( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Social Media Coach Makes 6 Figures After Layoff
ENSPIRE Contributors: Katie Doherty and Abigail Elcock
Kar Brulhart was one of the millions of people who lost their jobs when COVID hit. She was also one of the 5.3 million Americans who started their own business in 2021. With determination and perseverance, Brulhart, owner of KB Brand Marketing, makes six figures.
Her experience working on social campaigns for Apple, the United Nations, and Michael Kors taught her how to use her skills to help small business owners grow their social media organically, without paid advertising. ENSPIRE was thrilled to interview Kar Brulhart about her business and her experience.
What are some of the best strategies you have discovered to help create a work-life balance?
I have actually come to terms with the fact that work-life balance dally exists. I know so many people who continuously chase after this ideal instead of letting go and finding a compromise. Work is always on my mind. But instead of always sticking to my screen or a 9-5 work schedule, I carve out time for ME. One strategy that works well is to start my day with a morning run. This allows me to stay focused and healthy while still taking the time to think through current projects that might be stressors.
My advice is to do something YOU love! I love to cook, so I’ll listen to podcasts or talk on the phone with a close friend while enjoying the process of chopping and prepping meals. Finding moments to take time out in the day for me instead of feeling like I’m always falling short has been the best way to find balance.
How has your experience in the publishing industry helped you create The Collective Book Studio?
I couldn’t have founded a publishing company without knowing the industry so well. Only insiders can be true disruptors because we understand where the holes are in the industry. I have an understanding of a book as more than just the words on a page because I can see where it fits in the market as a tangible product.
What makes The Collective Book Studio different from other publishers?
We’ve taken traditionally standardized but hidden industry practices, such as hybrid contracts, and made them public-facing. We’re also pioneering a new model of intellectual property. This gives authors ownership of their creative work while also supporting them with retail distribution. As an independent, woman-run company, we like to partner with fellow underdogs. We prioritize relationships with independent bookstores and debut authors while other publishers pour millions into Amazon and bestsellers.
What has it been like to start a business in a “dying” industry?
First off, publishing is not really a dying industry. That said, it is a consolidating one, meaning that the percentage of books on the market published by Big Four houses (Penguin Random House/Simon and Schuster, Hachette, Harper Collins, and Macmillan) is growing every day. It’s hard to be a small publisher competing against conglomerates who have what seems like endless budgets compared to ours. But we are a team of driven, passionate, and talented industry leaders with a mission to sustain the art of the book, and that’s why we stick with it.
How have you embraced the title of “momtrepreneur”?
In all honesty, I have not embraced the “momtrepreneur” title. It frustrates me that while both my husband and I are small business owners, only he gets the regular old “entrepreneur” badge. I am proud to embrace being a woman-owned business and female founder, but putting motherhood on my resume is not that simple. I’d rather have conversations about disparities in finances between men and women, and how we can intentionally invest in women and/or BIPOC-run businesses.
What added burdens or successes come from this title?
As I mentioned above, the “mom” label elicits expectations about your lifestyle and your priorities that dad-entrepreneurs don’t deal with. It puts me in a box where my choice to cook dinner for my family is seen as an expected limitation on my performance at work, rather than something I genuinely enjoy doing.
What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to women like you who want to follow in your footsteps?
Be patient—it’s about the long game. This mentality will require you to be fearless, but mindful of your long-term goals. Don’t make excuses for being tenacious, but do so with optimism and a commitment to your mission.
Kar Brulhart is an entrepreneurial success story. Her experience and determination allowed her to create a marketing business that is dedicated to small business success. Her marketing strategies for social media growth reflect her creativity, knowledge, and experience.
People like Brulhart remind us that even though things like COVID can slow us down, it’s not the end. We can trust the process and pursue what we love and know. Despite challenges, we can find success.