"Everyone starts off mediocre, so it's about having the courage to make really mediocre things and knowing that what you have to offer is still enough."
Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious, independent jewelry brands looking to profit from their products. Get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing and scaling your business, so you can spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make money. You ready? Alright. Let's do this.
Tracy: Welcome to the Thrive-by-Design podcast Episode 223. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, the chief visionary officer over at Flourish & Thrive Academy and oh my gosh - you are going to love today's episode, especially if you are someone who is working a full-time job and you're trying to do your side hustle full time, you're really lacking or struggling to get the confidence to put yourself out there and your business hasn’t really taken off the ground yet or even if you have a little hobby that you're trying to make into you know, really I want to say like a more sustainable business and the reason why I position it this way is that Cathy, you're going to hear her story, Cathy Heller, who is my guest on the show today, you're going to hear her story and just be blown away by what comes out of her mouth. I'm just like, my whole … when she was… when I was interviewing her, like literally my mind was just like exploding because I'm just like, yes, girl - yes, girl, yes, girl - and I'm so, so excited to have my dear friend, Cathy Heller, on the show. She is going to be talking a little bit more about her book and her podcast, Don't Keep Your Day Job, and I just love her because she's just an advocate for creativity and for passion and for actually building a career doing something that you love instead of building someone else's dream, which is one of my mantras over here for sure. She…Cathy had me on the podcast, on her podcast, I think in May. I remember recording this in my hotel room in Miami. I was in Miami for my birthday week and we just had a blast and she was just like, oh my gosh - the show is so good. I bumped it up and it's going live in two days, and I was just like, Cathy - oh my gosh - so it was amazing. Anyway, we're going to link to that in the show notes as well.
The thing that I love about what Cathy has to say is that she's going to give you just her 4-step framework on how you can simply get your business going and test your proof of concepts or to meet the right customers, get your head in the right place, and then also start to build a business around this passion that you have. The one thing that really stood out with me, which is in my mind the most important part of building a successful business is that you must be committed to believing that it's possible because if you are stuck in a place where you think like no one is going to want to buy this or my business sucks or I can't do that or I'm not good enough or whatever the things that you tell yourself or you're operating out of a place of fear or lack or that there is not enough to go around or you know, you're kind of diving in to the natural reactions that our brain has - you're not doing the work to really reshape or reframe the way you think about yourself and your business or this passion that you want to do, then it's going to be really hard for you to get things off the ground. One of the things that I love, we talk about some really famous people that she's interviewed and takeaways that we have, and the story is the same is that all of these people, no matter who they were, became successful because they started from the ground up. They asked for help. They listened. They supported themselves with you know a community, whether that might have been just like having that connection with peers or friends or joining a formal community and they ended up just asking for feedback and moving forward. They weren't so worried about the outcome. They weren't comparing themselves necessarily to what someone else had done before them. They were just trying to get more information and use that information to improve what they were doing and then grew very successful businesses out of it, which I think is really powerful.
Now we just closed enrollment for our community over here at Flourish & Thrive Academy, our SOS Coaching Program, which is changing the lives of so many designers and when we closed the door this time, it was a little bit heartbreaking because a bunch of people were knocking on the doors later, asking like how can I get in now? And you know, I'd really love to encourage you to get on the wait list for SOS Coaching Program. Here's the thing about this program that is so life changing is that the designers who joined this program and are getting amazing results are doing a lot of the things that Cathy talks about today. They're getting their head in the right place. They're focused on their mindset daily. They're taking daily action to move forward towards their goal. They're using the information that they get to tweak and improve their business, their marketing, their sales strategy and you know what the result is? Their business is growing. So the designers in this community, you probably have heard, last week we had Mary Ann Saville on the show and Jess was interviewing Mary Ann and talking a little bit about her business growth. A couple of weeks ago, I had Twyla Dill on the show. Several months ago, I had Alex Camacho on the show and I'll be basically featuring some snippets from designers like Jessie Robins, who was just featured in Sundance catalogs 30th Anniversary Edition, how his business has evolved and changed. He says that after joining SOS, he's like, I'm a lifer. I'm in this forever. Like I can't believe how much more efficient I am. I am no longer working nonstop and my business is making more money, not necessarily only because my sales have increased, but more than anything is that he's just profitable. His business has gotten so much more profitable, which I love. I heard Jennifer Diaz saying how she….Jennifer was… I interviewed her last week and she said, you know, Tracy, I'm so burnt out. I've been in business for 19 years, and I was just exhausted and I was tired of doing all the shows. I was tired of the way business was done and I needed a different way. It was either this or I was out, like I was … I just couldn't do it anymore. And she talks about her new-found passion for her business, how she is showing up differently and how she's just so much more excited about all the things that she's doing. The result, when you can get in that place with your business, is that everything expands and starts to grow in a good way, which is awesome, and also, I want to just remind you, you know, we have designers talking about like the huge impact that even doing their business, that joining SOS has done for their business, even on a part-time level. Nicky Granitz was on the show and I was talking to her a little bit more about her business and she said, you know, she's running a biotech company that she co-founded with another person - she's kind of a science nerd, which makes sense because jewelry is so much about problem solving and so is science. But her business doubled the first year she was in SOS and it is doubling again this year. She's only doing this as like a part-time career. So I just to remind you that whatever it is that you want to create - if you have an established story brand and you're really ready to add an extra $10,000 or more revenue every single month and you're ready to leverage online presence and make more sales direct to consumer and use that online presence to really wow and delight your wholesale customers, and you just all around get your life back and life proof your business so that it doesn’t require you to make money, then I'd love to encourage you to get on the wait list for SOS now. There is no fee to get on the wait list. It's completely free. When we open enrollment again, we will make a little announcement and then you can apply for the program and you'll have an opportunity to get in with all these other amazing designers. So head on over to FlourishThriveAcademy.com/SOSNow and get on the wait list so that when we release applications again, you can apply. FlourishThriveAcademy.com/SOSNow.
So I wanted dive into today's episode, but before I do, I want to introduce Cathy. Cathy Heller hosts the podcast, Don't Keep Your Day Job. I was on it. You're going to love it. Her podcast is amazing, by the way. Go subscribe to it now. Her podcast has 9 million downloads. Her bio says 8 million, but I know it has 9 million downloads by this point, because she says it on the show and she features conversations with creative entrepreneurs like actress Jenna Fischer, blogger Seth Grodin and so many more. She talks about Brian Grazer on this. We talk about the Boots founder on this. So many incredible people. She's a phenomenal coach and she's sparking a movement for every soul to add their gifts to the world. She is incredible. She has a book coming out. I really want you to go right now, after you listen to this episode, go buy her book, get on the wait list for the pre order perks, and get involved with what Cathy's doing because she is incredible. Head on over to DontKeepYourDayJob.com once this podcast is over/book and buy her book. Alright, let's dive into this amazing episode with my good friend, Cathy.
Okay. Today is amazing because I have Cathy Heller on the show today and we met, I don't know, virtually, we were introduced a few months ago, maybe like six months ago. Now I really consider you one of my business besties.
Cathy: Yeah, yeah.
Tracy: And Cathy, I'm so happy to have you here.
Cathy: I'm so happy to be here, Tracy. You're really one of the most generous humans and then you just happen to be so smart. I remember when you were on my podcast. I took two pages of notes, front and back, and I don’t do that at all. It's not like I take notes, ever, and then I'm like oh, let me write that down, what she just said, and by the time you were finished, I had two pages of notes because everything you said was so good.
Tracy: Well everything you say is so good too, and that's why I'm so excited to have you on the show because you have a lot of exciting things coming up. We have a lot of things in common because I feel like we're almost the same person, but different. That we both love helping creative thinkers.
Cathy: Yeah, that's true.
Tracy: And we're on a mission to like help all the creatives rule the world and do something that they love.
Tracy: Make money doing what they're passionate about and so, you have an amazing podcast called Don’t Keep Your Day Job.
Cathy: Yeah, that's true.
Tracy: And if you're not listening to it, everyone, go to iTunes or Apple podcasts, excuse me - they changed their name recently.
Cathy: I know. Welcome to like the up-to-date news. Yep.
Tracy: I know. Go to Apple Podcasts. Subscribe right now because you will love her podcast. One of my favorite interviews - I mean, I loved getting interviewed by Cathy but I can't choose myself as a favorite interview - but one of my favorite interviews was that interview that you did with the guy from Boots, and I love it because I order from Boots and Urban Scents all the time. Their flowers are reasonable. They're beautiful. They last and I loved what he said about real marketing and how he grew his business and I think that if people just want to oftentimes put their stuff out there and then they just do anything and then they get disappointed when no one comes to buy and the thing I loved so much about this is kind of, I quote this all the time - he sent out 1700 emails that were personalized to everyone in his network and that's how he made over $1,000,000 his first year in business.
Cathy: Yeah. Yeah.
Tracy: That's impressive.
Cathy: Yep, really impressive. It's true.
Tracy: So enough about all that. Let's talk about you. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. Like I know what you do. So why don’t you tell our audience what sort of your background and what you're doing now.
Cathy: Well, what I'm doing now is helping people to know that there is work that exists for them, the work that they really want to be doing - that it's possible to find something that you love and to be able to make a living doing that thing, whether it's baking or screenwriting or podcasting and to give them clarity and some strategy on the steps to take and also just to really help them figure out what that thing is. So that's what I do now and it's super fulfilling and that all started because I came out to L.A. 16 years ago with this desire to be a song writer and I think most of us, we will reach for the highest branch that we see possible and all I knew was it was either Beyoncé or bust. Like, get a record deal or go home. I didn't know any other way and so I worked really hard to figure out how to get a record deal, and I got one and I was at Interscope. I was actually there at Sunset Sounds when Lady Gaga was recording Paparazzi and I had just been signed and they were like, what kind of coffee do you want, and I was like the new kid on the block and I knew that eventually it would all fall apart because I felt really out of my league and sure enough, a few months later, I got dropped from the record label and I thought, oh I guess this is the moment that everybody told me would happen, where I'd have to "grow up" and "get a real job" and so I did that. I went and got a bunch of different real jobs. I worked in a casting office. I helped cast the Ghost Whisperer pilot with Jennifer Love Hewitt. I did that for a couple of years. Then I worked in a floral design studio because I thought that would be creative and different and then I worked at a nonprofit and I was doing all of this stuff and one day I was driving in my car because that's what you do most of your life in L.A. and I pulled over because I was crying so hard and I was like I am not myself. I am not living myself, my life, and I think that most people really deeply are so hungry to live life on their terms, to feel like they go to work every day and they do their work. They don’t build someone else's dream. They get to put themselves in the world - whatever they really deeply want to express because deep down we know that there's something we came here to do and to offer and to contribute and so, I was like there's got to be a way for me to do the thing that I love, which is music, and so I wound up being unrelenting and I found a path, which wound up being licensing the songs I would write to TV shows, like One Tree Hill and ads like Kellogg's and Wal-Mart and I wound up making $300,000 to $400,000 a year and I did that for a decade. I started to figure out who needed songs, make the relationships with people at ad agencies, make the relationship with people at Paramount and Lions Gate, NBC and connect to them as human beings and figure out what they needed and found a way to marry my creativity with the story that they were telling so I could solve their problems. I wound up making a living, a great living and what wound up happening is I was featured in Billboard magazine and Variety - these full page stories, and I thought, oh, maybe I'll get another record deal now. And instead, I had thousands and thousands of artists asking me how did you do that? How did you do that? And so I started to be speaking on panels and was speaking at other people's podcasts before I ever knew what a podcast was and all these artists kept saying, "That's so inspiring. I can't believe that you would call Lions Gate and show up in their office and bring Starbucks to people you didn't know. Oh my gosh - I can't believe you just got scrappy and flew out and met people at Ogilvie and Deutsche and oh my gosh - that's so cool. And then you've got momentum and oh my gosh - how do I do this? How do I do this?" And I started to help other artists and I started a course helping song writers and the song writing course blew up and it started making over $1,500,000 a year and then one of my song writing students was like, what you say is about any person who wants to monetize their dream job - all of the same steps apply. You should start a podcast. And I started a podcast 2-1/2 years ago and we are about to hit 9 million downloads and I cannot believe how needed this was, this message, and so I wrote a book, which is coming out now called Don’t Keep Your Day Job, same name as my podcast and now I feel like I've been led to really what's my work, you know, beyond song writing. It's like this message of helping people find purpose and it's so fun and it really is doable. Like I can help people, legit, and so many people have listened to our show have gotten so much out of it and started their dream jobs and businesses and it's so fun to hear those success stories and it's so fun to coach people in my programs now and to see people soaring and saying, God, like I'm free. Like I actually feel expressed in the world. I feel like I've come home to myself. That is awesome. So that's what I'm doing.
Tracy: I mean, I'm impressed. Like you just went and bought some Starbucks and now… then you were making like 300 to $400,000 a year selling your licensing your songs for jingle, so that's ….
Cathy: That piece of the story…Here's the thing. Everybody who is listening right now has some great idea. What they're missing is momentum.
Cathy: And the momentum comes from getting out of our way and getting it to the people, starting to make relationships and most people are building the business backwards, where they're like in their own head and coming up with everything and then trying to put it out in the world once they think it's "done" and try to convince people that they want it. But what needs to happen is before it's "done," when you're just beginning, you need to go directly to the people that it's for and then start to get momentum by asking them, "What do you need? How do you need this? What do you need more of? I'm so glad I didn't finish it because you actually wanted it like this. Oh, and now I have a relationship with someone who's waiting for it on the other end of me finishing it - cool. Then I can finish it and get the feedback again and make more tweaks. And so there are certain things in business that you are disproportionally rewarded for and that is the outreach piece and when you know how to do that with empathy, where you're really seeking to solve a problem and hear someone versus like getting your hand in their pocket and getting something from them, people are so happy to talk about more of what they need and feel seen. So it's amazing. Then you don’t need 1000 customers to make you six figures. Like you just need a few people to get on board and the momentum starts to take off and you will be amazed at how you can start to serve your corner of the world and be quite happy and make a great living.
Tracy: That's so good because it is really about momentum. It's like, you know when we talk with the designers in our community, so we talk about that 1000 true fans philosophy that I spoke about I think on ….
Cathy: Oh, I love that.
Tracy: And you know, for what you were doing, maybe you don’t need 1000 customers, but for a jewelry designer, if they had 1000 customers that bought every year, that would be a fricking phenomenal business and that would probably be a multiple six figure business or if they were doing expensive jewelry, even more than that. So I think that that momentum piece is key because and I love what you were saying about feedback because people are so afraid of getting rejected, instead of thinking how can I come from a place of service - how can I serve my customer - how can I deliver them what they didn't even know that they wanted and surprise and delight them and get to a place where when I get feedback, I'm not taking it personally. I'm taking it as a "oh, here's a way to improve so I can do better next time" or "here's a way that I can service this customer better, get to or whatever it might be." So I feel like we are going to be able to talk for hours, but we have a hard stop, so we're not going to, but…. You are amazing.
Okay, so what are some of the steps in the process that you would give to someone who, let's say they're working a soul-sucking job, because I know a lot of people do and you know, we have a ton of designers in this community and makers who are listening to Thrive By Design right now and thinking like well, I'm doing my jewelry or my fashion or accessories business as a side hustle at this moment, how am I actually ever going to be able to make that leap to be able to do it full time to replace my income? So like if you were talking to someone in your community and you were coaching them, what are kind of some of the loose steps that you would give them to do that?
Cathy: Well, I want to talk about this in two parts. I want to get into the actual steps, but before we get into the actual steps, and I want to make sure that we do that, but I want to talk about the most crucial thing, which is your belief about it.
Cathy: Because if I tell you every step, and I'm going to lay them out, but before I do that, I want to prime you. Right? Just like if I was going to paint the wall, before I actually did it, I'd put a primer coat on, otherwise it doesn’t seep in. Okay? So I can tell you everything to do until you're blue in the face, and you would be like, I got it - I got it, but none of it will stick unless we actually start with what's most important, which is your belief system around this.
Cathy: We will only, only take action when we believe that will actually be a worthy thing to do with our time because we're not stupid. So, how many people listening have bought a lottery ticket once in your life? Okay, so some people are like, I bought one once. I mean, how many of you buy one every single week? Probably a lot less, a lot fewer. Right? The reason why - it's not that you can't afford $6. You just don’t believe that doing that every week is going to be fruitful, so you don’t do it. Right? Now, how many people listening … let me think of another example … have taken a flight somewhere? You guys are like, of course - I've gone to visit this person. I've gone to, you know, three great trips around the world. Most people listening have probably gotten on a plane many, many, many times. Why? Because you don’t believe you're going to die. Like you believe you're going to wind up in Italy. You're going to wind up in New York City, so you go. And thank God, it's very true. It's very rare that somebody would deal with something other than arriving there. Right? We have a …we believe it, so we do it. So whatever I'm going to say I want you to understand that you can be sitting in a waiting room at a doctor's office but the people sitting next to you are not in the same room, because we all live in a different universe inside our head based on what we are telling ourselves is true. Like what is the world that you have created? Some people are sitting next to you. They're looking out the window and this woman's like sad about something and then this other person next to you is like so excited about all the things that she believes, like she's like working on.
Like everyone is in a different reality, really. Right? So it has to do so much with what you see and I've lately been saying things like, "I feel like whatever is my ceiling, I want it to become my floor, so that there's a more expansive way to receive love, to do things in the world, to create beauty and magic and all of that," and I'm always working on that with myself, so I get it. But it comes down to belief. So I want you to understand first of all that the human mind was designed to protect us. That is all it's meant to do. There used to be a time where a saber tooth tiger was coming around the corner and so you had to constantly assess danger and so your mind is built to solve problems. So if you're wondering like what's wrong with me, I worry all the time? Nothing. It means you're actually just like everyone else - your mind is doing what it's supposed to do so it's worrying. So it's looking to be stimulated and looking for things to chew on and it's looking for problems. So what we have to do is understand that, that that is the default. And everyone who's listening has had moments in your life where you feel fired up and you feel bold and you feel clarity around what you want and all of that - whether it's like you just came from some incredible concert or god forbid, somebody passed away and you were at a funeral. There are certain moments where things wake us up and we get clarity and we get …we feel fierce. We feel ready to tackle something. We have all known that feeling, but how do we stay there is like really get it, like your mind is Velcro for negativity. So if that's a fact, you have to get ahead of that by feeding yourself the things that are going to push you out of that low state into that frequency that's like that high vibe. Because when you're in that high vibe, then the steps that I'm going to tell you to do, you'll actually do them and then even if you only have 15 free minutes, you'll get more out of the 15 free minutes than you would if you had six months free but you felt really negative; you won't do anything. You won't even see what you could possibly do. So we have to really understand that that is key. That is so key to get yourself fired up. Just like you wouldn’t wake up and worry about why your iPhone is a piece of garbage if you hadn’t charged it all night. You'd be like, oh, it's dead - I didn't charge it. Like you also have to be charged. Right? Like you've got to charge your batteries. So you have to care as much about charging your batteries as you do about your smart phone. Like I know all of us right now, I don’t have to ask you - you have some idea of what battery percentage is on your iPhone because everyone's obsessed with it. If I get into an Uber on a Saturday night and my iPhone is at 41%, I physically feel anxious. I'm like, oh godddd, I'm not going to make the night. Darn it! But…
Tracy: And I'm like, and I forgot my charger - dammit!
Cathy: Well, it's bad. It's bad. And so we all know that with our phone but we don’t know that with ourselves. So we sort of like float through life with our charge at like 7% and then we wonder why nothing is happening and again, the brain looks for worries so then all we do is like - we find evidence why it didn't happen and it'll never happen and I'm not good enough and that just becomes the story we live and then we don’t take action because we really believe this is not going to be fruitful at all, and it just keeps sort of reinforcing this garbage that's not true. Okay? So, it is possible. Part of the reason I do my show is so that every week, twice a week, I can show examples of people who had something they wanted to do that was a "crazy idea" and they built it into something so beautiful - whether it was … I just had Brian Grazer, who is Ron Howard's partner at Imagine - they've done like Apollo 13 and a Beautiful Mind and TV shows like Arrested Development. I mean, it's amazing what they've created and Howard Schultz, who started Starbucks. Right? Who was a kid who grew up in public housing in a tenement who started with one coffee shop and now owns over 34,000 coffee shops and makes over $3,500,000,000. He comes from public housing. Like the man did not have a trust fund to save his life. So every single week I have shown you it's doable and I'm not just telling you. I am hopeful I have certainty, absolutely certainty, that the thing that you want to build, you can build it.
Now, what are the steps?
Tracy: Can I stop you there for one second…
Tracy: … before we dive into the steps? Because what I… I just want to pause here for a minute because mindset, more importantly, operating from a place of abundance mindset or what I like to call growth mindset is the only way you will ever be successful. If you are the most talented with your craft of anything in the world and you don’t believe that you're good enough or that anyone is going to ever buy anything from you, then you won't ever sell anything because you're basically creating your reality by your beliefs. I just want to really fill this in because you're right - this is the most important piece of the puzzle. If you don’t believe it can happen, you're never going to get there and I have to tell you, Cathy, that when I was first starting out in business, I was terrified to put myself out there and I had a lot of fear and it took me a little while to kind of get my legs, but when I was working in retail, it was no problem for me to walk up and ask for a sale. When I got comfortable enough just asking for the sale and not worrying about someone saying no, I only focused on those yeses and my business grew quickly. And then when my first businesses ended up getting taken out in 2008 and I was starting over, I lost a lot of confidence and felt like I was a loser and all those things and then the first thing that I started doing before I really got in the game again was to work on my mindset and my confidence and my belief system because until I could get to a belief that I was going to be making $15, $20,000 a month in personal income again, I was never going to get there. And so that process is so important and any time I see a designer flailing, I'm like what do … like that's the first thing that I think. It's hard because not, most people can't get this part right and they live in a fear and they live in their mind and they live operating out of a place of reaction instead of operating out of a place of abundance or positivity or growth and they just get more of the same. And so if you … I want to, just for anyone who is listening today - if this is something that is important to you and you want to continue to succeed and you want to reach your goals, you must believe that it's possible and you must believe that it's probable and you back that up with everything Cathy is about to tell you right now.
Cathy: And the thing is that the reason that we don’t is because we have suffered so much so it's telling someone to believe that the sky is purple, and it's not. Right? It's we just don’t experience that and so I want to talk a little bit for a second of like what's going on there is …see, the thing that we want - we'll say we want a business. We'll say we want a relationship. We'll say these are the things I want, but the deepest thing is that we want to not be in pain. So your brain, like I said, will protect you from pain. So everybody who is listening, like I don’t need to know you personally to know that you have been through so much. You've been through it. You've gone through loss. You've gone through tremendous grief, tremendous rejection, so much - in fact, the 11-year-old version of me was probably like, I am so proud that you've even just survived it. Right? Like it's amazing. And when you were a kid, see, like between the ages of like 0 and 7, when everything is so raw and it's sort of the days of like wet cement, like you know when there's cement that's wet in front of your house, you can put like your dog's paw prints in it and it kind of stays. So 0 to 7, everything's still wet and then whatever sort of comes in kind of like stays in there and we have to sort of work with that and kind of like keep what's great but sort of notice whatever's not serving us. Right? And so what happens is at some point we reached our arms out and something broke. You know, someone passed away, someone died, someone left, someone told us it wasn’t good enough, someone… and so we started to build armor around ourselves and the very best thing that we actually do is tell ourselves, oh, no, no, no - I don’t even want the thing. I'm fine. Yeah. Because then if I tell myself I'm fine, there's nothing I have to do. I can just convince myself that I don’t want it because if I don’t want it, I won't ever actually be in pain. We do want it and we are in pain and we don’t believe it because the experience that we have lived was but it wasn’t good enough, but it wasn’t possible, plus we have people around us who have lived that and so they've modeled for us it doesn’t work, it's not possible. What it comes down to is that deep down, we have to understand that what we are is enough and what I mean by that is there are people less talented than you right now, living their dreams and doing what they love and they have less talent but they gave themselves permission to get in the ring and do it. Everyone starts off mediocre. So it's about having the courage to make really mediocre things and knowing that what you have to offer is still enough. Like when I had Brian Grazer on the show, he was talking about how when he was 23, 24, he would just walk up to call offices of reach out to people he admired - Warren Beatty and Jonas Salk, who created the Polio vaccine. This kid would try to get meetings with all these people and say, I don’t need a job - I just want to have 10 minutes with you because I admire you and I would love to learn from you. Only one person, he said, in all these years said no to him and I said not only is that amazing that you had the courage to reach out, it's that it's so much like hutzpah but the fact that you believed you had something to offer. And he said, but Cathy, everyone I've ever met, whether it's Bill Gates or Clint Eastwood, he said, there's never been a person when I said can we talk for 10 minutes, who didn't talk like, he goes, every person talked for at least an hour because every one of those people desires for another human to show up and make them feel seen. So that is …
Tracy: To witness them, like to see them.
Cathy: To witness - exactly. So when we get that the biggest thing that people need is someone to be holding space for them and just being there, like you said, to just be a witness, just really be here with me, that is the most valuable thing. So then let's say you're the person - you want to make doughnuts. You want to make jewelry. You want to make hats - whatever you want to do - and maybe you're right, maybe there's no objective way to know that you're the best at that, but you really care about who you're making it for and you care about being the person who asks yourself the question how did I show for my person today. That will distinguish you from the person and that in and of itself will be the experience that leads the person coming back to you, which allows you then to really seek to understand what they need more of and to really then show up. Now part of showing up is letting go of shame because if I need to perfect, I have to prove myself to you, which means I'm busy to try to prove and I can't be there for you, but if I don’t have to be perfect because I know that my real job is not to make the best piece of jewelry I've ever seen, but to really show up for you today, in this moment, I don’t have to be as nervous because I can focus on you. I can truly seek to listen and hear you and what will wind up being born out of a conversation is probably an idea that I didn't even think of because I was so busy building a cake and you wound up telling me what you really need is cupcakes.
Cathy: And now, I'm actually off to the races. Right? Because I listened.
Tracy: So, so good.
Cathy: The steps to building a business - there's four steps. You, first of all, get back in touch with what is the thing that you have to make, not what do you think is a good idea - what have you looked at in the job market and be like, there's a hole in here - I should build a gap for that. No, no, no. What do you have to make?
Tracy: Where's the gap in the market?
Cathy: Like what is the thing in your heart that you want to be doing every day? Now if the answer is "I don't know," that's fair because you probably haven’t spent enough time with your 7-year-old self in a while, so maybe it's time to just some sidewalk chalk, go to the beach with a journal, get your phone away and just play and think and dream. That's step one.
Step two is I'm going to give myself permission to get messy and make this thing and I need to make it for someone. I need to pick three people to ground myself - three - who might want this. So instead of just writing a poem, who do I need to touch today? Who needs some words of hope or love or prayer? I'm going to write the poem for those three people and I'm going to give it to them. So first step is what is the thing. Second step is who is it for.
Third step is now, well let me give it to this person and let me get some feedback, which is testing and validating my idea and let me ask them, did you like the flan? I thought of you. So you're one of the three people I made the flan for. Did you like the consistency? Did you like the taste? Would you like more cinnamon in it? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Okay, you don’t really like flan. What do you like that I can make? Oh, actually, that's interesting - I was thinking of making a tres leche. I'm going to make you tres leche or oh, you're not my customer because you know what - you don’t like any desserts at all - okay, well I need to find another person. Right? You validate the idea.
The last pieces, you've now figured out what you love. You know who it's for. You've validated it. Now the last pieces, you're going to find a way to sell that over and over and over again, which means there's several things that you can do to keep that going, on like a faucet. One is where do these people already hang out all the time? Right? Instead of selling door to door, this flan, is there a local coffee shop that might want to buy 50 cups of flan a week to sell to the people who already come in and buy coffee? Let me get three of those customers and now, I'll be selling 150 cups a week with three customers. So maybe I do that. What else can I do? Well, I can be nurturing my audience by telling my story, which Tracy is so good at, and talking about my flan and talking about why I like it and talking about the fact that I am a Cuban American and this is my grandmother's story and showing how I make things and giving some away and just asking people if they've ever tasted it and we can just start content like that, which tells stories and brings it to life and makes it a person behind it. Right? And that will start to drive some interest.
Cathy: If you just keep doing those things, you'll get clearer and clearer about the magical things inside of you. You'll get clearer and clearer about who you are serving. You will get clearer and clearer about what they want more of and then you'll keep thinking about ways to be doing outreach to pipelines that already have tons of people interested in what you want. They've already built your audience. Maybe there's like three blogs that have to do with like those kinds of desserts. Like get your content on there - right- and do a giveaway where you're going to, you know, send like an overnight freezer package of this flan to three people. Like there's already an audience. You can now get in front of them by collaborating with people, by doing that kind of outreach and all of that… I mean, when you think of that now, it's like everyone actually has a lot to get to. Like we should be busier. Right? There's a lot of steps to do. What happens is we get so caught up in I won't even start my Etsy shop until I have 15 pieces of jewelry. I can't even do it until I have a better picture. No, no, no. Go back. Back. It's like go to your living room, ask five friends to come over who like jewelry and show them the three pieces that you made and see what they think. Right? And then think to yourself, who is this for? Is it for moms? Is it for brides? Is it for kids? Where are those people already hanging out? How do I get in front of those people and how do I get more feedback from them? Right? And how do I do more to give to them and nurture them and it just grows, exponentially.
Tracy: Yeah, I love that you say that because it's so grassroots and that's exactly how I started my business. I didn't even realize I was doing it. I had friends over to like buy jewelry at a party and then would take it. That's it. I would see which ones would sell and then some of it didn't sell and I'm like, okay, well how can I take those and make them better?
Cathy: That's it.
Tracy: And some of those people just referred their friends and their friends and their friends and it now, this is, the same thing is happening, especially like, even online because it's like we have so much more capacity to reach more people because when people with networks share, like for instance, the necklace that they bought from you and they're posting and tagging you and talking about how much they love it and then they're telling their friends, then you start this like basically what we call the sharing economy. Like you get tons of referrals and it's like, becomes not that hard to build a business, but so much of what you're saying about feedback, because I think people are so afraid. I mentioned this earlier - to get feedback because they… they're not using that as an opportunity to grow. Instead, they're using it as operating out of a place of fear and feeling rejected.
Tracy: Because someone says like, oh, that's not for me.
Cathy: Yeah. And the rejection piece just means that we have to go back to the radical empathy part and know that business and hobbies are different. Hobbies are things that we can just do and it doesn’t matter if the world is interested or listening; it's fine. But business and this is something we have to really ask ourselves - like do you want this to be a business because if it's a business, it's 100% predicated on the fact that another person wanted it or needed it, and then they're going to give you money. So, you might actually love doing this thing, but you might say to yourself, actually then, I'm not up for it being a business. Okay. So what do you want to do for business? Now, I have told a lot of artists how fun is it to get paid to do what you love - right - you get to write good music - you get to paint - you can do all these things. Michelangelo, for god sake, was commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel.
That wasn't just like an idea that came to him. He was asked to paint that particular chapel and the way that he did it - he was told which scenes to paint and what stories to tell in the painting. Right? But he was paid. So you can … John Williams, who has done, you know, all the most amazing iconic scores - he's one of the most legendary composers - I'm pretty sure he and Randy Newman and all the other composers, they get lots of feedback from their director about what they want. So how cool is it that I don’t have to have some job I hate. I can have a job doing what I love, where I do have a customer. I do care. I do want their feedback, and then, I get paid to do what I love and then in my downtime, I can do the stuff that I just care about that doesn't have to be for anybody else. I would rather do that if it was me.
Tracy: 100%. You're so brilliant. I love it. And I think that, you know, when we have a talent and a skill set, one of the designers who just joined our SOS Coaching Program, her name is Dorian, she's a jewelry designer and she was I think a stylist or something. It was at a trunk show that she - Dorian Fletcher - a stylist that she met was at a trunk show that she was doing. That one introduction, where the stylist picked up a necklace and the necklace broke when she picked it up. She was like, oh jeez - I totally just destroyed my chances of ever having an opportunity to work with this stylist. The stylist was like, no, this happens, you know, whatever. Invited her on the set of Black Panther and she became the jeweler for Black Panther. I mean, that one little crazy interaction - you just don’t know how one interaction can change your life if you're open to opportunity.
Tracy: I think it's amazing. Like I'm excited that she has joined the program because she's really trying to leverage not only like some of the past work that she's done but she's had a baby last year and she's trying to get her legs back in the game. It's amazing and powerful when you're open, not only to taking feedback, but you basically seize opportunities, like carpe diem. You know?
Cathy: Yeah. And that's why the whole thing is about the feedback. The feedback, instead of looking at it like rejection - the feedback is like an answer cave. Right? And once we get in front of people, sometimes they don’t…they're actually okay with the fact that it needed tweaking. They're still in. Right? Like this situation you just said - Jonathan Adler was on my podcast talking about how he started with these four pieces of pottery and he had the moxie to call up this guy at Barney's and say, you know, would you like to buy some pottery of mine and put it in your store and the guy said, well, let me come over and take a look and he's like, oh god - he's going to come to my fourth floor walkup. He was not happy about it. And so he comes to his little apartment and he says to him, these are cool but they have the wrong glaze. You know, you have this like crackle glaze and you need a shiny glaze. I don’t know all the details because I'm not so inside baseball and pottery, but he told him that. But he said if you can change the glaze, I'd be really interested in seeing these again. So he's like, I'm so glad I had that answer cave. Right? Instead of falling on his sword and going forget it, he was like, alright. So he found the one studio he could rent in Soho, which would give him that glaze. He rollerbladed there because he couldn’t even afford to get down there and the only time they could give him was 6 a.m. and he was like, fine - I'll go in at 6 a.m. and make these pots with a better glaze and I'll bring them back. He did and the guy was like, these are great. Let's start with an order of a few of these and they sold and they kept building and you know, the rest is history. He makes hundreds of millions of dollars and he has 28 stores and designs hotels and now he makes pillows and candles and couches and everything else. But it started with this willingness of like, I'm not needing to be perfect, and that's why I said, there doesn’t need to be shame. There needs to be grace for I'm going to allow myself to become a master and I'm going to allow myself to know that the reason I need a mirror is because I can't objectively see. So it's beautiful that the world is going to lead me to where I want to go. That's a gift. Right? As opposed to seeing it as a bad thing and this "rejection" is just going to help me serve and it's going to lead me to where I actually wind up being the most successful. So it's all really a treat and that's where the let me just get messy, let me just get in it, let me just start. Right? Successful people are like throwing up all over themselves. They're not ready to do the speech. They do it anyway. And they gain so much from that. Right? They just keep starting. It's easy to look at someone like Steve Jobs and be like, oh, well he hit it out of the park. It's like, but there's 15 other things that he "started" and they just failed and they just kept starting new projects. Like what's the next one? Oh - the world didn't receive that. The world didn't like that. We tweaked it. We changed it. Oh, here it is. Oh, my god! That's amazing! Yeah, because I have been listening to you for eight years and I finally figured out what you wanted. Right?
Cathy: We are built to serve. We are not built to be by ourselves.
Tracy: Yes. And I think the other thing too - you hit on something intentionally but like unintentionally about like stop comparing yourself…. someone else's middle to your beginning. And I think that this is really, that's an important thing to remember because like you know, how many, I mean, Cathy, how many failed songs have you had in your career that didn't work out?
Cathy: So many, so many, and I would never even play them for you. It's like, oh god - you know, I can't even bear to listen to them. So mediocre.
Tracy: Yeah, yeah.
Cathy: And I had so many things I tried didn't work. You know, along the way. So true.
Tracy: Yeah, and so many jewelry collections that I did, like didn't… I thought they were the most amazing thing and they didn’t end up selling the way that I thought that they would. But you know, I didn't let that destroy my career. I just picked up and moved on and retired the collection and kept going forward, you know. It's interesting. So I want to be mindful of time because we have a hard stop and I want to hear more about your book because it's coming out real soon and so tell us a little bit about Don’t Keep Your Day Job.
Cathy: Yeah, I mean, Don’t Keep Your Day Job, we have been really talking about it because all of these things are really the things I just dull down in the book and I loved writing it because we could have done a couple of different things with the book. We had a couple of book deal offers and one person was like so easy - one publisher was like oh, just make every chapter a different episode of the show and we just need transcripts and you'll be done - and I thought, oh my god - how easy - I don’t have to write anything - I'll just give you my hundreds of episodes and you'll have case study after case study, which could be cool - right - to just read the whole thing, but then the other company, MacMillan, Saint Martin Press, who I wrote my book with, said you know what would be even more valuable, I think is if you took the podcast, and instead of people needing to listen to hours and hours and hours and then making their own conclusions, you wrote a book which gave people a lot of these conclusions. And so what I just talked to you about for the last 30 minutes or so are really the big things that I go into more detail with in the book, which really helps you by the end have this like big awakening of a - there is something I really do want and I'm not going to keep telling myself I don’t. B - I'm going to let go of the shame because there's no need to just bury myself because I'm not perfect. I need to understand that that's all part of it and it shows you the steps to start to take and it gives you some amazing examples of what has happened for some people and so it's a combination of you walking away with some steps, with some insight. Also, I go over, in the book, the four different kinds of person you can be because I think a lot of times we just don’t have a model. It's like you went to fourth grade career day and somebody's dad was a veterinarian - somebody's mom was a lawyer and you're like, alright - well what am I going to do? So in the book, we talk about the different archetypes. You can be a maker. You could be a teacher. You could be an investigator or a curator. And it's really after interviewing over 200 people, everyone's job falls into one of those four things. So I kind of go over what those four things could look like and how each one of those things then could be a job because for some people, you love dance and you know you would love to be around it but you know you're not going to be the dancer.
Like, either you know that like you're good but you're not unbelievably good or you feel like, you know, you have an injury already and you're like well how can I be around dance? Well, there are three other things you can do besides being the "maker," which would be the person who is the dancer. You could have a podcast all about dance. You could write a book about the lives of dancers, which would, you know…there's curator roles. There's investigator roles. And then there's also teacher roles. Mandy Moore from So You Think You Can Dance was on our podcast and she started out wanting to be a dancer and found that the world really gave her this feedback that boy is she a great dancer but she's a phenomenal choreographer. And so she wound up becoming a producer on So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars and she choreographed La La Land and she's like the choreographer to beat in Hollywood and it really opened up a whole world for her. And so it didn't matter that she was not going to be…she doesn’t have the body of a prima ballerina. She's like a size 16 and she's gorgeous and she didn't need to compete with anybody other than herself because she found her lane. So, this book really helps you figure out what are the other models and give you the steps and give you the courage and the permission to know that you're enough. So if you want to buy the book, there's lots of different pre sale bonuses at DontKeepYourDayJob.com/book. We're giving away - I'm doing a workshop. We're doing a big party at my house. We're doing a one-on-one session, which you can get for… you know, different quantities of books that you buy give you different perks, but we're doing a lot to get people to get this book and to even get extra copies that you give away because I think this message is really a movement to help people be free and find more purpose.
Tracy: I love this, Cathy. I'm so happy for you. What day does it actually get shipped because I know we're in pre sale right now?
Cathy: November 12th, the book will be in Barnes and Noble, Amazon, all the places.
Tracy: All the places. Cathy, thank you so much for being here today.
Cathy: Thank you. Thank you for being you. You're so generous and so smart and so adorable and you are everything that I was just saying. When I was talking 25 minutes ago, and I said I know that everyone who is listening has been through pain and has had the courage to move through that, you've been through so much and nothing about you is ever a victim and nothing about you…you have every excuse in the world to pull the covers over your face and you, instead, are shining a light on other people. That, I mean, you're such an example of this and how it doesn’t matter what you're dealing with, like you can make music and you can light a path for other people and on top of the fact that you made your own way doing the thing that maybe wasn’t "practical" but really was the most practical thing because it's the thing you love. And so, I just think that you're awesome and it's such a blessing to have you as a friend. So thanks for being you. Really, I mean it.
Tracy: Oh, my gosh. I think I might start crying. Thank you, Cathy. I love you so much.
Cathy: You are awesome.
Tracy: You're the best. I can't wait until we collaborate and do a workshop together or an event or something.
Cathy: That would be so fun. Yeah.
Tracy: We got to.
Cathy: That would be so fun. So you guys now have another podcast you can listen to called Don't Keep Your Day Job. You can listen to Tracy's episode on my show. She was great, and you should get the book because I think that you're going to love it.
Tracy: Get the book, you guys. It's going to be amazing, or it is amazing. I already know it's amazing.
Cathy: Thank you.
Tracy: So, go grab it. DontKeepYourDayJob.com/book and get in on those early pre sale bonuses that Cathy has.
Cathy: Yes, thank you.
Tracy: Thank you so much for listening to the show today. I love this episode. We could have gone on for hours, but we both had a hard stop. We wanted to make sure that we got all the fields in, all the good stuff and I just, I love Cathy so much. She really is a brilliant human and so creative and such an advocate for creativity. I know that she and I will be doing much work together with Don’t Keep Your Day Job and Creatives Rule The World and I'm just beyond thrilled. So, thank you for listening today. Once again, I want to encourage you to get on the wait list for SOS Coaching Program and head on over to FlourishThriveAcademy.com/SOSNow to put your name in the ring so that you're first to be notified the next time we open up enrollment. Thanks so much for being here today.
Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. It's my mission to help thousands of creative businesses inside and outside the jewelry space use their creativity to make money. Make sure that you subscribed to Thrive by Design on ITunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever podcasts are played. We'd love to hear what you think. Please rate and review the show, and if you're inspired, please share this with your friends. Here's to seeing you flourish and thrive.
My passion for design started as a child. I dreamed of creating wedding gowns and growing up, was always an artist in some respect. When I took my first jewelry fabrication class as a college elective, the seed was planted. My instructor became my mentor.
The rest is history. I started my first jewelry business as a hobby, designing for bridal parties, friends and families.
In my twenties, I quit my day job to follow my dream full time. That big leap resulted in my first legitimate brand, Tracy Matthews Designs, Inc.