We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Abanda and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I had already taken the leap out of the “safe” lane of corporate work to travel the world—an incredible journey that evolved from my three month plan into over three years of globetrotting–and I knew I had to take the next leap. I’ve wanted to start a business for most of my adult life, but was always too scared. How will I find clients? Will I be able to make enough money? If I fail, what if I don’t recover? But while I traveled, I experienced such incredible magic that I’d grown to believe I had what it takes to overcome all of those doubts and fears. I realized its up to me to create the life I want to live, and that wasn’t going to happen if I returned to the “safe” lane! My mission is to help other successful women learn to slow down just enough to listen to and respond to their deepest desires, and getting on mission meant I had to start my own business. I wouldn’t change the decision, even though the road isn’t always smooth.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We all know someone…or are someone…that dreads Monday morning because it signals the start of another week of dragging through stress and an unsatisfying job. From the outside, everything looks good- stacked bank account, good relationships, healthy body, 401K savings….but the inside is slowly fading away because its underutilized, serving in a way that is neither satisfying or fulfilling. I’ve been there, multiple times!
I help successful women, who secretly hate their jobs, pivot into a career with purpose without losing everything. Design Your Detour provides 1:1 and group coaching to help women slow down, get über clear on the shifts they want to make, and equips them so they can pivot with total confidence.
What sets me apart is that I’ve LIVED this journey multiple times. I left a Fortune 500 company to work at a non-profit in my early 20s, moved across the country without any connections in my late-20s, and then in my late-30s I left a stable senior leadership role to travel the world. And now I run a coaching business that I built from scratch. I know what it takes to shift out of a rut and into a dreamy new career, business, or adventure. Because of my personal experience, every piece of Design Your Detour’s program is relatable, practical and easy to apply right away. Clients make dreamy changes because they learn to give themselves permission to be who and what they’ve secretly wanting, but scared to pursue because of the expectations they’ve been holding from society and for themselves.
The journey of building a business, especially as a single woman, is not easy. There are a million micro-decisions to make and I have had to learn about things I never planned on knowing (ahem…looking at you social media algorithms and website building!). But the journey, even the hardest parts, are so worth it because they shape me into a stronger, more well rounded, and smarter business woman….and in turn a better coach. I’ve relied on other entrepreneurs, podcasts, books, and trial and error to get through the tough times.
My story is proof that anything is possible. When I “should” have been stacking up promotions and 401K money, instead I was traveling solo to over 23 countries, and helping organizations around the world while I did. I had near-death experiences in the middle of the South Pacific, spent months on a remote village island, navigated Morocco with zero background information, was chased by a giraffe in South Africa, and slept under the stars in New Zealand. None of these adventures were planned in advance- they all emerged when I got the courage to LEAP, and now I teach others how to experience the magic that only happens at the intersection of planning and leaping!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Great question! There’s so much to do in LA! Some of these would shift for COVID, but I’m imagining pre-COVID days 🙂
I spent many years in Echo Park so my recommendations start there.
-Visit Echo Park and rent a paddle boat
-Grab coffee (it’s all good but I LOVE the horchata latte) and guava/cheese pastries from Gigi’s Cuban on Temple
-Drive up to the lookout over Dodgers stadium to see the twinkling city lights
-Grab a sope and taco from the truck right outside Lassens/Walgreens
-If its Friday, hit the Farmers Market!
Other city sights:
For the traditionalist: Hollywood Blvd (go up to the lookout of the sign at Graumans), Venice Beach boardwalk, Griffith Observatory
For the adventurer: Helicopter ride over Studio City or Malibu area, hike up to the Hollywood sign, but the lesser known path that goes up behind it, surfing in Santa Monica or the OC, ride bikes on the boardwalk in Long Beach
For the foodie: Donut from Randy’s, lunch at Gigi’s Cuban, a variety of food trucks—taco and Kogi included—, breakfast at the Griddle,
For the artist: Galleries in downtown LA, the Getty in both Malibu and the West side, MOCA, and
For the thrifter: It’s a Wrap in Burbank (sell clothes and accessories from TV & Movies, each with a tag telling you which its from)
For the nature lover: Huntington Gardens or Descanso Gardens
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be on this journey if it weren’t for an incredible support network of friends, fellow entrepreneurs, coaches I’ve hired and various support resources. In particular, I recognize my friends Jeb & Steven because they showed me that leaving safety to seek adventure was not only possible, but something I had to do. I thank my friends Laine, Quiana, Rob, Laura, Thatiana, Britt, and Becca who have cheered me on and supported me, never questioning why I’d do such an extreme thing! I’ve also had a number of accountability partners along the way who have helped me become a better version of myself…and a stronger entreprenuer! Thank you Siiri, Paolina, Jess and Devin!
The Don’t Keep Your Dayjob community (podcast and FB group) has been a fantastic resource for support and collaboration.
You’re a Badass, You’re a Badass at Money (both by Jen Sincero) are inspirational books that I’ve loved.
Clubhouse has been a great avenue to connect with new people as well!
Other: Clubhouse: @KellyAbanda