Having recently ditched the nine-to-five for self-employment, I was eager to get her perspective on all things blogging and business. A published author, founder of #createlounge and haiku enthusiast, we could all use her advice.
Here's what she has to say...
1. Tell us what you do in 2 sentences:
I help creative entrepreneurs build sustainable, organically grown communities through content that connects over at kaylahollatz.com. I also founded #createlounge, a Twitter chat turned full-fledged community for fierce creatives.
2. You recently took the plunge to leave the 9-5, what gave you the confidence to make that leap to self employed?
I told myself I could make the leap from my full-time position once I was able to bookout community and brand coaching clients at least 3 months in advance. When I did so before even launching my work-with-me page, I knew it was time. My #createlounge community was my ultimate support system along the way.
3. Can you give me a quick overview of how you built your coaching business to what it is today?
I kind of found my community and brand coaching business by accident. I had been blogging for over two years but what I was really doing was intentionally building a strong, die-hard online community. It wasn’t until some of my community members started reaching out, asking if I could help them build a community of their own. No one was owning community building as their niche in the creative entrepreneur space and it was already such a natural fit for me. When I turned my full focus to teaching about community building, everything changed.
Join Kayla in The Power of We audio series where each entrepreneur discusses community platforms while sharing their authentic stories.
4. What has been the biggest struggle in growing your business?
The biggest struggle for me has been more on the logistics side of business. I have no problem creating and launching my work, but the back-end tech work and financial/legal details are something I’ve had to learn along the way. It’s been a good challenge and has shown me I can do a lot more than I think I can.
5. What has been the best part of creating your own business?
The best part has been working with dreamy, heart-centered clients. Each interaction confirms that there are still business owners out there who deeply care about who they serve. Those are my kind of people.
6. It’s safe to assume that you keep pretty busy. Can you share some of your go to methods for managing your time as a creative entrepreneur?
I’ll be honest, it’s still something I’m trying to figure out. My creative process dictates my day. I know when I’m most productive (10 AM - 12 PM and 7 - 10 PM) and least productive (1 - 3 PM) so I design my schedule around that. I also like to block off certain days just for coaching calls or writing so I know what to expect. It’s all an experiment!
7. On top of everything else, you’ve also self-published a book. Can you walk us through how you went about starting the journey from influencer to author?
Thanks for asking! My poetry collection, Brave Little Bones, was a passion project for my illustrator, Hannah Lewis, and I for nearly two years. I was juggling a job, full-time school, two internships, my blog, and other commitments at the time, but creating this book taught me so much about myself and my creative process. Physical products are different than digital products and I feel grateful to now have experience with self-publishing both.
8. Can you tell us about #createlounge and how you’ve utilized that channel to grow your online presence?
#createlounge has been my number one referral of business, subscribers, traffic, everything. The community itself inspires people to tap into their creativity everyday and create something that didn’t exist before. Leading #createlounge has been my favorite way of consistently connecting with like-minded creatives. It also gives me the chance to hear and understand the struggles of fellow creative entrepreneurs so I can better offer solutions through the community.
9. What would you tell other creatives who are looking to build a career for themselves outside the 9-5?
Don’t be afraid of your own evolution, both personally and professionally. Also, connect with your target audience as soon as possible. Pour as much value as you can into them now to build a strong foundation so when you are ready to monetize, your community is ready to invest. Remember, none of this happens overnight but all of it will be worth it.
10. What are your plans for the future?
I’m truly using 2016 as my experiment year. I want to freely create and launch as many projects as possible so I’m able to learn along the way. I’m currently working on several digital products (hello courses!), a coaching program, and the new #createlounge extensions (like a podcast, book club, and more), all while fitting in some much needed afternoon hikes and hot chocolate dates along the way.