Episode 32 – Kay McManus talks about the steps she took to get to create her successful and rewarding company.
Marc first gives statistics about the Repurpose Your Career Podcast so far. The show is in the top half on LibSyn, after seven months of availability. Marc thanks you, his listeners for your support.
Kay McManus is the Founder of K-Kan, Inc., a firm that provides, office, home, and record organization, as well as administrative, accounting, and business development services. Kay leads with integrity. She and her staff are detail-oriented, personable, supportive, and effective, whether organizing physical or electronic items, designing efficient storage systems, orchestrating a move, assisting with downsizing efforts, or serving as a company’s marketing rep. In addition to being an active member in the business-related and networking groups, Kay is involved with fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society, other charitable organizations, and working on the family ranch. Marc says, “Let me confirm that Kay can.”
Kay discusses her beginnings, the various skills she developed along the way, and the happy accident of a layoff that got her started in her own business helping people organize files, accounts, homes, storage, and processes, in what turns out to be her dream career. Listen in for an inspiring journey to a career with purpose.
[3:36] Kay has learned to be adaptable, to roll with the flow, and to distinguish a position or a job that will be truly valued, from someone that may just not be prepared to be organized at the present time. Kay has had to walk through a few fires to get to this point. It has been a journey she did not anticipate, but which has truly been a blessing.
[4:29] Marc attests that Kay is organized. He tells of a client he sent to Kay for help organizing her taxes and her house, who says it was the best money she ever spent.
[4:57] After college, Kay worked in business development marketing in tech, moved into sales, and then account management, where she did a bit of everything. The last employer, Spansion, came to an economic crunch, and laid off a lot of people, including Kay. The layoff propelled her to the idea of starting her own company.
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[7:32] The remaining staff at Spansion became very overloaded, and managers who didn’t know how to do the jobs their people had done, started calling her for advice. She helped one, and got a referral to help others, as a freelancer. She saw how many skills she had, and came up with the name K-Kan, Inc. to signify her many abilities.
[8:31] Kay envisioned two parts to her business: the first part would be hands-on, and the second would be virtual, with assistants that would help in various areas. The challenge is always scheduling. Kay describes the kinds of organizing and design jobs she takes.
[9:28] 80% of the work is personal, and 20% B2B. In the office, Kay will manage email and marketing or follow-up calls for clients, and enter it into the CRM. For accounting, she will work with QuickBooks, Excel, Quicken, or Mint, and works with CPAs. Kay has been doing Marc’s books for over four years, about two hours each month.
[12:44] The mix of business client tasks is 60% virtual, marketing, or staffing a trade show, and 40% physical tasks on site. From helping organize and move offices, she gets referrals for organizing garages and storage units with remodeling and design.
[13:41] For design jobs Kay calls on two contractors to do the carpentry and finish work. She has three virtual assistants to do phone calls and other tasks. Working on contract rather than by employment allows them to choose their work hours, and frees Kay from constant payroll. Marc also has a contractor crew, including Kay, to help his ventures.
[15:13] Coming out of the corporate world, working with contractors was a change from having a staff. She started with one part-time staffer, but the need was not constant, and they decided an on-call situation would work better for both of them. Kay soon found others who were happy with an on-call agreement.
[16:14] Marc is getting ready to launch a Career Pivot online community. For many people, flexibility is more important than the money or what the job is. People just want to work when they want, and with people they enjoy.
[17:29] Kay expected to stay in the sales and management world forever. Instead, she had to take a hard look at her skills and talents, and truly what made her happy, and how she could be of service to people. She knows she is making a difference to others.
[18:19] Kay started K-Kan with the thought of its being a one-man-band. When she needed help, she learned to let go, and start working with other individuals. Now she not only works to support herself, but has the opportunity to give other people income.
[19:05] Kay wishes she had known better how to judge character, and be more forceful about managing individuals, to have the difficult conversations in a nice way, to be more effective as a manager and as a communicator.
[19:54] Marc cites Sherry Lowry, who coached Marc to identify the clients he wanted to work with, and the clients he wanted to repel. Kay also met with Sherry, who helped her understand it was OK to fire a client that wasn’t a good fit.
[20:35] Marc has only fired one client so far, but he identifies people as they come to him, if they will be a good fit, or not. Kay has a routine where she will do a complimentary interview, and at the end of the interview, she will either accept them, or refer them to someone else.
[22:20] Marc met Kay at Metropolitan Breakfast Club, where he also met others who have been on the show, all with a common theme of going on an entrepreneurial path, but not always for an obvious reason. Vicki McCullough, like Kay, was laid off, and, like Kay, is happier for it.
[23:02] Kay has really appreciated the challenges, and the opportunities to work with other people, and help them out, and she is grateful for the ‘kick in the butt’ that she needed to get out of a situation that wasn’t the best fit for her personality.
[25:01] Marc’s points: Kay listened to people when they said, Kay can, and she made that her brand. She evolved the business, and has surrounded herself with great support people who are not employees. Kay has multiple types of clients, so there is variety. Kay has figured out it is important to work for clients who value her service.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life, by Marc Miller and Susan Lahey
Marc is taking on new clients. Contact Marc, and ask questions at: Careerpivot.com/contact-me or call at 512-693-9132, and leave a message with your email address. Marc will respond with a link to his calendar, to find a time to talk.
Show Notes at Careerpivot.com/repurpose-career-podcast
Jennifer on LinkedIn: Jennifer H. Winter
(512) 431-8069 to reach Kay by phone
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