Kathleen Black Transcript
Some people are born entrepreneurs. There are always early signs: The proverbial lemonade stand, an innate youthful rebelliousness, a way of seeing things differently, and an early discovery of the power to manifest.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who had fast success as a top ReMax real estate agent … and before long took over a struggling business, turned it around… and never looked back.
Kathleen Black knew as an 8th grader that she could manifest whatever she envisioned. She says that every milestone she reaches comes from an inspired flow state – a practice of inner work she leverages now as one of
Canada’s leading Real Estate Coaches and Trainers, delivering her proven success techniques to Agents and Teams across North America.
Today we’re going to talk about the inner growth that’s necessary to achieve business growth. And first …
Kathleen Black learned quickly realized that her success as a real estate agent was all about acting on inspiration – that is, getting a “divine download” of sorts, and putting her vision into action. So she set out to develop each of her “inner work” systems and she built out a robust platform of educational programs and coaching methods designed to provide Real Estate Agents with the tools and techniques needed to progress forward both personally and professionally. Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting (KBCC) has now helped hundreds of teams to be Top 1% Producers.
And now to Kathleen Black, one of Canada’s leading Real Estate Coaches and Trainers. She says the success of her firm, KBCC, centers around integrity, honesty, and results-driven measures. Kathleen says her “practice what you preach” mantra has served her clients well with over 80% of them at the top 1% of production across the country.
Kathleen is also a dedicated mother and has been named one of the Top 100 Elite Women Driving the Future of Real Estate by REP Magazine, and in 2018 as one of the Top 20 Emerging Leaders by T3 Sixty. She’s also the driving-force behind the Ultimate Team Summit, the largest team specific Real Estate summit in North America and the premier event destination for top producing teams and professionals.
So, let’s put on our wings with Kathleen Black.
Melinda Wittstock: Kathleen, welcome to Wings.
Kathleen Black: Thank you for having me, I’m excited to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: Did you always know that ultimately you were going to be an entrepreneur yourself and you were going to make that jump?
Kathleen Black: No, I mean, I come from a family of firefighters. All my family is firefighters. My mom was an acting district chief when she left. My sister, my other sister’s getting into fire. All my father’s family, they’re all firefighters.
Kathleen Black: So, no, I had a psychology background. I’d gone into investment properties and that’s the only reason I got my real estate license, actually. It was intended to build a real estate portfolio with my ex-husband, and I got into the business and got as top one percent producer very, very quickly, my first year actually in North America’s largest real estate board.
Kathleen Black: So, I kind of said, “Okay, maybe there’s something to this.” And it was actually my ex-husband who said to me, “You need to be an entrepreneur. You’re not meant to be working for anybody.” And I don’t know how… I think actually he meant it sincerely at the time.
Kathleen Black: He was half joking, seeing my strengths and weaknesses, right? And I didn’t see it at the time, but yeah, it was just a… What do you call it? A series of fortunate events that led me into a position to realize that it was the path for me.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Well, were you like that as a kid? Because sometimes our entrepreneurial instincts show up in little things we do as a kid, whether it’s the proverbial lemonade stand or we’re just organizing other people or we’re just leaders or that kind of thing. What were you like as a kid?
Kathleen Black: Yeah, I definitely… Yes, there was that. I always had these visions and I always thought I had… I guess since I had a tough time sometimes separating visions from reality, I remember getting in huge trouble with one of my friends, taking him on this journey in Peterborough through all the back alleys.
Kathleen Black: We ended up to show up at school two hours late and I thought we had this best journey of my life. Of course, we were in, I don’t know, grade one. I mean, they didn’t know where we were, they were so worried. But we had a great time and I think, yeah, there was orchestrating things like that quite often.
Kathleen Black: I definitely had the influence of mindset and perspective, and I was always a very strong and opinionated and you could say “slightly rebellious” child.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s entrepreneurship, hands down right there, right? Because you’re innovating, you’re like, “Oh, let’s go a different path.” I see a different way, right? And then you’re leading and all these sorts of things, and the rebelliousness, absolutely.
Kathleen Black: it’s one of the first experiences where I remember realizing, “Wow, is my mind that powerful?” And it’s weird, I think just because you asked about childhood and I don’t usually bring up these examples, but it was in… What grade was it? I think it was in grade eight and they actually put a little desk for me across from the vice principal’s office in the storage closet, that’s what it was.
Kathleen Black: Yeah, they gave me my own desk and they said, “You’re going to have to [inaudible 00:13:08] supervising.” At first I thought it was great, I was like, “Nobody’s bugging me.” I was always an honors student, I always had great marks. I was like, “That’s fine.”
Kathleen Black: But eventually I felt a little bit isolated and I remember saying to him, “I think as a child, this is against my better interests and I have rights, and I think you should be putting me back in a classroom and I shouldn’t be here.” And it was interesting that boom, next day I’m back in the classroom.
Kathleen Black: But it was interesting that I started to notice if you can have a logical reason for something in your mind and you can get somebody else to believe what you believe, you can really change the world quickly. And it always stuck with me that what we believe has a big impact on our outer world.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh. That is so important. I want to pick up on that in a moment. You reminded me of something else. In my childhood, I always used to get in trouble all the time for talking during the national anthem or whatever. And everybody else was talking, too, it was just my voice was a little bit louder than everybody else’s.
Melinda Wittstock: So, I’d have to stay in for recess and I figured out really early on, and I was quite young, I was like, “Oh, okay. That’s great. I’d love to stay in for recess because I can do my artwork,” whatever. And then they’d be like, “Okay, outside.”
Kathleen Black: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: This ability to understand as early as possible that what we’re thinking inside is our external reality. So, you had this epiphany in eighth grade. How does that actually manifest for you in your business?
Kathleen Black: I think it manifests in everything I do in my business. I look back over the years and I wonder at times, was the business ready to expand before me? And there are points when we’re expanding and because I help other people do what I do, and I model exactly what I teach, I think there’s times where, as much as we’re not the business because we’re a team, when we’re the driver and we’re the visionary, so to speak, of our business, at least, we are the business.
Kathleen Black: There’s times I look back and think, “You know what? The business was ready to expand. I wasn’t yet. I internally hadn’t shifted yet.” And there’s times when that was just true. It just was. I’m not saying it was wrong, maybe I needed that time and I was always processing and I always saw the shifts, I always felt it.
Kathleen Black: I could feel things shifting, I could see it happening, and I would say, “Don’t be scared. You know what’s going on.” But I think everything in my business has manifested from my internal world and visions. We run events and every year, it’s orchestrated by… I can’t lock in the schedule until I get this vision.
Kathleen Black: And when we have changes that interrupt my vision, it’s very hard for me. But we always get around it, I get a new vision, but it’s always everything I think that goes well in my business comes from flow state. And to me, that’s all connecting with the internal creativity or if you believe in the collective consciousness, I do. I feel I need to connect to those things and download. So, I think it’s everything for me.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh, you really are on the right podcast because this is where business meets woo. So, we’re totally aligned on that. I think it’s so interesting though, the ebb and flow, where we sometimes are a roadblock to our own business growth and we have to… Business forces us to grow.
Melinda Wittstock: And then as we grow, our business grows. And it’s like a zigzag all the way along. If you want to grow as a person, you need therapy, become an entrepreneur, right?
Kathleen Black: 100%.
Melinda Wittstock: If you want to succeed, you’ve got to master these internal things and it’s so, so important. So, take me back to that moment that you made the leap. Okay, so you’re like, “Okay, enough of this agent stuff. I’m going to create a business around this.” What was the spark and how did that go in the beginning?
Kathleen Black: Yeah, mine wasn’t as straightforward as that. It was kind of an interesting, again, looking back it was a series of fortunate, very, very fortunate events for me and potentially I could say it was unfortunate events for others. But I know better than that. I know we’re always repositioned where we need to be.
Kathleen Black: Essentially I got into selling. I was part of a sales team and they were putting together the first team-specific coaching company for real estate in Canada. There were three owners. The business initially looked like it was quite successful quickly, but within 18 months the director of coaching was let go.
Kathleen Black: By that time, I’d already been to even their first event, reviewed the workbooks, I was already involved, I was already helping create content with the team side of things. So, it was interesting what happened.
Kathleen Black: I was already coaching, so 18 months into this new company, I became director of coaching and then shortly after director of operations, and essentially the two other owners wanted to go in different directions and I negotiated one of them leaving.
Kathleen Black: And long story short, essentially I was running the company at that point and I was listening to a lot of Think and Grow Rich. I had two little, little kids and in the morning when I was in the shower, I’d listen to an audio chapter every morning. That was my time.
Kathleen Black: And something, again, manifested in me that it was inside of me, something just kept saying to me, “This is your company. You’re running the company, your heart’s in the company, this is your company. You can’t keep growing this company and not own it. This doesn’t make any sense. Director of operations, CEO, it’s not going to be enough. You’re already running it.”
Kathleen Black: So, I sat down with the other owner who wanted to stay onboard, whose namesake was on the brand, and said, “Listen, I’ll turn this company around. I know I can do it.” Side note, no clue how I thought I knew I could do it. I’d never run a business, but that’s just fool’s card once again.
Kathleen Black: And his head almost spun a million times, which mine would’ve too. And eventually six months later, after him sitting down, asking for one question then the opposite of the question and then the opposite, I finally called him out and said, “I’ve given you all of this. Either 50% or I wish you well. I’m not going to do anything to harm the company, but I’m going to go and build and do this on my own.”
Kathleen Black: And he did give me the 50%, opened up the books, and that’s when I found out before signing off on everything that it was $190,000 in debt as a very young company. And unfortunately, it was the type of debt where even if you go bankrupt, you’re still owing in it, at least in Canada.
Kathleen Black: So, I essentially took on debt with the ownership and it was just an interesting journey. But we put everything in the black, I learned how to run a business fiscally very, very responsibly, how to pull back and update all of our content because we were a coaching platform and our content and retention was not strong. Having to change our products to have retention and more healthy, secure cashflow.
Kathleen Black: And I’m really proud of what I did there, and I’m also really thankful that the universe came and gave me a hard knock and it did, it was a hard, hard knock when it locked those doors because I would’ve never left that company. I loved it and the first year of this new company, when I left we did 38% more gross.
Kathleen Black: The second year, we did 68% gross additional than the prior company ever did, and I essentially left. I thought I’d lost everything. I was rock bottom and I realized the company came with me, and we just continued on from where we were at. And yeah, it was an amazing, amazing journey and I can say this: Starting a new company without debt felt like flying. Talk about wings? It felt like I had wings because when you’re trying to build a company underwater, it’s…
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my God, it’s hard enough. It’s hard enough, even without that, right? When you’re bootstrapping and you’re creating something out of nothing, but if you’re behind to begin with… But isn’t it interesting that often the challenges are the things that make us? You look back and think, “Well, that didn’t happen to me, it happened for me.”
Kathleen Black: It 100% did and I mean, the growth and realizations, the realizations of I was putting myself around people who were so hard on me and difficult to me. And coming through that experience, I realized that I was doing that to finally step into my own and see myself and treat myself better, give myself better value.
Kathleen Black: And I had to see that first in order to not be okay with being in those situations. But I look back and I think, “Man, I made it hard on myself,” but I needed the tension to grow, right? To do something about it.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that’s really, really true. So, were you aware though, while you were in that, it’s like a refiner’s fire, right? When you were in that, were you aware or just did you have that confidence that you knew you’d get through it? Or did that realization come later?
Kathleen Black: I had some hard moments where I did not know I would get through it. I had somebody who was trying to mediate between myself and the other owner, and I [inaudible 00:22:13] know where I remember them saying to me and somebody else was on speakerphone because they were trying to support it.
Kathleen Black: And I thought my whole life was crumbling. I thought I was absolutely losing everything. The anxiety was just so massive because I kept giving offers to this other owner of my prior company, and he wasn’t responding to them and there was no negotiations.
Kathleen Black: And I already owned the content, I couldn’t license it, it was just very, very messy. And that mediator said, “You’re the top real estate team coach in the country, maybe in North America. You don’t see yourself. You’re going to be fine. This is going to serve you,” but I couldn’t even comprehend what he was saying.
Kathleen Black: I just didn’t see it because I’d always been under another brand. And I had somebody else step in, luckily, who was the person who said to me, “If you believe in yourself, if you believe that what you’re saying is right and what’s happening is wrong, you mortgage your house, you put everything on it, you stand up for yourself,” and it was those perfect, guiding, guardian messages when you need them.
Kathleen Black: I 100% had those people show up. But there was some rock bottom moments where I had to look in the mirror and say, “How am I going to look at my children?” I made, like all entrepreneurs, made your sacrifices to turn that company around. I missed sports games, I missed dinners, I worked late, I traveled. I also took lots of vacations with my kids, I bought a cottage to spend time with my kids. I did things lots of people never can do.
Kathleen Black: But I also sacrificed some things that people can, and the idea of looking at them and saying “it was all for nothing and it’s all gone,” and I have nothing to show for it, I just couldn’t sit with that. I just couldn’t. So, I…
Melinda Wittstock: That resonates so deeply with me. I mean, you know my own story around having successful businesses, but then being in rock bottom in a terrible marriage that had destroyed my confidence and it was verbally abusive. And then coming back from that as a single mom and feeling like I’m starting all over again, that was a few years back now, about 2013.
Melinda Wittstock: And I had that same sort of thing, like “I’m it for my kids and yes, I do have to sacrifice because I’m on my own here.” And how can I make them understand that also there has to be a result here for the sacrifice? They’re watching everything I do, right? And who I’m being as I do it.
Melinda Wittstock: So, really I look back now and think, “Well, that was a great thing that happened for me.” At the time, God it was scary, right? Because oh, okay. It’s me.
Kathleen Black: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And that horrible mom guilt where you think, “Oh, God. I’m missing that.” Or, “I can’t be there. I’m traveling,” and I still have that. And it’s a tricky thing but kids do understand, but then you can do, like you, you can do things for them that other people who are in nine-to-fives can’t do.
Kathleen Black: Absolutely. But I think… I assume most of us have this, but there’s always… I don’t know if it’s the same for men as women. My clients have never expressed it the same. But I think more of my female clients have expressed it the same way I have, that there’s so much judgment and there’s also so much well-intended advice that comes from other people’s values.
Kathleen Black: Therefore, it’s expressed. It feels like judgment still, of how we should raise our children or how much time we should spend with them or what we should be doing in the house. And I went through a few really hard years, the same after my separation where I just felt like I could not win and I could not do a good job, and I finally, that’s when…
Kathleen Black: And again, you’re right, it served me so well when I finally stood up for myself and said, “This is my life. This is my kids. This is my family. I’m going to do it my way and if you don’t understand, that’s okay,” because it was literally the realization that the same people who were saying to me, “Oh, you know, we think you’re working a little bit too much,” they’re the same people, if I was home with my kids, would tell me to get off my butt and go to work.
Kathleen Black: I just could never win with them, right? So, it was this freedom to finally say, “I don’t have to care what you think and your model is not mine,” and I don’t think I could’ve built this business without having those moments of just letting go.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, getting past that judgment piece, right? Because I think the people who are around us, they could be family members and great friends, and they mean well. But often [crosstalk 00:26:56] their own fear or subconscious fear of, “Oh, this is the way we should do it,” because we’re so conditioned to do it in a certain way.
Melinda Wittstock: So, it does lead you to the point where you start to realize that and then you realize that you actually have to build a business family of people, coaches, mentors, other people in your community that really do get you for who you are and really, yeah, in the Wings verbiage, help you fly and help you soar and help you do it in your own unique way without that judgment.
Melinda Wittstock: So, it’s so critical to have those mentors and it sounds like you have had really good mentors showing up at the right time for you.
Kathleen Black: Yeah, well, some just, like I said, just dropped this message out of nowhere and it’s exactly what I needed at those moments. And I’ve thanked them a million times because they probably have no idea how it could’ve been so incredible. But to me, it’s synchronicity. I believe it was… What is the word? I don’t know.
Kathleen Black: I think it was energetically meant to meet me at that time and I was very, very lucky and thankful to have those messages. And I think sometimes maybe we get them and we don’t listen to them, but I’m very sensitive to what’s happening around me and when I hear things and I’m like, “Yeah, that…” You know when somebody says something, you can feel it to your core. You just know.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. That’s a consciousness, that’s a highly evolved way of being able to be open to really feeling the energy, seeing it, but then also taking action around it. I think you’re right, everybody gets these messages all the time but we don’t listen because we’re so stuck in the to-dos or what we should do or whatever.
Melinda Wittstock: And we don’t hear. And so taking the time in our lives for quiet time, whether it’s meditation or walking in the woods or the beach or just thinking time, meditation time, these sorts of things where we can really open ourselves up to those kind of messages is pretty critical.
Melinda Wittstock: What are your routines that connect you better with that? Do you meditate? Do you do all those kinds of things?
Kathleen Black: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I’m really big on yoga. Coming up to a big event, I mean, there’s been years where I’ve gone to yoga 14 times that week leading up to it. But I’ll do different types, like I’ll do hot power yoga and then I’ll do deep flow and I’ll do Yin. I do all different… And some of them are, like Yin is very for those of us who haven’t done it, it’s very minimal movement. You’re holding in certain postures.
Kathleen Black: So, I find for me the yoga studio really helps because there’s no phone, there’s no kids, there’s no computer, there’s just no distractions and I can get into a moving flow where I forget myself and for me, that’s my best. I love to live in flow, so it’s probably, I just realized it’s funny and I was going to say, “This is my best way to get into meditation.”
Kathleen Black: But it makes sense because when I get stuck in work projects, I’ll be at the cottage, I’ll be like, “Okay, I’m going to go for a kayak and I’m going to bring my journal and I’m going to get all this stuff done on this little island.” And people are like, “You did what?” And it works for me. As soon as I can get into movement and get into this flow state, I can take a whole day’s work and get it done in two hours. And I trust that process. In the summer, I run, too, and I jog but I’ve become a fair-weather runner, which I’ve accepted.
Melinda Wittstock: I am the same way with yoga. I did a first yoga retreat way, way back in the ’90s when nobody knew what yoga was. And I went away for two weeks and learned Ashtanga yoga somewhere in Greece. And for the rest of my life, yoga has been absolutely critical. If I’m not doing it, I’m not in as much flow. But I have so much inspiration and you’re right, you can’t… The yoga studio I go to, it’s a Bikram hot yoga-type thing and there’s a clock on the wall, but all the clock says is “now.”
Kathleen Black: Oh, I love it.
Melinda Wittstock: Because to do those postures, you’ve got to be focusing. If you’re thinking about something else, you fall down, right?
Kathleen Black: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: And so it’s great. Yoga is wonderful for that. And you said something else that was really intriguing to me, that actually when the pressure’s the highest, is probably you need to do more yoga.
Kathleen Black: Yeah. Oh, yeah and running. And I get great ideas. Again, I get into that flow state. But I find in the yoga studio, too, for those it’s the meditation or it’s the energetics. And I also feel connected. I feel… I don’t know, it’s hard to explain it. I feel protected, I feel guided, I get back in tune with my core. I feel connected to anybody who believes in people who are lost, like I lost my father young.
Kathleen Black: And I know it seems kind of weird, I’ve never really shared it before, but I will. But in those yoga poses, when I’m falling out sometimes or I’m in dancer’s pose, I’ll look up and I’ll say in my head, “I’m reaching to those people that I’ve lost.” And it’s funny, I can hold that pose and I feel like they’re there. It’s this beautiful, energetic thing for me that’s hard to describe. But I don’t think I have it in any other areas of my life.
Melinda Wittstock: Hmm. I know that feeling and it’s quite remarkable, when we’re able to just ask for help. I mean, not just asking for help from the people around us. That’s hard for women, I think, often. We think we have to do everything ourselves. But asking for help from spirit or from ancestors who have passed on. I mean, I’ve come to that as well, actually, just in the last couple of years. And I know they’re kind of there or looking out for me. It’s weird. It sounds so woo and so way… weird, to I guess, some ears. But gosh, it helps, for sure.
Kathleen Black: Yeah. I think it helps a lot, and I think if I’m visualizing my expansion in my business and I create it from there, hey, if I’m visualizing a connection with people I’ve lost that’s only in my inner world, well, that’s still okay. That’s still, for me, it still provides positive energy and reassurance, and I think it comes from a great, great place.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. No, I couldn’t agree more. So, I want to talk a little bit about the 1% life. So, you have a book out about this, and I’m intrigued by the inherent freedom as an entrepreneur to really use your business to create the life you want, rather than launching a business and fitting yourself in, around the business. Tell me what inspired that, the 1% life and all about what you talk about in your book.
Kathleen Black: Yeah, I mean the 1% life, the root of really what inspired it was starting to do the Live While You’re Alive tour a couple of years ago, where I said, “I’m going to…” I realized that I’d started to have some things that were becoming someday goals, and I coach that I don’t believe in someday goals.
Kathleen Black: And I was using and I was using… And I always say it, I work with a lot of single mothers who are in real estate, who do phenomenally well. And we always have this… I remember I got this amazing opportunity in Manhattan to go and train, and I had to go there for three different sequences or travel time periods.
Kathleen Black: And people said to me right away, “Oh, but you can’t go. The kids, of course, how would you go?” And it actually got into my consciousness a little bit, of “oh, are you irresponsible? Are you putting your dreams ahead of your kids?” And then I looked at it, I stepped back and I thought, “No way. Your children are not excuses for you to hide behind, to not live everything you’ve been working towards.”
Kathleen Black: And if your kids ever had an opportunity like that, I would step up and support them, or I’d help them figure out how to get support to go and do those things. And I think it was such an important moment for me go, “Yeah, no,” and I know so many of the people that I coach with have said, “Yeah, no, if I have to bring my kids sometimes or if we have to hustle a little bit, I’m not stepping back behind them.”
Kathleen Black: And this led me to start to realize there was other things. Like, “Oh, I’ll go and backpack around Europe when my kids are in university,” because I had children young, right? And I’m a single parent. Or, “I’ll go and do the [inaudible 00:35:27], go to the pilgrimage later because I need to do the whole six weeks and I need to be a martyr about it.”
Kathleen Black: And I started to have messages again. So, what somebody had said to me about Europe, “Why don’t you just go on a cruise and bring the kids?” Why the heck would you wait until they’re in university?” And I was like, “You’re right. Why am I limiting my life?”
Kathleen Black: So, it went on that a client had just come back from Spain and biked a bit of the Santiago and she said, “Why don’t you just go and do enough to get your [inaudible 00:35:54]?” So, if people don’t know it, you have to do 112 kilometers continuously and get stamps to be an official pilgrim.
Kathleen Black: It’s this ancient rite, the whole thing is 832 kilometers, give or take, from France all the way through Spain. Some people go to Finisterre, which used to be thought to be the end of the world back at the ocean or sea, I’m forgetting which it is right now.
Kathleen Black: But anyways, so I said, “Yeah, I’m going to lean into this.” My dad had a massive heart attack when he was 41 in the middle of the night. I had left home young. I hadn’t talked to him in two years. I turned 41 this March, so I think all of that was kind of coming into play and the combination of coaching people to the business goals they had set for themselves and realizing that they were not happy.
Kathleen Black: The quality of life was not there and I really gave myself a good shake and a good look in the mirror, and I said… I always hate this quote because I don’t have a better one, but I can’t forget it: “The fish stinks from the head down,” right?
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Kathleen Black: And said… Yeah, I don’t like the quote but it works, right? So, I kind of said, “Hey, you’re running this coaching company and you’re supporting a vision and a model.” What type of a model are you doing? I spent two years working every night, every weekend, every day until I exhausted myself when I started this new business, and then I got vertigo.
Kathleen Black: What type of an example was that? So, I said, “No, let’s go back and actually live the big dreams and see what happens with putting…” Basically, I said, “If I had to be able to go away and go on these great adventures, what would have to be in place with my business to allow that to happen?”
Kathleen Black: So, instead of saying, “I can’t go, my business is growing, I’ve got this, that, and the other,” our company actually one-upped it and, well, couple-upped it and said, “Anytime we’re doing any type of update in the business, we ask ourselves ‘would this work if we had a thousand times more business?'”
Kathleen Black: Would this work if Kathleen was speaking and we just… This is how our team talks. If I was speaking every single day and I was out of the office every single day this year, speaking for the book, would the company run seamlessly? That’s our line in the sand and that allowed us to say, “Okay, if I can go and speak and do all the other things I love in the business, I can also go do all the other things I love in life.”
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kathleen Black: So, I know I’m doing a roundabout example of where it came from because I was quite a progression, but we really work with our clients to say, “Hey, two years, five years, 10 years where do you want to be? Are you going to be able to do that with the business the way you’re building it now?”
Kathleen Black: Let’s project it now for where you want it to be and give you the freedom you need. And what I love about it, they also give leverage and freedom to their team members with that mentality more so.
Melinda Wittstock: And so it sounds like this is a really big part of all your coaching as well. And I’m curious, you made it to seven figures in a coaching business. A lot of people never do that because they’re in their own way. They’re doing so much, they do the sales and then they fill up and then they’re full and then they don’t have time for the sales and they’re stuck in that trap.
Melinda Wittstock: Or they’re on the one-on-one only, it’s not very scalable. So, what were some of the things that you did to make a coaching business scalable?
Kathleen Black: Well, I had the lucky event to have… Because I come from helping real estate agents and sales teams, mortgage agents, insurance agents be able to scale their top producing businesses into teams, literally I scale my business the exact same way I work with them.
Kathleen Black: I mean, if we can scale a real estate team anywhere up to 1,500 deals per year, and maybe more someday, we can definitely scale our business to be the top global leader for team development in real estate sales.
Kathleen Black: And organically, it’ll go beyond that because what we do, we’re licensed, we’re certified in multiple different modalities, right? We know it’s a holistic approach. We help our teams and our individuals holistically. They don’t just do real estate. It’s part of… It’s life, right?
Kathleen Black: So, we essentially… I mean, we have goals for every single department, but at the end of the day the real reason why we’re able to scale it the way we are, is because truly, to my core, I believe in team. I believe that we go from individual or ego mindset, to consciousness as individuals, to collective.
Kathleen Black: And my vision of the future of a team, are healthy collectives of strong experts who come together saying, “I know who I am. I know my values, I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, I have no problem getting the heck out of my way and partnering with people who are magnificent. Not just good, magnificent in the areas that I struggle with and understanding that, as an individual, I can’t compete with a collective done well and systematically, who truly are combining their intelligence towards a common goal.”
Kathleen Black: And I think that that truly helps humanity. It progresses us and there’s so much that comes with it that are positive values and collaboration and respect and a lack of… What do you call it? Comparison, which is so rampant in sales. This scarcity and burnout and comparison, it’s an epidemic in sales.
Kathleen Black: And it’s exhausting and I don’t want to propel that dynamic, right? So, I think that’s how we scaled it. I talked to somebody just this week who said, “Kathleen, I don’t want to talk to your team, I just want to talk to you.” And I thought, “How are you ever going to be able to build a team with that mentality?” How?
Melinda Wittstock: Right. It’s…
Kathleen Black: Every single piece I’ve given to my team, they’ve done better than me. Every single piece and it’s not by accident. I have 20% of my time to do that role. They have 100% and we systemize it and they love it. They’re talented, they rock at it.
Melinda Wittstock: Hmm. A lot of women hire too late. They get stuck in scarcity, I guess, right? And don’t make that… see it as an expense rather than an investment. But if you want to grow your business, you’ve got to hire people.
Kathleen Black: You have to have leverage. I’ve been sick all this week. We had deadlines that just had to happen. The other day I was just like, “I can barely see straight.” I was dizzy. I’m delegating to the team. I’m a big believer, if what you’re bringing to the market has value, you’ll be able to create cashflow.
Kathleen Black: As soon as you have enough cashflow that you’re busy doing what you’re doing, you can do more of what’s creating the cashflow, you need leverage. Right away, as quick as possible, even if it’s a co-op, doing that first, if you had to.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kathleen Black: Right? Anything. I had a co-op student help me initially set up the initial… And then, because I was doing everything when I started this first company, and I was full as a coach, it just wasn’t sustainable. And then we went from that to two… hired people right away, full time.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
Kathleen Black: So, I agree with you.
Melinda Wittstock: So, so smart. You’ve absolutely got to do that. So, what’s your vision for your company in terms of where it’s going next? What are the next couple years, five years, 10 years going to bring?
Kathleen Black: Well, ironically I think the company is going to… not ironically, is going to grow. But we will build the brand with the book a little bit separately. So, the company is on pace that we’re looking to be, again, the global leader for real estate, for sure, in team development and we’re planting seeds across Europe to do that.
Kathleen Black: So, that’s where the company will go. My vision is that I will do a lot more speaking at major conferences and internationally. I already speak quite a bit in North America, so we’ll continue to do that. I’ve committed to write another book before next year.
Kathleen Black: So, I think it’s just to step more into our talents. I mean, I want to be able to do more of what I love and what I think I’m here to do in this world. I don’t think this journey is by accident. I think I have a contribution and I want to respect that and do my best to bring it out and help serve other people, right?
Kathleen Black: So, we’ll continue to look to do that. I don’t know if that’s vague, but I mean, how am I trying to say it? Essentially, right now, we’re kind of separating the book from the real estate business to expand the brands organically.
Melinda Wittstock: Hmm. Makes a lot of sense. So, Kathleen, how can people find you and work with you?
Kathleen Black: Yeah, so for a free copy of the book, I’d love everybody who wants to scale or expand or is unsure, like you said, if they’re ready to hire, we have a step-by-step way to analyze that in the book. A free copy of it is at top1percentlife.com. So, top1percent, [inaudible 00:44:36] the word, .com.
Kathleen Black: And if you’re interested in coaching services, it is www.ittakesa.team, ittakesa.team. And we’re all over social media. Would love anybody to follow me and keep in touch and message if you have any questions. We love to connect with people all the time.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us with such inspiration.
Kathleen Black: Oh, thank you so much for having me. This has been so fantastic and so many like-minded values. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation.