Before We Finish: Fiona Killackey, Business Coach & Consultant


One of our favourite things about work is the interesting people we meet every day. When we remember, we ask people a few quick questions 'before we finish' our meetings. This edition: business coach and consultant, Fiona Killackey.


Who is your last text from? What does it say?

It’s a voice-to-text msg from my dad saying ‘Hi Fiona, just called to say goodnight. Talk to you tomorrow. God love you and sleep well’. We talk most days but today I’ve been in meetings so missed his call.


Do you have a mentor?

Not one specifically. I have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful folk in my career/life and regularly catch up with them to swap stories, gain advice and share experiences, which I guess is a more casual way of mentoring. I seek advice ALL THE TIME from my husband who is an endless source of inspiration and wisdom. My parents have also been incredible mentors.   


What podcast do you never miss? 

Oh too many – and I’m always adding more. I never miss On Being, How I Built This and Story Brand.


What are your favourite timesaving tools? 

I use all the time to compete against myself on tasks (based on the Pomodoro method). I also love Focus @ Will for concentration and I try and book all client meetings through the Calendly tool to save all the back and forth.


What piece of writing or author has inspired you the most?

Again, too many to mention and each at very different seasons in my life. I was OBSESSED with John Marsden at high school (even crying when I met him for the first time). I’ve never passed up anything by Paolo Coehlo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dostoevsky (always hard to get into, but so worth it), Miranda July and, more recently, Claire Bidwell Smith and the late John O’Donohue. The piece of prose from W H Murray about providence had a massive impact on me when I first read it and seems to come up again and again during my life in various circumstances.


If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be? 

Stop doubting yourself. I know so many brilliant writers who have been too scared to ever contact an editor and so feel — because they haven’t been published — that they’re not “true” writers. People are people and the worst an editor can say is “no”, so why not just give it a try? That, and just read as much as you can. You learn so much about writing through the way another writer’s work either excites or repels you.


What is the most common misconception clients may have about marketing, and how do you overcome it?

That it’s all about sales or PR. Marketing is a long-term game that leads people through three stages with your brand/company: know, like and trust. The ultimate goal is someone staying loyal to your brand, even if they don’t buy frequently (i.e. always seeking the same large appliances brand even though you only need their products every 5 years or so).

Once people understand marketing is not a series of gimmicks, but more so a way to develop an ongoing and genuine connection with people who will benefit from a product or service, it becomes far easier to get clients excited and engaged with it. I live by the Milan Kundera quote: ‘Business only has two functions – innovation and marketing’. Either you’re creating something great or you’re telling people about it.


Who are some brands you think demonstrate the future of content marketing? Why? 

Glossier do a fantastic job of leveraging their fan base to create engaging, original user-generated content, Casper do a good job with their Van Winkle blog for sleep enthusiasts and I loved the recent employee magazine Mailchimp put together – showing the human team behind their email platform - internal content marketing can be a stream so many brands forget.


What haven't you achieved?

I’d like to publish a book in the not too distant future. I wrote the first 65,000 words of one in 2009 and I need to revisit that. There’s so much of the world I’d still love to see. There are also goals I have set for my business and for our family, but in the main I’m pretty happy with what I have achieved and like where I’m at right now, which is actually a really nice place to be.


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