Kat Tate is an amazing entrepreneur and operator who I was very lucky to first meet and get to know through the 4Networking Australia Business Community. As a Creative Story Teller and Marketing Communications expert – I have not only been lucky to have her as a client, but also refer plenty of mine own clients to her for her fine Online / Offline ability to write compelling Copy that just helps Products / Services really sell.
Kat had a background in journalism, she has worked in some very high profile positions during her “Pre-Entrepreneur Career” and as I write this article she I understand is off in Vietnam travelling and enjoying her life. She has always been a “Stand Out” Character to me and you can tell is one of those super exceptional operators. As I spent time with her and especially in our interview, I got to hear her story first hand and develop a strong appreciation as how she made it and in particular succeed in her Small Business and have amazing Marketing Success by herself!
The recording of our interview is available here and if you are more of a “Word Person”, feel free to scroll through the transcript and appreciate her awesomeness coming through.
And of course if you like what you see, make sure you check out my Awesome Marketing Vault – full of top Online / Offline Sales & Marketing Strategies just perfect for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs!
Thank you from Edward Zia – Marketing Mentor and Kat / “Cat” Fan!
Edward Zia: Good evening everyone, or good day everyone. This is Edward Zia, marketing mentor, who loves small businesses. I’m sitting here with the amazing entrepreneur Kat Tate. How are you Kat?
Kat Tate: Very well, thank you.
Edward Zia: Kat Tate is an amazing channel partner of mine. She is a brilliant online copywriter and strategic storyteller. Aren’t you, Kat Tate?
Kat Tate: I suppose I am.
Edward Zia: Yeah. I’m just saying what you do for a living. It’s interesting. We’re sitting in my kitchen and we’ve got … What have we got here? We’ve got …
Kat Tate: Cheese.
Edward Zia: Crackers.
Kat Tate: I think that’s cucumber, isn’t it?
Edward Zia: Cucumber.
Kat Tate: It’s lovely.
Edward Zia: Exactly. We’ve got an amazing spread and Kat and I are actually having basically some wine and cheese before we do our webinar tonight. I’ve been meaning to do this anyway, actually interview Kat and get to hear her story. We actually started exchanging our stories, so we thought “Why don’t we record this and make this an Awesome Entrepreneurs interview?” What did you think of that Kat?
Kat Tate: I thought fantastic. Let’s do it.
Edward Zia: Absolutely. Where I was Kat Tate’s an amazing copywriter … I’m actually a brilliant copywriter, but Kat Tate is better than me. I’ve been very lucky to work with Kat Tate and I refer a lot of work for her to take people’s ideas into powerful words that sell it. I think you’re really good at that Kat and I just want to think do you think you’re really good, Kat?
Kat Tate: I do.
Edward Zia: Great.
Kat Tate: Writing is an art form, just like design and any other creative avenue that you choose to take. Writing is an art form. It’s something that takes a long to finesse and to perfect. It never is perfect, but I love it. I love what I do.
Edward Zia: I was going to say Kat, tell us your story. You’re an amazing copywriter. I’ve seen your work first hand. I’ll refer you gladly to my clients.
Kat Tate: You do. Thank you very much.
Edward Zia: And the check is in the mail. No, Kat has been an amazing client or two. But tell us your story. What did you do when you were at uni? How did you become the successful entrepreneur you are today?
Kat Tate: I’ve been writing since I was able to walk really. My parents had a typewriter and the first thing I did when I learned to walk and could stand at the typewriter was write short stories. I started really, really young. My dad was a journalist and still is, quite a prominent journo. He went to Fleet Street when he was 18 and interviewed Roy Orbison and Rod Stewart and all sorts of people back in the day, so I loved what he did and wanted to follow in his footsteps, which was the plan. What I did was while I was at uni, I actually started working at The Sunday Times in Perth. It’s the sister paper of The Daily Telegraph basically for those Sydney siders listening.
Edward Zia: Ah, so it’s a good right-leaning …
Kat Tate: Oh, yeah.
Edward Zia: So it’s a pro liberal newspaper.
Kat Tate: Ah, yeah.
Edward Zia: Do they just love turning over the way I do?
Kat Tate: Look, I don’t know what their policy is. I don’t read the paper any more, being in Sydney, but I wouldn’t be surprised, but no, it was a great paper to work for. The plan there was that I would work my way up and get a cadetship like my dad at the same newspaper, when he was the same age.
Edward Zia: No way. So you’re like a young Chris Hansen. You’re just working your way up the tree.
Kat Tate: That was the plan. That was the plan. I was doing a graveyard shift one night, which was basically sitting next to the police radio at 3:00 in the morning waiting for a story to come through and-
Edward Zia: Stop right there. You’re saying, as a journalist you would sit there listening to the police radio?
Kat Tate: As a 17-year-old, yes.
Edward Zia: So you’re listening … Is that legal?
Kat Tate: Absolutely.
Edward Zia: A journalist is allowed to listen to a police commute channel?
Kat Tate: Yes because it’s put out there for the media to listen to. The police and the media actually have a really good relationship, particularly in Perth. They share stories a lot, press releases are sent through from the police department and we can rewrite them for the paper, so they’ve got a pretty strong relationship. The police have a reason to get that information out to public.
Edward Zia: Wow. You guys get along. You’re a 17-year-old version of … Say it was about 2 years ago, right?
Kat Tate: No, 18 months ago.
Edward Zia: Yes. Just so you know everyone, Kat is an amazing woman, so there you go.
Kat Tate: Ah, thank you.
Edward Zia: So you’re a 17-year-old Kat, you’re sitting there and you’re listening to a police radio waiting for action.
Kat Tate: That’s it.
Edward Zia: What would happen when you’re sitting in Perth waiting for action? What kind of stuff would you hear?
Kat Tate: Crickets … No, I’m kidding. Things actually do happen in sleepy old Perth. Look, unfortunately, a lot of it was things like car accidents. Actually, that’s the reason why I changed by direction from hard news because I had a comment made to me one night by someone on the editorial team, who basically told me to pray for a double fatality to get a good front page lead. That just changed everything because I realized “Okay, I’ve got into writing because I want to change the world through words. I feel like that’s my calling and to be working in a way that actually is wishing for ill to come on people for my own benefit is not what I want to do”. That was a big shift for me.
Edward Zia: Wow, wow. Excuse the noise in the background. We’ve got 2 cats that are fighting each other.
Kat Tate: You need to do some mediation there.
Edward Zia: Yeah, we need mediation, not meditation.
Kat Tate: No.
Edward Zia: Yeah, yeah. That must have been scary. You’re sitting there as a 17-year-old, you’re listening to a police com channel and you’re told to hope for a double fatality?
Kat Tate: Yes.
Edward Zia: What was your immediate reaction? What went through your mind when this information hit your senses?
Kat Tate: You know how when people say that something … It’s like a light bulb moment or it’s like a brick wall goes up? There’s a really profound moment in their life? That’s what that was. It was the next day that I decided I couldn’t do hard journalism any more. It wasn’t my thing.
Edward Zia: What happened the next day? You got up, you arrived at work, what did you do?
Kat Tate: I figured I’d sort of keep going for a little bit until I worked out my next move, but as things in my life seem to have happened in a way that things just fall into place … There was a phone call that came through the newsroom and I happened to pick the phone up. It was an old family friend of my family’s, who now had her own PR company. She’d called to blast one of the journalists for a story about her client and I recognized the name and her voice and started talking to her. I mentioned that I’d been thinking about making a shift out of journalism and she said “Well, I’m looking for someone to come into my PR firm and work as a junior and work their way up, what do you think?”
Edward Zia: Wow, you just became a publicist from day 1?
Kat Tate: I did. Straight into it.
Edward Zia: So complaints are a good thing?
Kat Tate: Yeah.
Edward Zia: You were about to take a complaint and you end up getting an awesome job and a new break.
Kat Tate: Yeah, which took me on a whole new path and took me to where I am now.
Edward Zia: Tell us what does a publicist actually do? What did you actually do at this PR firm?
Kat Tate: There’s a whole big picture view when it comes to public relations. What we would do is we would start with a client, find out a bit about what they wanted to promote or publicize in their business and come up with a communication strategy. Often that would be a 12-month plan. We’re looking at things like “Okay, what’s coming up that you want to promote? What events are on out there that we can actually leverage off?”. Let’s just say you’ve got a client in the gift basket area, go out and find events on Valentine’s Day and all the obvious ones and maybe some more obscure events that you can promote. We would launch and stage media events as well and invite the media along, writing press releases, a lot of client liaison work.
One client of ours actually was a national park and we had to come up with a crisis communications plan and actually when there was a bush fire, we were the first port of call for when the media were making inquiries, so that was a really intense part of the job which was quite rewarding as well.
Edward Zia: So during bush fires in Perth, you’re the first call once …
Kat Tate: Yeah, once the news hits there’s a fire and it’s at the part that we represent, the journos calls us because they know, we’ve got that relationship with them, they know that that’s who they need to call. It’s our job to then I suppose line up those media calls, get them through to the client, get the information back to the media, so they can give it to the public.
Edward Zia: Wow. You’ve worked in some pretty high-stress, extreme situations.
Kat Tate: Yes and this was all before I was 20.
Edward Zia: I thought you were like 25 about this point in the story. So before you’re 20 …
Kat Tate: Because what happened was I actually finished school quite young. I finished Year 12 when I was 16 and went straight to university, so my first year at uni I was 17. I went straight through uni, finished a 3-year degree and was out pretty young.
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that. I was actually 17 when I was at uni.
Kat Tate: Were you?
Edward Zia: Yeah, yeah.
Kat Tate: There you go.
Edward Zia: Then when I was 18, I went and joined the army. There you go.
Kat Tate: Ah, look at you. Doing it for your country.
Edward Zia: Yeah, look at me now. I’m a traumatized marketing mentor. That’s amazing, so before the age of 20, you’ve already worked in a newsroom, you’ve been up all night listening to police com channels, you’ve had epiphanies and you’ve already done crisis management in extreme situations before the age of 20.
Kat Tate: Yes.
Edward Zia: No wonder you’re this brilliant amazing person in front of me, with those experiences.
Kat Tate: It’s funny. You don’t really think about the things that you do until someone says “Hey, you did this and you did this and you did this” and then it’s like “Ah, I’ve actually done quite a lot”.
Edward Zia: I think it’s very compelling. What happened after that? Obviously we’re in Sydney now …
Kat Tate: Yes.
Edward Zia: How did you get to Sydney? Did you just say “I’m sick of this mining colony called Perth”?
Kat Tate: You can never get sick of Perth. It’s a beautiful place.
Edward Zia: What happened? How did you wind up in my kitchen?
Kat Tate: Well, as beautiful as Perth is, the media market at the time, and I guess still is, was very small and there’s only so far you can go. It got to the point where I thought “Okay, I’ve had some great inroads here. I’ve done some great work for some fantastic clients, but Perth doesn’t really have much going on for me anymore”. I guess another big part was that I was born in Sydney and always planned to return.
Edward Zia: Ah, born in Sydney?
Kat Tate: Yeah.
Edward Zia: Where were you born?
Kat Tate: Born up in Newport on the beaches.
Edward Zia: Now you live in Manly Beaches?
Kat Tate: Exactly.
Edward Zia: You returned back to the place of your birth, did you?
Kat Tate: That’s it. Back to my roots and it feels great. The shift from Perth to Sydney happened when really I just started applying for public relations work in Sydney and caught the eye of ANZ Stadium, Telstra Stadium at the time, Olympic Stadium. It goes by a few names, depending on the sponsorship at the time. They actually flew me over from Perth to Sydney to hang out with them for the weekend and go to a few sports games and interview myself and get a feel for the organization. They offered me the job when I flew back to Perth, so then I came over.
Edward Zia: You’re like a superstar. You’re in Perth, you apply for jobs remotely, you get flown out to Telstra Stadium for the weekend and you became … What? A publicist for AMZ, for Telstra Stadium?
Kat Tate: Public relations coordinator.
Edward Zia: For Olympic Park?
Kat Tate: For the entire stadium, yes.
Edward Zia: My God. You got some pretty high profile positions, Kat Tate.
Kat Tate: I have, I have. I feel I’ve been very fortunate.
Edward Zia: I’m sure luck is part of it, Kat, but surely your skills and prowess with words would attest to you getting those roles.
Kat Tate: Perhaps.
Edward Zia: Definitely.
Kat Tate: I won’t argue with that.
Edward Zia: I’m not trying to make out you’re egotistical because I think your success is amazing. Why? I’m not trying to set you up to be egotistical, but why did you get those prestigious roles? What traits about yourself did they think were very employable?
Kat Tate: That’s a very hard question to answer. I guess growing up in a family with a journalist as a dad and mixing with a lot of prominent people from a young age, I grew up quite quickly. I’d be at media launches when I was 8, talking to celebrities and whoever. I was always used to adult company. I’d discovered a way to present myself that formed really good relationships with people because that’s what my dad did. He was a gossip journalist towards the end of his career. He’s retired now, but even when he was a gossip journalist, he kept his word.
He never broke promises with those people that he was writing about and he formed really good relationships with people, so I think I just naturally absorbed that, so it’s always been my thing to put people before anything else and maybe that has helped.
Edward Zia: Yes, I can imagine you will have just gone in there and they would have just felt your energy and realized “This woman understands what we’re about. We definitely want to offer her the role”.
Kat Tate: I think that even though I would have had gaps in my skills set at that age, having only had 1 PR job outside of university, I think they saw definitely the potential there. They saw the strength in my writing as well and they gave me a shot, so it was brilliant.
Edward Zia: So you got offered your job, you packed your bag, flew over to Sydney and then what? You started in this job, you got this amazing job, what then happened?
Kat Tate: I was there for just over a year and it was a fantastic job. I met David Beckham. I’d be in the changing rooms and there’s NRL players just undressing in front of my with no care in the world and I’m sort of trying to be professional and not looking and just seeing all these great people.
Edward Zia: So you had the iPhone up?
Kat Tate: No, this was pre-iPhone age. I think I had a BlackBerry at the time.
Edward Zia: Ah, so you had your old BlackBerry making out you were just sending out emails. This might have been before YouTube as well? These days, we’d upload it straight to YouTube, wouldn’t we?
Kat Tate: Yeah, but not then. I loved it. I loved the thrill of … I’m not really a big sports person, to be honest. I don’t really enjoy watching sport except AFL, which is fabulous.
Edward Zia: You know I’m a Victorian, don’t you?
Kat Tate: I do know you’re a Victorian.
Edward Zia: As a proud Victorian, we’re very proud of AFL.
Kat Tate: I know that. I think all sports suck, but I’m very proud of AFL.
Edward Zia: I think all sports suck, but I’m very proud of AFL.
Kat Tate: I feel the same way. Sport sucks, but if I have to watch it, AFL.
Edward Zia: That’s right because Perth is an AFL town.
Kat Tate: It is. We don’t have NRL.
Edward Zia: You’re a real town. Only New South Wales is corrupted with this rugby stuff.
Kat Tate: This so-called rugby.
Edward Zia: It’s not like this interview is being recorded and it’s not going to go up on my blog and get viewed tons of times, but I think rugby is … I think it’s a bit bogan-ony? Don’t you, Kat Tate?
Kat Tate: No comment, Ed Zia.
Edward Zia: Yeah, actually we could have rugby clients. We like rugby.
Kat Tate: We like rugby, all codes of rugby.
Edward Zia: Yeah, yeah, but you’ve got to give it to rugby. They do know how to beat each other up out on the field.
Kat Tate: They do. Well done.
Edward Zia: Much more violent than AFL. So you’re here, you’ve got this amazing job, this amazing life, before you started off as the amazing entrepreneur you are today, what job were you in before that? What were the events that made you say “It’s time for me to be my own woman?”.
Kat Tate: Well, there’s another chapter to be revealed.
Edward Zia: Oh, there’s a hidden chapter.
Kat Tate: There’s a hidden chapter.
Edward Zia: Oh, well I want to hear it.
Kat Tate: Would you like to hear the hidden chapter?
Edward Zia: First you hear it on the Edward Files.
Kat Tate: Exclusive. The exclusive chapter is that after the stadium, I took a job working for The Heart Foundation.
Edward Zia: Wow, not for profit.
Kat Tate: Not for profit. Working in their PR department and that was great because I felt like I was starting to make a difference with my work, which is what I was always planning to do … Is find some way to use words to benefit the world in some way, so that was brilliant, but it wasn’t quite right for me. Being the entrepreneur that I am, I decided to quit in the middle of the recession and become a professional organizer.
Edward Zia: Right.
Kat Tate: Very abstract I know.
Edward Zia: Was this the dark chapter?
Kat Tate: No, it wasn’t.
Edward Zia: Oh, okay.
Kat Tate: It actually set me up in the business I’m in now. I started it in the recession and considering it was in a poor time, when people weren’t spending money on having people organize their homes for them because it’s a luxury service, I still did quite well. I was quite happy with what I did.
Edward Zia: Wow.
Kat Tate: But the funny thing is that, looking back I can see the reason I did well was because I marketed my business brilliantly, I knew how to talk to the media, so I got a lot of press coverage without having to pay a cent, by running my own press releases and chasing media and developing relationships with those contacts and lobbying and writing feature articles about organizing that got placed in magazines. Looking back, I maybe wasn’t in the right industry in terms of doing the actual organizing job, but I knew how to start a business and promote it really well and create a tribe. They’re skills that although that business failed in a business sense, it was a practice run for where I am right now.
Edward Zia: Yeah, because I think it’s amazing because I’ve known you for what? Maybe 1 and a half years now?
Kat Tate: Mmhmm (affirmative).
Edward Zia: The side of Kat Tate I’ve seen is a woman that never misses. I remember you once telling me you were a professional organizer and it’s always “Wow”. I once tried currency trading and that was a train wreck. I’m now a successful marketing mentor and my Wolf On Wall Street days got me shot by a hunter. It just didn’t wash. Isn’t funny how a lot of people in life fail, but we’ve had our failings, but we just took it as a next stepping stone to success. How can someone like you think so differently to the masses because I know most people would have taken that to heart and given up? How did you overcome failure in all that? What was going through your mind?
Kat Tate: Again, I think it goes back to my childhood. My dad was very entrepreneurial and my mum never said money was important. The important thing was that you find something that you love and you do what you want to do and you’ll have a good life. I guess I sort of took those lessons through, so I’ve just always had a drive. Another thing too is we had a very independent family. We were brought up to be quite independent, not have to depend on anyone, so I think moving to Sydney on my own … By the way, I didn’t actually know a soul here when I moved to Sydney.
Edward Zia: Wow.
Kat Tate: I didn’t know anyone.
Edward Zia: Wow.
Kat Tate: It’s just having resilience and I think that is something you can learn, but I also think it’s part of your nature. If you can look at every experience you have as being a lesson, not a good or a bad thing that’s happened to you, but a lesson, then you’ll always be optimistic, always.
Edward Zia: Your, I suppose prism in which you look at the world at, has given you this amazing sense of resilience and optimism, which has contributed to you being a powerful entrepreneur?
Kat Tate: Yeah, yeah. I don’t want to say it’s all rosy. When I had my organizing business, I lost all my money and you’ll be able to relate to that stress.
Edward Zia: Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. As a burnt-out Persian, there you go.
Kat Tate: Yeah, so I lost all my money and didn’t have anyone to back me up. I wasn’t married. I didn’t have a partner, anything like that. My family, I’ve never asked them for money. That was a really tough time, but I got the right help. I went and saw some financial planners, who helped me get back on track. I went back to full-time employment, which was great because I ended up adding a whole other suite of writing skills to my set and I just worked hard.
Edward Zia: After you did that and you went back to full-time employment, what were you doing?
Kat Tate: I joined a company and funnily enough, they’re actually my clients still today. I still write for them as a freelancer.
Edward Zia: No way.
Kat Tate: Yes because they’re so fantastic. The company is the Hi-Pages Group. They’re an online directory business, so they had the natural therapy pages, the home improvement pages and pet pages, so if you’re looking for example a plumber in your area, you type in plumber in your suburb and all the listings come up for you. My job basically was … And credit to the people who hired me … Was actually crafted around the skills that I had. I walked in, there was no job there, but they created it for me. Basically, I set an editorial strategy into place for them. To drive a lot of traffic to the website, I came up with a plan for hiring freelance writers and building a really big database of online articles.
These are articles we could share on our Facebook pages and through Twitter. We could interview clients about trends in whatever industry they were in and build this great database of knowledge that we could share with our audience.
Edward Zia: Wow, wow. They’re a client of yours today?
Kat Tate: They’re still my client, yeah.
Edward Zia: This is amazing. Take us forward and I know before we sat down to do this interview and I was getting the wine, cheese and crackers ready, you said you were off to Vietnam in 2 weeks.
Kat Tate: I am.
Edward Zia: What’s all this about?
Kat Tate: What I did was in June 2012, I realized that I’d got to a point with my work at Hi-Pages Group where I felt like I’d done all I could do and I was no longer adding value to the company. For me, having that entrepreneurial spirit, I can’t just go in and take a pay check if I don’t feel like I’m challenging myself or I’m benefiting the business.
Edward Zia: That’s very noble of you.
Kat Tate: In a way, it’s almost selfish because I wasn’t enjoying it and I didn’t feel like it was right to stay there, but I still see what you’re saying. What I did is I decided to go to India for a month. India and Nepal.
Edward Zia: When was this?
Kat Tate: This was June 2012.
Edward Zia: Ah, got it.
Kat Tate: I took a little holiday and had no plan. I simply went with 2 friends to India, landed in Delhi and we worked our way up to Nepal. Really, it was a life-changing experience where I got a lot of clarity on my next move, which is why I’m going to Vietnam because I’m looking for another eye-opening experience.
Edward Zia: You’re saying that while you’re in Vietnam you’re going to rethink your whole life and come back some kind of machine or something, are you?
Kat Tate: Hopefully not a machine. I would like to stay a person. No, no, I know what you’re saying.
Edward Zia: This will be Robokat.
Kat Tate: Yeah Robokat.
Edward Zia: Yeah Robokat.
Kat Tate: Bringing robotic copy to a business near you. The plan is to rebrand my business in the year ahead, so I’m really just taking a bit of a break, get some clarity on what that next move is and see what unfolds.
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that because it’s really interesting to me because as you know, I used to have a pretty high-flying job and I got really badly washed up in the GFC? … I remember I was in Sydney and I was unemployed for professional work for about 1 and a half years.
Kat Tate: Okay.
Edward Zia: Really bad.
Kat Tate: Wow.
Edward Zia: It’s where I lost all my money. Wasn’t good for me. I remember, even though it was very painful at the time, in looking back at that as an old Persian man of 35 with 2 cats … I’m just really old and over the hill now. When I look back on that, I feel that in a way that my chance to reset my life and start it again. Isn’t it funny that you sort of go through life, you reach a point where you think something needs to be tweaked, something needs to be changed. What do you think about that topic?
Kat Tate: Yeah, you need a shift. What’s really interesting at the moment … And it’s something I’ve been noticing in the world as a whole, it’s not just in my work, but in the world itself … Is there’s a real shift at the moment towards authenticity.
Edward Zia: There is, isn’t there? No more crap any more.
Kat Tate: No more crap. No one wants to be spoon-fed information, we can see through things like false claims, really sloppy advertising and people don’t want to be told what shows to watch and when to watch them. They’re going to go online and watch them when want. That’s just 1 example. Another example is food. People now want to know what’s in their food. “Where’s it come from? Where’s it grown? How is it grown? Did you use any pesticides? Who is the farmer? How did it get to the shop?” There’s a real shift in the world at the moment and there are a lot of people driving that shift, who I call change makers. I feel like I’m a part of that wave. I think the next year and beyond is going to be really interesting to see the results of that shift.
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that because as you know I started my blog … If you’re listening to this interview, you probably found it in my blog. 1 thing I’ve found interesting is I started by blog called the Edward Files and as part of my own blog is … I’ve just been doing that. I’ve been speaking a lot of truths in my own blog and I’ve been very critical of some people which I don’t think people have been critical of enough. It’s funny when you do that. It’s funny when you go out on a limb, you do start a bit of a following, you do start a bit of a revolution in your own way, don’t you Kat?
Kat Tate: You do and it’s the whole tribe building.
Edward Zia: What is this tribe building thing? Take us through that.
Kat Tate: There’s a concept that, through your life and through your business, you align yourself with certain tribes. You can call it your audience, your target market, but in an authentic sense, it’s your tribe. What you’re doing Ed when you’re blogging about these things that are important to you and when you have an opinion, you start to attract people who really understand and find your message that resonates with them. That becomes your tribe. These are your number 1 fans.
The awesome thing is that when you start building a tribe, these are the people that then go and share your message with even more people to come into your tribe, so you’re not having to do much work because people are sticking to your ideas and going “Yes, that’s what I need in my life and hey, Sally over there might find that useful true”. They recruit people into your tribe.
Edward Zia: It’s interesting you say that because as you know we’re running our first free 1-day seminar … Everyone is sharing it for us. Are these people who are part of my tribe, who like my information and they’re sharing it? Is that what you mean?
Kat Tate: That’s exactly right. The other thing too to think about with tribes … This is something that people and you might be finding this because you’re quite strong in your opinions, which is fantastic.
Edward Zia: I’m not strong in my opinions. How dare you accuse me of something … ?
Kat Tate: Everyone knows Mr Ed has opinions and that’s fantastic, but what you need to remember if you are going to go out there and start building a tribe and start having a voice, whether you share that voice through a blog or social media or however you want to do it, you will start to polarize people, you are absolutely going to lose fans. You will peeve some people off.
Edward Zia: Which I have done in record numbers lately.
Kat Tate: Yes, but fantastic because if you’re polarizing people, it means that you’re actually making a difference in some way. Your message isn’t going to resonate with everyone. Not everyone is going to like what you have to say. That doesn’t matter. So long as you’re putting out things that you think are important, your ideas and insights that are helping a certain amount of people, your tribe, they’re keeping your tribe happy, don’t worry about the rest.
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that. I’ll be straight up with you. I’m all right now. I’m over it now, but as you know the start of the year was emotionally very tough for me. I had a lot of people … I even had nasty phone calls of people trying to shut down my blog.
Kat Tate: Really?
Edward Zia: Yeah and nasty phone calls of people trying to shut down my blog because … What I would do in my blog and when I’m writing … I’m getting at least 40 reads a day now. It’s starting to get there now. If I praise someone, such as I praise you, I will do it publicly. If I’m negative about someone or a situation, I’ll just write generally. I’m not an Andrew Bobs … I’m not going to sit there and name that person. I’m not like that. Not just for legal reasons, but I just don’t do that sort of thing. I’ll praise in public and I’m not going to publicly attack anyone.
What was interesting is I’ll just write general articles about … I will never write about anyone. I’ll just write about a general behaviour and the bad people know when they read it, they’ve got the guilty conscience. They are the first ones that will try and shut me down, so I’ve had probably at least 5 abusive phone calls. They’re just general blogs, but people feel that it’s written about them. It actually wasn’t. It’s just a general blog about a certain behaviour, but they took it on as them and they were trying to shut me down. It’s so true. I’m used to it now, but for me it was quite a hard start to the year getting used to that.
Kat Tate: That’s interesting. Good on you for sticking at it because I think a lot of people … That might be enough to turn them away.
Edward Zia: I started getting more vicious in my blogs.
Kat Tate: Careful now. As you said, you don’t intentionally upset people or offend people and there’s no point doing that because what purpose does that serve?
Edward Zia: And it will probably get you sued as well.
Kat Tate: That’s it. You’ve got to be really careful, but it’s interesting that those people, even though you haven’t written about them directly, they’ve taken personal offense to those posts. I think that goes back to this whole quest for truth that’s coming out at the moment, the your authentic self being truthful. It can be really hard to see your flaws or weaknesses exposed, particularly if these are people in business.
Our businesses are our babies, so if I read something that you write and it really hits a nerve with me, I would be looking at myself and going “Why is that? What is it about that post that Ed wrote that’s making me feel this way and what can I do to change it? Maybe my business approach isn’t right. Maybe I’m not being truthful. Maybe I’m not giving my customers the best product or service and not really meeting their needs”.
Edward Zia: Yeah, but I think that’s what would set you and us apart from … And a lot of people listening to this interview … If you’re listening to this interview and you’re this deep into, you must be an amazing person.
Kat Tate: Well done on being amazing.
Edward Zia: Exactly. Well done for listening this long into the interview, but if you’re still listening in or reading this, you’re obviously the sort of character that’s open to looking at yourself, open to thinking about things a bit differently. I think there’s a lot people out there who just don’t want to do that. They just want to blame the world for all their problems. They’re not willing to take personal responsibility.
Kat Tate: Yeah. That’s just the way the world is and there’s nothing you can do to please those people, so my tip is to forget those people and focus on your tribe, know that you’re doing … So long as you’re being truthful to yourself and to the people that you’re sharing your insights with, just focus on that.
Edward Zia: I think that’s a very, very sound argument, Kat Tate. That’s interesting because you see a lot of companies … And a lot of them don’t do it very well … They’re now struggling to become authentic.
Kat Tate: They are.
Edward Zia: It’s just not washing, isn’t it?
Kat Tate: No.
Edward Zia: It’s like “You can trust us” and it’s just not working.
Kat Tate: Yeah.
Edward Zia: I know most in my own industry, in this little whole mentoring business and marketing space, a lot of the people that have been sort of glitzy and glamor are now trying this whole authentic thing. I’m not sure if it’s washing in a lot of cases.
Kat Tate: That’s the interesting thing and that’s probably what’s going to start weeding out the good operators from the bad, which is a good thing because we have a lot of competition out there. We’re spoilt for choice as consumers when it comes to products and services, so this is going to be an interesting shift to see which companies stick around. It’s almost a public relations point too about being transparent, about having social responsibility … All these things that companies have been able to do under the surface level for a long time, but now the truth comes out. We want to see the proof in the pudding. It’s the whole thing of “Show me; don’t tell me. Don’t tell me that you’re doing good thing; show me that you’re doing good things. Then I’ll buy from you”.
Edward Zia: It’s funny, even talking personally in my own line of work, things are quite different for me now because I’ve got a reasonable size footprint in Sydney, but I remember earlier on to get my first clients it would take me months and months and months of chipping away. It’s funny. Why do you think it works that way Kat? Why does it take so long just to build credibility in the market? How does that work in your awesome marketing brain?
Kat Tate: I think that it comes back to being trustworthy. It takes time to build trust. You know when you were a kid and you had 1 best friend and 1 best friend the next and you could just quickly trust people, trust friends like that. As an adult, it doesn’t work that way. We’re a lot more suspicious I think. It can take time when you’re starting out to build up a business and build a name for yourself, but if you’ve got the right thing to sell and you’re selling to the right people and you know how to promote that properly and you’re truthful in the way that you do that, you will build a really great network around you of people who support your business and refer you on.
I think what you’ve found, and I’ve certainly found this too, is once you start networking and building great relationships with people you know and like and trust, then they refer on very quickly to other people and it’s kind of like the rolling stone. It just keeps picking up speed as it goes on.
Edward Zia: It’s funny. This interview is turning into me using for free consulting. Because I’m interviewing Kat, she’s not allowed to send me an invoice for this-
Kat Tate: Who says?
Edward Zia: Oh no. Oh well. We’ll have to wind it up. That’s the interview … No. I guess one thing that’s got me sort of interested is you’ve got me thinking about my own business now. Seriously, I actually am using you for free consulting now.
Kat Tate: Cool.
Edward Zia: Pretty much around mid-last year, my business just sort of cracked that next level and right now my business, as you know, is cracking that then level above it. The thing I’ve always done from day 1 is I’ve been straight up like no contracts with people, 100% honest, no bull and I’m all for telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
Kat Tate: Good.
Edward Zia: I think it’s spot on. That has worked very well for me. I get a lot of referrals these days and I find that there are plenty of people who have been in the market longer than me that just don’t have the reputation I do. They may not have as long a list of enemies as me, which is growing every day, but it’s funny. In hindsight, I think I’ve been very authentic, which has contributed … What do you think of me? Is that a fair comment?
Kat Tate: I would say that’s a very fair comment and I think that’s why people are drawn to you. So long as you can continue to do that and not be afraid of polarizing people, then you’ve got a great model.
Edward Zia: That polarization issue … That was tough for me the first month of the year. I got this one phone call and I could think properly for 2 days.
Kat Tate: Wow.
Edward Zia: Just someone ripping into me, abusing me. These days, I’d laugh at them. If someone rang me up now, I’d just sit there and I don’t know … Threaten them or … I’d say “I’m going to ring up Tony Abbott. He’s going to stick you in the Manus Detention Centre or something”. When I first got those calls, it was confronting. You need a very strong psychology and purpose to really go against your critics like that.
Kat Tate: You do.
Edward Zia: Do you have a rising list of critics? Because you seem like a pretty likable character, but …
Kat Tate: I think that’s probably why you struggled … Like everyone does, but why you in particular struggled at the start with getting criticism is because you like to be liked as well. You’re a likable person. You want to do good by people and so when you’re criticized it really cuts deep.
Edward Zia: It did. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you or the audience, but yeah … I’m all right now, but at the time it was devastating.
Kat Tate: But no, I haven’t experienced that yet. A reason for that is I’m still building my tribe and I’m starting to find my voice. I’m sure that once I get a stronger voice and start to really put my insights out there, sure I’m going to polarize people, but that’s all part of being a leader.
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that because what I’ve noticed is that for every 20 people that like me, 1 person will hate me.
Kat Tate: And they’re not bad odds, you could say.
Edward Zia: The list of people who hate me grows way lower than the people that like me. I think the psychology for that is understanding that mechanism. If you want to make 20 friends, there’s going to be someone who is out to kill you. If you want 100 friends, then you’ve got to live with 5 out to kill you, for example.
Kat Tate: Yes.
Edward Zia: I think it’s going to be interesting. I think it’s going to be fascinating when you come back from Vietnam. I can give you some advice on how to polarize people.
Kat Tate: Perfect.
Edward Zia: Let’s pick on someone. In fact, actually, you know what I’ve been doing? You know I’m a pretty right-wing character?
Kat Tate: Oh, are you? I had no idea.
Edward Zia: Yeah, but when it comes to gays, I’m 100% gay marriage, 100% pro-gay. I’m a Christian too. It’s funny over social media. There’s been a lot of posts coming out basically saying “I’m straight, but I’m pro-gay marriage” and I’ve been really beating that drum. What happened originally, when I started basically I would put things up on Facebook saying “If you’re not pro-gay marriage, you’re basically a Nazi”.
Kat Tate: Wow. I nearly choked on my cheese just then. That’s a strong thing to say.
Edward Zia: I noticed … I even put up a post the other day … This was yesterday about gay marriage, saying “If you’re against gay marriage, you’re a hater”. No one is disagreeing with me anymore. Why is that?
Kat Tate: What a fantastic thing that is.
Edward Zia: Why isn’t anyone disagreeing with me anymore?
Kat Tate: Maybe because the majority of people think it’s ridiculous that we don’t have gay rights.
Edward Zia: I think it’s crazy. I know our conversation isn’t about gay rights, but going on that arm. What actually has been interesting has been … It was from George Takei, Sulu from Star Trek … Came out, Japanese guy, came out gay, all that … Great stuff. What he did … He puts up a lot of posts by saying “I’m straight, but I’m on these guys’ side”. Obviously, I’m straight. Everyone thinks I’m gay because of my Melbourne accent, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Do you want an arm wrestle? Give me a beer. Anyway … I’m a lumberjack. Oh, stop Kat Tate.
Kat Tate: Stop it.
Edward Zia: Stop it. Okay. Sorry, back to business. Anyway, the point being in these articles we had these one person get on there and just trash gays using religious justification. Again, I’m a religious person, so maybe that puts a black mark against my name, but going back to you, what was interesting everyone just jumped on there, including me, to rip this guy up. I called him a Nazi.
Kat Tate: Wow.
Edward Zia: Yeah. It’s funny what I’ve found is you know that whole hating thing … You know how when you take a stand and there are certain people against you, I find once you get a bit of traction, they tend to back off.
Kat Tate: They do.
Edward Zia: Why is that? Are they getting scared? Do they know they’re going to lose?
Kat Tate: This is a whole other discussion in terms of the whole online troll issue. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of teen suicides in the media lately because of online trolls. There are girls posting about breaking up with their boyfriends and these who don’t even know this girl will jump on and say “Well, you should kill yourself. You’re hopeless. You’re worthless”. This isn’t an isolated incident. This is happening around the world and it’s not just teenagers. It’s adults too and it’s all sorts of hate. It’s racism. It’s homophobia. It’s bullying in its worst form because people feel they can hide behind these fake online identities.
It’s disgusting, but when you get enough people standing up for something, yeah, those people are going to back down. We need to keep this swell going of saying “No, it’s not okay to be an online bully or a bully in any sense, but particularly online. It’s not okay”. I think that if we can keep that up, then our governments are going to change. They have to represent what the majority wants.
Edward Zia: For example, an anti-bullying, pro-gay marriage that sort of thing?
Kat Tate: Yeah, it’s got to shift. It’s starting to. Cities around the world … Every now and then, we hear another city has accepted gay marriage and that’s fantastic, but it needs to be quicker. It needs to be everywhere.
Edward Zia: Yeah. What’s interesting. I’m obviously … I’m an ex-military operative and I’m very right, but even I’ve jumped the fence. Even I’m like the first guy saying “Hey, gay marriage is great and if you’re against us, you’re a Nazi”. It’s funny. Going back to your original tribe comment, which has got me thinking while I’m using you for all this free consulting, which is just great Kat Tate … I think the hard thing is … This is a process I’m going through, which I’m sure you’ll go through … Is that when you start off, early criticism hurts, but you sort of get used to it. This might sound odd. I think I miss it. No one is coming after me anymore.
Kat Tate: Ah, so you need to strengthen your opinion.
Edward Zia: Yeah, I’m calling people anti-gay marriage Nazis and they’re no longer biting. This is great. In other words, I’m becoming … I must be a wallflower, Kat Tate.
Kat Tate: Maybe. Maybe.
Edward Zia: I’ve got to tell you. I love this tribe thinking. Actually, question for you.
Kat Tate: Yes.
Edward Zia: What are the things that we can do as small business owners who love marketing and entrepreneurialism, what can we do to speed up this tribe process? What are Kat’s top tips on that one?
Kat Tate: I think the first one is to … A lot of small business owners don’t have a lot of time on their hands or a lot of money. Right? We’ve all been there. We’re all at that point. We’ve got a limited amount of money, a limited amount of time to do things like marketing and building a community and that sort of thing. A lot of small businesses seem to freak out and think they have to be everywhere at once, like “Ah, I’ve got to get on Twitter. I’ve got to be on Facebook. I’ve got to get a Pinterest account. I’ve got to be blogging every day”.
Edward Zia: I’ve stayed out of Pinterest.
Kat Tate: Yeah.
Edward Zia: Yeah, I’m out.
Kat Tate: But for some businesses, Pinterest is the way to go, but people seem to think they’ve got to do everything now and it has to be perfect. It doesn’t. Sit back and think “Where is my tribe gathering?”. For instance, your tribe seems to be on Facebook, I would say predominantly.
Edward Zia: Yeah, definitely, absolutely Facebook. A little bit on LinkedIn, but mostly Facebook.
Kat Tate: Yeah, whereas for me my tribe is on Twitter.
Edward Zia: Really?
Kat Tate: Yes, it’s a very strong creative/writing/designer community on Twitter and obviously a lot of media outlets on there too and then spokespeople, so that’s where I tend to go. That’s where my audience gathers. A little bit of Facebook, but not so much. So have a think about where your audience is gathering, test it out, but don’t think you have to do everything at once. There’s no point being over there if your tribe is over here because no one is going to hear you or the wrong people are going to hear you and you will get nowhere. Don’t be afraid to just trial and error, suss out where everyone is and then go to where that audience is and start speaking to them.
My second tip would be once you’ve found where they are, focus on being authentic. Please don’t sell to me. Don’t send me a tweet about buying something from you. I’m going to block you, unfollow you, whatever to get you out of my face. Start a conversation with your tribe instead. Ask them questions “Hey, what’s the biggest accounting issue that you’ve got?” or “How have you lost money this month?” or “Do you like your website or not?”. Whatever industry you’re in, start asking questions to your tribe, start getting involved in discussions, but not with the agenda of selling. If you go in there with the agenda of selling, you’re not going to get anywhere and it’s unauthentic.
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that because, as you know, I’ve never really sold that hard in my business. In fact, I don’t really sell that much. 90% of my communications is information and then a little bit is “Please buy me”.
Kat Tate: Please.
Edward Zia: Yeah “Please, I’ve give you all this information. Help me”.
Kat Tate: I have bills.
Edward Zia: Yeah, but I see what you mean because I sell, but I actually don’t sell that much. A lot of my strategy is just putting up the content and people coming and saying “Yeah, I’m interested in consuming your services”.
Kat Tate: Yeah and I thing that’s about being generous as well. Being generous with your time and being generous with the information that you share.
Edward Zia: So, a question and point: in my industry, very, very few people give away much.
Kat Tate: Yeah.
Edward Zia: I think it’s the most stupidest marketing strategy ever. What’s your whole take on that issue, Kat Tate?
Kat Tate: I would agree. I would agree. I think you’ve got to be generous. I think people think that if they give things away for free, that their competition is going to come in and steal it. Well, let them.
Edward Zia: Yeah, just give away more stuff for free.
Kat Tate: Just give away more stuff for free and just be confident in what you’re doing and don’t worry about the competition. Yeah, definitely be generous. Don’t have the agenda of selling. Things like, whether it’s an eBook that you give away, whether it’s free information through a blog post, even if it’s just having a conversation with someone. Call up a customer, find out how they’re going, just give them some free tips. That’s the way that you build relationships.
Edward Zia: You’ve actually just described how I built my business to this date and time.
Kat Tate: Well, there you go.
Edward Zia: Out of interest and while I’ve got you for some free consulting, Kat Tate … I started blogging 2 months ago, probably seriously 6 weeks ago and I used to do about 5 visits to my website a day, now it’s about 40 to 50 a day. Not just me, but I’ve got a lot of people who are going into blogging. From your experience, if you’re let’s say using blogging or … Let’s say blogging as a common strategy, how much blogging do you think it takes to sort of get real traction out there, to really get your tribe resonating?
Kat Tate: That’s the million dollar question. That’s going to be different for everyone. Apologies for that. I just knocked the table everybody. But no, that’s something that you’ve really just got to try. It will be different for different businesses. The important thing really when you’re starting out is not think “I have to put a post out every single day”. The important thing is that you’re regular. If you don’t think that you can do a post a day, don’t start out doing a post a day.
Edward Zia: This might be a blog post. This might be Facebook use. This might be Twitter use.
Kat Tate: Absolutely. Whatever your marketing strategy is, whatever tactic you choose to use to push your ideas out there. It’s more about setting expectations. If I sign up to your blog and you tell me that you’re sending out a weekly newsletter or blog post or whatever it might be … Or you find out that every day you put something on Twitter. If suddenly that stops, I’m going to be a bit confused and probably drop out because I don’t feel like you’ve delivered what the expectation was and also I’m not seeing you enough. You’re not in front of my mind enough for me to stay as part of your tribe. Ed’s just choking on a cracker over here.
Edward Zia: I’m choking on a cracker.
Kat Tate: He’s choked up by my brilliant ideas.
Edward Zia: Yeah and there’s so much to choke on. Listen to my voice.
Kat Tate: Yeah, where were we?
Edward Zia: Before I started choking on this cracker that I’m eating, you were talking about be it social media, or blogging or marketing, it’s not so much the quantity of information, but it’s more the consistency of information.
Kat Tate: Consistency and quality. A lot of people come to me and say “Oh, I’m just a really bad writer. I don’t think I can write or blog or tweet or whatever. I’m just such a terrible writer”. There are a lot of a copywriters who will disagree with me here and that’s fine, but don’t worry about being a good writer. Don’t worry about your spelling. That’s not the reason why your tribe is coming to you and that’s not the reason why your tribe is sticking around. They’re coming to you and they’re sticking around because you have ideas, opinions, insights and information that’s really sticky, that they go “Yes, that’s what I want to hear”.
They’re not there picking up on typos and putting a fine tooth comb over your copy. There will be people that will do that. Any blog or any content you put out there, someone is going to tell you “Oh, you should have put an apostrophe there or you don’t spell it that way”, but that’s the whole online troll movement.
Edward Zia: Shall we just dob them into the federal police?
Kat Tate: You just ignore them. Don’t give them a voice. Leave their comments up; don’t delete them.
Edward Zia: Or do what I do to people that are anti-gay. Put photos of Hitler up there and say that’s them.
Kat Tate: Yeah, that’s probably the more extreme approach. My approach is normally to ignore them, let them have their voice, leave the comments there, but don’t worry about that. Focus instead on your ideas. You’re in business because you’ve got ideas. If you’re succeeding in business, it’s because you’re doing some good stuff. Get the good stuff out there.
Edward Zia: I think that’s really the crescendo of what we’re saying here is that … I think the sentiment of what you’re getting at Kat is don’t be afraid to be different and put that view forward.
Kat Tate: Absolutely.
Edward Zia: This has been one amazing interview, Kat. Before we let people get back to their morning tea or afternoon tea or dinner, what’s your advice to the audience? In fact, I have a better question for you? If you could go back in time right now to see a Kat Tate from 3-5 years ago, what would you tell her?
Kat Tate: I would probably say that everything that you need to have the life that you want is in you. Don’t look for anyone else to prop you up, support you, give you feedback. Forget it. Forget anything that is external. Be yourself. As you say, be different. Be resilient. Know that you’ve got everything you need to live the life that you want and then don’t take no for an answer.
Edward Zia: Wow, there you go. You’ve heard it first. The exclusive interview with Kat Tate on Channel Edward. I just want to say this has been amazing Kat and it’s been a pleasure working with you and I love sending business your way. You’re great at handling copywriter. Amazing interview. Make sure you Google kattate.com today. Is your website still going to be … ?
Kat Tate: It’s actually kattatecopywriting.com.au. Yes, I probably will be rebranding at some point, but there’ll be a redirect there, so don’t worry. If you type that in, you’ll still get to my site.
Edward Zia: Excellent. So we’ll call it robokat, when she’s part beach girl, part machine. We’re looking forward to it. I just want to say thank you Kat. This has been absolutely amazing. We ought to get ready for our webinar that starts very soon.
Kat Tate: We do. We need to get the technology cranking and get onto it.
Edward Zia: Excellent. Guys, Edward Zia, small business marketing mentor signing out. Goodbye from me.
Kat Tate: Bye bye.