Kathi and her husband Roger Lipp are at the Red House today looking back on how this ministry began and the unique way in which they have built their team over the years. By combining their own individual strengths and tapping into what Kathi describes as “Resources vs. Resourcefulness,” the Red House ministry has grown from one outside contractor a few hours a month into a team of diverse talent comprised of interns and contractors. Listen in as Kathi and Roger give tips on how to launch your business using methods such as:
- Trading work with contacts whose skills you need
- Using free templates or inexpensive web services
- Putting aside the desire to launch perfectly for the reality of launching well
Links and Resources:
West Coast Christian Writers Online Mega Conference
February 25th-27th 2021
- This exciting event is filled with incredible keynote addresses, workshops, mentoring circles, and more.
16 agents & editors
15 Round Tables (genre or topic specific)
17 professional authors doing coaching appts
Their new professional author circle small group led by one of my favorites Cheri Gregory
- Plus, I’ll be teaching and hosting a Round table
- Tickets are $199, but if you use the code REDHOUSE code you will get the flash sale price of the $129.
West Coast Christian Writers Conference: use promo code REDHOUSE for discount
To share your thoughts:
To help out the show:
- Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
- Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our list now and never miss an episode or blog.
Meet Your Hosts
Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO
Roger is a productivity and quality engineer for a Fortune 50 company.
Roger helps teams reach their full productivity potential by teaching them practical and simple steps to reach their goals. Roger and his wife, author Kathi Lipp, teach communicators how to share their message through social media and email marketing.
He and Kathi coauthored Happy Habits for Every Couple with Harvest House Publishers.
Read Along With the Transcription
Read along with the Podcast!
Writing at The Red House Podcast # 229
Getting Your Audience to Pay Attention to Your Message
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to the Writing at the Red House podcast where we gather at the table to break bread and tell tales, with some of our favorite writers and speakers, who share their wisdom, to help us all share our story. Today, I don’t know if we can call you a writer.
Roger – No. Let’s not do that.
Kathi – Okay, you do have your name on a book, which made your mom very proud. You guys, I’m talking to my husband, Roger Lipp. Hey, Roger, welcome back to the podcast.
Roger – Thank you.
Kathi – Okay, but you have been more involved in the writing and the speaking industry than just about any non-writer there is.
Roger – I’ve been part of this dog and pony show for a while.
Kathi – For a long time. Guys, if you hear some mufflinging, or something like this, this is how much a part of it he is. We are sitting at my kitchen table right now. The cat is crawling all over him. She’s far enough away from the dog to be safe. If you hear a meow or a purr, that’s not Roger. Just so we’re clear.
Roger – Let’s be clear.
Kathi – I wanted to have you on this series of podcast, because I just thought that there is nobody better to talk about this, than from our humble beginnings. This is before we got married. Before we got married, I said, “I want to be to be an author and a speaker.” I don’t even know if I said it that directly.
Roger – It was something you were talking about and dreaming about. Hoping.
Kathi – But then, when we got married, I was looking for a real job. Two weeks before we got married, I remember I was teaching at a retreat up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and had the awesome privilege of leading a couple of women to Christ. I was telling you about it. I was so excited. Then, I was going on to, “I’ve got to get a real job.” You said, “Well, what if we gave the speaking and writing thing a chance?” Little did you know.
Roger – Foolish me.
Kathi – That would be the craziest sentence you ever uttered in our entire relationship. We said, “We’ll give it a couple of years and see how it goes.” Little did we know, you definitely need more than a couple of years to work this whole thing out. Okay, guys, he’s moving cat food because the dog is trying to eat it. This is just real life, here.
Roger – I tried to do it quietly.
Kathi – We had a dog food explosion at our house.
Roger – The glamor.
Kathi – The glamor. Okay, so we said we’d give it a couple of years, and fortunately, within that time, I got a book contract. I think we would have said, “Okay, this isn’t for us.” Little did we know, sometimes it takes multiple years for these things to happen. One of the things that you and I have done that I don’t think a lot of authors have done, is, we’ve really built a team. Not that most authors don’t build teams, but we’ve done it in a weird and unique way.
Roger – Over time, yes.
Kathi – It’s changed a lot.
Roger – It has. If we look back to the very beginning, it looks very different than it does now.
Kathi – So, what do you remember about the very beginning?
Roger – It’s very fuzzy. You’re asking a history quiz of me. This isn’t a good idea. We started with a couple of, or one, I think, paid contractors.
Kathi – We had kind of a rotating group that would come in for a little bit. It depended on what our most desperate need was, at the time. We had somebody who helped us with editing. We had somebody who helped us with accounting. Our friend Lynette. The cool thing is, when we look back at these people who started with us a million years ago, many of them, we were their first gig. Now, their fulltime careers are what they did for us. That makes me very happy. One of the unique things we have about our group now, is that we have a lot of interns who work for us. That looks very different. I love the title of this episode. Resources vs Resourcefulness.
Roger – Oh. Okay.
Kathi – You didn’t know that.
Roger – I did not know that. Alright.
Kathi – The reason I love that is, because at times, we’ve had more resources. Sometimes, we’ve had to be more resourceful. So, in the beginning, we had some resourcefulness we could call upon.
Roger – We had the skills we brought to it. That was good, that we didn’t have to hire out for those types of things.
Kathi – I built my first website. In Microsoft Publisher.
Roger – I’m so impressed with that. I know it doesn’t sound like I’m impressed, but I am.
Kathi – It was ridiculous. You know what? This is something we need to learn from this. People say they can’t until they have all the pieces together. No. You have to take the pieces you have and get going.
Roger – Here’s the thing. You don’t know what you really need until you’re in the thick of it. You have to get into the thick of it.
Kathi – Yes. I had to get with other authors and speakers to say, “Oh. Okay. I need a speaker sheet.” This was back in the dark ages. That was a page that was actually mailed to people. I know. I’m a thousand years old. Also, you know, once the advent of social media and everything like that, we needed designers, which I definitely was not. You have more artistic stills than me, but you’re not putting together memes. We didn’t even know what memes were, back then. We’re learning. We know now, and we have the people on the team, some of which are contractors, some of which are interns. So, I think one of the things we’ve really grown in is, “Okay, where do we put our money and where do we get resourceful?” There are a lot of different ways to be resourceful. One of the things I’d encourage you to do is look at the people who are already around you. Now, I have professional designers on my staff. I also have interns who are learning more about design, on my staff. When we started out, it was friends, or it was the person I did the retreat with and she did the design. In fact, our longest term contractor was Angela Bouma. She has gone on to do great things, but she and I met working at a MOPS table.
Roger – Her MOPS table.
Kathi – Her dad hired me for the event, and brought me in and we got to talking. We met up in Los Banos, California. I know the name. We did an interview, and she worked with us for over seven years. So, it’s been interesting to see where those people come from.
Rogers – I think you also had, in the early years, even today, but it’s taken a different form, you had an advisory board that was a group of trusted people that you gathered around you. You got to tap into some of their resources. They were invested in your ministry. They were invested, at a personal level, in who you were.
Kathi – Some of them were friends. Some of them were women’s ministry leaders that had hired me. So, I brought this little board together. They referred people to me, to help me build my team. We even had people who just said, “Kathi, we believe in what you’re doing. Let me help you.” So, it’s really great to have those kinds of people, but I think, when you’re starting, when you get to the point where you realize “I need a team.” ‘Cause I think we all need a team. I think that people go into being an author thinking “This is a solo thing.” And it’s just not. Nobody has all the skills you need.
Roger – You can’t.
Kathi – You can’t. There are some people who try, but then it’s very hard for them to get launched. So, let’s talk about some of the roles we needed from the very beginning. We needed a designer.
Roger – Somebody who could bring graphic visions to life. If you’re talking about a website, somebody who could put that beautiful header on that website. A newsletter that’s going out, those kinds of things. Somebody who can pull graphics together and make them look like a third grader didn’t do it.
Kathi – Then we needed a web person, which was you for a long time. Then you got Angela. Angela was trained on some stuff, and then you got her more trained on things. So, now we’ve got the next Angela. Angela Garvey.
Roger – We just replace Angelas. Okay.
Kathi – So, she’s able to do 95% of it, then the other 5% that she can’t do, you ride in on the white horse. Then we have financial people. You and I are very honest. That is neither of our strengths.
Roger – Neither of our strengths.
Kathi – So, we started with somebody from church, our friend Lynette. Now we have Chris Morris, who’s a CPA. We have Tonya Kubo, who’s our strategic development and helps us put things into play.
Roger – We also have Sherri.
Kathi – Sherri Johnson?
Roger – Yes, who helps people get paid.
Kathi – People like Sherri. So, we do have people who we pay, but our output is much more than what we pay.
Roger – That’s what we’ve grown into. It’s not where we started.
Kathi – It’s not where we started. We probably started with one person working about 10 hours a month, helping us out. So, here’s what I want to say: And we’re going to talk more about how you get those people, but I want to talk right now about more of the DIY. When you’re just starting out, and you’ve got all these things. Some of the programs we use. This helps you be resourceful, when you don’t have the resources to pay a million people.
Roger – Right. So, if I think about design, it was so easy to just to think about, “Okay, I need to hire somebody to come up with a beautiful design for the email I’m going to send out.” Well, a lot of the email programs, these days, have built in templates that have already been proven to be effective at reaching people. They don’t turn people off with color choice, or whatever. So, why not, when you’re starting, leverage a template that’s already done.
Kathi – I think of something like MailChimp. We use MailerLite, but we have a larger database than most people. Something like MailChimp. There are a million out there.
Roger – Lead pages for doing landing pages. There are a ton of resources out there.
Kathi – I think people think, “Oh, that sounds expensive.” And some of it is, but hiring people really is our greatest expense. By far. So, if there are tool that you can use or give. That volunteer, or that friend. Equip them with the good stuff. Having the right mail program is great. The other thing is Canva. I love Canva. It can make you look like you kind of know what you’re doing. It’s to design. And that’s our dog.
Roger – She found a toy with a squeaker. Sorry.
Kathi – She found a squeaky toy. I just put all of her toys into a basket and this is the best day of her life.
Roger – By the way, we also have chickens pounding on the door, so if you hear tap-tap-tap, that’s the chickens.
Kathi – This is really The Red House, people. So, Canva has been great for those of us who don’t have a lot of design skills. Take one of their templates and already do it. The other thing I love is Fiverr. I’ve done a lot with Fiverr. Would you describe a little bit about what Fiverr is?
Roger – So, Fiverr is a way of hiring an expert at something without even knowing who they are. Doing it pretty cheaply, ‘cause it’s kind of a competitive bid-thing. If you need a logo, or a graphic for a specific thing, you can just go to Fiverr and look it up. It gets its name, because for many things, it costs $5.
Kathi – The logo for the Writing at the Red House, which I think is gorgeous. I love it so much, was done by Fiverr. Now, it wasn’t $5. It was, I think, around $100. Still, that’s crazy inexpensive.
Roger – We asked for a couple of upgrades. We wanted the source file for it, so we could manipulate it ourselves. All this other add on stuff. Each one of those things adds to the price. Still. $100 for a logo? That’s awesome.
Kathi – And you can go in and look at each person’s portfolio, and say, “Yes, this is the style I want.” I wanted something that was kind of rough and woodcut to go with the Red House. There’s also one that Tonya uses more often called UpWork. Then, the other thing that’s really interesting is to think about, when you just don’t have any cash. Everybody has a side hustle. Roger works fulltime at his big job that is the patron of the arts, but then, he’s able to do this stuff on the side for me. My side hustle, at this point, is consulting. I will help people with their writing careers, more holistically. Maybe you are great at doing graphics. Maybe you are a sound editor and can edit podcasts. What is your side hustle? Can you earn money to pour into your own business or ministry? Or, can you trade? I know lots of people. It’s so interesting, right now, on our team. Joining a team is a great way to find other entrepreneurs that you can trade with. They are all trading back and forth. One person is designing a website for this other person who’s doing editing. Or, they’re doing graphic design for this person who’s doing audio editing. I love to see it. There’s so much stuff happening on our team, that I have no idea about, until I start talking to people. It’s fascinating. We did a lot of this early on, too. If we couldn’t afford to pay somebody? People would have me pay them in books. I would give them copies of my books and they would sell them. There are so many different ways to be able to do this, and be smart about it. That’s really the thing. To say, “What is it that my business, or my ministry is missing right now. How is the best way to do that?” So, on our team, everybody knows who the experts are. They all know that they need other experts. They all work together in order to say, “Hey, can I trade you three hours of this for three hours of that?” It’s been really interesting to see their own little economy. Now, when I say economy, I also have to say, “Hey. Make sure anything you’re doing, make sure you check it out, fully, with your tax person.” I am not a tax expert. Roger is not a tax expert.
Roger – The implications of trading, even contractors, you want to understand what the tax implications are.
Kathi – It’s part of our business to do everything above board. Not just our ministry is a ministry, but our business needs to be a ministry as well, so we need to make sure we’re doing everything right. So, I want to come back. Okay, we have a dog squeaking over here. Chickens clucking over there. Welcome to The Red House, guys. If you’re looking for peace and quiet?
Roger – Wait. Wait. This is a great place for peace and quiet.
Kathi – It is. After a certain hour. We want you to think creatively. There are ways to do this. You don’t need everything right now.
Roger – I think that’s a big part of it. We have dreams about what the ideal thing is, and we want it to look “exactly this way”. The problem is, “exactly this way” is expensive.
Kathi – Right.
Roger – That requires lots of hours from designers, etc. but if you can tamp down on some of that tendency to want perfection, and really get things launched, then find out what you really need, and what really is important to your people and your business.
Kathi – There is probably only a 2% difference between launching well and launching perfectly, but that 2% will kill you. It will keep you from doing the business that God has called you to do.
Roger – It will keep you from launching. It’ll just sit on the launch pad. At some point, you got to light the fuse. Okay, maybe I don’t want to use that analogy. You just want it to go. You gotta get that rocket up in the air.
Kathi – Okay, so when we come back next time, what I want to talk about, is the intern program. That’s the thing I get the most questions about. So, I want to talk about how you do it? Who should do it? And maybe who shouldn’t do it? So, I’m looking forward to talking about that. Roger, thanks so much for being here. Well, you live here, so thanks for staying here. Thank you for being a part of this. You’ve been listening to the Writing at the Red House podcast. Now, go share your story of God’s extravagant love.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items