Cathy Heller is the author and podcast host of Don’t Keep Your Day Job and is sharing how you can turn your passion into your dream job.
IE 174: Cathy Heller: How to Turn Your Passion into Your Dream Job
Has the pandemic got you thinking about starting your own business? Are you confused about where to begin or what you can do? Are you unhappy in your day job but scared to make a change?
My guest today asked herself a question at the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey that changed everything for her. She asked, “Is it Beyonce’ or bust? Or is there something in between?”
The Middle Road Between Rock Star and Miserable
Cathy Heller moved to Los Angeles to be a songwriter, but when she was dropped from the label that had signed her, she was forced to get a day job. It didn’t take long for Cathy to begin to wonder, are my only two choices to be a rock star or to be miserable?
She stumbled upon the fact that other songwriters were licensing their music to corporations for advertising and programming use, corporations like Target, and shows like Grey’s Anatomy.
Cathy impulsively quit her job and pursued this road, ultimately with great success. (She doesn’t recommend this strategy to others, however, as she struggled along for 18 months with little to no income.)
A decade later, Cathy was earning over $300K a year licensing her songs.
And she began fielding questions from others who wanted to know how she did it. A random request to put the information online from someone who didn’t live near her changed everything.
Learning How to Launch a Course
The request for an online course was confusing to Cathy, as she had zero idea what an online course even was. But she decided to investigate it anyway.
Her research led her to create her first course, “Six-Figure Songwriting.”
She created that course in just 6 short weeks. She says she was naive, just whipping something together and throwing it out into the world.
That first launch, of a product she had thrown together in 6 weeks, brought in $147K.
She began to dig in with her students, helping them score deals with television shows and advertisers like Starbucks. After working with students and learning more about how to help them, Cathy decided to launch the course again.
And the second launch brought in $445K.
Podcasting as a Teaching Tool
Just 3 years ago, one of Cathy’s students told her she should start a podcast. Cathy’s response?
“What’s a podcast?”
But true to her style, she jumped right in to create one. She knew she didn’t want to talk about the music business though. She didn’t become a musician to teach people about the music business.
She decided to teach people how to turn your passion into your dream job. This is something she had experienced personally when she quit her day job to pursue music licensing.
3 years later and her podcast, Don’t Keep Your Day Job, has over 15 million downloads.
The Future of Online Business
Obviously, I am an online business owner and many of you are, as well. But how does the current state of the world, with Covid-19, affect the future of business? Because I firmly believe that things are not going to go back to the way they were before all this started.
Cathy has a friend with a huge online business whose engagement is up over 300% since this pandemic started. And the CEO of Thinkific says that more people have signed up for courses in the last 3 weeks of March than in all of 2019.
Take a minute and read that last sentence again. That, my friends, is mind-blowing.
It’s all too easy to watch the news and think that our entire economy is dying. The fact is though, certain parts are definitely slowing down, while other parts are growing exponentially.
Create a World that Draws People In
Cathy says that we overestimate what it takes to build a business and we overestimate how long it takes. She says that anybody can start to build a business this week.
The most important thing to know is that no matter what you create to sell, whether that’s a class, a course, a membership, a physical product, or a service, what you are actually creating is a feeling, an experience.
People don’t buy things; we buy feelings.
So, you create a world around you and you bring people in. You connect with them and you make them feel seen. And then, if you have products or services to sell, they’ll buy them without you asking because they want to be part of that world you’ve created for them.
How to Start a Business
Most people think you need to have a 10-page business plan written out and tons of money in order to start a business.
But Cathy says no. What you actually need is proof of concept.
You need to know that your idea has merit, that people want it. You start with a tiny seed of an idea and one person you think would be interested. And you contact that person and ask them questions about your idea.
Once you have that person’s information, you ask 2-3 more people for input.
And then, you assimilate all the information and you create a beta version of your product, whatever that might look like.
How to Get Your Business Idea
Some of us spend too much time trying to figure out what our ultimate purpose is for our lives.
Have you ever met the little kid who says he wants to be a doctor, and as the kid grows, he never changes his mind, and ultimately, he grows up to be a great doctor? Or the little girl who says from the time she’s 6 that she wants to be a lawyer, and she grows up to be a corporate attorney?
Those kids are few and far between. Most of us aren’t quite sure who we want to be, or what we want to do with our lives. How then, do you start a passion project that you can build into a business?
Cathy says it comes down to one question, asking who you can help.
Start with a brain dump of all the things you like to do when you aren’t at work. Maybe you like to organize your closet or perfect a new makeup look. Maybe you love to style outfits or introduce people to each other.
You can also ask 5 other people what they think of asking you about. Maybe they always call you for restaurant recommendations or when they need advice on their marriage.
Sometimes it’s as easy as finding out what problems we are already solving for others.
Don’t Keep Your Day Job
Cathy’s newest project is out and it’s a book by the same name as the podcast, Don’t Keep Your Day Job.
She says that the first promise of the book is to return you to yourself; to your worthiness and to the desire within you to have something more. She gives you permission to state what it is you want and to get started, even if you’re only mediocre at it.
The book is filled with examples of people who weren’t okay with a day job for money, who came home to themselves and figured out what lights them up, and then found a way to serve people by doing what they love in very imperfect ways.
The book teaches you how to walk through building the slow and steady engagement that Cathy talked about here. And how to turn that small engagement into a profitable side hustle.
Cathy believes strongly that we underestimate what we are capable of and we overestimate what it would take to do it. The book provides you with examples of others who have done it and the exact steps to get going.
This book is like a therapy session where you find out how to do what you love and what is possible.
Get your copy today by going to Cathy’s website. While you’re there, be sure to take the quiz to find out how you can best serve the world.
If you want to connect with Cathy, she is very active on Instagram, and she personally answers all of her DM’s there. Feel free to reach out!
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