How Writing About My Ardour Turned Into A Profitable Enterprise –


Hey! Who’re you and what enterprise did you begin?

Hello everybody! My title is Katie, however many know me higher as The Woman with the Tree Tattoo. I’m an newbie ballroom dancer and author with a day job and two fur infants (it’s as fulfilling as it’s exhausting).

The Woman with the Tree Tattoo began out as a easy weblog, used as a private artistic outlet and a approach to course of my experiences as a ballroom dancer. It has turn into a supply of inspiration and steering for ballroom dancers, each newbie {and professional}, world wide. In case you’re questioning, the title was impressed by my full-back tree tattoo, which I proudly show at ballroom competitions, regardless of it being taboo.

Past the weblog, I’ve authored three books. The primary two are digital, quick reads: Dance Diaries: Studying Ballroom Dance and Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting. My third and signature provide is The Solo Apply Information for Ballroom Dancers, a information to assist ballroom dance college students construct an efficient routine for working towards on their very own that matches their life. Grownup ballroom dance college students are my major viewers, and my writing all the time goals to shine a lightweight on the challenges all of us face however are hardly ever mentioned overtly.


I all the time dreamt about being a paid writer (or extra secretly, a dancer). Whereas my day jobs have all the time been set within the environmental science area, The Woman with the Tree Tattoo model has given me the chance to include each my passions, make a distinction within the lives of others and receives a commission to be who I actually am.


What’s your backstory and the way did you give you the concept?

After I was 6 and seven years outdated, I took jazz, faucet and ballet courses and even carried out on stage. My roles included a sailor on the nice ship Lollipop, a California Raisin, and Flounder within the Little Mermaid. I used to be extraordinarily shy, however I cherished dancing with all my being. Then after I was 8, my household moved throughout the nation. When requested, I instructed my mom I didn’t need to preserve dancing. The reality was I used to be too scared to start out at a brand new studio. The following dance studio I’d stroll into can be a ballroom studio, twenty years later.

Your mindset goes to play such an enormous position in rising what you are promoting, a lot greater than your programs or aesthetics. Your mind needs to maintain you protected, so it should attempt to trick you into not taking motion as a result of entrepreneurship is a dangerous factor!

It didn’t take lengthy for me to get hooked on ballroom dancing. A former colleague launched me to the ballroom studio I nonetheless practice at right now. I began by going to their month-to-month apply events and attending group courses, whereas I devised a plan to suit the expensive personal classes into my paycheck-to-paycheck way of life.

I began common classes in December 2012. In 2014, I entered my first ballroom competitors as a pro-am pupil, which means I danced with my instructor as my associate. I did properly from the start, all the time putting within the prime 3 and most frequently successful 1st or 2nd place.


The journey wasn’t straightforward, nonetheless. It was troublesome to really feel like I belonged within the ballroom world after I may barely afford one to 2 classes every week and others have been taking 5 – 6. I rented a used costume for competitions whereas others appeared in new, customized designs at each occasion. My monetary challenges ate into my self-confidence about changing into the dancer I dreamt of being.


I used The Woman with the Tree Tattoo weblog to specific and course of my inside struggles with this ardour. Different dancers started to touch upon posts or e mail me on to thank me for being so open and trustworthy. They thought they have been the one ones battling the problems I mentioned.

I noticed there was a spot in our ballroom coaching. Our lecturers couldn’t actually perceive what we have been going by as a result of most of them had been dancing their whole lives. Studying ballroom dance as an grownup was a totally totally different expertise with its personal set of challenges, however nobody was speaking about them.

This realization ultimately led to the publication of my first guide, Dance Diaries: Studying Ballroom Dance – What I Want I Had Recognized in 2016. It was shortly adopted by Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting – How I Afford to Dance, for the reason that dance funds was a very sizzling subject amongst my followers.


At this level, I used to be severe about my dancing however not but absolutely dedicated to constructing a model and enterprise round my writing about dancing. The 2 Dance Diaries ebooks have been priced extraordinarily low at $5 and $6. It wasn’t till 2017 that the catalyst for my third guide and signature provide would seem.

Take us by the method of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

My third and ultimate competitors of 2017 was the Embassy Ballroom Championships, host of the World Championships. I used to be feeling good and when it got here time for the occasion that will decide the World Champion of my division, I used to be constructive I danced my very best.

A very powerful factor I’ve carried out is acknowledge what works for my viewers specifically as an alternative of taking a look at broader advertising and marketing methods or leaping on the brand new sizzling factor to draw prospects.

I ended up putting fifth out of seven {couples}, my lowest placement ever. I used to be crushed. How may I’ve danced my finest and positioned my worst? My ego took a significant blow, and I questioned whether or not I used to be even a great dancer or simply obtained fortunate all these years. Whereas I used to be throwing a mini tantrum throughout a dance lesson post-Embassy, one other instructor made a harsh however legitimate remark. He requested if I knew all of my routines to the purpose I may dance them alone. No, not 100%, I replied. He responded that if I had recognized them 100%, perhaps I’d have positioned higher.

Ballroom dancing entails numerous nonverbal associate communication, often called lead and observe. One individual cues the opposite individual what step they’re going to do subsequent in a particular course and particular timing. For competitors, despite the fact that you don’t know what music shall be performed, it’s frequent to choreograph a particular routine for every dance (i.e. Waltz, Tango, Cha Cha, and so forth.) as a result of the timing of the dance is all the time the identical. I play the observe position within the partnership and whereas I want to attend for my lead’s cue when dancing, realizing what’s coming takes a number of the stress out of the equation and permits us to carry out extra absolutely.

So sure, realizing my routines 100% would have helped me at Embassy. I used to be nonetheless residing on a strict funds with a view to practice as a dancer although, so I couldn’t afford to take further classes to apply with my instructor. Working towards alone was the one a part of my coaching the place I may add extra time with out including extra expense. I had been working towards up thus far, but it surely was disorganized. I grew to become obsessive about constructing a framework round my solo apply that wouldn’t require me to maneuver into the dance studio to coach hours day-after-day however would nonetheless be extremely efficient.

The results of that work was an unlimited enchancment in my dancing over a really quick time interval. Not solely did I do know my routines higher, my approach improved, however my reference to my instructor was additionally stronger, and I had extra confidence in myself. I felt like I had unlocked the key to succeeding as a aggressive dancer who nonetheless had a full life outdoors of ballroom.

I knew my solo apply framework was the following factor to share with my viewers. They have been devoted dancers on restricted budgets, so they might respect being proven tips on how to successfully take possession of their dance coaching. I labored with a graphic designer to create a free, downloadable Solo Apply worksheet, asking just for e mail addresses in alternate so I may begin constructing an curiosity record for the total Solo Apply Information for Ballroom Dancing.

Describe the method of launching the enterprise.

After releasing the Solo Apply Worksheet, I started working on the total information. I used to be in a bunch teaching container for entrepreneurs at this level, and my launch coach identified that I didn’t have to work without cost whereas I developed this provide. I may make the most of a paid beta group. They might get early entry to the content material at a reduced worth, whereas I’d get suggestions earlier than formally releasing my product. I invited my e mail record of simply over 100 individuals to hitch the beta group, and the ten out there spots offered out in every week.

The beta group proved helpful in conserving me accountable as properly. Over six weeks, I wrote six chapters and launched them one per week to the group. I needed to sit my butt down after the day job or a dance lesson and get the writing carried out as a result of individuals have been anticipating to obtain what they’d paid for! It eradicated the temptation to procrastinate or overthink what I needed to write down.

As soon as the beta assessment was carried out and I had an out of doors editor assessment your entire ultimate textual content, I used to be able to formally launch The Solo Apply Information for Ballroom Dancing! I shaped a launch group, once more inviting individuals from my e mail record to hitch. They might get early entry to the completed guide and the chance to earn commissions as an affiliate. I had 9 individuals be a part of, along with those that opted in from the beta group.

The precise launch went “ok.” I did a preorder launch, hoping to promote sufficient to cowl the price of printing the primary batch of 100 laborious copies. I offered 11 books, about half of my minimal purpose. Trying again, I see what I may have carried out in a different way. Working with such a small record, I exhausted my potential consumers earlier than the Information was even out there for preorder with filling the beta group, making a launch group ready record, after which inviting individuals to purchase into the precise launch group. Almost everybody who was going to purchase on the record had already purchased by the point The Solo Apply Information formally “launched.” Specializing in only a beta group after which preorders would have yielded higher outcomes with fewer sources. If I take a look at the broader view nonetheless, from beta group to preorder launch, the gross sales conversion price was wonderful – 30 gross sales from an inventory that was between 100 and 120 individuals.

Since launch, what has labored to draw and retain prospects?

Being in such a distinct segment market, a very powerful factor I’ve carried out is acknowledge what works for my viewers specifically as an alternative of taking a look at broader advertising and marketing methods or leaping on the brand new sizzling factor to draw prospects.

My viewers first encounters me both by studying tales on my weblog or my social media. They relate to my private experiences, so focusing my advertising and marketing on The Solo Apply Information itself proved much less efficient than tales of how The Solo Apply Information has helped me personally. When you take a look at my social media, pictures of simply The Solo Apply Information are uncommon. What you’ll discover as an alternative are pictures or movies of my dance coaching or performances, with tales of how I incorporate the methods in The Solo Apply Information.

After the preliminary launch in June 2018, I returned to the Embassy Ballroom Championships in August 2018 to take one other shot on the World Title. This time, with a yr of structured solo apply beneath my belt, I took 1st place out of 11 {couples} and formally earned the best to name myself a World Champion. Within the two days following the competitors, I had 8 new orders. They continued for a complete of 17 gross sales within the month of September, making it the largest month of the yr. I didn’t have to “launch,” I simply wanted to share what a distinction this guide made in my very own life as a dancer.


I’ve by no means spent some huge cash on social media advertisements. Natural and partnership site visitors have confirmed more practical for my viewers. For partnership site visitors, I’ve carried out visitor posts on different ballroom web sites about solo apply, typically with promotional low cost codes for his or her readers. I’ve additionally despatched complimentary copies of The Solo Apply Information for different dancers to assessment on their blogs.

The storytelling and private relatability are key to speaking the worth of this guide to my viewers. They’re offered to so incessantly on their dance journeys that it might probably make them weary of “one more thing.” That is the place being in the identical place as my potential purchasers actually helps my enterprise. I perceive them as a result of I’m them! It helps me talk extra successfully, and it helps set me aside from others promoting skilled recommendation on ballroom dancing.

How are you doing right now and what does the longer term seem like?

This yr, I started promoting The Solo Apply Information on Amazon along with my very own on-line retailer. After a couple of gross sales within the first month, it hasn’t yielded a lot and since paid promoting hasn’t labored on social media, I haven’t upgraded my Amazon vendor’s account but to promote there. My enterprise mentor all the time says double down on what’s working, and for my model, it’s the natural and partnership site visitors that drives probably the most gross sales.

I’ve targeted on gaining further visibility by partnering with dance retailers and dance camps the place The Solo Apply Information is a complementary product to their fundamental presents. Once more, the non-public connection proves useful. Essentially the most profitable partnership has been with a dance camp run by the house owners of my dance studio. They offered all 6 books that they took with them and obtained further requests after the copies have been gone. I will even “brand jack” occasions I attend. For instance, I attended a dance camp held by a contest that may be very lively on social media and all the time reshare posts they’re tagged in. So I posted alone social media about attending the camp with The Solo Apply Information and tagged the host competitors on each put up. They reshared nearly every part.


The Woman with the Tree Tattoo model has developed like an underground motion. It’s not tremendous flashy or seen within the forefront of the ballroom business, however at each occasion I attend, somebody I’ve by no means met acknowledges me or my tattoo. I consider it’s developed this fashion as a result of I’m down within the trenches with my viewers. I’m one of many crowd, not the one up on stage.


This facet enterprise has but to be worthwhile, however that isn’t stunning contemplating the enterprise can also be overlaying dance coaching bills. The Solo Apply Information at $67 retail wouldn’t cowl the price of one personal dance lesson. Identical to the enterprise is a mixture of my passions, to be worthwhile, it should have to be a mixture of income. Along with promoting my revealed works, income is generated by paid writing assignments for different dance websites and organizations. This yr, I’m additionally exploring sponsorship alternatives. It’s important that I keep the integrity and authenticity of The Woman with the Tree Tattoo model, so these alternatives shall be fastidiously screened.

Via a mixture of guide gross sales and paid writing assignments, The Woman with the Tree Tattoo is averaging almost $1,000 per 30 days this yr, a few 30% enhance from 2018. E book gross sales make up about 45% of income. The following guide is within the works, so I anticipate the income from guide gross sales to extend when that one is prepared for the following beta group.

Via beginning the enterprise, have you ever discovered something significantly useful or advantageous?

It’s wonderful how related the journeys of entrepreneurship and dance are. To succeed at each, I’ve needed to develop self-discipline round my wishes and be snug taking motion even after I’m scared. I’ve needed to learn to put my ego apart and ask others for assist, in addition to belief myself to be robust sufficient to maneuver ahead alone when obligatory. I discovered that getting ready for and executing a launch required very related psychological preparations as a ballroom competitors.

Gaining readability round who I’m as a dancer and who I’m as a model has confirmed invaluable. That information permits me to collect info and recommendation from the “experts” and assess tips on how to finest apply it to my private scenario. I don’t simply plug and play or change what I’m doing to suit another person’s technique, regardless of how stable it’s. I take a look at if and the way that technique aligns with me and my model.

This hasn’t come with out some trial and error in fact. For a lot of, writing a guide about solo apply would naturally result in making a course or a paid teaching program. I used to be pointed in that course a couple of instances and even began down that path till I lastly listened to the anxious pit in my abdomen telling me this isn’t the best path for me. I’m a author and a dancer, and proudly owning that id has led to extra success on each fronts.

What platform/instruments do you employ for what you are promoting?

My weblog was born and nonetheless lives on at My on-line store ( can also be based mostly in WordPress however is hosted by Namecheap. Actually, wanting again, I’m unsure why I used to be so satisfied I wanted a separate web site for my store. I may have simply as simply upgraded my account and added it to the weblog web site. Now that it’s constructed, I’m not stressing over it. The 2 websites are linked and persons are in a position to place orders with no hitch, so I’m leaving it alone! The ecommerce elements on come from Woocommerce, which I selected after a Woocommerce procuring expertise on one other entrepreneur’s web site. I went with Mailchimp as my CRM just because it was free and I had heard of it earlier than (typically that’s sufficient).

My fundamental social media platforms are Instagram and Fb. I’m additionally on Twitter, and I like that I can immediately share my Instagram posts to the opposite two platforms. I’ve been instructed this hurts me within the algorithms, however frankly, I don’t have the time to organically create the identical put up on three platforms! I match the technique to me, not myself to the technique. My weblog posts are additionally routinely shared to Fb, Twitter, and extra just lately, LinkedIn.

My two cents on platforms: for those who’re making an attempt to determine which one to make use of, simply decide two or three, evaluate briefly, after which join one in all them. Don’t get caught up in looking for the best possible one since you’ll find yourself by no means taking motion, which implies you’re not rising what you are promoting. Am I proud of the platforms I exploit? Kind of. They don’t have to be excellent; they simply have to do what I would like them to take action I can concentrate on extra essential issues like writing, dancing, and serving my viewers.

What have been probably the most influential books, podcasts, or different sources?

Greater than books or podcasts, my enterprise and dance coaches have been the largest influences within the evolution of the Woman with the Tree Tattoo. They noticed me for who I used to be, guided me after I was misplaced, and stepped again after I wanted to face alone two toes. The help system I’ve round me has been a key consider my success up to now.

I do pay attention to some enterprise and dance-related podcasts when work on the day job is de facto dragging, together with Lewis Howes’ Faculty of Greatness, Jennifer Kem’s Femmefluence Radio, and Galit Friedlander’s DanceSpeak Podcast. After I need extra straight-up enterprise discuss, I will even binge-listen to Barbara Corcoran’s Enterprise Uncommon. This assortment could seem a bit eclectic, however all of them encourage me in numerous methods, which all help my progress as a dancer, author and entrepreneur.

So far as books go, I’ve extra entrepreneurial or private improvement books ready to be learn than have truly been learn. I’m a storyteller and subsequently, love studying tales. I wish to be transported to a different world after I learn a guide, so I actually desire to learn fiction. I’m presently rereading The Lord of the Rings sequence whereas my entrepreneur books sit patiently off to the facet.

Recommendation for different entrepreneurs who need to get began or are simply beginning out?

Do it scared.

That mantra has gotten me by so many moments of panic, overthinking, overanalyzing, self-doubt, and so forth. Your mindset goes to play such an enormous position in rising what you are promoting, a lot greater than your programs or aesthetics. Your mind needs to maintain you protected, so it should attempt to trick you into not taking motion as a result of entrepreneurship is a dangerous factor! It’s one of many hardest stuff you’ll ever do and one of the rewarding.

Additionally, settle for that you simply’re going to fail earlier than you succeed. And possibly after you succeed. When you by no means fail, you’re not pushing laborious sufficient. It’s okay although, it’s a part of the journey! Simply mud your self off and preserve going.

Last piece of recommendation which will sound a bit of bizarre:

Hustle at your personal tempo. I’ll clarify what I imply with some examples from my very own journey. I’m usually very introverted and I cope with nervousness. New social conditions and assembly new individuals take a LOT of vitality. Even reaching out to individuals I don’t know on-line is draining. So whereas another person might efficiently enhance their social media following by direct messaging 20 individuals who match their supreme viewers day-after-day, I’m fortunate if I message two or three earlier than I’m throwing my cellphone throughout the room as a result of I can’t stand to take a look at it anymore. Another person might haven’t any drawback strolling as much as distributors at a ballroom competitors and introducing themselves as a brand new potential associate. Simply the considered that offers me chest pains.

I’ve discovered my lesson time and again that I can not hustle on the identical tempo as others, both on-line or in individual. Did I point out I got here down with the flu for every week throughout the preorder launch of The Solo Apply Information? I pushed myself so laborious to launch the best way others launched that I grew to become bodily in poor health. I’ve discovered to guard my vitality like the dear useful resource it’s and never really feel responsible about shifting ahead at a slower, extra regular tempo.

The place can we go to be taught extra?

If in case you have any questions or feedback, drop a remark under!

The Woman with the Tree Tattoo has supplied an replace on their enterprise!

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