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Exploring Life & Business with Kara Johnson of Keeping Up with the City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Johnson.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Near the end of my senior year in college, I had to really think about what kind of career I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to write, but I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to be a journalist or an author or something else entirely. Because I was unsure, I saw freelancing as the best option for me. However, no one really tells you how to be a freelance writer so I started blogging about KC since returning from college (I went to the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH, and was amazed to see how much Kansas City had changed in the years I was in school and as well as how my feelings toward the city had changed.) and documenting my adventures of falling back in love with my hometown and it kind of snowballed from there. I will say it took a long time and a lot of connection building, but when I was laid off in July due to the pandemic, I knew it was time to actually register my business as an LLC and put myself out there. I eventually found a full-time job, which I started at the beginning of this year, but I still freelance and am slowly building my business in hopes to freelance full-time one day.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
NO! None of this was smooth. I dealt with imposter syndrome, depression, anxiety. A lot of mental health issues that knocked me down for a number of years and likely postponed how long it “should’ve” taken me to get to the point I’m at now, but I was meant to take that break to build my mental strength, my skills, and my belief in myself.
I think I was also looking for a company or marketing agency to validate my abilities or somehow help me achieve my dream, which was the wrong way to go about it. I have since learned that we are all the hero/heroine in our own story, no one is coming to save us. Thankfully, we have everything within us to save ourselves, We just have to find it. Ironically, I now work for a marketing agency and am lucky enough to work for a company that accepts my desire to continue to freelance, as long as there are no conflicts of interest, of course.

We’ve been impressed with Keeping Up with the City, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Keeping Up with the City initially started out as my blog to document my adventures in Kansas City since returning from college in Ohio. From there, I used my blog not only as a catalogue of my writing abilities, but also as a test dummy for content marketing and SEO strategy. From there, I started getting asked to write contributor articles, which turned to ghostwriting, which turned to writing content for websites and Instagram captions.
Once I decided to register my business as an LLC, I transitioned out of blogging for myself to developing robust, organic content and keyword strategies for websites, email marketing campaigns, and social media. I love working with solo entrepreneurs and small business owners and feel like the work I do blends my love of writing with out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to my content development strategy. I like speaking to my clients about their business because it gives me insight into how they think about their business, which allows me to essentially think about their content like they would while still utilizing my expertise. My intuition is the secret sauce of my business.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I suppose it’s played some role, although I never thought of it as luck. I met the right people as I was building my blog and I met a lot of amazing people who were more than happy to help me and mentor me along the way, from my parents sending me to college to my friends who trusted me enough to be my first clients. Everything unfolded the way it was supposed to.

Any “bad luck” I have tried to look at as an opportunity to grow or heal a limiting belief that I’ve been refusing to deal with. My current challenge in my business has been deciding whether or not I want to transition out of being a blogger or if I want to do both or if I should put my personal blogging on hold while I build and establish my business.

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Image Credits

Personal photo: Kate Mundo Additional photos (in order uploaded): Ali Happer Kate Mundo Beth Grimm Tiffany Walsh

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