Hey there …
My name is Kim and my business card says, I’m an …
optimist, strategist & allegorist.
But the question everyone asks, including my mom (as in every time I go home), is …
So, exactly what do you do?
The short story is after starting and selling two businesses and spending 15 years as an entrepreneur; I took everything I learned and starting sharing the big lessons with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them grow their business.
And here’s lesson #1:
THERE’S ALWAYS MORE TO THE STORY.
and here’s mine …
How I stopped living the life others expected me to live, started saying yes to what felt right, and settled back into my roots teaching others how to grow their business.
Jet-Setting, Board Rooms & Babies
I didn’t start out wanting to be an entrepreneur. Honestly, I didn’t even know that was a thing. What I will say is I always felt pulled to do something different.
I craved change and adventure.
I desperately wanted to do new things.
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Looking back, I took some crazy risks, like swimming out to the boat of a stranger off the coast of the Bahamas for a Bahama Mama party in the middle of the ocean.
But some of the risks paid off, like joining Pan Am as a flight attendant and traveling the world. Literally, the whole world.
And I was happy. Until Pan Am closed its doors and I was left wondering what to do next.
There were the odd jobs like bartending, some writing and a little computer servicing here and there for a while.
Then I ran into a friend who introduced me to the Vice President of Development for a computer software company, who hired me on the spot and my career in corporate training began.
Lesson #2: Social media and digital marketing will grow your business, but networking and who you know is equally as important.
After two weeks on the job, my boss, the manager of training was promoted, leaving her position open and I decided to apply.
I’m not sure what made me think I was qualified for the role, but I knew I had ideas and I knew I was good at what I did. And what do you know, I got the job.
Looking back, I think it’s that ability to go for it that has served me well and made me successful as an entrepreneur.
Lesson #3: Don’t wait for the right time because it will never be the right time. If you see an opportunity, seize it. Go after it as if it’s the most logical thing in the world.
Things were going well, but I was getting a bit antsy. And just when I started looking for a new opportunity, the babies came.
And that was the invitation I needed to start a business. Any business. I knew I needed to make some money and I wanted to stay home with my kids.
So, I left corporate America and started my first business, Kids Cards. I took kids art and turned them into note cards for schools. It was the perfect little business for me at the time.
I didn’t make a ton of money, but I made enough. Enough to allow me to stay at home with my boys.
Enough to realize that while I was good at corporate, I was better at doing my own thing.
Chasing Boys, Pivoting & Playing Poker
I might have been earning some money, but my first few businesses were more a means to an end than a real business.
My goal back then was to make enough money to stay home.
The problem was that I was a mom to two boys under three.
I was tired, and I had no energy.
I also had no extra money and no time to learn how to grow my business.
And that’s when I turned to poker.
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I had been playing recreationally for my whole adult life and was a winning player.
I wasn’t going to get rich off it, but if I could just make enough to keep me at home with my kids, then I would be happy. I only had to play a few nights a week, to make what I was making working around the clock with Kids Cards.
Lesson #4: Know when it’s time to pivot. Don’t lose your life to save your business. No business is worth it.
Black Sheep, Solutions & a Leap of Faith
Needless to say, playing poker and not wanting to go back to corporate life did not sit well with my parents, my in-laws and even some of my friends.
Playing poker is about as close to being an entrepreneur as you can get without actually being an entrepreneur. Maybe that’s why I love it so.
You have to do your research, you have to gather data, you take risks based upon incomplete information, and you better be good at managing money.
While I loved playing, I felt like something was wrong with me because I didn’t want the “typical” lifestyle of my friends and family.
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I wanted adventure. I liked being my own boss. I was happy living what most would call an unconventional lifestyle.
Lesson #5: Most people won’t understand why you choose to be an entrepreneur and there’s nothing you can say that will adequately explain it. Be okay with people not getting it, but do not allow them to dismiss your passion or your ideas.
And then my husband came up with the business idea that would change our lives.
He saw a problem … Students at the University had trouble getting to the shuttle stop that went to Phoenix.
“It was so simple,” he said, “all we have to do is go pick them up on campus.”
And we did. And we were a hit. Just 2 1/2 years after we started the shuttle business, we sold it for a 490% profit.
Now, of course, it wasn’t all that easy. We had no idea we were entering one of the most regulated industries in the country. And it’s a good thing, too, because we would never have started it.
We didn’t know what we didn’t know and that allowed us to take a leap of faith.
Which leads me to …
Lesson #6: Too much planning and preparing will almost always talk you out of starting the business you should start – the one that solves a problem. Bottom line … Find a problem, solve it and get people to pay you for it.
Bath Bombs, Storytelling, and Teaching
Now, I knew, without a doubt, I was meant to be an entrepreneur.
I owned it. And I didn’t much care if people thought I was crazy.
So, I went out in search of my next problem to solve, and it didn’t take long.
And this one was personal.
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You see, I’m a bath person. But bath products are not all that healthy for your skin.
And that was the problem I wanted to tackle. I went out and created a line of all-natural, organic bath and body products.
Fizz Bath Shop was my baby, and it would introduce me to the concept of storytelling.
About six months after I opened the doors, I came across a contest to create my business story. I had no idea what made a good story, but I entered anyway. And I won!
It wasn’t until much later that I learned why. I started to study storytelling and how I could use it to grow my business. And boy did I grow my business.
Until one day, my husband accepted his dream job … in Thailand.
I sold my intellectual property, and we moved the family halfway around the world.
And that was when I answered the call to help other small business owners do what I did, grow my business using the power of story.
I started researching, testing and compiling data about what worked and, even more importantly, what didn’t.
And to date, I’ve shared my knowledge with over 500 small business owners.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Business ownership seldom is.
But I can honestly tell you … I’ve found my place in the world and my mission in life.
What I Know for Sure
It is possible to have a business you love while living life to its fullest.
It’s not always easy to be an entrepreneur, and you’ll have to put in the work.
But my guess is you already know that, and that’s why you’re here.
You’re here because you are ready to take a leap of faith and put your big idea into motion, much as I did many years ago.
And because you’re ready, you know you have to get your stories straight.
Because you have a story to tell and people want and need to hear it!
Here’s the bottom line …
You can create a better brand story and stop second-guessing which strategy to use or you can continue throwing things out there hoping something will stick.
You can continue to let your business run your life or you can create the business and life you want to live.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
I hope you choose to tell your stories.