How To Move On From Mistakes In Your Business With Kate Bagoy
Diane: Hey, Hey, this week's guest is a guy, a fellow nomad soul who helps creative burnouts replace these six-figure salaries with consulting businesses that they can run. Anyway. Hey Kate, welcome to the show. Kate: I am so good to be here. Diane: You have an interesting business journey. So let's start there. Tell us about it. Kate: sure. Yeah, it's a, it's a long and complicated journey, but I'll try to keep it brief. Basically I started my career as a graphic designer in a fortune 500 company and burn out after about five years. It was just a shell of a human being and miserable until I quit without a plan and attempted to start a freelance design business. And of course failed spectacularly as the university of habit that was the best thing for me. I ended up going back and getting a master's degree and working in Silicon Valley. But over the years I tried again and again to make this freelance thing happened and, and just ended up. Making pennies in comparison to my corporate salary until I finally got things right on my fourth, try on freelancing, I ended up building a hundred thousand dollar UX design business from my living room, working part-time and then went on to travel full-time with remote year. And along the way, I stumbled into coaching and realized that that is really kind of. I believe kind of why I am on this planet. I am an empath and a natural teacher. I've heard that my whole life and coaching allows me to take all this weird amount of knowledge I have in business and design and growth hacking along with my empathy and help. Other people start their businesses. So I started that business about four years ago as a private coach. And then I launched an online program called six-figure freelancers. That's really foundational business strategy for people that are not business minded, mostly designers and copywriters and things of that. Diane: I love that. I think if you haven't done the nomad business thing, You don't realize what a masterclass in business that is because every variable you possibly could have coming at you, you have coming at you, you have travel arrangements, you have spotty, wifi, you have noise. You have, who knows what travel bug you happen to pick up that week, but you naturally learn to be so much more flexible. In business to adapt to pivot. What do you think is the most important elements in that flexibility? If somebody could just start to build one thing into their business, that would make them more flexible. Kate: Oh, my goodness. So I do a lot of teaching around iterative design, you know, working in startups, you learn to launch test, measure, validate, repeat. And improve. And so that's a lot of what I teach my clients is like, don't wait for perfection to launch your website, to tell somebody about your business. Don't wait until the perfect moment. Or you have that clarity. You've got to be adaptive, you know, put out the best that you can quickly learn from it and do it again. And I think it's, it's about being Open to trying new things. I mean, one of the things that really blocks people from starting their businesses is the fear. And I think that's another thing that comes with the nomadic lifestyle is you learn to let go of a lot of this fear because you're just in constant what the. Ness. And and that actually works really well from a business owner standpoint, to be able to adjust on the fly because things change. Life changes, business changes personal goals change, and being able to adapt those and become resilient enough to stay in the game is what really leads to long-term success. Diane: So let's talk about that process for a moment because as you were saying it, I was like trying to think back and remember original Facebook and thinking to myself, am I judging Facebook at the moment? Because I didn't like version one. Whereas we're so convinced that version one is going to define us for all time. Kate: Yeah, for sure. Diane: So, let's dive a little into that process so that people can start to think about the idea that's in their head. How do they. Get that good enough version out there. And then what do they do with the data that they get back? Cause I do like a bit of data. Kate: Yeah, I love data too. So yeah. It's and the concept is validated. Learning is one way to talk about it. There was a book that came out. Gosh, it's probably been a decade now called the lean startup by Eric Reese. And it, it really changed a lot of things in Silicon Valley because prior to that people that were building software, we use this waterflow fall method and basically everything had to be perfect before it launched. And we would build these giant software programs. And when they launched, they were just crap because they're trying to do too much. And Intercom, which is another tech company, they somewhat, their product manager a few years ago, wrote an article around designing a cupcake. And I think it's the perfect analogy. The idea is if you're going to build a three tier wedding cake, instead of trying to build all three layers at the same time and come up with a perfect cake, just build the perfect cupcake find. The bite-size set of features, the bare bones, the bare minimum, and perfect the crap out of that and launch it and then come back and build that second tier, because otherwise you end up with this sloppy ass cake. That's falling apart. Nobody wants to eat it. But if you watch that perfect cupcake, you're going to build the raving fans. So from a small business standpoint or a lifestyle business standpoint, you want to look at okay, Look at your, your priorities of all of the millions of things that you can do right now. What are the things that are going to bring you closer to cash or make you personally happier? Bring you actual clients or bring you traffic? What are the, bare essence of what you need? And for my type of client who typically is building a consulting or a freelance business, you need. A client who needs what you have. You need a service that they need and be able to talk about it with them in a manner that makes it compelling and you need a way to connect with them. And that's it. You do not need a $20,000 website. You do not need a big brand. You don't need a hundred thousand Instagram followers. And in fact, if you try to do all of that at the same time, you will likely end up with that sloppy jalopy wedding cake. Diane: Yeah. And I think what happens in the online space is you've decided you're going to focus on cupcake a and then somebody starts waving winning results. over here at you going look at this amazing wedding cake. But they don't say, Hey, I built a cupcake and then I put a cherry on the cupcake and then I let people taste the cupcake. People hated the cupcake. I went back. So we don't see any of that is a ration happening. Kate: For sure. And in the recovery community, there's a saying around like, don't compare your insides to somebody else's outsides. And that's the same way with business. When I started coaching, I started looking at more what Marie Forleo is doing. Cause she's big in the online space and starting a business space. And she's great for what she does. She's been doing it for 10 years. So by me trying to replicate her brand and what she was doing. Meant I was getting zero results because of the stage of business I was in. And so being able to realize that you don't know what's going on behind doors. I also, at this point, you know, I've, I've worked with a couple of. That was in clients. I have met clients who have the most amazing brands. And you would think that they were like building it from there yet. And they have $0 in the bank. They have zero clients because they have spent so much time on the branding and on the Instagram marketing or whatever, and getting all of those followers. But no actual time monetizing, no actual time talking to people and getting them to buy from them. So focus on your fastest path to cash. Focus on direct outreach when you're new in business and have conversations, find out what's working with people. What's, what's not test your messaging. You know, if you're, if you're doing a website and you have an opt-in find out how many people are visiting that page versus how many people are opting in that's your conversion rate and look at improving all of those things. Little by little. Diane: that's even a message that people who are established in business forget there are multiple times when I'll have a conversation on a mastermind call or with somebody who's a peer and I'll be like, man, I could do this and this and this and this. And they're like, Didn't you just tell me you were doing like that over there. Like how long have we been doing that? How about we do that? And I think people come from this urgency in part from FOMO, Kate: It's a big thing. Diane: but then also thinking that whatever they choose Kate: I'm locked in for life Diane: like I can never change. And that is kind of like going on holiday, but actually thinking that you're going to live in this place for the rest of your life and having a full on panic attack. We're actually, you can, as long as you stick with it for certain amount of time, what would you tell people laugh? I'm normally like a 90 day, six month kind of push Kate: it depends a little bit on, on the idea, but yeah, generally it's 60 to 90 days. It depends. If it's a, if it's just a simple marketing campaign, it might be 30 days and you get enough data where you can go. Yeah. Okay. So. Talk to 500 people and not one of them are interested in this 30 days is enough. Right? So it's more on the data side, statistically, , it's like a minimum number to look at is 30, right? That's to have a statistically valid sample size. So, whatever you're measuring, that's like the bare bones. But it really depends on, and to your point, you know, I think as entrepreneurs, most entrepreneurs, even if they're more business oriented, we tend to be creative people. We tend to be artists, and we're really good at our craft. And we get excited about new things and we love the rush of creating new things, new products, new marketing campaigns. And that is actually a hindrance to us when we're running a business, because we're never actually consistent with anything. We're always jumping from project to project and idea to idea. So again, it's about that prioritization of like What is this really going to do for me? How much money will this make me if I'm consistent with it and it's effective versus jumping around from the next idea to the next social platform and don't get me wrong. I do all of this stuff too. I am the atypical creative entrepreneur. I shoot myself in the foot constantly. I'm at a point now, four years in where. I'm basically going back to where I was three years ago because I had it right the first time. And then I got off track by listening to everybody else, by jumping on all of these things and allowing other people to influence decisions that I knew were not actually right for me. And then getting some success in these areas and going, this is not what I want. Why? No I'm going back. I had it right the first time and I find that true of most of my clients. And maybe you do too, that nine times out of 10 your first instinct, your first answer is the right one. Your first guests. Diane: And so if somebody is listening and hears you say that, and they have that kind of feeling in the pit of their stomach, And they're like, yeah, I have got completely off track because that's a pretty hard conversation to have with yourself to be like, three years ago I was on the right track and to not beat yourself up for the experimentation that's happened and to turn around and kind of go back to where you were. How do you deal with that from like a mindset perspective? Kate: I suppose for me, at this point in my life, I don't really give much of a, a F around what other people think. And I don't tend to actually in business care about what people think about me. And I think that's because I've done so much personal development work. You know, I got sober about eight and a half years ago, and I had to do a lot of personal development work to let go of my people, pleasing behaviors, my desire to make other people happy. I sort of myself and I think that's been really beneficial to me in that standpoint. But I'm still really hard on myself and yeah, that can be challenging to go, Oh, I've created a monster. And so I think the first piece is, is honoring that feeling and being like, yeah. Okay. That sucks. You just, you spent a lot of time working on things then now you've realized though that this is not right for you, which means you're one step closer to what is, and then you can move forward from there and say, okay, Now, I know one thing that is just not going to work for me. This is just not what I want. And so I'm able to focus more on what I want. And so looking at the learning. I think is really important in this sort of situation and realizing that like this was not work that was a wasted per se. You may not have gotten the results. You may have to take a state step back and certainly has, but you have learned things through this process. You have learned a hundred things that have not worked. Which means you're that much closer to finding what does you have learned more about what you want, what your personal desires are and where your strengths are. Like, you can look at what you've been doing over the last couple of years that have driven you to this point where you've got the pit in the stomach and you know, you're off track. What got you there? And you can evaluate that and you can learn from that and go, Oh, well it all started when, you know, so-and-so said I should be doing this. And even though every bone in my body said, no, I shouldn't, I did it anyway because I wanted to please them. I wanted a congratulations. I want a Pat on the back or because my ego said, I need a hundred thousand followers on Instagram. I followed that track instead of doing what was right for the business. Diane: it's an interesting moment where people have that realization. I feel like almost the immediate second emotion is some kind of shame. That allowed this to happen to myself. And then you stop beating yourself up. But if you're talking to that mentor, who's told you that you need to do this like webinar that feels icky to you to sell this program that feels X to you. And you actually, you just want to go back to coaching one-to-one you're not going to get as objective a feedback, probably. So how do you choose who you take that advice from? Kate: That is such a loaded question. I mean, it's so good because it's true. And I, and I talked to my clients around this all the time of like, even little things. Like, you know, if you go on Facebook, you go into any entrepreneur group, you will see hundreds of mostly women. Really talking about, Oh, I talked this over with my partner and he told me I'll never be successful. I told my mom and she asked me what the point was like, your family is not somebody you should be talking to your business about unless they are running a business like you want to do. So that's first thing is ask yourself, is this somebody who has what I want? Right. Is this somebody running the business, living the lifestyle that I want to live? If you can't find somebody that maybe has exactly what you want, then the next back is, is this somebody that I really trust to listen to me openly and not put their personal opinions into the feedback? Right. Is this just a sounding board? Being able to tell somebody that is objective and say, look, I don't need your feedback. I don't need your opinion. I just need somebody else to hear this. So could you listen to me for 10 minutes while I rant about the mess that I have made for myself? Diane: Yeah, I think that's super powerful is having that boundary with somebody before you start. And I think women are particularly. Bad at putting that boundary there Kate: you know, if you can't find somebody that you feel comfortable talking to you or like me, you're introverted, just writing it down can be really beneficial. In fact, these days, that's probably, I do that a lot more than I do talk to anybody else about what's going on my business. I keep a journal, I keep a notebook and I only allow myself to free write. And sometimes I'll, I'll write. Back to myself with what's the answer here. Like, you know, I will write that. Okay. I'm frustrated because X, Y, Z. And then I will write myself a question, like, so what would this look like if it were easy? What would this look like? If it wasn't alignment for me? How would I feel if X, you know, you can ask yourself these questions and, and, and coach yourself in, in essence, because again, nine times out of 10, your first instinct is the right answer for you. Diane: you know the answer, you just don't want to Kate: You don't want to deal with it, or you don't trust yourself. For whatever reason, you've, you've made mistakes in the past, and now you don't trust your decision making or, you know, the answer, but you know, it's, it's not the traditional route in business. And so you don't trust yourself because everybody says, Oh, you gotta do the X, Y, Z. The truth is there. There's no one single way to be successful. There is no, there are literally millions of ways. For you to start and grow a business millions and millions of ways. None of them are wrong unless they're rung for you. So the best way to start and move forward is to do things that are more in alignment with you and your strengths. And to be clear on what you want. Diane: we're so busy trying to build a successful business that we often don't stop. Is this a business that I'm excited to write? Kate: A lot of people go into business kind of blindly. They don't spend the time to really think deeply around why they're going business. And then Simon Sinek, why go watch the Ted talk by the book, if you haven't and understand that your personal, why is the vision that's going to drive your business? The actions that you take are going to be based on that. Y whether you know it or not and sometimes those things sneak up on you, but so that's why with my clients, one of the first things I have them do is sit down and ask themselves what they really want this for. let's pretend it's a perfect day scenario, everything from this point forward, you just, you can't do anything wrong. You're going to get the results that you want. What does that really look like for you? In five years. Are you still working at home from your PJ's? The way that I do that is what I want, but it's why I started my business. Or are you running a global corporation with 7,000 employees? there's no wrong answer here except. The one that isn't in alignment with you, because if you're introverted like me, you probably don't want to run a 500 person company get clear on what your values are and why you're going into this business. Because building a business is not easy. It can be simple, but that does not mean it's easy. And the biggest battle is what happens between your ears, That can make or break you as a business owner, as a founder. And it's hard, hard work. You've got to constantly be looking out for that mind trash. That's keeping you making these bad decisions, trying to please other people instead of yourself or following the latest trends or whatever that that's all mindset work. And that's your biggest challenge for most entrepreneurs? I'll tell a personal story from my experience year or two into my coaching business, I found myself pretty burnt out. Because as I said at the beginning, I was taking all of these actions to build this huge brand and not actually doing the work to get clients. And so here I was traveling the world nomadically I'm fricking exhausted because I'm in a new country every month and dealing with all of that. And I had G already all sorts of stuff. And I'm going broke. Like I ate through my savings pretty quickly. And that was partly because I burnt down my freelance business and started this coaching business. Cause I'm an all in person, hindsight, not a good idea. So here I was a year later after having a great first year in business. Struggling to just eat. And I was in Barcelona at the time and got connected to a woman through a friend and we were talking about it and she she's run her own business and had a lot of dealings as well. And she said, you know, sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself and your business is to take on a part-time job that supports you. And it. Lifted the shame of where I was when she told me that. And I went back and I took on a couple of design clients and it made all of the difference in the world by bringing in that income and going, Oh, I'm not scrambling anymore to find clients. Cause I have money to take care of myself. I was able to make much better decisions in the coaching business and serve my clients better and actually get clients because I had the energy to do so. And I wasn't just in survival mode. So take yourself out of survival mode before you make these big decisions. Diane: I want to like end it on that kind of Mike job so I would like to finish with a couple of questions for my guests. What is the number one lifestyle boundary you have for your business? Kate: so good. You know, I, I'm still not a hundred percent good at boundaries. This is not my strong suit in a lot of ways, because I love what I do. I tend to work a lot But the one thing that I really won't do is work a traditional nine to five, no matter what, you know, for me, like I schedule coaching calls and client calls Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and I leave Friday and Monday open. I can either take a four day weekend and really enjoy myself. Or if I feel like working. That's fine, but I don't have anything scheduled typically on Friday through Monday, because for me, the reason that I went into business really is about that freedom. And I liked the freedom of flexibility in scheduling. I need a lot of time to think and play and create and draw, and that requires a lot of downtime. So I don't over schedule. Diane: Yeah, I'm very similar I'll still probably potentially do some work on those days, but I can't cope with calls on a Monday. It just makes stressy the whole weekend. Like that's my one cure for the Sunday nights. Gary's is not to have calls on Monday. And finally, what's the worst piece of cookie cutter advice you've ever had as a lifestyle entrepreneur? Kate: Even harder question. I think the the worst piece of cookie cutter advice is a really common one, which is like just, just be authentic and, and show up. And, you know, post quote cards on social media was one of, one of my coaches that was literally his marketing strategy was just post, post quote cards on Twitter. And you'll be fine. Posting and praying is not a strategy for growing your business. Diane: I think also like in that kind of advice, when someone says to you, like be authentic, it falls into that boundary of advice. That sounds really good, but Explain to me what the steps are . You've just told someone to be something that is a incredibly hard. To do without a whole bunch of mindset work usually. And B has zero way to measure any progress or any steps or like, am I being more authentic? Kate: and it's not a strategy. Like don't get me wrong. I absolutely believe you should be authentic. You should be vulnerable. You should be you, you should embrace your flaws. have verbal diarrhea, whatever. But that is not a strategy for growing your business, just being authentic. And what does it do? Do what you love and the work will come It's very rare that that is true. There are occasionally people that are those one in a million long-shot people that show up posted a single post on social media and suddenly have dozens and dozens of clients. But that is typically not how it works in business. You do need that actually, a strategy, a plan, a vision, and. Some action steps that are consistent just to being authentic and sitting on your meditation pillow every day is not going to necessarily bring you clients. You still have to take the action. Diane: What is the best place for people to carry on the conversation with you? Cause I'm sure. The advice that you have given is going to really resonate with some people and they're all gonna want to continue chatting to you about it or to ask you questions. Kate: Yeah, the best place to connect with me, it would be either my website capability.com. You can go to the work with me page and fill out a form to learn more about my actual progress or you're welcome to connect with me on Instagram or Twitter. I'm on either. That's the letter. K B a G O Y. Diane: Awesome. Thank you so much. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable conversation as usual. It's wonderful to catch up. Kate: you as well. Thanks so much for having me on Diane. You are a delight as always.
When you’ve ignored your gut feeling that something is wrong for so long it’s now screaming at, how do you make that pivot or u-turn in your business?
Kate Bagoy, walks you through why a u-turn or pivot is not necessarily a bad thing and what you can do to try and avoid it in the first place.
There are no wrong paths to a successful business unless it’s the wrong one for you.
We talk about
- How to use iterative design and data to drive your business
- How to put a mistake into perspective and move on
- Who to turn to when you think you’re off course
- Kate’s lifestyle boundary for her business
- The worst cookie-cutter advice Kate’s been given on her lifestyle business
Kate Bagoy is a Forbes Council’s business coach and the founder of SixFigureFreelancers.com, where she helps freedom-focused tech & corporate creatives escape the 9-to-5.
A self-professed nerd with an MBA and a UX design strategist, she's worked with more than 50 startups and has coached 1000’s of consultants through starting online businesses.
An adventurer at heart, Kate travels as a digital nomad and has been running her business entirely online – from 25 countries so far – since 2017.
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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.