If you’ve ever considered launching an online platform but found yourself stuck, turning your wheels in the mud, you are not alone! There is so much to consider, starting a new platform would be overwhelming and intimidating for just about anyone. That’s why you need an accountability partner.
Pam Kozelka has done it all: she has an extensive background working with nonprofit organizations to build employee morale and community awareness; she’s the COO of the Content Marketing Institute; behind-the-scenes rock star of Content Marketing World; and co-founder of The Orange Effect Foundation.
To top it all off, Pam is also Jacquie’s accountability partner for the Platform FM podcast. Hear what makes their professional relationship tick and figure out how you, too, can find a partner-in-crime who will help you set goals and bring your dreams to fruition.
In This Episode
- What to look for in your own accountability partner, plus where to find them
- How to avoid burnout when launching a new platform
Quotes in This Episode
“I think it’s awesome to help other people grow. I think that we all need to back each other up as often as possible and be able to see the possibilities.” —Pam Kozelka
“I think that (finding an accountability partner) does have to be someone that you can meet with in person… I think that you need to, just like reading a print book sometimes, you need to touch it and feel it. I think that you have to have someone who’s in your physical area. I think that’s a good place to start.” —Pam Kozelka
“You don’t want people to make the same mistakes that you’ve made. Or, you want to help them find the shortcuts that will get them to their goal faster.” —Pam Kozelka
“It’s really not about overcoming (fear and anxiety). It’s just meeting it head on and working through it.” —Jacquie Chakirelis
Contact Pam Kozelka
Pam Kozelka on LinkedIn
Content Marketing Institute
Content Marketing World
The Orange Effect Foundation
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Full Audio Transcription for Episode 3
Welcome to Platform FM, the show for people launching or growing an online platform. A must have for influencers and entrepreneurs brought to you by the Online Platform Institute. In addition to this podcast, platform builders can get actionable insights and inspiration with the free weekly online newsletter. Join us by signing up at onlineplatforminstitute.com. While there you can also download a personal platform blueprint to help you create an authentic and successful platform plan. Now on with today’s show. Here’s Jacquie.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Hey everyone. Welcome to Platform FM. If this is your first time listening, thank you for joining us. I’m Jacquie Chakirelis, the host of Platform FM and I’m here to connect you with content, an amazing community of experts and encouragement to help you build and grow your online platform. Now I’m so happy to have you here on episode number three. Remember all of today’s show notes can be found at onlineplatforminstitute.com.
I hope you’ll join us each week, so please add this podcast to your iTunes or stitcher app. You can follow us on twitter at Platform FM and now let’s get on with the show. So did you ever set a goal to get healthy in the New Year. May be it was to exercise more or to lose weight. Well if you’re like most adults you’ve struggled with this goal or two and often hear kind of the same tips to help you create healthy habits and reach your goals, one of those repeated tips is to find a buddy, a work out partner or someone to share your get fit goal with. Someone to be accountable to, to help you push yourself through and past the voices in your head. You know those ones that would prefer you to be a couch potato or eat that brownie. Well, when it comes to building and launching an online platform a buddy or accountability partner can help you through the peaks and valleys of an online platform construction.
Now accountability partnerships work when they are collaboration between two colleagues who like and respect each other. Your partner is someone you trust who will keep you honest and moving on a path or a goal that you have set and setting up accountability partnership is really not that difficult. I think there are five steps in accountability partnership to consider.
Number one, find someone you trust to be your accountability partner. Now this person can have a different personality from you and really that’s sometimes a better way. Two, talk to them about your goals. Three, get specific with them about actions you want to take, to meet your goals as well as consequences, rewards for taking or not taking them. Number four, set up regular check in times. Now this can be a meet in person, this can be a text message, this can be a phone call. Five, revisit your goals and strategies every once in a while to make sure that you’re on track, really get into the details.
I often refer to my accountability partner as my secret weapon because she really was the difference maker in my life, to help me achieve a goal that had been on my mind for years and that goal is really the launch of this podcast and I’m so thrilled that’s she our guest today. I wanted her to be on the show as one of my first guests not only because she was so instrumental in helping me achieve this goal but because I know how challenging it is to launch an online platform. There are so many pieces and parts and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and this is where an accountability partner can help you stay on track. So without further delay, let’s dig in today’s guest.
Well, today’s guest is Pam Kozelka. Pam has an extensive background in working with nonprofit organizations to build employee morale and community awareness. She is the chief operating officer of the Content Marketing Institute and the commander behind the scenes of the infamous Content Marketing World. She just recently launched a nonprofit called “The Orange Effect Foundation” and I am thrilled to have her on the show and very, very proud to have her as my friend.
Thank you for joining us Pam.
Pam Kozelka: Thank you, Jacquie. This is truly an honor.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Well I’m so happy to have you on today’s show because this is one of those full circle moments. As I explained to the listeners at the opening of the show, you and I have been friends and professionally connected for a few years and about a year and half ago I shared with you that I wanted to get back into podcasting with a new idea but between work and family I was really struggling to find the time. I approached you about becoming my accountability partner and to my delight and surprise, you said “Yes.”
Pam Kozelka: A year and a half ago it was to your delight and now how is it?
Jacquie Chakirelis: Well, it is still to my delight and eternal gratitude. You are an extremely busy person. I mean we throw around the word busy a lot but you are truly a busy person so I was really, really nervous about even asking you to consider it. I think it will help our listeners who want to reach out to find a mentor and accountability coach, why did you say “Yes?”
Pam Kozelka: Oh my gosh, I don’t know, why wouldn’t I? I think it’s awesome to help other people grow. I think that we all need to back each other up as often as possible and be able to see the possibilities. There was no doubt in my mind and I would not be able to help everyone who listens to your podcast, but I would always be willing to answer questions or offer suggestions to anyone. It’s a great experience and it’s going to prove for you and for others to just be so life growing.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Thank you. Well I think it does help to have a plan ready to pitch to your potential partner, whether that’s a mentor or an actual accountability partner. What do you think some of those key factors are in establishing a successful partnership like we’ve had?
Pam Kozelka: I think that there are a few things. One of them for me was us being able to stick to a schedule. We had regular meetings every month and we both worked really hard to make sure that even if we were behind schedule or even if we have lots of other stuff going on, that we still kept those regular meetings because it provided the consistency that we needed to be able to communicate well, to be able to talk about next steps, so for me that’s probably one of the biggest keys.
Jacquie Chakirelis: I often laughed that you would get things from me in the middle of the night usually the day before.
Pam Kozelka: Right, but it worked, here we are.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Yes, and you never made me feel bad about those last minute crams so thank you for that. This is going to be a very gushing interview, I’m just going to try and hold back.
Pam Kozelka: I will too.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Do you think it’s a good idea to kind of keep track of what actually you want to achieve week to week or month to month to help you keep on top of what needs to be done and what has been accomplished?
Pam Kozelka: Absolutely and more of the what has been accomplished because you do get to those points where you’re frustrated or you feel like progress isn’t being made and if you can really have something to look back on and say “Wow, look where I was at six months ago and look where I’m at now.” I think it’s very validating whatever those small milestones are, it’s very important to focus on those to keep you motivated for going forward.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Well I was fortunate that you were not only my professional friend but my personal friend and in my network so when I thought about finding an accountability partner you were the first person that came to mind. How would you recommend someone go about finding their accountability partner?
Pam Kozelka: That’s a great question, Jacquie. I think that it does have to be someone that you can meet with in person. Ironically, I know a lot of folks who have tried to do virtual because the person that they want to follow or look up to is literally a distance away and I think that there’s a struggle there. I think that you need to, just like reading a print book sometimes, you need to touch it and feel it. I think that you have to have someone who’s in your physical area. I think that’s a good place to start.
Then I think you need to have someone who you can trust and not just trust with your sensitive information about whatever your project is that you’re starting but trust to do the things like hold you accountable and pick you up when you get down. I think scouring your Linkedin network is sometimes the place to start. I think sometimes it’s the person who’s sitting right in front of you, that you get to see all the time and don’t realize might be a good fit.
Jacquie Chakirelis: That’s a really good point because I don’t think it needs to be someone that is in your same profession, if you’re a marketer it doesn’t have to be a marketer or if you want to do something in coaching, it doesn’t have to be a coach, it can be just someone that can help you progress with the things that you know that you need to do.
Pam Kozelka: Absolutely agree.
Jacquie Chakirelis: I think that also a timeline is important and this is something that you held me accountable to because it was my biggest struggle right, as things get in the way so is it kind of knowing that timeline up front really important as well?
Pam Kozelka: It is, but as you and I both know it can’t be so rigid that the frustration comes to a point where you want to just quit. The timeline is just like a goal. It’s a moving and living object, it needs to be done from beginning to end and worked backward all the things that you and I have talked about. It needs to be flexible though; it just has to. Things are going to come up that maybe you need to learn about for your platform or maybe you need to adjust for with your other job, you can’t be too rigid or you will burn out too quickly.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Well you have walked the walk as well, not just talked it. Let’s talk a little bit about your current online platform. You’ve had a few irons in the fire over the years from your operation efforts in helping launch and build the amazing Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World, to your most recent launch of a nonprofit called “The Orange Effect Foundation.” Tell us first a little bit about the mission of The Orange Effect Foundation?
Pam Kozelka: To give you a little back story, my oldest son is autistic and has been just an amazing success story. Just a beautiful person, who’s now in regular education classes and just my pride and joy. As a way of giving back, my husband and I started a charity golf outing and all those proceeds when to an organization that provided speech therapy for kids with autism. What happened over the years is we wanted to do more. We wanted it to be bigger than a fundraiser every year and so we started doing the research on a nonprofit and similar to your journey, our journey was one of setting goals and timelines and having to learn a lot. Entrepreneurs and nonprofits as much as starting a business can be similar or not the same at all. There’s definitely different paths there. It was a great learning experience but it was one that came out of just the desire to want to do more.
Jacquie Chakirelis: How did you make that commitment to start and were you afraid of failing?
Pam Kozelka: Well actually fear is very huge for me. I’m not just afraid of failing, but I’m afraid of looking silly. It’s one of my fears for doing something like this on a podcast so it’s something that I’m continuously working on, but yes, on taking the big leap to a nonprofit was a very, very scary adventure because we were putting our name on something that people could laugh and I don’t mean to sound like I’m in high school but that’s a fear.
Jacquie Chakirelis: No, it’s a real fear. I think you wrote a recent Linkedin post about stepping out of your comfort zone and so many people that resonated with because it’s really what keeps us from doing what we want to do.
Pam Kozelka: It does, and it’s tough and I would encourage anyone to figure out what those things are that they need to do to step out of their comfort zone. We still have to buy those shoes for anyone who checks out that post. Jacquie and I are looking for those sparkly shoes.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Those sparkly shoes with the orange lace, I love them. Well on this journey of building a start up from the ground up what do you think have been some of the key ingredients to your success?
Pam Kozelka: Similar to what you’ve done. We found the right people to both give us advice, to support the cause, to point us in good directions. I know for myself, I had to find some folks who had already started a nonprofit and find out what they did wrong and learn from their mistakes and people are actually very forthcoming about that, as I would be. You don’t want people to make the same mistakes that you’ve made or you want to help them find the shortcuts that will get them to their goal faster.
There was a lot of talking to people, which also then helped with the commitment to get it done because you would see those people again and they would say “So how’s that going”, you’d have to have a good answer because then otherwise you’re back to the fear of failure. So yeah it was the circle that we built, it was the focus that we found to be on our board who we knew would help hold us accountable and it was the person who we found to help run the program, because as a person with a full-time job, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to give it 100%, so we needed someone to help run it and here we are.
Jacquie Chakirelis: I know that takes time, it’s not an overnight thing.
Pam Kozelka: No, I mean the [golf outing] itself had run for eight years before we had decided to learn more about becoming a nonprofit and then that whole process took about 18 months, which was longer than we thought.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Sure, and I’m sure having that eight-year history really helped you lay the foundation of your story and reaching out to others.
Pam Kozelka: It did and then it helped us with our accountability to the people who we were asking to be involved with the nonprofit, it certainly did.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Well you gave our listeners a little bit of hint about overcoming some fears but before we get into the lightning round, this program is devoted to helping our listeners breakthrough barriers that are holding them back from taking action. Can you recall a particular moment in your career, business or your personal life that you really needed to take a leap of faith?
Pam Kozelka: In addition to starting Orange Effect, my biggest leap of faith was when my husband wanted to leave his very well paying job in a publishing business to start his own company. That was one of those moments where I said you know I need to try this on for a minute and make sure this is going to work for our family, well at least a minute but it was, it was a huge leap of faith. It was both trusting in his abilities as an entrepreneur, it was trusting in our abilities as a married couple to be able to have those changes in our family, both from a budget perspective to a working at home perspective and across the board. We had a lot of friends who told us that it wasn’t a good idea and so it was taking a leap of faith that they would still be friends with us because we really did like them—and a lot of prayer, I’m not going to lie.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Right, right. We always say about overcoming fear and anxiety and it’s really not overcoming it, it’s just meeting it head on and working through it, right?
Pam Kozelka: Yes, as we both know very well.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Right, right. Well, I know that there are a lot of lessons that you’ve learned along the way and you’ve done it together and obviously have come out on the other end. So are you ready for the lightning round?
Pam Kozelka: I think I’m ready?
Jacquie Chakirelis: Okay, here we go. First, you are a productivity queen so how do you and what kind of hack do you use to get more done or stay focused and what matters?
Pam Kozelka: My biggest productivity hack is actually not checking my email every five minutes and I know that sounds a little silly, but it was keeping me from spending time on other projects. I felt like I was missing something in my email, so I’ve gotten to a really good point where I check my email about three times day, during a business day. I check it in the morning, I check it around lunch and I check it again around three o’clock give or take. I have noticed a huge increase in my productivity because of that and I’m not obsessing about replying to an email as soon as I get it.
Jacquie Chakirelis: That’s a great, great idea because that’s how you get pulled away in all those different directions, right?
Pam Kozelka: Right and someone’s just looking for a quick answer and sometimes then they even find the answer on their own when you don’t reply right away.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Right, guilty.
Pam Kozelka: No, no.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Do you have a favorite online resource like a blog or a podcast that you are just in love with and would like to share with our listeners?
Pam Kozelka: I have several. I really personally enjoy a lot of scary mommy blog posts and Facebook posts. It’s somebody who I think is really real. She has just taken topics that are hitting parents or working moms every day and just putting them out there and just doing [gut 00:19:31]chats with people and it really kind of keeps me grounded like it’s okay if I’m dropping off at school in my pajamas because that is just how the kids are getting to school today. I know that sounds a little silly but sometimes I just need those gut checks.
Jacquie Chakirelis: She’s terrific, she been around … She’s one of the first mommy bloggers that I connected with many years ago when she first started. She is brave, she puts a lot of things out there that aren’t the perfect mommy way of thinking but she goes ahead and does it and says there’s room for all of us. There’s all kinds of moms and dads in the world and there’s room for all of us because we’re all trying to do the same thing, right? Raise productive citizens.
Pam Kozelka: Yes and maintain sanity.
Jacquie Chakirelis: And maintain sanity, exactly. Do you have a book that you’ve read in the last year that you would recommend to our listeners?
Pam Kozelka: I just finished … I’ll have to backtrack, sorry. Our family has a rule that we cannot see a movie that’s in theaters that’s based on a book unless we’ve read the book.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Good rule.
Pam Kozelka: It’s a great rule, that’s how we got through the whole Harry Potter series. We read Hidden Figures which for anyone who doesn’t know is the story of three African-American women who worked for NASA back in the ’60s and they came out with the movie just a few weeks ago.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Yes.
Pam Kozelka: The movie is phenomenal, the book is just, you can’t put it down and it was so inspiring to me. Probably my favorite part is a line where one of the women says to the other “Stop complaining and do something about it.” I just … And she did, she needed to hear that from her friend. It was a very powerful book for me and it really motivated me to keep making a difference because of the challenges that they faced and the accomplishments that they still had.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Yes. It’s incredible. I’m so happy that one of them is still around.
Pam Kozelka: Yes.
Jacquie Chakirelis: She was actually the main character and she was just recently interviewed. She’s in her late ’90s I believe.
Pam Kozelka: And married for 52 years.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Wow, that’s an accomplishment.
Pam Kozelka: Yes.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Well, you might have already answered this and we’ll actually put the Hidden Figures link in the show notes as well, but if you could invite any person dead or alive to a dinner party, who would it be and why?
Pam Kozelka: That’s a great question. I would probably though, you’re going to love this. I would go way back. I’m a huge Laura Ingalls fan, growing up and reading the series. I would love to have the real, if there was one, Laura Ingalls. Not Melissa Gilbert but really—
Jacquie Chakirelis: You just did surprise me, Pam.
Pam Kozelka: I know see, you learn something new every day but yes I truly would. I really believe a lot of things don’t get credit and one of those would be pioneering women and that’s just that generation to me. It’s something that was really important to me growing up and was my first real role model of powerful women, so that’s why.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Yeah, that’s a great answer because this was not only mentally challenging this was physically challenging times so yeah I like that, I like it. Do you have a favorite success quote and how do you apply that quote to the meaning to your life or your mentality?
Pam Kozelka: So this one you could actually ask any member of my family and they would know the answer to this question because I say it a little too often. My favorite quote is from an author, his name is Charles Swindoll which isn’t a common author’s name but he says “That life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” It’s up on the wall in my bathroom for me to read every morning and I remind my children of it every day when they’re frustrated with something at school. You can’t change what happens to you, but you can totally change or determine how you react to it. It’s really gotten me far with things. I could give you endless, endless examples of how my reaction to something, maybe something that I decide not to take personally or may be something that I try to find a way to turn into a positive experience, rather than letting it get me down. That quote is by far one of my all time favorites and one that I have to live by sometimes just for my own sanity.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Sure, that’s powerful Pam. Really, really powerful thank you for that and for sharing that, we’ll again make sure that’s in the show notes. Tell us the best way our listeners can connect with you today?
Pam Kozelka: They can always find me on Linkedin. I try to stay active there. They can always learn more about me at The Orange Effect with an E effect.org or they can always find me in person at most networking events in Cleveland like yourself or of course wearing orange at Content Marketing World. There’s many ways, I’m an open book.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Okay, well we’ll put those links too in the show notes. I want to thank you so much for joining us. I do want to tell you that I’ve been known to say from time to time that, if I had a magic wand for every person I meet it would be to give them a Pam and I am just so eternally grateful for you, for our friendship and the support that you have given me over the years. I can’t tell you enough how important it has been to my life.
Pam Kozelka: Thank you so much and you know that’s all about good karma coming right back at you.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Thank you, Pam. I will try and put it out there too.
Pam Kozelka: You do, no doubt. Thanks, Jacquie.
Jacquie Chakirelis: Thank you for joining us today.
Pam Kozelka: You have a good day.
Jacquie Chakirelis: You too, bye bye.
Thank you for listening to Platform FM. You can find show notes and transcripts from the show today at onlineplatforminstitute.com. While you there, join platform builders from around the globe by signing up for free weekly online newsletter featuring curated info about content, community, and courage guiding you to launch and grow a profitable platform. Now you can also download a free personal platform blueprint to help you create an authentic and successful platform plan. If you like what you hear today please consider writing a review and giving us a rating on iTunes, it truly would mean the world to me. So until next time remember every journey begins with a single step, so start yours today. We’ll see you soon.