Kait LeDonne is the Founder of Brandwise Media, a personal brand agency that builds executive and authors’ unique brands using content marketing strategies through social media. She is the author of the book, The Attraction Magnet: The 7 Insider Secrets The World’s Biggest Brands Use to Attract Customers Who Can’t Wait to Buy From Them. Kait has been featured regularly in national and international publications as a commentator on celebrity and corporate brands.
Kait developed The Influence Academy, one of the first online courses centered around LinkedIn, to teach executives how to position themselves as thought leaders in their respective spaces. To date, over 100 executives have completed the program.
In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, Kait LeDonne, the Founder of Brandwise Media, gets interviewed by John Corcoran about the business strategies she used to expand and 4x her agency in only 18 months. Kait also shares her recruitment strategies, explains how she builds her company’s culture, and talks about the KPIs she uses to evaluate the performance of her business. Stay tuned.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- What inspired Kait LeDonne to step outside her comfort zone and build an agency
- How and why Kait hired a CEO, how she came up with a roadmap for the role, and how she finds great people to hire
- The project management tools Kait uses for her business
- What Kait does to improve her skills and how she spends her time in client services
- How Kait determines the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to pay attention to
- Kait explains how she built her company’s culture and talks about the peers she admires and respects
- How to get in touch with Kait LeDonne and Brandwise Media
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
- Brandwise Media
- Kait LeDonne on LinkedIn
- Ed Robinson on LinkedIn
- “How to Thrive as a CEO During Chaotic Times” with Ed Robinson
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
- Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
- Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Accelerator Program
- Pamela Lewerenz on LinkedIn
- Helen Fickes on LinkedIn
- Gina Dubbé on LinkedIn
- Greenhouse Wellness
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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we asked today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
All right. Welcome, everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show, and each week I get to talk to really fascinating CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs from a range of companies. Go check out my archives, check out my recent interview with the co-founder of Netflix, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, OpenTable, lots of great interviews in the archives. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And a quick shout out before I get to today’s guests, Ed Robinson. He’s a Vistage coach in the Washington Baltimore area. And a really great guy who I interviewed in a past episode, so go check that out. But he first introduced me to today’s guest. Her name is Kait LeDonne. She’s the Founder of Brandwise Media, which is a personal brand agency which builds executive and author personal brands using content marketing strategies through social media. She also is the author of the book, The Attraction Magnet: “The 7 Insider Secrets The World’s Biggest Brands Use to Attract Customers Who Can’t Wait to Buy From Them. She’s regularly featured also in national and international publications as a commentator on celebrity and corporate brands. But today, we’re also going to be talking about growing a scaling business. And what’s really interesting is she’s grown and scaled really quickly after she had kind of a breaking point. So we’re gonna talk about that in a moment.
But first, this is brought to you by Rise25 Media, where of course we help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals and strategic partnerships with podcasts and content marketing. Have you ever been curious about starting podcasts? I’ve been doing one for 11 years. I tell everyone, they should start a podcast because even if you’re not the next Joe Rogan, you don’t need to be. It’s just such a great tool for having great conversations with people like Kait here today. So you can contact us at rise25media.com, or email us at [email protected]. Alright, Kait. So take me back to this breaking point you had about 18 months ago, you had a very frank, very to the point conversation with someone who basically said to you, Alright, it’s time to put up or shut up, you had been basically a consultant for that, I guess at that point four or five years of being an entrepreneur, and you had to kind of face whether you want to keep on doing that or build an actual company, and it kind of lit a fire under you. So take us back to that point.
Kait LeDonne 2:59
Yeah. Thanks, john. And thanks for having me. You know, it was like you said about 18 months ago, I’ll never forget where I was sitting in an armchair on a zoom call with my accountant in my fractional CFO, we’re reviewing my numbers. And I thought they were quite good. I mean, I was looking at a nice lifestyle. I had just moved to New York. And my accountant said, it’s good, but you’re great. And do you really want this? Or do you just want to be a highly paid consultant, because I see so much more in you. And I think you could really build something, scale exit if you want, or you can just kind of walk the comfortable path. But maybe you want to put on your big girl pants and build a big girl business. And of course, like, every bit of me the stubborn side the feminist everything. I was like right here.
John Corcoran 3:49
There’s a man saying this.
Kait LeDonne 3:51
We have a bit like we’re good friendship. You okay? No, he’s not mansplaining and wants to be clear. I don’t even think he probably used the board big girl pants in my revisionist history. There’s what he said and then what I heard based on and I can almost guarantee you Matt did not say that and in my head, like, grow up and grow this business. You
John Corcoran 4:16
You know, I love how you make it even harsher in your mind, like totally backhanded me and he slapped me. And then he shook me by the shoulders.
Kait LeDonne 4:26
And I get it together. Everybody’s really a boy, I would never want to work with him like no, it was actually probably me just trying to really lay on some comedic effect or something. But either way he was really having a heart to heart with me. And I sat there for three days and I really had this kind of introspective moment, probably the biggest one I had since leaving corporate and deciding I want to go start something for myself where it was keep walking the path of least resistance where you’re a known kind of quantity and you know your your comfort zone. Or go out on a higher scale, create an agency. And at that point, I was feeling really lonely. quarantines hadn’t even started yet, if we will get this in the whole, you know, timeline of things. And I just felt like I was sick of always having it beyond me. And my capacity was always going to be limited by the number of hours in the day, even if I raise my rates, you know, tenfold. So I decided I was going to do it like, it’s time and in 18 months, we forexct it was about me and like two, I’d say point five, like 2.5 people, they were kind of like halftime, and now we have a full agency of 11. And so it’s been pretty quick.
John Corcoran 5:48
Wow. And if you look back to some of the different pieces, obviously, there’s the branding side of things. You’re a big advocate of using LinkedIn and different social media tools. So we could touch on that. But let’s talk about the unsexy stuff. Let’s talk about the stuff that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t talk about, you know, that involve operations and actually making scaling possible, what are some of the key pieces that you put in place that helped with this transformation?
Kait LeDonne 6:17
You know, I would say the first thing I did was bring on a CEO of, we’re big fans of Traction by Gino Wickman, and EOS and his other book that I actually came to know him through before I was even familiar with Traction, the Entrepreneur Operating System, was Rocket Fuel, in which he and his co-author posit that every great company kind of has this like visionary and then an operator and you want to identify which one you are, and kind of find that complement to it. And so I knew I was the person who, who I did so well on LinkedIn, I’m great at branding, the visioning, the marketing, basically all sales side of things, I enjoy it, I love it, I find fulfillment, where I don’t Excel and was very quick to identify that it was going to be a hindrance was the operations, the details, the slps, the templatized thing, all of those things that are really required if you’re going to scale so much on the front end through sales and marketing, to make sure quality service and standards are met on the back end. And so without a doubt, I think getting very, very clear about where I was really impactful. And where I was not was number one. And then number two, I had joined the Entrepreneur Organization Accelerator Program still as a consultant. And I remember sitting through their execution day when they talked about key performance indicators. And I had the good fortune of building under the scaling up and gazelles model and the EOS model, more or less from day one. And so I think a lot of us entrepreneurs, certainly when I was in my former business model of consulting, you’re trying to kind of reverse look at that from retrospect and then implement systems after you’ve really scaled something. We were heavy on systems in the beginning, because of my CEO. And because of those, so whatever it is, find a system, find a framework that will allow you to create those systems, because that’s the only way you’re going to support scale. And if you’re not the one that’s going to get that done, and that doesn’t get your juices flowing, find somebody who can partner with you in that, or else. In my experience in seeing other businesses, you will implode you don’t have the the right structure