Women Who Do: How this Copywriter, Brand Strategist, & Entrepreneur Built a Successful Online Business
Kayla Hollatz never admitted to having it all figured out. As a fashion journalism major, she pursued a career in public relations before building a successful business helping creative entrepreneurs and small businesses highlight their brand story through copywriting, brand strategy, and content creation through KaylaHollatz.com. But, as Kayla says, it’s more fun that way. Kayla spent some time giving us advice on creating a strong online community, building a strong online business, and embracing risk.
Q) You’ve built a successful copywriting, brand strategy, and content creation business. Were you always interested in copywriting and supporting business’ brand strategies?
While digital marketing has been most of my professional background thus far, I actually went to college originally pursuing a double major in fashion journalism. My career has been anything but traditional! My passion for copywriting was sparked by a blog I started in college to help me get a job in Public Relations after I graduated. I loved writing blog posts, newsletters, website content, anything I could get my hands on. Now years later, I get paid to do it for other business owners and support their missions. It’s been nothing short of rewarding.
Q) What prompted you to start your own business?
I’ve always been a self-starter but I wasn’t your typical business owner in-the-making. I didn’t sell gum on the playground and I was drinking lemonade rather than selling it, but I’ve always been very self-motivated and self-disciplined. I’m a first-generation entrepreneur so I didn’t see any examples of what business really looked like when I was young. Sometimes it surprises me that I jumped into full-time business as quickly as I did, but I knew it was a path I wanted to take after blogging for a few years and seeing others really excel. I also love a good challenge that’s fueled by uncertainty and hope.
The hardest part of running my business was revealed to me about nine months ago. As I found myself in a dip in my business, I quickly realized that it was because I wasn’t living out my priorities. I said family, friends, and faith were my top priorities but I put my entire identity into my career, working 80-90 hours/week with no end in sight. It took about three months of discovery and experimentation, but I finally found my way. Now I work 30-35 hours/week and have easily tripled my income. Most importantly, I’m a much happier person and serve my clients, my relationships, and myself much better.
Q) Your business and blog have a strong focus on community. Why is this so important to your brand, and what do you ultimately hope to accomplish?
My online community is the reason I’m in business today. They illuminated my calling. They stuck by my side through all of my transitions. They were always there to connect, support, and help me grow. Community building is, of course, important when you’re trying to build your personal brand’s audience, but it’s meant so much more to me. Visiting blog friends in their city, hosting them when they come to visit mine, and dreaming together on Skype calls has made my career in my early 20’s feel a lot less lonely and a lot more full.
Q) Networking done right can be tricky. What are your secrets to building a strong network?
You’re so right! The first thing is to not look at it as networking. I think most of us low-key hate that term. Whenever I go into a networking event, I think about how I can best connect with the one person in front of me. I’m much better one-on-one anyway so it helps me to give my full attention to a few people rather than trying to connect with everyone in the room. I go deeper with relationships rather than wider, which I think is what has helped me to build a strong community. My motto has always been “names over numbers”.
Q) What advice can you offer to women who want to launch an online start-up?
Embrace experimentation. Don’t try to have it all figured out; that’s no fun anyway. Be willing to shift, change, and evolve anything and everything, including yourself. Every step is a step forward, even the ones that feel like a step back. Just get started with what you have and where you are. That’s the bravest thing you can do.
Q) Making a living running your own online business and working from home sounds like a dream job. Is it?
It’s a dream in that you can make it anything you want. It gives you an incredible amount of freedom and flexibility if you take advantage of it. On the other hand, you risk nearly everything by doing it: your stability, finances, relationships, and overall wellbeing. Many times the potential risks are worth it, but get ready for it to reveal a lot about your strengths, weaknesses, and character.
Q) What are your next goals for KaylaHollatz.com?
To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I know you’re not supposed to admit that, but I’ve taken a step back this year from trying to have the next few years all planned out. This season has been full of grace, intention, and curiosity. I have many visions for where I’d love to grow my business, but we’ll see which path I take. For now, I’m investing in my relationships and education, all of which will bring me to a chapter that’s still being written. I’m choosing to be really excited about that.
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