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Founder Friday: Building iconic brands with Kady O’Connell


We used to have a model where there was layers of management and up to three people working on the same client. We now have one dedicated team member per client with some help from the team but that one person owns the relationship and is responsible for their results. 


Forget cookie-cutter branding. Kady O’Connell isn’t interested in helping businesses merely survive the online jungle. She’s the architect behind Kady Creative, a business branding agency with a fiery mission: to transform SMEs into iconic brands.

Seeing the limitations of poor branding on promising businesses sparked Kady’s passion. Now a bestselling author, educator, and speaker, she has the expertise to take businesses beyond survival. Her clients don’t just exist online; they command premium rates and attract ideal clients with magnetic brand identities. 

Prepare to be inspired by Kady’s journey, as Dynamic Business delves into her story and the secrets behind building iconic brands.

Learning by doing

Kady’s entrepreneurial spirit wasn’t born in a boardroom. She started her business in a very organic way, driven by her free spirit and strong dislike for being told what to do. “I also had some bad experiences in toxic work environments that made me really want to do my own thing and carve a new path. Even today, these experiences have really shaped how I now run my business and create my team culture. It is so important to me that we have a great working environment in which my team can thrive and flourish.” 

She believes that negative experiences can be as inspiring as positive ones. “Sometimes I find negative experiences can be as inspiring as positive ones as it gives you the urgency to make a change and it also makes you realise what you don’t want! “As I got started, I really stayed open to learning and adapting. I said yes to new things, I went to numerous networking and entrepreneurship events and just immersed myself in this new world so that I could figure everything out as I went.

“Meeting like-minded people that are on the same path really helps. So many people I speak with today are so overwhelmed about starting their business and finding the perfect business model and offer. I find you just need to start and think of it as a beta test. Your business will evolve so much in that first year, nothing is set in stone until you get out there and trial things.”

Building a brand Powerhouse

I think a big mistake is when people try to be a jack of all trades and master of none. 

Kady’s journey wasn’t meticulously planned. “Embrace the unknown,” she advises. She dove headfirst into the entrepreneurial world, attending networking events and immersing herself in new opportunities. She believes that networking has been incredibly impactful, not only for acquiring clients but also for learning and drawing inspiration from others’ growth journeys. It’s also an excellent way to get referrals to outstanding service providers.

“I cannot recommend this enough. Join a mastermind, hire a coach, go to events. “Another strategic move that has really paid dividends for us was when I acquired another marketing agency back in 2021. This allowed me to expand our client base and add another service offering to our books. Before this we mainly focused on one-off branding projects. After the acquisition, we then had organic social media management to offer, which is a retainer-based offering. Having that monthly cash flow predictability offered so much stability and allowed for much more sustainable growth.”

Kady stresses the importance of niching down. Specializing in branding and social media has allowed her team to truly become experts in these areas. 

“I think a big mistake is when people try to be a jack of all trades and master of none. We have spent 7 years perfecting our craft rather than trying to learn multiple skills and do them so-so. Kady credits strategic choices for Kady Creative’s success. Networking played a key role, not just for client acquisition, but also for inspiration and collaboration. 

“Innovation comes from learning and being inspired and I see a huge part of my role as networking and learning from the best in the business. I have invested tens of thousands of dollars on training programs and this keeps us in the know of new technology and just better ways of doing things. The only thing that remains the same is change and if you’re not staying abreast of new developments and adapting accordingly, you are really putting your business at risk in my opinion!”

Lessons Learned

Kady has encountered numerous challenges throughout her business journey. A major learning experience for her has been around finances, forecasting, and planning.

“We grew way too quickly when we acquired another agency and I hired way too fast out of desperation without fully modelling out what that looked like. I also have made lots of mistakes in how I have structured my team. We used to have a model where there was layers of management and up to three people working on the same client.  

“We now have one dedicated team member per client with some help from the team but that one person owns the relationship and is responsible for their results. I have found this so much more streamlined! We have also made mistakes with our tech and systems, spending way too much money and having multiple platforms. This caused a lot of confusion and we have since made a huge effort to simplify. 

Emphasizing streamlined operations, Kady now assigns dedicated team members to each client, fostering stronger relationships and accountability. “I’m so happy to say that my team and systems are now so effortless and the business runs more like a well-oiled machine. Sometimes you implement too much in the name of efficiency and it actually over-complicates things. You need to know where to draw the line and what is going to work for your specific business.”

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Once your business does start to take off, diversify! 

Kady O’Connell knows launching a business is no walk in the park. It takes serious guts and unwavering determination. “Don’t expect it to be easy because it’s not. Can it be fun? Absolutely. Can it give you freedom and a life beyond your wildest dreams? For sure. But it takes perseverance to get there. So just make sure it’s something you’re happy to commit to even if it takes time to see results. It’s all about the long term results and wins!

“Other than that I would say to find someone that has walked in your shoes. Someone that has already built a business exactly like what you’re aiming for and get them to coach or mentor you. Having someone to model and point you in the right direction can save a lot of painful mistakes.

“And finally, once your business does start to take off, diversify! Invest in property or other opportunities so that all of your eggs are not in one basket and you’re setting yourself up really well for the future.”

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