067: Aged 34 & 5 months pregnant, in 2009 quit cushy corporate job for greater flexibility. 2 years in, dropped all clients to focus on mentoring, memberships and online courses. 1 FTE to 3, just cracked $1m sales p.a. and 75% net profit (Kate Toon)

australia fte 1-5 podcast sales $0.5m-$1m aud technology Dec 30, 2020

In this episode, I interview Kate Toon, an award-winning SEO copywriter and SEO consultant and speaker with over two decades of experience in all things advertising, digital, and writing. She has worked with big brands such as Sanitarium, eHarmony, Curash, and Kmart. She has helped countless small businesses produce great content and improve their copywriting and SEO. She’s also the founder of The Clever Copywriting School and The Recipe for SEO Success eCourse, as well as a co-host on the Hot Copy Podcast.

In 2009, five months pregnant and aged 34, Kate quit a corporate communication job for more flexibility with her own business. The business focuses on digital education, SEO, copywriting and mentoring. Over 10,000 people have been through her online courses and currently have 600 paying members. 2 years in, she dropped all her clients to focus on mentoring, courses, and an annual conference. In 2013, she earned $150,000, and in 2018 she hit $500,000 then $1 Million in 2020 with 75% net profit. 

She started out the business with one full-time employee and now has three. Kate has consistently bootstrapped the business, growing it purely from profits. She felt she had succeeded when she was on stage at her own conference (CopyCon) looking down at the 200 attendees. She says the hardest thing about growing a small business is motivation and that the one thing she would tell herself on day one of starting out in business is, “Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just get on with it” Stay tuned to enjoy and learn from Kate’s small business ownership journey.

This Cast Covers:

  • Her backstory and the different revenue streams that keep her business running sustainably. 
  • Serving small businesses, service providers, and eCommerce store owners.
  • Moving from a successful advertising career to starting her own “Jill of all trades” business
  • Becoming one of the best-known copywriters in Sydney and pivoting into doing workshops and courses.
  • How her transition to passive income was like.
  • The beauty of being the creative director in her business rather than just the CEO.
  • Where SEO is at the moment: Is it still relevant?
  • Funding the business with nothing but herself.
  • Learning the importance of working on herself to overcome impostor syndrome and other things that deterred her from focusing on her customers.
  • Overcoming procrastination and doing more creative work.
  • The benefits of getting into an abundance mindset.
  • Why having employees is just not her thing and how outsourcing helps with that.
  • Building a great community of customers by keeping them engaged and facilitating conversations.
  • Continuously working on achieving some work/life balance and learning from her customers.

Additional Resources:



“Conversational search is becoming the way to go” – Kate Toon

“Talking like your audience is going to be the big thing” – Kate Toon

“You must go and sit on your desk every day and do the work whether there is work to do ” – Kate Toon

“You gotta micromanage people for the first three months and then you gotta let them go and just let them be and that’s how they shine, and if they don’t shine, you gotta be quick to get rid of them” – Kate Toon

“Hero other people, let them be the voice of your business, and trust the flow” – Kate Toon

“Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just get on with what you want to do yourself” – Kate Toon


Music from https://filmmusic.io “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/