Rebecca Healy of Kontrary takes business and life advice as usual and flips it on its head. She questions the status quo and makes you think twice about everything you think you know.
If you're getting the same advice over and over and it's getting you nowhere, you need to look this girl up!
Oh, and like future-you, she created her website in WordPress and has some great words of wisdom on confidence with coding and the beauty of trial and error.
When did you start your business, and why did you create it?
I've always done something on the side. I believe in multiple burners – on and hot! The ability to always have something on the side has given me so much more flexiblity in my career.
I've been able to quit jobs I don't like, pay off all my student loans, and take a two-week European vacation without dipping into our savings. Plus, I'm always learning, which I love.
What do you feel makes your audience/readers special?
My community is very loyal, engaged and most importantly, respectful thinkers. My readers and I don't always agree, but we always have a great conversation.
And that is my aim, to spark dialogue. In much the same way that living room “salons” sparked revolutions in the 18th century, I believe blogs can do the same in the 21st.
Has anything surprised you about starting a website?
My blog was solely responsible for my career success. I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be where I am today without it.
Did you do your site yourself website? Do you use WordPress?
Yep! Hand-coded by yours truly on WordPress. I mostly just change the CSS (think of it as the paint and throw pillows on your website), but that has also sparked an interest in coding.
Here's a talk I did about how to “fake it until you make it” when learning to code: http://kontrary.com/2012/05/03/how-to-fake-it-until-you-make-it/
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Talk to your customers before you build a website. Everyone intuitively knows to do this, but almost no one does it. Because it's hard. No one wants to put themselves out there and hear that their idea is bad. Or worse, hear they might succeed.
People are scared of success more than failure. So they often don't do what they need to. This is the biggest risk your business faces. I teach this and it's called “ego risk.”
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
Focus and consistency. Why? Growth.
How fast did your audience grow? How many visitors/subscribers do you have?
When I concentrate on growing my audience, I can make it happen very quickly. Guest posts and PR along with opt-ins and pop-ups to capture that traffic have worked the best for me.
Recently I optimized my site to go from a 1-2% conversion rate to 7-12% for qualified traffic. But it's also difficult for me to balance the marketing side with the content and business side. I still struggle with that.
Is this your only job? Did you launch your business while working another job?
It has been my only job on and off throughout my career, and that's the flexiblity I talked about earlier. In the New Year, I start a new position, which I'm looking forward to.
I feed off of being part of team, but everyone is different. I definitely recommend everyone start a business while they still have a job. I talk more about that here: http://kontrary.com/2014/09/10/heres-plan-turn-passion-dream-job/
This isn't one of my most popular posts, but it's one that more people should read.
Do you have an email list? If so, did you start it when you launched?
Yep. I started my blog under a different name and brand, and email marketing wasn't all the rage then. Truth be told, I probably started my email list a bit too late – I was far too focused on growing my RSS subscriptions. But it's never too late of course, and I'm on the email bandwagon now.
Do you earn money from your site, and if so, how? Did you intend to earn from it when you launched?
Yep, through programs and some affiliate (very little). I don't like ads, and while I hate to say never, well, I never plan to do advertising. This is a deep-seated values thing. Ideas shouldn't be corporatized. The Internet is not free.
Who are your favorite bloggers right now?
There is a dearth of good blogging right now (which means there is great opportunity!)
I'm all about podcasts at the moment. I like Slate's Double X, the Lively Show, 99% Invisible, Start Up, Reply All, Planet Money, Black Girls Talking, Smart Passive Income w/ Pat Flynn, Starting from Nothing, and of course Serial.
Clearly, I have a podcasting obsession.
My favorite part of these interviews aside from learning how people start their business is learning about their favorite blogs and podcasts!
Have you guys ever heard of Serial? Clearly I have been spending way too much time watching Bravo because I did not know about this!
Be sure to check out Kontrary and subscribe to Rebecca's NO B.S. INSIGHTS to get updates on money and happiness, and take control of your work and life.