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Ep. 35: Growing a product-based business (Katie Hunt, Proof to Product)

katie hunt proof to product katie hunt proof to product

Katie Hunt is the founder of Proof to Product (formerly known as Tradeshow Bootcamp). She’s a business strategist and mentor to product-based entrepreneurs. Furthermore, she’s worked with thousands of entrepreneurs through her in-person conferences, online courses, and group coaching. Additionally, Katie is also the host of the popular podcast, Proof to Product. Every episode, she takes listeners behind the scenes of growing a product-based business.

Guests share their successes, struggles, and how they’ve made difficult but important transitions in their business. Even more, Katie has taught classes for CreativeLive and The National Stationery Show. Not to mention she also has taught for The Savvy Experience, Be Sage, Seanwes Conference, and Unique Camp. Plus, she’s been featured on The New York Times, Forbes, BuzzFeed, Brit & Co., ABC Chicago, and VoyageLA. Most importantly, Katie has a passion for creating, a mind for business, and a strong desire to help others succeed.

Today’s guest: Katie Hunt, Proof to Product

Katie Hunt Katie Hunt

When she’s not cheering on her clients, you find her spending time with her family, hosting dinners, or surfing Instagram.

On the latest episode of Everything Is Teachable, you get an inside look into Katie’s background as a product expert. Plus, a listen in on her expertise on community building, business organization, and collaborating with others.

Where to find Katie

Podcast: https://www.prooftoproduct.com/podcast
Labs: https://www.prooftoproduct.com/labs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prooftoproduct/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prooftoproduct/
Proof to Product school: https://tsbc.teachable.com/

Read the full transcript below.

KH: I get a lot of joy from impact I get a lot of joy from the work I do because I see how the community and how the things that I teach them when they’re put into action create results and impact and so just seeing their growth like they’re doing the hard work I may be I may be helping them along and giving them some shortcuts or strategies, but they’re the ones doing the hard work and so it is incredibly rewarding to me as a human to be able to watch their growth and then to for the business when they go out and tell their friends like I learned this from Katie I learned this from proof your product I learned this from my community members, it proved a product that’s really rewarding for me on many levels. Hey everyone,

HF: It’s Haley from Teen teachable. On this episode of everything is teachable. You’ll get an inside look into Katie’s background as a product expert, and listen to her expertise on community building, staying organized as a business owner, collaborating with others and more. Welcome to everything is teachable. The podcast that takes you behind the scenes to learn how everyday creators have transformed their skills and passions into online courses and businesses.

Katie Hunt is the founder of proof to product formerly known as tradeshow Bootcamp, a business strategist and mentor to product based entrepreneurs. She’s worked with 1000s of entrepreneurs through her in person conferences, online courses and group coaching that she offers. Katie is also the host of the popular podcast proved a product, which he takes listeners behind the scenes of growing a product based business. Guests share their successes, struggles and how they’ve made difficult but important transitions in their business to continue growing. Katie has taught classes for creative live, the National stationery show the savvy experience, be sage, Shawn West Conference and unique camp. She has been featured on New York Times, Forbes, BuzzFeed, Britain, CO, ABC, Chicago and voyage LA and also interviewed on a variety of popular podcasts. Katie has a passion for creating a mind for business and a strong desire to help others succeed. When she’s not cheering on her clients or dreaming up new workshops, you can find her spending time with her husband and four young children hosting friends for dinner, or surfing Instagram. Katie, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m really excited to have you. How are you doing?

KH: It’s my pleasure. I’m doing well how are you?

HF: I’m doing great. Let’s go ahead and jump right in. off the bat. I’d love to hear more about your business proofed a product, love to hear kind of a background and how you got started.

KH: Sure. So I’ve been an online entrepreneur for about 14 years now. I started in the product world selling my products direct to consumer online, as well as to the wholesale market. And after doing that, for about four years, I looked around my industry, and it’s a very creative industry. It’s stationery gift products, made up of a lot of artists and very creative people. And I looked around and I saw that they were struggling with the business side of running their businesses, they thrived in the art. They were incredible, talented artists. But they didn’t quite love selling and marketing their products. They didn’t want to deal with the you know, the finances and everything else. And that’s actually where I thrive. I have two MBAs and marketing and finance. I had 10 years in the corporate world. I like the business side of things. And I struggled with the art side of things. And so I looked around and I said, you know, there’s a lot that we could do to support one another where you know, I’m weak, you can support me and where you might feel weak, I can support you. And so we created this company proof the products and it became an educational platform for product based business owners. And you know, we started back in 2011. Before the online education space was what it is today. We started with teleconference calls, and then live webinars, but there was no like webinar service. It was like go to webinar and some other one that were meant really for corporations. We moved into conferences, and now more of like a hybrid ecourse live coaching program. So I’ve been around for a while doing this educational stuff. And really, we teach people how to get their products on the shelves of stores. So our clients sell to target and Container Store j crew, Nordstrom, as well as smaller, independent boutiques around the world. So we have a lot of different ways they can learn from us based on whatever their needs are. And I just I feel grateful to do this work every single day.

HF: That is incredible. Thank you so much for sharing and something that I noticed about your background is that mentoring creative entrepreneurs is kind of a cornerstone of your background and like your philosophy pretty much. I’d love to know what really drew you into this aspect of mentoring creative entrepreneurs and how did you get started?

KH: Yeah, well, you know, it’s like what I said were at the beginning it was Let’s create a community where we can all support one another. It wasn’t me positioning myself as an expert, it was me in the trenches with everyone else, figuring it out as I went. And it was really a community experience. And it still is where, you know, here’s what I learned, or here’s what I tried. And here’s where I failed, and why I think it failed, you know, and that kind of camaraderie. It’s hard to find, and it’s a little more accessible now with different online communities popping up. But at the same time, you don’t want to be in a community where it’s just people firing off questions, you want people to get to know each other, to build relationships to feel like it’s a trusted, safe space that they can not only ask questions, but they can share their ups and downs as well. And so that is really the cornerstone in the heart of what we do at proof to product, we have a very thriving, safe community where everyone feels welcome. And there’s no dumb questions and, and that leads into the mentoring because as I’ve grown in my experience of running my own product based business, and then coaching 1000s of people on on running, there’s, I’ve seen all phases of business. And I’ve seen what people need at different phases. And so we produce a lot of free content, we have a podcast with over 200 episodes, I do a lot of you know microblogging, so to speak on Instagram, some of our social platforms, we have our blog, and everything. So I believe in meeting people where they are and giving them support and what they need, not everyone can invest in our paper camp program, not everyone can invest in my higher end coaching program. We want to have things at different levels for people so that they can get the help, they need to elevate themselves and reach their goals faster. And so mentorship has been important to me in my career, as I’ve grown not only in the corporate world, but as an entrepreneur. And I truly believe in turning around and lifting those up those up that are coming after me as well.

HF: I love that so much. And I really, really appreciate the way you make your services so accessible to anyone at wherever they are, they can see themselves in you and your business. You know what I mean? And they can get that help? I think that’s really great.

KH: Yeah, it was important to me, particularly in this past year and a half of reassessing our business model and making sure that we do have, we’ve always had a ton of free content, but then also having, you know, different programs at different price points and accessibility with fair payment plans and things like that. So yeah, that’s been definitely a priority for me.

HF: Yeah, absolutely. I’d actually love to kind of touch on free content for a little bit, because I know over here at teachable like, we’ve really promoted free content and utilizing that to your advantage as a creator, especially if you’re just getting started. So from your perspective, how can free content and distributing free content be beneficial to a creator?

KH: I think it can be hugely impactful. You know, there’s the old adage that people will only buy from people that they know, like, and trust and providing free content, whether that’s a free course, or a free download, or podcast or other content that you distribute on a regular consistent basis. that builds the trust, it builds your level of expertise and shows people what you know, I believe in giving people what they need. And knowing that there’s still more to give. So I’m not afraid to give away too much free content, because there’s still more that they can learn when they join the program. And so I think it’s hugely valuable to show what kind of results you can provide, what kind of benefits there are the learning from you, I think the free content to it shows people your teaching style, and what you stand for, and who you are as an entrepreneur as a or as a business as a company. And so that also, again, build that know, like and trust. So you know, we’ve had several free classes that are on demand that we host through teachable. And those are our options, you know, we allow people to sign up, and we’ve got resources available to them on different topics that we know our community is struggling with. I think we have like seven different options at this point. They’re not all courses, but I’d rather give generously in different ways so that people know that they’re going to get the help they want. This isn’t fluff. This isn’t just I’m going to tell you what you think you need and then not really give you the full picture. Like, I don’t know if that just isn’t my style.

HF: I really appreciate you sharing that. Yeah, I think that it can be I mean, before even moving into the process of wanting to sell something, I think that building that trust with your audience is essential. So I think the free content is a perfect way to do that.

KH: The other thing to think about to the free content. There’s so many people moving into this online business coaching course. The world right now. And there’s a lot of different marketing tactics and things that people are going to try to show you. And the best way to show your knowledge, your depth of knowledge, your experiences. And the results you’ve gotten for other people is, is to give away for free is to show people through different educational programming, here’s what I’m going to show you how to do and get them a quick win or show them what you’re capable of. You got I mean, as a creator, we also have to cut through the noise a little bit and, and show our expertise and why people should want to work with us too. And free content is one way to do that.

HF: Definitely. And earlier on, you had mentioned the power and the, you know, how important it is to have a strong community behind you. So why would you say it is so important for a creator or a business to have a strong community?

KH: Yeah, and I’m coming at this from the standpoint of the viewpoint of being a micro business, you know, we’re very small business, the people we work with are very small businesses. In our community, majority of the people have maybe one or two people or a very small team that they work with, they may be working out of their homes, it can be very isolating, when you’re the only person making all the decisions for your business, or maybe you have a couple of team members that help but ultimately, the responsibility falls to you as a business owner, having a community of people who are working towards similar goals who are navigating the similar types of decisions. And you can have rich conversations with people that get it I mean, I love my family and my friends, and they’re super supportive of me in my business, but they also don’t understand what I go through day in and day out as an entrepreneur or as somebody that does mentoring, support 1000s of people, you know, just like my product based business owners, their friends, and families may help package product or ship product out, but they don’t know what it’s like to design a whole product line to sell it. And so to find a community and really find that community that serves the same niches, you It’s priceless, it’s it’s a trusted space that you can lean on for support where you can support others, the relationships that you build, there are just invaluable if you find those types of relationships and a community that suits you and fits you well, that can amplify your business growth tenfold.

HF: I would definitely and what are some ways that you would that you’ve seen specifically for the proof to product community, and ways that they’ve enriched your business?

KH: Enrich my business or their businesses?

HF: Honestly, both?

KH: Well, I mean, emerging their businesses, you know, there have been a lot of our community members who have collaborated with one another in terms of like, somebody designed products for another person, or someone has shared their manufacturer with another person. And so they were able to increase their product line. In terms of my business, I would say that each and every one of them enrich my business and my life because of the just the trusted environment that we have, I think being able it’s, I get a lot of joy from impact, I get a lot of joy from the work I do. Because I see how the community and how the things that I teach them, when they’re put into action, create results and impact. And so just seeing their growth, like they’re doing the hard work I may be I may be helping them along and giving them some shortcuts or strategies. But they’re the ones doing the hard work. And so it is incredibly rewarding to me as a human to be able to watch their growth. And then to for the business when they go out and tell their friends. Like I learned this from Katie, I learned this from proof your product, I learned this from my community members that proved a product that’s really rewarding for me on many levels, too. So I think any community is going to be both beneficial to the members of that community as well as the leaders of that community. Absolutely, if done, right. Yes, definitely. Yeah, for sure. The veteran communities that are too large or not moderated and that kind of stuff too. So I think it’s important to create that safe space and manage boundaries and support people.

HF: Oh, definitely. We have in previous episodes, we’ve talked about the very, very enormous importance of setting boundaries. So if there’s anything that you’d like to touch on with setting boundaries, I would love to hear it. I think it’s so important for business owners to know.

KH: No, thank you for bringing this up. This has been coming up quite a bit in my community where I think the past year and a half of being in this pandemic and having to adjust in our businesses. It’s it’s caused a little bit of doubt and a little bit of maybe insecure purity is the right word in a lot of business owners that I know. And what I mean by that is, they’re not feeling confident enough to hold their boundaries or to say no to projects that aren’t a good fit for them. I’m finding that because we spent some time like everyone, you know, shifting and pivoting and all the things right, like, over the last year and a half, we were kind of trying to be accommodating. And we said yes to some things that maybe we wouldn’t have said yes to previously. And so now I feel like we’re at this recalibration point with boundaries, where I’m having to remind a lot of my clients, it is okay to say no to this, it is okay to tell them, I would love to work on this project. But I’m not available for two months. So we can revisit this in two months, and I’m happy to work on it then or provide you a quote at that point. You know, I’m having to remind people, it’s okay to raise your prices, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. It’s okay to make the best decisions for your business without having to check in with anyone or get approval or permission. And so that’s more of a larger scale of what I’m seeing across entrepreneurs. But that also delves into like, our personal boundaries, our perhaps, our family boundaries, our co worker boundaries are team member boundaries, all the things so I do think humans as a whole right now we’re kind of in a recalibration phase right now, like re establishing boundaries and what we’re willing to say yes to what we’re willing to also pass on confidently pass on.

HF: Yes, I that was a perfect segue, I really am glad that we were able to touch on that. I think that it is so important for business owners, especially if you are doing the vast majority of your business online, it’s really easy for those lines to be blurred, very easy.

KH: Oh, yeah. And to reminding ourselves that other people’s expectations aren’t necessarily what we need to abide by, we don’t have to respond right away. If somebody sends us an email like we can, we can take our time, and we set the rules. And we need to remind ourselves of that every now and then.

HF: Definitely. So you know, when I was doing some more research about you, and prove the product, and just learning all the amazing things that you’ve done, I noticed that one of your really big strengths that you listed was brainstorming. And I think that is such a lost art. I think that I’ve loved brainstorming, and it’s one thing that I have missed quite a lot of working in office with my with my amazing co workers. But I’d kind of would love to talk about that. And, you know, it’s such an essential first step to kind of get the ball rolling, what are some tips that you have used in the past to execute like a really valuable brainstorming session?

KH: Yeah, I you know, I am a huge fan of those oversized sticky notes that go on the walls. And when I do mastermind retreats, or when I attend brainstorm sessions with my team, those are the first thing that come out. And I think it’s important, maybe it’s my learning style, but writing things down as I’m thinking them just kind of getting one getting a little analog with it, right? Whether it’s in a notebook or on the wall and these stickies, stepping away from the computer and just letting my mind wander of like, what am I different ideas? I think so much right now in our online business world. we’re inundated with, here’s how you and I’m doing air quotes for those listening, here’s how you have to do these things, right? Like, there’s rules of marketing, and there’s rules of sales strategies and stuff like that. And yes, I think those things are helpful. But if we get too caught up, and just following a roadmap that somebody else has created, because that’s what worked for them, it may not necessarily work for us, it might eat, but it might not. And so getting to this whole brainstorm of like, I can create this program, I can create this product, anywhere I want, I can develop our own unique sales strategy. And yes, I can leverage the ideas of what I’ve done in the past, or what I’ve seen other people do. But ultimately, what is going to work best for my customers and for my business. And so like I said, getting out those oversized stickies, and just like brain dumping, I mean, I think, from where I’m at right now, in my current situation, I’ve got four kids at home, my husband’s still working at home, like I sometimes just need space to be able to get things out of my head so that I can clearly think straight and make educated decisions. And so the part of the brainstorm for me that’s most important, is really getting all the different ideas and visions that I have for my business and my clients and everything onto paper somewhere else. So that then I can go through and whittle it down to what’s most important. What can we execute on? What is going to make the biggest impact? what’s going to help the bottom line in the business? I mean, I have lots of ideas. We all have lots of ideas, right? But we need to also carefully weigh these brainstorm ideas and look at I usually like to weigh things by few criteria. What’s the time commitment involved? What’s the potential income earning that will come from this? What is my excitement level for it? I call that my heart, what’s the heart for it and then the impact, what kind of impact will this make and so every new idea that I have, I wake up by those four criteria, and that helps us decide whether or not we move forward with it. And sometimes it’s a Yes, let’s do it. Now sometimes it’s not right now we’ll do it later. And sometimes it’s a, you know, that’s a cool idea. But I don’t think that’s going to work. And it’s okay to pass on it. But I think that, that step of giving yourself white space to actually think and get everything out of your head, getting it off the computer and doing something analog on a notepad or a sticky, large sticky note on the wall. And then you know, talking it through with trusted teammates, or colleagues and kind of honing in then to on the four key things I just mentioned. That’s how I go through my brainstorming, and then decision process in my business.

HF: I love that I am such I am totally, totally in full agreeance with you that getting away from the computer and writing things down is the best way to approach stuff like that. So it’s I love hearing the different processes that people do. And kind of in this wheelhouse, you know, you have so many different aspects to your business, and there’s so many moving parts. What are some of your favorite tools for staying on top of everything, and, most importantly, staying organized?

KH: Yeah, it’s funny, I feel like it used to be much more organized. And lately I’m feeling a little more scattered, which I’m hoping we get back to better routine soon. But we My team and I use Asana for project management, we use slack for internal communication. We also use boxer, which is a walkie talkie app for voice memos. And I think there might be actually a slack integration now that allows voice memos to but I also use boxer with my clients too when I’m coaching. So no. And then, of course, my Google Calendar, if it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist. My joke. And so I would say those four pieces of technology are kind of the things that I lean on to keep myself and my team organized and to keep you know, everything moving forward smoothly.

HF: Awesome. Thank you for sharing that. Of course, I kind of would love to transition into when you decided to bring online courses into your business. You know, you guys have so many products on teachable It’s really impressive and awesome to see.

KH: My hub like they’re kind of hidden. I love it. Because we do we do stuff a lot through emails too. So they’re accessible, but we don’t have them always public. So yeah, so we actually started online courses in 2011. But again, it’s morphed over the years like it started as teleconference calls that we did, where recordings were then housed online, and people could revisit them. And then we moved to the webinar format, where they were recorded and people could, you know, listen to the replays online. And it was in 2015, that we moved to teachable and did more of that hybrid course format, where we have programs love our core signature program, paper camp, it runs for four weeks, we drove out new content every Monday, we have a new module that was released. And then every Wednesday or Thursday, middle of the week, we do a live group call where people can submit follow up questions based on that, that week’s content. We also have a community where the students all hang out and talk about things too. So that’s kind of the model that we use with the courses. We do have some on demand evergreen just do it when you can do it. And also some opt ins that are masterclass style, where people can sign up at any point and watch it right away. So we’ve done a few different things. But yeah, I mean, really, our online programming dates back to 2011. And it’s been, it’s been, you know, we’ve been adjusting as the needs of our community have changed to have like, what kind of learning styles and things they want.

HF: Definitely, and you mentioned started online courses back in 2011. And of course, it morphs over time and the needs of your audience change. But at that point in time, what was kind of the turning point for you to realize, okay, I’m thinking that I want to bring in another aspect of my business, which would be online courses in this situation, what was that? What moment made you decide to start doing that?

KH: Well, that was actually the first thing we that was the first option offer we ever brought in? Well, it started as the conference calls. But then we moved that to the up the chain. But it was always meant to be a virtual program. And what we did learn was conferences we layered in in person aspects because people want to more touch points. So we’ve been doing virtual stuff since the beginning, that’s always been a core piece of it, we knew that there were people that couldn’t travel or didn’t have the budget to travel or had personal obligations that kept them from traveling. And so we wanted to again, going back to that accessibility piece that we talked about. We wanted to have a way for people to learn with their peers in kind of a specific container where they could connect with one another, they could get the educational programming they needed and start implementing right away. So online education has always been a part of our business model. The format’s changed slightly over the years, but really it’s it’s been a core piece. And how

HF: are some of the ways that you have adapted with the ever changing landscape of online education? What are some of the ways that you You’ve had to adapt and kind of shift maybe the curriculum or the way you approach, engaging with your students and clients and all of that, as it relates to your courses.

KH: Well, we started the more like course format in 2015, where it was like, I think technology has led to changes because there was new, more innovative technology that allowed it to be a better customer experience for our clients. And so there’d been different points along the way, where we were able to enhance the experience by adding different things, elements like visuals through a webinar versus phone calls, right. And then also having the ability to use a course platform like teachable and drip stuff out in a time, you know, in a way that wasn’t us just pushing it out to them, or sending things through email or whatever that wasn’t, you know, the best user experience. We also launched a membership last year. And so that is a separate container that allows us to have different types of needs met. So you know, we have Oh, and to have the course actually, so I guess this goes hand in hand. You know, we have video, we have audio files, we have transcripts available, we even use a tool called cert g that allows people to search within the video by keywords. So if they want to jump to a specific topic, in our course, materials, they can search it and find it and go straight there. So again, we’re building constantly on what we’ve already done. And we’re also actively listening to our audience to hear what their needs are, we ask about their learning methods and their learning style, we ask if they want intensive programs that are shorter, but longer days, or if they want something that’s spread out. So they have time to implement, obviously, we’re not going to please everyone with one solution. But we are actively listening and taking their feedback into consideration as we’re refining or building out your programs.

HF: That’s awesome, I’d love to hear that. And what are some of your favorite and most tried and true ways of really getting deep with your audience and figuring out what exactly they want.

KH: Um, it’s truly getting to know them, and building that relationship. Our community has grown substantially, but I still feel like I know most of them by name, or their business name. And it’s obviously getting harder as we start to grow in terms of our consumer base, but it’s important for them to know that I know who they are, and that we’re following along with what they’re doing, and that we see what they’re working on. And we’re cheering them on and sharing their social posts. Cuz you know, it’s the relationship, it’s actively listening, providing responses to what they’re asking for, not just, I mean, a lot of people do surveys, right? They do surveys of their customers, but then they don’t ever take action on the information people provided. And so it’s not only listening and asking the questions, but it’s also taking action on what they’ve asked for, and, and then just building those relationships, like I talked about, and it’s critical. Definitely.

HF: And I heard you mentioned earlier, you do offer coaching as well. And I’d love to kind of dive into that more. How did you get started with coaching? And kind of how do you have it structured?

KH: Yeah, you know, it’s changed over the years, when I very first started, I did offer one on one coaching, and it was just by the hour, kind of as people needed. And I started to get too busy and too many requests. And so that’s when I then started doing packages or like raising the rates, you know, like it’s definitely morphed over the years. Right now I have a mastermind group. So it’s a higher level group of people that I’ve been working with for years, essentially, most of them came through our paper camp course. And then I’ve been working with them for several years. And it’s a hybrid of one on one coaching as well as group dynamics. So it’s a smaller group, like our courses can be, you know, we do Capra courses, so they’re smaller than some other online entrepreneurs, we usually try to cap it between, like 50 ish, but my mastermind is like groups of six. And so they really get to know each other, they get to know each other’s businesses. So I’ve done everything along the coating spectrum in terms of, you know, one hour slots, and you know, six month contracts, and I’ve even done in a day in one day intensives. But now my focus on my coaching is really for this mastermind group, because I think that I also found along this journey of coaching that many of the things I was telling people on a one on one basis, were being asked over and over and over again. And so my thought was get them together in a group where I’m providing my feedback, but they can also learn from each other who are going through similar things. Again, it’s similar to what we do on a larger scale with our courses in our membership, but in a more intimate level with higher access to me. So that’s how people can work with me one on one right now, it’s pretty much just in my mastermind at this point.

HF: That’s awesome. I love that aspect of your customers being able to connect with each other on such a deep level and really getting to know each other. I feel like that’s really, really important and they’ll have those relationships. For years and years, you know,

KH: absolutely. And they have one on one access to me as well and each other. So you know, we do a lot. That’s where we do a lot through voxer, where they can message me privately and say, Hey, I’m working on this, what do you think? So it’s a really nice hybrid of community support on a smaller scale, as well as one on one access to a coach and their industry.

HF: Yeah, and I bet that having that really reliable feedback loop is probably so valued. It has to be so valuable for them and their business. So that’s fantastic. Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I would love to hear from you. Because I know you are truly the product queen. What tips do you have for fellow creators who really want to expand their reach? And who want to get their digital products in front of more people?

KH: Yeah. Well, I think it’s about I mean, you hear this from a lot of the marketing gurus but really, it’s about consistency, and having your key messaging so making it very clear what you teach on and what kind of results you give people and then consistently showing up and letting people know how they can work with you Don’t be afraid of asking for the sale Don’t be afraid of telling people to go do things like sign up for a list or you know, sign up for this class. I think there’s a lot of concern amongst creators where they build these amazing programs or digital products and or physical products even and then they’re afraid to tell anyone about it. They’re afraid to ask for the sale and, and that’s okay, not all of us are good at sales. I don’t really you know, we I know there’s a lot of fear around not wanting to sound salesy or slimy or anything and you don’t, you won’t, you know, the people that want your products and will benefit from your services. They want to hear from you. They’re asking to hear from you, they’re signing up for your email list, because they want to receive content from you. So let’s give the people what they want. Talk about your products, or services, and give people a clear call to action and everything you’re putting out.

HF: I am so glad you said that. Because we really, you know, over here at teachable, we are trying to encourage everyone to do the same thing to like, not necessarily pushing fear aside forever. Maybe I think it’s you know, a good thing to encourage you to try new things and put yourself out there. But yeah, the your audience does want to hear from you. And you just have to go for it and just be consistent. That’s really good advice. I’ve been asking everyone this question, because I think it’s so interesting. And I love hearing everyone’s different answers. Yeah. But if you were starting your online business today, what would you do in the first month or two,

KH: I would hone in 100% on my offer, I would hone in on the results I was trying to get people and the problem that I was trying to solve for people. And in doing that, that will help drive direction of whatever your product is going to be whether it’s a digital product, a physical product info product, we’re getting to the heart of who you want to serve, what problems you want to solve for them, and what results you want to get for them. If you know that it makes the build out of the product easier, it makes your marketing easier. It makes it easy for you to communicate to friends and family and your inner circle what you’re working on and how they can help you spread the word. But yeah, that is that is what I would focus on first.

HF: Thank you for sharing that. And if you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear where Prufrock is going next, what do you all have planned?

KH: Yeah, um, I, we have our next round of our paper camp program coming up very shortly. That’s again, where we teach people how to sell wholesale. So if they want to get their products in the stores like Target or Container Store, we help them do that. So that’s coming up, we have a lot happening in our membership, which is called poofter. Product labs, we’ve got incredible programming there. And that is focused on business operations Labs is where we talk about money, and marketing and sales and team building. It’s not specific to wholesale you that in paper camp, but it is where we talk about all the the other things, the other hats that we wear as entrepreneurs, and we’ve got a really great group of people in there. So that’s what we’re working on. And I just took a three week vacation with my family where we were to completely off the grid and we went camping and saw family and we had a little pop up trailer that we rode around. And so I am really making an effort personally to slow down and to create white space for me to do those big brainstorming sessions that we talked about. And you know, spend my days in a way that feels good. So I’m not constantly feeling like we’re hustling or constantly putting out fires or any of that stuff. So that’s what’s coming up in my life and in my business.

HF: That is so exciting. I’m really happy for you and I cannot wait to see what happens next and I so appreciate you taking that time to not only just kind of disconnect and spend time with your family like that is super important and how do you Typically fight burnout when you feel it approaching.

KH: Oh, yeah, well, I think a lot of us are suffering from it over, especially over the past year with the pandemic. You know, for me, I feel immense responsibility to not only take care of myself, but to take care of the people in my world. So my family, my clients, my community, and so I do need to really make time for self care. And I need to make time to have those moments to recharge, you know, that quiet time is imperative for me to be able to then take great care of myself, as well as my family and everybody else. This trip was something we planned a long time ago, it was something that I challenged myself to say, Can I Can my team, and I get things ready so that I can step out of the business for three weeks and not be on email and not be in our community and not be you know, just Can I truly step out of this and let them run it and things will be fine. And it was it was 100% fine, they did an amazing job. I never had any doubts, I came back. And there were a few things we needed to handle. But I was not worried I was not anxious, I stepped out knowing that they had full control and they were going to do great. And I think part of that was empowering them setting up systems to end processes so that they can make that decision, those decisions while I was gone. But then it was also me with my mindset of saying, this is important. I need to spend this time with my family. And I need to spend this time for myself recharging, you know, reading books and going on hikes, and sitting at a beach and all these things that when I’m fueled and I’m taking better care of myself, I can then be a better mom and a boss and a coach and a mentor to these people. And so I know that’s not really day to day burnout. But I will say prioritizing ourselves, it’s a hard thing to do. I know it’s a harder thing to do, it’s easier to say. And not everyone needs to do three weeks away like I did with my family, but even just a couple hours or a day here or there like hone in on what really fills you up as a person and gives you that, you know, that chance to breathe. Maybe it’s something physical and active. Maybe it’s something therapeutic, like painting or ceramics or something like figure out what your things are. And really, truly make space for them so that you can be your best self.

HF: Yes, thank you so much for sharing that that is so it’s beautiful, honestly. So you already told us about all the exciting things that are coming up for proof to product? Where can people connect with all of you on social media, email lists, newsletter, whatever you guys have going on?

KH: Yeah, the best place to hear what we’re up to is on our podcast. It’s called proof your product, you can listen to proof of product.com slash podcast or wherever you’re listening to this podcast. Now we’re on all the platforms, our website is proof to product.com. So if you want to sign up for our newsletter, to receive information about growing a product based business, that’s where you do it. And then everywhere on social media, I’m hanging out at proof to product that’s PR, o f, t O, and then the word product.

HF: Awesome. Thank you. And you have already shared so many wonderful gems of wisdom in this episode. Do you have any last words of inspiration for our listeners, before we hop off?

KH: Well, thank you for that kind. By the way, um, I would just like to remind people, you guys, you set the rules. You set the rules in your life, you set the rules in your business, you have choices, you can say no to things you can say yes to things you can decide to change your mind on things. And I think it’s hugely important that all of us remember that. Not just as an individual, but also as the CEOs or leaders of our businesses. And so, you know, if something’s not serving you anymore, it’s okay to let it go. If something feels good, and you want to give it a try, say yes and try it out. But too often we can get looped into the situation where we feel obligated to do something. And the fact of the matter is you have choices, and you set the rules. So just want to remind people that

HF: That was the perfect EndNote to that. And Katie, thank you so much for joining me today. This was such an amazing episode, and I am super excited for everyone to hear it.

KH: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. Thank you.