You need to have courage to invest in yourself, to be bold, to be true to your convictions and to follow through when things get tough.
Startups have such a glamorous reputation. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Uber, and Airbnb once started as scrappy startups with huge dreams and huge obstacles.
Yet we of course know that most startups don’t end up as success stories. What does a founder or a founding team need to know to create a highly successful startup?
In this series, called “Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Startup” we are talking to experienced and successful founders and business leaders who can share stories from their experience about what it takes to create a highly successful startup.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Roach.
Business strategist Kelly Roach transforms overworked entrepreneurs into seven-figure CEOs, by teaching them how to leverage timeless business principles, employed by billion-dollar corporations, with the speed and agility of the most powerful online marketing strategies of today.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, 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?
Definitely. I grew up in a family where there was a lot of stress and anxiety around money, which meant that from a young age I had to make a choice about whether I was going to settle for what I was handed or go out and work as hard as I could to create the life I wanted. My entrepreneurial spirit really started to come alive around sixth grade, when I was cleaning my dance studio in exchange for free lessons. In college I cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles while working 3 jobs on the side. My first entry-level job was at a Fortune 500 staffing firm, where I went from a starting salary of $36K to 7 promotions in 8 years. I was hiring, training, coaching and managing individuals across 17 locations, and there I eventually realized I needed something more, which is why I decided to pursue entrepreneurship. I spent a year studying everything I could about business, personal growth, coaching, the list goes on and really began to align my exterior life with that purpose of helping others achieve their dreams: fulfillment, freedom and financial abundance.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
When I was working as an executive in corporate I became really passionate about helping people break free of their past, their circumstances, their unfulfilling jobs, and really create a life they loved. As I moved up the ladder I began to realize that the outward success wasn’t cutting it. I wasn’t completely fulfilled and I just felt like there was more.I wanted lifestyle freedom, I wanted to make millions and I wanted to help people succeed on an even bigger scale. I was already training and coaching hundreds of people in a corporate setting and so I realized that if I could help them see that kind of exponential growth, it could be radically life changing for entrepreneurs and their families.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
Yes! My mentor during my Fortune 500 years , Dave, was the greatest advocate for my growth and success out of anyone else in my life. He saw what I was capable of before I did, and he encouraged me to do whatever it took to achieve my fullest potential.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The Unstoppable Entrepreneur is one of the only female-led and run 8-figure business coaching companies on the market, and a huge reason why our clients are so successful in our program is because we’re really running in the opposite direction of everything that’s been taught in the online space by bringing an accountability-driven model to the online business world. Now more than ever the market is craving authentic, genuine human connection and so at The Unstoppable Entrepreneur, we’ve cultivated this high-touch business incubator that teaches everything from marketing to sales to visibility strategy to lead generation and so much more, and coupled that with access, support, and the relationships necessary to simplify that path to financial freedom and successfully run and grow your service-based business online. One of the biggest thing that sets us apart from the rest is that we are committed to caring more about the success of our clients and team. Everything else falls into place when that’s what leads you.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
When we were a baby company and had just a handful of clients, we started making a weekly donation to Charity:Water which donates 100% of their proceeds to the cause and for $30, you can provide clean drinking water to someone for the rest of their life. Giving back has always been at the forefront for me and so in 2019, I started the Human Family Foundation and moved the company to a 1:1 giving model so we’re making a donation for every client that joins our program. Through that we’ve actually been able to fully fund a well in Malawi, East Africa which we just got news that it was complete as of March 2021 which has been incredible. This year w
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
For sure! A huge one is discipline — so many entrepreneurs get frustrated and throw in the towel when they aren’t seeing results right away, so I think having that discipline to stay the course is detrimental to sustainable success. Discipline is all about doing what you have to do (even when you don’t want to) because you know it’ll get you where you need to be.
Another is resilience and being able to use failure as a tool to keep moving forward. Being resilient means shortening that recovery time — the second I notice something isn’t going as I had planned, I’m already beginning to extract the learning and magnetize a solution. Instead of getting discouraged or giving up or quitting, I think of failure as feedback and am focused on using that learning to move forward as quickly as possible.
The third and most important by far is gratitude. I practice gratitude every single day and not just for the big things. I think one important thing people need to realize is that the joy is in the journey. If you are grateful, joyous and happy in the moment then you’re going to feel even more of that as you get to the next level. But if you’re stuck in the “well I’ll be happy when” mindset, you’re never going to be happy. You have to be grateful and happy and fulfilled before you achieve massive success, otherwise those negative feelings are only going to multiply as you grow and your business grows.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
That you need a great website to get your business off the ground. My first 50 customers bought directly from me from social media, and when they were surveyed they had never even visited the website. I missed out on months that I could have been earning income and growing, versus just stressing out over getting the website up and running.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
For sure! I remember when I had just completed a 5-figure training on webinars and took a few days off of work to prepare for all the clients I thought would be flooding in. And I got zero. No sales, not even a consult. I felt so defeated and discouraged.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard? What strategies or techniques did you use to help overcome those challenges?
After a little bit of resetting, I realized I needed longer form content and more time with my audience if I wanted to sell high-ticket. That was one of the defining moments that lead to the creation of the Live Launch Method, which has since helped my business reach the 8-figure mark.
The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. Can you share a few ideas or stories from your experience about how to successfully ride the emotional highs & lows of being a founder”?
Of course. I think the low lows aren’t talked about enough in entrepreneurship so I always like to be honest with my audience when I’m going through them myself. The truth is, as you continue to reach new milestones in your business things don’t get easier — you just get stronger. The challenges and setbacks are only going to grow as your business grows. This year I had some of the most difficult few weeks of my entire working career, and what got me through it was number one my strong faith, number two my personal gratitude and number three just having an incredible team that really stepped up. Instead of letting these situations deter you, or make you think you weren’t meant for this, you have to pay attention to what’s happening. If you listen and learn and look for the lesson, you will come out a thousand times stronger. Keep your head up, keep fighting, stay in integrity no matter what, remember your purpose and always go back to that “why,” extract the learning from every negative situation and leave the rest behind.
Let’s imagine that a young founder comes to you and asks your advice about whether venture capital or bootstrapping is best for them? What would you advise them? Can you kindly share a few things a founder should look at to determine if fundraising or bootstrapping is the right choice?
I wouldn’t recommend any entrepreneur accept funding, unless they have a proven track record of success already as an entrepreneur. Funding shortcuts the process of learning how to produce revenue and building a sustainable, profitable foundation for your business. It’s the same reason lottery winners typically lose everything they won so quickly. They didn’t build the money , earn the money, and they often don’t possess the money management skills to fully know how to reinvest, handle, save and make that money work for them. Funding can be a great option for some business models and there’s a time and place for it for sure — I just wouldn’t recommend it’s used as sa replacement for learning the real business building process which in turn builds skill and maturity to sustain growth.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many startups are not successful, and some are very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful startups from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Startup”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
I think the five things you need are again, discipline to do what it takes — even when you don’t feel like it — to stay in it for the long haul.
You need to have courage to invest in yourself, to be bold, to be true to your convictions and to follow through when things get tough.
You need an income source or cash runway. It takes businesses time to monetize and scale. You don’t want to make rash or emotional decisions out of panic or desperation.
You need value to deliver to the market. Your consumers need a clear ROI, and you need a well-defined product or service that the market wants and are willing to invest in.
Finally, you need a target market. Who you’re serving is just as important as what you’re delivering. There has to be alignment between those people and your product or offer.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
A big one is caring what other people think and letting the opinions of haters and naysayers get to them. There are always going to be opinions on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, and if it’s not coming from someone who is either where you want to be, already achieving the success you want to achieve, or someone who’s relationship you value — don’t let it get to you. Don’t listen to the opinions of those who are not where you want to be. That’s easier said than done, but remember that not everyone is going to support your entrepreneurial journey, agree with it, or be your cheerleader. You can either listen to their opinions and stay where you are because you’re afraid of judgement, you can extend a hand for them to set a higher standard for their own life, or you can remove the toxicity and go your separate ways.
Another I’d say is making short-term decisions based on instant gratification. People quit when they aren’t seeing immediate results. They get shiny object syndrome and want to quit and jump to the next thing, but the truth is, most of the success that’s happening is building up under the surface. It just takes years to emerge. You have to be making decisions with the future in mind — 5, 10, 15 year increments versus 5, 10, 15 minutes. So commit to staying consistent and not letting that short-term gratification rob you of long term success.
Startup founders often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to burn the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to founders about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting a company?
Delegate, delegate, delegate! Whether it’s in your business or home, delegate the tactical, day-to-day things that can easily be taken off your plate so that you have more time to focus on your zone of genius. This does’t have to be a full-time team member right off the bat — if you’re just getting started, hire a VA or an intern to handle administrative tasks, social media scheduling, anything that can be done faster and easier than you can do it yourself. When I first started my business I had a VA for a couple hours a week and that was it. This can also be getting help with chores around the house, errands, anything that leaves more white space for you to focus. In general it’s important to maximize your productivity in the time you do have — so make sure to first eliminate anything that isn’t serving you. Cut out obligations that you’ve been doing because you feel like you “had to,” tv shows or social media that’s sucking up your time, toxic relationships and environments.
Once you’ve freed up that time, commit to time blocking your schedule and getting the most important things done during your peak productivity hours. For some that might be 5–7 a.m., and for others it might be middle of the day or late at night. Group like tasks together so you’re not jumping from one thing to the next, and create a list of things that can get done in the pockets of your spare time. What can you knock out in 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes?
And no matter what, give yourself a spot on the calendar. Refill your cup, take care of yourself, set aside dedicated time for exercise, meditation, family time, any activity that bring you peace. Mental health needs to be a priority and you can’t sacrifice that in the process of building your business.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The movement I’m trying to create ight now is the focus on bringing courage and confidence to the next generation through the products and services at my company, The Courageous Brand. After serving thousands of entrepreneurs and building one of the most recognized business education brands on the market with The Unstoppable Entrepreneur, I now want to not only help entrepreneurs achieve financial freedom but also help the next generation learn the right mindset and skill set to thrive.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Definitely Napoleon Hill, who wrote one of my favorite books — Think and Grow Rich. I know it’s impossible, but that would be the person I’d choose!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can follow along with me on Instagram @kellyroachofficial or Twitter @kellyroachlive, connect on LinkedIn or join my free Facebook Group, the Tribe of Unstoppables!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you so much!