Meet Bo Kitty, an Events, Project Management & Marketing professional with 20 years experience in the arts, music, various creative industries and private sectors. Broad experience in brand development and marketing strategies, large scale project development and execution including major events, experiential marketing activities and logistics.
Specialist in holistic marketing, campaign and product execution including: event/project management, strategy development, account management and new media promotions including social networking sites.
Reality Check provides holistic business coaching for people who are ready for change.
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Table of Contents
Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Bo Kitty: Hi, I’m Bo Kitty and I’m known for straight shooting truth and my ability to make ambitious things happen. I’m a heavily tattooed ex raver, who now runs two successful companies of my own. I am driven, motivated and potentially hyperactive, and I am always talking or writing, to fulfil my lifelong dream of being paid to talk! Now I help others achieve their dreams too, everything I do is underpinned by honesty and integrity and I’m known for my pep talks that get you out of any stuck place. I absolutely love working for myself though it’s hard at times, and will never go back to being a salaried employee EVER again!
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Bo Kitty: I spent twenty years saying yes to almost every job. I went from hospitality, where I was a gun bartender and waitress, to events, where the last minute, fast paced environment suited me perfectly.
I spent a decade doing marketing and booking talent for well known nightclubs in Melbourne, and went on to work for a range of marketing and advertising companies. I found that these ‘straight’ marketing companies wanted all my good ideas, but often didn’t execute them the way I wanted to, and also, they took credit for them!
I also spent a long time in the music industry working harder and for longer to prove myself as a woman. In 2012 I began an internet marketing business with a partner that would be a complete FAIL! By 2013 we had folded, with only debts to show for it, At the end of 2013, I rebranded my own business exactly the way I wanted to do with Reality Check, and have never looked back since.
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Bo Kitty: Anyone doing it ‘not like the others’ has been my inspiration. My primary influence to quit my salary job and go it on my own was Tim Ferris with the book ‘The Four Hour Work Week’, which is about thinking smarter not harder about business and what you actually want to do with your time. I read chapter one of his book, and gave notice at my job that wasn’t serving me that day, and now I help my clients realise this moment as well.
I also love Scott Pape for what he does for the finance world. He’s bold, honest and doesn’t mince words. I love his blog and always read his emails, and often recommend buying “The Barefoot Investor’ to my clients, I even tell them to leave our session and go buy it right away!
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Bo Kitty: Working in the creative industries like visual art and music I realised that a lot of people were talented, but had no idea about running a business. They didn’t know how to negotiate, how to present themselves or how to make the money they were worth. I also often experienced a lot of people underpaying and undervaluing creatives, by promising ‘exposure’ instead of paying for work, and this never sat well with me.
I also spent many years being underpaid and unappreciated when I was delivering above and beyond, every single time. I worked my guts out, day and night, to make money for other people, to realise their business dreams, I had my ideas stolen by companies who had more money to execute them, I had my recognition taken for so many good ideas and successful ventures, through not having the right contracts in place or not being loud enough about my needs. All of these factors over time showed me that I wanted to be working by myself, for myself, to make my business big, not anyone else’s.
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Bo Kitty: I have two – Reality Check is holistic coaching for rebels ready for change, and I do it all. From writing content and copy to crafting new packages and offerings, it’s me at the helm of everything Reality Check does. I employ contractors to create and update my website and SEO, to do my graphic design and branding for every piece of collateral. I have an app developer who i engaged and then worked every step of the way with the develop an app out of the Power Up Deck of cards, and for those I created the content, then coordinated the design, and executed marketing and distribution. Every client is onboarded and serviced by me in this business, so the products help to create residual income as all the coaching and consulting is face to face, one on one and has to be done by me,
The second business is a sister company to Reality Check, in that it provides the many services that business owners need to grow, and reach wider audiences. The Real Army is a referral agency for professionals, mainly in the creative industries. We have a stable of industry leaders across art, design, digital, education, marketing and event facilitation and I spend my time nurturing these networks and relationships. This business requires me to spend a lot of time on the phone, email and social media, securing work and matching the best suppliers with clients, plus a bit of hand holding and monitoring as the jobs get executed.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Bo Kitty: The google dictionary says CEO means a chief executive officer, the highest-ranking person in a company or other institution, ultimately responsible for taking managerial decisions. But I’de like to flip that and call it COE – because when you are in this role you are the Centre. Of. Everything.
Every aspect of what your business does, how it presents, who uses it and wants to find it, you must strive to know something about. Often people think CEO is a title that means you step back from the coalface of delivery or sales, and even business development, and only spend your time on client relationships and governance. However, if you’re out of touch with what’s happening on the frontline, you can miss warning signs and/or opportunities. A CEO should regularly step back, or step in, and take a long term view of what the business is trying to achieve. It requires bravery to take calculated risks, and you need to be hungry. The minute a CEO gets complacent, if you don’t have killer systems and staff to support you, it’s like driving on the highway at night without lights. Wake up every day and inquire how your business can do it better, and how you can support those working with you to be better, thats what a CEO does.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Bo Kitty: Having to do things you don’t enjoy still! Needing to implement routine and long range plans and sticking to them, and keeping everyone else on track to achieve them. Less boozy lunches than what I expected haha.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Bo Kitty: A CEO needs to be ahead of the pack. For example, we printed a deck of cards at Reality Check as a learning tool and tangible product for clients to have in place of coaching.
After a year of trying to find major distributors that would still make us a margin, I decided that we had to use them more as a promotional device, and accept that we would not recover design and production costs. I also identified that the world was going more digital and instead we spent money and time developing the deck of cards into an app on iTunes and Play store. This app is now available anywhere in the world, at low cost, with no shipping or storage costs for us. Being a CEO is about adapting, and being dynamic.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Bo Kitty: For me success is about leaving a legacy of change, and recognition. Money and wealth is the byproduct, though still important. I want to empower a generation of people to do ‘it’ differently, as in the 9-5 employee mindset, and staying small in areas they need to grow. I also want to do it exactly my way, without being beholden to the obsolete systems and language we have, that I feel needs an update.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Bo Kitty: I’m driven to form connections with others, this comes naturally to me. I also love speaking, writing and leading people to think in new ways about themselves and the world around them.
These are qualities that have served me well to develop, establish and grow my businesses.
What I’ve cultivated is a whole lotta patience, and planning skills. Planning was never really my forte, but to keep growing and executing new things, there has got to be timelines and deliverables in place. Also the power of a well worded email, and knowing when to stop emailing and pick up the phone. Sounds simple, but this is a skill worth developing whatever level of business you are currently at.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting out on their journey?
Bo Kitty: My main piece of advice is STAY HUNGRY. If you have an insatiable need for more, and to do better, than trickles down to everyone you work with and who works for you. Motivation and optimism are contagious, and having a CEO who is always solution focused and ready for the next hurdle, is going to be inspiring. Also, if you operate with honesty, integrity and a level of transparency, it will do more for your business than a huge marketing budget.
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Bo Kitty: There’s two, parkour and video editing. Parkour because I have metal screws in one ankle and am not that agile. Video editing because it requires levels of attention to detail I do not posses!
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Bo Kitty: Always Eat The Weird Stuff.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Bo Kitty for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Bo Kitty or her company, you can do it through her – Facebook
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