Kalyna Miletic, entrepreneur and founder of Kickstart Your Work, connected with us in this issue to share the insight and knowledge she gained after eight years as a successful FDN entrepreneur.
TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO KALYNA?
I believe we all deserve to love the work we do. After a serious car accident in January of this year I realized that I needed to be creating bigger waves in the coaching industry and that if I wanted to make a more significant impact, I couldn’t do it alone. That’s why I set out to build a roster of coaches (Kickstart Your Work), so that we can support individuals within organizations to build careers they love.
DO YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY DOING?
Yes, the best part is the variety of roles I get to fulfill as the founder of Kickstart Your Work. One moment I’m focused on business development, and the next, I’m working on technology solutions for our systems. I love that I get to adapt and be resourceful within a variety of topics.
THE MOST ENJOYABLE ASPECTS OF RUNNING YOUR COMPANY?
I love the connection component. Whether it’s a phone meeting or in-person event, I enjoy sharing and learning from others about what they do, so that we can improve how people contribute to the world through their work.
“I love that I have the opportunity to decide how I operate my business. This gives me the power to lead by example and truly show up in service of my team and clients.”
WHAT CAREER WHERE YOU IN BEFORE YOU BECAME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I started out babysitting in the neighborhood. Then, I helped my dad in his automotive businesses. After that, I worked in car dealerships, a bar, and then interned at a law firm during my first year at university.
WHY DID YOU QUIT YOUR JOB TO BECOME A FREELANCER AND THEN COMPANY OWNER?
One of my managers suggested I become a contractor instead of staying an intern. She truly cared for my development and was the catalyst for me to start my first real company. Once I had the opportunity to experience the freedom that comes along with working for yourself, I knew I’d never go back to a regular career.
That being said, not everyone does well in the freelance or digital nomad world. I believe many organizations are wonderful to work for, and I do feel there are benefits to working within companies. So, whatever you choose to do, as long as it makes you happy, go for it!
Location independent. Unless we do an in-person workshop, or I do a speaking event (which I have done remotely as a keynote speaker for a career day over a screen in an auditorium in Canada while I was in Aruba) all of my work is done online. All of our coaches at Kickstart have the same flexibility to run sessions from wherever they are.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT THE FDN WORK-LIFESTYLE?
Autonomy – I love that I have the opportunity to decide how I operate. This gives me the power to lead by example and truly show up in service of my team and clients.
ARE THERE MISCONCEPTIONS (MYTHS) ABOUT THE FDN WORK-LIFESTYLE?
Oh yes! One misconception is that it’s all fun and games with a laptop and margarita. We’re not all on a beach in Bali (although they are very nice, by the way!)
Another is that it’s because millennials are lazy and don’t want to work. Actually, I believe freelancers are some of the most efficient workers. It’s not about putting in “the time,” which leads to a lot of systemic inefficiencies. Freelancers know when to work hard and focus on an output basis. If the task can be completed in one hour, why drag it on for two or three simply because you are “supposed” to stay at the office until 5 pm?
Similarly, I’ve seen some of the most dedicated contract workers stay until 2 or 3 am to finish a project and then take the next day off. It’s far more a function of productivity, and I like that.
“Hands down, connection matter more than anything. I’ve found that most of the significant opportunities I’ve had are because I’ve met someone that resonated with what I’m up to”
WOULD YOU SAY YOU WORK MORE HOURS NOW THAT YOU ARE AN ENTREPRENEUR COMPARED TO THE NUMBER OF HOURS IN YOUR REGULAR JOB?
Probably more, simply because I want to. I’m constantly thinking about new ideas or opportunities. I believe I always have work on my mind somewhat, but it’s because I’m so excited about the contribution we get to make through coaching.
THE TOP 3 CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR?
Courage, persistence and resilience.
TWO COMMON MISTAKES BEGINNER ENTREPRENEURS SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR?
Guard against focusing too much on marketing instead of building a client base. Know that everything doesn’t need to be ‘perfect’ before you can start. Once you have an idea, start development on it immediately.
IS IT HARD WORK TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Anything worthwhile takes energy. It’s about whether or not you believe the cause is worth it.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU STRUGGLE WITH THE MOST?
Scaling, getting support, delegation, and sales cycles.
DID YOU FIND ANY SOLUTIONS FOR THOSE STRUGGLES?
Working on it! Having a mentor helps a lot and continuing to iterate. We’re continually smoothing over challenges.
TOP 3 BENEFITS OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Freedom, impact, and adventure.
WOULD YOU GO BACK TO A ‘NORMAL JOB’ OR WOULD YOU CONTINUE TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Entrepreneur all the way!
THE NO 1 PLATFORM OR METHOD TO GET CLIENTS / PROJECTS?
My network. Hands down, connection matter more than anything. I’ve found that most of the significant opportunities I’ve had are because I’ve met someone that resonated with what I’m up to. That being said, I put myself out there a LOT. Being willing to talk to new people and striking up conversations in environments with similar values, has been hugely beneficial to getting the word out about what I’m up to personally and professionally. Relationships are everything!
DO YOU USE ANY OTHER METHODS TO GET CLIENTS / PROJECTS?
When I was freelancing I used my network, LinkedIn, and Facebook to get in touch with connections and Upwork.I mainly used word of mouth to get new opportunities and clients when it came to my digital strategy business. In my coaching company, I did a few Facebook ad campaigns, but the bulk of my business are derived from connections and referrals. Marketing and your brand matters, but the proof is often in the pudding, and there’s no quick fix to getting real people to interact with your product or service.
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