About Kate Dillon
Kate Dillon is a multi-passionate entrepreneur. On her blog and YouTube channel, Kate shares tools, tips, and strategies she’s learned in order to help entrepreneurs and racers succeed with marketing and building a business.
Kate’s current projects include:
- CEO and founder at Crateinsider.com where she provides tech articles, videos, and race car parts for a segment of the auto racing industry.
- Kate Dillon LLC – consulting services & building ecommerce stores
- R-town Retreat – (2) AirBnb properties in Rutherfordton, NC
- Racelogic.vip – In partnership with founder Brian Littleton, Kate attends each of the chassis schools. She films and edits the classes, manages the website, and prepares the online versions.
- Winning Motorsports Marketing – On the site and within the Facebook group, Kate shares marketing and sponsorship lessons specifically focused for race car drivers building a following. As part of this, she also works with Megan Meyer Racing to promote Megan’s program Driven by Social.
- Racing Insiders Podcast – On this weekly podcast, Kate sits down with engine builder Steve Hendren from Hendren Racing Engines. It’s a casual conversation on Sunday afternoons where the pair chat about current events and answer viewer questions live from Facebook and YouTube. The audio podcast posts each Monday.
- CARS Racing Show – This racing trade show was originally started by Kate’s Dad, brother, and a partner. After a hiatus of several years, Kate and her brother, Jimmy Schiltz brought it back in 2020 when the main racing industry show was cancelled. They look forward to producing the next show in January of 2022.
- Racing Rewind – This YouTube channel is a pet project. Kate digitizes old video tapes of races from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s and then posts them to YouTube for everyone to see. Video tapes are submitted to Kate for the project and returned back to the owner after they are digitized.
Kate Dillon’s Story
I grew up in racing. My dad was a racecar driver. But I was a girl. So I wasn’t super drawn to the racing industry. Or at least I didn’t think I was.
Architecture and Design Career
After several years working in sales and in the restaurant industry, I went to college and got a degree in Interior Design. I worked in Commercial Architecture and Design for several years. But, one day, my dad and my brother called me.
Racing Trade Show
My family had a racing trade show. And they asked for my help. I packed my bags and moved from Idaho to North Carolina.
Because no matter what job I do, or what my job title is, I always end up in sales and marketing. So I landed back in North Carolina, and I just figured it was going to be like a sales or marketing job.
But then something happened. I went to a dyno test. And keep in mind, I had been away from racing for many years. But that moment, when that engine started up… for me, it was like the smell of grandma’s apple pie. That sound rang in my ears. And my thought was “Honey, I’m home.”
And it has been ON ever since. When the trade show ended, I had an idea about having a website for racers with crate engines. I worked with a couple of partners, because I certainly didn’t have the expert tech knowledge. Now, none of us knew how to do a website. I just figured, “hey, It can’t be that hard, right? I mean, you just hire a web guy. And he or she builds website and boom, there you go.”
Well, it wasn’t that simple. The web guy fired me halfway through the project. Maybe I was too demanding. Or maybe it’s because his wife saw me and was all jealous and didn’t want him working with me. Yeah, that happened. But regardless, halfway through the project, I was left with an unfinished website and I had a choice.
Well, I decided to suck it up, figure it out and make it work. And that is exactly what I did.
Building Online Stores
Well, within six months. other businesses, other manufacturers were looking at my website and asking me questions about websites. And I gave them my recommendations. But one of those companies asked, “Well, can you just do it for us?” And that’s when I started building online stores for other businesses.
I specialize in the BigCommerce platform and am a Certified Partner. This is the same software that has helped me grow Crate Insider.
YouTube and Video Creation
Once I had my own website, I became obsessed with digital marketing. I started attending conferences and absorbing every tip I could.
In 2016, I was at the Internet Summit Conference and one stat really stuck with me. One of the speakers stated that 69% of internet traffic would be video by the end of 2017. This was a huge eye opener for me.
We had a YouTube channel for Crate Insider, but we just posted videos every once in awhile. It was time to get more serious. I tried really hard to get one of the guys to appear on camera, but no one would do it. I was afraid to do it myself. After all, I was just a nobody- an overweight, middle-aged woman in the racing industry and I was terrified that people would make fun of me.
But, I REALLY wanted video. I knew it would be the thing that would set us apart in the racing industry and on the internet. So, I fought through the fear and started creating and posting tech videos shot on my iPhone in my makeshift video studio in my living room.
The next trend was live video. Once again, I was scared, but I did it anyway. Started in January of 2018, Top 5 Tuesday airs every single Tuesday at 2pm eastern on Crate Insider’s Facebook page and now simulcasts to the Crate Insider YouTube channel.
Kate Dillon YouTube Channel
Video is a slippery slope. Once you get started, one thing naturally leads to another and can become an obsession. I started with a phone. Then I needed to learn to edit. And I needed gear– a tripod….and a better microphone….and a background….and lighting….and then eventually, better cameras, better microphones, and the list goes on.
I’ve learned a lot and picked up quite a bit of gear over the years. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of gear junkie.
Learning is an everyday passion of mine and that spills over into my desire to share that info with others. On my YouTube channel and on the blog, you’ll see lots of reviews and tutorials of the gear and software I’ve discovered along my journey.
Being an entrepreneur and innovator isn’t always easy. But, it brings me joy to encourage others by sharing some of the experiences I’ve had growing my business.
I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Winning Motorsports Marketing
The next need I saw in the racing market was racers struggling to get sponsorship and struggling with marketing themselves. And that’s when I was inspired to create the Winning Motorsports Marketing website. I reached out to my friend Holli Henry and brought her on to help with some of the content.
Together we filmed the Winning Motorsports Marketing program that launched in January of 2019. It guided racers through the process of going from no sponsors, to getting sponsors, taking care of sponsors, marketing themselves, and attracting sponsors.
This program evolved into the SMART membership program that ran from 2019-2020.
While I don’t have a new program on my site for 2021, I’ve connected with champion drag racer Megan Meyer and added training to her program, Driven by Social.
Racing Insiders Podcast
Doesn’t everyone have a podcast now? Can you call yourself a marketer if you don’t?
I’ve been a podcast fan for many years–ever since I got an iPod back in 2006. My subscriptions have changed as my interests have evolved, but I’ve enjoyed driving down the road listening to my favorite creators.
One day I was inspired by the idea of telling stories in the racing industry. I already shoot videos with a lot of the manufacturers I work with, but I keep my videos pretty short and to the point. My videos are usually more product or tech focused rather than being a place for longer storytelling.
I didn’t know anything about recording audio, so I reached out to my racing announcer friend, Wesley Outland. We decided on a trade of information. I helped him start his website and he helped me pick out gear to record a podcast.
That was the start of the podcast, but I wasn’t very consistent. At least until April 2020. During the lockdown of the pandemic, one of the three people I had personal contact with was my longtime partner, engine builder Steve Hendren. My back patio became the everyday hangout spot after work. We ran out of things to talk about, so one day we turned on Facebook live and started talking to our audience.
These chats have become a weekly occurrence every Sunday afternoon at 5:30 pm eastern. We generally enjoy adult beverages, chat about current events, and we answer racing tech questions from the audience.
The live show is recorded and the audio is posted every Monday on the Racing Insiders Podcast website and distributed to all of the major podcast players.
Racelogic Chassis School
One of the tech videos that really set me apart in the racing industry was one I did about fire suppression. Because of this, I became connected with the Racelogic Chassis School. For a few years in a row, I would go to the yearly event and speak to racers about the topic. That is how I met the founder, Brian Littleton.
In late 2019, Brian opened registration for his January class and it sold out in 36 hours. That’s when the idea came up about filming the class and posting it online. I’d never filmed anything like that–especially for hours and hours at a time. But, I immediately said yes.
Selling courses online is a bit different than selling physical products or having a blog. I filmed the course and set up the new website racelogic.vip. We didn’t know if it would be popular or sell, but we took the chance.
It was a resounding success! Having the class online was perfect for people who couldn’t make the trip. And there is so much information presented by top experts in the racing industry that it is difficult to take it all in. For the racers who attended in person, the online version allowed them to replay anything they missed and watch it over and over.
After the success of 2020, we filmed all three 2021 classes and plan to film all classes moving forward.
Filming a class like this really stretched my knowledge and added to my experience with both audio and video. It has been a welcome challenge and I’ve loved the process.
R-town Retreat AirBnb
I love traveling, I love the racing industry, and I love being entrepreneur. I love that I get to work from my home office most of the time. But, there is one thing I really don’t like–noisy neighbors.
During my travels, I’ve had the chance to stay in a couple of AirBnb properties and I really enjoyed the experience. It inspired me to pursue having my own.
I live in a townhouse. When my noisy neighbor moved out in January of 2020, I talked with the property owner about renting the unit and turning it into a short term rental. He wasn’t sure about the idea at first, but after thinking it over, he allowed me to rent the unit and turn it into R-town Retreat (short for Rutherfordton Retreat).
Of course, I had no idea that there would be a pandemic and lockdowns, but surprisingly, the property has done well here in our small town. In fact, now that my other neighbor has moved out, I’ve launched R-town Retreat II.
I really love being an AirBnb host. This area of North Carolina is beautiful and I love the ability to be able to offer a special experience to my guests.
CARS Racing Show
We all know that 2020 was one heck of a year. When the biggest racing trade show of the year was cancelled, there was a giant hole in our industry.
Many of the companies in the racing industry are small businesses. The loss would be profound.
A few people came to me with the idea that I should put together a smaller, regional show as my family had done before that could be done safely. I was hesitant since I knew how much work would be involved and that we wouldn’t have a lot of time to do it. I never thought I would organize a trade show again.
But, I have a great brother. Jimmy Schiltz is the owner of Dirtwrap where he creates wraps for race cars. We partnered together, worked hard, and made it happen. The CARS Racing Show was a success for all involved. Check out the blog to see some of the interviews from the show.
Due to all of the obstacles, this was the greatest risk I’ve ever taken as a business owner. I’m grateful that it all ended up turning out so well.
We didn’t know if this would be a one-off project or if we would continue, but the feedback so far is demanding another show for January of 2022.
I never know what opportunity will be around the next corner, but I like staying open to the possibilities. Not everything I’ve tried has become a glowing success, but it’s just part of the entrepreneurial process.
In this season of my life, work is just part of my lifestyle, so I don’t take a whole lot of time off. But, when I am taking a break, you may find me kayaking on a flat lake, reading business books, playing games on my phone (I’m seriously addicted), traveling, or enjoying a Bloody Mary.
If you have a project in mind, feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org