Kat Elizabeth

Kat Elizabeth (she/her) is an actor turned copywriter and personal branding strategist who founded The Personal Branding Project to help entrepreneurs and service providers become the go-to experts in their niche. She has a popular podcast and YouTube channel where she shows you what it takes to get seen, heard and paid.

We talk about burning out and burning it all down. What the concept of crip time can teach us about working our way. The magic of NOT having things figured out. And so much more. Enjoy, my heart-based business friend!

Conversation transcript

Katherine

So, Kat, thank you so much for joining me at the Cauldron today.

Kat

Oh, it’s such a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Katherine

Of course. Well, before we jump in, I was wondering if you could let us know a little bit about where you are right now. So where you are in the world, or the room that you’re in, what’s around you…

Kat

Yeah, sure. So in the world, I am on the Gold Coast in Australia at the moment which means even though it’s winter, it’s not really winter, like the same temperature every single day. And I’m in my very cute little office that I kind of created from nothing because we’re living in yet another apartment. We’ve moved five times in the last 12 months. And we’ve kind of got this nice big living area. But there wasn’t really anything sort of built in for an office. So I decided to just kind of carve out a space in the corner that I would make my own and ended up, like, even though we’re only here temporarily, I decided to just go all in this time. And I just bought myself a cute little shelf and a little picture for the wall and some plants and it just actually feels like it’s mine. Because normally I’m just I always feel like I’m perching in someone else’s space. And I just kind of got sick of that. So yeah, it’s quite cute, I’m quite proud of it. 

Katherine

Oh, good on you for doing that. I totally understand when you’re transient and you just want to have a space that you can claim as your own.

Kat

Yeah, it makes honestly such a difference. I think I tried to ignore the importance of environment for way too long. And then I started looking at kind of the connection between how productive I am and how relaxed I am, and all of these things from like home to home, because they all had such a different vibe, because they’re always furnished. And that’s when I started to see that I just needed to kind of take a stand. And even if it was only a few little cheapy things that I was buying, still just buying them and putting them there and kind of claiming the space as my own just made such a difference to my mindset and my energy and how excited I am to work every day. So it’s been an interesting experiment.

Katherine

Oh, I love that. Well, you know, as you know, the podcast season that we’re in at the moment is winter. And even though your weather is probably a bit more like Florida or California for our US listeners, you know, we talk about winter as being internal too. So it might be winter in our life, we might be having a bit of a tough or challenging time. Or it could be winter in our business where things are sort of falling away. And you know, we’re stepping back and looking at the bigger picture of what might be coming down the line in spring and in summer, and creative ideas that we can birth. So I was just wondering, you know, how does that relate to your work or where you’re at with things at the moment?

Kat

Oh, it’s so in line with it, despite me trying so hard to not be in this season. I really, like, I did start the year off thinking that, you know, because you know, in, it was December so summer for us in Australia, I had this really big month. And I just, I don’t know, I felt the energy and the abundance. I was like, oh my goodness, like this is gonna be the first time I’m starting a new year so far ahead, like feeling really on top of things. And I don’t know what happened. But pretty quickly, I realized that I completely overbooked myself, and also in the process of overbooking and started burning myself out like I was working too much. I was quite stressed out. Like I’d taken on some projects that there were like, there was some good things and bad things about them. Like I feel like everything happens, you know, for us, not to us. So I, you know, there’s been lots of learnings. But my stress levels were really high for quite a while. And I started to feel my body just packing it in. And, like, pretty soon it wasn’t just like my body, like normally it’s energy levels. But this time around, it was also my brain, I was getting all this brain fog and I wasn’t thinking straight. And I was like I couldn’t sit down and just do a good day’s work, which is very not like me, I’m someone who can always push through the pain. Like, even if I’m exhausted it’s like I can do a 12 hour day and make it a really good one. Like, I can get two weeks’ worth of work done in a day if I need to, you know, I tend to have that on tap. And that was gone. Which was terrifying. Because that’s all I know. And that’s kind of my backup plan. Like if I have a bad week, it’s like well, it’s okay, you’re just going to be able to pull it out the next week, and that stopped happening completely. So that definitely messes with my head. It made me, I mean, I had to go to the doctor’s and it turned out that I’d had a relapse of glandular fever. Or like half of the levels, you know, hormones and minerals and vitamins and everything in my body were just depleted. So nothing was working as it was supposed to. So that explained so much the exhaustion and the brain fog. But the real kind of wake up call was realizing that I didn’t have a business that could survive very long if I didn’t have my brain, like access to my brain and access to my ability to work.

And so it kind of was a bit of an unraveling, I guess. And I’ve spent the last…I mean, I’ve been feeling a lot better for the last probably two months, like it, I’m kind of on the improve. And, you know, my, my brain came back first, which was a huge relief. But I couldn’t sort of forget about the fact that okay, this, this is not sustainable. This is not a business that I can keep running. Like something has to change, because I need to know that I can take days off or even a couple of weeks off, and not have everything fall apart. So I guess yeah, the season that I’m in now is I kind of took a step back, kind of took myself out, like out of the spotlight, which you know, it’s always you know, as a personal brand, you’re always trying to be on and showing up consistently. And there’s oh, and I’m teaching these things. So there’s so much pressure, and I just went, no, I can’t, I can’t step back in the business, start laying all the foundations, building all the systems and doing what I need to do to make it sustainable, as well as being out there and doing all of the things. So it’s been, yeah, an interesting period of just kind of going into a little bit of, it looks like hibernation to people from the outside. But behind the scenes, I’m actually working my butt off with my assistant doing a lot of work on the back end of the business. So yeah, that’s, I guess, my winter season right now.

Katherine
Mmm, well, first off, yay for assistants.

Kat

They are brilliant.

Katherine

What do we do without them? And, you know, I’ve had glandular fever, I had that in my 20s. And that actually led to post viral fatigue, which manifested as depression. So, you know, I had to take, gosh, a year? I had to take a year off work, move back in with my parents, after being out of home since I was 18 and very independent. And, gosh, it just strips you of everything. So kudos to you, because I know that’s a really difficult thing to move through, let alone do that with a business. And yeah, and it can take a real toll. So thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing that with us, too.

Kat
Oh, of course, I think it’s important to know, because I think because so many of us are on social media, putting a brave face forward, you know, all smiles and sharing the wins and trying to stay positive. You know, you can often feel like you’re surrounded by everyone who’s doing it easier than you, which I just don’t think is true. We all have our things going on behind the scenes that we’re not necessarily talking about.

Katherine

Absolutely. And the more that we do talk about it, the more we realize that everyone else has got something going on too, and I think if we can all be a little bit braver, if you know, if it’s safe to do so, then I think that we can all benefit from that. And I guess I’m wondering, because your whole thing is branding, what did that experience teach you about what we can infuse into our brand? Because I know sometimes people get a little bit nervous about sharing certain parts of themselves. And that’s okay. But what sort of did you take away from that?

Kat

Yeah, I mean, part of it was just, I mean, part of it was what I was not sharing, and deciding to be okay with, because I think in the past, I’ve often felt this need to apologize for disappearing, or apologizing for not being on and my best self. And I decided to just let go of that completely. And just be upfront going, hey, like, I’ve disappeared. And I’m not going to apologize, because I don’t want you to have to apologize, like I’ve so many of my clients come to me, absolutely just buried under this stress. And this pressure they’ve put on themselves thinking they have to be on all the time. And so I kind of saw that as my chance to lead by example. And say, you can be having a meltdown, you can completely disappear and not have to explain it to anyone, you don’t have to give a promise of when you’re going to be coming back online. You know, you can either share what you’re going through or not tell people what you’re going through. It’s completely your choice. There’s no rules here. So really just kind of navigating it as I went and just hoping that, you know, some of my honesty may prove helpful to some people. And so I kind of gave a little hint of the fact that you know, it was related to health at one point. But also I was so depleted, like as you were mentioning, like it leaves you with nothing. Like, I was told that the relapse had kind of shown up as chronic fatigue. And I just didn’t, like, I didn’t have energy to get through the day like and function normally. So the thought of trying to show up on social media and explain to people what was going on and then if I was going to say something about mental health knowing that I’m going to be bombarded with people going thank you, okay, what’s going on, and I just didn’t even want to. So it was just a lot of silence and popping up occasionally. And realizing on the other end of it, I mean, number one, like nothing fell apart as in like, because we, you know, there can be that feeling of like, oh no, what’s going to happen if I don’t show up? We’ll, look, nothing fell apart. What I will say is that I’ve noticed, because it was such a long period of time, like, I feel like I went pretty quiet for about three months, I did start to notice the difference in my inbox getting a little bit quiet, less inquiries and things. And so there’s obviously a bit of mindset stuff you have to work through there to kind of go, it’s going to be okay, you’re going to get it up and running. But this just shows, eventually, the momentum has to slow down.

But also, it made me really happy that, you know, I had built out a strategy for myself, that wasn’t all just about real time showing up. Like, it wasn’t all about social media, like I knew that, you know, if yeah, okay, maybe Instagram engagement’s going to tank, but I’ve got all these other strategies that I’ve been working on all the seeds that I’ve been planting for years that are going to me that mean that I am okay, at the end of this. So, yeah, a few little bits and pieces there. But ultimately, just yeah, having to have grace with myself.

Katherine

Yeah, absolutely. It reminds me a little bit of what people in the disability justice space talk about, which is crip time. And I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that, but it’s, it’s sort of seen as this radical notion, because you know, our ableist culture wants us to just keep going until we burn out, and then oh well deal with it, pick yourself up. So crip time is sort of bending the clock. So rather than saying, well, I’m expected to give 100% of my energy from nine to five, or if you’re an entrepreneur from nine to midnight, and beyond! Crip time basically is you changing that around and bending time to suit your energy. So looking at, okay, well, what can I give today? And maybe it’s nothing. Or maybe it’s an email, or maybe it’s, you know, one task that I can get done. And, and that’s good enough, and that’s okay. So I just wanted to sort of recognize that, you know, we are taught and I don’t know if you find this too, but we’re we’re sort of taught to be productive at any cost. And I think it’s so great to have these conversations, because we can say, you know what, that doesn’t always serve us.

Kat

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s like, I’ve definitely found that with the productive thing. And it’s, I’m so glad I’ve learnt these lessons the hard way, because I get to pass this on to my clients and to and not just clients, to everyone, I really try and share this kind of thing, because I didn’t know up front. And I did build really hating bad habits, but it’s you know, it was there weren’t good habits, let’s just say that, like habits that really kind of cost you that I really feel like, you know, I had this idea of like, oh, you know, to get started, you just have to say yes to everything. And I really had that few years where all I just kept going, going, going, going going. And then started to realize that you know, what got me here is not going to get me there. And so originally, I thought, oh, this is the two modes like you know, you have to act this way to get to this certain point. And then you get to change those habits, and you get to start treating your business differently. But what I’m seeing now is that no, no, no, like, we should be doing it right from the beginning. Like we shouldn’t have to reprogram ourselves, and it doesn’t take hustling in the beginning to see results. But you obviously need that support, you need to know what to do. And when you’re not being told what to do. And you’re just bombarded with people every single day shouting these different strategies at you. And you just have to do this. And you just have to do this. Like, you just get so overwhelmed that you try and take on every single strategy because you’re so desperate to succeed. And no one is kind of warning you that all you know, like probably these 10 to 12 hour days aren’t going to be super helpful and it’s not necessarily going to get you better results. You just kind of think more about the harder and longer that I work the faster I’m going to see success. And it’s you know, it’s like I’m still learning that lesson that the hours that you work do not translate directly into dollars. 

Katherine

Yeah, that’s such a hard lesson to crack sometimes, isn’t it?

Kat

Oh my goodness, you think you’re there and then you feel yourself slipping again, you have another week for like, oh, just pull those extra hours, I’ll just work through the weekend because maybe then I’ll be able to fill in the blank, you know, finally have a holiday, finally have enough, it just doesn’t work that way. The thing I’m still trying to learn is just actually the whole point is to be able to enjoy your day now and to be able to show up feeling like you’ve got a full cup. And then if you’re starting the day, that way everything’s different. You are more magnetic and the hours don’t matter so much.

Katherine

Yeah, absolutely. So, I want to sort of backtrack a little bit because I understand that you were an actor originally. So, of course, I’m going to ask if we’ve seen anything? But also, more seriously, what took you from acting to freelance copywriting and now to personal brand coaching?

Kat

Okay, so it’s a bit of a story. I mean, firstly, if look, if you’re into musical theater in Australia, like you may have seen me, I did a couple of original cast, you know, commercial shows, but a while back, so like the original casts of Jersey Boys and Hairspray in Australia. When I was living in Vancouver, I was focused more in film and television. So I had like a blink, blink, and you miss it role in The Flash. And I got to meet some, like, I met some pretty, like pretty famous and cool people while I was working there, but certainly, like the credits with yeah, it’s like, once you see the show, you’re like, oh, okay.

So that was interesting. But, look, I guess the best way to explain how I ended up going from one to the other, was, it was almost out of necessity. So I had what I call my quarter life crisis, when I was in my mid 20s. And decided I needed to quit musical theater, because I was just, I was depressed. I had like, crippling anxiety, like, literally, like, couldn’t stand up for a while there. Like I was getting vertigo from the anxiety and couldn’t get out of bed for periods of time. And just didn’t know like, I became so confused about how did this thing go from being my ultimate dream, like, ultimate ultimate, like, couldn’t have, you know, couldn’t have ever had, like, I don’t know how to explain it. I had it on a pedestal for so long that when I got it, it felt like everything was just falling into place, like in my early 20s. I was like, I’ve made it this is it. Like, how much better could it get? And fast forward, you know, only a few months into being in the show I was already losing myself. I’d been, I became so cynical and so kind of jaded about the industry and realizing that it’s just not what I thought it was going to be, you know. Classic, you know, it’s just a job at the end of the day, and kind of suffered, suffered, you know, my way through for a couple of years, just going this is ridiculous. Like, I have a dream job. Everyone else would be, you know, trying to kill for this role. And I’m taking up this place that I shouldn’t be because I don’t want to be here anymore. So I ended up turning down another contract and basically quitting theater to take time out to figure out like, is it, you know, is it theater that’s making me miserable? Or is it something else in my personal life? Is it just me? Am I just broken?

And during that period, kind of everything imploded. So I had given up on this career that I’d worked my entire life to get, I ended up breaking up with my ex husband. And that’s also when I ended up getting glandular fever and ending up in hospital. And I had all this credit card debt that was piling up, and I ended up having to file for bankruptcy because I couldn’t work for so many months. And it was just like, all good, like, cool. So I’ve gone from achieving my ultimate dream to having absolutely nothing. And now I need to figure out what in the world I’m going to do with my life. It’s a pretty big question, like, okay, so where to from here? Especially when everything has come crashing down at one time. You can’t kind of go well, at least I’ve got that figured out. Now just move on to the next thing. It’s like no, you could not have screwed up worse. Like finances, body, relationship, career in the ground. So in that period, I obviously didn’t, it was not pretty and it did not happen quickly. But I had enough space that started to be created that I realized I do still love being creative. And I wanted to do something in the performing space still, because I still felt like well, that’s all I know. So what else am I going to do? So I ended up writing and producing this cabaret show, which I ended up also marketing because literally, like I had all the hats on. And while I was marketing it, this branding and marketing thing, this is really quite fun. This is cool. And I think I’m quite good at it. Like I’m not sure, but I have a feeling. So I decided to start exploring it a little bit and I also at the same time had met my partner today. So this is you know, let’s go back. This is seven years ago. And he was in the marketing space. And we started kind of see that I had a particular skill set that could, you know, might complement his nicely if we looked into working together. And so I started just kind of studying, like, I just signed up to all these LinkedIn learning courses, it was lynda.com at the time, and just like studying marketing strategy, and branding, and copywriting, and SEO, and  anything I could get my hands on, and also decided to get a job at an ad agency, just to again, see if I actually had it, like whether it was even something that I should be exploring. And six months into that job that I got, which I totally talked my way into, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Like I had no formal qualifications. But I could see that I definitely had something, but I hated the environment, like it was high stress, all the anxiety, like I was still just feeling an absolute mess while I was there. But I’d managed to land a freelance client during that time, thanks to Mum, good old Mum, because she’s one of those connectors who just knows everybody. And because I had that one freelance client that was paying me just, like, just enough each week, I thought, what if I quit the job, I’ve already got one freelance client. And if I have like four extra days a week, maybe I could start landing some other clients as well, and so on. Not really knowing if this was going to work, but kind of feeling like I had no choice because I could tell I wasn’t going to get past the anxiety and being so unhealthy and everything while I was in that environment. I decided to just quit, managed to find myself a copywriting kind of community. Because I assumed at this point, like I loved writing, so I thought, okay, maybe I should just call myself a copywriter. Still not fully knowing what a copywriter was supposed to do, but joined the community. And before you know it, like I’m starting to do more copywriting study, but also there were all these referrals for jobs in the community. And I just was that person because I was so desperate to pay the bills, I just put my hand up for every single job, like I just dove into the deep end, not fully being confident that I could do it, but also knowing that I would figure it out as I went along. And yeah, sure enough, like one job after the other after the other, I just kept landing them because I was, like, I was very determined. And I was starting to rack up, you know, these great testimonials and a portfolio, and before you know it, I kind of woke up one day, I was like, oh, this is this is full time, I’m supporting myself as a self-employed copywriter. This is amazing. Which was so cool. But then obviously, then the next kind of season started the first experience I had of overworking myself and getting into burnout and all of that. So there was a good few years there of just hard slog freelance life, but it really turned like went from being kind of this thing that just saved me from having no way of paying the bills to becoming a genuine passion or obsession, and kind of opened up a whole other world to me that obviously eventually led me to doing what I do today. So beautiful, long and windy, long and windy road, but somehow it all kind of worked out. And it’s like everything that happened led me to here. And it was all meant to be

Katherine

That was so wonderful. Because that was the path that was meant to lead you to here and it was meant to go in all those different directions.

Kat

Yeah, and you don’t feel it in the moment. It just feels a mess. And you think are people thinking I’m crazy? Do I look like someone who just can’t figure out what they’re doing with their life? Because you know, I didn’t even go into all the other like, I worked in real estate and personal training and makeup artistry. But I just kept trusting. I just kept kind of following my instincts. And it would always lead to that next person that next opportunity. And it took obviously two years before I was able to look back and make sense of everything. But when I did that I was just so satisfied. Ah, that’s right. It all connects now.

Katherine

Yes, exactly. And I love that you shared that, because I think we all assume that everyone else has had this very strategic structured linear path to where they are now with their business or their life or whatever it is that we’re admiring in them. And that just shows as a beautiful reminder that no, actually this path is like this for everyone. It takes time to explore and gather the threads and then look back and go oh yeah, okay, I get it.

Kat

That’s it, and you wouldn’t have all of this, like, I don’t know, this, this color and this texture to your story, if you hadn’t, if you’d like, if you had that very boring step by step, you know, linear path. You know, even when I’m working with certain clients, there are all these random experiences that I had from my past that I’m able to bring to the table now, that allows me to help them in a way that maybe someone else wouldn’t be able to help them. So I think we also…a lot of the time, write off experience that doesn’t seem relevant as just a waste of time, or like, oh, yeah, that was just a dead end, or, you know, but nothing is a dead end. That’s not how life works. Every single thing that we experience starts to shape us and the way we view things and equips us to help others. So it’s actually if you can see it that way, the whole thing becomes a much more fun adventure than this pressure to just like, get it right and succeed.

Katherine

Yeah, absolutely. And as you say, that becomes our story. And that creates such a rich experience of being human and figuring things out. Something else you said too that I wanted to circle back to was, you know, you talked about not waiting for things or not waiting to feel confident you sort of just went for it and talked your way into things. And, oh, I’m a copywriter now. Okay, cool. I love all that. And I think that reminds us too that you don’t wait for the confidence to come and then you take the courageous action. You take the leap, you take the courageous action, and then confidence comes as a byproduct of that, right?

Kat

Yeah, it can’t work the other way around, like, you will not have the confidence until you have done it and probably done it multiple times. And it’s how so many of us get stuck in inaction, because we just like, okay, I’ve just got to wait till I’m feeling a bit more ready, I’m a bit more prepared, I’m a bit more confident, but you’re going to stay feeling the way you are like you can keep preparing more and more and more, but you’re not actually getting closer to being ready. Like you’re actually already ready. But it just feels very backwards, and it feels wrong to do something. And, you know, I think this probably also connects to the way we’re brought up in school where, you know, we’re taught that okay, so this is the test that’s coming up, these are the things you’re going to need to know. And so just go away and study for these things. And once you can get all the flashcards right, you know that you’re prepared for the test. But that just isn’t how life works. And you know, I’m terrible at tests, because I was homeschooled, and like tests weren’t necessary. Because all tests really are to kind of see how you rank, you know, in a classroom, like how you’re doing compared to other people around you. But because I was the only person in my class, my parents were like, yep, we know where you’re at.

Katherine

You’re basically the star pupil.

Kat

Exactly. On top of the class and bottom of the class, like, teacher’s pet and troublemaker. But yeah, like, it’s just so funny, because I always felt really bad that I’m terrible at tests. And then when I started to see that not much in life ever sort of mimics and it’s like a test or an exam, I should say exam, not a test. We’re always being tested, but you know, exams, and the way they’re, you know, set up to be so clinical and so controlled. We never get to have that experience in life, except when you’re, you know, in university doing more exams. So, yeah, it’s probably why we have this false idea that we should feel prepared for the thing that we’re about to do, but, like, doing the thing is what’s going to give you what you need to take the next step.

Katherine

Absolutely. And you know, as someone who lives with anxiety disorder, and neurodivergence, the idea of not having a plan or a blueprint or a checklist is often quite terrifying for me, but also very exciting. And the most magical experiences in my business and in my life have come from the not knowing.

Kat

Oh, for sure, there’s so much magic in it, if you allow it. But yeah, I’m the same. I’m a checklist person, and just give me a plan. Like, I just need to know exactly what I’m doing. But then I start to white knuckle it and I like I’m gripping so tightly to the plan and what I originally set out to do, that I do not even, like, I don’t even have it on my radar, that may be something that it could happen, maybe there is there’s room to take it somewhere else, to pivot slightly or to you know, allow the space to attract something else in, like, I’m just so attached to the idea of just keep moving forward, keep checking it off the list. And so I’m kind of deliberately trying to work that white space and that flow, that surrender into my week at the moment, like actually, you know, physically leaving space in my calendar and also not being so, I guess, specific in my project management system where I’m trying to like create subtasks upon sub tasks, but just go okay, this is the thing I need. And then in the moment, seeing what I build, you know, seeing what I actually create. And it’s, it’s a little scary.

But it’s also, I don’t know, it’s, it’s a lot easier though still, like, I feel just, there’s a bit more breathing room, and it just gives me this, you know, feeling that I’m not actually trying to get it right, because I don’t necessarily know what I’m creating yet. So yeah, it’s kind of cool. 

Katherine

Yeah. And also, that there is no right. You know, as you were saying, in school we’re taught to compete and to compare. And then you get into the real world, and you’re taught to compete and to compare, but you realize that there is no gauge for being right or wrong. And I think the more that we lean into our intuition and our energy and our creativity and the mess that you’re describing, the more it becomes, you know, in inverted commas, “right”. Because it becomes right for us.

Kat

Yeah, that’s it. It’s just, Oh, it’s so funny how long it can take you like, there are some things that are just so blindingly obvious. Now, when I look back at what I did, and just go, like, why did you not just trust your instincts in that moment, and do it the way that you know that you could have? Like there are, there are products I’m creating in my business right now, even recreating, but I’m just creating something completely different to replace it. Because the original one was so similar to what everyone else was doing. It looked like this formula that worked. So I then just created my version of it. And I put it out there half heartedly and was like, yeah, this is what I’m supposed to do. And then just stopped caring about it completely and thought, what’s going on here? Like, why am I not even wanting to sell this thing I was like, because it’s like, it wasn’t your idea in the first place. Like, it was just this thing that you thought you had to do. And so now I’ve just gone back to the drawing board to recreate these things in the way that I should have done from the beginning. I mean, obviously, everything happens when it’s supposed to, I’m sure I have all sorts of extra things that I’m able to bring to the table now versus a couple of years ago. But you know, even down to the pricing. Like, someone told me that I was meant to price my tiny product that way, and I’m like, but I want to price it this way. Because this is what I put into it. So it’s just yeah, it’s amazing how we can get stuck in that so easily. And you know, you’re trying to follow some people for, you know, inspiration and to keep an eye on what’s going on. But very quickly, they can start, kind of, it can start dictating that all the decisions you’re making, because you see how other people are doing it, and they’re successful. Therefore, this is probably the way you need to do it. And it’s just this vicious cycle.

Katherine

For sure. So knowing what you know about personal branding, and I know that you’ve got so many other elements from your experiences and skills that you bring into it, but what should we know? Or what are your sort of top insights for, for building a personal brand that is really aligned with who we are? And how we want to be in the world? What sort of things should we be looking at?

Kat

I mean, honestly, starting with yourself, we often put so much work into it like an investment, you know, time and money into studying every single branding and marketing strategy under the sun, taking all the courses. But when’s the last time you really sat down and you know, you tried to learn more about yourself and really explored all of your strengths and all of your quirks and you know, embrace them. And I thought how can I infuse this into my content, into my offers, you know, and really looking at what lights me up when I’m working with a client, what are the topics that we’re talking about that just I could talk about all day and I feel like I could just talk about for free. So I think you really need to dedicate a certain percentage of your time and your energy into just learning more about yourself, doing that work not on just awareness of yourself but also bettering yourself, you know, because again, we put all the money…at least this is this is my personal experience and a lot of my clients: we pour so much into professional development, anything that can be considered a you know, a write off for the business, because you’re like okay, well it’s you know, it’s an investment in my business so therefore I can justify it. But we don’t spend much time or energy or money looking after ourselves and just doing things that make us feel good and more us.

It took me so long to finally invest in a coach that was just for me, like, I knew that it would have some sort of flow on effect to my business. But I wasn’t signing up to work with this person for the ROI. I just did it because I knew my soul needed it. But it took me until last December to do that, because I’ve always found it’s so easy to justify the business related things and not the personal. So I think you know, if I’d been told this advice for myself a few years ago, it probably wouldn’t have fully sunk in. I would have been like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I do hope that, you know, if you ever feel like, to whoever’s listening to this, if you feel like it’s a waste of time, or you feel guilty doing things that just make you feel good, and that just feel like that, just because, just let go of the guilt and just explore it, because it’s, it’s part of the journey. And the people that are the most successful, successful in a very aligned way, the people who are really making a difference that are going to be leaving a legacy, they’ve done the work on themselves, like they, they have this vision for their life and for how they’re going to impact the world. And that is dictating everything else they do. Whereas if you’re motivated by oh, I just know that I need to quit my job, and I just need to make lots of money doing something else. Like that’s not going to get you very far. Like it might start something, but is it going to help you see it through in the long run? So this was a very long winded answer. But I think that’s the one thing that if I could go back and start doing more work on myself earlier on, I think I would have made so many decisions differently in the last few years.

Katherine

No, I love that Kat. That was brilliant. Thank you for sharing that. And it sort of makes me think a little bit about when we say finding your version of success, you know, we look at people and think, oh, they’ve got a million followers and a million dollar business and I just want to get to where they are. And I think what you’re saying in between the lines is, you know, find your version of success and enjoy the moments that take you there.

Kat
Yeah, because again, we think that it’s one of those milestones that someone else reached, that is the key to you then living a life the way they do. But they’ve probably figured out, like, the reason they’ve been able to hit those milestones is because they’ve answered some of those other bigger questions of like, you know, how they actually want to feel every single day and how they want to spend their time, what they want to be known for, you know, after they’re gone, what kind of legacy do they want to leave, you know, don’t knowing those kinds of things. It’s so empowering. And I did this really cool exercise once because people talk about how, you know, wanting to live like a millionaire. But you realize that millionaires, it’s like, you don’t need a million dollars to live like a millionaire. Like they, it’s the choices, it’s how they spend their time and where they put their money. Like, they just have different priorities and things. And that was fascinating to me, because I sat down and I had to crunch the numbers of what I would actually need to be living the life that I want to live that I keep thinking I need to, you know, have a million dollars for, I was way less money than I thought. And I was like, ah, so basically, I’m just making these excuses saying that once I have this much money, I will start living this way. And I realized so many of the things that I want to experience I could be experiencing right now. And, you know, we just get this kind of lie that we’re buying into. So yeah, again, but coming back to what you were saying is, you really need to figure out, like, how do you want to feel? How do you want to spend your week? You know, and what are the kind of experiences that you want to have? And then reverse engineer, then go, okay, so what do I need to do? You know, in order to experience that, who do I need to be in order to experience that, rather than just picking some milestone, you know, some, like random number from, you know, from the sky and saying, oh, you know, once I hit six figures, or once I hit seven figures, then I’ll have success because it’s just, it’s so empty, like, it’s just a number.

So yeah, this, there’s so much else that we can do. And, again, that’s the, I guess, the vision piece, is what I tell everyone is the thing that I see that kind of connects all of the people that are doing something meaningful, that I really look up to and that have been doing it a long time is that they just really, they have this vision that they’re bringing to life. And for myself, too, when I’ve gotten off track. It’s because I realized I was starting to, you know, make decisions just based on my to do list. You know, it all just became about I just have to get this thing done. I have to get this thing done. I committed to that person. I just have to make this much money. And I was like, whoa, hold on. Like why were you here in the first place? Why are you actually working for yourself? Why did you choose this business model? And that kind of snapped me back into gear and put things back in perspective and then suddenly things start to feel very different and you realize it’s all a choice and you stop being such a victim of circumstance because you know, you can start to feel like you’re running a nine to five, you know, like you’re, you’re someone else’s slave. You know, when you’re running your own business, if you get caught up in that other mindset.

Katherine

Yeah, we can be our harshest bosses for sure. Oh, yeah, like worse than any I’ve ever had. I’m so brutal, so unforgiving. I’m the meanest boss to myself I love what you said there about…well, first off, that, you know, $1 million, or 1 million followers, or whatever it is, is a number. It’s not a life. And I think that’s really important for us to remember. It’s not a life. And, you know, so we met each other in Rachel Rogers’ Club, which is all based around her big vision, her big, beautiful, bright vision to make every woman she meets a millionaire, particularly women of color. And I think that, you know, I think that that’s so fantastic. Because that’s not saying I just want to make everyone a millionaire because it’s great to have all this money. It’s so that you can then go and impact in your own way. And you can take power back from the white supremacist patriarchy. And, you know, you can say, come on, let’s share a piece of the pie and, and claim that power for yourself. And so I love that you touched on that. Because, you know, that’s something that I think Rachel Rogers as an example does really, really well. Would you say?

Kat

Oh, my goodness, yes. It’s what I guess, yeah, it’s what it represents underneath. And, you know, something I did recently is kind of reconnect to my own reason for wanting to make the money idea, because again, I felt like mine had just become this random number that just didn’t really mean anything. So therefore wasn’t providing any sort of fuel. Yeah, there was just this disconnect. And I brought it back to why I actually wanted to build it in the first place, which was actually the same reason I wanted to become an actor, like, it was always about building a platform where I had, you know, I was able to actually make some sort of change, like, have some sort of impact in the world. And realize that, you know, when I was getting caught up in that to do list, and the, you know, just setting these random goals for myself, I was no longer moving in that direction, it all just kind of became about me again. And so I ended up having a really sort of a lightbulb moment where I finally did something about it and went, okay, I need to make a bigger commitment to my bigger ‘why’, like to that big vision, and give meaning to the number that I’m actually trying to reach because it doesn’t need to mean something. And I ended up partnering up with my, my, I hate to say favorite charity, because there’s no such thing as like, favorite, but it’s just a charity, that means so much to me, that I just always really connected with because of their like, I guess their values have always been very connected to in line with mine. And so I mean, it’s so it’s One Girl, I was about to not say it, but I have already announced it. So it’s all good. But long story short, I was like, oh, hold on. let’s say I did hit seven figures, like let’s say I could have that million dollar business. And then I was able to donate a set percentage of those dollars straight to the charity that is making this huge impact on the world. Like, suddenly, it’s not just a number, like this is huge, like this, this can change the world. And there was like a fire that just lit back up in me that I had felt like it had completely gone out. Like I’d really just felt this is all connected to what also I think when I was feeling so depleted and unwell. I do think it was also connected to not feeling like I had a deeper meaning in my business. And once that was connected back in, it’s like I was able to go, okay, I don’t need to worry about getting it right anymore. I don’t have to worry about the perfectionism. Like, I now see that if I can hit these goals, big things are going to happen. So maybe I should just go all in, like maybe I should just get messy, and start showing up in a different way. Because it’s not about me anymore. It’s about somebody else. And I think that’s also what, you know Rachel has made it about, you know, like she, she hit those numbers for herself, partially to show everyone it’s possible, you know, as she became this expander for everybody else. And now she’s giving them the framework to do the exact same thing. And so I think when you get, when you can have a vision that connects to something bigger than yourself, I think that’s a huge shift that you can make. And I think it’s when a lot of extra magic can start to happen as well.

Katherine

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that that’s what can get you through those darker wintery days, because you’ve got something bigger that’s lighting you up from the inside and it’s getting you through the tricky times. And, you know, yeah, I just love what you said about that. I think that finding your meaning is so important. And it’s actually the big question I ask clients, when we do a session, whether I’m writing copy for them, or we’re doing a messaging magic session to find their brand statements. The first question I ask is always, you know, answer this prompt: “I believe in a world where…” and just go wild. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t figured out how you’ll do that, how it’s relevant, any of that. It’s just, I believe in a world where… and just dream about that future that you see for yourself, for your loved ones, for your community and for the world. And then start to look at the threads and go, well, I’ve got this, you know, kaleidoscope of skills and experiences and standards and values and beliefs and all these things. How can I bring that into that vision? And have that sort of guide me through my business and how I show up each day as well?

Kat

Yeah, I love that. So good. 

Katherine

Yeah. So I would love to just talk to you forever.

Kat

The feeling is mutual.

Katherine

So how can folks connect with you if they would like to explore all of this more with you?

Kat

Yeah, they can either head to personalbrandingproject.co. Or on Instagram is kind of my main social place to hang out. So it’s @iamkatelizabeth.

Katherine

Love it. Wonderful. And the last question that I would love to ask you is what does heart based business mean to you?

Kat

I think it’s really having a business that fills up your soul, and allows you to do what you do best, and connect with other people while somehow making the world a better place.

Katherine
So beautiful, so eloquent, just like you. Thank you for sharing that.

Kat

It’s like, oh no, that’s high pressure. I should have written down my answer before! 

Katherine
Well, that’s why I don’t like to tell people it’s coming, because I think that way it does come from your heart. You know, it’s the truth.

Kat

Very true. Very true.

Katherine

Well, Kat, thank you so much for joining me at the Cauldron today.

Kat

Such a pleasure. Thank you for having me.