You think you're just not technical.
You think tech hates you, that it waits to fail until the moment you’re ready to do something awesome.
You think that's just the way it works for someone who isn’t overly techie or doesn’t know how to code.
I'm Kimberly Otwaska-Butts.
I’m a tech wizard & organizer extraordinaire who works with business owners ready to change their relationship with technology. I help declutter, simplify, and fix how technology works for their business so that they can move forward with confidence and ease.
Finding better ways to do things has been a lifelong passion. I spent the first 15 years of my work life under the fluorescent lights of Corporate, trying to reconcile my web/graphic communications degree with marketing things I had absolutely no interest in. I worked in-house marketing doing design, website development, and really anything else that I got asked to do (which, for in-house teams can be... a LOT). But there were two things that I kept finding myself at odds with: fear-based marketing tactics and the lack of time to do anything but react.
As the designer, developer, project manager, and sometimes even copywriter, I spent years trying to adjust course. Thinking that if I just designed the perfect campaign, I could persuade my boss, their boss, and all the salespeople over to my way of thinking. That somehow a single banner ad or postcard could help break the company free of constantly trying to mimic and keep up with the competition and realize that focusing on building great relationships with customers is more important. To ditch the vanity metrics or shouting tactics and instead focus on providing first class, irrefutable customer service that would become woven into the company’s DNA.
None of that ever happened.
In-house teams – at least, the ones I kept choosing – too often are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-did-i-even-remember-to-wear-pants-paced affair. And with significant communication barriers between departments as well as management, priorities and selling points would change in the blink of an eye. Trying to introduce change when everyone is in constant fight or flight mode is most often a lost cause. In the meantime, work that had taken weeks (or sometimes months) would be scrapped entirely – with a replacement due the next day. So efficiency became less of a passion and more of a matter of survival.
Streamlining approval processes, setting up templates, color-coding spreadsheets with complex formulas that made others cross their eyes and run screaming… If something needed to be done more than twice, then it was time to find a better way. And there was almost always a better way. I dove into companies that were barren wastelands when it came to order or consistency. There was an endless supply of messes to clean up and optimize (and no, I don’t use that word anymore if I can help it).
My career got set on rinse and repeat.
Every time I started a new job, I dove in, exhilarated. There was so much I could do to help, so much I could improve – and I had been hired for exactly that reason. The first three to six months would fly by with gigantic leaps of progress, unencumbered by any past ongoing projects. The next six would slow a little as other things started to take priority, which was a welcome break in the non-stop pace I’d set for myself.
The next two years would devolve into corporate quicksand, sinking deeper and deeper into a list of projects that never got shorter and demanded just as much energy to keep up with the shifting priorities as the actual work itself. By the time I’d reached year four, I was ready to move on from the constraints I felt. I wasn’t bringing any unique value anymore, I was just churning out what “needed to be done.” Maybe a project would pop up that I would get excited about, but I’d always have to restrain myself so I wasn’t accused of spending too much time on it.
So then I’d move on, knowing everything I’d built was already slowly reverting back.
Two things brought into clear focus for me that it was never about juggling priorities more efficiently or having a file system that made sense to anyone or even about setting up elaborate procedures (that few followed). First, I started seeing a therapist. Second, my boss was abruptly downsized. Suddenly I was entrusted, along with a co-worker, to make decisions. At first, it seemed like we adjusted seamlessly – until I realized I was barely speaking to her and frustrated all the time. Why?
Why wasn’t she following procedure?! Why wasn’t she obsessed with keeping our project list up-to-date or forcing through a rigid content calendar even though we had one less person on the team? Because I had managed to carry forward the list of SHOULDs I had been taught by bosses for more than a decade – and my co-worker didn’t care.
The day I realized I was still programmed to work in a certain way that no longer fit the situation (or even my own way of thinking), things began to flow again, to feel easy. I flourished in my role and worked on unlearning anything that no longer served me. When a new boss was unceremoniously introduced with no warning – full of ideas and methods I'd been actively unlearning for 6 months – the decision I had been mulling for years became an easy one and I jumped.
With my clients, the theme developed quickly.
Sure, there was usually an itch to upgrade the look and feel of things, but over and over it was more about making the site work better. Taking away the uncertainty of making an edit and knowing how it would actually look on the page. Feeding a newsletter sign-up directly into the email list. Making it easier to pull together a design change or swap a photo all on their own. Taking what had been a meticulous, documented 10-step process and turning it into a click of a button.
Then updating websites morphed into other technical questions: setting up a new domain, migrating an email list, troubleshooting a random program I’d never even used before. Not because they weren’t capable, but because they were afraid of “breaking” something. Because somehow anything not working technically might meant they were incapable.
It starts with cleaning up what’s not working.
It’s never been just about making the site easier to use, updating plugins, or making sure you choose the "right," "best" software. It’s about applying all these techniques we’re so quick to use on our junk drawers and inboxes to the bigger picture.
It’s about building better relationships with technology, about using it to help us run our businesses with ease and flow. About not depending on technology but fully acknowledging how helpful it is. About not signing up for every last thing, searching for The One magic system or service, believing that if that person you admire uses it then it must be the missing piece that will guarantee your success.
Your success is yours, not your technology's.*
*(Because if that were true, that KitchenAid mixer I bought two years ago and still haven't used would have instantaneously appointed my soggy bottom Star Baker).
I started this business after seeing too many business owners give up when faced with a technical problem because they think they’re not smart enough or “technical” enough – especially women clients. Because for some reason, technology has earned this extra stigma that if you’re not young and/or male, if you’re not in Mensa, weren’t exceptionally good at math, or don’t intuitively know how to fix something with your phone/computer/etc., that technology is too advanced for you.
That if you know what you’re doing, nothing ever goes wrong (newsflash: it does go wrong. All. The. Time. Sometimes just for putting a freaking comma in the wrong place.) That you’re at its mercy and the mercy of those who do understand it.
Today, I do this work because the opportunities to make things easier through technology are everywhere, and fear or uncertainty shouldn’t get in the way (especially when easier means more time for naps).