Ep. 39

Overcoming Fear of Judgement to Chase Your Dreams with Kelly Trach

Kelly Trach was your classic over achiever. She got straight A’s, won scholarships, and got into the college of her dreams after high school, UBC Sauder School of Business in Vancouver, Canada.

After receiving multiple job offers out of college, Kelly reluctantly accepted one. Something inside her knew that she was destined for more than just a 9-5, so 4 months before her start date, she quit. Kelly wanted to start a business of her own, but it was no easy feat. After her first three business failed, she hit rock bottom and decided to dump everything society had taught her to build a lifestyle business helping others discover what they were destined to do. This is her story.

Kelly Trach’s website: https://www.kellytrach.com/

Jessmyn:
All right. Hey guys. And welcome to Interact Creator Stories podcast, my name is Jessmyn Solana. And with me today, I have one of our customers Kelly Trach with me. Hi Kelly, how are you?

Kelly:
I just know I’m so stoked to be here. It’s a pleasure to be on the podcast. So thank you.

Jessmyn:
Of course, of course. So I’m really excited about this one in particular, because I actually did not know you or your business, and you had reached out to us to do a case study. And that’s where our first, I guess our first touch point happened. And as I was looking for people for the podcast, I thought of you because I was like, “Oh my God, that actually was a really good story.” I remember your case study, and of course with case studies mostly it’s numbers, but as I looked further into your business, I was like, “Well, this is a really inspiring story that you had.”

Kelly:
Thank you.

Jessmyn:
So now to just give, of course, so just to give everybody a little background kellytrach.com is your business. It’s a service-based business, you’re a business coach. You have a podcast and you do courses and then you also have a book coming out, which is exciting.

Kelly:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jessmyn:
So I’m going to go ahead and let you give your full intro and then if you want to go straight into how it all started, go for it.

Kelly:
For sure. So I’m Kelly Trach, I work as a business coach and I help visionaries build soulful digital businesses with one-on-one services in online courses based on their unique genius so that they can build it and grow it to full-time income or whatever income that they’re desiring. So I got started, I always, when I talk about my story of how I got started, I like to rewind back to high school because I feel like it paints a very clear picture of who I was and who I always had been. I was your classic overachiever. I got like straight A’s. I had like a 96% average in high school. I won enough scholarships to go to this school of my choice. It was a really competitive business school here in Vancouver, Canada. I did all of the extracurriculars and courses on weekends.
And I at one point was working at Tesla motors. I had the fancy internships, the case competitions, my school sent me abroad to compete. I did my exchange abroad. And at the end of business school I really had wanted actually a job at Lululemon Athletica because their head office is here in Vancouver and I could not get that job for the life of me. And there was a couple other really kind of cool companies based out of Vancouver and I literally could not get hired at them. And it was sometimes I feel the universe closes off doors for us as to say, you don’t go down this path. And I had two job offers at the end of business school. One was at a telecom company similar to what AT&T would be in America, and one was at a tech company selling software. And I really wasn’t stoked or lit up by either. And I just felt I had worked so hard in business school and I didn’t get what I wanted and all my peers were getting these awesome jobs or doing cool things, and I had these subpar offers.
I initially signed with one company and I said, I was going to start with them in the fall. And then I had about eight months between when I was done school and when I was going to start and I said, “Well, why don’t I have this time? Why don’t I try my own business?” So I wanted to work on my very first tech startup and I quickly fell in love with the insane thrill of building a tech startup. So I emailed the job and said, “I can’t come.” I quit my job four months before it even started. So I’ve literally always been an entrepreneur right out of the gate from business school.

Jessmyn:
Wow.

Kelly:
But Canada is not exactly the Mecca of tech. So I moved down to San Francisco and I started my first tech startup. And I got into a prestigious pre accelerator program taught by a literal billionaire that was taking on young minds and helping them start their startups and teach them. But tech startup one didn’t work, and tech startup two didn’t work and tech startup three didn’t work. And I was getting very frustrated and it was just getting really challenging. And I had a week where I was at a cabin in kind of the middle of nowhere in Canada and the wifi was bad and it was a week to really reflect on my life because things were not working out as planned.
And I was sitting down in like a big reclining lazy-boy chair. And I was looking out at the Lake and the sun was streaming through in the morning. And I heard this phrase from my intuition and it was a phrase I had never heard before. And it was the wisdom of what if you just did what you were good at. And I had never just done what I was good at. I was always trying to push for the hardest things and the hardest challenges and take on as much as I could and overachieve and excel. So I figured, okay, I’ve literally tried to pursue these really hard things, what if I try to do something I’m good at? And my only options were try to find another job or start another business.
So I started my fourth business, which is this one kellytrach.com, but it was centered around different principles. It had to be easy. It had to be based on things that I knew intuitively, what came naturally to me, what was easy for me, what I could do with my own bare hands versus need investors for, or co-founders for, or coders. I had to be able to build it out with my own skills. So I inadvertently looking back, built this whole business kind of based on my genius. And it’s taken many pivots over the years because what everybody sees now is a successful six-figure business and high-end private clients, and courses and a whole fleshed out thing, and a book deal. It started initially as a health blog and then I pivoted into mindset and sort of life coaching, and then I finally had enough requests where people were asking me, how did you build your business? How did you do this? And I always thought that I shouldn’t teach business, because I had such pretty bad luck before, but that was sort of one of my gifts all along and I didn’t really see, it was my love for business and entrepreneurship and starting things.
So a couple of years in, I was okay, I’m going to really focus on the business coaching. And that’s sort of when things sort of started to click together and I was sort of doing the work I could really uniquely do. And so that’s sort of how I ended up here, working as a business coach, helping people build digital businesses based on their genius so that they can really create one-on-one services and online courses, doing the work that they’re meant to be doing in the world.

Jessmyn:
I love that. That’s pretty crazy. So you tried three different businesses and none of them worked, what? I guess, what was that like, right, in that moment and at what point were you like, okay, even from the first one, you’re that didn’t work, here’s my next idea, and how did you even come up with all these new ideas?

Kelly:
I feel I’m very good at creating ideas and generating ideas. I feel I’d always sort of had that entrepreneurial bug or I’ve always been good at solving problems and looking for solutions. I think the really important thing that I always sort of teach to clients, or try to pass off to people is nature that you are building something that you really resonate with because my ideas were good. They weren’t bad, I wasn’t the one that was meant to bring them into the world. And the first startup was around… They were all around making organic food more accessible to the 99%, not just the 1%. So my first idea was actually a whole foods meets Costco subscription model, which is actually what thrive market looks like now. I don’t know if you’re familiar with thrive market?

Jessmyn:
I’ve seen ads for it.

Kelly:
So I’ve had a good idea. I mean, they were obviously the successful ones doing it in the long run. The second one was around a subscription model around reclaiming the ugly food from farmers that don’t… Sort of grade B produce that doesn’t really go to stores or is imperfect and trying to sell that online for cheaper. That was really hard and just technically was very difficult logistics wise, which I wasn’t good at. And then the third, because I had noticed that I really wanted to help make organic food more accessible, one of the things that I really noticed as a problem was that in the US the food stamps cards, the EBT cards, you can’t buy food online. And it was an issue because if people needed this quality food in food deserts, there wasn’t stores nearby that they could access with this food, but they also couldn’t get it online because these EBT cards wouldn’t go online.
So my last and final startup was trying to find a way to take those cards and make them digital and build out a payment gateway. And while all three were great ideas, I did not have the skillset to bring it to life. I had a really hard time getting co-founders. I feel I was actually kind of close to getting investors on a couple of them, but I don’t know. It felt sometimes when you try really hard, but things just are not clicking, it was sort of what I had [inaudible 00:08:55] for the job with [inaudible 00:08:57]. It was no matter how much I wanted it, all kind of signs pointed to no if that makes sense. And I kind of hit a point at the end where I was just not excited to work on it and I loath doing it, and I kind of hated it. And I had picked up some other work on the side.
I was doing some research for an investor on the side, and I was working with Xprize, which is a part of singularity university in the Bay area. I was trying to help and volunteer on a team, so that they win this huge grant. And I don’t know, I’ve caught myself really losing interest fast and switching other focuses and trying to kind of not do it. And I kind of had that moment of, this is really not for me. It’s just not what I’m supposed to be doing, something needs to change.

Jessmyn:
I feel that. And so then you had a week without… You kind of disconnected, right?

Kelly:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jessmyn:
So you mentioned reflecting that week and that’s how you came up with your current business. So how did you work through that and what was your process like? Was there anything special that you did while you didn’t have internet, couldn’t really do any research, it was just you and your brain?

Kelly:
Yeah. I always like to talk about this concept of downloads. I feel we always get sort of downloads of what we should be doing or waves of intuitive hits or inspiration, whether that comes to as flashes across your mind or if you hear it or if you just think it, or it’s sort of those moments of awakening and understanding. I definitely feel I only really get my best downloads and ideas and aha moments when I really take time away. So I feel I had kind of created this space and container for that new stuff to come in. The other thing, when you were saying, how did you really bring that in, looking back, I really feel I really had to drop my ego and really get clear and honest about what I really wanted and who I really wanted to be, and what kind of legacy did I want? And when everything’s said and done, what kind of business did I really want to run?
And I didn’t really want to run a tech startup. I had really wanted to be a motivational speaker or an author, or I don’t know, sort of seeing kind of what I had seen a couple of people do, folks like Danielle LaPorte, who is a spiritual teacher and an author, or a Gabby Bernstein. And I was, whatever they’re doing looks great, I feel if I could do that, that’d be awesome. And I just had to really drop that sort of notion in my head of what I should be doing or what would make sense, given my business school background or what my mind had in its head for my life versus what my heart and soul wanted, and get just really brutally honest with that and kind of not bullshit it and not lie about it and not sweep it under the rug, because I had swept it under the rug for a long time, and I think it just sort of boils up over time when you have a deeper, underlying desire, eventually it’ll catch up with you.

Jessmyn:
I love that though, because I mean, even in my experience, working with a lot of different entrepreneurs, at Interact I see a lot of the time where some people are a little unclear about where their business is going, what their business even is. And they just know they’re an entrepreneur and they know that’s what they want. So I think that’s a great thing to kind of recognize, right? Is okay, I need to sit down and actually think about what am I doing here? I think that’s a great process. So from there then finally you came up with your business idea and you were ready to launch. What, I guess, what feelings were you going through and what was that next step that you took when you were, okay, I have this idea I’m ready to go?

Kelly:
Well, at that point, my business was a health vlog and I was talking about my autoimmune condition and my gluten-free diet. And essentially was kind of a holistic living kind of thing. Because that was sort of all I really knew. I had heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule and I had it was just, well, the only thing I’ve really spent 10,000 hours on is me working on feeling better and that kind of stuff. So I was writing blog posts about it. But the thing that came up for me most was specifically the fear of judgment from other people, because I went to business school and there’s a certain kind of job you should, I feel in your mind be doing if you go to a certain based of school everybody else is a high performer, and your friends are working in investment banking, or everybody has jobs that are paying them at least 100 K, or they’re established in their career or whether they’re wanting to make partner or, I don’t know, they just have their lives together.
And I was just like, “Oh my God. I’m going to be this weird girl online. And I don’t know, nothing’s working out for me, all my businesses [inaudible 00:13:53] down, I have this stupid blog who’s going to take me seriously? All my coworkers are going to think I’m like wasting, I don’t know, wasting my talent when I could be running the marketing for some great big organization versus me trying to do this blog.” And I just was really caught up in the feeling and worrying about what my peers would think or say. And when I had launched one of my earlier eBooks, I was so nervous to read the comments when I had posted that it was live. I literally had to get somebody to read it them for me and tell me what they say. Because I was so worried people were going to write mean things, “Who are you to do this? Who’s going to listen to you? What makes you credible? Or why would anybody buy this?” That really came up for me in a big way.

Jessmyn:
It’s so funny that you say that because I feel, especially a few years ago, blogging was one of those things that you were like why are you trying to make this into a business, right? People really thought that way and look at it now, everything is a blog. And every time you look stuff up online, you’re most likely going to come across a blog post. And that can be recipes, that can be self-care stuff, that can be fashion, beauty, there’s so much of it out there now. And I totally identify with that because I felt that way even going into a startup out of college. I felt the same way where, oh, you graduated with your bachelor’s degree, you should be going to some huge corporate job, and I realized I don’t like this at all, startups are more fun. But at the time I remember some people in my family where like, “A startup? I don’t know what that is, and that doesn’t sound like it’s a good opportunity.”
And look at us now kind of a thing. And now that kind of stuff is everything. So I’m glad you are where you are now. But so you’re from there, and I remember you mentioned something earlier about making sure that this was something, even though you launched this business, you needed to differentiate yourself from other businesses out there, right, that do something similar or a competitor. And you talked a little bit about finding your genius, can you go into that?

Kelly:
Yes. So I’ve built out this framework called the genius framework and it was something that I had learned through my own experience. And I had kind of haphazardly built this framework from working with coaching clients. I feel everything I’ve done in my life and that I now teach and share and preach on is stuff I figured out kind of randomly all through trial and error and never set up to do this ever once. But when I was doing business coaching, people literally had approached me asking if they could hire me as a business coach. And at first I was, “No. I don’t know if I’m good. No, maybe don’t give me your money.” But I kind of thought about it and I was, “You know what? I probably could help these people. Let me try with one client.”
And of course the first question is around what can I sell? I’ve got this sort of skillset, how can I build a business office? And to be it, it’s very easy. When people come to me and they’re, “I don’t know what to sell.” It’s so easy for me to spot their gifts, asks very specific, unique, quirky questions, help them get to the heart of their gifts, and at the end of the day find their genius. So I described your genius as your top three to five gifts in a synergistic conjunction with one another that really created world class expertise doing only what you can uniquely do. And I like to sort of separate gifts from strengths. Because strengths kind of imply that you could always be better, but gifts imply where you’re innately gifted and you’re already super strong.
And I really believe that when it comes to your genius and you’re doing the work you’re going to do, you have these gifts that are innate and 10 out of 10 and fully developed, and you could totally go do the thing you want to do because you have homeless skillset actually for a long time now it’s about really recognizing it. So I had built sort of these series of questions that I would ask coaching clients too, to help me understand what their gifts were and help them figure out, okay, how can we turn that into a business and what could we sell? And that ended up getting working. And then I turned it into one of my modules in my course, and that ended up working. And as we’ll talk about later, it turned into a good quiz and now a book.
But essentially, I had really noticed that when people build businesses based on their unique gifts and their unique expertise, they were really automatically able to stand out way more in the sea of folks being able to offer some different things, even though it felt everybody else on Instagram was offering the same thing. So for example, I have clients that have been able to start their business and then book their first paid client within 48 hours of launching, because they are doing their special gift and it’s dependent on their true soul essence and their innate talent, or clients have been able to outearn corporate salaries by the end of their first year in business, because they’re literally doing the work that they are born to do. And they’ve carved out a niche for themselves because it’s when I see their business, it’s so obviously them and their talents and their gifts. Or other clients the first month after they launch, they get a literally a paid speaking gig at Google.
Because it’s people can spot… I always say people can spot genius, and when you’re doing your genius, people notice and heads turn because it’s this magnet that pulls people in, because it’s somebody really showing up as their authentic core essence. And you are really magnetic for what you desire because you’re really owning your gifts, owning your talents, and building a business around that. And that can really help you position yourself in a field that is really crowded and saturated because it’s about figuring what those gifts are and also how you have previous experience that lands to these gifts, and articulating that in a way that makes sense, that really establishes you as a leader.
So for example, if we look at my business I was able to grow a business to six figures with less than 2000 followers on Instagram and less than a thousand people on my email list. But at this time I was doing business coaching at this time and it was, well, my top gifts are speaking, teaching, creating and connecting, which was gifts that I was doing a ton and it was easy for me to make courses, easy for me to coach clients, easy for me to do webinars. Those are things I was really gifted at. And I was building businesses and working with people that I feel were literally my friends and harnessing a skill set that I really had. I had already built my own business. I knew business inside out from business school, three previous businesses. What I had learned at that pre-accelerator program, sales skills I had learned at Tesla, things that I had really picked up in my journey where I kind of arrived at a point in my destiny where I felt like I was designed to do this, it was like easy for me.
And that’s, I feel such a differentiating factor between, I feel businesses that work out and business that don’t, it’s obvious when people are using their gifts and harnessing that skillset, and using the talents they picked up previously in life versus trying to do something they’re not good at, which was be, with my three startups, or try and do stuff that looks good on paper, or trying to do stuff out of the sake of ego, that kind of stuff always crumbles, but the authentic stuff always seems to work out.

Jessmyn:
I love that. See, that was so inspiring.

Kelly:
Good. My book is coming out. So I always am like, “Oh God, thank goodness somebody is going to like this message.” Because when you spend months and months writing something and nobody reads it but you, you’re like, “Okay, good. This will go somewhere, hopefully.”

Jessmyn:
No. I’m sure it’ll go somewhere, even then it’s just I always tell people, which you said it so much better, but I had always tell people, people buy from you because it’s you. If you stay authentic to who you are, who your brand is, well, I guess what your brand is so on, that’s what they’re buying into, right? It’s of course, the products and the services, but a lot of it is you as a person. And so I just love the way that you were able to kind of really, I guess, focus on that and turn it into something great and then help other people focus on that as well. So, okay. So tell me about your book deal, right? Because I’m sure there’s some people out there who are, “What the heck, this is okay.” Your story is great, this is awesome, but how did you get a book deal? What would that be like?

Kelly:
That was one hell of a process because I mean, I had started pitching that book when my business was… My business just turned four. So my business had just turned three. And I had literally been working on it, to give people a reference, I had been working on that thing every single day for the last three years. I had been working on it. I went full-time very soon in my business, but I had literally been pouring my heart and soul into it for three years consistently, and really playing big, putting myself out there. I had initially wanted to… I kind of had kind of a rock bottom that sort of put me in a position where I was, “Okay, crap.” Things were sort of not working out. I had made a bad business decision. I lost like a ton of money. I had to do some big lifestyle pivots, and I was kind of at a point in my business where I was, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to keep doing things the way that they are.” I feel I need some sort of new energy or a change.
And I was actually working with my Facebook ads manager at the time and we were trying to do this Evergreen Funnel, and this Evergreen Funnel was not converting, and we’re spending all this time and money and it wasn’t working. And then she was, “Why don’t you try running ads to your quiz?” And I had just made my quiz with Interact, my quiz, What’s your genius? And it had already done well when I was promoting it organically, on social media or in my podcast. And we put money behind it on Facebook ads and it took off like crazy. We were getting leads for extremely cheap, 25 cents a piece. And I had grown my email list really quickly to 6,000 people. And it was one of those times when I realized, wait, this is actually something that I’ve been doing that I didn’t realize was as important as I thought. I was, oh, to me, this was a step that I would teach to a business coaching client or a module in one of my courses that focuses on how to find your genius and monetize it.
And it was really taking off. And I had initially always thought that I had wanted to take this and pitch this as a Ted Talk. And I did pitch it as a Ted Talk and I got rejected. But I had a certainly good pitch. And I was, “Okay, well, what else could I do with this? So okay, let me try a book. Let me see if I can put this to a book proposal.” And a book, I always had wanted to do a book even since the early days of my business. So I figured I might as well try it. I feel why not? I feel I have a good concept, finding your genius, it was unique, it was different. And I actually had previously written, back in the day, I had already done one book before in my health blogging days. I tried to publish it and it failed. So I already knew what it was like to pitch a book and try to get agents. So I was, “Well, let me just try again. I’ve been there once, so let me try again.”
It was hard. I had 200 rejection letters from literary agents and I like pitch, and I kept pitching and pitching and pitching. A lot of people told me my following was too small and that they wanted at least 50,000 followers. A lot of people were, “How are you going to market this because you have such a tiny audience?” But I found an agent that believed in me and really loved my vision. And I was able… I always feel like once again, when you’re doing your genius, you have these skills that you’ve picked up along the way. And my proposal was really strong and coming from business school, I knew how to write business plans and proposals in and out. And I had been able to effectively explain, these are the competing books in the market and my book fits in there well. And these books have done X million in sales or have been able to hit New York Times Bestsellers, and I feel my book is in this category, and I feel we could make this work because it’s unique and different enough.
And I ended up getting an agent and it took me time to pitch and pitch, but I got an agent and then my agent turned around and got me a book deal, literally in record time. We had a month of COVID when PA editors at publishing houses weren’t working. So we had a month go by and nobody was in office. So she was like, “I can’t send your book out now.” But she had two major publishing houses in mind. And the first week that they were back in office, she sent them out. And our top pick said, “We want to get on a phone call with you this week.” And we had a phone call that week. And then literally in the next week I got a call from my agent saying that we got a book deal. So it was super fast on that end, but it took me forever to get an agent. My first published book, P.S. You’re a Genius: An Unconventional Guide To Finding Your Gifts. Even when you feel like you have none, it comes out this fall 2021 from Ben Bill Books.

Jessmyn:
Very exciting. Wow. That’s so exciting. Wow. That’s awesome. And I like how you kind of were honest about, “I sent it to a ton of people. I got 200 rejections.” Because it’s normal, right? You are probably going to get rejected more than you are going to get, I guess, what is it, accepted? So I guess what, obviously it didn’t feel good, I don’t want to say what did that feel like, but how did you process through all of those rejections? And even if it’s not a book deal, even if it’s just trying to get people to subscribe to your email list, right, and or even they think they’re interested in being a client and then last minute, and they’re, “Just kidding,” how do you process through rejections like that?

Kelly:
Yeah. That’s such a great question. I feel my journey has had so much rejection and so much failure. And I always like to explain how much failure I’ve had because on Instagram, it looks like I’m just, oh, Kelly’s got that great speaking gig at Uber next month. Of course she can because she’s Kelly. I feel I really learned that muscle of trust and really leaning into that discomfort and sort of knowing. I always to fall on the numbers and the stats. And I feel that always helps me take the emotion out of it. Because this is also what I tell always my students and clients when they’re trying to get clients, we’re trying to pitch for stuff or trying to get people to sign up to their webinar to buy their course, or get them people on their newsletter, knowing your numbers always helps. Because I had read an article online saying, “Okay, you’re going to need to pitch at least a hundred agents to get a book deal. And if you don’t get it at a hundred then you might need a pitch at least 150 agents.”
So I was, okay, I already had in my head, I’m going to need a pitch a lot. So I was just, every single time I sent her an email, I was, I’m one step closer to a hundred people I’ve pitched. And the numbers ended up being right, because at the end I had to deal or two offers from agents. So that works out to a one in a hundred. Or even when I’m working with clients, usually on average, if you have four [inaudible 00:28:51] calls, one person will buy. So if you know that you have four [inaudible 00:28:55] calls, it’s okay if three people say no, because you know in the average one is going to buy. So I feel knowing the numbers and the conversion rates takes out that sting of rejection, because you were just like, “Oh, this is one of the four that’s going to pass. No problem. I’m just like one step closer to my manifestation, or my goal, or the thing that I really want.”

Jessmyn:
Well, I love that perspective. I have not thought of that before.

Kelly:
I had also one of the teachers who was, when I was in that pre accelerator program, it was in San Mateo. So not too far from you, but one of the guys had said he was, he had built something and then it had become an angel investor. And he had said, and this was one of my very early exposures to really entrepreneurial thinking from people who were actually really successful. And he said, “The faster you go through a thousand ideas, the faster you get to a billion dollars.” And I was like, wow. I was like mind blown because he was essentially just trying to teach us it’s okay to fail, and it’s okay to fail quickly and go through tons of ideas and go through a ton of things, because then you’re going to hit your goal.
And it was just really helpful to kind of know that really early on, right out of the gate, knowing that you’re going to have to do a fair amount of legwork, and that’s fine because you’re going to hit, eventually an agent that wants your book, or you’re going to get a client that actually wants to work with you, or you’re going to get somebody that’s excited to sign up for your email newsletter after promoting it a ton on Instagram. So knowing that there’s a phase that you have to go through before you actually hit the goal, I think is really key.

Jessmyn:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I love that a lot. I think that’s great advice actually, because I think, I mean, part of why we’re doing this podcast right, is for people to see, hey, there is still a journey before you do hit that success. It’s just that most of the time, you’re only going to see success stories. But I think it’s so important to hear that. I love that a lot. Okay, I’m going to say that a lot, but that’s awesome. And I think that is really key to figure out early on, especially if you just launched or you’re rebranding, or even if you’re in one of those pivot stages, where your business wasn’t working, right, but you keep trying so hard to make it work. Maybe it’s just leading you to your next thing. Another question that I had for you that I heard you say was a lot of the agents said that your following was too small and I know you talked a little bit about this earlier, can you walk me through how you do still manage to be so successful with a smaller audience?

Kelly:
First and foremost, I look at the stats and stuff, but when it comes to certain notions or mindsets, I actively choose not to believe a lot of things. So when people were like, “Oh, you can’t get a book deal with a small audience.” I’m like, “I’m not taking on that belief.” Or when people use, I know when I was trying to find a really nice apartment in Vancouver to rent, it was always the story in the notion of, oh, it’s hard to get a place in Vancouver. Or when I was living in San Francisco was, oh, well, it’s going to be really expensive and the place is going to be shit. I’m like, “I’m not listening to that. That’s not my truth. That’s not my story.”
Or, this is another one, I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. I had zero Writer’s Block rating my book because I don’t actively buy into those stories, even though everybody’s going to be like, “Oh, it’s going to be hard. You’re going to have a hard time writing.” I’m like, “I have a deadline, it’s four months and I got to get this done. There was no time for Writer’s Block.” So I feel I don’t even let myself believe those stories, because I just choose a new narrative. Thing is, I’m going to get a book deal. I just need to find people that have done it, people that have been able to get book deals with small audiences and find what I like to call these realistic role models, people where you see yourself in them and even be able to go on and do what you want to do.
And I had to like really actively out people who got book deals with tiny audiences and learn their story or learn their journey, or listen to what they had put in their proposals, or how they were marketing themselves. And a lot of it was, from what I had learned from looking at these examples, these people really had focused on how effectively they could market and how well they could market their book to make up for their fact that they had a low following. So I was, okay, let me put that in my proposal. So I think not believing the narrative and then finding people who’ve gone on to do what you want to do and learning how they did it can be super effective for you to get what you want in your present circumstance.

Jessmyn:
That’s awesome. I like that a lot. I think that’s very… You have such great advice. I’m just pulling so much right now. I’m learning a lot. No, I think that’s awesome finding people that you want to aspire to be, but are kind of within the same, I guess, would you say category, or realm of what you do and what your spot is right now? I think that’s great. I guess in terms of your core business, right, how do you work through having a smaller audience? What’s the pros and cons of it?

Kelly:
I feel, I mean, I will say a major con is I am consistently pitching to the same people all the time, so I definitely have to, in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking about, how can I grow? How can I get in front of new eyeballs? But I feel there’s so many pros. I just feel I’ve been able to build up a relationship with my audience. I’ve done my podcast for four years and delivered a lot of consistent content, and my weekly emails go out and I’ve been able to be very consistent. And I feel I’ve been able to support and serve people a lot for free with my free quiz is very detailed, or my email list letters are always really helpful, my podcast is really helpful, and I feel I’ve been able to monetize effectively by having good quality content and really being of service before I go to sell to people.
I also feel, I mean, I’m a really spiritual and woo-hoo, and I just feel what’s meant for you won’t pass by you. And I feel the people who I meant to work with, I will connect with and they’re going to hire me, and the people that are not going to buy my course I’m, “Whatever, it doesn’t matter. This wasn’t meant to be, or two ships passing in the night, no big deal. They can go work for somebody else or if they want to come join me in three years from now and take a course, sure, all good, do your thing.”
So I feel having an abundance mindset is really important and kind of knowing that what’s meant for you will come and will stick. And remembering to kind of, I feel giving good content is really important to building up that audience and building up sort of a brand where people really can trust you and look at you through the lens of, “This person can really support me or serve me, or they’re giving very practical, good advice that’s helping me with my stage of where I’m at. They feel me, they understand me, they see me, they’re somebody I could turn to for help and trust.” And if they’ve loved your free content, they will turn into paid customers because they’re, “Well, if this stuff was free, this is really good. Well, what’s the paid stuff like?”

Jessmyn:
Oh, I like that. So I guess, you talked about knowing your numbers, and does that tie in to your business, your core business now when you’re, okay, here’s maybe the goal I want to reach in terms of my income, here’s what I want to get out of this? Does that go into that, or how do you figure out, okay, this is worth it to continue what I’m doing?

Kelly:
I always, if I have revenue goals, I reverse engineer those to see, okay, if I want to have, say for easy math, 10 students in my course, how many people need to be on a webinar? Because I know my webinars are going to convert at a certain rate. If I have 100 people sign up, three to 5% are actually going to turn into purchases. So if I need 10 purchases, I need almost 200 people to sign up. And if I need 200 signups, how am I going to get enough people to sign up? What have I done in the past to get the signups? What was working well? And essentially just continuing to do enough marketing to get 200 people to sign up because I know my numbers will trickle out into the desired, roughly 10 students.
So kind of working backwards is always really helpful or knowing if I really want to get to private clients, it’s, okay, well, if I want to private clients, I need to do eight [inaudible 00:37:27] calls. So how can I get eight people on the phone? So I’ve always, whenever I’m trying to hit income goals, or student goals of enrollments, I always just try to reverse engineer those numbers. In terms of knowing if it’s working, I mean, I’m at a point where I know my numbers and I know what converts and I know what my numbers look like. I think when you’re starting only you really know if you are really on the mark. And I mean, I’m not saying this just because I work as a business coach, but having somebody else kind of look at your stuff is super helpful and key because when you don’t know your blind spots and it’s really hard. And I’ve been very lucky over the years to have very, very good mentors who I’ve sought out and paid for, and paying a lot of money to work with.
But them telling me things gave me feedback that was so key and so important for me to know. So if things aren’t converting is don’t continue to just hammer it out and try and try and try, because sometimes it’s just a couple of quick tweaks to fix it and you can move along your merry way, but it’s having somebody who knows what those couple of quick tweaks are to make, gives you that input to move forward, which is really important when you’re stuck at that moment of friction.

Jessmyn:
I like that. And how do you come up with, I guess eventually it’s a lot of trial and error, but how do you come up with, okay, I want 10 students in this course, for example?

Kelly:
I mean, those are just come down to numbers. So it’s if I’m, okay, if I want a six figure year, what do I need to sell? How many courses of this do I need to sell? How many courses of that? How many private intensive clients? How many people need to signup for membership? I kind of do the numbers at the start of the year of, okay, what feels realistic that I can aim for? How many students and what does that look like? So I’ll kind of trickle back and kind of look at it like that. But that being said, I mean, I’m at a bit of a different stage in my business now where I’m looking to do kind of a whole new chapter of my book coming out this year and sort of pivoting into other things. Now I kind of get opportunities for speaking engagements and sort of this new tier.
So it’s I’m also open to the window of possibilities of what other cool stuff is out there, or other income streams that are just different. Book royalties is a whole other beast. I mean, it’s a whole nother thing. But it’s also taking into account the unexpected and the miracles. And the cool things you can never really expect or prepare or imagine, and allowing those to kind of come into your life too. Because I’ve kind of, I feel I’m starting to turn the corner where I’m starting to get cool opportunities that are paid and something I was never setting out to originally do, but I’m, I will totally take that because that’s awesome.

Jessmyn:
I think this came up because I mean, we get a lot of questions about growth and mostly in particular to their quiz, but all I really know to answer is just it kind of depends on how you want to grow, right? And what does growth mean to you? What does that look like? And so in your case, I love that you’re so focused that it’s, hey, growth for me might look different than somebody who’s, I need 10,000 people on my email list.

Kelly:
Totally.

Jessmyn:
That looks a little bit different, but it’s still growth.

Kelly:
Actually yesterday I was doing a psychic reading with this intuitive. I was just asking her for her perspective on this new pivot I’m looking to make. But she was actually asking me, she’s like, “One of the questions I keep getting to give you is, Kelly, what does success look like for you now versus what it looked for you three, two or three years ago?” Because I feel two or three years ago success would have been, oh, I need to hit six figures. I need to make a certain amount, get a certain amount of students. And I feel when I… Literally last night I rewrote my definition of success and what that meant. And it was just there’s certain things, but I was just really surprised because it was just different. It was stuff like, I want to be able to own home and be financially comfortable enough where I can go to Hawaii, two, three times a year and get all my groceries at Whole Foods, and live my life and have lots of freedom and space and time. I want to feel I’m making an impact and I’m helping people, and that I’m being well compensated, but I’m also helping.
And there really wasn’t any hard numbers attached to it or number of students. And I feel I’ve kind of evolved out of that phase. It’s important to still do the numbers and I do the numbers still, but kind of knowing that, what does that really look like? What do you really want? What is your soul really calling you towards or what is that really deeper inkling or desire that you have? And kind of honoring that and looking at that, and then not be your guiding metric of success versus just numbers and am I hitting sales goals? Because that kind of gets, once you’ve been doing it for a while, it kind of gets boring and then you’re, “Okay, I’m onto my next thing. I’m ready for my 2.0 level or something more fulfilling or more deep.” Because in the beginning it is fun to like get your sales and get that going, but once you do kind of hit it, you’re, “Okay, I kind of want something more, something different, something more as heartfelt.”

Jessmyn:
And what’s the next step? What’s my next challenge, right? What else can I do? No, I think that’s great. Do you, I guess, is this something that you go through often where you have a specific, maybe not specific, but you have a method or a timeline of, okay, next year I’m going to revisit and do another reflection and what this will look like? Just how often, or do you even do that or does it just kind of come to you?

Kelly:
I feel I kind of try to tap in whenever I get really stuck and whenever I hit the wall, which sometimes that’s twice a year, sometimes that’s once a year, sometimes it’s… Lately it’s been almost every other month. Just especially when you’re upleveling, I feel the universe gives you many opportunities to grow and challenge yourself and be thrown into the new level. And sometimes that’s not always easy. So I feel whenever I hit walls, I try to go back to things that have really kind of brought me home. One book I always love is Danielle LaPorte’s, The Desire Map, because that really has always helped me get clear on what exactly do I want and what am I really looking for? Because she is all about figuring out your core desired feelings. And it’s figuring out words that you’re trying to embody. So for me it’s freedom.
And it’s not actually trying to hit seven figures. It’s I’m trying to get freedom, that’s what I want, to feel free or to have an easy life, that’s what I really want. So sometimes just knowing those things and regrouping and coming back home is really helpful. But I also like to get clear. One of the things that’s really helped me in my journey is human design, which is a cousin to astrology. And it’s kind of a niche interest, but there’s different energy types, and I am a generator. And generators hit… They’re like kind of the worker bees in the society and they are supposed to do work that lights them up. And 70% of people are generators, but they also hit kind of plateaus in their journey of mastery and getting better over time.
So sometimes I know when I’m in that plateau and it just feels I’m in a plateau. And when I can I get that feeling of I’m hitting the wall, that’s when I kind of come back and call my therapist, read my books that bring me support, do journal prompts, do do that kind of work and kind of come back to myself in order to kind of make that next level up.

Jessmyn:
Is there any time when you do hit these walls that you’re just, “I’m going to quit. I don’t know if I want to do this anymore.”

Kelly:
Oh, yeah. I have had that feeling a lot. I remember specifically, I think it was year two or year three, I would cry a lot and I would cry to my previous partner, and I would just bawl my eyes out because it was hard or it was really challenging. And I always, and this is the final chapter of my book too, it’s remembering that you have your genius for reason, and no matter how hard it gets or how many rejections you’re getting or how difficult the path is, there’s really somebody out there that needs what you have to offer and needs your gifts and needs that. And I feel it’s really helpful to kind of take the emphasis off you and putting it on somebody else and remembering to keep going because somebody needs needs it and somebody needs that support.
So I definitely hit walls where I want to quit. I mean, I’m in a phase where I’m literally looking to pivot and switch things up and kind of go for my next evolution. But I definitely know what it’s like to hit that wall. And I mean, I also have quit, I’ve quit three businesses. So I think there’s a fine line of knowing when it’s actually time to quit and when you’re, “I actually love this so much. I don’t want to quit. I’m going to keep trying.” But I feel only you know from your intuitive senses if you’re really ready to quit or if you’re, you know what, maybe tomorrow I could maybe try one more time. Because that’s always been the case for me in this fourth business. It’s always been, yep, I’m crying all night and I’m like really upset and I’m going to just watch a ton of Netflix, but you know what, tomorrow I’m going to feel a little bit better, and I think maybe I’m going to need one more try for one more day and see how it goes.

Jessmyn:
I think though, that’s why it’s so important to really reflect on what you want and what you want to get out of this, what the outcome is going to be, or what you want it to be. And like you said, knowing yourself, because then your gut feeling will tell you, right? Okay, tomorrow is a new day versus tomorrow is going to be a new day for something else, not this one. So I think that’s why it’s so important. And I just kind of love that you touched on all of that and you still work through it with a lot of stuff in your business. I think that’s awesome.

Kelly:
Thanks. Well, it’s good on the other side. I mean, in the moment it’s totally terrible.

Jessmyn:
Oh, yeah. Yeah. I’m sure.

Kelly:
Yeah.

Jessmyn:
I’m sure. But I think too, I don’t know. It’s just when you have your own business, you also have to expect that there’s going to be days like that.

Kelly:
Oh, yeah.

Jessmyn:
And you just have to remember, okay, I knew this would come at some point, but what’s my next step? What do I want to do from here?

Kelly:
Totally. And I feel if it’s not happening, it’s a sign that you’re not really pushing after your goals and getting what you really want. I feel failure, I don’t know who said it, but it’s something like, “Failure and success are not opposite sides of the coin, they’re the same freaking coin.” And if you really want something, you will fail first. And it’s just getting, I think really comfortable with failure and just sort of… I felt I got to know those rock bottoms so clearly, but now I’m, okay, rock bottom sure, bring it. I can do. I’ve done rock bottoms a million times I feel with this business and I’m, any rock bottom that comes, I can handle it because I’ve had really, really, really, really bad rock bottoms or was very close to, I’m, “Oh my God, do I have to file for bankruptcy?”
I lost an apartment at one time, having to move back home with my parents’ house after my start-ups. I feel I’ve been handed so many things where I’m anything… Whenever you do have a rock bottom, the other side usually has so much growth and what you really want. So it’s also now I feel when I hit those rock bottoms, I’m, okay, I have a certain level of trust that I can make it to the other side and it’s actually going to be okay because I’ve been here so many times before.

Jessmyn:
A lot of what I’m hearing you say, well, not really saying, but from what you are saying, what I hear is your perspective has a lot to do with making that next step or figuring out what that next step is. And just kind of staying positive about it and looking at the positive side versus just, oh my gosh, this sucks and it’s not going anywhere, and not psyching yourself out pretty much.

Kelly:
Totally. I feel mindset is such a key part because it’s you kind of only have two options, make the best of it or give into it. And I feel it kind of comes down to just sort of picking the right mindset and having the right perspective on it and being okay with it. And I think entrepreneurship is not for everybody and I feel it’s very sexy and glamorized, but it’s sometimes I do get students or clients that are… Sometimes I have to be, “I don’t know if you’re cut out for this or I don’t know if this… Your genius might be actually better in a corporate job and that’s totally fine.” It does take a certain amount of pressure and it takes a certain… There is that. And I feel that is a huge part of the process. So it’s kind of also knowing what you’re signing up for. And it’s if you’re asking for big things, you will be given opportunities to grow. So it’s do you want those or not? Or would you prefer doing something else?

Jessmyn:
Yeah. And is it even the right time? Is it in a few years, is something you want to do right now? That’s good advice. I think that I’m sure a lot of people are either going through that or they have gone through that and they’re, “Oh yeah, I remember that. I remember that part.” I have heard a lot of stories though, where people did take breaks and they were, “I went back to a full-time job and kind of worked on this on the side.” And if it is something that is meant to be, then it will, at some point happen.

Kelly:
I totally agree. I feel it’s individual to everybody in their journey and it’s sort of what feels good for you and what feels right for you? And there’s no right answer or wrong answer, and just sort of trusting that it’s all going to kind of make sense, one day everything will go for you.

Jessmyn:
I love that. I love that. Well, that’s all the questions that I had. Do you have any last minute, I guess, things that you went through that are really critical part of your story?

Kelly:
I feel like we touched on some of the big ones. I mean, I feel the most important thing that I’ve really learned over the years is to really trust my intuition and listen, especially when other people want certain things for you or you think you want something, but really listening to your intuition and your heart and your gut, because that keeps you really on the right path for your specific life and your destiny. And I feel that’s just been a key thing that I’ve really had to learn. I mean, I really feel I’ve dipped my toes into the spiritual world, or the [inaudible 00:51:56] world. But I came from such a structured business school background. This was all brand new. But these were skills that nobody taught me that I really had to learn on my own.
What does it look like to trust yourself or follow what feels good for you? And that is more important in my opinion than what makes sense on a chart or what looks good in a graph chart, or what makes sense in a spreadsheet, but what feels good for you and trusting that because it can be hard to listen to that and fall through on it.

Jessmyn:
That’s so true. I remember in school it was all about, here’s how you do this, here’s how you do that, and here’s the strategy for this, here’s why this number works and all of that. And I love that you say [inaudible 00:52:34] world.

Kelly:
I feel I’m like really, I don’t know. Some people are, “Oh, astrology is kind of weird.” I’m really into it.

Jessmyn:
I’m so into it. I’m not even going to lie. I think, I don’t know. Who knows what’s real and what’s not? But I think energies definitely plays a part in your everyday life, right?

Kelly:
Totally.

Jessmyn:
No, yeah. I’m totally into it if in case anyone wanted to know. So I have a couple of last minute questions and really just to kind of get to know you a little bit better as a person. So what are three things that most people wouldn’t know about you?

Kelly:
Oh, that’s such a fun question. I would say I love savory foods. I love savory foods a lot and I’m more savory than sweet. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I really crave salt, chips, or pickles, or olives, I love that. I have a scar on my knee and it sounds really fun, but I only have one big scar and it was from riding a motorcycle, but it wasn’t even that bad-ass because it was a stationary motorcycle and it was at this media event when I was an intern at a magazine. And you had to sit on the Harley Davidson and take a picture, but it was running. And my knee hit this pipe and I got a really bad second degree burns. So I just scar on my knee from that. So it sounds bad-ass that I got the scar from a motorcycle, but I just sat on it, and there was a really pathetic story.

Jessmyn:
That’s still kind of bad-ass. [inaudible 00:54:06] of the motorcycle part.

Kelly:
Totally. Other cool fun fact about me, I feel like I get so many downloads as I would call them, when I’m really by the ocean. For me, that’s my place. And it’s if I want new ideas or need to really think about my life and figure something out, I just go to the ocean and I feel the answers will come to me.

Jessmyn:
That’s really interesting, you have a spot pretty much.

Kelly:
Yeah. And it can take different forms. I mean, I prefer ideally Hawaii and no phone, but even if I’m, I mean, Vancouver, Canada, so the ocean’s right there, but it’s if I go down to the ocean or the sea wall, or just knowing that, I guess, I just know that that works for me. So it’s if you know that there’s something that works for you that can give you consistent space and openness, use it.

Jessmyn:
And it can even be in your own bedroom, just kind of creating that environment, right, where this is how ideas come to you or this is how you really work through problems and stuff like that. No. I think that’s so true. You can also, I got really into ocean sounds in the last year. I mean, I love being at the ocean, but for me it’s not that easily accessible. And in the Bay Area the ocean here is very cold. For me, [inaudible 00:55:28], I don’t know if other people feel the same way, but the beach is pretty cold up here. But I got really an ocean zones and it’s a very specific ocean sound. I can’t really describe what it is, but that’s what I use to create an environment for myself where I’m just, I need to relax and calm down. Can’t do river sounds.

Kelly:
They’re not the same. I actually know what you mean.

Jessmyn:
Yeah, they are not. They’re not the same. I had a question that I wanted to ask you based off of your first fun fact, what was it again?

Kelly:
Oh, the salty foods.

Jessmyn:
Oh my gosh. It wasn’t a question, but I recently did one of those genetic tests.

Kelly:
Oh, like 23 and me and stuff?

Jessmyn:
Yeah, I did 23 and me, and it said that’s stuff that’s in your genes.

Kelly:
Oh, interesting.

Jessmyn:
Because I love salt too, which sounds so bad when they say it.

Kelly:
I know.

Jessmyn:
I like really high sodium one day probably.

Kelly:
I have like probably extremely high sodium. So my mom’s like, “You got to stop eating so much salt.” And I’m, [inaudible 00:56:35].

Jessmyn:
You should be drinking water.

Kelly:
Yeah.

Jessmyn:
But that was something that was in there and I was, “Oh, that’s really interesting that that’s a gene trait that you prefer more salty foods.

Kelly:
Oh, fascinating.

Jessmyn:
And it predicts, not really predict, but says you probably have a high sodium or will at some point in your life. I thought that was funny.

Kelly:
Yeah, that’s funny.

Jessmyn:
Right. Okay. So the last thing that I have for you is if you could go see yourself back at the start of it all, what’s a single piece of advice that you would say?

Kelly:
Oh my gosh, I’d probably just say, keep going. I doubted myself a ton and I was like, “Oh, can I do this? Will I ever get there?” I would probably be, “You’re going to be totally fine and you’re going to go exactly where you want to go. And it can be even better than you could ever expect, or prepare, or imagine. And you’re going to get what you want, but it’s going to be in a really different way than you thought.” I really thought I was going to be literally the next Gwyneth Paltrow with my health blog. And I thought I was going to have a cookbook, a plant-based like vegan gluten-free cookbook. And I literally thought that that was going to be my destiny and my thing. And Nope, we’re writing a book on how to find your genius, and now I work as a business coach. So it’s being open and I’d say, you’re going to get what you want, but it’s going to come in a different package.

Jessmyn:
I love that. I like that a lot. That’s awesome. All right, Kelly. Well, thank you so much for being on here with me today.

Kelly:
Thank you for having me, Jessmyn. This was such a pleasure. You asked great questions. You’re such a good interviewer.

Jessmyn:
Oh, thank you. Not to toot my own horn out there, but I’m just kidding. Thank you so much for being here. This was really, honestly just so inspiring and I love talking with you. Can’t wait for everyone else to hear it.

Kelly:
Thanks, me too. Me too.

Jessmyn:
Of course. All right guys. Oh, last thing before I forget, I always forget this question. Where can people find you online?

Kelly:
At kellytrach.com. So it’s T-R-A-C-H is my last name. And there you can take my very popular quiz I made with Interact called What’s Your Genius. You’ll see it on the website, it’ll come up as a pop-up.

Jessmyn:
Awesome. All right, guys. Well, thanks again for listening and we’ll see you next time.

Kelly:
Bye.

Jessmyn:
Bye-bye.

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