Kelly McCausey, Owner of Solo Smarts
Person before the “launching point”
She was broke, a single mom with an 11-year-old son. Had run an in-home day care for several years. Transitioned into a regular job at her church where they couldn’t afford to pay her very much. Her phone would get shut off one week and the gas the next. She was feeling really hopeless.
She just wanted to pay her bills. People were coming to her for help for things like graduation announcements and wedding invitations because she did desktop publishing at the church office. One lady that she did some wedding invitations for suggested that she charge for it. Another suggested it would be a good side business. So, she set up a website and started getting the word out. Never actually got a single desktop publishing client, but people started asking how she created her website and quickly shifted to web publishing. She didn’t consider herself an entrepreneur, she was just trying to make some extra money.
Obstacles preventing from launching
Her own mindset. She couldn’t imagine giving up the regular paycheck. She felt like if she said this was a business, it would jeopardize her day job. She was really deep in debt from a divorce years before. She had never tried to get out of debt. A friend challenged her to stop ignoring it. She used to throw bills away. Her mindset changed when her debt was finally gone and her bank account was growing. She started making more from her side job than her day job.
First entrepreneurial venture and courage to launch
Early on she was absolutely financially driven. She came across a work at home moms forum and she fell in love with it. She started an internet radio show where she interviewed other work at home moms about what they were doing to make money from home that eventually turned into a podcast. Serving that community is what kept her going forward.
When she started the internet radio show, she was particularly nervous about it. It felt like she was stepping up into a position of authority when she had no foundation for it. She approached it as an enthusiast, not an expert. She would have this fear that someone was going to call her out and realize that she was a farce. To a certain extent, she stills feels like that.
Impact of entrepreneurship on personal life
Being a single mom, she had some advantages and disadvantages. She was very conscious of the fact that she didn’t want her son to always be staring at the back of her head working. Being an entrepreneur every minute was not possible for her. Every other weekend, he went to his dad’s and she could just work, work, work. She asked him how she did juggling everything and he said that sometimes it was hard to get her attention, but he knew that he was her priority. Being an online entrepreneur, her friends and family don’t understand what she’s doing. She had to find that connection with other people. It cost her some personal local friendships, but brought many more virtually that turned into in-person relationships.
When she quit the day job. She sat down and had a meeting with her boss, looked him in the eye, and told him she was quitting her job.
Present day entrepreneurial venture(s)
In 2011, she re-branded to Solo Smarts. She needs to be a part of her target market. She blogs and podcasts about the needs of solopreneurs. She creates information products and runs a membership site. She’s involved in affiliate marketing and traveling and speaking and live events.
Changes as an entrepreneur and a person
She’s never been good with money and resistant to balancing her checkbook and things like that. A coach called her out and said it was just an excuse not to grow up and manage her finances responsibly. He planted a seed that would not let her go. It’s not how she talks about herself today. She is good with money. She’s in charge of her numbers. She’s completed tasks that put her more in control.
Going back to the beginning, what would do differently
She would be confrontational with her younger self and encourage her to let go of the nonsense and excuses. She had nine years of being really broke and ignoring her debt and having a complete poverty mentality. She would have shook herself out of that mentality.
Book recommendation that embodies journey
Three actionable steps:
- Spend some time really thinking about yourself. What did you willingly, joyfully do and what did you consistently attempt to avoid. Make a list of those things and don’t build a business around the things you don’t like. Know yourself.
- Think what community you would love to serve, defend, equip, and celebrate for years to come because that’s a target market you can build a business around and be patient with at the beginning when you’re not making any money.
- Make a giant list of your community’s needs.
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