If you’re feeling stuck in your 9-5 job and dreaming about living life on your own terms, Kathryn Roberts is here to help. As the founder of Quest for $47, Roberts teaches women how to generate passive income to establish financial freedom and live abundantly without relying on a 9-5 job that may only cover your bare minimum income needs.
We live in a society where aligning passion with career is not considered the practical thing to do. What’s so uplifting about Roberts is her dedication and unwavering belief that women can make money doing whatever it is they love, while also leaving a lasting impact on the audience they choose to serve.
Roberts not only seamlessly offers strategic blogging fundamentals and how-to guides, but also provides tips on creating positive mindset shifts that directly build the foundation for a successful online business.
I interviewed Roberts to learn more about her journey through creating Quest for $47. As an entrepreneur, coach, and novelist, Roberts offers a slew of valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in the interview below.
JJ: Tell us about Quest for $47 for those who may not know?
Roberts: Through Quest for $47, I teach young women how to build and scale online businesses that allow them to have more financial freedom in their lives through an intentional strategy for creating high-quality, long-form evergreen content that highlights your assets and converts to income.
It’s not just about knowing all of the how-tos, because you can learn all the how-tos you want, and still not find success in online business. So, I also make it part of my mission to teach the mindset necessary to create a successful and sustainable online business. If you don’t have the right mindset, it will take much longer to reach your goals, if you even reach them. The risk for giving up on your goals is so much higher if you don’t have the right mindset.
I specifically focus on teaching young women because it’s so important that they know that they really can do whatever it is they want to do. So often, society tells young women to go to college, get a degree, get a job that pays like crap and makes you toil for a fraction of your actual relevant experience, and then find a husband that can retire them and allow them to stay home with the kids. But, I also know that this lifestyle doesn’t work for everyone. I’m here to teach those women who want something different than that, and how they can actually go from wanting something different, to actually having something different.
JJ: How did the idea of Quest for $47 come about?
Roberts: Quest for $47 came about during a phone call with a friend of mine. We used to work together at my old office job, and we were talking about ways we could make extra money, because who doesn’t want a little bit more financial flexibility? I had dabbled in online business before, so I knew it’s possible to generate passive income, and I thought, “How much money would I need to make on a daily basis to have my rent and expenses covered outside of my 9-5 salary?”
And that’s where the ‘“$47” part of my business comes in, because it would take just $47 a day to reach that goal.
The principle behind “$47” is to really put into perspective just how much easier it is to think about making extra money on the side when you think about it [in terms of] how much money you want to bring in on a daily basis. You want to make an extra $40,000 in a year outside of your salary? Sounds daunting, right? But what if you break it down, and think about how much you need to bring in each day? It’s only about $109 dollars. Making $100 a day sounds like a much more attainable goal. What do you need to do to make an extra $100 a day?
JJ: What strategic steps did you take to go from your career in sports to working in a 9-5 job in an office to working full time on your online business?
Roberts: I’ll say right off the bat that I was not very strategic when I left my job in sports at the end of 2016, but that’s also an integral part of my story and why I’m so successful now. During my tenure in sports, I wrote a novel, and it was (and still is) very important to me to see that manuscript published. With all the changes in my old sports job, I knew I couldn’t do justice to my love for parts of the career and my passion for writing, so I decided to leave that job, focus on getting an agent, and then get my manuscript published.
Turns out, it’s a lot harder than that. But, what also didn’t help was that I was taking advice about what I should do to both make money now that I was out of my job, and also how to find an agent, from someone who didn’t have the practical experience that I needed in order to implement advice that would actually make me successful. Between that and the serious falling-out my parents had with me and the rest of my family, it led me to think that the best, most responsible thing for me to do would be to take a “traditional” job.
I hadn’t had one of those before, since working in sports was one of the most untraditional careers I could imagine. I had no idea just how rigid and restrictive a traditional office job could be until I was in it. I was far from satisfied with my life while at that job. Taking time off was difficult, and I felt this immense pressure to be in the office more than I needed to be, even though the job was never something that I planned on leveraging to advance into a better career.
I knew I had to get out, and the first thing I did was commit to making Quest for $47 a success. I found my way to a woman named Leah Gervais, an entrepreneur mentor through Urban20Something. She created her own online business, and she had done it well. She had implemented strategies that let her leave her own 9-5 job to work her business full-time.
When she offered me a place in her 6-month mastermind, I knew that investment—a big, scary investment of more time and more money that I had ever invested into something—was the exact thing I needed to do in order to have Quest for $47 be what I want it to be, and to allow me to make the impact that I want to make.
During the first week of the mastermind, I had a discussion with my boss that made me realize that I was not going to be able to grow my business, or keep my commitment to any of my other obligations (including some work I still do for my old boss from my sports career), if I stayed in that office job. The benefits of the office job—the salary, the so-called stability, the benefits—no longer outweighed my desire to go all in on my business and live on my own terms. I left with the knowledge that I have the strategies I need to be successful, and also knowing that I have no plans to take another traditional job ever again.
I’m just not one of those people who is fit to be someone else’s employee.
I know that my story isn’t typical, and that most people aren’t in the position to just up and leave their jobs before they’re making consistent income, but this is what worked for me.
For those who are looking to go all-in on their online business, I’ll say that if you do want to leave before the consistent income is coming in, then trust me, you’re going to figure out how to bridge that gap. But if you want to wait, make sure you know your numbers. Know what it is you need at the minimum to get by, both your living expenses and your business expenses. And make sure you’re reaching your income goals on a consistent basis before you make that jump.
But most of all, do what works for YOU, rather than what society thinks that you should do.
JJ: You are not only the mastermind behind Quest for $47, but you’re also a blogger, content & mindset coach and a novelist! Holy Moly, you’re truly doing it all! Tell us what a day in your life looks like for you?
Roberts: One of my favorite things is that my days are never the same. I start off my week with a call with the mastermind I’m in, which is always a highlight. We had weekly calls for the first six months of the year, which were amazing, but in this half of the year, we do twice-weekly calls, which I love. These calls really help energize me and motivate me to take on my week.
Once I’m off that call, I put together my action plan for the week, and pretty much dive in, whether it’s content creation for my social media platforms, blogging, engaging with my audience and my Facebook community Content That Converts, which is all about allowing online business owners to collaborate, network, and stay accountable, or having 1-1 calls with my clients, who are driven and so in it to win it, it’s not even funny.
I usually spend my afternoons on the “light” things that I enjoy doing and are easy to do, because I’m not as focused on tackling big projects from after lunch to around dinner time. These days, I spend my afternoons writing, with the plan of diving back into that manuscript I wrote that led me out of my sports media career. I’m not going to lie, the family falling-out I went through in 2017 really traumatized me, and unfortunately a lot of that was connected to my willingness and ability to write fiction. Now though, I’m focusing basically on teaching myself to write fiction again, and then ultimately I’ll make some changes to my manuscript before going back out and finding an agent to represent my writing career.
The flexibility of being able to work when I want is one of the biggest perks to my business. I know that I work best in the evenings, so that’s when I do a lot of my work. If I have a big project, I’ll usually end up working on it after the sun goes down. I use my nightly live stream, 10 Minutes Before Dinner—where I hop on Facebook and Instagram live to talk all things business—as the marker in my evenings that I’m about to really get back to work.
And, of course, now that the 2019-2020 college sports season is kicking back into gear, I’m getting ready to go back to working select sporting events and doing stats, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I’m so lucky that Arizona State University still allows me to come back and play in their sandbox, even though I don’t work for them full-time anymore.
JJ: What are three mindset shifts you think are absolutely essential to anyone looking to start their own online business?
Roberts: First and foremost, you need to have the most aggressive success mindset possible. You have to know, in your heart, that no matter what, you are going to be successful. I tell myself all the time that success is my ONLY option, because it is. In fact, I have it written on a piece of paper taped to the wall behind my desk, so I see it every day. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m successful today or a week or a month from today, I KNOW I am going to be successful no matter what.
The second is that you have to stop thinking of yourself as a beginner. Even though you’re doing something new in starting a business, with no followers and no audience and very few leads, you’re not new at what you’re doing. So often, I see new entrepreneurs and online business owners undervalue themselves and their offerings because it’s a “new business” and they don’t think they’re worthy of charging premium prices. If you want to grow and grow quickly, you must know that you have years of experience backing you up, but now, with your online business, you’re actually being paid what you’re worth to do it.
Third, you cannot be afraid to invest in the education and mentorship you need to be successful. And yes, that may mean investing money you do not yet have in order to get to where you want to be. And it’s not about going into debt to start your business, it’s investing in your future, right now. When you are willing to do whatever it takes, including financially, you will be able to go very far, very quickly. I myself have invested a ton of money into education, mentorship, and even 1-1 coaching. It’s been the best and scariest decision I’ve ever made. I would not be where I am right now without those investments.
JJ: A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs are paralyzed by fear in getting started with launching their business idea. What advice would you give them in terms of overcoming the fear and gaining validation with their idea?
Roberts: Market research, market research, market research. Hands down. Determine who your ideal client is—or who you think your ideal client is, because that can and will evolve. Who are they? Where do they live, what do they love, what do they struggle with, what keeps them up at night? Create a clear picture of them in your mind, and then find out what they want.
Find out what your audience wants, because the last thing you want to do is create a business or a product, invest your time and effort into its creation, and find out that no one wants it.
Ask around. Your Facebook friends and family are a great place to start, because you never know which of your own friends is also your ideal client. Are you helping families to incorporate Judaism in their children’s everyday lives? Ask what parents are struggling with—maybe they do not have enough time in the day, or they do not have enough easily accessible resources, or they just don’t know where to start, etc.
Join Facebook communities created for your ideal client. I myself am in a ton of communities filled with my ideal client, and I ask for their advice and input all the time when I’m thinking about new products and services to create for my business.
And once you have an idea, just start. Take action. It’s never going to be perfect the first time around, but if you don’t at least try, you’re never going to be able to refine your offerings, your message, or even determine if your ideal client is exactly who you think it is. Implement your ideas. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but you’ll never know until you try. And if it does work? Then that’s even better. When it works, you get to refine your message even more and scale to find wherever else your ideal client is. But first, you have to try.
JJ: Our culture is obsessed with utilizing social platforms to showcase the hi-lights of our lives. When in reality, we are all dealing with our own struggles. Even the successful influencers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs who appear to lead “perfect” lives have all experienced failures that ultimately led them to success. What have been some of your failures, and how has it helped propel you towards success?
Roberts: I’ve had a ton of failures over the last few years, and I’m going to continue to have failures as I grow my business. While I know that taking the office job was what I thought I needed to do at the time, what I really needed to do was figure out what education I needed in order to create my business then. What about my mindset needed to change? What could I have done better after leaving ASU in order to not have to take that job?
I’ve had launches that failed, I’ve had days where I just wasn’t able to get to work because I was too overwhelmed, I’ve had projects that I started because I thought I needed to do them, but ultimately wasn’t aligned with, and I’ve had things that I haven’t done because I thought I had to wait.
All of my failures and missteps allow me to better educate my own audience, so they don’t have to take the same route I did. I’m all about giving my audience the straightest road map possible, so they can accelerate their path toward success. Obviously, no roadmap is without some twists and turns, but it’s my job to take the lessons I’ve learned in my own life and business and show my audience how to better handle them.
JJ; In one of your own Quest for $47 blog posts you talk about how perfection is the number one killer of online businesses or entrepreneurial activity. What are the specific mindset shifts or specific suggestions you have for releasing the idea of perfection?
Roberts: You have to remember that done is always better than perfect, and nothing is set in stone.
If you’re trying to build a business, you have to get your content out there before you think you’re ready, because you never know what is actually going to work for you and your business if you don’t try. Sure, you want to make sure that things are spelled right and that everything is working—if you’re offering a free PDF, you want to make sure that PDF actually delivers once someone signs up for it.
But above all else, it’s all about being consistent with your content. Consistency is so critical these days due to social media algorithms, which really love fresh content being released on a regular basis. When you’re consistent, it means you’re constantly coming up with new ideas, improving on your old ones, getting better, and growing. You’re reaching more people in your audience, finding out what they want, and then you get to create more based off that information. It’s an awesome growth cycle.
JJ: Let’s talk a bit about the business side of Quest for $47 to help provide insight and inspiration to future entrepreneurs. What tactics have you used to grow your audience and coaching clientele?
Roberts: First of all, growing your email list is the absolute most important thing you can do for your business. In fact, you don’t actually have an online business if you don’t have an email list. You can have thousands upon thousands of followers on social media, but without an email list, you’re really only reaching a fraction of them. Your email list is where you’re going to find most of your clients, make most of your sales and most importantly, find out what your audience needs and then go ahead and create those products and services.
Other than personal outreach and engagement with my audience, one of the best investments I have ever made in my business has been in running Facebook Ads. Sure, you can get some great organic traffic through focusing on SEO and creating high-quality images that lead to your content and email list on Pinterest, but Facebook Ads has really accelerated my growth faster than I have ever imagined.
The other thing I have used to grow my audience and my clientele is live video. Live video is critical. For people who are used to being behind the camera like I used to be, it’s important to get comfortable on camera, and especially in live video. It’s the best way to allow your audience to see who you are as the face of your business, because the age of buying into the faceless corporation is behind us. Live video allows your audience to get to know you better, and interact with you with the opportunity to get an instant response. That’s why I commit to going live every single weekday on my Facebook and Instagram pages in my live stream 10 Minutes Before Dinner.
JJ: A lot of aspiring bloggers are fearful in starting their blog because of the common conception that the space is overly saturated. What are your thoughts on this matter and what ways do you suggest aspiring bloggers can stand out from the crowd?
Roberts: The thing about creating a blog or online business is that it’s so important these days to remember that you have to have a very narrow niche in order to really stand out. Back in the day—and by that I mean the early 2000s—when blogging was new, it was very easy to find success with just a generic “lifestyle” type blog, where you could talk about whatever you want.
Now, it’s all about determining the narrowest niche possible. If you’re a yoga teacher, well, there are hundreds and thousands of yoga teachers out there, so it’s important to specialize your focus, like a prenatal yoga teacher for women in their first trimester. Or if you’re in the food niche, then focus on a type of food, like gluten-friendly recipes, or keto-friendly recipes, etc.
The more narrow you go, especially when you start, the more easily you will stand out, because people are going to start coming to you for that exact thing that they need, and they’re going to be more likely to stay interested in your content than someone who hops from topic to topic like on those really big lifestyle blogs that have been established for more than a decade.
I know that there are people out there who are multi-passionate, and you can be multi-passionate while finding success in the online space, you just have to start narrow, and then go broad once you’re more established. It takes time, but it takes less time when you have a narrower niche and then eventually expand to more related focuses.
JJ: Anything exciting coming up for Quest for $47 that you’d like to share with readers?
Roberts: I’ve been focusing a lot on the foundational these days, and through my research from my audience, I’ve know that it’s important for me to focus on creating products and services that allow my audience to start and build the foundation for their business the right way. As someone who did not do the right thing the first time around, I’m very passionate about teaching my audience the exact things that they need to start off and be successful without struggling.
I’m also in the very early stages of some challenges that are aimed at helping my audience get more comfortable in front of the camera, because it’s necessary for success. Going live on a consistent basis is something that has accelerated the growth of my business and cut down on some of those pesky growing pains.
JJ: We would like to leave readers with a little nugget of inspiration. What has been your greatest inspiration? Is there a particular quote, life motto or mentor you look up to that has given you unforgettable advice that you’d like to share?
Roberts: I would not be where I am now without my coach and mentor, Leah Gervais of Urban20Something.
A few months ago, I was struggling with reconciling my business growth with how fast I wanted to be growing, and she told me, “The middle stages of any and all businesses are messy as hell.” I know that, but at the time, I needed the reminder.
Everyone struggles to grow their business. It doesn’t always have to be hard, but you’re going to have moments where you feel like you’re not where you need to be. What she also told me is that I’m further ahead than I thought, and also that the best thing to do is to keep taking action. Keep creating content. Keep engaging with your audience. Keep learning. Keep developing your mindset.