Kelsey Chapman, 27, has been an entrepreneur since her lemonade-stand days. Now this Instagram influencer is the founder and CEO of Radiant Collective, which includes Radiant Magazine, The Radiant Community and The Radiant Podcast — all of which aim to provide women with a supportive, encouraging, joyful community.
Kelsey embodies what it means to be a Body Bark woman: strong, passionate and enthusiastic about supporting other women. Body Bark recently caught up with her to hear about her career, including some life-changing world travel, the launch of her new e-course InstaBreakout, and life in Colorado Springs.
What prompted you to start Radiant Magazine? Have you always had an interest in publishing?
As I allowed my personal blog to evolve, I realized I wanted a more formal space where we could more intentionally speak into the lives of women. I had a guest writer sharing each week but felt a magazine would be a more formal setting where our readers could expect to hear from someone other than me. I started thinking about all of the amazing writers I had been introduced to during my first year of blogging and ways we could come together to have a maximum impact on women across the world. And there you have it, Radiant Magazine came into existence.
But in reality, I have dreamt of working for a magazine since I was a little girl. Writing and the idea of working for a magazine is yet another of my many passions coming together in a beautiful tapestry of God allowing me to walk out all of my many dreams.
Let’s start from the beginning. What was your first job after school? (Kelsey has bachelor’s degrees in both Spanish and Global Studies from Middle Tennessee State University.) Or did you immediately dive into being an entrepreneur?
My first job after school was actually working on Young Life (a Christian youth ministry’s) staff. I worked with the ministry as a volunteer all through college and following graduation went on part time staff. I planned on segueing into full-time staff with Young Life but decided at the last minute to attend a missions school in Pemba, Mozambique, instead.
You launched your career in the digital industry as a fashion blogger — how did you get started down this path?
It was actually in Mozambique that I started realizing how my unique passions across the board could be woven together. I have always had a knack for business, from selling handmade business cards to my parents’ co-workers at 10 to neighborhood carwashes netting profits most 12-year-olds don’t think of. But seriously, entrepreneurship has always been FUN for me. On the flip side, I have always had a creative side to me as well when it comes to writing and my love of fashion. Lastly, missions have always been close to my heart.
It was in Pemba that I realized that I wasn’t meant to solely live in one single niche, but instead bridge the business, creative, and mission fields together. I came home, started a blog that reflected everything I love, and took it step-by-step from there!
What steps did you take to prepare for your business launch, and how did you know you were ready?
Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing being an entrepreneur and launching Radiant. I don’t think that’s a bad thing because it kept me bright-eyed and open-hearted! I took each day step-by-step and utilized Google like a girlboss. Also, I have been SO thankful for women in the publishing industry to believe in me and REALLY live out the mantra of community over competition. My biggest strategy has been Instagram, because hello, that’s my thing.
You’ve had so much success on Instagram. When did you realize this was more than a hobby and could be a solid career path?
I realized it was more than a hobby when I gained my first client, launching my life as an entrepreneur. It was right before I moved to Colorado and in the middle of a job change. I took my first client hoping to be able to segue into working from home instead of having to job hunt in Denver. It turns out I did end up taking a job and commuting to Denver for about six months before I was able to build up my client portfolio to be able to work in Instagram Management full time.
You recently launched your first eCourse. Can you walk us through InstaBreakout? What was your biggest learning curve when launching? What types of business owners is this course for?
InstaBreakout has been such a blast to launch. Since I began my own blogging journey, I have utilized Instagram to leverage my brand and business. I never anticipated working with clients and helping them to manage their accounts, but slowly but surely, it began to happen. And man, it’s my favorite thing in the world to see a business be able to grow because they finally had the exposure they needed all along. Working entrepreneur to entrepreneur gives me that extra boost because I understand all their struggles.
It’s not that I love Instagram, but I love that it enables small businesses and influencers to put themselves out there! At a certain point, I realized I would be able to help more people do this by compiling everything I have learned working with clients into an eCourse. So many entrepreneurs have limited marketing dollars in the early stages of their business so they cannot afford to hire someone to solely focus on Instagram. This course allows them to learn the information and implement it themselves. With these strategies they are able to grow their accounts in the same way that I do for my own clients! In the course, I cover photography, scheduling, content curation, defining your niche, growth, engagement and so much more!
You’re clearly a master at multitasking and confidently wear a variety of hats. As an Instagram business consultant and coach, fashion blogger, publisher, and entrepreneur, what has been the most challenging part of running your own company? Any secret sauce you want to share to future lady bosses considering making their side hustle dream their full-time reality?
Mindset has absolutely been the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur! I had no idea what thought patterns would trigger from any given situation. I am so thankful for incredible mentors to help me work through questions and struggles I may have along the way. My absolute biggest piece of advice would be to find someone who can be that mentor for you. Support goes a long way, and you need it!
One thing about you that may surprise people is…
Even though I built my brand as an Instagram influencer, I rarely take photos! I have to remind myself in special moments to take pictures because I so often just want to be “in the moment.” I often batch my photo-taking so that I don’t waste my life trying to create an “Insta life.”
Favorite way to spend the day in Colorado Springs…
Loyal Coffee and a drive through Garden of the Gods!
Your all-time favorite lady boss mentor is…
Grace Lever and Marie Forleo for what they bring to the business world, but hands-down, Ellen Degeneres for the level of joy and brightness she brings to the world at large.
We absolutely love the way you styled your Body Bark piece. How would you describe your overall look and style?
I am a casual girl through and through. Most days, you can find me cozied up in my house with a cup of coffee working from home. I love to be able to dress up a casual piece but still feel like myself at the end of the day, laid back and easygoing.
Thanks for hanging out with us, Kelsey! You can follow Kelsey on Instagram at @kelschapman and shop for her Body Bark look here. We’ll be back soon to chat with more women who inspire us. In the meantime, keep being girl bosses!