Ask Our Founder! With Kelsey
Here is where you’ll get to know our hardworking and extremely talented founder of Wild Side®, Kelsey! Now that the Wild Side® team is growing, we wanted to pick Kelsey’s brain while also sharing the fun details with you all here!
So join us, as we ask Kelsey all the hard-hitting questions about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur like herself! But stay tuned, because we’ll be slowly adding to the list, as more questions pop into our minds for her to answer!
1. How did you learn all of your creative technical skills?
Basically, Google haha it’s amazing how much information you can find online with just a few clicks! When I wanted to learn how to do something, I’d search primarily Google and Youtube, read blog articles and then try my hand to see if I could make it work. The fastest way to learn was through doing!
For example, when I was learning how to code HTML and CSS to build WordPress websites, I would just open up the page inspector (right click > inspect on any webpage) and play around with the code on the page to see what changed. For specific changes, I would literally type into Google “how to align content to the left within a <div>” or something along those lines and browse through the forums on Stack Overflow until I found a solution that worked. I still use this method all the time when I find something I don’t know how to do.
For design, as in the Adobe Suite, I watched a couple beginner tutorials on Lynda.com (which I got free access through my hometown’s public library) and then really learned again by just playing around with the tools! I used to go on 99Designs and those other logo design sites just to practice designing logos. I think I did around 100 logos in 2 weeks, and only made around $50, but it was a super crash course in design and technical skills!
Google has and always will be my #1 teacher! When I was starting I didn’t have a boss or a mentor to ask questions, so I was pretty much on my own to figure things out! I would have a client come and say, hey we want to build out XYZ, can you do that? And I’d say yeah, absolutely! And then would spend all night long looking up how to do it on Google because not delivering wasn’t an option. When you’re really in a pinch with no backup, you’d be amazed at how quickly and how willingly you learn!
I find that you learn SO much faster by doing than by watching, and there’s really no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and trying it out for yourself!
2. How did you come up with the name Wild Side®, and how long did it take you to decide on it?
Well, trading college for a 1-way ticket to Brazil at 18 was a pretty wild decision for me (and for everyone else I knew!), pretty reckless/rebellious depending on how you look at it. I considered myself for the first time to be really walking on the wild side of life, and that inspired me to name the agency. People ask if it’s because of the Lou Reed song, but actually the expression “take a walk on the wild side” has been around way before that song came about, which I think added a lot of muddling to the cultural perception of the phrase.
For me, it just means doing something different, something original to yourself. Wild to me means untamed, untainted by society and external pressure. When we see wild animals, they are just enacting their nature – they’re not domesticated to our human society and expectations. I liked the overall message that had when it came to branding, of embracing the “wild” nature or essence within each brand, the unique truth that each person has within them. And it also matched up really well with the Explorer x Mage archetype combo that makes up our brand.
It took me less than a day from the time I realized I wanted to create a niche agency for women entrepreneurs to come up with the name. It just felt right!
3. What was the worst advice you received while starting your business?
Hmm that’s a tough one haha I feel like I didn’t seek out a lot of advice in the beginning because I was super stubborn about doing things on my own! And I was also very careful about only accepting advice from people who were further along in business, more successful in my industry and not just someone claiming to be an expert or coach without any experience in the field. I’m super skeptical about advice in general, especially from underqualified people! Even today with all my agency experience I still consider myself underqualified to give advice on most subjects. It’s difficult to find a TRUE expert nowadays with all the noise, and the real ones are expensive because they know the kind of results they can get for people (and how much those results are worth!)
There were definitely people who would tell me that I needed to be doing something that I wasn’t or that I shouldn’t be so specific with my marketing. I think maybe the most costly advice was to switch from Pinterest ads to Facebook ads – I burned through a lot of ad money that I can never get back, and if I could go back I would have invested it all into Pinterest instead, which was giving me so much better returns at the time (and still does, honestly).
I hope that learning about my journey to creating Wild Side® can give you the courage and inspiration you need to start something of your own!