Kerryn Hewson is a systems strategist and productivity mentor to creative mompreneurs who want it all and a slice of cake. She designs custom-fit systems that simplify, streamline, and automate micro-businesses so that every hour spent away from family adventures and cozy date nights counts towards business growth. Read our interview with the lovely Kerryn below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always believed that there is freedom outside the corporate 9-5 where I wouldn’t have to ask a boss for time off to travel or spend time with family. When I came across the online business world 4-5 years ago I knew this would be a perfect fit to build a business accessible to people around the world from my home in New Zealand while being a stay-at-home mom. But for the longest time I didn’t know what THING I could build a business around. Then, 8 months pregnant and a couple weeks into my maternity leave, I realized I could take my corporate experience as a Project Manager and in business process & systems analysis and apply it to small business.
Tell us about your business.
I’m a systems strategist and productivity mentor helping creative mompreneurs have more time and head space for business growth and family time by streamlining their systems, automating and outsourcing.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I offer a limited number of free 30 minute Systems Check Assessments every month where we talk through the delivery process for one product or service and identify opportunities to simplify, automate, and outsource. Schedule your call through this link.
Where is your business based?
I’m based in Wellington, New Zealand.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The very first thing I did was test out my service idea. I knew what I could do but wasn’t sure how it would translate from corporate, banks, and government to online businesses, designers, and developers. There are so many options when it comes to testing your service or product ideas. You can start with free one-off calls to help develop the idea and do a beta test of your package at an introductory price or in exchange for testimonials. Be proactive in reaching out to people asking if they’d help you develop and test your service idea or if they know of someone that might be a good fit. Then I launched my website with just an about page and a way for people to book a free call with me. Not having a website and somewhere to point people who were interested in learning more about me was really holding me back from putting myself out there. You can read more about how I embraced imperfect action and the minimum viable product approach to launch my website in this blog post.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Be proactive! Make the ask!
I’ve found interacting in Facebook Groups is a great way to meet other online business owners and find collaboration opportunities to raise awareness and widen my audience. But you have to reach out and offer to have a virtual coffee date over Skype, or say yes to opportunities other business owners are sharing and follow up. Ask for referrals and ask your audience to share your content with people it can help. It sounds strange but often people aren’t sure if you want them to share or how you want them to do it. Make it easy – give them share buttons, business cards, images, and copy – and ask them to share.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Staying focused and maintaining momentum while working around a baby, and now a 1 year old’s shifting schedule!
How did you overcome these challenges?
I got REALLY clear on when I would start working and when I would stop working. This couldn’t necessarily be time bound like 9.30-11.30am and instead would often be… after the baby’s gone down for her nap and I’ve had something to eat until the baby wakes up. Or… after watching a TV show while eating dinner with my husband until 9.30pm or I hit a mental wall. And I knew exactly what I would work on during each work block so when the baby went down for her nap I would open up ONE thing to do and work on that until I was interrupted by her waking up. I can’t afford to waste any time figuring out what I should be working on. Whenever I’m unsure of what to work on next I go back to my goals and my priorities. I talk more about my schedule and prioritizing process in my freebie, Extreme Makeover: To Do List Edition and in my blog post, My Daily Success Plan.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I remind myself WHY I’m building a business for myself, my family, and my audience and I try to really ground myself in the vision I have for our freedom lifestyle. I recently went through Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge which was a great way to do this. I read over my own testimonials! When the doubt creeps in and you’re not sure which direction to take or what’s working going back and reading the words from past customers saying what a difference you made for them is a real boost.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I focus on custom-fit systems that work how you work and support your business where it is now and where you’re looking to take it next. I see so many systems and productivity coaches recommending specific tools like Trello and Asana to solve people’s problems when it’s less about the tools you use and so much more about HOW you use them. (I use and love Asana but I know WHY it works for me. My Virtual Assistant loves Trello and she knows WHY the way Trello works is a match for how she works). There is no one-size fits all tool, process, or system. I’d much rather work with my clients to streamline their processes, identify what they need a tool to do, teach them how to evaluate and trial tools to find the right fit for them, and recommend 2-3 tools for them to start their evaluation. That’s a skillset and process they can use over and over again as their business grows and their needs change.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Work on your mindset blocks! When you find yourself stuck in resistance or indecision there’s usually some underlying belief or repetitive thought that’s stopping you from moving forward.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Work with your energy levels as much as possible to avoid burnout and hitting that mental wall. I’ve found that different types of tasks need different types of energy and focus: decision-making tasks, creative tasks, relationship building tasks, and implementation tasks. Often creative tasks need bigger, distraction free blocks of time while implementation tasks can be squeezed into those smaller blocks of time.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Streak CRM is a tool for Gmail that I’m constantly recommending for business owners who are doing client work out of their email. It allows you to turn all those client emails filling your inbox into a dashboard so you can see exactly where all of your clients or orders are in your delivery process and how many you have in each stage.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Jenny Shih on Bite Sized Offers to bring in a steady flow of new clients and consistent income, month after month.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m working through a coaching program to give me the accountability and support to launch a new lead magnet and email sequence. I’m getting very intentional about understanding and improving my sales funnel for booking 1:1 clients.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My big goal is to book myself solid from February 2017! I have three spots each month for new Systems Streamline clients and you can find out more about packages here. And I’m setting myself up to take most of December and January off to enjoy the New Zealand summer and festive season with my family.