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March 13, 2024 25 mins

How did Kelly Leardon achieve a $28k product launch on only pure organic growth?

This week on 10 Minute Marketing, Sonja Crystal Williams and Walk Like Warriors founder Kelly Leardon dive into the strategies that transcended Kelly's modest Instagram following and lack of any advertising. Her launch experience is not just about business success; it's a masterclass in recognizing and harnessing your unique value, your ethos, and your audience.

Over the course of the episode, Kelly shares strategies that have stood the test of time in launching programs that resonate with audiences through her work as an operations director for big corporations and how that can or cannot be translated to small businesses. Sonja and Kelly also discuss the potency of nurturing genuine relationships and the surprising power that can result from a single share by a larger account. And in turn, how Kelly dealt with the sudden influx of waitlist members, coaching clients, and the push-and-pull of passion and time management.

Tune in for all the insights from Kelly's experience and her testament to the strength of emotional bonds over numbers, proving that a small, engaged following can indeed culminate in real-world triumphs.

After listening to the podcast, you're invited to download Kelly's free "Hyper Efficiency: 7 Strategies to Save 12+ Hours/Week"  guide. In it, you'll discover seven pro tips for saving time so you can do more of what you love.

About Kelly Leardon and Walk Like Warriors
Kelly is passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs to build and scale the business of their dreams without sacrificing their personal lives. She loves helping women tackle the chaos of disorganization, the overwhelm of wearing ALL the hats, and the struggle for harmony between work and family.

As a Certified Director of Operations and small business coach, she has worked with dozens of entrepreneurs in 40+ industries over the last 20 years.

Learn more about Walk Like Warriors and follow them on Instagram.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Sonja Crystal Williams (00:04):
Hi everyone, welcome to today's
episode of 10 Minute Marketing.
I'm your host, Sonja CrystalWilliams, and today joining me I
have Kelly Leardon with WalkLike Warriors.
Hi, Kelly, welcome and thankyou for being here.

Kelly Leardon (00:17):
Sonja, thank you so much for having me.
I am truly honored.
I love, love, love your podcast.

Sonja Crystal Williams (00:23):
Thank you so much.
Well, I'm really excited tohave you here, because I like to
say, when we had our firstconversation, you shared with me
what I like to call just thefairy tale story.
For anyone who's listening whois a business coach of any sort,
a consultant or any type ofcoach, you don't even have to be

a business coach, or even acourse creator.
Kelly did the magical thingthat everyone really wants to
achieve, which is when shelaunched her new product, which
we're going to talk about today.
She had an amazing December$28,000 launch.
500 Instagram followers Kellycurrently has on her page.

She didn't run any ads.
She's growing organically.
Kelly, how in the world do youdo that?
Before we get into that, though, let's let's talk a little bit
about what is Walk Like Warriors, tell, describe that to me.

Kelly Leardon (01:20):
So it's a play on my first name.
So my first name means "warriorwoman and anyone who knows me
is like, yeah, that is veryfitting for her.
I am a high passion woman.
I tend to be pretty bold,courageous, fearless, and as I
started to work with femaleentrepreneurs, I noticed them
sort of leaning into that partof me and needing to kind of

pull courage and fearlessnessfrom me, and so it's all about
helping women live bold,fearless, courageous lives and
their personal life If there arewomen of faith and their faith,
and certainly in their business.

Sonja Crystal Williams (02:03):
Wow, I love that and I love how you
said like it's such a greatpoint that when we are seeking
support whether that's in ourpersonal life or as business
owners sometimes we need to findpeople we can lean into who
have the qualities that wepossess and desire.
So I love that you've been ableto be that to a lot of the

women that you're coaching andworking with.
So you started Walk LikeWarriors last year, and what was
the beginning of that for you?

Kelly Leardon (02:33):
So this is the funniest part of the entire
journey is that it started inJune or July of 2023, I started
to get consistent with it and itwas like just a passion project
So I was working at the time asa certified fractional director
of operations.
So small business owners wouldhire me to come in, clean up
their ops, help them systemize,streamline, help them see blind

spots in their business, whatneeded to be improved, and so
I'm helping all these businessowners grow in scale right, and
I'm thinking I don't really haveanything for me at that time.
When you're a fractionaldirector of ops, you grow more
through word of mouth typically,like you don't typically have a
huge social media following andthings like that.
But I thought, I'm kind ofcurious.
I love being on Instagram, soI'll just sort of do like a

faith- based page.
I was talking a lot abouthabits.
I'm a master of time, which Ihave ADHD, so like the fact that
I have this weird part of mypersonality, that's just a
complete hot mess.
But in the areas that matter tome, I'm very streamlined and
So I just started.
I was just having fun posting.
I joined a program in August.

That was to learn how to createbetter graphics in Canva and
then put them on Instagram.
So that was really powerfulpart of my journey.
But when I started, when Ienrolled, when I invested that
money, it was to grow thispassion page that was in and
then a funny thing startedhappening in August, September,
slowly, solopreneurs got into myDMs and they weren't asking

about what the page was about.
They were asking me questionsabout how to grow their small
And you know that you aresitting on something that you
have a blind spot to.
When people are literallymessaging you, how do I do
business with you?
That is like the opposite of adream.
But at the same time I was like, oh, it's not really even clear
And I'm thinking but they can'tafford me as a director of

And so people started saying,Do you do one- on- one coaching?
I want you to coach me.
And of course, as a director ofops I was coaching CEOs, but
never solopreneurs and verysmall business owners.
So I was like no, I'm sorry, Idon't do that.
And then the next one no, I'msorry, I don't do that.
And I mentioned it to mybusiness coach and she was like
what are you doing?
Why would you not do that?

And I'm thinking because I knowhow to help.
Like you know, there's smallbusinesses such a strange word
because it could mean you'retrying to get to your first
It could be you're doing amillion a year in revenue or a
million a month in revenue.
So I was sort of at that mid tohigher range in the small
business category and I'mthinking do I know how?
Like, I know my systems work,but do they work with a solo

preneur trying to break sixfigures or trying to break seven
figures with a team of one?
Maybe they have a VA.
Maybe they have a VA and socialmedia manager.
But they don't have these teamsof 20, 30, 40 people.
So I took my first coachingclient in October.
Wow, I think by the end ofNovember I was full, which full
to me was 10.
Okay, I never.

It wasn't like I was like youknow, I do this, I do this, you
can click here, click here.
It was seriously people slidinginto my DMs.
I need you, you have to help me.
So it was just word of mouth atthat point.
And then the wait list for oneon one coaching got up to 15 or
And I realized that model is notgoing to work.
I am very passionate, I am myADHD.

What I love about it?
It's like a superpower.
It's a curse and it's asuperpower.
But that hyper focus, thathyper fixation, Sonja, you could
say, Kelly, you know what I'mreally curious about.
You know random thing, giraffesI would spend 18 hours just
researching it for you.
So I'm gonna make that into twosentences.
I love doing that.
And so coaching was like youknow the six working geniuses,

my highest genius is galvanizing.
So it is like I can spur andpump people into action, which
is so powerful.
But then that hyper focus ofsomeone says and I'm trying to
run a subscription model, andI'm not totally sure I will
spend 50 hours learning, hashtag, all the things.
And so I realized, thoughthat's not scalable.
I don't wanna take more than 10, because I want my 10 to have

all of me.
I want them to feel like theyare getting incredible amounts
of attention and focus for me.
So I have this system forgrowing a small business.
There are six pillars of ahealthy business, and when all
six pillars are healthy, yourbusiness is growing quickly, but
well, like it's growing toscale.
That's what a lot of people getwrong.
It might grow fast, but it's soscotch tape together.

When it grows fast, you'regonna just end up toppling.
So I always say you'll seethese people on Instagram,
they'll explode and you're likewhoa, how'd they do it?
And then they implode becausethey don't have any foundation
of what they're doing.
So I came up it's called thesuccess squad, so it's kind of a
play on the word warrior andit's more small group coaching
model, and that was the launch.
So I just mentioned it.

In December and I'm sure a lotof entrepreneurs can identify
with this I had a moment, likeDecember 15th, I was gonna
launch January 1st.
I said to my husband this isgoing to be mortifying if nobody
signs up Like I'm so afraidthat I had just to be
I'm an open book.
I think that's one of thereasons people are drawn to me
on Instagram.
I just share everything.
At that time I think I hadseven people on the wait list

and the whole was 10.
So I mean everything I tell mybusiness owners not to do is the
things I was doing, but thegrowth in the demand was so it
I hadn't really seen it before.
I'm not saying I'm a unicorn, Idefinitely don't think that but
it's just that I think that mypersonality, my secret sauce, my
work history, what I bring tothe table.

Solopreneurs and when I saysolopreneur I even mean like
they have a VA for 10 or 15hours, but I mean just pretty
small business owners theyrealize I've got this awesome
product or service, but I haveno idea how to run a business.
So I had less than 500followers at the time and I just
went for it.
I just was like I'm gonna justdo this and see what happens,

and if I fall flat on my face,then it'll be a lesson to the
people watching and I'll justshare it.
I'll share every part of it.
And so somehow, before doorseven opened, three people signed
up, like door open was, I don'tknow, 9 am on a Monday.
On Sunday night, I see theseregistrations coming through and
I'm like how did they bypassthe system?
I still don't know how they didit.
I must have had an open linksomewhere that I didn't know

But it's just been.
You can tell I love what I'mdoing.
It's been tremendous fun.

Sonja Crystal Williams (08:50):
Wow, okay, I have so many follow up
This is such a good story and Ilove how passionate you are
about it.
So one question is let's goback to that first 500 followers
How did you go from Instagramis new and fun to me to getting
in front of the right people?

Did you go out?
There's so many methods Likewhen I'm teaching Instagram
trainings to clients so manymethods for how you can grow a
Some people go out and followother people.
Some people already have agreat email list.
Some people follow theirfriends.
How did you just, in thebeginning, start to find the
right people that would youweren't thinking of it as a
product, but just, I'd say, foras far as just the faith-based

aspect and people, the naturalside of you that wanted to talk
to people about time managementand habits and things like that.
How did you get in front ofthose people?

Kelly Leardon (09:45):
That's an amazing question.
I love it and I will say,getting so.
I didn't like.
A lot of times when people havefast growth, it's because they
had a successful page and thenpushed them to the new page.
When I say I started at zero, Imean literally in June I had 28
followers, I believe, and whenI got to that first 100, I
actually cried.
It would be like somebodylistening, seeing a million

dollars in their bank accountfor the first time.
You get emotional because itwas such a grind to get there.
And I'll tell you what didn'twork was on my personal page
being like hey, I have thepeople who know you from your
old life.
They don't care about the new.
Like they really don't.
Maybe one out of a thousandwill actually invest.
Everybody else is like who isshe?
What does she think she's doing?
So it truly was all organic andit did start like that and in

this way, as a director of ops,I think very strategically about
what I'm doing and a lot ofpeople are like what does that
even mean, Kelly?
This is what it means in regardto Instagram or any social
media channel, as I looked atthe likelihood of going viral
and building a brand that way,there's such an upward curve to

gaining trust and actuallyhelping these.
So if I had a Reel go viral andI get 200,000 followers in the
next two weeks, right, theydon't know me, they don't like
me, they don't trust me, soyou're having to invest so much
time with that gap, right?
And so what I started thinkingabout is coaching is a higher
ticket item, whether it's one onone or group.
But I started thinking aboutwhat actually is moving the

needle in my business is whenpeople reshare, and so I would
rather have somebody postsomething about me, like Kelly
talks about this all the time onMondays and this is what we do
and I see them.
I see them showing their systemboom, 10 followers.
So what someone might think isthat's a who cares.
I mean, that's nothing.
But if you go viral with 1,000and there's no trust factor

there and you're starting fromzero in a relationship, but
Sonja you're following, if yousay Kelly's my business coach,
she is freaking amazing.
You should follow her when theycome into my ecosystem, I don't
have to build trust.
They're like Sonja said it Itrust her, she's smart, she
knows her stuff, and so thathappened.
I would say maybe in August orSeptember, somebody with a
larger following like posted me50 followers in a matter of an

hour, something like that.
Every one of those followerswas engaged from day one.
And it's because she had builtsuch a powerful, engaged, close
knit community that when shesays something, they trust her,
and so, from a strategystandpoint, the wheels were
turning like I could.
First of all, I can't dance tosave my life, so I'm like this

whole style of Reels it ain'tworking for me.
The really shallow soundbitecrap that you see everywhere.
That's so inauthentic to me.
I'm not doing that.
I want to help, If you like.
I give away so much freecoaching in my stories every day
, and so what I realized was atiny, hyper-engaged community

where it's almost like you haveambassadors or disciples or
super fans.
When they share you, it isworth.
It's, to me, that equates tohaving a Reel go viral, Because
when those people come in, theytrust you from the get- go and
they see you as an expert whocan help them with their problem

from the get- go.
That's how I did it.
I mean, if you even want tocall it doing it and I don't
want to come across as Kelly hadno strategy, was an accident.
No, I realized pretty quicklythe chances of going viral are
like Sonja going to the gasstation buying a lottery ticket
and winning a million dollars.
Now I know that you're actuallymore likely to go viral than to

win a million dollar lotteryticket.
But my point is that if you didthat and I went to the gas
station, same one play the samenumbers the next day, you can't
control that.
And so for me with strategy isI always want to control in a
business what can be controlledand when things are so like
algorithms, there's some thingsyou can do to improve your

knowledge of how that works.
But I would rather focus myattention on results, and it's
really really hard to build alarge business on social media
through the attempt at viralityversus an engaged community as
everything, and this is how Icoach around it too, because
there's less and less peopleable to have explosive growth by

growing viral.
That was a common thing in 2020.
We ain't having that anymore,sis.
You gotta have a differentstrategy, and so that really and
truly has been what was themost powerful, and somebody with
a pretty large following sharedme.
When I started coaching her, Iwoke up my husband's like what
happened with your following?
And so I realized she hadposted.
She said follow her, she knowsher stuff, she knows strategy,

she knows operations, and fromthat, one share has probably led
to $10,000 inside my business.
Wow, and that one share.
And she said I used to be asmall account too.
I don't get why your account issmall, Like you should be
having a million followers,whatever, and I'm like I don't
need that.
Yeah, what I care about is acommunity that there's just

immediate trust me to them andthem to me.
It's really powerful.

Sonja Crystal Williams (14:52):
I just love it because it'sauthentic, it's based on
It's almost like you got aquote unquote Instagram shout
out without having to pay forthe shout out or, honestly, even
ask for it, because you broughtyour value to the forefront,
which is amazing.
So I love hearing that.

One other question I wanna askis when you got to the place
where you said, okay, I you know, you talked it over with your
coach, I have a product here.
At that point.
Actually, this is a two-partquestion.
One part is for the launch partitself, and especially given

that you have a background inoperations, did you have a
system that you developed ofthis is how I'm going to
approach launch, or did you goto your sales coach or some
other type of coach and say I'mgoing to follow this particular

Kelly Leardon (15:47):
I took a lot of things from a lot of
entrepreneurs that I've workedwith and leveraged what I know
to be true, based on youraudience and based on your
Obviously, a lower-priced item,the launch, is going to look
totally different than ahigher-priced item and are you
doing cart-open-cart-closeversus people can register
It really was like a mash-up ofthings that I've observed what

I knew to be true about myaudience and what I felt
comfortable doing as far as alaunch is concerned, and I
couldn't leverage tons oftestimonials.
I could only leverage thetestimonials for my coaching,
but I didn't have anyone who'dgone through this group program.
That's where, yes, my storysounds a little bit like a
unicorn-type story, or it?

Truthfully, I have been workinginside of small businesses for
20 years and just making a lotof observations.
That started as anadministrative assistant, then
an executive assistant, chief ofstaff, event manager, director
of ops.
My experience and I will tellyou the most invaluable thing in
my journey, was being anexecutive assistant.
When you are sitting at theright hand of the CEO of a $100

million business, you see allthe good, bad, ugly, the dark
underbelly of everything.
People come to you with thingsI would say nothing, has
impacted my journey as much asthat period in my life.
I'm eternally grateful for that.
I will say that, as far as theway my launch worked, it was
like working inside some ofthese bigger companies and then
people coming to me like I don'tlike this and they shunted it.

Just constantly learning andobserving has been extremely
helpful to me.

Sonja Crystal Williams (17:22):
Yeah, this is also yeah, so we're
using, I say, fairy tale becauseit's the wish that everyone
wants, but this really tookyears of preparation.
It's like someone when they seea movie star and say, oh my
gosh, they're amazing.
How did they appear in thatmovie?
Well, they were in about 12other movies, some of which that
failed leading up to thatprocess.

So it's the same thing.
It looks pretty on the outside,but there was work and, as
you're saying, a lot ofintention put behind how you
started that process.
So that's really great to hear.
One final question I want to askis around.
Okay, we talked about audienceand just how you moved into even
developing the program.
I'd say.
The final question is when yougot to, I'm ready to launch,

what was that launch strictly on?
Hey, I'm posting on Instagramand, you know again, people will
Did know DM people?
Did you send out an email?
Just peaking behind the curtaina little bit?
What were a few of the keythings that you did that helped
with the launch in terms of justputting content in front of


Kelly Leardon (18:29):
My email list was teeny tiny at the time.
So I think I sent one email oncart open and one email the last
day, and some of that wasbecause I was launching January
1st and I don't typically workthe last week of the year.
So here I am trying to havethis launch, but then my
family's, like you, don't everwork this week, and so I did

mess that up and I truly ownthat.
That's something important tome is I don't work between
Christmas and New Year's, sothat was a mistake on my part.
I should have sent more emails,for sure, but my list was so
tiny I didn't feel like I couldreally leverage it.
So I was in social mediasprinkling.
I used to talk to entrepreneurssprinkle, so, starting at the
beginning of December, they knewthat it was coming.
I really focused on the painpoints that it solved.

I mean, I had people saying Isigned up.
I don't even really know what Ibought, like if you can get me
from here to here.
So I think that strategy ofhaving a little bit longer of a
runway the higher ticket item itneeds a longer runway.
The week before cart open I wasmentioning it once a day in
Instagram stories.
I'm very comfortable on stories, so I think that's a big part
of the strategy, of how myengagement was built.

And then that wait list.
We emailed them the day beforecart open somehow that I think
that's how they got through andwere able to purchase which.
They actually were sheepishwhen I was in stories Like guys,
you people are sliding up.
They were like I didn't know Iwas doing bad.
I'm like this is awesome thatyou guys were that excited.
You didn't even look at dates,you didn't look at anything, you
just saw a button and you hit abell now.
So that wait list was huge.

And then I and my VA, we just wetexted or DMed to the people on
the one- on- one coaching waitlist and just said, truthfully
speaking, it could be six monthsbefore you're gonna be able to
get a one- on- one spot.
This will make the most senseanyway, because a lot of people
come to me for one- on- one.
There are so many parts oftheir structure and their
business that are not right.

We have to spend a lot of timeon that, versus if they do the
success squad first, like that'sall covered and then the one on
one can truly be targeted forthem and their business versus a
lot of the scotch tape togetherstuff.
But I love it all, it doesn'treally matter.
So I didn't have a lot ofchannels to leverage.
To be totally transparent, itwas that wait list and almost I

think all but one on the waitlist signed up.
I was jaw- on- the- floorshocked that I had one- on- one
coaching clients sign up.
They're doing both right nowsimultaneously.
I'm like how much of Kelly doyou need?
I don't know if you need thismuch.
Well, that was amazing, thatwas really amazing.
And then one of my one on onecoaching clients she just

mentioned it on her story and Ihad a couple of people sign up
from that.
So I capped it at 10 becauseit's a little bit of a beta
group right.
So I didn't want to likeoverfill it and then feel like I
was scrambling.
And then I ended up havingthree people sign up the next
They had been in DMs.
I wasn't trying to do falsescarcity, because that's really
it to me.
I hate when people do that, butthey truthfully they were like
going back and forth, going backand forth, and so I had gone to

bed and then I woke up the nextday and all three of them were
like we want it, we want it.
So it ended up at 13.
But I would just say that foreach person listening, your
secret sauce, your core values,and your audience are like a
trifecta to how to approachlaunches.
Because I think when we listento some of the big voices in the

space, they're teaching fromthe perspective of what worked
for them.
That doesn't work for everybody.
So, like webinars to funnelinto this, it just didn't feel.
Maybe in the future I would dothat, but I think some of it is.
We try to follow the big namesand they have wisdom to offer us
, but at times we ignore our gutand, as women especially, our
gut instincts are typicallyright with the way we should do


Sonja Crystal Williams (22:04):
Well, let's wrap up quick lightning
round a few fun questions.
One dream vacation today.
I know that might change fromtime to time, but if you could
go anywhere, where would you gowith your family?

Kelly Leardon (22:19):
Anything with turquoise waters and white sands
I'm talking Caribbean.
I love.
It's just my favorite place inthe world and if I can hear the
waves, it is the ultimatede-stressor for me.

Sonja Crystal Williams (22:32):
That's a yeah.
The beach I love as well.
That is my always my dreamvacation as well.
So one other question If we, ifyou were, let's just say,
living in a different universe,you know I like to play with the
whole theme of Avengersmultiverse, what's another
version of Kelly doing that'scompletely moved away from

operations, coaching, anythinglike that?

Kelly Leardon (23:00):
Oh, wow, that's pretty intense.
I'm at my best when I'm helpingother people have what they
So trying to think of, I feellike as long as I was teaching
or coaching it could be anyrealm in the entire universe and
I would be happy.
My heart is really fulfilledwhen I get that message.

Like you changed my life.
So anytime I always tell mycoaching clients I want every
one of them to be making 100times more than I'm making.
That's how I know that successto me is that I want the people
that I'm working with to 10 or100 X their wildest dreams.
And so, I don't know, that'sprobably a little bit fluffy of
an answer, but I can't think Ican't separate myself from what

I feel like I was truly calledto do.

Sonja Crystal Williams (23:47):
I love that.
Yeah, knowing your purpose, Ilove it All right.
Well, Kelly, if people areinterested in learning more
about Walk Like Warriors, howcan they get in touch with you
and find more information?

Kelly Leardon (23:58):
Website or Instagram.
Instagram, somebody has thathandle so I have underscores in
between, so it's like Walk-underscore-Like- underscore-W
I'm in Stories every day, doingtons of free coaching every
single day in stories and on mywebsite, top right button, prime
real estate, there's a buttonthat says freebies and what I'm
really known for is my freebie.
It's seven strategies to save12 or more hours a week.

I've done it with every singleexecutive I've worked with Most
of them average saving 15 hoursa week.
So that's a really jam packed,value packed freebie for your

Sonja Crystal Williams (24:32):
Yeah, we can all appreciate getting some
time back.
I know I do so.
Thank you so much for beinghere Everybody.
By the way, those links toKelly's Instagram and our
website where you can get thefreebies will be available in
our description, so be sure tocheck that out.
Check Kelly out.
Kelly, perhaps we'll have tohave you back in the future and
hear more about your journey.
I really enjoy chatting withyou.

Thank you so much.
Have a great day everybody.
Thank you.
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