On the Spotlight on eWomenNetwork Podcast, Kathleen Gage shares her amazing story of transformation from a down-and-out drug addict to best-selling author and marathon runner at the age of 61! Kathleen is a visibility expert who will offer 3 simple, no-cost steps to boost visibility and your business.
Watch the video, read the transcript below or click here to listen to the Spotlight on eWomenNetwork Podcast interview at eWNPodcastNetwork.com.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Hello and welcome to Spotlight on eWomenNetwork. I’m Phyllis Smith. Are you feeling like you are spinning your wheels, working your butt off, and getting nowhere? One of your problems could be that you need visibility. Today’s guest is an expert at that, especially in today’s world where everything is online. That’s really her area of expertise and her name is Kathleen Gage. She has a juicy transformation story about her own life that she is going to share as well. Kathleen, welcome to Spotlight on eWomenNetwork.
KATHLEEN GAGE: Phyllis, it is great to be here.
PHYLLIS SMITH: You do have a quite a story. Right now, you are living this wonderful life, you live in a beautiful area of Oregon, you have a menagerie of animals, you are healthy, you have run a marathon, you have pride in your work, and you are married to a wonderful woman. This has not always been that way and my question to you is give us a little clue into your interesting life and the transformation that’s taken place for you.
KATHLEEN GAGE: You know, it’s so interesting because when you say, “my very interesting life”, sometimes I forget about the journey that I have taken, and I take for granted that this is the way it always has been. In reality, it hasn’t always been this way. You are right, I live a nice life today. I have some acreage in Oregon, we do have our animals, and I love my business and clients I work with.
At one point in my life, primarily in my late teens and early twenties, I started getting involved with a group of people that took me down a dark path. I got involved in drugs and alcohol, I ended up on the streets, yada yada yada. I’m not the only one who has been through this, but again sometimes I forget where I ended up. What I realized, was it was through the choices that I made that I ended up in a dark place. It is through the choices I make daily that I live the life that I live. It is quite simple but not always easy. I think the distinction is there is a difference between simple and easy. I have been sober for 34 years now. I really must give credit to that for the life I live today and not forget where I was at one point in life.
The Hardest Time of My Life
PHYLLIS SMITH: Having been on the streets, that’s tough, would you consider that time in your life the greatest challenge or has there been others? Was that the most difficult thing you had to overcome?
KATHLEEN GAGE: No. At the time it seemed like it and yeah as my life really started turning around the most challenging thing I went through was the loss of both my parents. My dad passed in 2009 and my mom passed in 2011. They had been married nearly 61 years. To lose a parent and be there to watch them go through their demise and really be committed to do everything possible to make sure their last days were as pleasurable and loving as possible.
I was my mom’s caretaker for a couple of years. During that time, I wasn’t exercising, I was eating unhealthily, I gained a lot of weight, and I was about 50 pounds heavier than I am now. At that time, it wasn’t an easy time and, yet I knew that time would pass and I didn’t want to have any regrets. I would say the most difficult thing in my life was losing my parents.
PHYLLIS SMITH: That’s a profound loss that you are experiencing. One was overcoming the choices and the habits that you had chosen overtime and the other one was overcoming a profound loss. Is there one secret/thing you can say that helps us get through these kinds of dark challenges and difficult times in our life?
KATHLEEN GAGE: That is such a great question Phyllis and yes, I believe for me what I’ve learned in life is this to shall pass. Whatever it is we are going through is going to pass, the good times and the bad times. I think a lot of times people think when they are on the upswing and everything is going great, it’s going to last. Well, it is going to pass and there is going to be other challenges in life. For me it is realizing that, this too shall pass. Today is the only day that we have. Live fully and live as if today is the only day, but with the thought in mind that we will be here tomorrow so that you have accountability in the behaviors and the actions that you take.
Live fully and live as if today is the only day, but with the thought in mind that we will be here tomorrow so that you have accountability in the behaviors and the actions that you take.
Survival to Success
PHYLLIS SMITH: You speak like a woman who knows her stuff. You have it together. I want to go back a moment from the time that you were on the streets and living a far different life. Was there a turning point or one thing that took you from that survival state to one of success?
KATHLEEN GAGE: One is to really look at my definition of success because at one point in my life success was about the material things, and I have to say I live a comfortable life today. There is an element of the material that defines my success, but really it was realizing that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was sick and tired of living the life I was living and fortunately I hooked up with some people that guided me to a better place.
I remember early on when I made the decision to let go of drinking and it wasn’t an easy decision. I mean it was like I was so used to that and I had a mentor who said, “That you’re the reason that your life is where it is at.” and, I said, “You don’t understand it had to do with this and it had to do with that and it had to do with this.” and it goes on. She then said, “You don’t understand. Your attitude sucks and you need to change the way you look at life.” That really was a turning a point for me when somebody was willing to call me on my stuff.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Would you have considered yourself an alcoholic?
KATHLEEN GAGE: Yes. There’s no doubt about it because if I ever forget that then it would be that much easier for me to say, “Oh, one drink wouldn’t hurt.” I’m not saying this is for anybody else but for me. I know one drink would hurt.
PHYLLIS SMITH: When you lost both your parents close to each other, is that feeling always there? That kind of alcohol addiction feeling of wanting to stuff it down with something so that you don’t have to feel?
KATHLEEN GAGE: Yes. In knowing that, then I can make different choices because alcohol is not an option for me, drugs are not an option for me, and food is an option. I’m not a chocoholic. Food is the one thing I can turn to and it’s more socially acceptable than a lot of things and I know that I can make different choices. I can say just for today I’m going to behave this way rather than that way.
From Addict to Author
PHYLLIS SMITH: Moving on from that you’re here, you are a confident, strong, and magnificent lady. You’ve written 2 books; did you write more than 1 book?
KATHLEEN GAGE: Actually, I have.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Here’s one.
KATHLEEN GAGE: Yeah, I’ve written 4 books. I’ve co-authored probably a dozen books. I’ve written hundreds of articles. Writing is one of my sweet spots.
PHYLLIS SMITH: I have one of your books here and you’ve also recently written a memoir.
KATHLEEN GAGE: I’m in the middle of the memoir. It’s at the editor’s office right now. I must tell you that’s a whole different process than writing a business book or a spiritual book. A memoir, especially if you’re going into a dark place of a story you’re sharing, and mine happens to be about drug and alcohol abuse, where it ended me up, the people I hooked up with, and where the turning point was. For me, it made me feel very vulnerable, brought up a lot of emotions, and it made me realize how far I’d come in life. There was a part of me that thought, “Why am I even doing this? Why would I want to share that part of my life?” With the people I’ve shared it with, my colleagues and my friends who know my full story, they’re saying, “You have to tell your full story because what that will do is it will show people no matter where you ended up you don’t have to stay there.”
Law of Attraction
PHYLLIS SMITH: Easier said than done. Right? It’s really giving when you write a memoir, you dive deep into your past, and you remind yourself of things you wish you didn’t have to remember. You are in a place of giving and that is almost a sacrifice. So, thank you for that and I look forward to reading it.
You write many blogs too. You are a great writer. You wrote a blog for us, for eWomenNetwork, How I Turned My Big Hairy Audacious Goal into Reality and one of the things was writing your memoir. You said, “Your secret to achieving your goals is to see ourselves in possession of something long before we actually possess the thing.” How does that work?
KATHLEEN GAGE: Did I say that? That’s pretty profound.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Isn’t it brilliant?
KATHLEEN GAGE: It’s so interesting because I enjoy the teachings of Abraham, Law of Attraction, and there’s one teaching about getting a big box and putting in the box pictures and clippings of things that you want. This works on a self-conscious level of affirming the life that you want to live.
A great example is the place that Karen and I have now, we lived in Utah, we’ve been together for 28 years and lived in Utah for 15 years and we knew that eventually we were going to move to an area where we could buy some land and it didn’t snow as much. So, we had a real clear vision of where we wanted to go. What we did is we got magazines and we clipped out pictures of a farm house, horses, the kind of clothes we wanted to wear and basically created this vision board of what we wanted. We would look at that everyday and affirm that that’s the life we were moving toward, and it manifested. It’s not just thinking about what you want, it’s taking the action, you must do the footwork, but you really do have to see yourself in possession.
It’s like when I did my first marathon. I’ve done 2 full marathons, I’ve done several halves, I do a lot of 5k’s and 10k’s, and I started at the age of 61. It was like, “Well, what can I do today? Oh, sign up for a marathon.” When I trained for my first one I had to really see myself crossing the finish line because when I did the first one, mile 16 was tough, mile 19 was grueling, mile 22 was awful and I had to hold on to the vision of crossing the finish line. Now, I hold the distinction of being the very last person in for 2015 Eugene Marathon, but I crossed the finish line. Had I not held onto that vision I would’ve given up.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Wow! I love that. The very last person, but you made it. That feeling, that accomplishment – can you put into words what that feels like?
KATHLEEN GAGE: It is a personal accomplishment and it’s a sense of fulfillment and when I was out runnin’ and gunnin’ in my earlier days I never followed through on the things that I said I was going to do. I was always talking about the things I was going to do, but I never accomplished them. Today my word is the most important thing that I have. It’s all about integrity. I made a public announcement and I was using the marathon to raise funds for rescue animals. I had put it out to my community that I was going to finish this marathon and that stayed with me. It was like you told people you were going to do this. You can’t let them down. You must keep going. It was also on Mother’s Day and I was remembering my mother. So, it was a tribute to my mother too.
Today my word is the most important thing that I have. It’s all about integrity.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Kathleen, one of your areas of expertise, besides online marketing, is working with entrepreneurs who want to quit playing small. Why is this so important for you to be doing this and why is it that entrepreneurs play small?
KATHLEEN GAGE: One of the reasons it is so important for me to do this Phyllis, is that I work with conscious entrepreneurs who are wanting to make a difference in the lives of their clients and they want to make a difference in the world, however big their world is. If you look at the situations going on day in and day out. There’s so much tragedy in the world today that if you have something that’s going to help people, heal people, give them a better quality of life, and that’s going to make it possible for them to contribute to the wellbeing of their community. They owe it to themselves and their market to get out as much as possible. To do as much as possible to make the changes they say they are here to make.
I have one client, a gentleman who’s 87 years old, and he holds the distinction of creating the Chatty Kathy doll voice box. He was the inventor of that. He also worked on the first Lunar Landing getting the astronauts on wherever they “lune” I guess. His whole deal today at 87 years old is teaching people how to be happy. He’s also a family therapist. The guy is phenomenal! He’s brilliant beyond compare! His whole deal right now is teaching people simple tools to live a life of happiness. I said, “Dave, what drives you?” He said, “What drives me, is life is to short not to be happy.” For him he’s doing whatever he can. He hired me to get visibility. So, we’re doing radio interviews, we updated his branding, and really making it so that we can get his messaging out in a big way. There’s no time to waste! Especially, at 87 years old. Although, the guy will probably live past a hundred. Phenomenal, phenomenal man!
PHYLLIS SMITH: Amazing! It is about visibility. You cannot hide if you want to get out there. In this world where everything is online you must stand out online, but it’s more than standing out online. As you said you’re getting radio interviews. It’s a combination of public relations, speaking, radio, and more. Correct?
KATHLEEN GAGE: Absolutely! You have your core message of what you want to get out to the market, but it’s like a wheel where you have a lot of spokes. All those spokes lead to the core message and it’s through article marketing, blogging, and interviews like this. You are giving me the opportunity to get my message out to a whole new market.
When I hear of blog opportunities that fit within my wheel house I immediately jump on it. I don’t sit and think about it. Here’s the opportunity and I take it. It doesn’t mean I’ll be accepted for the opportunity, but at least I’m taking the action of doing the footwork.
This is what I teach my clients. When there is an opportunity, first you must be prepared for that opportunity. Luck has been described as opportunity and preparedness meeting. If the opportunity presents itself and you are not prepared you are going to miss that opportunity. If you are prepared and you have a foundation, then you will probably have that opportunity.
3 No-Cost Ways to Boost Visibility and Your Business
PHYLLIS SMITH: You say in your book, Power of Profits: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Online Marketing, that the more visibility you have the more doors open. That sounds obvious. There are 3 specific ways that you advise people how an expert can gain visibility. What are those 3 ways?
Find influencers you want attention from and follow them on Twitter. Re-tweet and comment on their posts.
2. Do Radio/Podcast Interviews
Prepare in advance - be sure to create a one-sheet on yourself, an intro to you for the Host and provide questions for the Host to ask you.
Write your own blog that is purely content-driven and look for guest blogging opportunities.
KATHLEEN GAGE: . One is a big tip that can really get you some traction. On twitter find influencers that you want to follow and get attention from, follow them and comment on their tweets. I’ll tell you the people I follow. Cher, I commented on something Cher said recently and I’ll tell you what there was a whole firestorm because I disagreed with something she said, and I love Cher. I’ve been a fan of hers for years, but she said something, and it had to do with all the sexual harassment going on these days and she said something about, “Well, why don’t we hear about women? Women don’t do that blah blah blah. I said, “Oh yeah women do. There’s school teachers and on and on.” I had a different point of view and you would’ve thought it was the worst thing that I have done, but it created controversy and controversy can be good. Then there were other things about Sher that I agreed with what she said.
I also follow Bette Midler, Cheryl Strayed, and there are many of them that I retweet and comment on their tweets. That will get you noticed by that person. That’s one way to gain visibility.
Another way to gain visibility is to do radio interviews. There’s plenty of opportunity for radio interviews, but what you need is a Speaker One Sheet, an Expert One Sheet (there one and the same actually), a short introduction, and you need to have some questions that the person who is going to interview you might be able to use. That’s the preparedness part.
Then looking for those opportunities. Ways to find the opportunities is people who have a similar market reach as you. Do a google search on radio interviews that they’ve done. Then contact the host of the show and say, “Hey, I noticed that you interviewed Cheryl Strayed – ” This is what I’m going to do with my memoir because my memoir if you want to know is a cross between Wild and Fifty Shades of Grey and I’ll leave it at that. Anything that fits within that realm I’m going to be looking for opportunities and contacting the show host. That’s another one.
Another opportunity to gain visibility is your own blog and make your blog posts really content driven as well as looking for guest blogging opportunities as there’s plenty of those out there.
When people say, “Oh, there’s no opportunity. I don’t know what to do.” I just gave you 3 powerful strategies. This is what my clients pay me a lot of money to tell them. I tell them over and over, “Okay. Have you gone out and look for those opportunities?”
Another thing you want to avoid is undercutting your prices? Are you working way to hard for way too little? You can increase your fees to get a higher quality client and not have to work so hard so that you could put time into those visibility opportunities.
Look for Opportunities
PHYLLIS SMITH: Good for you. Look for opportunities, blog content, and I want to say also about blogging. I love blogging, but it’s important there is a strategy around blogging in that it’s not throwing up a bunch of text. I would advise people to hire you or you can do some Google searches on best practices, because it’s important to have certain headlines, pictures and be aesthetically pleasing as well. Those are some of the things you can do. Right? Then you link your picture, you must name them and use alternate text for your pictures. There is a method to gain SEO because otherwise you could be writing something, and nobody is reading it. Let’s face it folks, if you want visibility you have to work for it. Am I right?
KATHLEEN GAGE: One thing about when you blog, I have 2 blogs, I have TheMarketingMindset.com and PassionForThriving.com. The Marketing Mindset is pretty much focused on the experts who write books who want to get visibility and they want to know how to market. Passion for Thriving is really for older women, and by older, I mean 50+, and that want to live a life with a lot of juice. With every blog post that I do I make sure it goes on Twitter, it goes on groups in Facebook that are specific to the blog post, I put it on LinkedIn if it’s appropriate, and I send it out to my list. I really give it the push to get some visibility. It’s not about being a stagnant post. It’s about being very robust and viral.
PHYLLIS SMITH: You can’t be shy. Folks don’t be shy. You have this magnificent message and you want to change the world or at least your community. So, let’s start with your blog. The point is you must get the word out. If you’re working in your house and writing your blog, you must get outside the door.
KATHLEEN GAGE: Can I give another little tip of something I did recently?
PHYLLIS SMITH: Yes. Go.
KATHLEEN GAGE: In my local community I’m looking to work with companies that are involved with health and fitness. I go to 2 gyms. I go to a gym to do my regular workouts and then I have gym where I have a weight lifting trainer. They had an annual party recently and I went up to the owner and said, “You know, you need to do a media release about this because you could get some great coverage for your business.” He goes, “Ah, I just don’t have time.” I said, “I’ll tell you what. Let me gift that to you. I will write a media release and send it out to the media.” I immediately sent it out to him and said, “Give me your thumbs up and I’ll send it out to the local media.” This was just a few days ago so we don’t know what the result will be, but I made sure it went to the right editors for the local publications, the news channels, and all of that. What I’m hoping will happen is that he gets a story out of it or at least a good mention and I can use that as the fuel to open up other opportunities. Sometimes, you must get out there and take the action and use that as a springboard to what comes next. Don’t sit by and wait for opportunity to show up at your doorstep. Go out and create that opportunity. That’s the bottom line.
PHYLLIS SMITH: My background is in television, radio, and news and having been a reporter, a producer, and an assignment editor. You name it, I did it. Albeit, more in the news business. I would’ve been the one that you’d be sending the press release to. It’s very important when you write a media release, or someone writes it for you that you tell a story. You want a story that’s relevant. You don’t want to write something that’s like, “Oh, I have a new business, or I have a new book out.” This is great but how is that book relevant to something that’s going on in the world, the community, or where you are putting that out. It’s important that you have a good hook. Right? Otherwise, that media release goes in the trash or gets the delete button.
What Holds Women Back?
One of the things Kathleen, you also talk about even in writing this book, Power Up for Profits: The The Smart Woman’s Guide to Online Marketing, you say that for women entrepreneurs for some reason they tend to hold themselves back. Why do you think they do that instead of playing full out?
KATHLEEN GAGE: Girls should be seen and not heard. That was something that a lot of us where taught in childhood and carried into adulthood. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgement, and I will tell you the bigger you get or the more visible you get the more you’re going to be judged.
When I had an opposing point of view from Sher people attacked me and then suddenly I’m involved in these conversations that had nothing to do with my original comment. I would write back to people and say, “What does that have to do with me as I didn’t even form an opinion on that?” So, I had to be prepared for that kind of backlash. The thing that people need to realize is if you believe in something enough you are willing to get those broad shoulders to weather the storm if you will. Because you will get judged and some people say well I don’t want to be judged. No matter what you do, no matter what it is you’re going to be judged. You may as well be judged for something you believe in.
PHYLLIS SMITH: I love it Kathleen, we’ve ran out of time. Can we sum this up with one piece of advice people can do today to start gaining more visibility?
KATHLEEN GAGE: That’s a great question. I would say the number one thing people can do to get more visibility is make a commitment to it. When Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen had their first book published they submitted everyday requests for interviews to at least 5 shows. 5 shows a day was the minimum and at the end of the year that was over 1500 requests and it just started snow balling. Be willing to take the action and make the commitment. That would be my recommendation.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Beautiful! Kathleen Gage, if you want to reach out to Kathleen, PowerUpforProfits.com is her website. You can reach out to her there. Thank you, Kathleen, for your time and wisdom, for sharing all the success that you’ve had, and inspiring us as well to plow through, fight through, overcome the challenges and you’ll get through to the other side.
KATHLEEN GAGE: Thank you, Phyllis! It’s been great!