Today is an exciting episode because I get to introduce you to a brilliant woman I know you’ll be glad you listened to. Her name is Kim Kiel and she’s a brand voice expert, copy coach, and founder of the boutique copywriting agency Kim Kiel Copy. What Kim has is a true talent for capturing a client’s voice and writing elegant and persuasive copy. Today she shares insight on how to write great copy and how it can forge connections with your client base.

When we talk about copywriting, Kim first differentiates between “copywriting” and “copyrighting”. Copy refers to the words we use to sell our products or services. And a copywriter is someone who writes that copy. Kim came to copywriting through studying environmental science with a minor in communications and then working in fundraising for the nonprofit sector. She likes applying her skills to something that benefits others. Eventually, she translated that talent for writing into her own business so her abilities could assist other business owners in sharing their unique talents with a wider circle of people. 

Our discussion covers so much life-changing insight. Kim reflects on why it’s important to move away from strictly formal writing into something more casual that can build a connection. She talks about how to think about what a brand voice is, how to find yours, how to get past overthinking what to write, and why great copy, like so much in business, is about forging relationships. There is so much about Kim’s advice that touches and inspires me because she gets to the heart of what small business is about. She understands why women’s voices, in particular, need to be heard and how to say what we’re thinking.

Key Moments

01:54 What is copy and what does it do?

06:22 Why Kim believes sales is actually about service and connection

07:58 How to find your brand voice  

  • Assess how you speak in person and want to be heard in writing
  • How can we make our message stand out among 4000 other marketing messages?
  • Why copywriting prompts are so useful in getting your message out

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About Kim Kiel:

Kim is a mom of 2 Fortnight experts and wife to a gentleman who is her biggest cheerleader. Through the pandemic, they tried to become the world’s best family of ping-pong players (and failed).

For 15+ years, Kim has used words to build community, create social change and raise millions for charities and small businesses. 

Today, she primarily works with mission-driven businesses and female consultants, coaches and changemakers. Her true purpose is amplifying the voices of female leaders and changemakers so they can achieve more impact (and revenue) and still have time to travel, hang out with the kiddos, or get cozy with Brené Brown’s newest book. Kim has a knack for instantly capturing her clients’ voices. 

When combined with customer research, persuasion and sales psychology, the result is elegant copy that’s clear, delightful and conversion-optimized.

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Resources discussed in this episode:

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Contact Kim Kiel:

Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor: 

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Transcript:

Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be The Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life get stormy, and they always will, it is not up to us to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want, and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:00:37] Welcome. I’m so glad you’re here. I want to introduce you to a brilliant woman this week. Her name is Kim Kiel. She is a brand voice expert, copy coach, and founder of the boutique copywriting agency Kim Kiel Copy. With 17 plus years of writing multi six figure campaigns for small businesses and nonprofits, Kim helps Gen X entrepreneurs and experts share their gifts and positive impact with the world. She has a knack for instantly capturing a client’s voice and writing elegantly persuasive copy. When she’s not nerding out on sales psychology in her home of Edmonton, Alberta, you can find her tromping through the Canadian wilderness with her kids or continuing her quest to find her favorite whiskey. To find out more about Kim and copywriting, tune in to her podcast, Ill Communication, on your favorite player or at www.KimKiel.com/podcast. Welcome, Kim. I’m so glad to have you. 

Kim Kiel: [00:01:35] Hey, Kari. Glad to be here. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:38] All right. So I want to start off by just dispelling any myths, because I often get asked when I refer to copy, people ask me what is copy anyway? Can you give us kind of just our layman’s version? What is copy? 

Kim Kiel: [00:01:54] Copy is the words you write to sell, promote or market your business. A lot of times people hear the word copywriting and they think of the term copyright as in like trademarking. And that’s completely different. Copywriting is spelled with a W in the middle there, and it is about the words we write to sell our services. It comes from the advertising world. If you think of what the guys in Mad Men did, they were writing copy and copy just refers to the words that are selling a product. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:02:28] All right. That just simplifies it so much. Like we tend to overcomplicate things, don’t we? 

Kim Kiel: [00:02:33] Yeah. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:02:33] So how did you get to this career? What got you here? 

Kim Kiel: [00:02:37] A long and winding road, as most of us in our entrepreneurship journeys travel. I have a degree in science and communications. I studied environmental science. I was on a mission to save the planet. And way back then, I realized that we are never going to solve the climate crisis and the environmental problems if we can’t talk about them in a way that would make people understand what the heck is going on. And when I studied environmental science at university, I was only required to take a half a year of English or communication, like half a year in the full four years, which I thought was ludicrous. So I actually got special permission to do a minor or specialization in communications, and that really allowed me to get more into interpersonal communications, nonfiction writing, writing in general, and every career and job I had after graduation involved some kind of public outreach, education, communication. Eventually it got into fundraising, because I worked a lot in the nonprofit sector, and I got into fundraising, and I really enjoyed fundraising because I was able to write in a way that was very, very persuasive. But for something so mission driven, like, you know, protecting the arts or protecting the environment and learning how to walk that balance of encouraging someone to connect with their heart and then open their wallet, it was really fun to write that kind of copy. Flash forward to when I had a couple of little kids, I was in my mid 40s and just tired of that grind of commuting day in, day out and juggling child care like it’s just, it’s just a mess. That phase of life is just a mess. And I needed to change things up. So I actually quote/unquote quit my day job and I started work as a freelancer/consultant/subcontractor, and I was able to turn this love of fundraising into becoming a copywriter. So a lot of the similarities between writing fundraising copy are very similar to how you write advertising copy, how you write sales copy, the techniques are the same. And so once I sort of explored this whole online business world, I discovered this field of copywriting, and I knew it would be, I’d be able to transfer my skills and that’s basically what I’ve done. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:05:10] You said something that really got my interest, and I want to kind of circle back to it, because I think as many of us who went into small business, we did it because we had a passion for the service or what we believed in, like you found with environmental science. And I think when we hear the word marketing and advertising, I think there’s this myth out there that says, well, we’re trying to convince people to spend money on things they don’t need. And what I just heard in your description is it wasn’t about that at all for you. It was about, let’s make this thing that is so important, like climate change and fundraising and things that need our attention and our dollars, that it’s not about trying to sell something to people that they don’t need. It’s about really helping them understand more about what we believe in and why it’s important, and creating a sense of connection. And that, it feels to me almost like the opposite of what I would believe the traditional path of marketing and advertising is. It’s really about connection. That’s what I heard as you kind of describe that. 

Kim Kiel: [00:06:22] I have a fundamental belief that all sales is service, and the way we buy from each other is through relationship and through connection. So whether you are a charity looking for people to join your mission or you’re a business owner who is helping other business owners elevate their CEO business skills, that is a service and that is helping create a ripple effect and impact in that person’s life. And then what is the impact that those people are making in their communities? What difference is that making? So for me, it’s really all about connection, relationship, and that’s at the very, very beginning of any kind of a sales conversation. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:07:06] Love it. Which kind of guides me to my next thought about so if you’re working for all of these different companies who have different passion, different services, different things that they’re selling, I think one of your – I’m going to say your super skills – like your talent, is being able to help people identify their brand voice. Can you talk to us a little bit more about what is a brand voice, first off, and how is it different than, you know, kind of a sales voice and how does it differentiate between different businesses and different industries?

Kim Kiel: [00:07:41] That is a great question, but I think the question before it is, why is it so hard for us to talk about ourselves? Why is it so hard for us to quote/unquote, market or promote ourselves? And it’s because we don’t know how to trust our own voice. We don’t know how to tap into our voice. And especially for people who are, you know, over 40, we have been trained on a certain kind of business writing that is very formal, very boring, and we look in this online sphere and the examples that we see are either like, hey there, buy this, click here, like really fast, super slick marketing language or we see like people drop an F bombs and like being real bad, you know, just like swearing, or we see really cutesy like the young influencer girl kind of like girlboss vibe, and if we don’t see ourselves in any of that kind of voice, we will think like, there’s no place for me. Nobody wants to hear my voice. But the opposite is true. We need to hear everyone’s unique voice. And so your brand voice is the unique personality that you have. It is your verbal identity. So in the same way that when you have a business, you probably work with a designer to create a logo, to have font color, or colors and font styles, you know what your brand looks like, but what does your brand sound like? And a lot of us don’t spend enough time thinking about that. But if you just spend a little bit of time, you can actually distill out and work through like, what is my brand voice? What are my values? How do I want to show up in the world? How do I want to talk? And I think at the very, very basis of it all is just write the way that you talk. So the same way that you and I are having a conversation right now would be very similar to if I was going to actually write out a dialogue. That’s how it would sound. So how would you explain verbally to someone? When you’re on a sales call what do you say? How do you say it? Those are the words and the tone and the conversation that you should use in your emails, on your website, in some of your marketing materials. So that in a nutshell is what brand voice is. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:10:03] I am a big reader of your newsletter, and every time I read your newsletter, I can hear your voice. I can hear your tone, I can hear your expressions, I can hear your humor. And I think when you say like, write like you speak, and a lot of us Gen Xers, you know, we weren’t taught to do that. If anything, you know, when we were writing for school or we were writing for a project or a university assignment, our goal was to not sound like ourselves. We wanted to sound way smarter. And, you know, like we had so many more things going on. And which I think brings us to the idea of jargon and how often we will write for what we think people want to hear, and we want to sound intelligent, or we want to sound a certain way, and when it doesn’t match, or we just end up confusing our audience completely. So when you’re working with, let’s say a new client – so I always like to kind of get a little bit of the back story – when you’re working with a new client and maybe you’re reading their newsletters or you’re reading their website copy and you’re giving reviews, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see, particularly Gen X making, in those types of formats? Like what are you seeing? 

Kim Kiel: [00:11:20] I mean, I think you touched on it, that use of jargon and sort of being really formal in the language is the two things that really pop out to me. So we might say things and it comes to us so naturally because especially we have been working, we’ve been in careers for 20 years. So we have this depth of experience, this breadth of knowledge, and it’s almost like the curse of knowledge because we’ll think it’s so obvious. Like, well, I want to help empower you to find the solutions in your life. That’s what we might write, right? Especially if you’re in a coaching sphere. But what does that even mean? What does empowering me to, you know, boost my life? Nobody has ever really said that. Like, your clients and customers don’t talk that way. So it’s that sense of jargon. But it’s also that formality, because we have been writing for two decades in that very traditional business environment. It’s things like how we might invite the next step might be I would be very delighted to book a call with you so at your first convenience, click here. Like that’s not how you talk. If you’re saying this to a girlfriend, you would say, hey, you want to hang out? Great, let’s find a time to chat. So it’s just thinking of your audience as that friend. How would you talk to that friend, and how do you make it personal and connect? And if you’re kind of not sure if you’re hitting the right tone, read it out loud. Do you actually talk that way? And would you say it like that if you were meeting someone, just, you know, in the checkout at the grocery store? That’s a really good gauge for whether you’re trending a bit too formal and could back off on the formality a little bit. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:13:07] Would you say that’s the case as well, in more of a professional setting? Like I think when people are thinking, oh, well, I’m reaching out to corporate or I’m reaching out to another business owner, do we still lean to the side of being more casual? 

Kim Kiel: [00:13:23] I think you do. I think there is a fine line. If you’re B2B and you’re working with other corporations, we have a belief that we need to drop all this jargon and show that we know what we’re talking about. But the reality is, the person who is reading that email, who is reading that pitch, who is reading your website, it’s a human being. And humans connect human to human. And we are hit by 4000 marketing messages per day. So the simpler, the more concise, the more direct, and the more enjoyable you can make your writing, the more likely you are to have more conversions, have more sales, and even there’s a bunch of studies that prove that’s true. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:14:11] Earlier on, you talked about, you know, your image, your pictures, what your colors are, your font, all of that. And I think this idea of vulnerability, of showing up that you don’t have, you know, such filtered images and that you’re not completely put together when you’re on camera and that you’re shooting videos or reels kind of on the fly. Is this the same? I feel like there’s a real parallel universe here with it’s not just about your pictures, it’s not just about your Instagram stories, it’s also about your writing that don’t always write with such a formal approach that people feel like you’re existing in a different dimension that they are, that you’re just connecting with them as human beings, as people, even though they might have a really fancy title or a really big job. 

Kim Kiel: [00:15:02] You know what? I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but I think you’re right in that the content that’s converting right now, online, visually is the behind the scenes, it’s the more casual, personal stuff. And I think that there’s a place for that as well in your writing for sure. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:15:21] I think it, for me, feels more approachable, a little bit more down to earth, I guess. 

Kim Kiel: [00:15:27] Again, we are buying human to human, even if I’m making a decision for my corporation or for my team, I am still going to be making a purchase decision from a human to a human. And that ability to connect makes it easier for me to know, like, and trust you, and then feel safe to make that purchase. Also, how are you going to stand out in this sea of competitors? How are you going to stand out in these 4000 marketing messages per day if it’s not with your unique spin, your values and your voice? If you are very safe and bland and vanilla, you are not going to stand out. Nobody is going to pay attention to that message. So putting your unique voice in there, your little quirks, your little isms, dropping a GIF from maybe your favorite TV show. If you watched the SuperBowl on the weekend, like referencing things that are happening in everyone’s day to day really helps create that personal human connection. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:16:29] I think, too, one of the things that you do exceptionally well, whether it’s the little GIF or you always add what I would say is like this little punctuation of joy to your emails, like it’s always just a fun little thing, or, hey, I was thinking about this, or hey, I found a new recipe for, you know, a nonalcoholic cocktail that you can enjoy on the patio. Like you always have this just little element of surprise or something that we didn’t expect, which just gives us a little bit of delight. And I love that. And I think that’s how, that’s how I know that I was drawn to you way back when is you would include these things about being a Gen X entrepreneur and some of the strange things that we’ve experienced through, you know, the 80s and 90s and what that was like. And instantly, although it had nothing really to do formally with copywriting or what I was looking for, all of a sudden I had that experience of, you know, she also was a great fan of hip hop in the 90s and, you know, or really also enjoys Schitt’s Creek, right? And can enjoy the humor in that. And I think it does, it gives that kind of a more personal touch. And we just do, we feel this instant connection. So yeah, thank you for sharing that. 

Kim Kiel: [00:17:39] Oh, thanks for saying that. I think what you’ve also brought up there touches on something else. A lot of people say, I don’t know how to start an email list because I won’t be consistent. What will I talk about? How will I know what to share? How can I keep up with that? And it is, it doesn’t always have to be educational. You don’t always have to be talking about your area of expertise. You can infuse some of those moments of delight and joy and behind the scenes of like your favorite recipe or a movie you just watched, or a book that you read and or a trip you took with your kids. Because again, that is furthering that know, like, and trust journey with you. So even if you’re not in a direct moment of asking someone to buy from you or invest in your services, they’re coming along, they’re coming closer and they’re warmer, so that when you do have a sales moment, they’re ready to buy. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:18:35] Absolutely. So the next thing I wanted to chat a little bit about is one of the things that you alluded to it when you said, you know, I don’t know if I want to start an email list because I have to stay consistent. And we’ve heard so much about that, whether it’s social media and newsletter, that we have to stay connected to our audience. But I think the most popular thing that people say is, I sit down to write and then I just don’t know what to write, or I don’t know how to put it all together. Like sometimes I get an idea in my own head, I’ll write a sentence, and then it just doesn’t really seem to unfold the way I think it should. Do you have some tips or tricks? If we are doing this copywriting for ourselves what do we do when we just get so stuck? 

Kim Kiel: [00:19:25] I mean, even for a quote/unquote professional copywriter like myself, like I get stuck with that too. And I have learned over time to sort of trust those little ideas or inspiration that pop in and to act on them right away. So that is something that has worked for me, is if I get an idea, oh, that might make a good email or oh, that might make a good social post. I don’t talk myself out of it. I don’t edit myself. I just sit down and write it out and without overthinking or over correcting or being too perfectionistic, then I just send it. So I’ve had to really just train myself to get that information out as fast as I can, because I have the ability to talk myself out of stuff all the time and to be very slow. If you are sort of like, oh, I know I should say something, but I don’t know how to say it, I really love a couple of things that have helped me get out of that, like stuckness, and one is a writing prompt, and these are just little formulas for something that, to inspire you, it’s like a journal prompt like, oh, what should you write in your journal today? Same thing. You can have writing prompts that give you an idea for what you should write about that week, or in your next email or in your social post. And it may or may not be the thing you actually end up writing about, but it might inspire that further idea. So using writing prompts, there is no shame in using a writing prompt to inspire your next email. And I love using also copywriting formulas. And copywriting formulas are these little recipes that were developed over the last several decades, primarily in the advertising industry, but you can use them to help organize your thoughts on the page. So there’s a couple of copywriting formulas, I can share a couple of them, if you think you want me to share those with you?

Kari Lotzien: [00:21:28] I think my audience would love that. 

Kim Kiel: [00:21:30] Sure. So it would be if you’re going to sit down and write an announcement email, you’re going to talk about a workshop that you’re going to be hosting in the next couple of weeks. A great formula for that is AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. So the start, the first sentence of your email, you want to grab attention, you want to hook your reader. You want to say something provocative or like very exciting. Then the next few sentences you’re going to generate interest about what that offer is. Then the next section is you’re building desire for the outcomes of what’s going to happen at that workshop. And then the final section is action. That’s where you give your call to action. You say, click here to register. There’s limited seats, buy now. So it’s just being able to organize that, all that mess of words that we have in our head, into that sort of sequential order that I think really helps create a bit of constraint. And within that constraint, you can actually be more creative and write clearer, more compelling copy because you’re sticking to that formula. There’s several other copywriting formulas. I share lots of them on my podcast. So you’re welcome to to go back and check those out as well. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:22:54] Gillian is an incredible entrepreneur who is going through a time of scaling her very successful business. When she offered to record a testimonial about her experience with the Anchored Leadership Academy to go on my podcast, I was so honored. Have a listen to what she had to say. ‘My name is Gillian and I just finished the anchored Leadership program with Kari Lotzien. I’m a financial planner. I’ve owned a practice for eight years and I’d hit a space of exponential growth. Everything was going great, but I always struggled with the management of team, how to hire, how to fire, how to have those yucky conversations. And that was a huge takeaway from the Anchored Leadership, where I got tools and practice as to how to implement those things into my business so I can continue to grow and continue to thrive. It was an exceptional experience that I would highly recommend to any business owner who is looking to push through their discomfort to that next level of success.’ In the Anchored Leadership Academy, we combine weekly live sessions for one hour that focus on a key area of leadership, and then participants have the ability to work through all of the content in the modules between sessions. This allows a nice balance between accountability for really busy entrepreneurs to keep moving forward with the program and get it done, while also having the ability to flex their time a little bit and make it work for them. An added bonus: all participants get lifetime access to the videos, the audio, all of the resources in the course so you can keep coming back to it again and again when it applies to that specific time in your business. If this sounds like an interesting thing to you, click the link in the show notes, book an inquiry call, and let’s see if the Anchored Leadership Academy is right for you at this stage of business. Thanks so much. Back to the show.

Kari Lotzien: [00:24:55] And I want to highlight. Definitely go listen to Kim’s podcast. We’re going to put the link in the show notes as well. But she is so gracious on her podcast with giving out formulas and sharing these copywriting formulas so that if you’re writing your own copy, you can kind of follow the recipe. And I know for myself, it’s really one of my kind of bad habits, was I would get so wordy. And I would put too much in an email. Then I went back the other way and I cut out so much that then it didn’t make sense anymore and it had no flow. So it’s, you know, finding that rhythm. And I think when you talked about, I call it, you know, the muse, that idea of trusting the muse when an idea comes to you, I kind of, you know, a little woo-woo, I feel like ideas are like floating around in the universe and when they come to you, it’s a gift. They’re stopping in, seeing if you want to do anything with them, seeing if you want to hang out, and if you move on that idea, then it becomes yours. And you have this collaborative partnership with the idea. But I truly believe if you don’t grab on to it, it’s like the idea just drifts away and finds someone else’s mind to work through. And it sounds like you’ve really learned over time to appreciate that gift as it comes. Did you always have that or has that gotten easier over time? 

Kim Kiel: [00:26:13] It’s definitely gotten easier over the time. Easier over the time. When I first started my business, I was like the world’s worst copywriter because I didn’t practice what I preach. I would write great copy for all my clients, I would give them the strategy, but I didn’t have my own email list. I wasn’t emailing. Like I was stuck in that same mindset gobbledygook, overthinking that a lot of business owners go through. And when I finally gave myself permission to just write the dang thing, like whatever came to my mind, I’m just going to write it, not overthink it, I was very inconsistent in the beginning. I’d be like, an idea came, I’d send an email. Maybe it would be another couple of weeks before I would send another email. I wasn’t consistent, but I felt like I was at least honing in on the quality and developing that muscle. And like anything we do, it takes practice. And the more you practice, the easier it gets, the faster it gets, the better it gets. So that’s, I am 100% in agreement with you that ideas come to you for a reason, and it’s almost your obligation to share that idea. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:27:26] The other thing that kind of just popped out at me is you talked about consistency and how when things first, you know, when you first started doing your email, that you would write it when you had an idea. And I want to take it right back to some of your first points where you said, you know, our role in service is that we are bringing something of value to our audience. It’s a relationship. And that as you allow people to get to know you a little bit, they get to know your personality and your humor, and we’re going to call that a brand voice. But really, it’s just like we’re getting to know each other, which is a relationship. And if the only time you ever show up in someone’s inbox is when you need something, it’s like the friend who the only time they ever show up at your door is when they want to borrow your lawn mower. Right? It’s kind of rude. And that by just kind of consistently showing up, even if it’s kind of a, hey, I was thinking about you email, or hey, I saw a cool movie yesterday, or hey, what did you think about the SuperBowl? What it does is it creates that sense of continuity, that there’s that relationship, that we don’t just connect when we have something to sell or when we have something that we need, but we’re really building that relationship. 

Kim Kiel: [00:28:38] I think it’s underappreciated how important that is to building your business, because it’s not about ads and funnels and landing pages. It’s about the people that you do business with on a 1 to 1 basis, especially for a lot of us who run smaller boutique businesses, agencies or small small businesses, like we’re never going to be on the level of like a Marie Forleo or an Amy Porterfield. We’re never going to have millions of followers. So what is our secret sauce? Well, we are the secret sauce. It’s that creating that personal connection and then that personal transformation and being of service to those people. And I mean, aren’t you sick of just hearing the same old voices all the time, Kari? Like, wouldn’t you love to hear more wisdom from women? We’ve raised kids, we’ve helped elder care, we’ve been in these corporate businesses for 20 years, and now we have something else to contribute to the conversation that hasn’t really been heard before. So like my sub-mission is to just hear more voices from women who are in middle stages of life because we are underrepresented, and yet we are the backbone of what is going on in society today. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:29:59] Uh, I’m getting emotional, honestly. Because what you’re saying is hitting me really hard. I mean, I started my business back when I was in my early 20s. My gosh, didn’t have a clue, you know, like, I, every business owner that I saw who was successful was a white male with a lot of money, who had a wife that stayed home and looked after the kids and the family and, you know, just displayed him. I had nothing to follow. And I feel this real sense of responsibility right now that, you know, I’m coming into my daughter is, you know, just coming into her 20s. My son’s already 24. And there’s this feeling like, hang on a second, the world has changed so much since I was that age. I don’t think we’ve done a lot of favors because I feel like my generation or our generation came in and went, we can own a business, raise the kids, make the muffins for school, volunteer, do the charity work, we’re going to do it all. And we created this image that you just put the cape on and keep going. You know, and when you’re going to have your breakdown and you’re going to have your fall apart moments, you do that in the bathroom away from everyone else, and you put your cape back on, you come out, plant a smile, and away you go again. But I think we learned a lot along the way to go hang on a second. Like, it doesn’t have to be like this. And to share it so that women don’t look at it and go, I don’t want to do what you did, because that really didn’t look very fun. Right? It didn’t look fun to try and be everything to everyone all the time. But I think that sense of, you know, giving back and being real about it and saying, you know, it doesn’t have to be like that. And you talked about, you know, the Amy Porterfields and Jenna Kutcher and these women who have really big audiences. And I think that I feel like you’re giving yourself a little bit of disservice by saying, you know, we’re never going to have audiences like that, because I know for myself that’s that same vulnerability is we’re starting to hear that in their voices as well, who do have millions of followers. And I think that there’s a real gap in we didn’t, you know, I’m having kind of an odd little moment, but do you remember the Secret commercial? ‘Never let them see you sweat’? Like that was my mantra for a lot of years. Like, just make it all look good on the outside, right? And I think with this wisdom that comes into our 40s, there’s a responsibility to go, no, no, here’s how it really is. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:32:37] And to share that, I think there’s a gap. Like we were so busy trying to say we could do it all that we forgot to say, with help, we can’t do it alone, we need to be collaborative, we need to be in relationship. We need to show, you know, some softness and not always try to put on the perfect face. Any other thoughts you want to share about kind of your evolution as a businesswoman, going from being in a charitable organization, and again, I’m going to highlight because this is something I hope you’re comfortable with, I think you are, when I hear Kim speak, I often, you know, she says like small boutique. Like she plays small. But I also know that you converted your annual salary to your monthly salary when you went on your own. Like you are not small potatoes, my friend. I don’t want us to play small. I want us to really showcase like people like Kim are doing amazing things in the world, and they’re doing it their way. And I want to really give credit to that. So when you think of Gen X, women who are in the business who are saying like, oh, I’m just, you know, a small thing, what would be the advice you would have to them in the journey you’ve traveled in developing yourself as an entrepreneur? 

Kim Kiel: [00:34:04] I think part of – thank you for saying that, first of all – but I think that part of what has helped me have a really good amount of success is the fact that I had lived a life before I started my business, and I knew enough of myself. Still don’t have it figured all out, but you know, when you’re faced with in online business, there’s like all these different strategies and you should do it this way and you should do it that way, and you should do it this way. For me to have the presence of mind to sort of pick and choose what I like of those strategies and create my own way forward that might use the best practices from strategy A and the best practices from strategy C, but just to create my own path. So one of the ways that I’ve really grown my business is through what I call like this like lazy marketing or lazy launching where I’m not trying to like, grow my list by thousands of people at a time. I’m not trying to be the most famous, but what I do want to do is be of service to a small, intimate group of people. And so I’ve hosted these monthly marketing moments. 

Kim Kiel: [00:35:17] I open my virtual doors, I have a workshop, I have a master class, people come and hang out with me, and from there I enroll them into, make an invitation if they want to take it, great. If not, no big deal. But it’s just sort of that like more of a low key way of growing my business that has really, really worked for me. The other thing that has really worked for me is getting into the room where my client is. So I’ve paid to join masterminds, group coaching programs, where I am building personal relationships with the women in that room so that either they will hire me when they need a copywriter, or if they know somebody who needs a copywriter, they’re more apt to hire me. So I’ve been very strategic about joining the right communities for that purpose, also to get the benefit of the coaching experience. But I think particularly when you’re a service provider like me, graphic designer, copywriter, we have a tendency to hang out in rooms with other graphic designers and copywriters, and we are all about like learning how to be a better copywriter. And so when I compare my trajectory to some of the other copywriters, I’ve had some more easy and repeatable success, I think because I’ve spent time in other rooms where there’s other diverse business owners.

Kim Kiel: [00:36:41] So, you know, that networking piece I think has been really important. And when I say that I turned my annual salary into my monthly salary, you know, I was working in nonprofit, I was working part time. So for just a little bit of context, my annual salary wasn’t awesome. But when I became a entrepreneur, I was able, you know, when you’re working in charity, I don’t know if you’ve ever worked in charity, Kari, but for me, like you become so impassioned about it, you give so much of your time, you work over time and like, I’m so glad I did all of that. But there was no financial ROI for me. Whereas now I can still give that same level of energy, same level of passion, but it’s towards revenue generating opportunities that are creating freedom for me as a business owner. So I’m still giving the same passion. I’m still believing that people need to change the world and change the world for the better, but I’ve just been able to make that a little bit more lucrative for myself. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:37:51] Ah, I hear so many loops in that. One, I think that when we find our passion, when we find the thing that we’re good at and we align with the right people and we truly provide service and we are financially rewarded for that, it gives us the opportunity as women to give back to the things that we believe in. This is how we create stronger charities and how we change our communities is we can give back. So I think that’s something that’s really sometimes a great motivator for women who often under-charge what they’re worth because they feel that they want to just be affordable and accessible to people. And I think, okay, but if you’ve, if you’ve got the knowledge, you’ve got the experience, you’ve got the skill set and you charge what you’re worth, you can give back in so many bigger ways. That’s pretty cool.

Kim Kiel: [00:38:43] And that is such a journey. That is such a mindset leap that I had to make when I left the nonprofit sector into the quote/unquote for profit sector to get over that. Oh, I feel bad about charging. And I know there’s a lot of people in the spiritual and healing communities who also have that. Oh, but this, I shouldn’t be charging for this because everyone should have access to this. And the way that I’ve managed to get myself around that is by realizing there are clients who will pay for very good work, and they’re willing to pay a good amount for that premium work. And that freedom, that financial freedom allows me to produce a podcast where I am delivering free value. So I am creating opportunities. I do host free workshops where people who maybe can’t afford to work with me can still come and learn from me and have that experience. So I am able to do both. But I get paid for my services because I’m worth it.

Kari Lotzien: [00:39:45] Yay! You know, it’s so true and I really did, I just wanted to showcase that. And I think, you know, the audience can see you’re so generous in so many different ways with your podcast, with your, you know, monthly marketing opportunities, that there’s so many ways that people can work with you who may not have the ability to hire a professional copywriter. But getting in the room, the value is there. Like it’s beautiful. The other thing I want to point out and just kind of come back to it, is I think networking has also gotten a bad rap because we have been involved in different situations where you go to a marketing event and you feel like you’re just being sold to constantly. That’s not what marketing is. Marketing or networking, sorry, is building relationships. It’s building relationships with people who work with similar clientele that you do, who may know similar opportunities that are available in the field but may not be in competition with you. And sometimes they even are. Like, I’ve had brilliant referral partnerships with people who are also business and leadership coaches and who do similar things that I do, but they do them for a different group of people, or they work in a different location, or, I mean, there’s so many different opportunities. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:41:04] And I think what I hear from you over and over and over again, which is interesting because that was not where I thought the conversation was going today, but it’s really about how many different ways can we form relationships? How many different ways can we be of service so that if one of your clients needs a service that you don’t offer, you have someone that you truly have a relationship with that you believe in, you know they do great work, and you can pass that customer on. It’s a win win. The customer feels so supported because they feel like they’ve been, you know, kind of handed over to someone so gently. And the person that you’re doing business with, that you’ve been involved in these mastermind sessions with, also feels so grateful that you understand their business and you can bring them their ideal customers and we build together. And I think this is something that you do so beautifully. It’s something I believe in, in building communities of businesses and clients so that we kind of rise together. 

Kim Kiel: [00:42:04] Mhm. I love that. And I think also after the bubble of the pandemic when everyone got online and there was a lot of people putting courses out there and people buying online trainings that didn’t deliver. So collectively we are more sophisticated buyers. We have been burned too often. And the way you allow people to know you’re the real deal is by building that long term relationship, which is exactly what you just, yeah, just to sort of underscore what you said there. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:42:37] So good. I want to wrap up our conversation today by asking, I ask all of my guests, how do you personally stay anchored? So when there’s so many things going on in your world, you’ve got kids, you’ve got a business, you’ve got so many things that you believe in and support. You’re doing masterminds and learning and growing. How do you find that place of staying centered and calm? What I call anchored.

Kim Kiel: [00:43:04] Well, I would say it’s probably something that I could do better. I’m probably not the best at staying anchored. There’s a few things that I do love doing. One is I love walking in nature and having that quiet time to commune with my own thoughts, or to just like, chill out in nature. That is so helpful to me. And I also have a squad of business besties who, when I am doubting myself, when I’m suffering from comparison itis when I’m overwhelmed by what’s going on in my family life, I can reach out to them and they can either just listen, or they can give me the little bit of cheerleading that I need and remind me, you know, you’re pretty awesome at what you’re doing. Like keep going. What’s the easiest way forward? Like, for example, I was, I’m overthinking this, wanting to maybe host a local event and I’m overthinking it. And then my assistant Hannah was like, what’s the easiest way we could do this? Could you just reach out to five people and see if they want to hang out with you and then go from there? And I’m like, well, yes, I could do that. So, you know, just having that, those people around you who get your vibe and who can call you back to that. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:44:29] I am taking that for one of my sticky notes. So I have sticky notes that try to keep me on track. But what is the easiest way that you could do this? Like, I can definitely tell you the most complicated, if you’d like to know that, of how I could make things really hard and almost insurmountable. But what a gift. What a gift to have that sense of community. And I’m with you on the nature thing, my friend. That’s, we’ve had such a gift here in Alberta this year that we’ve had kind of a mild winter, so we haven’t had to freeze our faces off when we go outside. So we’ve had this little bonus. I want to thank you so much for being here and for offering such value to my listeners. I want to encourage everyone. The link will be in the show notes, but definitely go over and find Ill Communication, the podcast where Kim gives away just value every single week when you are feeling stuck and when you’re feeling overwhelmed, those writing prompts and those copywriting formulas where you can start to get stronger in your communication so that you can be more consistent in your writing, you can find that voice that connects with people. She is absolutely brilliant. My hope is that I’m just introducing you to someone that I value so much in my own business and in the relationships that we’ve established, and that you will go on and make those connections and introduce other people to Kim as well, because what she is doing is just of huge value and as you can see, aligns with that sense of building community, supporting each other, supporting Gen X women in business, and continuing that legacy into our next generation so that it doesn’t have to be so hard as we keep going with all of this. So thank you so much for being here, Kim. I value your time so much. Thanks so much.

Kim Kiel: [00:46:23] Kari, thanks for having me. And yeah, it’s just nice to hang out with you. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:46:27] All right. And is there anything else that you want to share? Do you have a marketing masterclass coming up or where would people find that information? Where’s the best places to connect with you other than your podcast? 

Kim Kiel: [00:46:38] Yeah. You know, the best way to stay connected with me is by subscribing to my newsletter. And you could do that at KimKiel.com/newsletter. I also do have a brand voice workbook and mini audio series. Since we talked quite a bit about brand voice, I’ll share the link with you, Kari, and you can put it in the show notes, but that’s also a great resource for anyone who’s maybe struggling to figure out how to write like myself.

Kari Lotzien: [00:47:09] Fantastic. Thank you so much. I know that my audience will appreciate that. All right. Thank you so much for being here. We will see you next week. And if you haven’t liked and subscribed to the podcast, be sure to click on those three little dots. Take a screenshot of this episode, share it with your friends who are also trying to figure out how to write copy for their business and how to build their communities. Thanks so much!

Kari Lotzien: [00:47:32] Please know that this podcast is meant for entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitution for medical or professional mental health advice. If you require support, please do reach out. Thanks so much.