talking about when you pick the right clients, you want to stay dedicated to them. You want to do really great work for them and it’s not as hard to show up for them cause you really believe in the final product that you both are doing together.
Speaker 1 (36:41):
Perfect answer and just want to say thank you so much for being vulnerable, sharing your story and uh, and helping others. I know that this will be listened to by people all over it, and they might describe one thing and they might grab so many things, but thank you so much for showing up for my audience and for all the work you’ve done for yourself and for clients, and to keep giving back to other writers means the world. So I just want to say thank you and extend all my gratitude your way.
Speaker 2 (37:04):
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Thanks for having me, Michael. No problem.
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