After experiencing a painful divorce, Kim Hoertz, an Orange County-living mother of four, recognized a serious problem — a lack of trusted resources to navigate the difficult process for women.
This inspired her to create The Graceful Exit, a comprehensive website that allows women to easily search for everything from local lawyers to financial planners to Facebook help groups. This year, Hoertz will also launch a podcast that presents various conversations with professionals to help women going through divorce.
Hoertz discussed her goals for the free information website and what women (and men) throughout Southern California will gain from it.
What was the inspiration behind founding The Graceful Exit? The inspiration behind The Graceful Exit was my painful experience with divorce, which caused me to hit rock bottom. I was a mother of 4, devoted wife, had an extremely successful career and the one that kept it all together. My marriage was dreadful, but my divorce was insane – an experience I would not wish upon my worst enemy. During my lowest point in life, I was managing the horrid trenches of divorce while trying to stay sane for my innocent children and my career. It was then that I realized God had a bigger purpose for me and my story would eventually inspire others. I knew there had to be a better way to navigate divorce, a way that would allow me to look my children in the eye and say “Mommy did her best and she did it with grace.”
Is the website geared towards women only, or will men benefit as well? Yes, The Graceful Exit was designed to help educate, empower and inspire women to navigate divorce, live their best life and also know there is joy on the other side. However, we are very aware that men need these services and education as well and that is why we’re developing a men’s site, which will be packaged and marketed differently. It is expected to launch in early 2022.
What challenges did you come across when building this new web resource? The biggest challenge we faced when building this business was that there was no footprint to model it after. This digital resource is the first of its kind that is rooted with empathy and first-hand experience in divorce, so it was difficult for people to comprehend that we are not charging for or selling anything on our website. Rather, we are a centralized hub of free information for women to find everything they need to navigate divorce and life. All other business models that address divorce are selling services or cannot identify with women who are going through divorce. Designed from my personal journey, this business represents everything I wished I had access to while navigating my own divorce.
What is the best advice you would give someone who is freshly navigating a divorce? Have faith that this too shall pass. It is going to be a challenging process and will take longer than you expect, however patience is your best virtue. If you have patience to navigate the journey, you will find joy on the other side.
When will you launch The Graceful Exit podcast? What will it feature? The Graceful Exit podcast will be launching in Q2 2021 (weeks away!). We are so excited to launch, as our purpose is to normalize the conversation around divorce. Often times, many women feel embarrassment, shame or guilt. We are here to build a community to empower and connect with compassion and empathy, so women do not need to walk this path alone. The podcast will feature real life stories of women who have or are navigating divorce, our trusted professionals who will educate us in specific areas and any other resources that will support and educate women through this journey.
What are your short term goals for the website? The short term goal of the website is to build a community for women navigating divorce. We will do this by expanding throughout all of Southern CA (OC, LA, SD and IE) by the end of 2021, launching a podcast this quarter and increasing our social media and SEO presence. Our long term business strategy includes (but not limited to):
– Expanding nationally
– Expanding internationally
– Building a men’s site
– Building a site uniting both men and women after divorce
And what do you hope to achieve overall with this resource? My hope is to change the narrative and normalize the conversation about divorce. Women do not have to feel the shame and guilt that I felt, nor do they need to stay in an unhealthy marriage. I also would like to educate and empower the younger female generation on the signs of a healthy relationship vs an abusive one. Hopefully, by sharing my story others will not have to endure the pain that I went through and won’t repeat the cycle.
For more info, visit thegracefulexit.com