In this interview we meet Kim Victoria who is a marketing specialist who in her words “helps business owners & consultants land corporate clients”
Earlier this year Kim and I collaborated on her special project connecting women around the world called “Make Your Good Business Great”
In this honest and revealing interview Kim shares some terrific insights into the journey she has taken as she created and grew her business to what it is today.
Listen in especially to her pricing strategy … as she says “this strategy is not for everyone, it worked because it was me and how I do things” and we have an interesting discussion about price vs value. …. Here we go!
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Are you thinking about starting your own business? You may like to take our Business Startup Readiness Quiz which can help you identify where you are on your startup journey click here to take the quiz.
My guess is that you are here because you are curious about what it might be like to start a business?
Perhaps you’ve been wondering if you have what it takes? If your idea will work or even how much it actually costs to build a successful business?
I’ve written a book that can answer pretty much all your questions “So You Want to Start a Business” and you can download the first 20 pages at www.thestartupsteps.com
15 years of experience working with start up businesses are condensed into this book.
It’s your step by step guide to launch your business smarter and faster and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you and can’t wait to hear about your progress.
Are you ready to grab your excerpt? Click here www.thestartupsteps.com
Happy reading! Now here is the full transcript of the podcast.
Ingrid: Hello and we here are with Kim Victoria from the Infinity Group. Hello, Kim.
Kim Victoria: Hi there, Ingrid, how are you?
Ingrid: Great, thank you. Well, Kim’s in Melbourne and I’m in Sydney, so let’s get into the questions. So, tell us about the Infinity Group, Kim. What is that business?
Kim Victoria: Thanks. Well, it’s a digital marketing agency. Essentially we create leads for people. I joke very often that we’re an online dating service for businesses. So, we connect businesses to businesses who want to do business together. We do that via social media and very proactive marketing. So, it brings leads into your door every week and that’s what we love about it.
Ingrid: Yeah, that’s terrific. When did you start this business?
Kim Victoria: It started in 2015. I have been in marketing for all of my career. But, yeah, I started, really, in 2015.
Ingrid: I know you’ve had other businesses, so we’re actually, in this podcast, we’re probably going to draw on some your experience in other businesses, but we’ll probably stick with this one. So, you started in 2015 and why did you start this business? What was your motivation for starting this one?
Kim Victoria: It was funny way to drop into a business, actually. So, I have small children and so over the time that they were young in preschool I have always worked and helped other people with their marketing and strategy and design and getting their businesses out there. So, as I was helping people I just managed to pick up a number of paying clients and then my youngest one went to school and I thought, “Well this is really my year now.” This is my opportunity to really set the world on fire. So, when he went to school and, you know, you’re not juggling all of the crazy drop offs and babysitting and all that sort of stuff, I was just able to knuckle down and grow the business from there. So, really it was because my kids were going back to school and I was able to have a lot more zest and ability to actually grow the business.
Ingrid: So, naturally do it for yourself. So, what did you really want, what were you looking for in that business from day one? What were you looking for it to give you?
Kim Victoria: Yes, so I’m one of those lifestyle business people and for me it was really important that I had a good income, but then also I had flexibility. That was really important to me. So that if my kids are sick from school, it’s okay and I can go and pick them up and care for them the way I want to and, also, that I’m there for them after school. So, for me, like definitely I would say that it’s lifestyle has been the biggest intention of the way that I built it as well.
Ingrid: That’s terrific. Is it giving you that? Is that how it’s working out?
Kim Victoria: Yes, well, I definitely have a lot of flexibility. But, you know, when you grow a business, as you would know, Ingrid, you have a lot demands from your clients. So, although, there’s this intention of flexibility, sometimes the clients first and the kids come second. But I also have prepped them quite well, so they do know if I’m in the city for a day seeing clients don’t get sick that day, don’t need me, and so-and-so picking you up from school. Also, you know, even to the point where if I’m on the phone and I’m at home, but it’s still business hours they know not to interrupt during that time. So, you know, we’ve got a lot of, I don’t know, rules. I don’t mean to say rules , but boundaries, so that I can operate in and around them, but then the clients also don’t suffer as a result of that either.
Ingrid: Yeah and you know it’s probably terrific for them to have you as that role model doing that for them. In terms of –
Kim Victoria: I hope so, Ingrid, because my two eldest are daughters and more than anything I want to show them that you can, you know, you can put your passions into action and you can have it all.
Ingrid: Yep, and we can.
Kim Victoria: And we can.
Ingrid: So you started the business, your children have gone to school, you had some clients. What was the thing for you that made the business feel real? That you were actually in business? I ask this question because for different people this has different meaning.
Kim Victoria: Yeah, I can really understand that too. When do you take it from a hobby into being a real business? You know, I got super excited the month that I earned more than my husband and I thought, “This is cool.”
Ingrid: Okay, that answer hasn’t been on the … I haven’t heard that before, but I can understand how that could feel real.
Kim Victoria: Yeah and I don’t mean to say that from a competitive point of view or to demean my gorgeous husband at all, but when I saw that the income I was bringing in was a valid income, that’s when I went, “Yeah, this is great and I’m real.” It also gave me some real confidence to then go out and continue to grow it.
Ingrid: Yep. It really, the financial side of it really is endorsement that the business is successful, isn’t it?
Kim Victoria: Yeah, yeah, it is actually.
Ingrid: It is.
Kim Victoria: It really is. You can get some great testimonials that have excellent client relationships and know what you do is great, but it’s when you can pay the bills and forecast for your future. That’s when you know you have a great business that supports you as much as you support it, you know?
Ingrid: Yep. Indeed. So, when you were starting the business and you said you’ve worked in marketing for, you know, a number of years. If you could talk a little bit about how did you know that what you were offering is something that somebody wants? That your customers, your clients actually want you’re offering? How did you know that?
Kim Victoria: Yeah, so, it’s a good question. I think as a personality type, I’m probably a bit of a helper personality type. I also love talking to people and I love people’s passions, actually, and I’m often very inspired when I talk to people and when they get all juiced up about whatever it is that they’re very passionate about. I’m also so enrollable, I just want to get in there and do it with them. I love and live off passion, you know?
Ingrid: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kim Victoria: So when I would talk to people about their businesses, you know, I’d have this idea of how to help them, so I would just say, “Oh, you should do this.” Or “You should do that.” Or “You could think about things differently if you did A, B, and C.” And, you know, inevitably, the conversation would go on and then I would actually be helping them achieve their goals. So, that was whilst my kids were younger and I helped out a few different businesses and then I had four different people that I was doing similar but different things for, but, essentially, connecting with one business to talk about their business and seeing if it was a match. Seeing if they’re product and services worked well together.
I absolutely love the idea of joint ventures and where we can co-create business together. So that you’re not alone and you’re not doing everything on your own when you can align with another business and then serve a whole new realm of clients or the existing realm of clients in a whole better way. So, when I had those four clients and I was looking at taking on my year, I thought, “You know, this is something that I can see, everybody would need who isn’t a business person.” From there, I just started talking to more people as a matter of fact and building my clientele from there. So, yeah, that’s kind of how it all came about.
Ingrid: So really listening to what people were asking for and then giving it to them, really.
Kim Victoria: Yes. Yes, it’s as simple as that. I think business is simple as that, actually. Listen to what people need and then provide it for them.
Ingrid: Exactly, exactly. Oh, dear. Kim, how did you fund the business in the early days? So, you talked about with your children and then this, you know, even the basic business, a laptop in the home office, still needs funding. So, if you don’t mind telling us, how did you fund and then as you expanded, how did you fund the expansion?
Kim Victoria: Yeah, cool. So, really, I did everything myself at the beginning. Because I was in the very, very fortunate position of having clients before I really had a business, that definitely helped. So, I was earning this, you know, play money really. Like lifestyle money, whilst my children were younger. At the beginning I definitely did everything myself, like, from building my own website to getting on the phone myself. You know, that kind of thing. So the funding would have come out of our personal budget, my husband and I family budget.
But then, as I say, I did have a few clients, so that money definitely went into paying the mobile phone bill, website hosting, templates, that kind of thing. Then one of the great things I think about that has been that now I know that kind of stuff, although I don’t do it and I have a team that I work with now. So I don’t have to do it all, I know exactly what each of them are doing and I know the time it takes. I know the challenges that they have and so I think that it really assists me in that leadership role of knowing what everybody is because, in the beginning, I did it all myself.
Ingrid: That’s terrific. Yeah, the smart thing is to stop doing it at some point, isn’t it?
Kim Victoria: Oh my goodness. Doing it as quickly as you can is my advice.
Ingrid: Yeah, ’cause you really don’t have to know how to do everything.
Kim Victoria: No, no, that’s right. That’s right. I think any business that you want to take beyond yourself, obviously you need a team around you. You need a really good team and then, you know, I’m not good at everything anyway. I really hate the nitty-gritty stuff. I’m one of those big picture people, so my team is basically the doers. I float around and tell people how I would like things to be done.
Ingrid: As you said, with an appreciation of just what they’re challenges are and the time involved, so that if somebody does say to you, “Look, it’s taking days to get this done.” You actually have a full understanding of that rather than thinking, “What’s going on? How come it’s taking so long?”
Kim Victoria: Yeah, absolutely, that’s right.
Ingrid: Then the reverse, of course. Terrific. So, you started with your four customers. How did you find more? You know, where did new customers come from? How do you grow your business?
Kim Victoria: Yeah, so, I predominantly work online, so meeting people online, I take myself on as one of my own clients and Linkedin is a great referral network. Meet, greet, and referral network for me. The other thing that I do is I search for people who I want to connect with and it’s … It takes a long time to be thinking a), who you want to connect with, why you want to connect with them, how you can assist them, and then, also, how can they assist you? But I honestly just do a lot of reaching out. I do for myself what I do for my clients.
Ingrid: Which is how we met.
Kim Victoria: Which is how we met, exactly.
Ingrid: That is how we met, indeed, yes, and glad we did. Thank you. How did you decide pricing. Now you can talk about the actual numbers or you can just talk philosophically about, how do you decide how much to charge? Because, particularly a business like yours where it’s this nebulous thing that people. How do you choose it?
Kim Victoria: To be honest, Ingrid, I didn’t really want to answer this question, because I wanted to come across like a professional with your audience. Because, you know, in the beginning I didn’t even really have a pricing strategy. I knew the people that I helped, so together we just sort of talked about what would work for them and what would work for me. That is certainly not the way to do business, unless you’re me, I suppose.
From those early days, though, when I started to reach out to people who I didn’t know I still wasn’t very good at charging for my services and I charged based on what I thought was good value for the clients, while also still making a profit after my costs. So, then, very quickly I went into a pricing restructure because obviously my business has only been going for two years now. So, very quickly, I went into a pricing restructure and this also happened when I realised the value of the business and the value that I was giving my clients.
So, then, I know this is going to sound crazy to the audience, but I had listened to someone on a podcast and they suggested to be really bold, that nobody ever charges enough for their services and put a “1” at the front of your fee and I thought, “Oh, my goodness, you can’t possibly do that.” But, I did, and that’s been my pricing structure for the last six months and then going … I know, crazy, right? So then going into 2017, what I’m … Because I’ve got a few, I’ve got a bit more business sense now, perhaps. Actually discussed it with my accountant and get some external council to assist me because I think pricing is a place that we all get a bit stuck depending on our systems, and thinking what will people pay rather than what your service is actually worth.
Ingrid: Yeah and to take the product for what it is, when you see what people pay for some things, it’s the value that they place on that purchase. Whatever it is, whether it’s a physical product or whether it’s a service.
Kim Victoria: Absolutely.
Ingrid: Yeah, there’s champagne and there’s champagne, you know. When you think of all of the range of products that we have. There’s the ones at this end of the spectrum and there’s the ones at that end of the spectrum and what allows more zeros on the end of that one to this one. So, it’s probably a good conversation to be having with your accountant.
Kim Victoria: Yeah and I think, also, when you’ve got a few clients under your belt and you can see their successes and you can see what value you have in the long-term. That gives you a lot of confidence to then set your prices accordingly. So that’s what I see now for myself, which, I perhaps, didn’t see at the beginning.
Ingrid: You know, that’s probably not dissimilar to many others listening to this. Who, you know, are thinking about starting a business. Is it they’re not sure where to start with pricing and often we look around at competitors or our perceived competitors as a guide. That’s not always the best way either, is it?
Kim Victoria: No, I agree with you. However, I think, perhaps if the listeners thought of a price that they thought was reasonable, but then always go above that price, because I think we always undervalue our service.
Ingrid: Particularly in the early days. As you say, if you haven’t got the runs on the board or you haven’t got the testimonials, it does feel more difficult to ask for a particular price in terms of pricing.
Kim Victoria: Yeah.
Ingrid: So, Kim, I know it’s only two years in, but what’s your exit strategy?
Kim Victoria: Yes, Ingrid, I actually don’t really have one at the moment.
Ingrid: That’s good.
Kim Victoria: But one of the things that I am thinking about at the moment, especially after speaking to a coach and an accountant is that, you know, systems and procedures are really important when selling a business. What I’m really diligent with is documentation right now, in my business, so that anyone can come in and do a particular role. The other thing that I’m also present to is that a lot of businesses really rely, not a lot of businesses, I shouldn’t say that. But if your business relies on your own personality to grow the business, it’s less sellable than if it’s a walk in and today we’ll get the same amount of income and profit.
So I’m really careful, right now, to try and keep my personality out of it as much as possible. Yes, but, you know, right now I actually really love what I’m doing and I can’t see myself leaving for a number of years. Then, also, the business is evolving, you know?
Kim Victoria: Watch this space!
Ingrid: Watch this space, yeah. I do encourage people when I’m working with them at the beginning of their journey to just think about what that exit strategy might look like, ’cause, you know … It doesn’t have to end up that way. But when we’re setting something up it’s might that exit strategy be, because that can influence, as you say, setting up systems and processes. Just, how much of your actual personality is the actual brand and how much of it is the brand for itself. So, yeah, nice answer there, Kim, that’s terrific.
Here’s a couple of those, you know, what you wish questions. So, what’s the one thing that you really wished you done differently at the begging? You know, if you had to look back and say, “Gosh, I wish I had done that or done it earlier.”
Kim Victoria: Yeah, that’s cool, so one of the things that I would like to have, in hindsight, is probably not taken my eyes off expanding when I reached that point when I couldn’t do anymore myself. I didn’t go out and look for my clients, I just stayed still, so to speak. I really should have hired earlier and then grown into that. So, I have a team of four of us now and that’s really … I really could have started that much earlier in the process.
Ingrid: Oh, who is that?
Kim Victoria: Sorry about that, someone at the front door.
Ingrid: Oh, is it? This is one of the joys of working from home is we have the sounds of the suburbs or the sounds of the studio coming in loud and clear.
Kim Victoria: That’s right. Some of the things that I’ve done my children have walked and sat on my lap and I tell you that’s just as hilarious as a dog barking at the front door.
Ingrid: Well, that’s good. Your dog’s doing it’s job. This is a slightly different question, what’s something that you wished you’d known at the start? Like, if somebody could have told you at the beginning of your journey. What’s something that you wished you’d know at the beginning of the business?
Kim Victoria: You know how I told you at the beginning, this was a lifestyle business for me. I think I wish I’d have known how much grunt work would actually be in running my own business. So, you know, I have this idea that we’re not going to be working around the clock. That we’re going to be looking after our family and, you know, I’d be the perfect housewife business owner extraordinaire. But, you know, how it often looks like is I tuck the kids into bed and then I work. I get off early, so then I can get a few hours in before anyone annoys me.
So, you know, it’s honestly, even though I thought that it would be all about lifestyle, it isn’t always. There’s a lot of work when you work for yourself.
Ingrid: There is. So, Kim, do you think if someone had told you how much work it was would you still have been as motivated to do it or do you think that would have impacted your decision?
Kim Victoria: You know, I think I’m so bullheaded that I would have said, to that person, “Oh, there’s no way there’s that much work in it.” And “I’ll do it differently and I’ll be better at it.” and “I’ll be so much better than what you’re saying. That can’t be true.” So I actually think I would’ve still done it because I’m so bullheaded.
Ingrid: Terrific and you wouldn’t have allowed that to stop you from doing it, because, yeah.
Kim Victoria: I just would have, “I know, it won’t be like that for me.”
Ingrid: Of course. So, now, you’ve talked about your amazing husband and you talked about your accountant. So, it may be those people, but this question is about who, apart from yourself, has been of greatest assistance to you and to your business? It may be them or it may be someone completely different and it’s totally up to you, Kim, whether you actually mention somebody’s name or you just talk about somebody in essence.
Kim Victoria: Yeah, sure, so when I took on my business, one smart thing that I did do was I got a coach and I couldn’t have done it without my coach. It was a coaching programme and I also got an accountability partner in the coaching programme. Again, I could never have kept up with it, without the hand to hold support of a coach and an accountability partner. Not only for the programme that they put you through, but for all of the steps and hurdles, you really don’t ever know that you’re going to come across.
I did mention my gorgeous husband and I would say he has been awesome during those times when I could actually listen to his advice, because, you know, I don’t think you should actually go to your partner’s for that kind of advice. My kids have really also been amazing in being quiet when I’ve been on the phone. Like, you know, that level of assistance.
Ingrid: Yeah. And each of them has their own role in that, don’t they? That’s good.
Kim Victoria: Yeah, yeah, they really shouldn’t be overlooked, you know. They put up with a lot.
Ingrid: They benefit a lot from you being successful as you are and being the person that you are, as well. So, kinda works both ways, doesn’t it?
Kim Victoria: Yeah, it does.
Ingrid: So, Kim, who can give you really good, really useful feedback?
Kim Victoria: Look it’s really just who I mentioned, I would say. When you have a good relationship with your coach and accountability partner, when you’ve got a good relationship with your partner, and you don’t’ take things personally, I think they can also be great for feedback.
Ingrid: Yeah, because feedback’s so important, isn’t it?
Kim Victoria: Oh, yeah, absolutely. See it grow to the next level and every time you grow your business grows.
Ingrid: Exactly. So, if you had somebody standing in front of you or somebody on the phone saying that they were considering starting their own business, what would you say to them?
Kim Victoria: You know, I’d say go for it. Absolutely, 100% go for it. Of course, you know, do your due diligence. It’s better to, what’s that saying, you know, live your passion and, you know, I don’t even know what that saying is. But go for it, that’s what I would say.
Ingrid: Isn’t there one about loved and lost than never loved at all or something, is that the one you’re thinking of?
Kim Victoria: Yes, that, you know all of those wonderful sayings. But do you are due diligence and live your passion.
Ingrid: Yes, be smart about it, but give yourself the best shot.
Kim Victoria: Absolutely, yep.
Ingrid: So you’ve talked about so of your characteristics and I’m not going to put words in your mouth right now, but if you had to think about the three characteristics that make you successful in your business, what are those three?
Kim Victoria: I think that I take a really personal approach to my clients. I really, I’m the fortunate position of selecting clients that I enjoy working with rather than working with anybody. So, being personal, the tenacity that you need to continue when you’re dog tired and don’t want to. So that would be a trait and my big picture creativity would also really come into play, I think.
Ingrid: So those three combine to help to make you as successful as you are. So, we go back to the startup who’s thinking about starting the business, what do you think they need?
Kim Victoria: I would honestly tell them to get a coach that is really aligned to their vision.
Ingrid: That’s good advice, because that’s really what’s made the difference for you, isn’t it?
Kim Victoria: Really simple. Get a coach who know who are and is completely alone to your vision.
Ingrid: Yeah, how do you … And, you know, I hadn’t planned asking this because I didn’t know that was going to be your answer. But how do you find a coach ?
Kim Victoria: You know, yeah, look, that’s a good question. Honestly, I found mine on Facebook. But how do you find a good coach. If I was looking for a coach now I’d perhaps look at … If I had someone in business that was successful I would ask them if they had one. I’d go to Google. Google is our friend. You know, I’d go through Linkedin or obviously any of those platforms. By their messaging, you’ll know whether they’re aligned to your value system or whether they’re not. You’ll get a gut feeling as to the person whose right for you.
Ingrid: Yeah and I can just ask you, did you meet face to face with your coach or did you meet through Skype or Zoom?
Kim Victoria: Yeah, just completely online. Yep. The States actually and I actually looked for somebody who had a programme in the States intentionally.
Ingrid: So, that’s what you needed and it works quite well to be able to be in another part of the world. It’s amazing what the technology can do though, isn’t it? Kim, thanks so much for your time today and just before we finish is there anything else in terms of your business journey or like if we think about the audience listening to this. So these are people who are either thinking about starting a business or who may be in their early stages of getting set up.
Is there anything else that you would say before we finish, otherwise we’ll just, we’ll say goodbye and go, but I just want to give you the opportunity if there was something else.
Kim Victoria: Yeah. One thing that I would say is when you’re starting a business it’s just so important took after you are wellbeing, because you can really throw yourself in and work around the clock. That’s probably my biggest thing. Make sure that you keep your life balanced as well and your health, wellbeing up there. So that you can serve your clients in whatever industry that you’re in, that’s what I would say.
Ingrid: Yeah, that’s very nice, Kim. Yeah, thank you, it’s always good to remember that it’s a balance of everything, isn’t it? That’s terrific.
Kim Victoria: We’re in for the long term, Ingrid, not the short term, so it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Ingrid: That’s exactly right. Okay, so, Kim, it’s been a delight. I shall put some notes in the show notes about how people can get in contact with you if they need to, and because I know that people are always looking for other ways of improving their businesses. There are people listening to this, who are most established in business. So, it’s been a delight speaking to you today and thank you very much.
Kim Victoria: Thank you so much, Ingrid, for the opportunity. I’ve just enjoyed it so much. Thank you.
In this interview we meet Kim Victoria who is a marketing specialist who in her words “helps business owners & consultants land corporate clients”