Kelly Leonard walked away from a high 6-figure salary at a F500 to start her own consulting business, where she helps executives and entrepreneurs leverage LinkedIn to grow revenue and build profitable strategic relationships with her BOOST™ methodology. Today she shares how to get out of your own way as an entrepreneur, accept change, let go of control, and learn how to hire and inspire a great team.
Melinda Wittstock: Kelly welcome to Wings.
Kelly Leonard: Thank you.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you. And of course I always start the Friday advice minisode with what’s inspiring you.
Kelly Leonard: [inaudible 00:02:49 well, thank you so much Melinda. It’s awesome to be a part of your program. It’s interesting. What’s inspiring me right now is really my family. I’m in a season of growth and just transformation. I just turned 50, so that’s a huge milestone for me. But then even beyond that, we’ve got a son that’s about to graduate from high school. So, it’s a season of lots of growth and transition in our household. So that’s really inspiring.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh. That’s wonderful. Well congratulations on your 50th birthday.
Kelly Leonard: Thank you.
Melinda Wittstock: You know, I think that it’s a really interesting time what our wisdom and exuberance are both in balance.
Kelly Leonard: Yes. Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, like it’s actually … it’s a really good thing. I mean, I think I used to fear 50, but 50 is actually pretty awesome.
Kelly Leonard: No. I mean you feel like a bona fide grownup now. Right? Plus, you know 50 is the new 30, so … you know, it’s all relative right?
Melinda Wittstock: So this is a lot to be inspired about and I love that you’re inspired by change and transition. Some people fear that. What are some of the challenges that you’re facing right now in your life or your business or you see your clients facing?
Kelly Leonard: you know, one of the biggest things that’s a point of frustration for me is we’re in this season of growth so when we pick up and continue on from this season of growth and with that in our business it’s requiring me to give up a lot of things. To delegate things that I used to kind of own and do myself, which can be a scary thing for many of us who are used to being in control. But, it’s really difficult to grow and to grow at the accelerated pace that I believe that we’re set to propel this company if I am just holding on tightly to all these different responsibilities.
Kelly Leonard: so that’s … one of the pieces is just hiring the right types of people and just making sure that, you know, similar values and work ethic and all that good stuff. And that the brands can go on and be well represented by the people that we’re bringing on board.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. Hiring and getting the right team is everything in entrepreneurship but it’s tricky.
Kelly Leonard: It is. It is. Because, you know, it’s the whole notion of making sure that the right folks are on the bus and that they are going to represent your similar values, similar work ethic. And just really best position and serve our clients the best that they possibly can. Because of course, we all believe that we … no one can serve our clients as best as we can right?
Melinda Wittstock: Well, you it’s true. I mean, I think the interesting thing about hiring though, don’t you, is that it’s kind of competency. It’s the right kind of skills and all of that and the team. But, it’s also trying to figure out how to get a team that’s diverse.
Kelly Leonard: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: But united or aligned on vision and mission.
Kelly Leonard: Yeah. And it’s interesting that you should say competency because that’s a big piece. You know, it used to be that where you would hire for skill, but now I’m so focused on if I can find the right people that have shared work ethic and values. You can teach people to do just about anything you need them to do, so it’s really looking at what they say, we’ve called them historically soft skills. But really, I consider them to be success skills that are more critically important as we’re looking to hire people.
Melinda Wittstock: You know. So, so true. And so, thinking back on your career, from Fortune 500 … Fortune 100, at you know, the corporate office through to entrepreneurship, what are your top three, go to pieces of advice for women in business, women entrepreneurs, at whatever stage they’re at in their entrepreneurial journey?
Kelly Leonard: I would say one big thing is get comfortable with being uncomfortable. A big piece for me was this whole notion of, you get really used to getting that pay check on the 15th and the 30th of the month. And it’s the same amount. Maybe varying by a few dollars here and there depending on what’s going on with taxes, but by and large, you can count on that amount. And now, as an entrepreneur, you know, there’s some periods of time where you won’t pay yourself because you’re paying other people. And so it’s getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Kelly Leonard: I think another big thing for me has been just the associations. Just really making sure that I am positioning myself around other people that I admire and just, esteem, to sort of grow to their level. And being in those rooms where you’re not the smartest person in the room. And to to me there’s tremendous … you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice if you’re always the smartest person in the room because where is there, or how are you able to grow in those types of settings?
Kelly Leonard: So really associations being very powerful.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. This is really true. So get comfortable being uncomfortable, surround yourself with people smarter than you. What’s the third?
Kelly Leonard: I would say don’t give up. Just be patiently persistent. Often times, this whole notion of rejection and people saying no, and I always viewed no as maybe not now, not no forever. But really, having that persistence in follow up as we are engaging with prospects and clients and really just being available to meet their needs, and being ready to meet their needs when they’re ready for that need to be met.
Melinda Wittstock: So very true. So Kelly, how can people find you and work with you?
Kelly Leonard: The best place to find me would be on LinkedIn. I’m very active on LinkedIn. So I’m under Kelly Taylor-Leonard on LinkedIn. Or they can visit our website, which is simply www.kellytleonard.com.
Melinda Wittstock: And you have a special gift for our listeners, I know. And it relates to their LinkedIn profile which is so, so important to get this personal branding right. Tell me a little bit about that and what your offer is.
Kelly Leonard: Absolutely. So, we’ve trademarked a solution to help our clients, what we call BOOST, their visibility on LinkedIn. So BOOST is an acronym helping our clients to Build Their Brand, Optimize Relationships, Obtain More Leads, Secure Thought Leadership Space, and Tap Into New Markets. So I would like to offer your listeners the opportunity to just get a quick profile assessment. Just reach out to me and let me know that you heard me on Melinda’s podcast and I’d be happy to take a quick look at your LinkedIn profile to make sure that they are best positioned to boost their brilliance using LinkedIn.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Well thank you so much for putting on your Wings and flying with us.
Kelly Leonard: Oh. My pleasure. Thank you.