As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Roach. Kelly Roach is known as the business catalyst, helping elite business owners become trailblazing disruptors in their industry. By combining timeless business principles employed by billion-dollar corporations with the speed and agility of today’s most powerful online marketing strategies, Kelly helps entrepreneurs achieve million-dollar breakthroughs in their business, with simplicity and connection. As a former Fortune 500 executive, Kelly built and led record-breaking sales teams in 17 locations around the United States. Kelly has since built her coaching company to the multi-million dollar mark by leveraging scalable intimacy to create the first-ever accountability driven coaching program on the market, while revolutionizing the way entrepreneurs launch their offers. In addition to being a best-selling author, Kelly is a regular, featured expert on both local and national news outlets and a guest contributor to the business world’s top publications. She also hosts her Top 50 Marketing podcast, The Unstoppable Entrepreneur Show. Kelly is committed to ongoing philanthropic work, with a 1:1 business model that brings clean drinking water to those who do not have access, through her Human Family Foundation, and is the co-owner of Give Her Courage, a movement designed to give young girls the competitive edge they need to rise to the top, break through barriers, and create lasting change in the world.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Growing up just above the poverty line, in a family of 5, I decided early on that things would be different for me and my children. I worked hard growing up, scrubbing toilets to pay for dance lessons, and working multiple jobs in college. After graduation, I got an entry level job in sales, for a Fortune 500 company. In 8 years, I was promoted 7 times to become the youngest VP in the company. I led my team through the recession of 08’-10’, without letting a single person go. In fact, we had record breaking sales that year. As I was climbing the corporate ladder, I realized that I was making millions of dollars, working 60+ hours a week, for OTHER people. When I thought about what I wanted in terms of lifestyle, that wasn’t it. So, I started my business on the side, while working in corporate, and built it for 2 years before leaving that job to focus full-time on my business. I relied on lots of hard work, my sales skills, and an unstoppable mindset to help me build what is now a multi-million dollar coaching company with over 500 clients, across the globe. 8 years later, I am starting to see some of my biggest goals come to fruition, and am constantly grateful for the ability to run a company this size, from home.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
There are plenty of mistakes I made in the beginning. Not sure I’d call them funny, but honestly, they were major learning lessons, and I don’t regret them.
When you’re just getting started in your business, you have this blind optimism and excitement, and you want things to happen overnight. I was still working full-time as a Fortune 500 executive when I started my business. I put so much work into my first big webinar and was so convinced it would go well that I took the next two business days off work to do all of the consultations and registrations for everyone I was sure would be registering as a result of my webinar.
Unfortunately, I had no authority or audience built up at that point. None. So webinars probably weren’t the best format for me. I got absolutely zero sales from it. Not a single one. I clearly didn’t need those two days off.
The takeaway for me? You can work extremely hard on something and not see results. I put in hours and hours of practicing and running through the webinar — but my confidence and authority and credibility just weren’t there yet. Those things take time. You’ve got to be willing to play the long game and not see results right away.
Building a freedom-based multi-million dollar company has taken us years. But we did it.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
The book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, taught me that I have absolute control over my own destiny. It showed me that I can make changes to my thoughts, every single day, that will impact the way I live my life and the outcomes I achieve. I learned how to focus on listening and to ask really effective questions in order to win the sale. I still use these principles over 20 years later.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
When I started my company, my vision was very similar to what it is today. Our company, The Unstoppable Entrepreneur, is committed to simplifying the path to financial freedom through entrepreneurship. We want to make the ability to become a successful entrepreneur more accessible to the average person. As of right now, 85% of businesses fail, so obviously, as a population, we haven’t made entrepreneurship accessible and achievable yet.
I personally was very driven by the fact that I had struggled so much financially growing up. I wanted to really help others avoid that struggle. I had achieved a high level of success in the corporate world, but it didn’t bring the fulfillment or flexibility or ability to put my family first that I knew I wanted in life. When I realized that entrepreneurship was the path not just to financial freedom, but to lifestyle freedom and being able to enjoy financial freedom in a meaningful way, I knew it was the path for me. You can’t put a price tag on getting to be present with your family. Today, I’ve narrowed my vision to helping normal, everyday people, do extraordinary things so that they can live in that same freedom. For me — it’s what keeps me going. The client wins, the lives changed, that’s what makes all of the falling down, and scraping your knees doable.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
You’ve got to have authenticity and integrity in everything you do. Do what you say you are going to do, use your platform for good and make a difference in the world. Make sure every decision you make is aligned with, and guided by, your own North Star not what everyone else around you is doing.
And…train for your business like an athlete trains for their sport. Put in the work required to get results. When an athlete is training for the Olympics, there is A LOT of work before they even make it to their big competition. There are countless training hours and lots of smaller wins along the way. There are days they want to quit, and days they are flying high. But they keep their eyes on the prize and they keep going. Business is the same. You will have to flex muscles you didn’t even know you had and ride every wave along the way. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Just like every other parent, I have a child home, full-time, from school. Thankfully, my husband is home and taking care of our daughter. Since he’s always done this during times she’s home from school, it hasn’t shifted too much. We are very blessed to be in the position where my husband was already available to be present for her.
My challenge has been more of an emotional one. Now that my daughter is home, she wants her mom. She wants us to be together, because when she’s home from school, that’s normally how things are. She’s an only child, so there aren’t siblings to play with, and that’s been tough. I’m doing the dance of running two companies while trying to take some extra time to be there for her.
We’ve worked really hard for 15 years as a family to put ourselves in a position of freedom. Not being able to exercise that freedom is tough. We’ve had to cancel vacations and Madison’s birthday celebration and Disney and business events, and all of that.
We will definitely welcome things normalizing again, but we understand that we haven’t faced the level of challenges many others have. My heart goes out to everyone who has had their whole world turned upside down by this crisis.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Our biggest challenge is the risk of our clients being unable to pay for our services, so we doubled down on our retention efforts. We got hyper-focused on our level of service. We tightened our regulations around who we’re bringing in and are really vetting the situation to make sure that all new clients are a viable long term fit for our company and where it’s going.
You can always learn something from these situations. If you look to the future, instead of clinging to the past, you can actually identify some really important innovations that will drive you forward. You might have to get a little scrappier, but even the challenges can birth some incredible things.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Number one, turn off the news. It’s great to stay aware of what’s going on, but it’s absolutely unhealthy to be glued to the news every minute. They’re always looking for a headline to get you to turn it on their channel. You have to be disciplined and turn it off.
Number two, minimize what you consume, and create connectivity with people in different ways. We’ve been doing Zoom calls with extended family and friends. My mom, who’s almost 70 years old, has been walking with a friend six feet apart. We’ve had to get creative with staying involved in the lives of the people we love, but it’s important to avoid complete isolation.
The bottom line: you have to look for opportunities to invest in your mental and physical health, and you have to make decisions to carve away the things that are unhealthy. Now is the time to get absolutely ruthless about where you are spending your time, and what you are allowing into your mind.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
I think the opportunities are going to be absolutely massive.
The market is willing to pay for convenience, for immediacy, and for anything that will save them time. People are paying to have access to things from home, so if you are looking to expand into virtual services or offer something new in an industry that hasn’t quite taken the online leap, then you will be in a great position to thrive coming out of this.
I’m in the business growth strategy space. With the whole shake-up from an employment standpoint, and millions of jobs lost, I think a lot of people are starting to recognize that now is a good time to start protecting their family’s financial future by starting their own business.
I think for companies in a position to hire, there is an incredible amount of talent on the market that wasn’t there 2 months ago. Skilled people, ready to make a change in careers.
Ad costs are lower than they’ve ever been in some areas. That is incredibly significant for those using digital advertising, and provides an opening for those who weren’t previously.
I think many antiquated models have been made irrelevant and those willing to break out of those models and try new strategies, will thrive.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
I think the biggest change is that a lot of businesses will be 100% online. I think a lot of brick and mortars won’t go back to being brick and mortars. I think a lot of buildings will remain empty. I think there’s a lot of risk, a lot of expense, a lot of uncertainty with those moving forward.
People will think differently about being in public places. Some people may be more hesitant to be in large groups, so big events and conferences are not likely to return to normal any time soon. People might think differently about how they travel and what they will travel for. I think moving forward people will see the need to diversify, have cash on hand, and have some contingency plans. This came on quickly. Within a matter of days, people’s lives and businesses were flipped completely upside down. I believe many small business owners will realize that they have to be prepared for something like this.
Yes, there have been many hardships for many people that have come out of this, but if you look for the lessons, there’s always an opportunity to pursue a higher and better path. Hopefully people will learn to be flexible and to take advantage of the opportunity to deliver products and services online, regardless of their business model.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
Our market is already online. We serve entrepreneurs that are service-based businesses. A lot of them have continued to grow during this time, because they were already set up to navigate this terrain.
As we look to the future, in terms of growth, I think we will see our company tap into individuals who are looking to make a career change, start a new business, get started on their own, more so than in the past.
There will be so many people entering the market in the coming months. We want to help them enter the right way, rather than helping them unravel their mistakes a couple years down the road.
Our business wasn’t directly impacted too much by the crisis, but we still want to prepare for other things that could happen in the future. So, the biggest thing we’re doubling down on is making sure that our sales systems and our sales team are really dialed in.
If a disruption comes again, we want to have the flexibility to do whatever we need to do to generate the same business in a new and different way.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
I encourage you to live below your means, to have a really good sales system in place and to build your emergency fund. Times like these should serve as a reminder that things can change in the blink of an eye. Make sure you have a few months of financial reserves personally and a few months of operating expenses saved for your business, so if this happens again, you are prepared for some slower months.
Additionally I’d encourage you to make investments in your business that will allow you to easily pivot if and when you need to. Now that we know a mass shut down like this can happen in a matter of days, it’s important you have the basic skills and people in place, so you can keep going, despite what’s going on in the world. That means digital offers, online programs and services, and a dialed-in online selling system is going to be critical for any and every type of business moving forward.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Be the best that you can be in everything that you do.” It’s a quote I’ve lived by my whole life, and it has served me very, very well. It has helped me, and it has allowed me to help many, many other people. It sounds simple, but if you wake up every day and actually live this quote out, you become absolutely unstoppable!
How can our readers further follow your work?
You can connect with me inside my free Facebook group: The Tribe of Unstoppables where my team and I go live with highly valuable weekly trainings on everything from social selling to messaging, to packaging and pricing you online offers. You can also checkout my podcast, The Unstoppable Entrepreneur Show, wherever you listen to podcasts! I’ve got 5 years of weekly episodes available for binging!