E2A 029: Starting and Building an Online Business with Kelsey Reidl – and doing it with content creation at the core 

 May 10, 2022

By  Scott A. MacMillan

Many 9-to-5’ers have a dream. A dream of quitting the rat-race…building their own empire…charting their own course.

Is it a pipe dream?

Of course not!

In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host Scott MacMillan talks with creative marketer, business coach and passionate adventurer Kelsey Reidl about what you need to focus on out of the gate, and also about the role that books, podcasts, and all types of content play in building your authority, whether your new to the game, or a long-time veteran.

GUEST BIO: Kelsey Reidl

With over 10 years of experience working in marketing roles for some of Canada’s top health food brands and now in her own marketing consultancy, Kelsey has been part of the massive evolution of the marketing industry. She has seen first-hand how businesses can find success using the innovative online strategies of today, while ensuring never to ignore the time-honoured principles that continue to prove their effectiveness in growing an audience and increasing revenue. Using creative strategies to connect with customers and to deliver an unparalleled experience, Kelsey is passionate about encouraging business owners to develop a stand-out marketing strategy that puts them in a league of their own. Kelsey lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and rescue pup, Abby. She loves to explore the world in search of the best coffee shops, the most stunning nature, and the wildest experiences (sleeping in the Sahara Desert and heli-skiing are her best memories!)



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Episode Transcript

Please note: The transcript is produced by a third party company from an audio recording and may include transcription errors.

Scott A. MacMillan:       

You're listening to The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, episode 29.

Mike Manz:                  

Welcome to The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business. And now here's your host, Scott MacMillan.

Scott A. MacMillan:      

Many nine to fivers, have a dream. A dream of quitting the rat race. Building their own empire. Charting their own course. Is it a pipe dream? Of course not. People do it every day, perhaps no more so than through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Great Resignation, as it's been dubbed.

I speak from experience. I left my corporate gig for more freedom and more upside potential. For the possibility of building something meaningful, a legacy. And today's guest did the same thing, but she's taken that to a whole other level. She now coaches others in how to take the entrepreneurial plunge and make it stick.

We talk about what you need to focus on out of the gate and also about the role that books, podcasts, and all types of content play, in building your authority, whether you're new to the game or a longtime veteran. So, get ready to dive in and take that plunge, in this addition of Entrepreneur To Author.

Scott A. MacMillan:     

I'm super excited to have fellow podcaster and entrepreneur Kelsey Reidl joining me today. Kelsey is a creative marketer, business coach and passionate adventure. She's got more than a decade of experience working in marketing roles for some of Canada's top health food brands, but now in her own marketing consultancy, Kelsey uses creative strategies to connect with customers and deliver an unparalleled experience. And she's also the host of the exceedingly interesting and long-lived Visionary Life Podcast, where she shares marketing and entrepreneurship insights and speaks with some of Canada's most interesting and inspiring entrepreneurs.

Kelsey, thanks so much for joining us today. Welcome to Entrepreneur To Author.

Kelsey Reidl:     

Thank you so much for having me, Scott. I am beyond excited for this conversation.

Scott A. MacMillan:     

Oh, this is great. Well, listen, I'd love to start Kelsey, by having you share a little bit more about what you do in your business and who you work with because you've built this really amazing, multi-platform, multi-pronged brand and community, and I think it would be really helpful context for our listeners to get a clear picture of how all of that knits together.

Kelsey Reidl:     

Absolutely. Okay. So I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible. As you know, it's like, there's so many pieces that come into play when I'm reflecting back on how I got to where I am today. But essentially for as long as I've lived, I've been very motivated among my peers. I love community. I love being around people and making a difference in people's lives.

So, I actually went to school, went to university for human resources, and I came to my graduation point, four years of hard work, graduated as an HR specialist and the thought of sitting in an office, doing that type of work for the rest of my life, it just didn't sit that well with me. And I thought, "I don't think this is who I am or what I'm meant to do."

So I did what a lot of 20 somethings do when they feel confused and unsure of their next steps and I took off and I traveled the world and I found work in Switzerland. I became a camp counselor and eventually a camp director and I really started to learn who I was. I really started to uncover my passion for adventure.

As you mentioned in the intro, and just for like an unconventional life. I never wanted to work nine to five and I always wanted just new challenges each day. I wanted to be around new people every single day. So eventually that time traveling, it came to an end and I thought, it's time to go home now. Got home, started to reintegrate into what society wants you to do and I was like, okay, I'll just go get the real job now.

I spent about 10 years working in marketing for a lot of Canada's top health food companies and I really loved it because I personally have an interest in health, wellbeing, and I got to be putting together marketing plans for these brands that I truly believed in.

I dabbled in experiential marketing, where I was creating events. Community marketing, where I was getting out into the city of Toronto at the time, meeting practitioners and people who we could partner with. I was doing digital marketing and social media marketing, at the rise of Instagram and Facebook, right when it came to be and that was really exciting too. But I hit my breaking point in the corporate world. I would sit in on all these meetings and I would have these great ideas for how we could grow the brand and if anyone has worked in the corporate world, they probably know that you're often met with, "Yeah, maybe one day." Or, "That'll never happen in this company." Or, "We just don't have the resources for that." And after my boss told me that for like the 985th time, I was like, that's it. I got to go out on my own because I have these great ideas. I know I can make this company more money, but if I'm being met with that resistance, I think maybe I need to launch some sort of freelance business.

So using my connections, starting to get out there, I launched my very first freelance business and it kind of turned into a marketing agency of sorts. And so I became an entrepreneur and I had to figure out, okay, how am I going to make this work, make a full-time income? And really start to bring all of my skills together and package them up, so that I could offer them to various clients, without burning out.

So essentially that brings me to where I am today. I still do a lot of marketing consulting for small to medium size businesses in that process. I also accidentally launched a personal brand. I loved connecting with other entrepreneurs. I loved talking about business and marketing and social media, so I launched my own platform and now that includes the podcast as well. So basically some days I have back-to-back appointments on Zoom, where I'm coaching people. I'm building their marketing strategy. Some days I am creating content and activating brand partnerships, maybe for a company like Lead Pages or for Canva. I'm promoting their products. And other days, I like to take the day off and go paddle boarding down the river because adventure is still in my soul and that is what truly fuels me to wake up every day and create epic marketing campaigns for my clients.

Scott A. MacMillan:     

That's wonderful. I love hearing origin stories of how people got into entrepreneurship, because like you, I spent decades in corporate and it's such a different pace and the skill sets that you have to bring to bear, are so much more diverse, right? And broader when you are running the entire show, right? You can't just specialize in your one area, in your one niche, and then bring in all the help from everywhere else in the organization.

But you know, with people like yourself coaching, that can really plug a lot of those gaps that you might otherwise have. And in fact, although many of our lessons are well into their entrepreneurship journey, I know that there are many others who are either very early. Maybe they've just launched or they might even be pre-launch. Perhaps they're working a nine to five job, like you were, like I was and planning their escape, so to speak.

For those folks who are just starting out, of all of the things that they could be thinking about, it can be a little bit overwhelming, so what would you suggest that they really focus on out of the gate?

Kelsey Reidl:     

Oh goodness. It is a really hard transition, especially if you're coming from the corporate world and now you're launching your own freelance business or launching a company or stepping into a brand new role. Change is really hard and finding a new routine where you are going to thrive, is equally as challenging.  

So I would say the biggest tip that I have, and this is what worked for me, so I'll caveat with that, was to get around people who are at the similar stage as you and who are equally as motivated. So for me, that looked like joining a co-working space in Toronto. I looked around when I started my freelance business and was creating this marketing agency and I didn't really have a lot of examples in my life. I didn't have a lot of friends or family who were entrepreneurs and a lot of my friends, they like to get together and just complain about their jobs and that doesn't really work. When you're a business owner, you love your job. You don't have much to complain about, even though it's hard, but you need to be around visionaries. You need to be around people who are like, "Hey, did you know you could launch this type of product?" Or, "You have a limit on yourself. Why don't you go this way and make more money?" You want to be around people who are going to really fuel you and push you to be better.

So for me, that looked like joining a co-working space, where every single day, I kind of treated it like a nine to five job, but I just chose whatever six to eight hour window I wanted and I would show up at the co-working space. I would make a point to chat with at least two or three other entrepreneurs. I would go to their events. They always had workshops or we would do meditation over the lunch hour, so I felt part of a community and so that I didn't feel alone. Because when you step into entrepreneurship, there is this resounding feeling of nobody understands me or I'm the only one of my kind. But the truth is, you just need to get around those others who think the same way you do.

So, whether it's an in-person co-working space, there's so many virtual options these days, or just start figuring out who are the entrepreneurs in your community and plan something like a once monthly entrepreneur's hike. Do it on a Thursday night at 4:00 PM and get the business owners to come out of their shell, so that you don't feel like you're in this by yourself, even if you are a solo entrepreneur.

Scott A. MacMillan:     

Oh, that's a really good, really good tip. There's those two components of being around people that have similar goals and aspirations. But I also really like what you said about exposing yourself to people who've been where you're going and giving you that vision of what's possible because when we're first starting out, we don't really, we don't often know what's possible and so I think that's a really important tidbit. So, thank you for that.

I'd love to shift a little bit and talk about the podcast if we could, because I think there are some important parallels between being a published author and hosting a podcast, in that both when done well, can elevate you above your competition, positioning you as an expert authority. So the Visionary Life Podcast is just kicking off its ninth season and that's pretty incredible.

Can you take us back to when you launched the pod and what were you trying to accomplish with it, both for your audience and as importantly, for you as the business owner.

Kelsey Reidl:     

Yeah. So I'll start with kind of personally why I did it. Like I said, I felt lonely from day one. The moment I left the corporate world and was on my own, I was like, "Whoa, this is going to be a really scary journey if I'm just sitting by myself in a home office all day."

So in addition to getting out and joining a co-working space, I also launched the podcast as a way to meet with and connect with other Canadian entrepreneurs and that's who we focus on. I saw it as a way to be able to have a chunk of somebody's time and also just to have practice and exposure with being curious, because I think that curiosity is one of the most important traits as a business owner. Because when you don't know someone, or if you don't know something, you could ask someone who's already done it and they could literally give you the key to the kingdom. So, I think curiosity is a really important trait.

So personally, I did it to grow my network and to meet cool people. Professionally though, there was definitely some strategy behind it. I do believe in this philosophy that life gives to the giver. So the more you give, and that's not my quote. That's Joe Polish. But the more you give, the more life gives to you. And I guess said another way, it's that a rising tide lifts all ships. I really do believe there's enough to go around, so I did have a couple people challenge me saying, "Well, why are you supporting their businesses and continually promoting other people. And you're not really talking about yourself that much?"

But I think that by shining a spotlight on others, it reflects back on you, in a way. So I knew that strategically it would be a great way for me to be introduced to other audiences. Just think when you feature someone on your podcast, if they enjoyed their experience, they're going to promote that podcast to their network. So all of a sudden your content is being distributed through this other network that you otherwise never would've had access to.

The cool thing is, my social media platforms, my email list, has grown steadily for the last five years because other people are always promoting me because I'm spotlighting them. I'm taking a lot of time and energy in my week to raise them up, which in turn, kind of raises me up. So, that would be a little bit of the strategic motive behind it.

Scott A. MacMillan:     

Very good. Well thank you for sharing that.

Now in your business, you've created and continue to create, a ton of really useful content from articles to the podcast, to YouTube videos, downloadable resources, social media posts, and the list goes on. That level of production can feel daunting and unattainable for many business owners.

Now I talk a lot about how you can use a book as your master content asset and use it to build out a battery of multi-platform content assets. But of course, it can also work in the other direction.

Could you talk a little bit about how you approach planning and production of your content? Are you literally a super human being or is there something else going on here?

Kelsey Reidl:     

Yeah, so I'm definitely not super human, most days. Some days I feel like it, when I have enough coffee, but we'll leave that for another conversation.

I like to practice the One and Five Methods. This is super simple. Anyone can do it. Every single week, you should be creating some type of long form content, so that's the one. So for me, it's a podcast. I show up every single week, record a podcast, whether it's solo or with a guest, and I have a transcript out of that. I have an associated blog post.

The five, so the One and Five Method, is that I distribute that content. So I take the long form and distribute it in five different, unique ways. So that means I might tell a story about the guest and post it on LinkedIn and send people to the associated blog post. I might grab my phone and pull up Instagram stories and do some sort of talking head saying, "Oh my gosh, I just wrapped up this interview with Scott. It was amazing. We talked about X, Y, and Z. This is something that I also do with my clients. Here's the link to the podcast." So that would be a second way. Third way, I'm going on Facebook. Fourth way, I'm probably sending it out in an email campaign in the future. And fifth, I'll find another platform to share it on or maybe my guest is distributing it, so that would be the fifth way.

So all I've had to do is show up, one hour of content. So that could be the podcast. For you it might be a blog post that you write once a week. It might be an email newsletter. You might be a YouTuber. Great. Just figure out what is that standing date you have for long form content and then share it in five unique ways. And that could be the same five ways, every single week. So, one in five. And if you have more than five, great. If you only have three, that's a good start too. But this ensures that you're not continually thinking, "I have to reinvent the wheel again today." No. One piece of content, distribute five different ways, and just add a different flare to it on each platform.

Scott A. MacMillan:     

Now, given what you do and your expertise in marketing, my listeners would not forgive me if I didn't ask you for some real, practical, creative advice for promoting your book launch.

So what should entrepreneur authors be doing, in your mind, on the marketing front?

Kelsey Reidl:     

Okay. I have maybe two or three really important tips here because I have worked with a lot of authors and I've seen these in practice. So the first one kind of reflects on what I said earlier and it's called The Piggyback Principle. Piggyback on other people's audiences. So, you could try for months, years, to build your platform but at the end of the day, it's really hard to get people into your world, to follow you on Instagram, to join your email list. But, there's a faster way. The piggyback Principle is identifying, "Okay, who already has an audience?" For example, you might have a colleague in the industry who has a similar target market to you. So what you're going to do is you are going to ask them to shout about your book in their newsletter, or you're going to ask them to shout about your book on their Instagram.

They already have a captive audience of people built up and if you think that their audience would love the book that you just wrote, you're going to send them a super nice email. You're going to film them a video and say, "Hey, Scott. As you know, I've spent the last two years working on this book. I would love to just jump on a quick call with you and see if there's anything we can do to promote it." Or, just connect with them and say, "Hey, Scott. What have you been up to? Would love to sit down and grab coffee." It doesn't always have to be this pitch. You need to be friendly, in order for people to want to shout about you.

I would say Piggyback Principle is one really important thing to consider, that so often we avoid it because we don't like asking people for help. But if your friend has an email list of 200,000 people, you would be remiss not to ask them to shout about your book. So, do it. Try to get those shameless plugs in there and just be a authentic human being when you're asking for those types of partnerships, because of course it's a sensitive topic that you don't want to just be spammy on somebody else's platform.

The second thing I would say is going back to my roots of community and experiential marketing. So experiential marketing is really a strategy that captures the attention of your dream readers and rather than trying to sell them on the book, you're actually just inviting them into an experience. So, if you hate sales, you don't have to be salesy. People buy things when they're in the right state. And when you have a positive experience, you're flooded with emotions of, "Oh, I really like this person." "Oh my gosh. I can feel myself transforming." You're looking at something. You're smelling something. You're stimulated in a different way and all of a sudden you are primed to probably want to go buy that book anyways.

So, can you create some sort of community book club? That's a great experience. Can you do an online masterclass that just gives people a really great framework that is associated with your book? Can you gather people together? Give them a sample. Let them test drive your book and then naturally the law of reciprocity, when they attend something or they try a sample, chances are they're going to be okay with pulling out their credit card and purchasing your book. So, really think, what is the best way for somebody to experience your magic, that would lead them in perfectly to wanting to buy your book.

Scott A. MacMillan:     

I love that. That's really great. In some ways, it goes back to that what I think a lot of authors have, it's gone by the wayside a little bit. The idea of a in-person book launch, bringing people together in the same environment. Especially with the pandemic, everything went online and I think it's a real great opportunity to stand out by bringing back live, in-person, in a safe way and I'm happy that we're getting back to the point where that's looking more and more feasible.

Kelsey Reidl:     


Scott A. MacMillan:    

That wonderful. Thank you so much for that, Kelsey.

Lastly, I just... Where should people go if they want to learn more about you and understand how you might be able to help them, particularly if they're new entrepreneurship and really need that guidance of somebody who's been through it, has seen it all and can really help guide them in the direction they need to go?

Kelsey Reidl:     

Yeah. Well, I'm assuming if they are listening to this podcast that they are podcast lovers, so you can find me over at the Visionary Life Podcast. We interview Canadian entrepreneurs and Scott is going to soon be featured as a guest, so probably by the time this is up, you can go listen to our show together. And then the other place I'm really active is on Instagram. I'm just @KelseyReidl. So, that's Kelsey Reidl.

Scott A. MacMillan:

Wonderful. We'll get those links into the show notes so that it's easy for people to access.

Kelsey, that's fantastic. Thank you so much. You've really demonstrated how a creative approach to marketing can help you and your book stand out from the crowd. It's been a real honor and a pleasure talking with you today. I'm super grateful that you took the time to be with us, so thank you for that.

Kelsey Reidl:     

Thank you, Scott.

Scott A. MacMillan:    

It's so inspiring to see entrepreneurs like Kelsey, who are killing it with content, and we can learn a ton about how to market ourselves as entrepreneurs and to promote our books from someone with Kelsey's marketing chops.

So as we wrap up this episode of Entrepreneur to Author, remember this, a great way to expand your reach beyond your current footprint is to piggyback the audiences of others, serving a similar niche. Seek these people out and find creative ways to partner with them, creating value for them and for their audience.

And don't forget about community and experiential marketing. It's tempting to focus all your efforts on online and digital marketing, but many people crave in-person events and if you give them an unforgettable experience, they'll become raving fans.

Now is the time. Time to write, time to publish, and time to grow. I'm Scott MacMillan. Until next time.

Scott A. MacMillan

Scott A. MacMillan is a speaker, international best-selling author, entrepreneur, and the President and Executive Publisher at Grammar Factory Publishing. He and his team help expert entrepreneurs write and publish books that build their authority and grow their business.

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