Helping Her Husband Read Website Analytics Inspired Her New Venture
Kiley Vorreiter, 47
Usefullytics, a service that helps businesses create a confident content strategy and offers automated graphical web analytics reports, so website owners can understand and use their site data to hone their content strategy.
January 2016 (After Kiley spent two months crafting the vision and building the website.)
No. (Kiley still works full time for HomeAway as she grows Usefullytics.)
BEFORE BEING AN OWNER, SHE WAS
An English major, a substitute teacher, an office manager at a small business, and an SEO analyst, content writer and project manager for vacation rental site, HomeAway.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Kiley’s nine years of experience helping her HomeAway coworkers understand how web content was performing made her realize how overwhelming understanding and using the data to shape a content strategy is for many people. It was literally her full-time job, and one she suspected many small business owners wouldn’t have time, skills or desire to do. That was the case for her husband, who owns an executive coaching business, Reflective Spark. He was so impressed with the graphs she automated from his Google Analytics, he encouraged her to offer her services to others. It prompted her to build a one-page website and update her LinkedIn profile to reflect her new “side project.” Soon, a small-business owning acquaintance approached her and said, “I think you could help me.” Usefullytics had its first paid client, and Kiley said it gave her “a vision for what this could be beyond just a side project.”
HOW SHE DID — AND DIDN’T — SPEND HER MONEY
Usefullytics is entirely self-funded “on the cheap,” and Kiley says she doesn’t have plans to raise investments or borrow funds. Her biggest expense has been her website, hosted on Squarespace, and she’s holding off on buying some of the other paid online tools and software she’d like to have once she has more clients. In the meantime, she’s taking advantage of many of Google’s free tools and borrowing some of the video equipment her husband already owns for his coaching business.
Kiley said she had thoughts of getting out of online marketing all together, as she’d slowly lost momentum over nearly a decade in her corporate job. But the idea for Usefullytics, she said, “came out of the blue,” and the surprise is “how much fun I’m having and how much renewed energy I have for the topic.”
PROUDEST MOMENT SO FAR
Kiley had helped her first client create a strategy for the blog she had launched, which was thin on content and hadn’t gotten much attention yet. Kiley said she remembers the day her client told her about a new prospect who reached out because he had read some of the new blog posts and had been impressed. “I felt so good when my client told me ‘It’s because of you, Kiley!’ It was such a confirmation to me that what I’m saying really works!”
Another proud moment came three months after her business launch when Kiley had earned enough income to fund “a little business retreat.” She treated herself to a hotel room and spent some time alone planning, writing, and refining the Usefullytics content strategy.
SOMETHING SHE’S STRUGGLED WITH
Defining Usefullytics services and setting prices has been an evolving process, Kiley said. She first thought about charging a one-time, flat fee for a lifetime of analytics reports but then worried clients would shy away from a long-term commitment. “Plus, what if I’m not in business this time next year,” she said. “I didn’t want people to feel like they’d been cheated.”
She’s now decided to have clients pay by the month and has crafted packages with different price points. Customers can choose the service that’s the best value for them, and she won’t “try to give everybody everything.”
BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OWNING AND WORKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Kiley said she’s grateful for her remote working arrangement at HomeAway because it makes it so much easier to be a working mom. But she still has to be available at the times her company deems – which sometimes includes phoning in to early morning meetings to meet with global team members who are up to seven time zones away. Business ownership, she says, lets her plan her time the way she wants to.
“It’s not that the work is easier or the days are shorter or you have less work to do,” Kiley said. “You have more. Way more to do. It’s much tougher. Everything’s on your shoulders. And yet, that promise of ‘I am my own boss, and I don’t have a manager that I have to do this for’ … is so appealing and so worth it that you’re like ‘Okay, bring it on. Bring on the hard work.’ I’m happy to exchange one for the other.”
SOMETHING SHE WISHES SHE KNEW WHEN SHE STARTED
She spends so much time focused on improving her clients’ websites, Kiley says it’s easy to neglect her own. She realized that’s not a good thing because her site is often the first example of her work prospective clients see. She’s now making a conscious effort to “take her own advice” and walk herself through the same process she uses with her clients.
“I don’t think ‘the cobbler’s children have no shoes’ is a good excuse,” she said. “The cobbler’s children should have the best shoes in town.”
BEST ADVICE TO BUSINESS OWNERS JUST STARTING OUT
“I really think everyone should just start something,” Kiley said. “There’s so much to learn. It’s just so practical. You figure things out. You learn how to be resourceful. It’s some of the most valuable life experience you can have. So my advice is to do it…”
“Start something, play around with it, see where it goes. Whether or not that idea is the one that takes root and lasts, it’s the experience of planning it out and trying it and launching it, and putting yourself out there and feeling vulnerable. It’s waking up in the morning and feeling like ‘I’m on top of the world!’ and going to bed at night and feeling like ‘I’m an idiot! I know nothing. Why am I doing this? Nobody wants this.’ And then being able to talk yourself into ‘Nope, we’re doing this. We’re going to suspend judgment and keep going.”
RELATED: Kiley shares a few tricks to help business owners take the fear out of reading web analytics.