If You Keep Going, That’s When It Pays Off with Kelly Olexa, FitFluential

Kelly Olexa is the founder of FitFluential. She calls herself the most unexpected entrepreneur on the planet because founding FitFluential in 2011 was something she thought of as this could be fun.

What you’ll get out of this episode with Kelly Olexa

  • How she started FitFluential and was the first network of it’s kind
  • How she met Gary Vaynerchuck
  • How to reach out to influencers
  • The key to staying focused and growing your business
  • What you SHOULD NOT do on social media!

If you keep going, that's when it pays off @kellyolexa #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

What you’ll get out of this episode with Kelly Olexa

  • How she started FitFluential and was the first network of it’s kind
  • How she met Gary Vaynerchuck
  • How to reach out to influencers
  • The key to staying focused and growing your business
  • What you SHOULD NOT do on social media!

Tell us a little bit about how you started out with FitFluential:

I thought I would start FitFluential on the side and maybe it would help me quit my job and this might be some, “Extra income.” What happened was the most beautiful thing in the world because founding this company and having it just explode so fast and I mean fast from April 2011 until August. We grew so fast that by August 8 I had to quit my job and ever since then it has been the wildest, craziest, most unpredictable ride. It has transformed me in every single way personally, professionally, financially, emotionally, spiritually, I mean you name it. It has been cathartic but I wouldn’t trade it for the world and frankly it’s made me very passionate to get other folks, women in particular, to understand that they can be doing things on their own. They can start their own business to see the potential that they have to make an impact on others and get them embracing this crazy, unpredictable but so rewarding world that we’re in.

Tell us how you actually took that leap to start your own company.

There would not be a FitFluential if it wasn’t really for 2 people. One, it was my old boss I was working at an agency. His name is Jack. I really had a bad relationship back then. It was not favorable. I felt he hated me. In retrospect I see now that happened for a reason because I’m certain there are folks that are going to be listening to this they can relate. I was so miserable and unhappy with my job. I was interviewing like a mad woman but no jobs were coming to fruition and I remember getting to the end of 2010 and I realized I was becoming very angry and a little negative.

Those people that know me know that I’m not that type of a person. I’m not a pessimist, I’m not a downer but I was becoming one because of my circumstances. At the end of that year, as I was making resolutions, I said I have to take action steps. I have to start doing something or I’m never going to get out of here and I’m going to become a bitter person. That’s when I started looking at what my talents were; looking at where I saw an opportunity and again I really thought FitFluential would be something I do on the side.

I had no business plan, I had really no idea of what I was doing, I didn’t have any money, I had no savings, I had no support, it was strictly me and a blogger friend of mine. And I took the leap because I had also connected with Gary Vaynerchuck and meeting Gary and spending time with him and getting his advice as well as the advice of some folks at the agency’s face, they all told me that, “You’ve got the talent, you’ve got the connections, you’re seeing something that hasn’t been done, you need to just do it and somebody said to me, I think it was Gary, they were like, “Quit waiting for the right time.

Quit waiting to have all of the money that you want in the bank that’s never going to happen. Quit waiting for all the signs to be there. Quit waiting for everybody to tell you it’s the perfect timing, you have all the clients, you have all of the assets, you have to take a leap of faith and stop worrying what other people think.” And honestly that’s what I did.

One of my favorite books and I believe it’s Danielle LaPorte she said in that book, “If you don’t know what to do, what are the 3 things that people thank you for regularly?” I started to think about what do people come to me for? Why was I becoming a resource? What was I becoming a resource for? What do people look at me as the expert in? Then out of all of those things, what do I really enjoy?

My mom has always wanted me to be an artist. I have art talent when I tried that route through college and I was actually selling my products in stores it took all the joy away from creating art. So I knew that’s what I wanted to do but as I thought about those questions that’s when I realized that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

What was like meeting Gary Vaynerchuck?

I remember I got him on Twitter in 2008. October 30th, I remember finding out that I had no job, no health insurance, no nothing. I was unemployed for the next 13 months and spent a lot of time on Twitter. Somewhere along the line I discovered Gary V and he used to, back then, do live webcams but it wasn’t Skype and it was very awkward to log in but I remember I got on to his webcam. This is where people sometimes might doubt these things like setting intentions. I got on that webcam and I had already been so impressed with him. I was like, “This is what I need to do.” And I said to myself I’m going to get him to notice me, he’s going to follow me, I’m going to meet him, we’re going to become friends and we’re going to work together.

I got on that webcam and he did this thing where he said, “Put your screen name, your Twitter handle in the thing and I’ll follow you.” I put Kelly Olexa 4 times and I remember that he was scrolling his like, “Kelly Olexa, let me look you up.” At that time I had 1200 followers and his like, “You have 1200 followers!” He followed me and at that point I knew I was going to meet him, went to New York for real estate technology convention and he was speaking there. I videotaped him. I was the only one that videotaped it and I remember I shared that with him. After that we started emailing and then there was another trip to New York where I asked if I could see him at his wine library location. I drove out there and we spent time together and fast forward to 2009. He asked me to host his book tour in Chicago. The first thing I noticed about spending time with him is this; when entrepreneurs you start to get successful it’s a hard lesson to learn but you really have no idea how busy you’ll get and it’s really frustrating because when Gary says you got to hustle, he hustles all the time.

Kelly Olexa

Do you have specific tips for the listeners if there is someone that they want to reach out to, how should they actually go about it?

You’ve got to go with your own personality and what’s comfortable for you. What works for me in a very informal manner with my client relationships is going to come off awkward for you if you try to talk the way I do. The first thing you want to do if you want to connect with somebody it’s just like weight loss. You have to be willing to put in the time and that’s the mistake I think I see too many people is they email, they reach out, they don’t hear or they might send a Tweet and they’re like, “This person did not respond to me.”

The number one lesson that I learned as I got more successful, as the company became more successful, I believe Micheal Hyatt said this a million times, “The more successful you become, the less accessible you will become.” If you have that understanding when you are planning to reach out to somebody and you give it time and be willing to serve, and by serving means do something for that person, understand that whoever you’re approaching is probably getting a whole lot of requests like yours and have respect for their time and then just stay the course. Inevitably, I think if you have the right attitude, if you’re willing to make it a two way street and you have the perseverance, it’ll pay off whether it’s an engagement on Twitter, whether it’s a Periscope session.

Is there a specific failure or low point that you can share?

I think the failures for me were underestimating the amount of time and the amount of work.

It is a tremendous amount of work. When I kept thinking I could work the same hours and have the return for the amount of work that I put in. You think you can work Monday through Friday and have that pay off for you. That was a huge moment when I realized like, “You have to keep working, it is a marathon and you are going to feel like you’re on mile 26, time and time and time again and you will want to give up.”

I always likened a lot of business stories to the fitness journey. You don’t know when your body is going to start responding, you don’t know when that diet is going to start taking it off of you, you have to tweak and correct but you have to keep going and sometimes you’re going when you’re like, “I don’t have anything else to give.” I’m beat, I’m tired but it’s sustaining and staying the course and going, “This is going to be worth it.” I have faith in myself, I’m going to trust my gut and if you keep going that’s when things start paying off.

What do you think is the key to actually just staying focused and growing your business?

Getting rid of multi-tasking. Acknowledging that like so many of us, I am the worst person at shinny object syndrome. I get excited about every new book that comes out, every new marketing course that comes out, every single possible webinar that is on the planet I sign up for. Learning is a beautiful, wonderful addiction. Bettering yourself is a wonderful addiction, bettering your business is a wonderful addiction, your business is a wonderful addiction but if you don’t have balance, first of all in your life, you will get to the point where you’re running on fumes and nobody can perform when they’re running on fumes.

When I eliminated multi-tasking and came to acknowledge like, “Start reading one book at a time, Kelly. Pick one business book and stop buying everything on your Amazon wish list because you can only read one book at a time.”

If I don’t schedule myself and what I do know is the chunking syndrome or the chunking practice, I schedule everything by the hour and there’s actual scientific data to back up that if we stop ourselves every 45-50 minutes, give ourselves the 10-minute break and just clear your head. Go for a walk, go get some coffee, do some wall sits or walking lunges. But if you give yourself a break every hour, you can come back and be fresh and then that next hour do something different.

What I do now is I am focused on one thing, being fully present in anything I’m going to do at one time and that means I turn off my cell phone, I do not let Instagram and Skype and all of these things ping at me all day because in that case what you’re doing is your watering yourself down. You’re watering yourself down so you’re not really effective at any one thing. You’re not really giving any one thing your attention and then furthermore you’re giving out all those efforts half strength.

What would you say is your number one piece of advice for people who want to work with brands?

My number one piece of advice is to understand influencer marketing and working with influencers is absolutely a legitimate relationship now. Too many influencers are still going to down the path of, ‘I have an audience therefore just pay me.’ It has to be a 2-way business relationship and more people need to become familiar with the fact that ultimately I don’t care what product it is, a brand wants you to sell.

If you are working for a supplement company and apparel company, a cookie company, a hotel restaurant, whatever it is you need to be able to show, in whatever way you can do it best, I’m going to help more people to buy your product and if you’re not willing to do that that influencer relationship with brands is going to dry up. There kind of just out with their hand open like, “Well, I have an audience so here’s what I’ll do, this is my rate and that’s it.” Instead of going, “Let me look at this brand and see what I can do for them.”
kelly pinterest

How do you actually manage to juggle?

The reality is whether you’re an entrepreneur or not I think we all have crazy schedules. It’s kind of just the climate in the country that we live in. The biggest moment of clarity came for me over the past year and a half and it came in the midst of stress where I just looked at my life and I said, “How much balance do I have?”

I started to hear people say, “All you do is work. You never leave your house. You don’t go on vacations” I had several friends and people saying that. We glamorize that a little bit too much in the entrepreneurial field and in our country. You can find balance and you have to be willing to say, “No.”

The biggest change in this area that I’ve made and that goes back to the quote I said earlier, “The more successful you’ve become the less accessible you have to be.” You have to start saying, ‘No,’ more often than you say, ‘Yes.’ And if you start looking at that 80/20 rule in any context, I can tell you without question when I look at the numbers for our business 80% of the business comes from 20% of the clients. You start to evaluate that and start to make changes. Look at your day, how are you spending your day? And say, “What’s important to me?”

Saying ‘No’ and making time for things that are not business will make you better at your business.

Listen to Kelly Olexa on the Blissful Bites Podcast in iTunes

Find Kelly!

Kelly Olexa is the founder of FitFluential a global community of highly influential fitness enthusiast sharing their journey both online and offline via multiple social media platforms. FitFluential creates marketing campaigns for brands interested in engaging with these individuals. Kelly is basically a wealth of knowledge and I’ve known her for a long time so I’m so excited to have her on.

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