I do love a woman who is talented, fierce and undeniably talented. Karlie ticks all of those boxes and more. Being in business for nine whole years doesn’t come without challenges, triumphs and everything in between. As a valued AFY client, I’ve witnessed Karlie’s growth first hand and it’s nothing short of incredible.
If you’ve often wondered what goes on behind the brand, this piece is a must. Karlie has shared her frank thoughts about small business life, loyalty vs profitability and why you should always trust your own intuition.
What led you to launch your business? What did you do before you launched?
I launched my business, Techno Bird purely as a way to leave the ‘rat race’ and do something that fulfilled me. I was miserable in my corporate job and had wanted to leave for some time but I had no idea what else I could do besides admin and childcare which is what my background was in.
Neither of those things made me happy but it did pay the bills – but what kind of life is that?!
I always had this feeling that one day I’d run my own business but didn’t know that it would be a web design business – that really came out of nowhere! So I guess you could say that being unhappy, unfilled and wanting more control & flexibility over my life (especially as I was about to become a new mum) drove me to think differently.
What’s one thing no one tells you about small business life?
That a lot of the time you spend more doing ‘business things’ rather than the actual thing that you do, such as admin, bookkeeping, content creation, blog writing, SEO, networking etc. You are all the things at the start (and you may be all the things for your entire biz life).
Also, people will let you down – clients will ghost you, invoices will be dodged, someone will accuse you of copying them, you’ll spend hours in Facebook groups, you’ll sign up for courses that you never complete, and nobody will tell you how incredibly important SEO is to grow your business.
That all sounds really negative, but running a business does have a negative side that you can’t pretend doesn’t exist. It will be how you manage that side of it that will count. Having self confidence, being self motivated, seeking help when you need it and not feeling bad about that. Having a thick skin really helps!
Finally, knowing that mistakes will be made but good lessons will always be learnt.
Was there a moment when you felt like you’d made it?
For me personally, the moment I thought “I’ve done it!” is when I made the same amount of money as my partner did in his full time job. That feeling of knowing I made that much money (and no, this wasn’t 6 figures), all on my own from absolutely nothing was a really proud moment for me.
It took a few years, but I did it. I never gave up. I never wanted to give up. You just can’t replicate that level of empowerment and pride and that alone motivates me each and every day.
Tell us about one big win and one big learning you’ve had in the last year?
Actually my biggest win in my whole career (which now spans almost 9 years), is that I’ve just landed my biggest paying client to-date! That’s coming off a very stressful couple of months where things really slowed down for me and I was quite stressed about the lack of enquiries and lack of income. It’s true that when you run your own show, you really never know what’s around the corner!
The funny thing is, I ‘manifested’ a quiet January so I could spend time with my kids and have a good break. Manifesting tumbleweeds for months on end wasn’t my aim at ALL. I can’t stress how tough it was. I was freaking out about the bills that just kept coming and the clients who were nowhere to be seen. Basically, my bank account was running on fumes.
One big learning I’ve had in the last year is to trust my gut way more, and that sometimes, putting loyalty over what’s actually good for me is never wise. Recently, my loyalty was taken advantage of and it landed me with a massive debt. I had no idea it was coming and it really impacted my family.
The sad thing is, I had wanted to cut the cord with this person for ages. I didn’t because I wanted so desperately to believe they had integrity. No one wants to think they are being taken for a ride. Finally, when I got the courage to sever ties and find someone that DID have my back, I couldn’t believe the difference!
Fast forward to now and that debt is paid and I have the BEST support. If you’re reading this, remember that loyalty is great but not at the expense of you.
What does your team and cheerleading squad look like?
I’ve been privileged to be in a position where I could afford a VA the last couple of years and that has been a total game-changer for my business. I’ve had 2 VA’s (not at the same time) and both of them have been the most perfect fit for me personality wise, skill wise and experience wise. I felt like I’d done something right to find both of them when I did.
Having a huge circle of biz friends online and offline that I turn to for support and advice when I need it makes all the difference to me. I even chat with other business owners who do what I do, so they could technically be considered ‘competition’ but I just don’t subscribe to that culture!
I’ve created some amazing connections with other business owners and I collaborate a lot with them on client projects or freebies or service offers etc. Collaborating with other businesses owners has also been a #gamechanger for my business, and I think every business owner should do it.
I quite often invest in other businesses like photographers, copywriters, marketing gurus and branding experts etc to help me to grow and improve my business. Investing myself and my business has been a massive key to my success.
Finally, what led you to work with us and how have we impacted your business?
I came to you from a very low point in my business life – stemming from the story of loyalty I’ve just spoken about. I needed someone who was brilliant at what they did and who could really support and guide me in a side of my business that I just don’t align with. I’m a creative – numbers and I just don’t jam!
I was seeking someone that would not only manage my books but explain them to me in a way that would gel. I needed guidance so I could confidently understand my financial position.
I found you via Instagram and saw your wonderful reviews. Based on that, I knew you’d be a good fit for me. Your Instagram content was informative without being stuffy and that’s exactly what I needed as a creative.
So I booked a discovery call and I knew it was the right decision to hire you – I’ve felt so supported from day one and way more involved in my own finances, and that things are finally on the right path.
You simplify things so well, and if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I know I can just ask you without feeling silly. That, to me, is worth more than anything.
A BIG, heartfelt thanks to Karlie for giving us a glimpse of her business, growth, learnings and more! What a WOMAN!
Connect With Karlie
If you’re looking for uncomplicated Website Design & SEO, Karlie’s got your back. Show her some love.