The Inside Story: Kristy Morton – The Multipotentialite

Kristy Morton runs a web development consultancy based in Perth and specialises in Word Press sites. She is experienced in all aspects of development and management of sites using this platform, along with advising on a broad range of plugins to achieve the objectives of individual clients.

Kristy combines her excellent technical knowledge with her ability to translate this into ways that are understandable to the average person so her clients feel informed and in control of how their websites are developed and managed.

Prior to establishing her consultancy, Kristy worked for over 10 years as Management Accountant in the private sector. Now she works with clients across diverse industries but her experience in the business sector means that Kristy is focused on optimising results for clients based on their unique needs and budget.

Kristy is also mum to three girls, blogger and lover of hot coffee, blogging and homemade chocolate.

Can you give us an overview of your business?

I’m a bit of a “multipotentialite” – I have my consulting business where I focus on “WordPress Made Easy” for my clients, providing WordPress support and development, SEO and Google Analytics services. I am also the Co-Founder in B-Directory, where we use outside of the box thinking to help small business supercharge their growth, and connect bloggers and influencers with the right online business partner.

Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?

I was an accountant for over 10 years when I had my first girl, and after returning to work briefly I realised that job wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I had to do something with soul and purpose – long story short, here we are today! I absolutely love small business, I love strategy, planning and creating – and those things cannot necessarily be fulfilled when working in a corporate job (well, as an accountant at least!).

Initially, what difficulties did you face?

Believing in my ability and getting over feeling sick charging people for my services. That, and learning how to manage a business, but stay true to why I started it (i.e. being able to spend time with my kids), and be able to manage client expectations and my own expectations about the type of business I wanted to run. I’m a people pleaser, so it’s been a learning curve about how you run a business with that mindset – without burning out.

Who or what was integral to you overcoming these hurdles?

Supportive friends and family in business, my husband and amazing clients who very kindly let me know I am a massive help to them. Also, a lot of work on a personal level to overcome some old patterns of thinking, which were limiting me from growth.

Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?

This is not necessarily on reflection, but general advice based on my observations – don’t strive for perfection and spend hours planning the perfect font, logo or images. Get your idea out there – don’t be afraid as the mistakes will help you learn. You need to validate your concept, and just launching is what you need to do to do that. Chances are you will have to change what you’re doing, so don’t be afraid to find out early so you can adapt.

Based on my own experience, my advice is dont be afraid to charge, do not undervalue the expertise you can bring to a business. I heard on a podcast once “You are Gandalf to someone” – don’t forget that! Your clients sought you out because they need your help, and they value you – so value yourself! Of course don’t go nuts overcharging people, but be fair.

How have you personally measured your success?    

Well I’m an accountant by nature – can’t get rid of over 10 years of analyzing financial reports! But seriously, I have to be happy with what I’m doing. These days (since leaving the corporate world) I’m happier and more energized – and I want to work. A good measure of success, I think. I look forward to my work days and who I’m working with, and love learning more so I can share more and grow.

Can’t say I used to feel like that about a CPA (Accounting) Learning Day….

How do you make the most of your day?

Sounds super boring, but by being organised. With 3 kids 5 and under, being organised is crucial! I spend Sunday night planning the week so I’m prepared for what’s coming up. Every day I make time for things that will energise me – walks in the sun, meditating, playing with my girls…those things ensure I have the energy to take on everything else that comes up! That and coffee….I won’t lie.

What was your initial marketing strategy, and how has it changed?

My initial marketing strategy? For Kristy Morton Consulting, I probably didn’t realise it, but networking was a major part of getting my business off the ground. Most of my early work came from people I met directly at events, then as they became my clients they referred others too.

Now as I’m trying to incorporate an all-round approach, by using social media, referrals and SEO. However, in all honesty I’ve been lucky enough that I have amazing clients who provide repeat business, and they refer others – so I’m always booked for weeks in advance. I know I can’t rely on that forever, but it has allowed me to focus on providing great service and retaining my client base – instead of having to seek new ones.

Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?

I tend to have a particular area I’m trying to grow in (i.e. such as SEO or general Entrepreneurship and so on), and I find someone I admire within that field to follow, so I can watch what they do and learn from that. I find a lot of my clients very inspiring as well! It’s the story of the “average” everyday person running a business I like to hear and be inspired by. I love watching Sharktank and seeing how the Sharks approach deals, and I also really enjoy watching “The Profit” with Marcus Lemonis – I love his genuine approach to business. The way he works with people is amazing – such awesome interpersonal skills.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Self-belief, and trying to “fit into” the traditional way of doing business. You can lead with your heart, you can stay true to your beliefs and you can be a mum and run a business. You don’t need aggression and masculinity to have a business that generates a profit, or to be a good leader. You just need to be you, know what success means to the team you are leading and believe in yourself. Sounds totally corny, but it’s true.

Years in the corporate world studying management styles, and now working with small business, has taught me that the hard ball, aggressive approach of the past is generally not going to get you the long term outcome you want. I’m not saying all woman are soft or lead in that way – I’m just saying that an empathetic approach can move mountains.

Other than your business, what other hats do you wear?

Mum, wife, soul sister, coffee (and sometimes wine) drinker.

Do you have any tips for those struggling to gain a successful work life balance?

The challenge with having your own business is, it’s always “there”- no matter whether you work 5 hours or 10 hours in a day, or 2 days a week versus 7 days. Once you think about it in that way, you can switch your mindset from the “if I do an extra hour tonight I’ll be on top of things” view point, which is so dangerous as it’s an unachievable goal.

There will always be “something else” to do in your business. Same for our lives in general!

Remember why you started doing what you do, and ask if how you are acting is still true to that reason (for example, for me I started my business so I had flexibility for my kiddos). If not, then you need to make some changes.

What is your favourite app?

I have a few! 1password to manage all my logons, Trello for managing tasks, Dropbox for file storage and file sharing and slack for messaging. Oh, and technically not an app – but I’ve gone old school on my diary and now am loving it.

 Outsource the skill or learn the skill?

This is a great question – and personally I think the answer depends on the task. Something that isn’t a “crictical function” of your business/life, such as getting the house cleaned is a no brainer (if it’s in your budget!). However, I believe for certain business tasks you need to gain a basic understanding of the skill, and then only outsource to someone recommended to you (and that recommendation must come from someone who has actually used that business).

The reason I say that is not out of a place of mistrust, but more a place of strategy and planning – if you’re not sure what’s involved in a task, you may not be exactly sure what you need. And that can lead to wasted time and money. So, before you outsource, speak to others you respect and learn what they do, work out where you can gain the most benefit (i.e. what do you really dislike that could easily be systematised and outsourced) and take baby steps to work out how you handle letting someone else “into” your business.

Oh, and if outsourcing something you do understand well, make sure you have clearly documented processes available. This will ensure you have consistency and efficiency in your outsourcing.

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