Kellsie Moore of Be Marvelous You: Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Startup
An Interview With Paul Moss
Discover what makes you different. If there are similar solutions out there, that means you already know it’s a real problem which is great, but you have to identify the ways in which you are 1. Better and 2. Different. How do you stand apart from the competition? Being different is powerful because it niches you down and creates a genuine fanbase of buyers.
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 Kellsie Moore.
Kellsie Moore is the top Video Performance Coach and Media Trainer for high-achieving Entrepreneurs to become their best selves in life and on-camera! Her unique, insightful expertise comes from her work as a professional actress and personal development background after leaving her career in corrections. As a sought-after Speaker, Founder, and Digital CEO, she empowers personal brands to optimize their on-camera presence with authenticity, excellence, confidence, and charisma.
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?
Thank you so much, happy to be here!
I remember thinking “This is really stupid. Why am I doing this with my life?” As I was reaching for the scissors in my desk drawer, just in case, as my enraged client who had just been released after 25 years of prison for murder was storming at me, blocking the only exit. It was 2014 and I was working as a case manager in an adult male correctional facility in this old broken down, used to be a tuberculosis hospital building around 9 PM as it was storming outside with the rain leaking into my window.
A co-worked happened to walk by at that moment and we de-escalated the situation and everything was fine. But that woke me up. I suddenly realized that I was extraordinarily miserable. I felt imprisoned but this was just a job I had taken because it made sense at the time. It wasn’t me, I couldn’t even remember the last time I had done something that made me feel joy.
I sat there for about ten minutes after he left my office and began writing out a list of things that used to make me happy. Things like, travel (I had been to ~13 countries before then), I really wanted a dog, I missed going on dates with my husband, I used to be fit, I had always dreamt of being an actress, I wanted to work for myself, I wanted to paint again..and the list went on. I had zero idea what I was doing, but two weeks after that night I went to an audition I found online for an independent film and booked the lead role. I spent the next six months filming every weekend, lost 40+lbs, started budgeting differently to plan for travel, and quite simply began taking control of my life again for the first time in a long time.
I wasn’t sure what was next, but I knew that I would never be the same again.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Three phases of evolution I have to share with you here are, #1- The above-mentioned story of deciding to choose my happiness and life choices with intention. #2- A year later I made the mental decision to leave the corrections industry altogether, and within a week I received a phone call from my alma mater saying they had an urgent job opening for a higher education administrative position near where I lived, was I interested? I put in my two weeks notice and never looked back. Over the next couple of years, I eagerly learned as much as I could about personal growth and how to create an online business while I became represented as a professional actress in multiple regions. My mind and spirit were now free enough to grow and explore again! And I knew that I had to start my own business. I didn’t have a plan at the time, but I knew that I wanted my company to be something that embodied this new version of who I was becoming. I asked myself, how do I feel when I am strong, elegant, magnificent, intelligent, empowered? And that’s how my overarching brand name “Be Marvelous You” came to life.
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! This is phase #3, a continuation of the above question, because this is what sparked that big Ah-Ha moment of committed clarity for me, but I wouldn’t have gotten to this point had I not been through the previous steps. I was listening to a podcast, with my now good friend, Chris Harder, where he encouraged people to direct message him on Instagram with a thoughtful value-add to start a conversation. After a few months, I worked up the courage to reach out to this stranger because I noticed he was really passionate on video and I had a few notes that I thought could help him take it to the next level, so I offered to share those if he was interested. We ended up trading some coaching and it was through that conversation that everything suddenly clicked and the missing piece fell into place, I decided to merge my skills and change my business. I made the pivot in 2019 to be The Video Presence Coach for growing entrepreneurs. I launched my re-brand with fervor, conviction, certainty, passion and so much clarity that I created a successful in-person retreat that year and built my online course in 2020 which allowed me to work for myself full-time later that year.
I became the go-to person to help entrepreneurs become great on-camera to grow their social media, marketing, impact and income through authentic video.
When I meet people now and tell them what I do, they assume I’ve always done this, it seems obvious to them, but it absolutely was an evolution which I will share more about with you in the following questions. I had no idea what I wanted to do in the beginning, but it’s when I started having conversations around what was possible, and what high-value I could bring to people, that was when my business took off.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
One time when I was on set, my heartbeat was so loud that it could be heard through the lavalier microphone. That means it was REALLY loud. I share this because I know what it feels like to be nervous, to doubt yourself, your abilities, feel embarrassed and scared. It’s because I understand what it takes to move through those feelings, why it was so necessary to show up, and how to get on the other side of those barriers in a way that becomes captivating! My unique and insightful expertise is really what sets me apart. I help people bring about their true, sincere, genuine self into the world in a way that showcases their magic, and I do this very differently than anyone else.
Video coaching is often taught from the perspective of being a Spokesperson or Host or the focus is learning the equipment and algorithms. But you are the face of your company; as a personal brand, or small business owner, you ARE your company and it is your responsibility to master your energy, your presence and your performance. If you’re my client, then you’re most likely not a Spokesperson for a big company regurgitating their sound bites, but rather you’re showing up in a vulnerable way as the brand itself. My Anthropological background from college taught me to look at the whole picture, the essence of a person, their full self and now I use that to extrapolate their individual charms and quirks that will make them magnetic.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Every time someone believes in themselves and then sees a positive shift in their life, it is the most rewarding experience ever! Inspiration, self-empowerment and elevating consciousness are all side effects of what I do and help others do as well by bringing their stories to life!
As we continue to grow I have several philanthropic goals, particularly around the fight against human trafficking, and environmental and animal protections.
My plan is also to open a production company division so that I can create films I believe in.
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?
Fortitude. Integrity. Inspiration.
Fortitude. I first started building my original course when I was making content around personal development, because that’s what changed my life and introduced me to the entrepreneurial world. At that time, I created everything on ClickFunnels and Infusionsoft because that’s what was recommended to me and what was the most common at the time in 2017. But even as a millennial who had grown-up with computers, it was extremely difficult for me to figure out how to get everything to connect and function properly. I spent around eight months pulling my hair out trying to make it come together. The webinar feature wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t attach to my emails, I couldn’t host my 60 course videos on the platform so I had to upload an embed code from somewhere else, and it was just a clunky disaster. I ended up experimenting then with several platforms like Get Response, Convert Kit, Mailchimp, Ad Weber, Active Campaign, Go Webinar, Zapier, Lead Pages, Weebly etc. as you can see it was a difficult learning curve to find what worked for me. Then in 2018 I had a business coach recommend I try Kajabi and in one week I switched everything over to that all-in-one platform and it dramatically improved everything for me. I was now operating seamlessly with my website, funnels, courses, offers, videos, emails, everything under one easy to use software and it made my pivoting and growth significantly easier. You have to have the ability to push through when things are frustrating and challenging, keep going because I promise you can figure it out. The tech side of things is significantly easier now than it was even a few years ago but can you imagine if I had given up at that time and said it’s too hard I can’t figure this out? That would be devastating.
Integrity. During my time of tech frustration, I hired a gal to help me build a marketing funnel, which in hindsight is quite simple and really should only be outsourced once you know you have validated your offer and it’s converting and you’re simply optimizing it and saving yourself time so you can operate in your expert zone. But, I didn’t know better at the time and so to get organic people into the funnel, one of the common methods that she recommended to me was to go into other peoples Facebook groups and comment on a bunch of posts with a helpful or thoughtful response and that in time people would see me as a leader in that topic and would initiate a private message and ask for my help. Part of that is valid and done with sincere service and a normal practice that has been very effective for some people, but I felt so cringey about it. I knew that my intention was going into these groups for the purpose of promoting myself in someone else’s earned space and it really didn’t align with me personally. I tried it a few times and then didn’t follow through with it. We have to act in integrity, with what feels right and true to us because then we will take action and follow through because we know we are serving from a place of integrity.
I never want to withhold a solution that somebody needs, I just didn’t like this particular way of promoting it. However, that action led me down a road that changed my life forever.
One of the groups that I joined was Manifestation Babe because it was relevant to my topic at the time, and I never would’ve found this group otherwise. It introduced me to Kathrin Zenkina‘s podcast which lit something up in my soul and truly started to shift me into the next level of myself in embracing the talents that I really knew I had to offer. In one of her episodes she mentioned Chris Harder and how his perspective on financial growth changed her life, so I looked him up and that began to change my relationship with money. And that is what led me to having that conversation with Chris that I mentioned earlier which provided the clarity of my pivot and helped me launch my true brand. So it all kind of worked out! Take action in integrity and keep moving forward one tiny baby step at a time because you never know where it will lead you.
Inspiration. Every time you get a message from somebody saying that your product or service or story or post helped them in some way, that’s them handing you a gift of courage to keep showing it up and do it again. Attach so hard to the reason why you’re doing this and believe in your service or product so deeply that you can show up in a way that inspires others and gives them permission to change something in their own life too.
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 have to be on every new platform because it’s blowing up. To post consistently on TikTok or be in Clubhouse rooms all day because they’re shiny and new and growing and you could be on the ground floor and really take off. There’s excitement and there’s merit to shiny new toys, but it’s absolutely preposterous to think that you could be an active participant on all social platforms. What I do recommend is that you create an account on the different platforms so that you can get your name or company name as your handle and then put links and bio information in there so that people who are active on that platform can find you and have a way to reach out. Say there’s someone you really want to connect with and you know they’re really active on clubhouse, you at least want to have an account on there so you could go into one of the rooms and meet them but it doesn’t mean that you have to be active on there every day, and vice versa if somebody is active on TikTok but you’re on Instagram, they could go and find you on TikTok and see it’s connected your Instagram and go find you there. So be adaptable, yes, there’s no point in hanging out on MySpace once everyone has joined Facebook, you know? But you do not have to jump on every single trend and bandwagon, the things that last and scale are consistency and community.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Absolutely, and I’ll tell you the takeaway from this right now — don’t avoid and don’t make decisions from a place of fear.
I stayed in the messy, excruciating middle way longer than I needed to. I had acknowledged the entrepreneurial calling within me and knew that I wanted to create a business of my own, but was terrified of being seen. I was afraid my past correctional clients would find me online. I was scared of judgements, of trolls, of failing, of not being good enough, uncertain of what I could even offer. So, I did everything I could to avoid becoming a personal brand. I used my middle name, stock photos and never went on video. I learned funnels, website building, online marketing and applied it to physical products, dropshipping, did freelancing on fiverr, did project management, dog walking, kickboxing instructor and several other miscellaneous jobs as I transitioned my life from a stable salary career to creating my dreams.
I was trying so hard to avoid risk that I ended up delaying my success. At least I learned some good skills along the way!
However, a particularly painful illustration of consequences when avoiding what I was afraid of is when I was learning Facebook ads. I had set up some ads without much knowledge of what I was doing yet at the time, testing out some different campaigns on an offer I had not yet validated (mistake 1) and had my account connected to my personal bank account (mistake 2), and did not have a spend limit set up (mistake 3). Mistake 4 is that my husband and I were traveling through China at this time where it is very difficult to check Facebook, Gmail, etc. and it wasn’t until most of my savings were drained, wasted on useless non-converting ads that I realized what had happened, what I had done. This series of mistakes occurred because I was trying to avoid the possibility of failure. But as long as we keep on going, failure is just learning, and I could have learned those lessons in a much less painful way had I been paying attention.
Eventually I realized I couldn’t hide anymore and had to answer the call of becoming a personal brand and started off with a personal development course because those paradigm shifts are what had changed my life. All the while I was working as a professional actress and still felt like something was missing, that I wasn’t fully harnessing my innate and powerful gifts yet, and that’s when I made the pivot and launched into my now successful business as the leading video presence and performance coach for entrepreneurs.
I really am still so much in my beginning phases compared to where I know I’m going, but to see how far I’ve come, to work for myself full-time, doing what I love, to have freedom of time, creation, what clients I work with, is something that just takes my breath away because I’m so grateful I didn’t give up.
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?
Two key points come up with this:
- Choose to keep going just one more time after you want to quit. The only way you’ll be able to push through is to remember your deep feeling level of WHY it is that you made this life choice in the first place.
When I was working in corrections, I felt like I was trapped, slowly suffocating as I gave my life away for no reason. That pain awakened a sleeping giant within me that knew I could never settle for less ever again. I was wasting this beautiful gift of life by doing what was “the easy path.” Still terribly hard, but the type of difficulty that sat inside of my comfort zone on the path of “this is what made sense as the next step, something I should do, it made logical sense at the time” etc. and it was drowning my passionate spirit. The struggles of entrepreneurship and growth can be extraordinarily tough at times, but nothing will ever come close to the pain of living as a small, hidden, shell version of oneself.
2. I teach my client’s how to become confident on camera so that we can harness their authentic personality, unique charisma and charm and put it on screen, and the easiest way to feel confident is to be prepared. Something I learned in my fight training, I’ve done Krav Maga, Kickboxing and Martial Arts, is that in stressful situations, we don’t usually rise to the occasion, we fall to the level of our training. Our brain and body will be so overwhelmed, scared, and stimulated with adrenaline that it’s difficult to process through, so we go to our default — our fight, flight or freeze response. Obviously that can vary based on what the stress situation is, but think about how this applies in business and especially with getting on-camera. Being on video is public speaking in the digital age and so many people would rather be hit by a car than do public speaking. It ignites our adrenaline and can make us freeze, procrastinate, or painstakingly fumble through it. That’s why I can’t stand the advice to “just go practice” because what are you practicing? What habits are you reinforcing there? We want to train you, build you up, get those skills top notch so that when the nerves, the stress, and the struggles hit, we can still soar! The knowledge, support, experience you gain is what will give you that preparation, makes you better at moving through any challenges and gives you the confidence to move through the fears. Solid preparation can make you shine, be brilliant and persevere even when the fear hits, and that level of mastery will give you the courage to move through any obstacle.
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”?
Celebrate all of it! When we celebrate something, it really is just an act of acknowledgement and it closes the loop on it. If we never celebrate the wins, then we won’t feel like we’re actually making any progress and that causes burnout really fast. If we don’t celebrate the losses, then are we learning the lesson from that experience to not repeat it again in the future?
Celebrating enhances your resilience and ability to persevere, let me explain.
Say you just did something that really challenged you, like making or posting a video, or you just had a big win and hit a sales goal, or something unfortunate happened and your computer crashed and deleted the entire funnel you built, then what? What do you do after?
Celebrate! Acknowledge, close the loop.
Maybe you start taking a relaxing bubble bath when something great happens, and when something difficult happens, that way you can begin to neutralize the body’s response and it tells your mind you are safe, that you are okay. Even though you stretched outside of your comfort zone or something was disappointing, you are reinforcing the message that no matter what, you will be okay.
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?
This really will depend on their resources, business model, connections, community, product or service. However, the simple answer is that they will probably need a bit of both, some bootstrapping and some fundraising. Whether you are self-funding, using your savings, credit cards, a business loan, private investing or crowdfunding, there will be accountability for that return on investment regardless. You’ll need to figure out what your risk tolerance is and what your growth projections are. How much can you borrow and how long until you need to pay that back? Explore the worst case scenario and best case scenario and create a plan for any outcome so that you aren’t ruled by the fear of what might happen and can stay focused on the result you’re after. Also, don’t dismiss grants, bartering and donations! Depending on your market, there’s a very good chance that some “free money” options are available to you.
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.
The Five Top Things that come to mind first and foremost are:
1. Validate your offer. Before you commit time, investment, energy, and your passion into an idea, find out if it’s an idea that people want to purchase. Run a beta test or trial offers after doing thorough market research to ensure that you are solving a real problem that real people have. Does the customer get better health, finances, lifestyle/quality of life, sex appeal etc. when they purchase from you? Know their pain points and know their ideal outcome. When you’re clear on the unique individual and situation you solve a problem for, it becomes really easy to create copy, content, and products for them because you understand them. I know that I have a great offer and can help businesses’ social media and marketing growth through authentic, captivating videos even if they’re camera shy and currently hate getting on camera, because I experienced it for myself and have then repeated those results with my clients.
2. Minimize your initial overhead. The beginning phases will have a lot of bootstrapping, researching and figuring things out along the way and you will need to have a testing budget to get your project or product off the ground but there are ways to minimize this. Discernment on when and who to hire, what pieces to delegate versus self-educate and tackle yourself and then look for bartering and trade options as well. For example, chances are that there is a graphic designer out there you could trade your SEO services for to help you both get started and gain momentum.
3. Find a supportive community. You WILL need people to lean on. Find a community that you can learn from, that has been where it is that you want to go, whose advice you respect and trust and you can stay inspired by watching. Have a few select people around you that understand the journey you’re on, that you can bounce ideas off of, talk through challenges with and encourage you along the way. It can be difficult for those well meaning friends in a 9–5 job that leave work at work, to truly grasp what an entrepreneur experiences, especially during the initial startup phase. There will be times when you feel crazy, alone, like a fraud, terrified and will want to quit — but that’s exactly when you need to keep on going.
4. Discover what makes you different. If there are similar solutions out there, that means you already know it’s a real problem which is great, but you have to identify the ways in which you are 1. Better and 2. Different. How do you stand apart from the competition? Being different is powerful because it niches you down and creates a genuine fanbase of buyers.
5. Have a growth plan. Yes things will unfold as you go, but you have to have a scalability plan in mind or you will quickly bottleneck yourself, slow your production/service and can “shoot yourself in the foot” as soon as you start gaining traction.
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?
Not being able to adapt, to pivot and be flexible when circumstances and environment shift. That doesn’t mean needing to hop on every new trend, but the limitation of thinking that things must unfold in one certain, specific way is suffocating and can make CEO’s blind to change that could either catapult their growth or bury them.
Having excellent mentors, intuition, discernment and the ability to learn from your past experiences is critical to achieve the best outcome possible. However, mistakes are part of growth, business and the human condition, it’s how we learn; some errors will be inevitable and what really matters is the ability to have self-compassion, take the lesson and move on. Realize that it’s normal and simply keep going.
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?
Unfortunately, I think this is something that probably every entrepreneur has or will feel at some point, perhaps it is a rite of passage. However, instead of sharing a rest and recovery routine, I want to address something that can cause burnout, and that is trying to be a master at everything. There will be a new learning curve at every corner and some skills will be necessary to gain and improve along the way, but for the most part, it is critical that you lean into your strengths and delegate, delete or adapt the rest.
An example for adapting: Are you good at writing? Then write out your videos as blog/articles/captions first and practice with a teleprompter, that’s one of the skills I teach my clients to do naturally. Or are you better at speaking? If you’re like me, sitting down to write a lengthy response can feel daunting and be time consuming. So instead, I will voice text or voice message myself and transcribe it later, that way I can get the content out of my mind in an effective way that produces results and I don’t get stuck in procrastination.
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 biggest thing I’ve found that holds people back, is thinking their story doesn’t matter. But story is what influences change, creates meaning, inspires others and gets results. My core message is to help people realize that they haven’t been through what they’ve been through for nothing. That it matters; that they matter, and I help them bring that story to life on screen.
To become an influential person, you have to behave like an influential person. When we think no one will care, we feel silly or embarrassed for sharing, then we stay silent, but if you start showing up like someone out there is waiting to hear your story, then before you know it, you will have said something that can change a life because you had the courage to tell your story, from your perspective, in the way that only you can.
Once you have that conviction, then you must make the commitment to take at least one forward action towards your goal every single week, that’s when you change your life, become magnetic, and create a ripple effect of positive influence.
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.
So many incredible names come to mind! I’m not sure how to narrow it down to one, so I will have to choose a few meal times please.
In Business, I would love to have breakfast with Lewis Howes, he has interviewed countless remarkable humans as well as being incredibly inspiring himself.
For lunch, I would like to meet with legendary “Shark” Sports Agent Drew Rosenhaus to see if I could offer collaboration as a Media Trainer with his agency.
And for dinner, it would be a pleasure to meet with Brian DePersia, a top agent at William Morris that represents several of my favorite actors in dream roles.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I serve two primary forms of clientele; entrepreneurs that are ready to grow their presence online through the power of video with the best video for business online course, and top industry earners who have been in the background in corporate, athletics, tech etc. and are ready to emerge as a celebrity personal brand through a premium, bespoke, done-for-you production package.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!
Same to you, Cheers!