Your Mess Is Your Message with Kabrina Budwell

In this week’s episode, we are joined by Kabrina Budwell. She is the business innovation and communication strategist and the founder of Kabrina Budwell Consulting, which is a consulting firm that focuses on helping people in the service-based industry, create, capture, and enhance their brand through marketing, social media messaging, frameworks, and corporate training.

It was an amazing conversation with Kabrina as we covered the following points:

  • Getting laid off at Disney

  • Creating organic and authentic content vs big brands’ marketing styles

  • Agency vs personal brand

  • YouTube and Pinterest ads are better than Facebook Ads

  • Put yourself out there!

So if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to learn more about personal branding for your business, tune in to this week’s episode because Kabrina Budwell shared a lot of valuable insights you shouldn’t miss!

Visit Karbina’s website:





[00:00:00] Katie: Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you are listening to Rocky Mountain Marketing. With nearly two decades helping business owners, consultants, and coaches with their digital marketing, I know that social media can be an incredible tool to grow your business when you know how to do it the right way. And that’s what we’re going to do today.

[00:00:17] I teach you how to navigate the world of entrepreneurship and digital marketing, and hopefully you’ll grow your business with a few great tips you wouldn’t have known otherwise, and maybe even discover a great local business you love. Let’s dive into today’s episode. 

[00:00:38] Katie: Today, I have a very special guest. We are joined byKabrina Budwell. She is the business innovation and communication strategist and the founder of Kabrina Budwell Consulting, which is a consulting firm that focuses on helping people in the service-based industry, create, capture, and enhance their brand through marketing. social media messaging, frameworks, and corporate training. She’s also a Denver resident, so always enjoys bringing in another Coloradan to the podcast. Kabrina. Thank you so much for joining me. 

[00:01:17] Kabrina: Yeah, I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:20] Katie: Well, and you know, we’ve had, we’ve had this, uh, recording set on the calendar for quite some time now, and I’ve really been looking forward to it because you have kind of a fun background. I know that you previously trained with cast members at Disney, um, which is so much fun. Um, and you worked with them on the technology for. For those that are visually impaired and deaf. You’ve also wrote pamphlets at, for the parks. We have a trip to Disney coming up in the year, this upcoming year and holds a very special place in my heart, but that’s pretty cool.

[00:01:51] You’re able to work there and, um, you bring a very different aspect of marketing to your clients and customers. So I’m really excited to dive into that today. Before we start talking, talk and shop here, let’s discuss a little bit about what you do and, and kind of what led you to start, you know, going from working with, with Disney to starting your own business.

[00:02:18] Kabrina: Yeah. So honestly, I never thought that I would start my own business. It came completely out of necessity. So. My plan was always to be the first and youngest, female CEO, first female and youngest CEO of Disney. And so I’m always like, okay, this is something that I was planning on doing from the time I was four.

[00:02:37] My plan was to be with that company, but then move forward into college, ended up getting married and then seven months later I found out we were pregnant. And I was like, okay, this was not part of the plan. And then once we had my daughter, found out how expensive childcare was, and we were like, okay, well I’m obviously not going back to work because it would basically be everything that I’m making.

[00:03:04] And so I had to figure out something else. So I had been doing photography on the side as kind of a fun thing. And kind of meddled in a little bit of everything. So I taught sign language in libraries and helped kids with apraxia because I thought I was gonna become a sign language. Interpreter, did photography on the side, and then all of a sudden got into the online world and was like, Oh, there’s these other people that have blogs .I can do that. I can write really well. And it just took me down this crazy journey of what does tech look like and what does marketing look like. And seeing things from a different perspective than what I had been taught in my marketing degree.

[00:03:50] Katie: And it’s funny that you say that we have a lot of similarities in what got us to where we are today. One fun fact is I wanted to also work at Disney, but I wanted to be a cast member. So I wanted to be, you know, one of the characters and unfortunately. I’m either too tall for the, for, for a lot of the characters or, uh, not tall enough. So I am 5’3, and I guess there’s only. Two or three different characters that I could have been, um, based on my size.

[00:04:21] So that dream went right out the window. Um but that’s neither here nor there. I also didn’t ever plan on being an entrepreneur. I, I, I wonder how many other people out there have kind of stumbled into entrepreneurship and then figured out like, this is it. This is where I belong. Um, I also, you know, I was, I found out I was pregnant with my second child and I also was laid off from my company at the same, within a week of each other, um, due to a merger.

[00:04:48] And I remember I was kinda like, well, what am I gonna do now? And the cost of childcare, it all adds up. And it makes you really rethink of, uh, what you, you know, what, what works, what your priorities are. So super interesting that we have that in common here. So let’s talk a little bit about what it is that you do and being that creative entrepreneur, because as you said, you have a background in marketing and you worked on the corporate side. What do you think you learned that helped you in that corporate position that led you to really embracing entrepreneurship and growing your business?

[00:05:27] Kabrina: Yes. So, like you said, I think a lot of us fall into this by accident, but we find that we’re problem solvers. So then we decide we be to become professional problem solvers, which is basically what we are as entrepreneurs. And one of the things that I feel very blessed about from my corporate training is the fact that I had to figure something out that didn’t quite exist in the way that it needed to. So I had to think of things very differently than if I was just in a normal, what most people consider a corporate job of, you know, here you come in, you clock in, you do this specific thing, and then you leave. I actually had to create what things would look like and how the company was moving forward in that specific area.

[00:06:14] So I got to see it, first hand of what business development looks like instead of seeing it from, I’m just an employee. Like I really, I was allowed to take charge of it. And that’s one thing that I loved about Disney is that they really, they call it drinking the Kool-Aid of getting in there and really being in charge of that position and those KPIs and all of that.

[00:06:36] So I think that helped when I went off onto my own and said, okay, I’ve seen how this works. I’ve seen the process that we go through with this. How do I take that knowledge of how a big business that’s making millions of dollars and put it into my own business so that I can get there as well. 

[00:06:57] Katie: Yeah. Yeah. And, and it’s so true. I think that one of the things that I was able to take away with from my background and corporate was that a lot of the things that I wanted to do, I had to ask for permission for, from, you know, my, my manager or my, my boss. And it was hard for me as an entrepreneur to give myself some of those permission.

[00:07:21] So there was a conference that I wanted to go to for years. And even after I started my own business, I was like, no, I, I really shouldn’t do this. But then one day I was like, you know what? It was, it was back in 2020. It was the last conference I went to the first conference I went to for work. And then also the last, um, for, until we’re done with the pandemic.

[00:07:41] But I went there and I was like, you know what? This is something that helped me grow. And I think a lot of the times we, we are used to getting that permission. As entrepreneurs, we need to be willing to give ourselves permission to grow the business. I know it’s hard to, to shell out some of the money and especially sometimes like delegation.

[00:08:03] You know, growing your business through delegating certain tasks, whether it’s outsourcing social media or bringing in, you know, uh, an assistant to help you sort through emails and manage your calendar. All of these are things that, you know, you can do, but is it the best use of your time? And when you, you know, contract out some of these tasks, it really allows you that opportunity to focus in on other aspects of your business. I mean, that was one of the biggest mistakes that I made was not giving myself permission to grow my education and further my knowledge and two, delegation. The second that I, I brought in my assistant and then started growing my team, everything for my business changed.

[00:08:47] What are some of the mistakes that you made when you first started as an entrepreneur that if looking back you’re like, I absolutely should have done X, Y, Z. 

[00:08:56] Kabrina: Absolutely hiring sooner. And I know, like I always rolled my eyes when I would listen to podcasts early on of like, just hire before you’re ready. Like, it’s gonna grow your business and I’d be like, well, I’m not ready for it. So how am I gonna afford it? And then I got to a point where I was like, okay, I’m gonna make it to where I can afford it. Um, so I think about things very differently when it comes to money management of like, okay, I’m gonna put aside the funds for it.

[00:09:19] So that when I feel ready, I can just do it. Like you said it changed everything because now there was, there was so many things that I could take off my plate that I didn’t have to worry about anymore. And it made content creation for me so much easier because we live in a world of personal brands and that actually was my second mistake is coming into the business world as a consulting agency versus a personal brand. Yes, because we can’t get away with the things that Procter & Gamble and Target get away with because they all started like Procter & Gamble started with soap. They didn’t need a face of the company because people didn’t care but documentaries and how the behind the scenes and what this looks like is becoming such a big thing. In 2019, uh, Netflix actually spent 350 million just on documentaries. And it’s crazy to me that something unscripted like that is something that we love to watch, but then we don’t put that into our own businesses of, you know, this is what it looks like.

[00:10:24] This is what my office looks like. This is what recording looks like. And there’s so many things that we could be creating content around that we’re trying to look all polished on the front end to be like Gary V or Grant Cardone or all these big names that we hear all over the place when really people wanna see, what is it like to have kids and run a business? Is this possible for me? Can I actually make this work? Is this just a pipe dream that I should give up on and just stay in my cushy corporate job or this job that I absolutely hate?

[00:10:52] Katie: Kabrina, you bring up so many good points and I’m glad that you took the conversation this way, because I think that it is so true. We’re not all Nike. We’re not all PG&E we’re, I mean, like it we’re personal brands, we’re small businesses, we’re entrepreneurs. And that I also made the same mistake. I have an agency, you know, like I, there’s more than just me here, you know, there’s, there’s five of us that work at this company, but it’s my company.

[00:11:21] And you have the second that I took off my logo off of my Instagram and my, my, my Facebook and I put my picture, everything changed. People want to do business with people. And I know you and I, uh, are feel the same way about this because a lot of the coaching that I do with, with different entrepreneurs, they say, well, nobody cares.

[00:11:46] I mean, like as a realtor, like it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, there’s a lot of paperwork and stuff and I’m like, no, there’s an entire TV channel based around real estate, HGTV. You know? I mean, People wanna see that. And whether it’s you going to an open house or helping, you know, your client through the journey, there’s so much to share. So talk to us a little bit about, you know, why we need to embrace the personal side of our businesses?

[00:12:15] Kabrina: I think for me it has been a journey. One, because I had to come out of the mindset of what does an agency look like and what does a personal brand look like? They are very different beasts to play with and there’s certain constraints and kind of nice corporate-y things that you’re used to, especially when you’ve come from that background and an agency model versus a personal brand and being able create that connection with people and what I actually ended up doing right after the pandemic within the last six months is really burning down half of my agency and saying, what am I doing that I don’t actually want to do? Because it seemed like the right thing at the time. And I kind of painted myself into a corner, cuz I was like, oh, this is what I need to do.

[00:13:05] This is what an agency looks like. And then when you go to a personal brand, you’re, oh, This really does have to do with what are my values? What do I value as a person, but also what do I value as my time and what do I want, what do I wanna give people? And being able to really find that voice, which is very different.

[00:13:28] So I think it’s focusing on what’s your voice. Who do you really wanna work with? Because when it’s personal brand, you can still have a team doing it. You can still have other coaches coaching for you. But your there’s gonna be a lot more touchpoints for you. And that also means that your content specifically video with the world that we live in has to be you on camera and basically stepping into the spotlight all of the time. And saying, this is who I am. This is what I stand for. This is what I’m teaching. And instead of being that yucky salesy saying, here’s where I am. Here’s what I do. If you wanna come along for the ride. Great. Here’s how to come along with me.

[00:14:11] Katie: You know, and I love that. That could be because it’s, it’s so true if you, we, we go into a lot of people go into social media and they’re like, okay. So I gotta sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. And when you take that step back and really think about this, like, 17 years ago when we were all joining Facebook for the first time, because they decided that they weren’t just gonna be for colleges and universities anymore.

[00:14:38] What were we doing? We were going to other people’s walls. And leaving comments saying, I mean, like I can, I got a memory the other day saying from somebody that I went to elementary school with saying, Hey Katie, I was going through some old pictures and I saw this picture of us at soccer. She posted that to my wall.

[00:14:57] We weren’t going out there just to create content we were doing it and to consume content. We were on social media for relationships, we were on there to learn more about people to connect with them. And I think that in a world of short form videos and, you know, dancing TikToks and reels, I mean, like it’s become consuming, all consuming. So talk to us a little bit about how we can be a little bit more social with our businesses on, on social media. Like as not just showing up and selling, how can we be a little bit more social? 

[00:15:36] Kabrina: Yes. And I think it starts even before that piece, it starts one step back of saying, okay, here’s my year’s plan for what I plan on putting out there and then saying, okay, I’m planning on launching this in first quarter, this and second quarter and this in fourth quarter, for example, and then going into that and saying, within those launches because my business has to make money because, or it’s just an expensive hobby. How do I connect with my audience in a way to where I’m doing things like quizzes or I’m putting different questions out there that help me get to know my audience better, but then also maybe I can connect with them.

[00:16:14] So kind of like this podcast, we connect people within Colorado, but then you say, Hey, I’ve got a lot of community that’s in California, so I’m going to help them connect together, even if you’re not there. And some of the best communities I’ve been a part of have been those bigger Facebook groups where they’re like, Hey, here’s all a list of all the people that live in this state.

[00:16:35] Here’s all the people that are going to this particular conference that is good for this community. And let’s find a way to get together and cultivating some of those in-person relationships as well as on 

[00:16:49] , because I think in the last two years, we’ve gotten so comfortable with being able to basically have business on the top party, on the bottom, everywhere that we go, that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in person.

[00:17:01] And then we’re like, okay, This is kind of weird and it’s funny, there’s a new TikTok trend going around with this little kid going, oh no people. And that’s really how we’ve become as entrepreneurs. We’re like, we’re doing our own little thing and then we get stuck. And we can’t figure out why we can’t push past it in this, because we don’t have those connections because the connections don’t just help our community and our businesses grow from that selfish kind of standpoint of, I wanna grow my business and have this big community.

[00:17:34] It also helps us as entrepreneurs to find some of those true friends that you’re like. I talk to these people every single day.

[00:17:42] Katie: Yeah. And I think that that’s so true when we’re, when we’re entrepreneurs. A lot of times, we, we kind of forget that, you know, there is a whole other world out there, um, you know, that we can do business with, especially like after the, the pandemic. So talk to us a little bit more about the way that corporate really kind of affected the way you approached entrepreneurship. Because I think that that is something that many people struggle with. I remember I have a very good friend and she and I were talking, um, oh man, it has to have been at least four years ago now.

[00:18:23] And I was really pushing her. I was like, you belong in entrepreneurship, you belong running your own, your own business. You know, you have ideas that I, I think are bigger than where you are now with your, with your corporate job. And she goes, she said, I just, you know, I don’t know, like I don’t have the clients built up.

[00:18:42] I don’t have this, you know, and there was all these buts that were preventing her from going down the road of entrepreneurship and leaving the corporate world. Talk to us a little bit about, I mean, you and I both didn’t have the choice we, we, we were, we left the corporate world before, without even knowing we’re be going to become entrepreneurs.

[00:19:02] So talk to us a little bit about some advice that you’d have for somebody that is looking to either leave the corporate world and become an entrepreneur, or has recently done it. And one of the things that you would want them to walk away with as they start this business, what is one thing you would want them to say, like, okay, Don’t worry about blank or you got blank. 

[00:19:24] Kabrina: Yes. So as far as jumping from corporate into an actual business, making sure that you have a couple of things figured out. You know what you basically, what you want your business to be about. You don’t have to have a name or branding or anything else, but what do you want it to be about?

[00:19:46] Who do you wanna serve? And a general idea of what kind of product you want to sell. Those are gonna be the main three things, because we could do everything else with a PayPal link and a very basic landing page. And I think that people forget that this can be really easy. But one thing that one of my coaches said that I actually wrote down this morning is I was going through some of our old videos was the question that he asked me is why do you keep telling yourself you haven’t figured it out and just be okay with the fact that you have it 80% figured out and start stepping towards that?

[00:20:21] And when I heard that again, this morning, I was like, oh my gosh, I get stuck in these spots, even as an entrepreneur and having this be my full-time thing of, oh, I have to just be like, okay, I’ve got 80% and 80% is perfect. A hundred percent is failure because if I wait for a hundred percent, I’m never gonna get there.

[00:20:40] And then for the people that are already there realizing that the same fears and scariness of I’m not sure what’s going to happen is still going to be there because a lot of the stuff that we’re making as entrepreneurs hasn’t ever been made before. So we’re looking for something that doesn’t exist in what’s already here saying, oh, well, I haven’t seen it happen here.

[00:21:04] One of my coaching clients that I have this week, he was like, can you tell me some of the success stories of this? And I was like, I can give you pieces of success stories for some of the things that you’re doing. But what you’re creating right now doesn’t exist yet. There is nobody in the market doing it.

[00:21:22] So until you jump off and decide to do it with all the pieces that we have, we don’t know and we might have to relaunch statistically people go through a course launch four times before they purchase. So just knowing that the first time is it’s okay. That it doesn’t work the first time, but being willing to do it again.

[00:21:43] Katie: I love that. Yes. And, and it’s so true as, as creative entrepreneurs, especially, it can be like, well, wait a second. I’m comparing my journey to this person’s. Well, your journey’s a little bit different because what you’re doing is is different. You know, and I, I, I think that that’s a great perspective on it.

[00:22:03] Talk to us just a little bit about marketing. One of the biggest struggles I know for many entrepreneurs is what marketing works, you know, should they be doing Google ads? Should they be doing Facebook ads? Should they do some media buys and, you know, buy us, buy a couple billboards around Denver here. Talk to us about what marketing has worked for you and growing your business.

[00:22:27] Kabrina: Yes. I love this question because it’s different for everybody and there’s a lot of gurus out there that will say this is the way to do it. And here’s the three step process and all of that. I come at it from, there is a couple of pillars that we know, we know for a fact that video is working in all algorithms.

[00:22:48] So we take that into account. We also know that search engine, social media, like YouTube and Pinterest are a much better ad spend right now than traditional Facebook ads or even Google ads at some points. So being able to say, I’m gonna test all of this for my business and say, What works and what doesn’t, what we have personally seen work really well is actually Pinterest ads and starting at something like $3 a day, getting your messaging on point is the most important piece of advertising.

[00:23:21] And so, no matter if you’re doing organic marketing, which is my favorite, or you’re actually paying for ads, making sure that whatever you’re saying in those ads, resonates with your people in a deep way. It’s like when you go through your marketing and you start to tear up, cuz you’re like, I finally get to help the people that I’m actually here to help.

[00:23:40] That’s when you know that you’re so close to having it. And when we’re writing copy for clients, that’s when I’m like, oh, okay. When I read through this and I start to tear up and it’s not even my own business, I’m like, yes, we’re there. And being able to say, we know that this message works. Now let’s go try the platforms and see which one is resonating with our specific audience at this given time.

[00:24:05] And being able to say, okay, when that stops working or wanes, and we flat line being able to go back and say, not have that corporate mentality of, oh, we’ve already tried that it’s a skeleton in the closet. It didn’t work saying, oh, Hey, it might have changed. Because for example, Facebook worked for a lot of people for a long time.

[00:24:25] And now all of a sudden, a lot of the people that I know that were doing Facebook ads, religiously and teaching it are jumping ship and moving over to TikTok. So this world ebbs and flows and Facebook will probably come back around however, we have to be able to move and flow with it. Just like water. It’s like we, we can’t create our ocean if our little river never actually makes it there. 

[00:24:51] Katie: Well, Kabrina, I think that, uh, both you and I are drinking from the same fountain and then the great things about social media is that it, they never seem to stay in one spot long enough for us to really get comfortable because one of those platforms will do just one little thing and all of a sudden it causes a butterfly effect across all of the social platforms. So one final question that I wanna throw your way before we wrap up today’s episode. Someone’s sitting here right now and they say, okay, you said a lot. Okay, I’m gonna get off the couch. I’m gonna believe in myself. I’m gonna only compare my, my journey to my journey.

[00:25:31] I’m gonna pay attention to different marketing trends and listen to people that are keeping up with the trends so that we, you know, don’t just fall behind. And I keep hearing you say, I have to do video. Really do I have to do video? I don’t like being on camera, Kabrina. Do I have to do it? What do you say to them?

[00:25:55] Kabrina: The best advice I ever heard was actually at a conference that I went to this last year and it was this big YouTuber. And he said, you have to make a hundred crappy videos before you start feeling comfortable and making great ones. And I was like, oh, Well, that’s the problem. You make a couple videos and you’re like, oh, I hate the way that my voice sounds.

[00:26:18] I don’t like the way that I look, I, you know, I can’t get on like Elyse Myers and be like, I haven’t done my hair today. And she’s just amazing, no matter what she looks like, no matter what she’s doing, and we’re all we are, we love her, but we love her because she’s authentic and she’s authentic in not the cringy way that we’ve kind of changed authenticity into.

[00:26:42] But I think that if we could all just be out there and saying, we all have something to say, that’s why we became entrepreneurs in the first place is we have a message. And one of the things that I always jokingly tell people is mark or entrepreneurs are bookends. We like beginnings. And we like endings.

[00:26:59] The problem is, is that the story happens in the middle. And so your mess is your message. And if you’re going to have a great message that resonates with people, You’re gonna have to say, okay, here’s the mess that I’ve gone through. Here’s the lessons that I learned in it. And here’s how I’m actually putting that out into the world so that people can say, oh, I see myself in that.

[00:27:23] I understand that. That’s why when you go to the movies, you’re like, oh, I feel that when we all went and watched top gun, You’re like, oh, I remember what it was like to watch this the first time and now I’m watching it again. And it’s his son and there’s all these things going on. Don’t really, for me, I haven’t seen it yet. It’s phenomenal. Um, but it’s one of those things where we forget that the best things, the best stories that we’ve ever heard. If you go back and look at them are actually the ones that were a little bit messy. But you’re not, they’re not bleeding anymore. So it’s getting through your mess to where you’ve cleaned yourself up.

[00:28:03] And you’re saying, okay, I might not be a hundred percent through it, but here’s what I’ve learned so far. And here’s where you can take with me, because I think we’re looking for this. We’ve figured it out a hundred percent and then we go back and we teach our people, but really it’s, I’m figuring it out as I go.

[00:28:21] Now here’s the piece that I’m a couple steps ahead of you in. So that you can catch up and then by then there, you’re still a couple steps ahead. You only have to be two or three steps ahead of your people. 

[00:28:34] Katie: That is wonderful, wonderful advice. Kabrina this has been such an awesome conversation. Where can we connect with you further and learn a little bit more about what it is that you do?

[00:28:46] Kabrina: Yeah, absolutely. So. If you’re in love with Instagram, you can find me @kabrinabudwell or on LinkedIn Kabrina Budwell. And I also have some free resources that if you’re looking to start an email list or interested in more in marketing, you can find that 

[00:29:04] Katie: Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for joining me on the podcast today. It has been a true pleasure talking, some social media and marketing shop with you. 

[00:29:14] Kabrina: Yes, so great to get through this and really understand how people are functioning because marketing is so important. 

[00:29:22] Katie: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode of Rocky Mountain Marketing, make sure to subscribe so that you can continue navigating the world of entrepreneurship. And I’d love to hear from you. Please leave the show a review and connect with me on social media. You can find me on Instagram at @iamkatiebrinkley or connect with me on LinkedIn. And if you’re ready to start making some sales on social media, be sure to grab my free guide to selling in the DMs without being sparing. You can get that at Let’s keep taking your marketing to all new heights.