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Kelsey Vetter is a former corporate professional who has over 12 years of experience in marketing and sales. Now a Pinterest Manager and Strategist, she is based in Los Angeles, California, where she has been living for the past ten years. She loves working with Pinterest because it appeals to both her creative and analytical sides. When she's not managing Pinterest accounts, Kelsey can be found teaching yoga, attending live music events, enjoying a cocktail on a patio, or petting dogs, even if they belong to strangers.

Denali: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Creators and Experts podcast. I'm Denali, and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Kelsey Vetter. Kelsey is an extremely distinguished Pinterest coach and poster herself and will share a little bit more about that with us today. So, welcome, Kelsey.

Kelsey: Thanks, Denali.

Getting started with Content Creation

Denali: Thank you for joining. So, the first question that I always like to get into is, how did you get started with content creation?

Kelsey: For me, content creation was kind of a means to an end of promoting my business. It was something that if you want to have an online business or be in an online space, you have to become a content creator to promote it. So, that's how I fell into content creation, and it's gone really well. It's become something I enjoy doing as a part of my business marketing strategy.

Denali: Wonderful! I think a great place to lead from that is, I noticed that you chose Pinterest over many other platforms, and one of the reasons you cited is that it works kind of like your brain, equal parts creative and analytical. Would you mind elaborating a little more on that?


Why Pinterest

Kelsey: Sure. So, social media Pinterest, just to set the scene, is not technically social media. It's actually a visual search engine. So, it's a search engine by nature, as opposed to being on social media, where you have to play into algorithms and show your face every day. It's a whole different game. Whereas Pinterest is really SEO-driven, and it's more of a back-end kind of like an introvert's platform. I like to call it.

You don't have to show your face at all if you don't want to. It allows you to create nice, pretty images but also track analytics and data, and all that kind of fun stuff. I like all of that. So, that is one of the many things that led me down the road of becoming a full-time Pinterest marketer.

Denali: That makes sense and thank you for the clarification. I actually wasn't terribly aware of that difference, so...

Kelsey: That's pretty common. Most people group it in with social media icons like Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and all that stuff. But it's really not a very social platform at all, and it doesn't work like TikTok or Instagram, or Facebook. It's actually the third-largest search engine behind Google and YouTube.

Denali: Well, would you say that means that there's a good amount of different skills that you need to really be successful with Pinterest, as opposed to social media?

Kelsey: Definitely. There's a lot of overlap as well. Nowadays, content is king, regardless of what platform you're on, Pinterest, or otherwise. But yes, with Pinterest, you really need to understand SEO and a different type of marketing brain.

I like to say on Pinterest, you really want to be the solution. You're not just pushing a product like you could be on other social media platforms. But on Pinterest, you need to be the solution because users are coming to the platform looking for answers to their questions, solutions, and inspiration.

Whereas on social media, they want to be more entertained. It's just a different mindset on Pinterest.

Pinterest app icon in 3D. More 3D app icons like these are coming soon. You can find my 3D work in the collection called "3D Design".
Photo by Dima Solomin / Unsplash

Kelsey's Background in Sales and Marketing

Denali: That makes sense. So, I imagine at a certain point, you had to learn all of that. When did you start to view Pinterest as more of an income source, something you could use for your business?

Kelsey: Yeah, pretty early. So, a little background: I worked in corporate marketing for the fashion industry in Los Angeles for about 10 years. I was totally burnt out by that industry, knew that I wanted to start my own business, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

I dabbled into a couple of different online spaces, dropshipping, print-on-demand, all those things that online business gurus tell you are going to make you a million dollars in a day. I got my feet wet in the online business space and realized that Pinterest marketing was a really good way to promote any sort of online business.

I'd been a Pinterest user since the very beginning and I didn't really see it from a marketing standpoint until I was dabbling into how do I promote these online businesses for myself. With my marketing background, it just clicked and made sense for me.

So, I started my own Pinterest account, and all of my family own their own businesses, so I started asking them if I could set up Pinterest accounts for them. That's when I really started to see, "Oh, people do this full-time. There are Pinterest marketing agencies out there."

This is really fun for me. It comes easy to me. This is the online business path that I was meant to take.


Learning from Experience

Denali: That's wonderful. It's kind of a follow-up, so being in Corporate America and being a solopreneur or entrepreneur, whatever you want to call it, is really different in a lot of ways and kind of similar in some ways. So, I've got two questions on that. The first one is, are there any skills that transferred really well for you?

Kelsey: Totally! I think that having a background in Corporate America is really important in the online space or in starting your own business. Seeing how businesses run and work, I think gave me a huge advantage. Just working in marketing for 10 years really propelled me into understanding marketing in general, which is what I do full-time.

Yeah, I think that I would not be where I was today without that experience in Corporate America, as much as I hated it at the time. I'm very grateful for all the skills that I learned. I remember when I first started my own business, I was at my computer eight hours a day. I thought, "I have to work all the time because that's what I was used to." Now, I've been able to kind of say, "Okay, you're fine. You're getting your work done.

You don't have to just sit at your computer for eight hours because that's what you're used to. You can get up and take a walk at lunch and come back and maybe work when you have a little bit more energy." It took a really long time for me to get into that "you are your own boss" mindset, but now I've got it down.


Embracing the Grind

Denali: That's really good. I think that's what I've heard echoed a lot in these interviews is that when you come from that structure, the structure is sometimes a blessing and a curse. It's interesting to deal with that. So, are there any things on the flip side of that that you have had to say, "This doesn't work in this space"?

Kelsey: Gosh, I think the overworking, the grind, and what I was just talking about. Just this matter of, like, you have to just be sitting there and be stressed all the time. And I had to really unlearn that's not normal. You can chill out, and that's when the success actually comes.

If you're just happy and you're in the flow and you work with amazing clients. And it took me a really long time to get out of that mentality of hustle and grind. And not to say that I don't hustle and grind and work hard in my business, but it's just a different mindset than when you're so overworked and taken advantage of in Corporate America, at least that was the case for me.

That I had to really let go of that kind of constant stress and anxiety of like, "I'm not doing enough." So, that was a big one.

But I'm very grateful and lucky that everyone in my family is an entrepreneur. I was the last one to start my own business. So, I had a lot of mentors and a lot of people to ask questions to and look up to and see how this all works because being an entrepreneur is not for everyone.

And it's a whole different thing, especially when you're used to working a corporate job. So, I was very lucky. And I would encourage anyone that doesn't have that support to seek out that support and find mentors like that because it's super important to surround yourself with other people that are doing what you want to be able to do.


Best Practices for Creators and Experts

Denali: That makes really good sense. And a follow-up to that, whether it's for yourself, your clients, or those entrepreneurs in your family, have you found any really good strategies for being creative in a business or in content creation that has helped you or helped any of them?

Kelsey: Oh gosh, I think just being authentic is the most important thing. I think just showing up as yourself and creating more than you consume. That's a big one. I think we get caught up in seeing what other people are doing, but just being authentic and doing what makes sense for you is the most important thing you can do in business, in my opinion.

There are clients that I've turned down to work with because they just don't align with my business and my values. There are practices that I've had business coaches tell me "You cannot succeed unless you do X, Y, and Z," but they never felt right for me. So, I didn't do those things, and I have a thriving business. You just have to do what feels right and authentic and aligned for you and just kind of block out the noise of everything else because there's so much noise in the online space.

So being authentic and just figuring out what works for you, and even if people tell you you can't succeed without doing a certain thing, you'll make it work.

Denali: That makes sense. As to what maybe some of those business coaches tell you, one of the questions I have written down is: are there any sorts of pieces of advice or just downright unhelpful tips in this online business creator space that you found really prevalent?


Red flags: unhelpful advice you need to avoid

Kelsey: Oh gosh, I feel like there are so many. The one in particular that always comes to mind for me is when my business coach, who's great and wonderful, told me that I cannot succeed unless I'm constantly in people's DMs and building relationships on Instagram.

However, I hardly even post on Instagram, and I've never sent a single message reaching out to someone unless they've reached out to me first. She point-blank said that you can't succeed if you don't nurture relationships in DMs on Instagram, and that just never felt right to me.

I don't like when people reach out to me saying, "Hey, great to connect with you," and it's just totally cold. I've worked in marketing and sales for so long, and I was really turned off by that when I had to reach out to a lot of people in my corporate job.

So that is one, in particular, that if it doesn't feel aligned with you if you don't like people doing that, I guess this is a generally good rule of thumb: if you don't like when people do a certain type of marketing to you, don't do that to other people, even if people say that's the key to success.

So, yeah, that's the one that always sticks out in my mind: you must be in people's DMs, otherwise, you're never going to get any business. I think attraction marketing has worked better for me and feels more authentic, and I think it works for me as a consumer, which is why I like to implement that in my business instead of hounding people to work with me.

Denali: I think one of the more prevalent themes in a lot of these interviews has been just to do what you're comfortable with. Comparing yourself to what has made other people successful will not guarantee you success. Kind of working the way you want and making sure that you're working hard, but it's down to what you think is right.

Kelsey: Right, totally authentic, and it makes sense for you. Yeah, there's a lot of bad advice out there, and you just have to do what feels right for you and block out everything else because there's a lot.


Tips for Transitioning to being a solo entrepreneur

Denali: Let's shift gears a little bit here. Being in this content creator/solo entrepreneur space can feel really lonely for plenty of people because you're by yourself for the most part. You might have your friends, coaches, and mentors who are there with you, but you're still kind of on your own journey. So, I often like to get into a little bit of the struggles and how you've overcome them. So, I'll give you a sec. Are there any struggles, especially as you made the transition, that comes to mind that you really had to kind of get over as a hurdle?

Kelsey: Working just by myself, I think. Just being alone all day. I love working from home, and I love being by myself, but sometimes you just need to talk through something with someone else or just, like, "Is this idea good?" or "What do I do with taxes?" or whatever.

So many questions come to mind that you just have no idea, especially when you're first starting out. You really don't know what you're doing. So, I think for me when I was first starting out, it was just figuring out everything that I was supposed to be doing. As I said, I was just sitting at my computer eight hours a day, trying to think of ideas and push out things and grow this business. And then once I kind of let go of that, things started to happen.

And now, a couple of years down the road, it's more of just, exactly like you said, it is a little bit lonely because you're just by yourself all the time. For me, what's kind of helped with that is getting out of the house, working at a coffee shop or a co-working space, and then also having online business communities that you can just chat in. I don't like to do online co-working sessions because that doesn't work for me. I just sit there and I'm like, "I don't get any work done."

But having people that you can communicate with, like online groups or businesses of other entrepreneurs that are in the same situation that you can learn from, has been super important and really helpful for me to not go crazy just wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do.


Becoming an entrepreneur: connecting with communities and coaches

Denali: Okay, I think that's a really good tip for a lot of people. To find those communities when you're first starting, how would you recommend, say, someone brand new who just entered this solo Entrepreneur Space, has all those questions about taxes, what do I do next? How would you recommend they find those people to talk to?

Kelsey: Yeah, so I was really lucky, I found my business coach, and she has a group. It's called the Success Society. If anyone listening to this wants to become a part of it, let me know, and I'll refer you. But it's great. It's just a group of other online entrepreneurs that are all kind of at various journeys of our online business journey, but we can all ask each other questions. And there are group weekly coaching calls where you can ask things from people who have already been there and had those same questions that you have. So, it's just really nice to have a group like that.

I found her, I think, on TikTok originally a couple of years ago, and I've been a part of the group ever since. There are tons of options and resources out there like that. I would highly recommend joining a group like that with people that are already doing what you want to be doing. They've probably been in your shoes. They know how to file taxes. Hopefully, they have good resources for all that kind of stuff. Or what if I have trouble or a problem with a client or how do I raise my prices? All those different questions that come up as you're going along after you get started, it's really nice to have people to ask.

I would definitely recommend finding a group like that, finding a business coach. It doesn't have to be one of those tens of thousands of dollars courses. This group is like nine dollars a month, and it's really valuable. So, find something like that. They do exist. And find a business coach that is within your price range and has been doing what you want to do.

I think that's the most important thing, find someone who is in a place in their business where you want to be and that you can learn from. And mentorship and networking are super important.

Kelsey's Hubs: Driving Traffic on Pinterest

Denali: That's really good advice. Now, I want to shift gears just a little bit and give you a chance to talk about your hub with Kahana or any other new projects that you're getting started with. So, I'll just turn it over to you for that.

Kelsey: Sure. So, I just launched my first hub with Kahana, and it's not going to be my last. I'm working on a bunch more. It's super great, and I love using Kahana on the back end. It's really user-friendly for me.

My first hub that’s out there right now is called "The Pinterest Success Session". It takes about an hour to complete, and by the end, you know everything that I know about how to succeed with Pinterest marketing. From how to set up a business account to how to research keywords, what kind of keywords to research, what to post and when, how to use the trends tool, and everything you need to know about the platform.

Because I understand for most people, it's daunting and overwhelming, and because it is so different than TikTok or Instagram. But if you are a creator and you're already creating content, why not diversify your platforms? There's no reason you shouldn't be using Pinterest.

Pinterest is, by nature, a traffic driver. So, all pins link back to your website as long as you have a website or some sort of URL to promote. You should be on Pinterest. It's not like on TikTok where you maybe have to rely on a video to go viral to get thousands of clicks to your website, and then the next month, you have to get another one to go viral. It's not like that.

You can push out pins, set up a foundation on Pinterest, and then maybe after three to six months, you're consistently getting those thousands of clicks to your website every single month. You don't have to rely on going viral. So, that's one of the main reasons I love Pinterest and what I teach in my current hub with some more coming soon.

Denali: That's really great, and I think that's a very good way of looking at it. As someone that's really process-oriented, I often feel when you're trying to get something to go viral, it almost makes you almost nervous a little bit. But when you have that consistent traffic, like, "I've built something," it feels a little safer, and I think that's just a very good strategy for kind of maintaining income as opposed to just kind of catching gold here and there.

Kelsey: Exactly.

Kelsey Vetter's Pinterest Success Session

Learn how to master Pinterest Marketing in less than 1 hour with this comprehensive Pinterest Success Session. Discover how to optimize your profile, research keywords and SEO, create profitable pins, use Pinterest trends and analytics, and more. Drive traffic to your website, grow your audience, and increase your sales with the traffic-driving powerhouse that is Pinterest. Perfect for online service providers, course creators, social media managers, and Shopify stores.

Gimme Kelsey's Pinterest Success Session

The best part about creating

Denali: The last thing I want to ask before we bring it to a close here is, what makes you most excited about creating? So, in general, what do you enjoy the most? It doesn't have to make you the most money or anything like that, just what's the most enjoyable?

Kelsey: About creating, I think the community that comes along with it. Like I said, you're--and we talked about--you're lonely, so creating an online community and having people to talk to, even if it's through a screen, I've been really fortunate that every person that I have in my online community, whether that's a social media follower, a business group community member, or Pinterest follower, are super nice and friendly and everyone's really great.

And it's really nice to connect with people that are like-minded and want to learn and want to connect over being small business owners. So, I think for me, the community aspect of creating is super fun. It's not the going viral or getting thousands of views or whatever. It's the nice people online because the internet can be a really mean place. It’s really nice to find the people that want to connect with you, and I just love the online community aspect.

Denali: That's a perfect answer, and it ties everything together pretty nicely. Is there anything before we bring it to a close here that you wanted to mention that you might want to talk about, and just kind of turn it over to you?

Kelsey: Gosh, if you need Pinterest marketing support, I'm a Pinterest manager and strategist. I have my Hub where you can learn how to do Pinterest marketing yourself or avail of tons of other different services where I can set up your account or manage your account full-time. You can check out my TikTok, my Instagram, my website kelseyveter.com, and Kelsey Vetter Co on social media.

Denali: Awesome! I'll make sure to link those. Thank you so much for joining. I'm excited to get this out there and get everyone going to your Hub!

Kelsey: Thanks, Denali. I really appreciate you having me!

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Edited with ChatGPT for clarity and readability some language was edited.
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Brought to you by Denali Keefe - Denali is a creator focused on the intersection of Mental Health and Technology based out of Chicago.
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Produced and edited by Adam Kershner