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Scaling to $1M with Katherine Horrigan (Ep 99)

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Today is a captivating story of resilience, determination, and triumph. Picture this: a dance academy faced with the challenges of a global pandemic and the sudden closure of its predecessor. But instead of crumbling under the weight of uncertainty, Katherine not only rose to the occasion but soared beyond expectations, achieving seven figures in revenue within just one year.

Buckle up as we unravel the inspiring journey of building a successful brick-and-mortar business amidst adversity.


Meet Katherine Horrigan

Katherine Horrigan is the founder/CEO of the Dance Academy of Virginia based in the Washington D.C metro area. Since founding the dance school during covid, Katherine quickly scaled and recently purchased a property and opened her second location. Katherine also runs a non-profit that supports access to dance education through scholarships and outreach initiatives. Katherine has been featured in Forbes, a guest on podcasts, a member of Entrepreneurs Organization and the Elite Entrepreneurs Mastermind.

Starting a Dance Academy and Scaling to Seven Figures

Katherine’s story is nothing short of awe-inspiring. She began her journey with a dream in her heart and a vision to create something truly extraordinary. The early days were filled with challenges and uncertainties, ahem* the 2020 global pandemic, but Katherine’s unwavering determination propelled her forward. With grit and perseverance, she scaled her dance academy to unprecedented heights, achieving a level of success that surpassed her wildest dreams.

Shifting the Definition of Success

What truly sets Katherine apart is her profound insight into the nature of success. In our conversation, she eloquently speaks about the importance of shifting our perception of success and embracing personal growth and fulfillment. For Katherine, success is not merely measured by financial achievements, but by the growth of character and the pursuit of one’s passions.

Overcoming Insecurity and Taking the Leap

One of the most compelling aspects of Katherine’s journey is her openness about overcoming insecurities and self-doubt. She shares with us the pivotal moment when she decided to take the leap and pursue her dreams wholeheartedly. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the biggest obstacles we face are the ones within ourselves, and overcoming them is key to unlocking our full potential.

Mistakes Made in the Journey to Seven Figures

Like any journey to success, Katherine’s path was not without its share of mistakes and setbacks. But mistakes can be valuable learning experiences to ultimately propel you forward.

  1. Underestimating the Challenges of Starting a Business: Katherine initially underestimated the challenges of starting her own dance academy. She admits that she didn’t fully grasp the amount of work and effort it would take to get the business off the ground.
  2. Poor Hiring Decisions: We’ve all been there and if you haven’t you just haven’t hired enough yet! Katherine made some bad hiring decisions early on in her business that resulted in setbacks and challenges related to staffing and team dynamics.
  3. Overextending Herself: Katherine admits to overextending herself and taking on too much responsibility, which led to burnout and exhaustion. This mistake likely impacted her ability to effectively manage the business and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  4. Not Prioritizing Her Mental Health: Katherine acknowledges that she neglected her mental health during the early stages of building her business. This mistake likely affected her overall well-being and may have hindered her ability to make sound decisions and effectively manage stress.
  5. Failing to Set Boundaries: Katherine admits to struggling with setting boundaries, both in her personal and professional life. This mistake likely resulted in blurred lines between work and personal life, leading to additional stress and challenges.

These mistakes are common pitfalls that many entrepreneurs face, particularly in the early stages of building a business. However, with a willingness to learn from mistakes and adapt your approach you demonstrate resilience and determination to succeed.

Balancing Work and Family

As a busy entrepreneur and mother, Katherine understands the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. She shares invaluable insights into setting boundaries and prioritizing family time amidst the demands of running a successful business. Her dedication to both her career and her family serves as a shining example of what it means to truly find harmony in life.

Developing Character and Commitment

Throughout our conversation, Katherine emphasizes the significance of developing character traits and skills that align with our goals. She reminds us that personal growth and self-improvement are essential components of success, and that true fulfillment comes from the journey of becoming the best version of ourselves.

Building Skills for Success

In addition to character development, Katherine underscores the importance of building tangible skills that contribute to our success. Whether it’s honing our craft or mastering new techniques, she encourages us to invest in our skills and continuously strive for excellence in all that we do.

Balancing Present and Future

One of the key takeaways from our conversation is the importance of balancing the present moment with our future aspirations. Katherine reminds us to live fully in the present while keeping our eyes firmly set on our long-term goals. It’s a delicate balance, but one that is essential for sustainable growth and success.

Working on Personal Growth, Goals, and Trusting Yourself

At the core of Katherine’s journey is a commitment to personal growth and self-discovery. She encourages us to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and to never stop striving to become the best version of ourselves. It’s a powerful reminder that success is not just about what we achieve, but who we become in the process.

Katherine emphasizes the importance of setting clear goals and working tirelessly to achieve them. She reminds us that success is not a destination, but a journey fueled by passion, determination, and unwavering belief in ourselves. By setting actionable goals and remaining dedicated to their pursuit, we can navigate the twists and turns of our journey with purpose and clarity.

Above all, Katherine’s story is a testament to the power of trusting oneself and having faith in our abilities. She reminds us that we are capable of far more than we often give ourselves credit for, and that by trusting in our own skills and character, we can overcome any obstacle that stands in our way. As we embark on our own paths to success, let us remember to cultivate a deep sense of self-trust and confidence, knowing that within us lies the power to achieve our greatest aspirations.

Thank you so much for joining me on this incredible journey with Katherine. I hope her story has inspired you as much as it has inspired me. Remember, no matter where you are in your own journey, success is always within reach if you dare to dream, believe in yourself, and never give up. Until next time, keep balancing busy, my friends!


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Connect with Today’s Guest, Katherine Horrigan


Ep 5: How To Balance Raising a Business and Babies

Ep 11: Why You Need Boundaries In Your Business

Ep 79: Balancing Business and Family with Joy with Brooke Romney

[00:00:00] Katherine, thank you so much for being on the Balancing Busy podcast. I’m so excited to talk with 

[00:00:36] Katherine: you today. Thank you so much for having me, Leah. It’s wonderful to be 

[00:00:40] Leah: here. Oh, it’s amazing. And congratulations. I just saw the Forbes article this morning. So that’s so exciting and so amazing.

[00:00:48] Leah: Congratulations. I’m excited to talk with you because I, I shared this a little bit, uh, before you and I are starting this conversation, but it’s incredible that you scaled. To seven figures and not just that you did it with a brick and mortar, which I think a lot of times people see as even harder, and I’m excited to just have this conversation where you and I can talk about getting to seven figures and doing it with balance, and I know you didn’t always feel balanced, and so we can talk about the reality of that and.

[00:01:21] Leah: Being able to now have that retrospect to look back and say, you know, here’s some changes I could have made that would have made all the difference. And here’s some things I did do right that really did help. So first, will you just kind of share the story with everybody about going in, deciding to start this Dance Academy and just that 

[00:01:40] Katherine: journey? So it was a lot of circumstance that allowed me to have this fresh start, a new beginning, um, that in retrospect was just a blessing in my life. I was running someone else’s school for 10 years and had so had a lot of hands on experience of developing and growing a dance school. Uh, and yeah.

[00:02:01] Katherine: COVID comes and the owners of that school decide to close it. Uh, so I wound down the company for them and had to figure out what was next in my life. Um, in a moment where I felt pretty burned out and the world was in flux, uh, it was, I was unclear and I would say that looking back, um, it took me longer than it should have to go for it.

[00:02:22] Katherine: Um, Because I was unclear about what I wanted at that point and if I wanted it and what it was going to take and the risks and the timing of it all, so I took a little bit of time and went deep and dug deep and came to the conclusion that the most important thing was who I was going to be in that moment, looking back at myself, that I wanted to be the person that went for it.

[00:02:46] Katherine: So I had to really dig deep. The most important thing to even begin for me was changing my identity around success and what that needed to look like in order to go for something that felt very uncertain. Um, and always starting a business is uncertain, but I think the timing that we were in right then, and the fear around people about going into a brick and mortar business when nobody was going even to school, uh, at that point, um, felt like a massive, um, undertaking with little certainty.

[00:03:14] Katherine: Uh, So I decided that I was going to that who I was, it was more important to be the person who went for it regardless of the outcome. And the character in me was about. The pursuit of and trying something and going for it regardless of the circumstances versus did I succeed or fail? Like what, what that would look like as an outcome.

[00:03:39] Katherine: So that was the beginning for me. Um, and I came to that conclusion. And had to quickly ramp up. I had a month to build the company in order to have the school started in time for the new school year, which is when everyone was looking to start dance. So I bootstrapped this with very little cash, um, used all my resources, brought people together because I couldn’t even, it wasn’t a situation where it could be a solo entrepreneur.

[00:04:02] Katherine: In this case, I had to have a team right away. I had to get a facility, uh, up and running and there were some. Benefits in my circumstance that were unique. I wasn’t starting from zero. Um, and actually Something I can say looking back now. No one’s really starting from zero Even if the floor is wiped out from underneath you there’s this you have knowledge you have information you have experience So you’re always building off of that even though I had lost all my um confidence in the moment um I was starting off of a baseline that I had, and then I pulled every resource that I had together to bring it together in a, in a month’s time.

[00:04:43] Katherine: And I needed people, um, to, to come together. So I facilitated breaking, bringing people together in order to, to launch something in a very short amount of time. Uh, I had a space and that made a difference, but I had to secure that space and make it happen. Um, okay, fast track. Bringing people together during COVID required creativity.

[00:05:06] Katherine: So I had to look at how to run a dance school in a, in a new way, because I had to build trust in an entirely different, um, model when people were not willing to come inside. And so, um, and probably many of you that run businesses, you know, and are familiar with how personal it feels, uh, the yeses and the nos, right.

[00:05:26] Katherine: When you are selling yourself and it’s. And when I was getting this second opportunity, but it’s now mine, and it was a survival situation, I was literally just trying to save my family, my life at that point, um, I was convincing people. I was building trust. I was building relationships. Um, and I was holding everybody’s hand through it.

[00:05:50] Katherine: And so, you know, It felt great when I got the yeses and it felt very discouraging when I got the nose and saw, you know, people go different choices and go in different directions. Um, so I relied on that, that backbone of experience that I had, but even my experience, I had to go back to the beginning of how to build something from zero.

[00:06:11] Katherine: Uh, it, you know, not in the middle phase, not in the, you know, the company that I’d been working for what had been 16 years old and I had built it for it for 10 years. Um, So even when I came in, it wasn’t at zero. It was, you know, a mid level company. So I had to go back to do things I hadn’t done for a long time.

[00:06:29] Katherine: We’ve learned how to do some admin tasks. Like, how do I do mail merge? And why am I doing this? Yeah. Um, so anyway, it was, it was a humbling experience of going back to regain some skills, um, or learn some things that I hadn’t had to do until I could hire and replace myself along the way. I went back to teaching.

[00:06:48] Katherine: Um, so I was, okay. And this, I’m sure for many who are starting a business, you end up, you wear all the hats. You, even though I had a team, I still had to teach and sell and process invoices. And so I was, I was on everything and in every area of the business for the first year. And yeah, it was, it was a trying time, but also very exciting because almost there was nothing to lose at that point, except my pride.

[00:07:16] Katherine: Um, and. Uh, I think when I look back, I was just so grateful for the people that trusted me, the customers that trusted me, my team. I could not have done it without them. I quickly learned that I need an admin. I can’t do this myself. You know, I need more teachers. You know, there was there were things that I needed to quickly outsource.

[00:07:37] Katherine: Um, And just the scrambling and the messiness of it all. I felt very raw. Um, and we got through our first season. We do in dance in dance schools. There’s usually a recital big end year performance. So we did it out outside. We had to just relearn how to do everything that year. Very fun. Um, and I think what I was going to say earlier was this in in the practice of building trust.

[00:08:03] Katherine: We During COVID was this need to be creative. How are we going to solve the problem of distance learning? And then people who also want to be in the dance studio. Uh, so we came up with this, um, hybrid model where we had students in the studio and virtual at the same time. Teachers, we had to relearn how to do everything we did.

[00:08:25] Katherine: Uh, so me being in the studio again was really helpful because I could work with the team on how we were going to execute this. We also created pod classes. Uh, so we had our set standard levels and curriculum. But for many people, safety was formed through being with a set group of people all the time, school friends, uh, family, friends, community neighbors.

[00:08:45] Katherine: And so we just got creative, said, okay, we’re going to, we want to build trust. That’s most important. We want safety first and families to feel like this is a safe place for their kids. They weren’t going to school that year at all. So, um, building community was essential. Um, Both for the student and the parents.

[00:09:02] Katherine: So we created classes for groups of kids and set them up throughout the year. And it was a huge marketing tool because then we weren’t even doing the work. One family would say, Hey, we want a class. We’re going to get all our buddies together and we’ll join. That was huge, huge. Um. And looking back on that year, that first year, families still will tell me to this day that some of their closest friends were made during that time, because we were a place that they could trust and they could bring their kid to, and they could hang out in the lobby.

[00:09:31] Katherine: And that was the only activity they were doing that year at all. So, um, though it was a very disruptive time, it was actually a, an ideal time to start my company because the competition changed, um, and the. The industry was in flux and customers were all displaced and willing to try new places. So I didn’t just get customers from this former school that had closed, but I got them from all over the place.

[00:10:01] Katherine: Um, and that was a wonderful opportunity to, to bring it together. So, um, That was a probably a long answer there to get you to that. Getting through the first year was essential. And then building the building of the company from there because of the rush job we did, I had to work backwards later and put other things together that were not in place just so that we could continue to scale.

[00:10:23] Katherine: But we did hit the million mark that first year. So we were in, in high intensity push. And then it was, how do we manage this, clean these things up on the back end, uh, things that were not essential in the beginning. Became essential to continue to scale and grow and create, um, the best, um, systems that we were going to need to, to operate smoothly going forward.

[00:10:46] Leah: Okay. So, so many things I’m excited to like get into and get a little bit more detailed on. So I took a few notes of things that I want to ask you about. One of the things going back, um, you said. That success changed what, what your original success looked like versus what it shifted. Tell me, tell me what the changes were and how you got there.

[00:11:09] Leah: How you realized, you know what? This version of success that I’m going after isn’t actually fulfilling. 

[00:11:18] Katherine: Yes. So I started with saying that it was an identity shift because who I was, and this may happen for many and all different professions, but let me just take it back from how a dancer develops their career.

[00:11:29] Katherine: It’s very personal. Your identity is being a dancer and how you train and how you work, your work ethic. And so from that point, I inserted that into anything that I took on, um, took it as seriously. It became who I was, right? So my pride and my work ethic were part of my identity. My success was my identity, uh, and, and I, and anything I went after.

[00:11:53] Katherine: So up until that point, you know, that made sense. But then when everything’s gone and you lose everything. I was lost at that point and lost my confidence. And so I had to shift from thinking about my identity being related to, um, 16 at, say, business or anything that I was pursuing, uh, in order to then take the risk to try something new, scary, uncertain, uh, at that moment.

[00:12:21] Katherine: Um, and so I shifted it into Who, who do I need to be to show up right now? Um, and be the person that needs to go for something that is uncertain. Um, and then it continues to evolve. I, the marker continues to move, you know, so I hit that first benchmark, but that’s no longer satisfying or enough. And now there’s all these other things that are needed because now I’m taking care of many people who are employed by me and I need to make sure.

[00:12:49] Katherine: Um, they all have jobs and that we’re all okay. And so there’s all this, another, all these other levels that we have to take care of in the company. And I keep having a new benchmark that I’m aiming for. Um, and I just opened a second facility that this month in January, I, I took a new risk in my life and bought a building and, you know, have now a huge responsibility of a second facility and have to ramp up again.

[00:13:14] Katherine: Um, so I keep moving the marker and, and if. My sole identity and purpose in life was to achieve, achieve, achieve. I don’t think I’d ever be happy. Um, and that probably happens to many, right? You just, you never feel quite satisfied because it’s going to keep moving in front of you and you never have it. Um, so.

[00:13:35] Katherine: What I love now is making sure the best version of me is showing up every day. And that helps me feel satisfied, happy, um, and success looks like, um, gosh, it’s so different from just achieving some dollar figure or what a successful looking company looks like. It’s me being a happy, holistic person. It’s me taking care of my daughter, um, supporting my staff, having.

[00:14:03] Katherine: Gratitude every day. Um, so important because when it’s hard, it’s hard, it’s, it’s, it’s ugly and tough, right? And, and, and there’s rough things to, to face and we, and I have to constantly face myself. Um, really the only person, um, or the only thing that’s in my way is myself often. Um, So it’s a lot of mindset work.

[00:14:25] Katherine: Uh, and that’s what I’m the three things that I notice are so important are beliefs, your beliefs and yourself and what you’re capable of or what’s possible, even for your company, your character, the character I need to then. Develop in the way or to achieve the goals I have and an actual skill set, which seems like the obvious and the easiest low hanging fruit.

[00:14:50] Katherine: Okay, I need some skills here or for my new goals. What skills do I need to achieve or understand? What knowledge do I need to attain and skills to get to the next place? But it’s the character in the belief system that really underlie the achievement of those baseball. Ultimately, again, the mover, the markers moving and now I have to keep up leveling both my mind, my skills and my character to get to the next place.

[00:15:15] Leah: Okay, so I want to get into each one of those, but I want to start with, you know, one of the things that you said is you were in a place where your confidence had been rocked. You weren’t stepping into this new adventure like, and I just killed it. And so let’s watch me do it again. You were feeling broken and small and inadequate.

[00:15:36] Leah: And this is the moment when. You, you see the opportunity and you know, I know you said you feel like it took longer and I’m sure that had to do with those fears getting in the way. How did you get yourself there? To get past the insecurity that was so loud and take, take the leap. 

[00:16:00] Katherine: Oh, great question. I rode a bike for, I don’t know how many miles.

[00:16:07] Katherine: Podcasts in, books on. I, you know, I had to really go internal. And so any tools that any of you have that have utilized in the past, um, Really can benefit, you know, stop stopping my own second guessing and my fears required me to listen to other voices, take other perspectives, talk to people, um, a parent, uh, who became a customer, um, I saw, I talked to several people and they were like, go for it.

[00:16:34] Katherine: What are you, what are you waiting for? This is your opportunity. It’s your moment. And, and one even told me just the simplest thing. She’s like, you’re going to regret this if you don’t do it. So, you know, again, I was getting my own way. Okay. And I didn’t trust myself anymore. Um, and so I had to lean on other people’s belief at that moment.

[00:16:52] Katherine: Honestly, people who love me and then people who didn’t. I love that 

[00:16:57] Leah: so much because, you know, I, I love these three steps you talked about and I agree like it starts with our beliefs, but for that woman who’s like, okay, but right now my belief has been shattered. What now? I love that and I agree with you.

[00:17:13] Leah: You lean on other people’s beliefs until. You can build up enough momentum, enough proof in your own life to be able to believe it for yourself. And, and I agree with you, you know, hopefully there are going to be people in each of our lives that are, are in our circles that we can lean on. But sometimes that’s not the case.

[00:17:34] Leah: Sometimes people just can’t get the dream and the vision that we have. And that’s okay. It’s not their dream. So it makes sense that they wouldn’t. Get it the way that we do, but there are incredible podcasts and books. And I mean, go back to the originals, go back to Zig Ziglar, go back to, um. Oh, I’m blanking on his name, and he’s my favorite.

[00:17:55] Leah: Jim Rohn. I’m like, oh, no, don’t blank. Right? Go, I mean, even go back to some of those, go to Tony Robbins, like, go to these ones that are like, why on earth would you think that you can’t? And, classic. 

[00:18:08] Katherine: Yes. Yeah. It’s, it’s. So true that in a good point, you just made about don’t not talking to everybody is also important because there are people that are going to give you their own fears and insecurities.

[00:18:23] Katherine: Um, and say for my family, they were concerned and worried about me. And so their worry and love for me showed up in a way that. It showed up as fear. Correct. So they weren’t going to be the right people to push me off that ledge to go for what I needed to go for in life. So, you know, I would say when you’re feeling this way, be cautious and aware of who you are talking to and who are you relying on for that support in those moments.

[00:18:51] Katherine: I’m so glad you 

[00:18:53] Leah: said that. Because I was thinking the same thing. I was thinking like there is a balance. You need to understand that like when you have a dream, it might not be the right time to share it with everyone. You, you grab onto the people who are going to encourage you and who are going to help you.

[00:19:09] Leah: But if you start to share with someone and you recognize, Oh, this isn’t the response I was hoping for. There’s some fear here. Sometimes it’s actually critical to just you. Change the subject and recognize this isn’t the time because I really don’t think anyone is doing it from a negative space. I think they’re doing it from love, but their fears are coming out and You know, just, just like you had that woman say, you’re going to regret this if you don’t do it, you needed that.

[00:19:39] Leah: And that was a phenomenal push, but there might be someone else who, because of their own fears, their own experiences, they’re saying, you’re going to regret if this fails, what are you going to do then? And you need the faith to be louder than the doubt. And sometimes we need to just turn down the volume.

[00:19:55] Leah: We need to mute anyone who is. Projecting that doubt because we already have enough of that. What we need is that faith to just get, you know, blasting at us so that we can take 

[00:20:09] Katherine: that big leap. Beautifully said. Um, so true. I think there’s, how do you create evidence, right? The question of what is the proof that you need?

[00:20:19] Katherine: Um, And asking yourself, is this true, right? When you have to talk yourself into something, you’re like, are my fears true, right? And, and what is the evidence to show that I have done things and I have achieved things? Or maybe I’m stepping into a new discomfort and I don’t know what I’m doing, but what are my resources, tools?

[00:20:37] Katherine: What can I access around me? Um, and in regards to people, sure, they’re gonna, Okay. Project their fears onto us. That’s normal. Um, and maybe some critical outside perspective is, is valuable, but you decide what to take in and keep right and internalize. Uh, it’s good to know what you’re getting into. It’s certainly good to evaluate it and not jump in blindly because I think there’s in the beginning, there’s, you know, There can be a lot of unexperienced optimism.

[00:21:08] Katherine: Yes, yes. Because I don’t even know what I’m getting into. So I’m like, right. And then there’s the reality check of, wow, this is much harder than I thought it would be. Um, so it, it can certainly not hurt to get. Wise and experienced voices, um, to give you feedback or information about what you’re going into.

[00:21:28] Katherine: It’s like interviewing, right? It’s like, let me learn about the thing I’m about to do from people who have the experience, right? So maybe that’s, you know, a way to evaluate who, who you’re talking to, um, because faith, leaning on faith is so important, um, and you want people in your corner all the time. But then you want, you want some actual information, uh, that’s going to be helpful and useful.

[00:21:51] Katherine: And what are the next steps to take and what are, what other people who have done this and gone before you, what, what have been their challenges or things that they might have done differently? Um, circumstances in life are, are unique, right? My circumstance was certainly, uh, uh, I think a unique, um, scenario that I had to do this under, but it certainly built a.

[00:22:10] Katherine: A lot of character in me. And I think in this company, the backbone of this company looks, I think, different than it would have if it had just happened in another moment. Um, our appreciation, our value system, our community. So there’s a lot of benefits that can be built out of having to do something. Um, that’s more challenging in a risky time or in an uncertain time because the backbone of the company now has already been challenged from the beginning.

[00:22:37] Katherine: There was no easy ride here. 

[00:22:40] Leah: Yes. Oh, I love that. I think looking at it as this isn’t a suggestion of blind faith, it’s a suggestion of checking who you’re, who is influencing you because those influences are going to shift your beliefs. And if you are getting Those critiques, which I think are, are valuable from someone who has already done it, that, that’s the power.

[00:23:09] Leah: If you are getting feedback or suggestions and you, let’s just be very frank and honest, and you look at their life and you realize they never stepped out, they never did the big leap, they never tried the scary things, they played safe. That’s not the person when you’re trying to take the leap to listen to.

[00:23:29] Leah: But I agree, listening to the people who have taken the leaps and can say, Hey, looking back now, this is what I do different. Which, let’s go ahead and go right into that. Kay, you reached seven figures in one year. That is amazing. I mean, clearly, you know that. That is such an incredible result and an outcome.

[00:23:55] Leah: Looking back now, what are the biggest mistakes that you feel you made? We’ll start with in regards to balance.

[00:24:11] Katherine: I was also becoming a single mother that same year You were. I know. So there 

[00:24:16] Leah: was, and, and our audience doesn’t know that, so like, yeah, share that. I know 

[00:24:19] Katherine: that. But that’s it’s context here. Um, yeah. So there were a lot of personal struggles that, and redoing of my life in all levels at that same time. Um, what would I have done differently?

[00:24:32] Katherine: Gosh. Um, my daughter needed a lot of attention. Uh, and I wish I could have given her more. Um, she definitely developed some resentments of the time I had to commit to the, to the business. Um, I think if I, if I think back on my, my mindset at that time, I was definitely in survival. Um, and I knew I needed help to also get into a better mindset for myself, even if we were achieving.

[00:25:07] Katherine: These amazing things, you know, I wasn’t yet healthy, happy person. Um, and, and the lack mentality was still kind of a big feature there. So I, I did, um, reach out to gain help through therapy and mindset coaching. And yeah, through all the, you know, just developing my resources and tool, tool belt, um, toolbox.

[00:25:31] Katherine: Because I know I needed it, um, just to develop that confidence again, to really show up as a better person, um, balance wasn’t a real thing. My daughter spent a lot of hours at the studio. I spent, I was there seven days a week, um, and was, you know, rebuilding my life. Um, but the time I put in that year. Gave me an opportunity the next year to step back.

[00:25:55] Katherine: So it wasn’t God forever. It wasn’t gone forever. The, I think it’s integration more than balance. Um, because if I can find a way to have a, you know, a good home life and, and take care of my child and, and be in a good energy place myself, making sure I’m healthy and working out and doing the things that make that fuel me, uh, mentally and physically, I’m going to be the best employer.

[00:26:19] Katherine: Um, and. Do the best job at building this company. Um, so as best I can, I’ve worked on trying over time to integrate, um, and other mistakes, definitely in the business that could have moved faster and made some decisions faster. Um, again, some fears probably stepped up in the way often. Um, And I’d made some bad hiring calls, um, don’t we all, I was 

[00:26:48] Leah: going to say that’s, I hope everybody understands.

[00:26:51] Leah: You just need to expect that there is no one who doesn’t make some bad hiring calls. And often we hold onto those hires way too long. I think it’s a combination of pride. If we’re being totally honest, like, no, I can fix this. And a combination of compassion. Honestly, I think, I think it’s this very bizarre mix of it’s my fault.

[00:27:14] Leah: If I just train them better, if I give them a little more handholding, if I’m there a little bit longer, then they’re going to get it. And, and maybe a fear of like, Oh my gosh, I have to start this process over again. I have to find somebody else. What if I don’t find someone better? There’s, there’s just a lot that goes into it, but I don’t think there is a single entrepreneur.

[00:27:31] Leah: Who can say they haven’t had a bad hire unless they just haven’t had enough hires yet, like that might be the the exception 

[00:27:38] Katherine: to the rule. Yeah, it does. Um, you know, you can learn from every tough experience for sure. Um, I just had to let someone go a week ago. It was terrible. And I’m like, gosh, this is, you know, it’s so tough to do.

[00:27:51] Katherine: And yeah. You know, it is. There’s that compassion of I’m always trying to coach people up and like, are you coachable? Can we get there? Are we gonna meet the standards? If not, when if not now when? And then if I don’t see it happening, I’ve gotten stronger in the letting go and not just that Comes with confidence in time.

[00:28:11] Katherine: And also when my team has leveled up now, the standards just higher overall to match that, right? And someone’s not able to get there with all the support that we’re giving, you know, it’s, it’s got apart ways. Um, but yeah, that, that compassion piece does play in often. And, and then, yeah, what is it going to do for the team if, if we lose somebody, how is this going to affect everybody else having to cover?

[00:28:33] Katherine: The basis. So, yeah, I mean, in the beginning, it happened in finding the right team for the value system of the company as I was starting to mold it and understand that better. That does take some time. Understand who we are and then lean into that more myself. Like, who am I? And who do I want this company to be?

[00:28:52] Katherine: I want to show up there loving the place I work in and feel like I belong there. Um, even if now many people represent this company. So in the last year and a half, I really, um, leaned in more on values and culture. Um, and that was really because I set up a team that then could run more of the operations.

[00:29:11] Katherine: Because honestly, if I had been doing more of the day to day operations, I might not have had the bandwidth for that. Um, right. But that, that’s essential in growing a team of people, um, that are collaborating in this big mission and effort and, and keeping that in the forefront. Um, I don’t think I’ve probably given you all the mistakes.

[00:29:30] Katherine: I can’t think of them all. I’ll 

[00:29:31] Leah: think of them after this. That’s okay. So one thing I wanted to ask, and I know this is a hard one to think about, but you know, you said, okay, year one, my daughter needed more attention. Now that you have the perspective and you’re able to look back, what could have you done differently?

[00:29:50] Leah: Like not huge things. What are just small little things that you’re like, you know, I could have just made these little adjustments and I think it would have made a big 

[00:29:59] Katherine: difference a little more boundary setting for Like put my phone down when I’m home with her, you know and Does that email have to get answered right now?

[00:30:12] Katherine: Or, you know, my mind, I might have been with her, but was I present? I, so I think that’s, you know, There’s some things that are urgent and there’s some things that can wait till tomorrow, but she’s here in front of me now and and she was five. I mean, she’s more aware than we think that I wasn’t always.

[00:30:30] Katherine: They are 100 percent home or at work. You never really leave work when it’s constantly cycling through. But that could have been a simple, simple thing if I had just set some boundaries, some rules around how I was going to be when I got home, um, and create that space for her. 

[00:30:47] Leah: I could not agree more as I look back, you know, on those early years, um, that is exactly the same feeling is I, I, Would wish I would have had the recognition of seeing what was actually important versus what just felt urgent.

[00:31:10] Leah: Urgent is not always important and there were so many times where if I could have just set my phone down and I did make those shifts and you know, I, I’ve shared this many other times, but I just started having. Hours that were non phone hours and, and I couldn’t trust myself in those early years. And so I literally had to put the phone in a different room.

[00:31:33] Leah: I have shared this many times. I used to physically power down my entire computer right before they were getting home from school. Because if I didn’t, I would sneak in because something would pop in my mind. I remember and I, I wasn’t as good yet at recognizing. Urgent versus important. It all felt important.

[00:31:54] Leah: And so I would rush in and then, you know, they would stack. The next thing would happen. The next thing would happen. All of a sudden, I’ve accidentally been in there for an hour, two hours, and that wasn’t what I thought was going to happen. And so I love that. I love setting the phone down, setting boundaries.

[00:32:10] Leah: I think sometimes we don’t make the The changes we need to have more harmony in our lives, because it feels overwhelming. It feels daunting. And I would urge everybody listening, start small. Don’t start with this big, I’m going to overhaul everything. Start by saying, from this hour to this hour, one or two hours.

[00:32:32] Leah: I am not going to look at my phone. I’m going to put it on the airplane mode or focus mode or put it on the charger in another room and I’m just going to be all there. Just start with those small things and then we can stack them over time and we can get just a little bit better and a little bit better.

[00:32:48] Leah: But it really It really does make the difference. I heard somebody say once that for our children, love is really spelled T I M E. And I think that is so true. It’s, it is, it’s, it’s spelled with time. And I can say, you know, I started my business with a three year old, a two year old, and a four month old.

[00:33:14] Leah: Tomorrow, I I am saying goodbye to my 19 year old for 18 months, like, I will not get to see her for 18 months, like, we fly out tomorrow for me to drop her off. I am literally at the moment where it all shifts, where I’m done, like, I don’t get to have more chances, right? For so many years, you had this feeling of like, okay, but like, I’m gonna get better next month, next year.

[00:33:44] Leah: My, my end is here. There, there is, there is no more of that. And, you know, as I’m looking, I was, I was thinking about this last night, you know, and I was thinking. It’s, it’s truly bittersweet. I can look and I can see so many good things, but I can also see where I wish I would have done a little bit better.

[00:34:02] Leah: And if I’m really honest, I can pretty much sum up all of the do a little bit better down to being present, being more present. It literally can just basically get boiled down to that. So it is, it’s, I, I just love that, that idea of like, just. Put the phone down a little bit more. Set the boundary a little bit better.

[00:34:24] Leah: Be just a little bit more clear about, okay, I’m going to give you, even if it’s 30 minutes, it’s amazing what 30 minutes of mom all in, how much power that actually has, right? It’s just. Yeah. Okay. So, so shifting, we got heavy there for a moment, but shifting to character to, you know, you said, okay, beliefs, then character.

[00:34:47] Leah: And, and when I’m hearing character, I feel like I’m hearing, um, commitment and, and, um, yeah. So, so tell me a little bit about that component. 

[00:35:00] Katherine: It depends on what your goal may be or where you may feel challenged. So I think there’s a lot of awareness building of, of who am I and where do I self sabotage and what are my typical patterns here that are showing up?

[00:35:12] Katherine: So, um, I’ve worked a lot on building awareness and then I’ve, you know, I’ve done the Enneagram and understanding who I am and how I’m showing up starts to help me make some sense of it. And it, So that has been a first step. But then, okay, why do I avoid conflict and having a tough conversations with, um, staff when needed?

[00:35:30] Katherine: Um, how can I be a better leader? So the character that I need to develop to make sure I, I say what’s needed and the time it’s needed. And, and, um, so it’s, it’s part mindset there, but also it’s, what are the, how am I going to show up? You know, am I going to, yeah. Be determined. Is it a focus that I need that I’m scattered in 1000 directions and I just need to focus in and hone in on this thing.

[00:35:54] Katherine: So I think, you know, depending on what the goal is and how I typically show up, that’s where I I’m starting to recognize all of these. You know, I may have a little bit of all of this, but I’m not maybe utilizing it or or to achieve this next goal. I really need to show up differently. Um, so I think that’s where character comes in because Yeah.

[00:36:13] Katherine: The goal is not just going to be achieved by itself. And, and I don’t think any really functions well off of a checklist, even the best achievers like, Oh, it feels real good just to like knock that off. But it’s, it’s, it’s not just in the doing, it’s, it’s who you have to be to do. And, and, and the work that we’re trying to achieve often is so challenging and outside our comfort zone, outside our realm, and maybe never been done before.

[00:36:38] Katherine: Um, it requires another level of who we are. Um, so I’m, I’m not. Comfortable with just doing a checklist anymore as far as sure tests have to get done. And if I want to feel productive, um, and really on top of it, that might be who I need to be that day. Just like very proactive. Um, but there’s so much more in it that tends to be what really stops me maybe.

[00:37:02] Katherine: Causes procrastinations that are unnecessary. Yeah, I love 

[00:37:05] Leah: that idea of who am I showing up as right? Like, am I showing up as the best version of me? And then we have to take a step back and say, well, what is the best version of me? When I think of me at my best, what does that mean? What does that look like?

[00:37:22] Leah: And I think the critical component is what does it feel like, right? So what does it look like? How do I show up? You know, and, and here’s how I’m going to look. I’m going to project myself to the world. I’m going to, you know, I’m going to show up for my goals, my dreams, my projects, my whatever, all the things, but also what does it feel like?

[00:37:38] Leah: And then I think that’s where we get so much into that mind space work, right? Because in order for it to feel the right way, we got to do the work so that we can get to a place and we need to figure out what those things are. I recognize that I feel better when I’ve got the self care locked in, which are the things.

[00:37:56] Leah: And they’re not, they’re not hot. They’re not like, like bubble baths. You guys, that is not the self care I’m talking about. That is like, it’s exercise and drinking water and eating really good food and making time for my girlfriends to have lunch with them and time to just. Snuggle with the kids like those are my self care things date night like these things just allow me to show up as the best version of me that I want to show up as and what’s so tricky is when life gets busy, we tend to pull back from those things, right?

[00:38:31] Leah: Oh, I’m slammed right now. So I didn’t get my exercise in. I can’t make the lunch date. We better skip date night. I need to skip being here. We end up taking away the very things. That allow us to show up as our best selves. And it’s just this slippery slope that if we can recognize it, then we can stop ourselves and be like, okay, wait, hold on.

[00:38:52] Leah: What is, and again, it’s back to that urgent versus important and making sure we’re not letting all the important things drop off because we are prioritizing. Urgent, and for all of you who can’t see me, I am totally finger quoting right there, because so often, you know, it’s what we think is urgent, there’s only, I mean, just apply the 80 20 rule, right?

[00:39:13] Leah: Like, probably 20 percent of what we think is urgent is actually urgent, and the rest is counterfeiting as urgency, and yet it’s taking us away from being our best. So, okay, so belief, then character, and then that skill set component. So tell me, 

[00:39:30] Katherine: tell me about bringing that in. Skills are probably, I think, the most obvious and easiest to work towards.

[00:39:37] Katherine: Right. So if with a new goal, um, the showing up, who do I need to show up as? But what do I need to know? What, what’s the knowledge here that’s missing? Um, that I don’t have, um, what things do I have to practice? What do I need to study? Um, for, for probably for many of you, if you’ve been scaling your company, your role as a.

[00:40:00] Katherine: Owner CEO founder has evolved. Mine has many times. Um, I can do almost any job in this company because I’ve done it. But now the one that I’m playing right now, I have to learn more about because, you know, maybe I’m Is this a new new realm for me? Um, so maybe right now we’re working, you know, all the fun stuff like liability insurance and legal and HR and taxes.

[00:40:26] Katherine: Like no one wants to do this, but I need to make sure for this company to be strong, protected, healthy, that I pay attention to those details. So again, that was not the initial focus. I had to evolve into different roles in the company, um, and have been able to pass on things as, um, I’ve, yeah. Brought other people up into those roles.

[00:40:47] Katherine: So that’s the beauty of, of growth. Um, it’s also a challenge because, okay, well, what, what’s needed here? Um, what do I need to be doing? And sometimes I’m filling gaps and, uh, often I’m filling gaps, but, you know, ultimately. A role that I’ve understood is now most critical because no one else is going to do.

[00:41:07] Katherine: This is the vision, the values of the company, um, steering the ship and then, and getting people lined up so that they can do their best work. It’s really fun to be able to employ people and, and think about it from instead of the fear of, Oh my gosh, I’m responsible for all these people. Yeah. But think about, wow, I get to set something up for somebody to show up and do what they love to do and they can do it better than me and should, right?

[00:41:36] Katherine: Yeah. Um, even the people that I’ve outsourced, my CFO team, my finance team, um, people that I work with, you know, in ways that are fractional have, I’m like, they’re, this is their expertise and they love this. And I had, um, a whole finance team together on a call one day and my financial advisor was like, This is fun.

[00:41:56] Katherine: Look at this collaboration. Like they were loving it. And I was like, I, I felt so good about that moment because I get to do that. I get to set up a scenario where people get to show up and do what they love to do, um, and contribute to this big, this big picture. So that was a reframe there, just a way. And cause I often do, it’s like, Oh my gosh, I could freak out.

[00:42:15] Katherine: I need, I need more people to do this job. There’s never enough. It seems like there’s so much work to do. And then the responsibility behind all that. Um, but yeah, to go back to the skill set, um, there’s many ways to develop skills. Um, and again, putting myself around people who have done this before, uh, really teaches me a lot along the way.

[00:42:36] Katherine: I’m in a mastermind. I have business groups. I’m constantly now making sure I’m in environments that, um, Are teaching me, training me, um, and learning new things outside of my industry that I can apply into my industry. Um, that it’s some, you know, the only challenge there is like, wow, I’ve taken all this in, can I do all this?

[00:42:56] Katherine: Can I say yes. And, and work on all these things at the same time. So I have to be very clear about what’s needed and what’s most important for the company right now, and then, you know, say, put. Possible collaborations aside right now. Cause I’m, I’m scaling up a second location right now. So love these ideas, but can’t work on that quite yet.

[00:43:13] Katherine: Um, so, you know, I, I have this entrepreneurial mind now that I just, I love it. I feed off of all of that. Like, okay, let’s go, let’s do another business. Okay, let’s do this partnership or collaboration. And then I have to slow down here that I’m not, I’m not there yet. Uh, there’s other things that are at ground, ground myself and focus on what’s in front of me.

[00:43:34] Katherine: Um, That may be true for business owners, too. It’s like what’s here and present in this moment, but also seeing a big picture down the road because we got to aim for something. Um, so it’s, that’s a balancing act for sure. Oh, 

[00:43:45] Leah: absolutely. I often say, okay, let’s pin it for a minute, because we’ll start to get so excited.

[00:43:52] Leah: So many ideas, so many things. And I can do this and this and this. It’s like, okay, okay, hold on. We can, we can do all these things, but maybe not at the same time. We need to pin this one for a minute. Let’s get through where we’re at. And then we can We can add the next 

[00:44:06] Katherine: thing. I love it. Ask myself. Oh yeah.

[00:44:09] Katherine: I was going to say a question that I asked myself more now, because one of my goals this year was to just, um, create space for the things that I want to happen, happen because I can clutter it all in. I can just top, top it all in there and think I can do all the things at the same time, all at once. And then I’m frantic and frazzled.

[00:44:26] Katherine: So, um, that that’s helping, but in order to do that, it’s, I need to ask myself some questions about. The thing I’m looking at, you know, and how does it help me get to the goals that I have right now? You know, make sure I know what my goals are and is the thing that I’m doing right now or thinking is really important all of a sudden do, is that going to achieve the goal that I’m working on?

[00:44:49] Katherine: So I’m trying to have some filtering system that I might not have had before, um, to make sure I’m making the right choices, right decisions and right focus points to keep aiming towards the goals that I have. I love 

[00:45:03] Leah: that. One of the things that I’ve thought, as you’ve been sharing your story and your experiences and What you’ve been learning and realizing is that for the next version of ourselves, we can’t show up as a past version, right?

[00:45:19] Leah: We’re gonna have to do the work to level up and to up level our beliefs, up level our skills, 

[00:45:27] Katherine: up level our commitment. Up level 

[00:45:29] Leah: just all these different things. And it takes really looking and digging into, okay, well, where am I now? What’s working and what’s not working and how can I celebrate and honor the things that are working and do more of that?

[00:45:43] Leah: And what do I need to shift with? What’s not working? Maybe it’s. Flat out letting it go, but maybe it’s up leveling our our skills or our mindset or, you know, whatever, whatever that capacity or that that thing might be. That feels like it’s creating a stumbling 

[00:45:56] Katherine: block for us. It’s so fun. Ultimately, I mean, if, um, it’s exactly what you said.

[00:46:03] Katherine: I think of this. What got me here isn’t going to get me there, so I’m not going to stay stagnant. This company’s not going to, I’ve got to work to stay ahead of it by, like you said, up leveling, um, and, and paying attention. Another thing you said that I, okay, it’s, it’s great to have a goal and be thinking forward, but we really have to assess and know where we’re at.

[00:46:25] Katherine: You know, you got to start with the map and where you are at at this moment to then target the direction because it’s really easy to see what everyone else is doing and want all of that and wonder why it’s not happening to happening to you and for you immediately. Where are you and what, you know, where am I right now standing and what do I need to work on for me and for this company to get me to the next place?

[00:46:49] Katherine: So it’s that consistency and focus that, gosh, ultimately just makes makes the difference because I can feed off of so many things and absorb all of it around me, um, or or compare, um, for the good and the bad. But ultimately, it’s. It’s me against me right now. Um, and I’ve got some things to work on and I set myself up to have new goals and challenges.

[00:47:11] Katherine: Um, and now I got to work to achieve them. So, you know, I got to make the second facility, um, profitable. We’ve been open a month and, uh, my goal is to do it in two months. So. I’m like, I’m going to hit this hard. I was like, okay, open. I opened my first location in one month. The second one, can I like, I’m working on timelines.

[00:47:30] Katherine: Like can I condense time and, and achieve things in less time with, with more knowledge and information, um, this go around and more people and team, um, Yeah, it’s fun. 

[00:47:42] Leah: I love that. I love that. Okay, so last question. If you could go back to you 2020 starting this whole thing, who has no idea if it’s going to work or not, cannot see that you’re going to scale it to seven figures, that you’re going to eventually buy a building, create a second location, all of these amazing things.

[00:48:02] Leah: What Would you say to her,

[00:48:08] Katherine: um, to trust myself, trust myself because it was in there,

[00:48:17] Katherine: the knowing was there. I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t paying attention and I wasn’t, you know, showing myself the evidence that I’d already developed a certain character that was going to be useful. Um. Under those circumstances, the world was a mess. The circumstances were terrible in my life at the moment.

[00:48:36] Katherine: My face was flat down in the dirt and I, you know, relying on myself, my gut, my character, my skill set, my work ethic was going to get me where I needed to go. 

[00:48:51] Leah: Mm. So good. So good. Oh, thank you so much, Catherine. It’s been so fun getting to share your story and connect with you. There has been so many incredible nuggets.

[00:49:04] Leah: I know that you have helped so many. So, Thank you for being on the podcast. 

[00:49:11] Katherine: Thank you so much, Leah, for having me. And I do hope I’ve been helpful or useful. I mean, there’s so many things we can’t control in life, but we know who, you know, trust ourselves, trust our gut, go with our intuition and, and rock it.

[00:49:24] Katherine: Let’s do it. Oh, so good. Okay. Where can 

[00:49:26] Leah: everybody find you? 

[00:49:28] Katherine: Um, on Instagram. I, uh, Kat Horrigan. Uh, you can follow the dance school at, at Dance Academy VA, and those are the two main 

[00:49:36] Leah: places. Okay, perfect. And we’ll, of course, have links to all of that in the show notes. So everyone will be able to find you.

[00:49:43] Leah: Okay. Thank you so much to everyone who listening to this episode. I know for me, my biggest takeaways are just really. Thinking about and checking in with myself about my beliefs. What am I believing right now? And where do I need to make shifts? And what are the voices I’m letting in? And how can I make the voices that are going to help me level up?

[00:50:04] Leah: How can I make those louder? That that is going to be my goal and my big takeaway from this episode. So thank you, Catherine, and we’ll see you all next week. 

[00:50:13] Katherine: Best wishes, everyone. Take care. 



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