In this episode of the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast, host Maya Acosta interviews Kathleen Gage, a seasoned business consultant, speaker, and author, about her journey toward becoming vegan and how this change influence...
In this episode of the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast, host Maya Acosta interviews Kathleen Gage, a seasoned business consultant, speaker, and author, about her journey toward becoming vegan and how this change influenced her work. They discuss Kathleen's work with vegan businesses and her company, Vegan Visibility, which helps vegan, plant-based, and green industries gain visibility, influence, and revenues aligned with their passions and life work. Kathleen shares her experience with animal rescue, the importance of treating a business like a business, and the value of investing in mentors and masterminds. The episode provides valuable insights into Kathleen's journey toward veganism and her work with vegan businesses.
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00:00:47 Maya: This is the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast, and I'm your host, Maya Acosta. If you're willing to go with me, together we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life. Let's get started.
00:01:03 Maya: All right, friends, welcome back to another episode. Today we are thrilled to have Kathleen Gage as our guest. Kathleen is a highly seasoned business consultant, keynote speaker, author, and marketing strategist, along with visibility mentor with a background in broadcast media that began in the mid 80s. Kathleen has podcasted on both sides of the mic over a thousand times and is the author of over 20 books. She's the founder of Vegan Visibility, a marketing and visibility consulting company dedicated to healthy living, compassion for animals and kindness to the planet. Having worked in a wide array of industries, Kathleen is committed to helping those in the vegan, plant-based and green industries to gain visibility, influence, and revenues align with their passions and life work. As always, the full bio and the links for each of my guests can be found on the website, healthylifestylesolutions.org. And welcome, Kathleen.
00:02:00 Kathleen: Thank you. It is so great to be here.
00:02:02 Maya: Well, I'm excited. It's a pleasure for me to have you on the show actually, and to finally sit down and have a conversation. I know who you are, and I actually listened to a lot of your episodes during the pandemic because I was aware that you were supporting… you sort of had to, like a lot of people pivot, that's an overused word, but a lot of people had to pivot, and you sort of focus on helping people to get on podcasts and get their word and their message out when it comes to books that they've produced. Before we get there, I'd love to learn more about your journey towards becoming vegan and how this change influenced your work as a consultant, speaker, and author.
00:02:42 Kathleen: Thank you for asking. Yes, actually, it was around 2018, September of 2018. I was dealing with a lot of inflammation. I had gained a lot of weight just because in life, you go through things that you have the yo-yoing and I was looking for a solution to get rid of inflammation. So I did a lot of research and I came across Eat To Live. I came across just different resources that indicated that if I gave up meat and dairy, that I would get rid of the inflammation. And I thought, okay, I'll give it seven days. And it's interesting because at that point, I didn't connect the dots of the fact that I was doing a lot of animal rescue on the one hand, and I was eating animals on the other, and I was like a huge carnivore and in more ways than one.
00:03:27 Kathleen: And so I decided for seven days, I would try no meat, no dairy, and really give it 100%. And I followed, to the letter, Dr. Fuhrman’s model. Within two days, I got rid of the inflammation. I was a runner and I still am, and not a fast runner, but the pain aches and pains I was dealing with in running, they disappeared. And I lost like six pounds the first week. And I thought, well, I'll give it another week and I'll see. And so I gave it another week again, lost some weight and I wasn't even trying. That was the amazing thing. And I was feeling great, had more vitality, and I still didn't consider myself a vegan at that point. I didn't wanna be a vegan because as far as I was concerned, vegans were crazy. They were extreme, they were radical.
00:04:12 Kathleen: They were forcing their beliefs on others because I didn't understand what being a vegan meant. About six months into my journey, I actually was at the grocery store and I had watched a lot of documentaries and I had read a lot of books, blog posts, things of that nature. And while at the grocery store, I was going by the meat department and I literally stopped in my tracks and I could feel the pain and suffering. It was just the most bizarre experience. And I actually started crying because I thought, what have I been doing all these years? I was so disassociated from the connection between compassion to animals and eating animals. And it was, in that moment, that I identified as a vegan. Now that's been an interesting journey because one of the things I realized when I considered myself a plant-based eater, whole food, plant-based eater, I was very clean in my eating.
00:05:03 Kathleen: When I identified as a vegan further into the journey, I found myself going into junk food, vegan junk food. And so I really got this epiphany of like, it's not just being plant-based. It's not just being vegan. It's the combination of the two that keeps me on the straight and narrow. So it's been nearly five years, and I have to tell you, it's changed everything in my life. I have much more compassion for animals. My business, I went from… I've had my business, almost 30 years, and at about the 28 year mark, I decided that I wanted to work with vegan businesses. Once I identified as vegan, I wanted to work with businesses that are on a mission to be compassionate to the animals, save the environment and be healthy. And so I made some big changes and Covid helped me with that. It was like the whole shutdown kind of forced my hand on a few things.
00:05:55 Kathleen: Like, do I retire because I was 64 when I went plant-based and I'm gonna be 69 in a couple of months. And with that, it's like, should I retire? And I thought, well, if I retire, I'm gonna still do the things I do, so I may as well make money at it. And I decided to focus on the vegan market. And at first I was wondering, was that the best decision? I was cautioned it was a mistake because it's not a big enough market. And I have to tell you, it was the best choice that I ever made because my business is booming now.
00:06:25 Maya: Wow. I'm really impressed. Before we touch on that vegan visibility, cuz I'd love to hear more about that. I wanna go back a little bit to when you were talking about your story. Question, when you were doing animal rescue, was this… were you rescuing and fostering animals on your property? Or how, were–
00:06:44 Kathleen: Yes.
00:06:44 Maya: What did that look like?
00:06:45 Kathleen: Yeah, well, mostly rescuing and we have five acres in Oregon. And mostly it was just rescuing, you know, if a dog would show up on our property, because we're in an area where people tend to dump animals. All of our animals, we have three horses, two dogs, a cat, and two chickens. And the chickens are rescues. The cat is a rescue. The two dogs are rescues. And over the 16, 17 years that I've lived here, we've rescued quite a few. And we went through a period where we fostered some horses. And it's interesting because people don't realize how abused horses can be. And in a lot of backcountry areas people, they do backyard breeding with horses, with dogs, with cats, whatever they may do. And they don't take care of them. And oftentimes, the horses that we've rescued have been near dead. And so we got two foster horses a few years ago, there were some fires going on and we put 'em on our property and for three months, we took care of them and they went from being almost dead to where they thrived in a very short period of time.
00:07:50 Maya: That's beautiful. I don't know too much about horses, so I appreciate you just bringing that up. There was an incident here in the Dallas area of a teenager who went into a rancher's property and stole two horses and put 'em on a trailer and had an accident and the horses died.
00:08:09 Kathleen: Oh.
00:08:09 Maya: And, Kathleen, I couldn't watch the footage. I could not watch it. It's just so heartbreaking. Anything that happens to animals nowadays, I'm just too sensitive to that. And we know that a lot of animals right now post covid are now being dumped because people are going back to work. They probably lost interest in their animals. I don't know. So, but you hear of a lot of shelters now being very full.
00:08:32 Kathleen: Definitely. Well actually, in our area for the last few years, we've had a lot of fires and during the summer season and the animals, they're displaced animals. So the shelters got really overrun and it's been happening in a lot of areas with floods, fires, tornadoes, whatever it may be. And oftentimes people don't think of the animals when those kind of tragedies go on. And we have to take care of the animals.
00:09:01 Maya: Remember, the floods in, I think, it was North Carolina and all the pigs that were left to drown. I just don't even like to talk about these things cause it's just–
00:09:11 Kathleen: It breaks my heart. It's so interesting because early on when I switched my eating and my lifestyle, I did watch a lot of those… that footage, because it really ingrained in me the importance of not eating animals. And now it's like, I don't need to see it because I know what goes on. And occasionally, I'll see something that grabs my attention and it's like, ooh, I don't know that I wanna see that because I'm living in a way now that I'm being responsible around my compassion to animals.
00:09:41 Maya: Absolutely. Yes. You also touched on the fact that when you made the change initially you started towards… you made healthier changes initially and saw improvements, and then you kind of focus on the vegan products in the grocery stores, which I also did. And I often share that on the podcast. It's important to talk about that because we make the mistake when we, I don't wanna say that I got lazy. I just was very busy and I thought, well, these products are began in the freezer of the grocery store. And that first year, I gained weight and it sounds like you were kind of on the similar path. And then I realized, you know what, I don't think I'm doing this right. And I went back to the books . And so I'd love to learn, like, how have you been able to simplify this way of living?
00:10:30 Kathleen: Well, that is such a great question because I think we can live in a state of denial of like, oh, well, I'm being vegan, so I'm doing the right thing, and you can gain weight as a vegan. When I went plant-based, I was 100% whole food plant-based, plant exclusive, no SOS. So I was very rigid in that and I immediately dropped weight. I actually lost close to 40 pounds in a three month period, and I got to the point that I was getting a little too thin. And so that was my excuse to eat more. But quite seriously then, when the pressures of life come on and when covid hit and you're staying at home and they shut down the gym, it's the poor me, the pity me kind of thing. And so I started doing the junk food, like, the vegan cheese and the vegan mayonnaise and the vegan meats.
00:11:18 Kathleen: And I found that I was getting just as addicted to those as I had been to the other types of foods. So for me, what it is, it's really getting honest with myself and what a difference it makes when you cut out all the junk food and you really are on the straight and narrow. And for me, it's like really looking at, like, when I go to the grocery store, if I have that temptation of getting something that I know is not good for me, I just walk away. I was going through a period where I was doing the vegan pizza, I think it's the Daiya brand, and it's like a $7 pizza. And so I would justify, oh, it's only $7. That's not much. And I was doing like one every night and I'm like, ooh, that's an old pattern, because I'm definitely a comfort eater and I stuff my emotions with food.
00:12:05 Kathleen: And so it really doesn't matter if you're vegan or you are a carnivore, you can be very unhealthy in the way you eat. Obviously, carnivore is very unhealthy, but what I have found is, for me, it's really “To thine own self be true.” And it's complete honesty because it's the same thing with alcohol. I've been in recovery for 39 years and as an alcoholic, I can't have one drink because one drink leads to a thousand drinks quite literally. And so for me, it's really looking at, what is the quality of life I want? So it really boils down to, what kind of life do I want? How much energy do I want, how much vitality? And I don't wanna end up like most people my age because most women my age are nowhere near as energetic or have this, the kind of vitality that I have. And I just don't wanna end up like that.
00:12:57 Maya: Yeah. So it's interesting you cleaned up your life in terms of drinking and consuming and, and other mind altering products. You let those go first before you change your lifestyle. I feel like for many people it's, they clean up their lifestyle and then they learn about the effects of alcohol. That alcohol is not necessarily healthy. Like we've been told, the media tells us that doctors say one glass of wine keeps a heart attack away or whatever they say. And it's only been since I've gotten involved with lifestyle medicine that I learned that no amount of alcohol is safe.
00:13:35 Kathleen: Right, right. Well, for me it's like alcohol made me fall down a lot and made me forget things quite a bit because I seriously was a very, very troubled drinker and I was a blackout drinker. And it was in my late 20s that I gave up alcohol and then a few years later gave up all mind altering substances. So for me, there was no denying that alcohol was not good for me. But it's interesting because what we can do, it's whether it's food, alcohol, shopping, whatever it may be, we can say, oh, the one little thing won't hurt. But it's really, again, what's the quality of life that we want? And so everything I do, whether it's working with a client, whether it's exercising, whether it's eating, it's really looking at what quality of life do I want and how accountable do I wanna be to what I say is true.
00:14:23 Maya: Very true. Yes. Well, this is wonderful cuz I have been covering what is called Sober Curious, that movement that's happening where more and more people are starting to question whether they should drink at all. And I have had sobriety coaches on the show, so I'm really happy to be part of that movement of having to, of allowing people to understand that it's not necessarily the best choice. So if we're gonna go healthy, let's go all the way.
00:14:51 Kathleen: Absolutely. And when you think of the amount of money that people spend on alcohol, we went out to dinner not long ago with a group of people and one woman, she had given up drinking for three days, and then she decided to have a shot of whatever, and then she had a second shot, and those two shots cost her $25. And I thought, crazy, crazy. See, I don't have any kind of relationship to pricing on alcohol anymore because it's been 39 years. That's a long time ago. And so I can only imagine how much I would be spending on alcohol if I was drinking today. And it's the same with cigarettes. I was, you know, I tend to be very obsessive about whatever I do. And so I may as well be obsessive about enjoying life. But I was a smoker at one point, and I was a three pack a day smoker. And I quit 30 years ago. When I used to drink coffee, I drink at least a pot a day. I mean, I don't do anything in half measures. It's like, if I'm gonna go into this and it's just like, with being a vegan and a plant-based eater, I have turned my whole life into that being my mission. And my business now is called Vegan visibility. So for me, there's no half measures. It's like if you're in this thing called life, you may as well do it all the way.
00:16:07 Maya: Yeah. And it's so impressive because you said you've been in this for five years, even though you've been in business for… you've had your business for 30 years, immediately you changed the direction of your practice. You rebranded to Vegan Visibility and started working to support vegan brands. I'd love to hear more about that. Like what are those, because I assume you saw a need, even though you said it's a small, a niche, you saw that there was a need to help uplift those vegan businesses. So what are some of those challenges? Yeah.
00:16:41 Kathleen: What I noticed with a lot of people in the vegan space, a lot of them, they're like, oh, they wanna do good in the world. And it's great that we wanna do good in the world because I definitely do. And when your business is profitable, you can do more good, you can make more donations, you can mentor more people. You can raise money for causes you believe in. And if a business is struggling, that's gonna be your focus. It's like the hierarchy of needs and demands of a Maslow's Hierarchy. I believe it is. If we're on the surface level of survival, there are things that we may wanna do in life, but we can't do. So what I did notice, as I was immersing myself into the vegan space, I joined Katrina Fox, she has a membership program, and I joined her membership program.
00:17:28 Kathleen: And I was listening to what people were saying, and they were like, they didn't know how to get visibility. They didn't know how to do sales conversations, they didn't know how to write books, and if they wrote a book, they didn't know how to market it. And I thought, I've been doing this for nearly 30 years now. I have a skill that's really needed in this market. Well, one thing led to another, and I actually partnered with a woman out of Atlanta, Georgia, VLynn Hawkins. And now we are Vegan Visibility productions, and we work exclusively with vegan based businesses that wanna gain visibility. And a big thing we're doing right now is we're doing summits. We're doing affiliate marketing. We work with the NHA, we're working on their conference coming up, the virtual side of the conference. We work with very established vegans who just need that visibility. And it's amazing because a lot of people have been doing what they've been doing for a while, but they haven't monetized. And they think monetization is a dirty word. It's like, oh no, it's a beautiful word and if you do it the right way. So the thing that I love is working with people who are willing to lay a foundation so that they can optimize their opportunities.
00:18:40 Maya: Yes. And it's interesting, we're also meeting more and more vegan entrepreneurs, and we find that while they may be passionate about developing a product, say even a vegan yogurt to put in the local markets, the business aspect of what they're doing is not necessarily there, present. Not everybody goes to school to study business. And so you come in and you help them to put everything in place so that they can have that visibility. What are some of those, yeah, what are some of those challenges, like in terms of gaining, the visibility and the recognition in the market? You help in some ways, you say to monetize them?
00:19:20 Kathleen: Well, one thing is to be willing to be visible. And I wanna take a step back before I share what the big challenges are. When I first became a vegan, I actually went through the T Colin Campbell eCornell University certification. And I really thought that I was going to become a nutritionist. It's like, oh, well, this is the obvious answer. And what I found is I have very little patience on teaching people how to eat. It's like just, here, read this book. That's it. Oh, that's all you need to do. So that wasn't really gonna go anywhere for me. But I really enjoyed the course, and I'm glad that I actually got certified. And what I realized is my passion is marketing. My passion is sales, my passion is business building. And so, as I noticed the challenges, one of the greatest challenges is being visible and getting from this, behind their own curtain.
00:20:14 Kathleen: It's like people like to hide out, and the internet is a really safe way to hide out. You can actually be behind the screen. You can have your website, you can have your social media presence, and you can create the illusion of who you are. And what I noticed is people were having a difficult time being just who they are, and because they were afraid of being judged. When I work with people on podcasting, for example, they're like, well, what if somebody doesn't like what I say? And it's like, well, of course there's gonna be people who don't like what you say. You're not here to please everybody. You're here to speak your truth. And so the greatest challenge that I noticed was not knowing how to market, trying to throw a bunch of mud at the wall and hoping something stuck and not being really clear on who their niche is.
00:21:00 Kathleen: And so that's what I had to go through in my own business, was identifying what types of businesses do I wanna work with? And then based on that, putting systems in place. So another thing, another challenge would be not having systems in place. And a big one is not treating a business like a business, like solo entrepreneurs, oftentimes they mix their personal funds with their business funds, and they don't treat it like a business. So there's so many challenges that we could talk about. But the bottom line is, is if you run a business, you have to treat it like a business. If you run an organization, you have to realize the organization does need funding, and you do need to pay people for their expertise to help you grow your business.
00:21:44 Maya: Yeah. I love your energy and what you're about. That's why I was saying, during the pandemic–
00:21:49 Kathleen: Thank you.
00:21:49 Maya: I was binge listening to you. And because you talk like an entrepreneur, you bring people together to brainstorm these ideas. My husband, Riz, recently joined a mastermind, which we can bring up yours, if you'd like, but joined a mastermind because he's also in the business of acquiring other businesses and helping them grow and all that. He's in that mind space now. And it's all about, and I've heard you say, it's about who you surround yourself by. So it's not just developing a product or a service and then hoping that it'll sell. It's about coming together with peers, with people that can lift you and feed you and energize you so that all of you can thrive together.
00:22:34 Kathleen: You just hit on some really important points, Maya. Thank you for that. Because being around people who will raise us up and really force us to raise our own standard, is really important. And in the years that I've had my business, I've invested in mentors and masterminds, and I remember with one mentor, I was kind of at a stuck place in my business, and we were doing okay. We had a multiple six figure business, so we were doing good, but I was stuck and I needed just a reboot. And I actually hired a mentor for four hours of her time, and I paid close to $16,000 for four hours of her time. And people were like, you're nuts, you're crazy. And I thought, I'm hearing great things about this woman. She helps people get unstuck, and I need to get unstuck.
00:23:18 Kathleen: So not only did I have to pay my flight out there, I had to put myself up in a hotel, pay my own meals, and then have four hours of her time. And I remember writing the check, I was like, oh my gosh, my hand was shaky. I was sweaty palms. And I thought, if your palms aren't sweating, you're not playing big enough. And that investment within probably 30 days, I made $50,000 from one idea that she gave me. So it was just like getting myself into a different mindset. And I've belonged to masterminds. I was in Brendon Burchard’s Mastermind, I've been in some of the top digital marketers masterminds, and these are masterminds that you pay to be in. And I've had people say, why would you spend that kind of money? And it's like, if you're going to ask clients to pay you, you have to be willing to invest.
00:24:05 Kathleen: And also it's that whole surrounding yourself with people who are at a higher level that will force you to either raise your own level up, or you're gonna go and find a different group of people that you feel more comfortable with. So business is meant to be uncomfortable at times, but it's about looking at why you're being uncomfortable and what do you need to do to become comfortable and then take yourself to the next level. And I'll give you a great example. VLynn and I, we've set a goal and we've made a public declaration of this. We're both gonna be 70 in 2024, I guess it is. And by that time, we wanna have a seven figure business together. We are combining our skill sets, our expertise, our experience, and we're saying, okay, 7 figures by 70. And that's quite a bold statement. Well then once we get that, we're gonna teach people how to do it. So it's kind of like, to me, business can be very serious, but it's also a lot of fun. I like to set really outrageous goals because if I don't set outrageous goals, I don't achieve what I achieve at the level that I do.
00:25:15 Maya: Yeah. Yeah. It's a lot of fun too, when you come together with people that have that mindset of knowing how to pull from the right resources and help each other out. And it's a lot of fun, especially when you bring women together who are in business. That's awesome. So now, like I said, you rebranded and you're focused on supporting [VLynn] businesses. And now you have two podcasts. So I know that you've mentioned, you have years of experience in broadcasting. Why the podcast and then why two podcasts?
00:25:47 Kathleen: Well, what I love about podcasting is I can do whatever I want to. It's my show on my own podcast. Now, when I'm on somebody else's podcast, I look at what their criteria is and their guidelines, and if it fits, then I'm going to have a great time. If it's not a fit, then I'm probably not gonna go on their show. But what I really love about podcasting is you can put your perspective, your point of view out to the market, and there will be people that appreciate what you have to say and other people who don't. And so for me, I just love sharing my perspective with people. I love bringing people on my show who have a great perspective about the vegan movement. And you reach untold numbers of people. And like I teach my clients, when you're trying to get your message out, if you are only speaking to one audience, you're only reaching that one audience.
00:26:39 Kathleen: But if you set a goal, like for example, Mitali, who is the vegan publisher, she went through a course of mine on getting on podcast. And the goal for people in the course was to be on 100 podcast shows within a very short period of time. She just crossed the 101st podcast that she was on, and she's… credits it to what she learned in my course. And what's interesting though is you have the 80/20 rule, virtually anywhere in life, you're gonna see the 80/20 rule. About 20% of the people who go through a course will actually do something with it. The other 80%, they hope to get it through osmosis. Well, she was part of the 20%, I'd say, she was probably part of the 1% who actually went full board ahead, and she had phenomenal results.
00:27:24 Kathleen: Her business is booming now. And two years ago, she was an unknown. Now she's very well known because she was willing to put her stake in the ground, and she was willing to go for what she needed to and wanted to. And so with people in business, I think what another challenge, I'll go back to the whole challenge thing is they don't play big enough or they put their toe in the water, but they're afraid to dive in the deep end. Or they invest in something, whether it be a mentor, a book, a course, and they don't apply the information. And then they say, well, this doesn't work. And it's like, well, it's not that the information doesn't work, it's that you didn't work it.
00:28:03 Maya: Well, and it's a scary world too. I mean, unless we're raised by entrepreneurs and I'm making the… Well, I'm generalizing. And by, in general, if we do not have those role models in our lives to begin with, of family members who are acquiring businesses or just entrepreneurs in general, it's a little scary for us to be tossed in that. And also it's that mindset, Kathleen.
00:28:31 Kathleen: Right.
00:28:31 Maya: That the goal… the path is through a university degree. Like that's what we're supposed to do. Then we become an employee, blah, blah, blah. And so diving into–
00:28:42 Kathleen: I like to blah, blah, blah.
00:28:45 Maya: Because it's the story, it's the story that we've been told. And to break away from that to say, wait a minute, I am a creator. I can create, I can set the roles, I can acquire whatever I want. And it's just a matter of now, coming together with the right people. That's why I, too–
00:28:45 Kathleen: Absolutely.
00:29:04 Maya: I love the idea of masterminds, of paying for a mentor, a coach, somebody, because you're going directly to the source that's gonna help you, rather than having to learn everything on your own, because it's huge.
00:29:15 Kathleen: Absolutely. And when you look at the student debt that people have and that they're not even using the degree, you could take that money, you could put it into masterminds, into mentors. And I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with a college education. I think it's great. And, but for me, it was like, that was not my path, actually because of my drugs and alcohol. I ended up on the streets at one point in my life, and I had to just pick myself up and figure life out. But, and I was raised by a father who wanted me to learn how to type because I could get a good secretarial job quite seriously. That was the area I came from. And women certainly weren't gonna start their own business. And what's interesting is, myself and my two sisters were all entrepreneurs, and we weren't raised by an entrepreneurial mindset.
00:30:00 Kathleen: My mom was a stay-at-home mom and great mom. And, but she never went out and did anything outside the home. She never even learned how to drive, which is really interesting. But my one sister, she had a teddy bear shop that was very, very successful in a small town in Oregon. My other sister is a fine artist, and she came into her own. She's always been an artist, but she came into her own in her 60s, and now she's out there crushing it. She's 70, I think she's 70. And she is doing phenomenally well. And myself, it's like I just found my path that I enjoy promoting things and marketing and one thing led to another, and I ended up having my business.
00:30:44 Maya: Yeah. Wonderful. So, question, I don't know if you're interested or if you're going to the Vegan Women's Summit, but I haven't gone in the past, but this year I know someone locally who said, you need to be there. Are you going traveling?
00:30:58 Kathleen: I don't have that on my schedule. And I'll tell you, I actually gave up traveling just because I'm not afraid of Covid. It's just because the craziness of travel, they canceled flights so much. And so I didn't put that on my list of where I wanted to travel. But I am going to the NHA conference.
00:31:18 Maya: Yeah. Tell us about that. Will you recently hosted us? So yes, please let our listeners know that, how you're supporting NHA and you had myself and Riz on the show, on the podcast. You are the producer, yourself, and your partner VLynn are the producers of the NHA podcast. So tell us about that.
00:31:35 Kathleen: Yes, we are. And she takes care of the newsletter. We produced the podcast, and now we're working with the NHA on their conference on the virtual side. So pretty soon we'll be announcing ticket sales for the virtual event. And it's gonna be phenomenal. But the NHA for people who don't know us, the National Health Association, they're coming up on their 75th anniversary, and they were the first organization that was all about Plant Exclusive and the no SOS, phenomenal organization. And one of the things that they have, one of their initiatives this year is to get more visibility, and that's why they brought us on board to work with them. But they've got, all the luminaries are involved with the NHA, they've got a very, very solid membership, and they're reaching out to the younger market now because it tends to be an older crowd. So they are reaching out to the younger market because they realize that the more that people know about the NHA, the more people will be healed through the power of plants.
00:32:38 Maya: Yes. And as soon as NHA, the podcast came out, I subscribed like the first episode with Dr. Frank Sabatino when it was announced that there would be a podcast, I subscribed. And it's so well put together. You guys have done such an amazing job. And I saw, because I look at the numbers as a podcaster, I study numbers too, and it's doing very well.
00:33:02 Kathleen: It's a fairly new podcast. I think we're on episode 19 or 20, and it's really taking off and we're working on more marketing strategies to really get the visibility for it. But I encourage people to go to healthscience.org/podcast and you'll be able to listen to all the episodes.
00:33:23 Maya: Yeah.
00:33:23 Kathleen: And yours is gonna be released, probably in about a month.
00:33:26 Maya: Okay. Yes. And this one will probably be released maybe around the time at the same time.
00:33:31 Kathleen: Okay. Okay.
00:33:32 Maya: So now you support vegan businesses, everything from how to get on podcasts to how to probably rebrand, maybe. Do you also help people and you help people who wanna start podcasts? Do you support current podcasters who also need visibility?
00:33:49 Kathleen: Absolutely. Absolutely. And the thing that we don't do is we don't work with brand new startups, like somebody who's just thinking of starting a business. We actually work with people who have pretty extensive expertise. For example, Linda Middlesworth, who is 35 years vegan, and she identifies as a vegan, she's been in business for quite a while. And we actually did an event with her recently. We were the producers of the event where she had T Colin Campbell on there, [Dr. Eston], Deborah Shapiro, Dr. Deborah Shapiro. And it was phenomenally successful. She had over a thousand people who signed up for it.
00:34:26 Maya: Wow.
00:34:26 Kathleen: And she… her event was at the same time that Chef AJ had an event. So we were like, wow, we didn't expect that kind of a result. So we must have done something right. But what's really exciting is that we're working with her to really grow her business. So she had expertise that was just really, if you will, right, for the [picken], she was just sitting on an opportunity that she just needed the right partners to come. So we work with people who have extensive expertise and they're ready to really explode in the marketplace.
00:35:01 Maya: Yes. Yeah. Well, that makes a lot of sense because they're already, they have shown a couple of things. They're invested in what they're working on. They're clearly persevering. There's something that keeps them going. They're probably being very consistent in how they're showing up. So they are people that you're willing to work with as opposed to someone who's got one foot in, one foot out still kind of doesn't understand who their main market is, like their niche, right.
00:35:28 Kathleen: Right.
00:35:29 Maya: That's just a lot of work, it sounds like.
00:35:30 Kathleen: Well, and here's an example, like to really brand and be clear on who you work with and who you want to introduce to your community. With my own podcast shows, I've got Vegan Visibility, which is a business show. It used to be called Power Up for Profits because my company at one point was identified as Power Up for Profits. And then when I rebranded everything, I turned it into Vegan Visibility. The other show is Plant-Based Eating for Health. Number one criteria for people getting on my show is they must be void of all animal and dairy in their food consumption. That's the starting place. And I've had people who said, well, I'm almost there. I still eat cheese, or I still eat fish. And it's like, well, God bless you, and when you completely leave it up and you've done it for a year, then let's talk. And that's just my branding. And I've had people say, well, that's not fair. And it's like, but it's my show, so as the host, I can brand it any way that I want to. And that's one of the things that we do with our clients, is really helping them to set boundaries and parameters for their business.
00:36:29 Maya: Yeah, that sounds really exciting. I know that we've wanted to work more on online summits, so maybe I'll be in touch with you, but before the pandemic, Riz was really spread thin. He was going… one of his goals had been also to outreach to medical schools to speak to students about the power of plant-based nutrition. And I remember in Dallas, we were just traveling from one place to the other. It was exhausting. And that was in 2019. And I said to him, we gotta find a better way to do this. Maybe we'll start doing it by Zoom. And sure enough, the pandemic hits and everybody's on Zoom.
00:37:06 Kathleen: Yeah. For a lot of people, it really forced their hand to make decisions and to streamline what they were doing. And so for me, I've been in digital marketing for well over 20 years, so it wasn't that big of a leap. And that's why it was a great opportunity for me to completely rebrand and say, okay, I'm gonna let go of what's not working. And I'll tell you, 2020 was a tough year for my business. Over the years, I've generated millions of dollars. And in that particular year, my business literally dropped 80% of its revenue. And I was like, oh my gosh, what did I do wrong? And I started really beating myself up, like, oh, how could you have been so dumb? What did you do? And just an old behavior. And it's like, wait a minute, this is happening to other people, so don't be so self-centered that you think you're the only one it's happening to.
00:37:55 Kathleen: And so I had to step back, regroup, and decide, what do I really wanna do? And it was a perfect opportunity to just have a clean whiteboard and say, okay, what do I wanna create? And what do I need to do to get there? And that's the big thing that I wanna emphasize to people. It's not about an overnight success in anything. It's like you're taking what you have and you're laying a foundation and you have a systemized approach to what you're going after. And this is, again, going back to the challenges. Where I see people fall short is they try something and they hope that one thing is going to be the end all be all. It's not one thing that's going to do it. And this is how we really work with our clients, is to get them to understand [one] opportunity opens up other opportunities.
00:38:43 Kathleen: And years ago, I actually had a rescue dog that had been a puppy mill, breeder dog. She was about 10 years old when she ended up on our property, complete mess. She had tumors. She was almost blind in both her eyes. She had rotted out teeth. I mean, this poor thing, the abuse she must have gone through and how many litters that she had. We thought we were gonna have to put her down. And they did some blood work. And they said, all things considered, she's actually in pretty good shape. So we had some work done on her, had her tumors removed, dental work and all that kind of crazy. And I thought, why don't I do a crowdfunding to see if I can raise money to offset the cost? And what I did is I created a digital product and I said, we're raising money for this dog named Delaney.
00:39:27 Kathleen: We called her from dumpster to Diva Delaney. And I said, I'm giving you something in return. I'm not just asking you to give me money. So I created a product that was how to market a Kindle book. And not only did I more than pay for her surgeries and all the work we had done on her, I was able to donate a few thousand dollars to a nonprofit. That one opportunity just by doing a crowdfunding. I was seen by somebody in the pet industry who had been following me for a while. They asked me to speak at a conference. That one conference generated a substantial amount of business that led to other opportunities, which led to other opportunities. And the whole idea that I really want to emphasize with people is, there's not one thing that will make you successful. You wanna look at how, where you're at now, what was the road that led up to that? Because a lot of people, they think, well, I have to have the success right now. And if they don't get an instant result, they think they failed. Well, no, what other opportunities has that opened up?
00:40:31 Maya: And that's, as you're saying that, I'm thinking that's why it's important to look at who you surround yourself by, because those people will affect how you view life in terms of whether you wanna give up and feel defeated when we're going through a pandemic, or will help to give you a new perspective of how you can achieve your, you know, continue to do your mission work in a more kind of sustainable way. Cuz in many ways, in your experience, now that you're fully on board with this vegan plant-based lifestyle, what are the most common misconceptions that you've seen people have about the vegan lifestyle and how do you help to educate them?
00:41:12 Kathleen: I love that question. I love that. Well, one is that we force our views on other people. And that is so far removed from the truth. It's like, I'll give you a great example. I have a life partner who is a wife. Okay? We've been together 33 years. We just go about our life, live our life. We own a home. We have our property, we do our life. And it's interesting because, years past, if you would say, oh, I have a life partner, people would go, you're forcing your lifestyle on us. And it's like, no, we're just living our life. And it's the same with being vegan that you mentioned the word vegan and people just kind of lose it on you. And they say, don't force your lifestyle on me. It's like, I'm not, but it just happens that that's who I am.
00:41:57 Kathleen: And one of the things I've learned to do in a sense is kind of tone it down because the word vegan can be a trigger. Plant-based is not that much of a trigger. I was at the grocery store last night, and this woman mentioned to somebody else, she has diag… or high blood pressure, and I'm really sick. I've got high blood pressure. My doctor said I have to eat better. And I said, would you mind if I give you a recommendation? And she goes, no, that'd be great. I said, there's a great book called Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and I recommend you and apply that. And she said, I just heard about that book. And I said, well, it's the universe telling you your time is up. It's time to start eating healthy.
00:42:35 Maya: Yes.
00:42:35 Kathleen: And we had a great conversation, and never once did I say I was vegan. I said, I've eliminated all animal and dairy for my diet, and I gotta tell you, I am so healthy. And she goes, you look healthy. And so we were able to engage in a conversation, but the misconception is that we force our life on others. Now, of course, there are the people that tend to be radical and God bless 'em, because we need the radicals. But as a general rule, most of us are just living our life. And if we mention something that makes people look at their own behaviors, that's when they say we're forcing our lifestyle. Another misconception is that we're gonna die without meat. We need that protein. There's plenty of protein in a very balanced whole food, plant-based diet. There, you get plenty of protein. And so I would say the two real misconceptions are that we're forcing our lifestyle and don't tell me what to do. And it's like, well, what about the animals? Because a lot of people don't take that into consideration that, are consuming meat. It's like, take a look at where your meat is coming from. And the other misconception is that we're gonna die because we don't get enough protein.
00:43:46 Maya: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s unfortunate. Again, it's all the messages that we receive through media, television that plans this idea. It's almost like our nutrition education comes from sources that are not really reliable and that are funded. Right. By big pharma and all of that.
00:44:05 Kathleen: We could spend hours on that because if you… what I've invited people to do is actually watch TV, watch the commercials, and notice, first of all, they have a fast food restaurant. Right after that, they have an antacid pill commercial. And we're being conditioned. I mean, and people go, oh, I'm not being conditioned. It's like, actually we are. That's why advertisers spend so much money to convince you of something that may not be true. So really pay attention to the medical commercials, the big pharma commercials and the food commercials, and notice what's happening to people in general. Obesity is out of control. Children are getting obesity. Children are getting diseases that used to be just very rare in adults. And now it's common. You can go to any grocery store, even a whole food store, and you see the number of people who are obviously very unhealthy. It's a direct result of what they're putting in their body in probably 99% of the cases. Now, in some cases, it can be genetics, but a lot of the diseases that we thought were genetics, actually, it's the food that we consume.
00:45:20 Maya: Yeah. Very true. Very true. And so finally, what piece of advice, I feel like you've already given us a lot, but what advice would you give someone who is contemplating getting on this lifestyle?
00:45:32 Kathleen: Thank you for asking that question. I would say the number one piece of advice is ask yourself, what quality of life do you want? How do you wanna feel? And what's the legacy you wanna leave behind? Do you wanna be somebody that your kids and your grandkids remembered as an active person and somebody who really enjoyed life, or somebody who was depressed, who was, who had no energy, and who sat and watched TV all evening long after a hard day at work? And really think about what you're putting in your body. Is it alive or is it dead? Because any animal product that you put in your body, you're putting death in your body. And energetically what we consume is what we're gonna put out in the world. So.
00:46:14 Maya: Yeah.
00:46:14 Kathleen: My advice also is really value today. Recently, we lost my mother-in-law and it was a big loss in the family. And I, so value every single day. And a lot of it has to do with things that I did in the past that I didn't wanna live in the past. And today it's like, what can I do today to make it just such a joyful day?
00:46:35 Maya: Yeah. That's a wonderful message. Thank you for that. How do we wanna be remembered and how do we wanna live our lives? Man, that's some great stuff.
00:46:43 Kathleen: Thank you.
00:46:44 Maya: Kathleen, what is the best way for my listeners to follow up with you, to learn more about you, to listen to your podcast?
00:46:50 Kathleen: Thank you so much for asking. They can go to veganvisibility.com. That's veganvisibility.com.
00:46:59 Maya: Thank you so much, Kathleen, for taking your time to speak with us today. It was an honor getting to know you.
00:47:04 Kathleen: Thank you. This has been delightful.
00:47:07 Maya: Thank you again. Wow. That was awesome. Thank you, Kathleen, for joining us on the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast, your wealth of knowledge and expertise in business marketing and healthy living has been truly insightful. We appreciate your time and insights and look forward to connecting with you again in the future. Friends, I hope that you enjoy this episode. We'll catch you on the next episode. And thank you again for being a listener.
00:47:32 Maya: You’ve been listening to the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast with your host, Maya Acosta. If you've enjoyed this podcast, do us a favor and share with one friend who can benefit from this episode. Feel free to leave an honest review as well at ratethispodcast.com/hls. This helps us to spread our message. And as always, thank you for being a listener.
Kathleen Gage is the founder of Vegan Visibility, an integrative marketing consulting firm dedicated to working with clients who promote healthy living, compassion for the animals and kindness to the planet.
Kathleen Gage is a highly seasoned business consultant, keynote speaker, author, marketing strategist and visibility mentor.
In the last 30 years, Kathleen has presented on the platform to well over 100,000 professionals, has been a featured expert on over 450 podcast shows resulting in being heard and seen by millions, authored over a dozen books, most reaching #1 on Amazon, and has been a subject matter expert on virtual summits for over 15 years.
As the host of two popular podcast shows, Vegan Visibility and Plant Based Eating for Health, Kathleen’s greatest passion is raising awareness about kindness to animals, the environment and our health through the businesses she works with.