Kelli A. Komondor of K2 Creative: “Never be afraid to ask for help”

Never be afraid to ask for help. A good friend or colleague will share her secrets with you — you just have to ask! Why reinvent the wheel? Find out how others have become successful and lean on their expertise. The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. […]

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Never be afraid to ask for help. A good friend or colleague will share her secrets with you — you just have to ask! Why reinvent the wheel? Find out how others have become successful and lean on their expertise.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelli A. Komondor.

Kelli A. Komondor is the president and CEO of K2 Creative, a content, PR & marketing, and branding firm which she started in the middle of the 2020 global pandemic. She is the creator, project manager, and a contributing author of the Amazon bestseller Twenty Won: 21 Female Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories of Business Resilience During a Global Crisis, an anthology of 21 female entrepreneurs sharing their stories of business resilience during the global pandemic. Her chapter, “From Imposter to Inspiration” focuses on how she overcame imposter syndrome to start her business and inspire a group of women to participate in the Twenty Won book.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I had a typical childhood and was always encouraged by my parents to do my best and be “successful.” Successful in most parent’s eyes means college and I tried it for two years and just couldn’t decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. Eighteen is a really young age to determine the path for the rest of your life — I know a lot of kids who just know that young. I simply didn’t.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

Have a solid set of beliefs and if you feel strongly about something, don’t back down just because it may not be the popular opinion, or it might be different than how someone else feels.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The book I created and contributed to: Twenty Won. I found 20 female entrepreneurs and we created a beautiful anthology of 21 stories of resilience during the 2020 global pandemic. Each author is a business owner who pivoted and persevered to keep their organizations running — and some, like me, STARTED their companies during the pandemic.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I started working in the business world in 2004 with a part time position at a local to Pittsburgh business publication. I was offered a full-time position shortly after, and I was promoted 3 times and spent 11 years there. I worked for a custom software development firm, then was a bank manager, then went to a digital marketing firm. I was laid off from that position in March 2020, along with many other Americans.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

I really reevaluated my career. I really got serious about starting my own business. I knew I had the skills and desire, and I had the network to help me start and grow my clients. I just had to get over the Imposter Syndrome. I had to understand the value others saw in me. A business degree I would’ve earned in 1994 wouldn’t have meant much in today’s world. Think about how far technology has come! There was no social media, no cell phones. It’s a completely different world. So, I decided to start K2 Creative LLC AND create the Twenty Won book — all in the same year. K2 Creative has become K2 Creative & PR but it’s still the same company, with the same goals, just with a heavier concentration on the public relations arm of the organization.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

Sure! I wasn’t going back into an office setting or a position where I’d have to work with the public. The pandemic started shortly after I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, I have asthma, and I had H1N1 in 2014 which landed me in the hospital for a few days. My lungs have never fully recovered, and I was too high risk for COVID complications to take chances.

How are things going with this new initiative?

AMAZING! Twenty Won is a 3x Amazon bestseller and I am still receiving messages from people who have read it and are doing big things because they found inspiration from our stories. K2 Creative & PR is doing very well. I have been able to bring on two dear friends as contractors and my client list is growing. I also snuck in starting a podcast in August — Biz Bevs & Bites in the Burgh and Beyond. It’s a partnership with another great friend where we have informative and inspirational chats with entrepreneurs and business owners while spotlighting the food and beverage scene in the Pittsburgh region. Pittsburgh has become such a foodie town and with all the damage done to the industry through COVID we really want to give back!

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My family is so supportive. They deserve all the credit for me finding the strength to not go back to a salaried position and starting my own businesses. And I really must thank my friend Renee for the push to create Twenty Won. She was instrumental in the entire process, wrote the beautiful foreword and a chapter, and has been the biggest support of the book since it launched in April.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

I’m in talks with a professional blogger to bring her on as a client, which isn’t unusual — most of my clients are female writers and authors, coaches, and finance professionals. But what is unique is how she found me. I commented on a social media post that simply said, “Only using a food, tell us where you live.” I said, “Sandwiches with coleslaw and fries — ON the sandwich.” She knew right away I was from Pittsburgh, poked around on my Facebook profile and my websites and reached out to me for help! You never know who will be reading what you put on social media.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. When I first started out, my website had a plethora of things I could do for clients. I learned quickly to choose the things I’m the best at and the ones I love doing the most.

Carry a notebook and make lists. You never know when I great idea will hit you, so you want to be able to jot it down. And for me, lists are lifesavers.

Stay organized. No one wants to work in chaos.

Learn to let go. The best investment I made, besides bringing on my two friends — Colleen and Melissa — as contractors, was hiring a bookkeeper. The hours Megan frees up for me and the expert advice she provides is truly priceless. You need to have people who work in your business so you can work on growing it.

Never be afraid to ask for help. A good friend or colleague will share her secrets with you — you just have to ask! Why reinvent the wheel? Find out how others have become successful and lean on their expertise.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

This is simple. I stopped watching the news, and really all television except for a few select shows, in spring of 2020. I spend my evenings walking 4–5 miles with my sister, or reading, or just sitting with my husband in our back yard.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Eliminate hunger and homelessness. It makes me both crazy and sad to know how many Americans go without meals and don’t have a place to call home. I

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Sarah Jessica Parker or Reese Witherspoon — so I can give them a copy of Twenty Won.

How can our readers follow you online?

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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