Kim Monney helps business owners research properly because customer insight is everything. Before you put your heart and soul into your business, you should *know* that it will succeed. Don’t base your business decisions on hope.
Kim talks about her business journey so far…
Tell us about your business ‘Progress Road and doing research properly that gives business owners the confidence that their business will work…
I launched Progress Road in 2018 with my husband Paulie.
We serve entrepreneurs and small business owners who need to nail their marketing so they make (more!) sales and (more!) money.
We do it by teaching and coaching them through the process for doing proper customer research. Doing your research properly gives you the confidence that your business *will* work, and it gives you a roadmap for exactly how to reach the perfect customers.
Customer insight is everything. Before you put your heart and soul into your business, you should *know* that it will succeed. Don’t base your business decisions on hope. Most people haven’t done *proper* research to validate their business idea or how to communicate it, and as a result their marketing isn’t as effective as it could be in driving sales or making their business (and lifestyle) dreams come true.
The business is online because we’ve set it up to ensure we can have a location-free lifestyle, but I love to meet people in-person if I’m in the same location as them 🙂
Tell us when and why you started your own business? What was going on for you at the time?
I started Progress Road for a few reasons…
- Because I discovered an absolutely incredible framework for how to do the proper research to validate your business, your market and your marketing message so that you can make more sales and more money.
- Because I realised, after 20 years in marketing, that nothing else like this exists – it’s so powerful. And I don’t think it’s right that only the big companies with loads of people and loads of money are the only ones who have access to it.
- I also observed that so many people are sick of their jobs and the 9-5 lifestyle, and want to go out on their own, but it’s risky and naturally they’re afraid of failure. Failures happen because the market for what people want to offer either isn’t there or they’re not doing the right things to reach the right people. I realised I could help people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams (and their connected lifestyle dreams), and that their customers, in turn, would benefit from the products and services these entrepreneurs were able to deliver as a result. Everyone wins!
- Because my lovely husband Paulie and I have spent too many years apart from each other due to work – saying goodbye in the morning, hello often late in the evening, and even missing each other at the weekends because of pressures of our jobs. It just wasn’t the life we wanted. We want to be and work together. We also wanted to have location freedom so we can travel and follow the sun, including visiting our families and friends in New Zealand in the NZ summer / UK winter – without using up our entire annual leave and all our savings to do it each year. So this was the way we found to combine our experience and make our own dream entrepreneurial lifestyle happen!
How did you initially get your business noticed? What were the first few steps you took to put yourself out there?
We had to follow our own process, exactly what we teach to other entrepreneurs, and make our business happen through doing the proper research and validation, and putting what we learned into action.
Once we knew exactly who our perfect customers were, what they needed, what was holding them back and how we could best help them, we reached out to a few to tell them what we were up to, and voila! We were underway!
What is the main social media platform you focus on to market your business?
We have private Facebook groups for our clients, and participate in other people’s Facebook groups, but that’s it at the moment. Social media takes up a LOT of time and we’re ruthless in focussing on the channels that work for us.
How do you market your business?
Right now we’re deep in experimentation mode. We know exactly who our perfect clients are and we know exactly what we need to say to connect with them, but it’s a case of figuring out which channel(s) perform best and, sadly, there’s no shortcut. It’s simply a case of running experiments, tracking the numbers and working it out.
While we patiently work through our channel experiments we’re reliant on referrals (word of mouth), and we’re finding that to be really effective. For anyone starting out, the 1:1 approach is powerful because it means we can iron out the bugs in our own processes while ensuring our clients have the most amazing experience ever.
We’re happy to take it slow because we know that a focus on extreme quality with a small number of people today will ensure they’re massively successful and, in turn, mean that we’re massively successful once it all snowballs.
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
What is the worst thing about running your own business?
It’s not a business, it’s a lifestyle. When we travel, everyone thinks we’re on holiday, and I have a huge hole in my tongue from biting it on a regular basis. We’re literally never on holiday. But we love what we do so it doesn’t feel like work… We are genuinely living our dream. It’s truly magical and we are so grateful.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in your business journey and how did you overcome it?
Finding the right business and validating it!
#confessiontime Progress Road is about our fourth attempt at starting a business… and as they say you learn the most from your failures.
The number one thing we learned is that gut instinct, sending out a survey, and asking friends and family for their feedback is no guarantee of a real, paying market for your product or service.
Once we figured out the process for doing proper customer research, everything changed.
What are your go to tips, tools or techniques to overcome the tough days? i.e what keeps you motivated!
Belief in my (our) vision for the lifestyle of my dreams, and knowing I can only tackle it one day at a time. Some days will be amazing, others awful.
Amazing days are easy. In the end, it’s keeping on going during the awful days that will get me there. Every day is a day closer to realising even bigger dreams.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Other than the importance of doing your research and making sure there are real people out there who you don’t know who are willing (and wanting!) to pay for what your business offers, I would say budgeting.
Transitioning from a salaried office job into running your own business will test you in ways you can’t imagine and one of them will probably be financial.
Challenging your assumptions about money, becoming comfortable talking about it, thinking about it, learning about it and acting on what you learn is critical. I don’t think anyone gets to skip this step if they are serious about making it in business. At the end of the day, business is about making and managing your money.
If you started your business again with hindsight and the knowledge and experience you you have gained so far, is there anything you would do differently, and if so, what?
I’m not sure I would do anything differently. It’s only because I’ve been on this journey that I know what I know now.
But, if I thought my past self would listen (she wouldn’t!), I would tell her to be more patient. To save more, plan more, and do my research BEFORE leaving my corporate job. But that’s just not how I roll.
What’s your favourite way to consume content; video, audio or reading?
All of the above! I’ve always been a reader and I could read all day. I love books and am overcoming an addiction to Medium as well.
When I’m on the move, I love to listen to podcasts.
I like videos too, but if possible I’ll speed them up – 1.5x speed is my favourite YouTube / time management hack. As mentioned above, I’m very impatient!!
What has been the most helpful business/self-help book that you would recommend reading?
I’ve read too many to count!
Favourites include Do Purpose by David Hieatt (and in fact any / all of the business-related books from Do Publishing) and, for anyone building a brand and particularly anyone writing or creating something that is designed to last a long time, Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday. For anyone building a team, The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle.
But the first business/self-help book I read was She Means Business by Carrie Green – that’s where it all started for me. Looking back to where I’ve come since then, it was a great place to start!
How do you make sure you achieve your weekly, monthly and quarterly goals and actions? i.e. do you use asana, have a coach, accountability buddy etc.
Great question! I used to be terrible at goal setting, but I made goal for 2019 to establish world class habits and I’ve come a looooong way.
Paulie and I have a 90-day plan broken down into monthly goals, and then weekly goals and daily goals for the current month. We discuss what’s happening in the business at a weekly ‘CEO date’ and re-prioritise as needed.
For tracking tasks I use Asana although I have also used Trello before, which was great too. I’ve migrated off to-do lists in my notebook and about a thousand post-it notes all over my house to a completely digital process. Simply having a single source of truth for what I need to do, and dates assigned to each thing – and then sticking to them – has been the game changer I needed.
I also completed the altMBA at the start of 2019 and that experience was hugely helpful in creating a mindset and habit around ‘shipping’, which helped me overcome procrastination in a major way. I now get so much satisfaction from doing what I say I will and have heaps more free time than I used to have because I schedule my time really carefully.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
In Spain, working remotely from one of their beautiful islands 🙂
Tell us about your Lead magnet…
Are you trying to get your business off to the right start? If you haven’t done the proper customer research you need to ensure you attract the right customers and make real money, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
One of the reasons most small business owners don’t do the customer research their business needs is because they don’t know how.
Find out the seven simple steps you need to take in Progress Road’s comprehensive 15-page research guide for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It’s free! GET IT HERE!
Kim is a Kiwi (New Zealander!) based in London, and now living her dream, location-free lifestyle working remotely from anywhere in the world that has a good wifi connection.
She is an MCIM Chartered Marketer with 20 years experience in companies of all shapes and sizes, from corporates like Tesco.com and ANZ, through to tech start-ups including Just Eat, Gett and Howamigoing.
Together with her husband Paulie, a professional teacher, trainer and coach, she runs Progress Road. Paulie leads on coaching entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to do proper research with their potential customers and then Kim takes over by reviewing the insights they’ve learned in their research and helps them create a kick-a** marketing strategy that makes real sales and real money.
Website: Progress Road