We had the good fortune of connecting with Katy Ward and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katy, what do you attribute your success to?
Honestly, integrity. To me, that means that every word I say happens in reality, or reflects reality. I don’t say things I don’t do, and I don’t leave incomplete conversations. You’d be shocked how much trust and affinity builds with clients (and anyone) when you do complete work and do what you say you’re going to do every time. Combine that with listening deeply – and making sure you understand them correctly – and you have lifelong clients and personal fans. I think people long for consistency in other people more than we realize, because it’s so rare. When we treat people inconsistently, the relationship isn’t about the other person al all. And they feel that. My business has grown through referrals because I do good work, but more than that every client of mine feels heard, understood, and 100% clear about my work and our relationship. It’s really important to work with people that you respect and to choose to respect the people you work with. If I know a potential client differs too much in values or does not fit my client criteria, I have no problem finding them another copywriter or branding expert. It’s like being a doctor for a brand: they want someone who is skilled, who they can trust, and who will pay close attention to their needs. A doctor who doesn’t do what they say they will or who condescends (even subtly) loses trust immediately. But a doctor who gives more value than they take in payment, treats patients with empathy and respect, and who has outstanding integrity will have a line out the door and their choice of patients. It’s the same with every single client business. By now, my pipeline fills on its own with ideal clients because of integrity. And, I rarely deal with customer service problems, because boundaries are clear and empathy is present.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m a StoryBrand Certified Guide and Copywriter, which means I help companies create a brand story and write marketing that captivates people. StoryBrand is all about the hero’s journey – how do we make the customer the hero of a story, and the brand the guide for the hero to win? I chose StoryBrand because I wanted to help social impact and sustainable companies get their message out to the world – ultimately to transform their audience’s mindset. I’ve found that positioning a brand as a guide for their hero (the customer) is the easiest way to get a powerful message across. So far, I’ve been able to help impact entrepreneurs all over the world connect to the transformation their product or service can create in their customers, and grow their business with a website and emails that make sense. Since each of us mostly just thinks about our own problems, we’re the hero in our own story- so when we can quickly understand how a company can solve our problem and help us win the day, we’re engaged. Seriously – go read the book Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller, you’ll get how marketing psychology and attention works in about 10 minutes! It wasn’t easy to find the perfect fit for a business I wanted to start – but I’m glad I waited until the right fit came along. I’m also glad I never bought into the “hustle” mentality to let my work run my life… I’ve been able to keep a great work/health/life balance while steadily growing more profitable and effective in my consulting and copywriting work. The coolest part is seeing the personal mission and sense of purpose come out as I work with each client. Often, the whole team will reconnect with the importance of their work. I’ve worked with so many friends and many clients have become friends, so my business has become a tool for building a like-valued community of innovators all over the world. In fact, that’s what I’m most excited about – I’ve learned so much about building communities with purpose-driven people that hosting events and trips to mastermind together has become one of my favorite parts of life. I look forward to developing that skill more and incorporating the online magazine I just launched (resetreturn.com) with its impact-centric articles and artwork. That’s another thing I’m excited about – testing how gutsy I can be to launch my personal writing, painting, and illustration out to the world through a creative magazine. So far, I’m publishing twice a month and sending rich articles to a teeny email list… but the exercise has been so rewarding. Reset/Return is all about evolving daily living, and resetting our rushed, anxious, disconnected, and lonely ways to return to community, expression, nature and wisdom.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Look up ‘Consortium Holdings’ restaurants, they are the most eccentric and experiential. And delicious! They are also located in great villages in San Diego – South Park, Little Italy, and the developing East Village. I always take visitors to Balboa park to walk around the Prado. the botanical garden and japanese gardens are beautiful, and if you cross the foot bridge over the highway you’ll find a magical desert garden and rose garden. This is a great place to walk, picnic, and even play frisbee golf (there’s a range in the top right of the park). La Jolla beaches are iconic for San Diego, and it’s a posh neighborhood. Take a Torrey Pines hike (or explore the secret trail near the gliderport) and then head down to windandsea beach. Herringbone or Whisknladle for dinner, and Trilogy Sanctuary for a rooftop vegan lunch. On Saturday, go to the Little Italy farmer’s market and peek in the restaurants till you find one that suits your fancy (remember – Consortium Holdings ;). You can walk down to the waterfront or bike, take the ferry to Coronado Island, and spend a picture-perfect afternoon biking down Orange Avenue to the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. On Sunday, head up to Encinitas for the Leucadia farmer’s market, and look up Encinitas local events. There’s a tight yoga & consciousness community up there, with lots of community events all the time. I recommend a visit to the Meditation Gardens at the self-realization fellowship, and watching the sunset at Beacon’s beach. If you’re wanting a creative/alternative experience, head south to Barrio Logan. It’s the street art + latin hub, with a sweet gallery called Bodega Gallery. For an easy place to take the ‘rents, visit Liberty Station and browse around the market. Moniker coffee & cocktails + Moniker general store is a hipster hub, and El Jardin Cantina next door is the best upscale mexican food in the city. San Diego has a dinner + movie spot called The Lot, with locations in Liberty Station and in La Jolla. Since the weather is usually perfect, grab an outside table for dinner and watch a movie with cocktails in loungers to cap off the night. My favorite experiences in San Diego have always been house parties and gatherings. It’s such a community-loving city… even though most people are transient and traveling a lot. It’s the only place in the world that I’ve found where nearly everyone you meet is into health, personal development, and designing their life around purpose.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My friend Chandler Perog – he’s a genius with business development, and he gave advice and encouragement when I needed it. He also sent so many clients my way. I have enormous respect for him… I believe he could easily be the next Elon Musk or Peter Diamandis.
All images are screenshots of my own websites and artwork, except for the last photo – credit to @skipkellyfilms for that one!