Interview with Kelly Robbins – President of The Copywriting Institute

Kelly RobbinsTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

My entrepreneurial journey began in 2000 when I was pregnant with my third daughter and was completely miserable, that I couldn’t drive my oldest to brownies or music lessons after school. On top of feeling inadequate as a mother, I also wasn’t “working enough” in management at my corporate job. I often felt physically sick — my life was out of balance. I quit my J-O-B having no clue what I was going to do, just knowing that I would make it happen.

I bought a book, 101 ways for moms to make money at home and one of the pages in that book discussed freelance copywriting and I remember thinking, “I bet I could do that”. I became a copywriter in that moment.

I started my first business as a freelance copywriter with the intention of creating the lifestyle I wanted and maintaining an acceptable balance between being a working adult and raising my kids.

My business grew steadily over the next few years and plateaued around 2005, which is when I hired my first business coach. She taught me how to create passive income streams and leverage my talents in ways outside of an hourly rate. I specialized as a writer in the healthcare industry, and ended up becoming President of the Marketing Division of the American Hospital Association in Colorado, and even led a workshop at their national conference in Washington, D.C.! In 2007 I started my current business, The Copywriting Institute, to help other people achieve the lifestyle I had, to help them feel the empowerment I felt by living my life on my terms, and to help people learn to make their own money.

The Copywriting Institute now has three main services:

1. Coaching aspiring entrepreneurs to start a freelance copywriting business – both copywriting training and guidance on building their business.

2. Business and Marketing Coaching for businesses. Many people start new business that are not freelance copywriters or they have a business and want to up-level. Many of these people have businesses that have plateaued and don’t know how to shift their results.

3. Training Marketers and Copywriters in corporations to improve their writing and marketing skills.

All are marketing based. All include lifestyle change, growth in personal development, and strengthening business and marketing skills.

What did you do before launching your own business?

I worked at UPS for thirteen years, I started there when I was 18 and worked part-time while going to college. I DID drive a big brown truck for a year! I then held various positions in sales and marketing over the next seven years.

How did you fund your business?

A copywriting business didn’t take much money to start. I needed a computer, Internet service, and a phone – which I already had. I had some money saved which I used to build my website (which was incredibly expensive way back then). I also wasted tons of money on things I didn’t need, such as custom letterhead and envelopes. I also used my credit cards.

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?

I honestly have no idea how much I work. My work and personal life are very integrated and I work when I need to. I often work on the weekends, but don’t usually work on Thursday’s – I have that day set aside for appointments and personal stuff. I usually drop my kids off at school and am home by 8:30am (unless I work-out and then it’s 9:30am). I work for a few hours, then shower, and eat. Then work for a few more. Pick them up from school at 3:00pm and make dinner, and run them around to activities.

Oftentimes I’ll work after dinner, however, the work I do after dinner is more the fun writing. For example, I may be creating a new product or developing a marketing campaign. In the evenings I always write at the kitchen table while the kids are doing their homework. I am generally not physically in my home office at night. I do have some coaching clients in Australia and a few other countries that I sometimes have coaching calls and around dinner time is the only time I can talk to them – that is the only exception to that rule.

How would you rate your success?

I rate my success a complete 10! I have created the life I want, living the lifestyle I choose. I participate in personal growth and development opportunities whenever I can. I am currently a single mom of three girls and am enjoying dating. My kids are getting older and I am able to travel more than I did before and I LOVE that. I am paying cash for my oldest daughter’s college tuition – she is attending college out of the country in Canada.

As a business coach, what is your best piece of advice for an entrepreneur that is struggling?

Hire a business coach. You don’t know what you don’t know. Also, to create change you often have to look at things differently in order to act differently and have different results. The problem is you are looking at the world through your unique lens, it’s difficult to see things outside of the lens you know – it took me a few different business coaches to help me change my lens. You must invest in yourself and never stop learning. Books are good, but it’s not the same as learning by doing – such as attending a personal development workshop or doing work with a personal coach. The best investment is always in yourself.

How were you able to take your business to the next level of success?

Honestly with a lot of hard work! Hiring business coaches, particularly when I couldn’t afford it, has completely changed my life both personally and professionally. My coaches had me work on my personal growth and not solely focus on business activities – which I know was key to me changing. I have screamed and cried and thrown things. I’ve had to closely examine unhealthy relationships in my life. I had to look at how I was “being” vs. what I was doing – and I had never heard of that before. All of these things were total game changers. You don’t really read about these things in books and your world changes, you have to experience them in order to change your world.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

I give myself permission to not work at certain times. I struggled with this when my kids were younger and I was just starting out. Giving myself permission to “just be” was the best way to be peaceful and not resentful to myself and my family. For example, I do not work on Thursdays. In the past, I volunteered at the school on that day and then had coffee with friends. I now book doctor appointments, run errands, and hit Costco on that day. I also gave myself permission to not work after 3:00pm when the kids get home from school. I turn off work and flow into mom mode. I used to try to squeak things in or write something simple, but I found I just got frustrated, so that was when I started creating the “Kelly has permission” time slots.

On the same token, I also gave myself permission to work on Saturdays and Sundays when everyone is home and happy. It goes both ways.

 Connect with Kelly Robbins and The Copywriting Institute…


Twitter: @KellyRobbins

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