Ep #27 | Be Reactive

kali-rogers

Kali Rogers is the Founder and Janitor of Blush Online Life Coaching. She and her team of master’s level coaches help females from around the globe get over their quarter-life crisis, grow their self-confidence, get over nasty breakups, and work on bettering their relationships all via video conference for only $79/mo. She is also the author of Conquering Your Quarter Life Crisis: How to Get Your Shit Together in Your 20’s and has been featured on Bustle, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Elite Daily, and Thought Catalog. Kali attended The University of Texas at Austin where she studied psychology and grew accustomed to butting her nose into other’s problems while living in a house of 40 other girls. From there, she attended SMU in Dallas where she received her M.S. in counseling. Kali now resides in Los Angeles, California where she likes to walk around Beverly Hills and wave at the pretty houses, watch reruns of The Office and Parks and Rec (Leslie Knope is her hero), and attempt to make healthy meals in her bruised-up kitchen.

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Shantel: Hi Kali, welcome to the show.

Kali: Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Shantel: Of course, we're excited to learn more about Blush and your journey to become an entrepreneur. Will you kick us off with telling us more about you and how you got started?

| CREATING YOUR OWN PATH |

Kali: Yeah, absolutely. Okay so let's start with education. I got my masters in counseling after taking the LSAT and getting sub-par results. I was like, "Huh, maybe this isn't for me." So I went and got my master's in counseling, much better fit. Grad school was so much fun. But for some reason I wasn't really clicking with the traditional path that counselors take. I wasn't really interested in working in an agency, private practice, it just, I don't know there was something about it that wasn't clicking. I felt like I couldn't be myself. I felt like I was playing a role if you will. And the licensure part was honestly such a pain. If you get licensed in one state you pretty much have to do everything over again if you move. So I'm sure a lot of teachers or counselors or anyone out there who's licensed is shaking their head right now, like "Yep, yep, been through that." It's a big pain. So I mean long story long, I decided to put everything that I knew online and to basically go in the life coaching direction instead of counseling. And of course there's a bunch of details I'm skipping over as to what really prompted that. But it just made my life so much easier and I felt like I was helping other girls to I guess get counseling without feeling like there was this huge stigma attached. Once we called it life coaching, and made it a bit lighter, I felt like girls kind of came out of the woodwork, and were like "Oh, this is something that I could do. I relate to this. I can afford this. I can do it after work. I don't have to rush through traffic to meet with my ancient therapist who's just gonna judge me the whole time." So it was a really good fit. And yeah I really haven't looked back ever since. It's been awesome.

Shantel: That's amazing. So it sounds like you have defined a niche. Can you talk more about who would be the perfect client for you?

Kali: Oh yeah absolutely. It's really funny, when we started out, I mean Blush used to look a lot younger than it does now because I was younger. And I figured that no one my age would take me seriously to be completely honest. So I was going after the teenagers. And turns out teenagers really aren't into it. They don't want to get counseling because they look at it as punishment. 'Cause it's normally a mom signing up their teen up, and it's just like pulling teeth. And nobody's enjoying the sessions. And not to say that every teenager out there doesn't enjoy counseling. I had some amazing clients. But just as a business plan it wasn't really working. And luckily time was on my side. So I was getting older and more confident. And I felt like people would start to take me seriously. And that, I guess attracted, maybe the confidence attracted more people, or maybe I was just cutting myself a little short, I'm not sure. But we did grow. And so now I would say our age range is really post-grad, that 23 year mark to probably around 40. I mean we obviously don't have a cut-off. We have women in their 50s on blush, and we absolutely adore them. But that's where the chunk of our age falls in right there. Because the coaches are millennials themselves. So we're millennials coaching millennials. A lot of 20 somethings and 30 somethings.

Shantel: Okay. Well and I read a little bit more on the Blush site and through some of your information about your book. So conquering your quarter-life crisis. And so when I asked on the niche question I imagined many kind of fall in that 25 year period.

Kali: Yeah, yeah. You know what's funny is that I'm actually, I mean I'm not totally kicking myself by putting that 20, that age group in there. Because I do get a lot of people saying "Oh can a 30-year-old read this? Or can a 35-year-old read this?" I'm like, "Yes, you totally can." Because it's really not so much about the age. It's more about the feeling of confusion and fear and anxiety that comes with transition. And not everybody hits that crisis mode at the same age. I know a lot of people who are really going through it at age 32. Whereas, some people go through it age 22. But basically I just compiled all of, I honestly went through and thought back about my favorite sessions that I've had. Where I had the biggest breakthroughs and I really saw a change in my clients and I blogged about them over the years. And so I went back and kind of took my favorite blog post that I felt represented those sessions and crammed 'em all into a book. So it's definitely meant for the 20 somethings, just because that, I mean those were the ages of my clients at the time. But I've, again, my mom read it and was like "I loved it. I thought it helped me out a lot." I'm like, "Thanks, Mom."

Shantel: That's great.

Kali: `Maybe she'd have to say that but who knows.

Shantel: No I'm sure she's being honest. And well I definitely am excited to check it out. And in full transparency I feel like this podcast journey, which is somewhat new to me, is kind of this life crisis. Like, "What the hell am I doing? I'm gonna just try another thing to add to my plate." So I can certainly relate, and I'm older than that. So I'm excited to read it myself.

Kali: Yay! Yeah so hopefully you'll like it. Hopefully you'll like it a lot. I mean I don't really give podcast tips because honestly hosting a podcast I feel like I'd be all over the place. I don't know how you guys do it. It requires so much organization, and total guts and vulnerability. You just put yourself out there like that. But yeah I mean hopefully there's few tid bits in there. Who knows?

Shantel: Well thanks I, yeah, I'll let you know what I think. But I'm sure it'll be awesome. So I'd love to hear a little bit more about what your day to day looks like and how it's evolved over the years of gaining a little bit more confidence. But what does a typical day look like for you now?

| BE REACTIVE |

Kali: Yeah so, I guess a typical day, I'm not really an early riser. I mean recently I have been because I'm ... So I'm planning a wedding right now and it's gonna happen in less than a month. So I'm really in crunch time and I feel like my anxiety is at a full time high. So I'm up and at it, 7:30 in the morning, which is, if you know me, exceptionally early. Most days I roll out of bed at 8:30, sometimes if I've stayed up way too late, 9:00, but I'm not proud of that. And I will go through emails and kind of catch up. The one cool thing about Blush's growth lately is that we've got a lot of international traffic. I mean it definitely doesn't make up the majority. But I'll get emails and we just installed Intercom, which is a really, really cool tool to use. And so we'll get actual live chats from people across seas. So I'll wake up to a bunch of emails and it's like, "Hello? Are you there?" And I'm like, "I am not. I was sleeping." So it's a lot of those international emails that I respond to immediately, 'cause I know they've been waiting for seven hours. And then sometimes I have a burst of morning sessions. And then usually I go to writing or I assign new sign-ups and I look at their profiles. Obviously, I, self-promotion, that kind of thing, marketing. And then I have a big wave of clients myself that I see in the afternoons and evenings. But I really do like to keep my days as open and flexible as possible. Because, and maybe other people don't relate to this, I'm not sure, but I feel like a large part of running a business is honestly being reactive. Just being ready for troubleshooting, and ready for when my coaches need something. Or ready for when a client missed a session, or a coach accidentally got her times confused and I have to get a hold of her. I just feel like every day brings something new and crazy. So if you have this very structured day, I just don't know how I would get anything done. Because something is always gonna come up that is more important and pressing than what I originally had on my agenda.

Shantel: Yeah. Well, and I appreciate you mentioned that. I think that goes a lot into carving out, or giving yourself some grace, a grace window or just time to handle those things, as opposed to bombarding your calendar with something every hour. It would be near impossible to get everything accomplished or be able problem solve if you don't have the time.

Kali: Yeah. And I mean a lot of my own clients, I still work with girls and I haven't taken on a new client in a really long time, probably two years. So these girls have been with me for a very long time. But even sometimes they will get upset when they'll look at everything that they were supposed to do that day, and feel like the day or the week wasn't as productive as they wanted it to be. But what they're not realizing is they were doing other things that just took precedent. But because that wasn't on their to do list or because it wasn't on the top of their mind to get done, they look back on everything as a short fall. Like it wasn't as good as they wanted it to be. And that can be really dangerous. 'Cause then all of a sudden you can sit there and feel like you're not productive at all, when in reality you're just being flexible. And you're adapting and adjusting yourself to get what needs to get done. So I don't know, I like to create. My goal is always to clear my schedule instead of pack it up, because it's always gonna get filled no matter what happened. So I like to have those pockets where I can be super productive in between moments if that makes any sense.

Shantel: No, that definitely does. And I certainly can bring some of that back into my business. I recently started to try to meet with 15, have 15 meetings a week. And while that's been great for business development, it does lend to, I'm up super late answering emails or trying to knock off the stuff that's still on my list that hasn't changed.

Kali: Right.

Shantel: So I appreciate that, that's good. Good little tid bit.

Kali: Yeah, 15 is a lot.

Shantel: And congratulations-

Kali: Oh go ahead sorry.

Shantel: No, no, no, sorry. Congrats on the wedding by the way.

Kali: Oh thank you, thank you. Yeah, I'm sure you're kind of getting the gist now that I'm not the most organized or decisive person in the world. So being a bride has been pretty interesting. I think everyone in my life is so ready for this to be over so that I stop blowing up their phone, being like, "What's a homily and where does it go in the ceremony? I don't understand any of this. Where does my mom sit?" Everyone's like "Kali, just Google it and leave me alone." I'm like, "Okay, fair, okay, okay, sorry."

Shantel: I actually was a wedding planner before I started this company. So I can, yeah, we'll have to chat off line. And if you just need to vent to anyone I'll be there.

Kali: Oh my God. I've needed you. I seriously have such respect for wedding planners at this point, because I mean unless you've been through it I don't think you really get it. Because there's so many little details that you just don't think about. And then everyone's like, "Oh well think about the last wedding you went to. What did they do?" I'm like, "I don't know. I wasn't paying attention to that." I was paying attention to the music, or I was paying attention to the person I was sitting next to. I'm just so not a detailed oriented person and you have to have that balance in your life. And furthermore, this is a destination wedding so I'm probably gonna show up and be like, "Whoops, I forgot everything and there's nothing I can do about it now so cheers!"

Shantel: Well rest assured, if you didn't notice that when you went to other people's weddings I doubt that they'll notice it for yours. It'll be great.

Kali: I mean I hope so.

Shantel: That's right. I'd love to talk a little bit more about your company and you mentioned coaches. When did you bring on your first coach? When did you know it was the right time to hire?

| THE RIGHT TIME TO HIRE |

Kali: Oh yeah. This is a good story. So when Blush launched whenever ago, I don't even remember at this point. I feel like it's been four or five years. I mean everyone who signed up was assigned to me. Because I needed to make money, I needed to eat food, I needed to pay my rent. And I had it designed where it's like "Fill out this profile and I'll put you with the best match." But it was like, "Congratulations. You get to work with Kali. So do you, so do you, so do you, so do you." And that was just the way it went. I actually had three good friends from grad school. So they also had a master's in counseling. I happened to have a great relationship with all of them. I was friends with them. But I also really respected them as clinicians as counselors, just as ambitious women. So I approached them and said "Hey, would you want to do this? Would you want to be an independent contractor for Blush? Chances are this might not even take off. You probably won't have to do anything. I really just need a head shot and I'm gonna write a bio for you, because I know you. So can you just approve of this?" And they were all like, "Yeah, cool." So I would say a year passed maybe since launch, maybe less than that. I can't remember. I mean it was a chunk of time. Someone signed up and requested Danielle. I was like, "What? Wait. Uh-oh." So I was like, "Okay, well what do I do? Do I assign her to me? Or do I do this?" So I called up Danielle and I was like, "So do you want to do this for real? Do you actually wanna be a coach on this site? Because someone just requested you." And she agreed, and she got her first client. And it was the scariest moment ever, because it was the first time that something was happening on Blush that I wasn't a part of. And I totally didn't feel like I had prepared her or had really done anything, because I just wasn't sure if this moment was ever gonna happen. So and I started doing some advertising on social media, and got so more traction, and one of my Huffington Post articles went viral, which was awesome. So things were kinda starting to develop and while I still had more time, because I don't know about other people, but when you first start a business, I just wasn't that busy. I could have taken on every client for forever. But I was like, "That's not the point." So I started, I had called Charlotte, I called Alex, "Hey. I know I have your bio and your head shot but do you actually wanna do this?" And they agreed too. So I started assigning Al, and then all of a sudden Danielle was like, "All right, I'm full. I have too many clients." And Alex said the same thing, and I had to bring on more. So I really am one of those people that loves how things are, and then once I realize, "Oh crap, I've gotta do something or else this is gonna explode." That's normally when I add a new coach. I'm not the best at it, 'cause I'm like, "Oh they can handle more, they can handle more." And then they're like, "No Kali we can't, you have to hire someone else." I'm like, "Okay. Okay got it."

Shantel: Well I think, I mean I appreciate that in the sense that I think a lot of early stage entrepreneurs or people that are interested in starting a company, feel like they have to know all of those details. Like, "Okay well when I get to five coaches what that's gonna like." Or "When will I know to hire the first person?" And I think just trusting the process and learning as you go is something that is very unique and a part I think of being an entrepreneur. That you didn't have to know when to hire the first one but it just happened. And it happened organically and you figured it out along the way.

Kali: Oh yeah. I mean if you start creating rules and visions for what it's gonna look and feel like, I mean honestly I think you're just gonna be disappointed. And I understand that people think that they're just being prepared and on top of it. But you're gonna know what to do. You just are. It's going to be okay. I mean, and a lot of times whenever I add a new coach it's because I get a really good application. I actually, I think I'm putting out an offer. I put one out this morning, so we'll see what happens. But I might be bringing on a new coach right now. And her resume was just fantastic. Her video submission was amazing. I was on the fence about whether or not I need to bring a new one on or not. We're kind of at that sweet spot where I could but I could also hold off. But she found Blush through reading the book and her best friend follows us on Instagram so she started doing it. So she's actually a follower, somebody who truly gets us. 'Cause I get a lot of applications that are like, "Oh I stumbled upon Blush today and applied." And it's like, "Okay that's great but you don't really get it yet." And so this is a true, this is a girl who drinks the Kool-Aid. So I mean, her application was outstanding, then I was like, "Oh I guess it's time. I guess now is when I'm gonna do it 'cause she's great." So you just can't control all of that stuff. You kind of have to just go with what happens.

Shantel: I think that's exciting. And also being in a phase where you don't necessarily have to bring on that person but because they're so top quality that you don't want to miss the opportunity to have them on the team.

Kali: Right, exactly. I mean when you find someone who's so adorable and you know that other girls are gonna love her as much as you do, it's like, "Ah, I just want to share here with everybody."

Shantel: Well speaking of sharing time a little bit, how has your family and fiance and friends responded to you having your own business? Do a lot of other people in your life have their own business?

Kali: No, I wish that they did. Well I will say that my dad does. So my dad was really the biggest advocate from the beginning because he discovered later on in life, he's basically a retired lawyer if you will, except for he's not retired. But he was basically done working for somebody else, and became a consultant. I think he did consulting work for BP and then he did consult ... I mean he's kind of in all over the place. So and he wrote a book, he just found there's such value in owning your own schedule, and not working a 40 hour work week. 'Cause I can't remember the last time I actually worked 40 hours in one week.  That is not my life at all. And he was just like, "This is amazing. I can go to the grocery store at 11:00 a.m., I can do things. You have to do this too." I was like, "Okay. I will do it too." So that helped a ton. Having someone who already understood what the lifestyle was like, having someone who really strongly encouraged me. My mom didn't quite get it at first. She was funny about it 'cause she's very traditional, she's an accountant. She's always been very practical, very successful, she's very smart. But she's just not the type, she's not a big risk taker. But now she thinks it's the coolest thing ever. When it was just an idea she was like, "Oh are you sure you want to do this? This is very risky." But once it actually, when she could type in joinblush.com, she was amazed and though it was really, really cool. So, that was fun. None of, well I won't say none of my friends. So you and I met through Sammy who was on the podcast for Fitspot, so I met her and that's been amazing having her just in my life, another female entrepreneur. But I mean the majority I'm thinking about, all honestly my bridesmaids are rolling through my head right now, 'cause they're so. And really only one that I can think of, she's a film producer, which is pretty cool, which is basically being your own boss. But otherwise no, I come from a world of very traditional, successful careers, which is awesome. But it makes this whole entrepreneur lifestyle a little bit of an anomaly. And I do end up feeling isolated a lot. Which is a side effect, I'm sure you've heard that from probably everybody. It's just part of it.

Shantel: Yeah I think, I've mentioned this a few times on the show. It can be really lonely unless you surround yourself with other people that, and I put in air quotes, they get it. The people that are going through the same things and having the same pain points. Or figuring out hiring and firing and operations and all those logistics. You have a really good mom voice down pat by the way.

| THE MASTERMIND ADVANTAGE |

Kali: I love my mom. I do love my mom. She is amazing. But she was very skeptical. And I say this because I think it's important for anybody who's starting their own business, people aren't going to get it and that does not mean that they aren't being supportive. It just means that they process things differently than you and they don't see it the way that you see it. But they don't need to. That's not their job to be able to visualize things the way that you do. Your job is to create it so that they can be a believer. And I will say too, I'm leaving out, I joined a mastermind recently, which I was, it's not that I was anti-that. I just, sometimes I look at the entrepreneur world and lifestyle and I'm just like "Oh, gag me." It's so over the top. It's so, there's this vernacular and this jargon that if you're not saying synergy and collaboration and blahlah of it, you're not part of the club. So to be completely honest I've been kind of turned off from the entrepreneur community as a whole. But my fiance was like, "Kali you have to join a mastermind. Get over yourself. Because you're just talking in circles and I can't help you with all of this. And neither can your dad and neither can your mom. And get a life and be an adult and go join a mastermind." I was like, "Okay fine." So I did. I found one in one of those Facebook groups that business owners join. And it really has been, I mean it's actually changed my life. It's just two of us, so my advice if you're introverted or get overwhelmed with other people's ideas, and I just, I actually process a lot internally, I know it doesn't sound like it right now. But it's been a really good fit for me having just two other business owners who totally get it. I actually got this really awkward email this morning from somebody basically hitting me up for my time without really offering anything in return. And it was just a very entitled, weird email. But I didn't know how to respond to it, so I just copy pasted it, put it in our slack channel and immediately they were like, "Oh, this is what I would do. Here's the solution. You're not gonna come across as a bitch and you're gonna respect yourself but you're still gonna be nice." I was like, "This is amazing. How did I live without this before?"  So it's okay if your community isn't a bunch of entrepreneurs. You just have to create one yourself and it's okay if it's not a massive group. It really can just be a few people.

Shantel: Yeah. I think taking the initiative to create that perfect solution for yourself and a one size doesn't fit all kind of situation, I think that's very true in the entrepreneurial community. And you wanna be surrounded by other people that you feel that you could respect or you want to be like or you admire. And that doesn't always have to come in these huge packages.

Kali: Right, right.

Shantel: Where did the name come from? Blush.

Kali: Blush?

Shantel: Mm-hmm.

Kali: Yeah. Oh good question. That took me forever to figure out. I knew that I wanted something that was inherently feminine so that people would pick up on the fact that it was for females right off the bat without me having to say anything. I wanted something, back then I wanted something that if you received an email from us you wouldn't know that it was from a life coaching company or a counseling company. In case people wanted to keep it on the low down. 'Cause I've got a lot of clients who love life coaching and self help and tweet at me and Instagram and everything and Snapchat their sessions. I mean I'm serious, there's a lot of people who just put it out there and I love that. But I also wanna respect the girls who maybe aren't as comfortable. So I tried to pick a name, joinblush.com, you have no idea technically what that is just on the offset. Which makes it harder for SEO I learned later, so I added Blush online life coaching so I could use that for article-linking to build up our SEO in case people were looking for online life coaching. But in terms of emails and actual communication between me and clients, it's pretty subtle. So I originally came up with Blush Hush, I thought that was kinda cute. And the people I was working with at the time were like, "That's stupid. Just do Blush." I was like, "Oh. Can I do that? Am I allowed to just do something that simple?" And they were like, "Yes. It's actually better that way." So, and then, I don't know if you remember the dating site Grouper, it was where they send three people on a group date. Anyway, I knew someone who worked there and their website was joingrouper.com. So I was like, "Oh that's so cool. I'll just do joinblush 'cause it's a call to action right there."

Shantel: Smart.

Kali: So I loved, yeah, I like that 'cause people get anxiety thinking that every domain name is taken, every company name is taken. And you can get creative with it. You can still name your company whatever you wanna name it and just get creative with the dot coms. It's not that hard.

Shantel: I love that story. Thanks for sharing.

Kali: Yeah.

Shantel: Kali I just have two more questions to wrap things up. The first is what's next on the horizon for Blush?

Kali: Ooh, that is a really good question. One that I kinda need to answer myself because, I mentioned this earlier but ... Actually it's funny, I actually did a big rebrand, a massive one on Blush to make it look older. 'Cause before we were gearing toward those reluctant teenagers who ended up not liking us anyway. So we had to pivot and mature the site. And I ended up doing that actually because one of the guys, or the guy in my mastermind group told me that I had a conversion issue. I was getting a lot of traffic but conversions weren't where they should be. So he's like "It's probably a branding issue." So his company actually, I hired his company to do a massive rebrand on the website. And it took a really long time to do, because I mean they're so sweet, they just wanted it to be perfect and so did I. So that actually recently launched and I've been kinda laying low because I wanted to see if it fixed the problem. And I didn't want to invest in anything and start doing new projects until I could figure out, okay do I have it solved? And it did. So if anyone's looking for a big rebrand, Beefy Marketing is amazing. My sign ups are up 80%, which is insane.

Shantel: Wow.

Kali: Yeah they're the real deal. And they only cost, it's $299 a month.

Shantel: Wow that's amazing.

Kali: Yeah it's crazy. It's amazing. You're basically financing your website. 'Cause I was like, "Ah, I don't want to spend $20,000 on a new website. Holy crap." $299 a month, it's amazing. So it's a great question, I need to start thinking about it because I think my mindset was "Oh we'll just wait and see." And now it's like, "Okay, we've seen. What's next?" So I think I'm gonna get back into Pinterest. I'm gonna start doing some social media marketing for real actually. I had started working on courses last year that I wanted to launch but put 'em on hold 'cause of the rebrand. So I might pick those up and see where that takes me. And then of course we're bringing on a new coach, which I'm really excited about.

Shantel: Well all exciting things and I can't wait to follow along and link to the site for our listeners. But Kali how can people get in touch with you if they're interested in learning more or? And it's joinblush.com for the website right?

Kali: Yeah, joinblush.com. Let's see, so you can follow us on Instagram @joinblush. Or our Facebook is facebook.com/joinblush. We also have a Twitter account but to be fair I don't really use it much. I don't really understand Twitter, I'm just gonna say it. So Instagram is our main source of social media as well as Pinterest if you're really into finding blogs or advice or any of that. Our Pinterest page is jam packed with all of that. So you can find us at pinterest.com/joinblush. The book is sold on Amazon or Thought Catalog. So you can get a Kindle version, a paperback. And then yeah, you can also email me if you have questions about the service or anything like that. My email is Kali@joinblush.com. I love it when people who just aren't sure about life coaching or counseling or aren't sure if it's right for them, directly email me. 'Cause it's such a great way to connect with people who are interested and I know a lot of people don't wanna do that because they feel like they're bugging you or you're not supposed to go to the top and ask her what she thinks. But I love it so if anyone has any questions you can just go directly to the source. I'm open.

Shantel: Well great. Thanks so much Kali we really appreciate you being on the show and carving out some time to chat today.

Kali: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Shantel: Of course.